Gadget news
Dragon Professional review
3:12 pm | April 30, 2021

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Comments: Off

Speech recognition is one of the best use cases of computers. Speech recognition products convert the words you speak into your microphone into human-readable text. It saves a lot of effort you would otherwise have spent typing long texts and essays. It’s also very helpful for people with disabilities or temporary ailments that make typing difficult.

Dragon Professional is a speech recognition software long owned by Nuance Communications. Nuance was an independent software company specializing in speech recognition and artificial intelligence products before being acquired by Microsoft in 2022. 

The first version of Dragon was developed in 1997 by an eponymous software company named Dragon Systems. The software has been through several iterations and updates and is currently at version 16.

Dragon has remained one of the most popular and best speech-to-text tools globally, and we’re reviewing it to help you decide if it’s a suitable tool for you to adopt.

Dragon Professional: Plans and pricing

Dragon Professional has simple pricing. You’ll pay a one-time fee of $699 for each license. This software works for English, French, and Spanish, and each license costs the same. But you can negotiate bulk licenses with Nuance’s sales team and get discounts.

$699 is considerably expensive, but understandable given you pay only once. You’ll keep enjoying the features of your Dragon Pro version for as long as you want. But, if a new version gets released and you want to update yours, you must pay another $349 one-time fee.

Nuance also offers a cloud-based version of Dragon Professional on a subscription basis. Pricing starts from $55 monthly or $660 annually.

Dragon Professional: Features

Dragon Professional is built exclusively for the Windows operating system. It had a macOS app, but Nuance Communications discontinued it in 2018. Mac owners can use another Nuance product called Dictate for Mac.

Dragon Professional is built for both individual and enterprise use. It provides a lot of benefits to its users. For example, people with limited use of their hands can use Dragon Pro to type with voice commands. A notable use case is assisted living facility operators employing Dragon Pro to help residents communicate easily.

This software is highly accurate and can understand words, phrases, and sentences dictated in English, French, and Spanish. However, it’s not perfect. It might occasionally make mistakes that you’ll need to correct. 

Dragon Pro can recognize live speech and convert it into text in real time. It can also transcribe pre-existing audio files on your computer. You can transcribe audio files individually or use the Auto Transcribe Folder Agent (ATFA) to transcribe files in bulk.

Nuance uses deep learning techniques to make the software as good as possible. It’s constantly improving, especially as the cost of deep learning tools decreases over time.

A good thing about Dragon Pro is that you can create custom voice commands to automate your tasks. For example, you can use a unique phrase to automatically insert standard boilerplate text. You can also use custom voice commands to insert signatures into documents. Dragon Pro is interactive, so you can share your custom commands for other users to adopt.

Dragon Pro offers advanced vocabulary management, a very important feature. There are some industry-specific terminologies that speech recognition software doesn't recognize out of the box. But you can add these unique words to your Dragon Pro vocabulary. You’ll say the word clearly and specify the text for the software to write once it hears it; afterward, Dragon Pro will always recognize the unique word. 

Dragon Professional Anywhere

Nuance offers a cloud-based version of Dragon Professional. This cloud-based version is called Dragon Professional Anywhere. You can access the software online from anywhere. You can log into your account from any computer if you have the correct credentials, unlike the typical Dragon Professional, where you must use the exact PC you bought a license for.

Another advantage of the cloud-based version is that it uses artificial intelligence to transcribe words into text. This feature makes the system more accurate, as it constantly learns and adjusts to your accent. You won’t be able to run an AI-based system on your local PC because of insufficient computing resources, but Professional Anywhere gives you access to AI resources online.

Nuance claims up to 99% accuracy for Professional Anywhere with no voice training needed. The platform establishes a cloud-based profile for your voice after your first use. Manual adaptations on the typical Dragon Professional, e.g., accent adjustments and microphone calibration, become automatic on the cloud-based version.

Dragon Professional Anywhere is easy to set up and install. Unlike the local version, you don’t need complex configurations to set it up initially. You can access it online and deploy new licenses as you wish. This model is subscription-based, unlike the local version, which requires a one-time payment.  

Dragon Professional Anywhere is a secure tool with 256-bit encryption for your data. It's compliant with HIPAA requirements that demand confidentiality in medical settings.

This cloud-based version has a unique feature called Anchor Focus Dictation. You can dictate into a document while you have your eyes on a separate window. The document you're dictating into will be displayed as a small anchor on your screen while you focus on doing other things. 

You can manage your usage from the Nuance Management Center if you're an enterprise buyer. This Management Center makes it easy for administrators to track employee usage and distribute licenses based on that usage. Administrators can also manage and share customizations from this dashboard. 

Dragon Anywhere

Nuance provides an accompanying mobile app for its Dragon speech-to-text software. This app is called Dragon Anywhere and is available on Android and iOS for people based in the United States and Canada.

The Dragon Anywhere mobile app works like the cloud-based version but from a mobile phone. You can dictate words and convert them into text at high accuracy. There are no time limits for transcription, so you can speak as long as you want. You can add custom words as you’d do on the desktop app. 

You can edit your transcribed document within the mobile app for perfection. Afterward, you can export it to other cloud-based storage platforms like Dropbox and Google Drive.

You can pay $15 per month for this mobile app or 12 months in one go at a discounted rate of $150. Enterprises with many users can also contact Nuance's sales team and negotiate discounted volume licenses.

Dragon Professional is a very helpful tool, whether you’re using the locally-hosted app, the cloud-based version, or the mobile app. It tackles a major problem of people with disabilities finding it difficult or impossible to type long documents. People in this cohort can just dictate words and convert them into text.

Of course, Dragon Professional’s transcription isn’t perfect; it can make some mistakes, so you’ll need to crosscheck the transcript before sending it out. This tool is also noticeably expensive.

Dragon Professional: Interface

Dragon Professional is a user-friendly tool. It has a simple interface that anyone can easily understand. But this platform has a steep learning curve; you’ll need some time to get used to all its features, especially the customization aspects. It’s not something you should expect to master within a short period.

If you have a non-native English accent, you'll need time to train Dragon Professional to recognize your pronunciation.

Another drawback we observed about Dragon Professional is that it consumes much of your computer’s random access memory (RAM). It’s difficult to run Dragon Professional alongside other apps, especially if you use a low-end or mid-range PC with limited processing power. 

Dragon Professional: Support

Nuance Communications offers customer support through email and telephone. You can open a ticket on the official website and await an email response within 24 hours. You can also dial the technical support line when facing any issues. 

You also have access to a collection of user guides, cheat sheets, and tutorials on the official Dragon Professional website. 

Dragon Professional: The competition

Google Cloud Speech-to-Text is the main competitor to Dragon Professional that we’d like to highlight. This platform allows you to convert voice to text in over 125 languages, much more than the 3 languages Dragon Professional supports. It is also more accurate and easier to use.

The drawback is that Google Cloud Speech-to-Text only works online. There’s no local version to host on your PC. Pricing starts at $0.024 per minute, which can add up to a significant amount if you use it heavily. In contrast, Dragon Pro offers a fixed lifetime fee or recurring subscription that you can use for as many minutes as you wish.

Dragon Professional: Final verdict

Dragon Professional is one of the best speech-to-text tools out there. It makes life easier for people who have limited use of their hands and find it difficult or impossible to type. But, it’s not without drawbacks, such as the steep learning curve required to get used to the software. 

We've listed the best speech recognition software.

Disk Drill Review: Pros & Cons, Features, Ratings, Pricing and more
1:05 am | April 29, 2021

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Comments: Off

One of the most popular data recovery tools on macOS, Disk Drill is now available for Windows.

With a range of features and a choice of free and premium versions, Disk Drill is designed to recover data from hard disk drives, solid-state drives, USB flash drives, SD/CF cards, digital cameras, and even smartphones.

Disk Drill's website boasts that any lost data file type can be recovered, from almost any data loss scenario you can think of. But does Disk Drill rediscover the deleted data you're expecting?


Disk Drill offers three different plans to fit your data recovery needs (Image credit: CleverFiles)

Disk Drill: Plans and pricing

Three versions of Disk Drill are available. The free option gives you file recovery of up to 500 MB. Beyond this, the software cannot work without being upgraded. Recovered data is stored in a Recovery Vault, with disks backed up with "byte-to-byte" recovery. All recovery methods can be used.

For the PRO version, you'll need to pay either $89.99 (£78.35) or $118 (£103.88) with lifetime upgrades and for the price you'll get unlimited recovery for one user with activation on up to three devices. Aimed at home users with high data recovery requirements, PRO features include Quick & Deep Scan, Smart FAT and NTFS algorithms, and Lost Partition Search. All storage types and file systems are supported.

Enterprise users can enjoy all the above, licenses for 10 users and infinite activations, and priority support for $499 (£439.28) or $598 (£526.44) with lifetime upgrades.

Minor upgrades within major versions e.g. version 5.2 to 5.5 are free. 

At the time of writing, there's a limited two-for-one deal, which gives you a copy of the Mac version of Disk Drill free with the Windows PRO version. 

The developers also offer a 50% discount to anyone upgrading from a past version of Disk Drill or a competing Windows/macOS product bought within the last year, provided you can present a valid proof of purchase. Education/Non-Profits also benefit from a 20% discount. 

File Types

Whether you're trying to recover images, videos, documents, archives or other file types, Disk Drill has you covered (Image credit: CleverFiles)

Disk Drill: Features

A vast collection of file formats can be recovered with Disk Drill, including (but not limited to) AVI, FLV, and MP4 videos, MP3 and AIFF audio, and BMP, JPEG, JP2, GIF, and PSD images. Further, DOCX, PDF, and XLSX document formats can be recovered, along with ZIP, RAR, and DMG archives and image formats.

At the time of writing Disk Drill supports 363 different file types in total. You can visit the developer's website to see a full list and request support for other file formats.

Disk Drill will work with Windows systems with internal or attached HDDs manufactured by HP, Samsung, Seagate, Toshiba, WD, LaCie, Intel, and others. USB drives from SanDisk, Samsung, Kingston, Corsair, and others are also supported, and you should even be able to recover data from SD/CF cards from SanDisk, Transcend, Toshiba, PNY, Kingston, and others. Disk Drill also claims to be able to recover data from digital cameras, iPhones, and Android phones.

Whatever media you're recovering, Disk Drill gives you the tools to find them. As well as detecting internal devices and USB drives, Disk Drill lets you attach disk images in a range of formats, including IMG, ISO, and even VMDK disks from VMware virtual PCs. It detects drives that won't otherwise mount, with options to scan quickly, deep, uncover lost partitions, and even undelete protected data. 

We were very impressed by the level of detail available on the website and how upfront Cleverfiles were about the different types of issues that can affect drives

They also clearly state that not all files are recoverable and list reasons why this might be the case including unsupported formats, fragmented or overwritten data and physical damage to the drive. 

They also recommend using Windows own built-in CHKDSK and File Recovery or macOS' Disk Utility to scan and repair drives, as well as their own product.  

Device Types

Disk Drill also supports a wide variety of devices (Image credit: CleverFiles)

Disk Drill: How we tested

For our data recovery tests we used a virtual machine with a clean install of Windows 11. 

Data Files

Our tests were done using the 'Free' version of Disk Drill. The files we chose for recovery were an album of Mozart's Music available from the Internet Archive. 

We did this as we wanted to see how the utility performed with a wide variety of files.The album included 4 music files (2 in Mp3 and 2 in FLAC) format, 6 JPG image files of album covers (with thumbnails) and 2 PNG image files. The files also included 2 XML files, a torrent file and an 'SQLite' file containing details of the album. There were 25 files in total. 

We copied the files in the music album to a 512MB virtual hard drive, which was then attached to the Windows 11 virtual machine. For all intents and purposes it acts as a second hard drive, attached to the main virtual machine. 

Data Tests

The tests were performed one after the other on three separate virtual drives:

1. File deletion : the album files were simply deleted from the drive and the Recyle Bin emptied. No other data was copied to the drive. We then tried to recover the files. 

2. Delete & Format : The files were deleted as outlined above and we also performed a 'Quick Format' using the 'Disk Management' utility built into Windows 11. We then tried to recover the files from the formatted partition. 

3. Recover files from a corrupted drive: We used the freeware program 'Victoria' to overwrite the volume header of tjhe drive containing the files with zeroes. The drive didn't mount automatically in File Explorer and showed as being unpartitioned in Windows "Disk Management" utility. We then checked if the utility could see it and if so, tried to recover the files. 

We do not believe that running data recovery tools in a virtual environment has a significant effect on how they function. Still, if you're considering buying software we encourage you to read all reviews thoroughly and make sure that the developer offers a refund policy. 


Disk Drill's user interface makes it easy to find your drives as well as your files (Image credit: CleverFiles)

 Finding files with Disk Drill 

Disk Drill's main screen lists attached devices. You'll see all internal storage, along with any attached devices such as USB devices and SD/CF cards. The option to attach a disk image is also here – useful if you have an image of an old disk drive that might have some vital documents stored on it.

Recovery with Disk Drill is incredibly simple. Select the drive or partition to be recovered, click the recovery type drop-down menu on the right, choose the recovery type, then click the Search for lost data button.

Disk Drill gives the option of individual or all recovery methods. A quick scan obviously completes faster than a deep scan, but whichever option you choose, Disk Drill displays a status page to show the progress so far. Once complete, you simply select the files you wish to recover – using the filter on the left pane to find specific file types - click Recover, then select where to save them.

Disk Drill 6

(Image credit: Future)

Disk Drill: Recovery performance

Various factors impact performance when using recovery software. The size of the disk, its condition, the connection type, and the type of recovery chosen all contribute to the length of time required. Unsurprisingly a 250GB SATA disk can be scanned and data recovered quicker than a 1TB HDD.

In testing, Disk Drill repeatedly returned the contents of the 512MB virtual drive within a few seconds. That's a good result, and indicative of similar performance on larger devices – assuming optimum conditions.

We especially enjoyed the "preview" feature, which allows users to examine files before copying them to a new location. This is important as the "Recovery Vault" doesn't always give files their original file name. Sometimes fragments of the same file are recovered and listed as multiple files. 

Users' lives are made easier by the fact that detected files are categorized into types i.e. Pictures, Video, Audio, Documents, Archives and other. If Disk Drill detects a missing partition (as was the case during our tests), it will list this too.

If you do choose to recover files, Disk Drill's simple wizard asks you the location to copy them and even lets you create a brand new folder for the purpose. 

Disk Drill 7

(Image credit: Future)

Disk Drill: Test results

Disk Drill's website cautions that the software can't recovery all types of files under all circumstances. The version we used also doesn't have advanced recovery tools such as specialist algorithms. Still we were eager to see what the 'Free' version could do for us:

Test Round # 1 (Recover deleted files)

At first launch, Disk Drill detected our virtual drive whose files had recently been deleted. When we chose to try data recovery, it found 82 files in total. The helpful Recovery Wizard categorised these into files recovered from the partition and the drive itself.

When we restored the files to a folder on the C drive we found that all of the 25 original files were intact and opened without issue. The remaining files were either duplicates or system files. 

Test Round # 2 (Recover deleted files from a formatted drive)

When we tried to recover files from a drive that had been deleted and formatted, Disk Drill listed 32 as recoverable, these included the original 25 and some system files. The filenames of the audio FLAC files were missing but they played straight away in VLC. 

Test Round # 3 (Recover files from a corrupted drive)

Although Windows didn't mount the damaged partition of the virtual drive, when we launched Disk Drill it automatically detected it and even showed a message proudly proclaiming, "Woohoo! Lost partitions found."

Upon clicking on the lost partition, we were able to recover 82 files. Just as for the drive where the data had been deleted from the Recycle Bin, these were a mixture of the original data, duplicates and system files.

For the final round of tests we ran up against the 500MB limit for data recovery, so made use of Disk Drill's handy preview feature to see the files instead. Preview not only supports viewing images and playing back audio : you can also view the hex code for recovered files to check if they're worth saving. 

Disk Drill: Support

Disk Drill is easy to use and it's fast. But what happens when you run into problems?

To help you out, a comprehensive selection of tutorials is provided on the website, covering everything from recovering data from specific device types, platforms, and file types. If these documents don't solve your problem, the detailed Lost file recovery university (Disk Drill's knowledge base) almost certainly will.


You can contact support by filling out a form or through live chat (Image credit: CleverFiles)

As readers have seen, we were particularly impressed by the knowledge base suggesting that users try to use their own OS built-in utilities to recover data before buying Disk Drill. The support section also provides balanced reviews of other data recovery tools. We particularly recommend the 'Understanding' section of the Knowledge Base, which contains some tutorials on basic subjects like how to recover just one lost file, as well as providing an overview of all Disk Drill features.

Failing that, a live chat service is available, and you can also get in touch with Disk Drill on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and LinkedIn.

Disk Drill 8

(Image credit: Future)

Disk Drill: Final verdict

Disk Drill for Windows has lived under the shadow of the macOS "original" for quite some time. Based on what we've seen in testing, this seems unfair. Disk Drill's complete collection of features for every imaginable platform and scenario are impressive enough. 

Its ability to effortlessly mount and read a previously unmountable virtual hard drive and to recover at least some data from it within a comparatively small timeframe proves that Disk Drill is a recovery tool that you should be considering. Disk Drill spotted all the deleted test files and recovered them in record time. 

Pricing for the PRO version isn't ideal for home users, sadly, but there are generous discounts for users of existing tools who aren't satisfied with their experience. Students and charities can also benefit from lower prices. 

Pricing aside, Disk Drill is an excellent recovery option for both Windows and macOS.

Canon EOS R5 review
8:07 pm | April 28, 2021

Author: admin | Category: Cameras Computers DSLRs Gadgets | Tags: , , | Comments: Off

Editor's Note

• Original review date: April 2021
• No new model released
• Launch price: $3,899 / £4,199 / AU$6,899
• Official price now: $3,399 / £4,299 / AU$6,349

Updated: February 2024. When Canon announced the EOS R5 in July 2020, it made headlines and it's still a popular camera nearly four years on, staying put in our best camera roundup. There are rumors of a Mark II coming in 2024, but details are thin on the ground. Despite now being a few years old, the price for the body hasn't changed a great deal, dropping most in the US and a little in Australia, but is strangely listed for a higher price in the UK on Canon's official site and retailers like Jessops. Retailers, however, regularly discount this camera and, going by what we saw during Black Friday 2023, we think you shouldn't be paying more than $2,999 / £2,300 / AU$4,500 for the EOS R5. The rest of this review remains as previously published.

Canon EOS R5: two-minute review

A lot has happened in the camera world since we first reviewed the Canon EOS R5 in August 2020 and labelled it 'Canon's best ever stills camera'.

That statement still stands and the EOS R5 remains the best mirrorless camera that Canon has made so far. It's almost certainly the best Canon camera on the market right now too. But with the Sony A7S III and Sony A1 now here, and Canon responding with firmware updates for the EOS R5 and the announcement of the Canon EOS R3, is it already on the verge of being overshadowed?

Not quite yet. We've tested the Canon EOS R5's firmware upgrades, and they improve the camera and smooth out its rough edges, albeit without fundamentally changing its character. It's a fantastic stills camera, one of the best you can buy, but the verdict on its video skills is a little more nuanced. 

In short, if video is your priority, you should test out the Canon EOS R5 in situations that are as close as possible to your real-world workflow - you may still find it to be one of the best video cameras you can buy. Those looking to shoot long, extended takes might be better served by the Sony A7S III. But if you look at the Canon EOS R5 as a stills camera that you'll occasionally use to shoot high-quality video, you'll likely never run into any overheating problems.

Canon EOS R5 articulating screen

(Image credit: Future)

For stills photographers, though, there isn't much wrong with the Canon EOS R5. The combination of a next-generation autofocus system, excellent image quality and fast 12fps/20fps continuous shooting means this is a camera that is just as comfortable (and capable) in professionally-lit studios as it is shooting breaking news stories at dusk.

The EOS R5's autofocus deserves a special mention. Its eye-detection is incredibly accurate and sticky, while its subject-detection and tracking is similarly impressive. As we found on our wildlife shoot, the animal detection is simply mind-blowing and a huge selling point on its own, if you regularly indulge in that kind of photography. 

What about battery life? If you're coming from a traditional DSLR, this is an obvious constriction. But we managed about four hours of very intensive shooting, while using the EVF. On a standard shoot, this means going through two (or, at a push, three) batteries in a day. With spares easy and relatively cheap to come by, plus backwards compatibility with the older LP-E6N battery, it’s not quite the impediment it firsts appears.

If you’re a high-volume, high-speed filmmaker, you might find the EOS R5's heat constrictions a little onerous. But during our half-day documentary shoot, where we shot in a variety of formats, we didn't see any overheating warnings. 

The video footage was also sharp and flexible for color grading, while a recent firmware update has added the Canon Log 3 (or C-Log 3) format to help its footage slot into cinematic workflows. The combination of stabilized RF-mount lenses and in-camera image stabilization (IBIS) also makes it possible to get reasonably smooth shots without a gimbal.

Canon EOS R5 Animal Eye AF in action

(Image credit: Future)

As you'd hope at this price, the Canon EOS R5 brings lots of smaller treats, too. The electronic viewfinder (EVF) is superb and practically indistinguishable from the optical ones found in DSLRs, at least to our eyes. And weather-proofing is right up there with the 5D series, if not quite as indestructible as the Canon EOS 1DX Mark III.

Canon has pulled out all the stops with the EOS R5, but it had to. It was relatively late to the mirrorless party and the competition at the pro level is now fierce. But it's Canon's best camera for stills shooters, and a more-than-capable hybrid option for those who like to mix that up with some video, too. 

Professional filmmakers who are looking for a small, hybrid camera whose priority is 4K video shooting should consider the Sony A7S II instead. And non-professionals of any kind should check out our Canon EOS R6 review. But even if, like us, you can't afford justify the Canon EOS R5's price, it's certainly an exciting example of what happens when Canon fully commits to mirrorless.

Canon EOS R5 review: price and release date

The Canon EOS R5 was released on July 30, 2020 with a body-only launch price of $3,899 / £4,199 / AU$6,899.

It was initially difficult to find stock, with demand outstripping supply for the first few months of its life, but the EOS R5 is now widely available worldwide.

Canon EOS R5 ports

(Image credit: Future)

Of course, that price tag is a big investment, but it's in the ballpark of its nearest rivals. It's only a shade more than the lower-resolution, 4K-only Sony A9 Mark II and the Sony A7S III in most regions, and is also very much in the region of the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV's original pricing, which started at $3,499 / £3,599 / AU$5,060 when it launched in 2016.

Is the Canon EOS R5 expensive? Yes. Unjustifiably so? Probably not...

Canon EOS R5 review: design and handling

  • Weighs 738g without a lens
  • Rear AF joystick instead of Touch Bar
  • Impressive 5.76-million pixel EVF

Design-wise, we’re not looking at a game-changer with the Canon EOS R5. But given the usability of the Canon EOS R, which it's heavily based on, that’s no bad thing. 

In terms of width and height, the EOS R5 is all-but identical to that latter camera; three mysterious millimeters have been added to its depth, and 70g has been added to its weight. 

Significantly, the EOS R’s touch bar – the touch-sensitive strip on the top-right of the camera – is gone, perhaps testament to its lukewarm reception. In its place is a chunky, knurled joystick for navigating autofocus points and menus, along the lines of the control on Canon’s other high-end cameras. 

Canon EOS R5 top display for shooting info

(Image credit: Future)

Pick up the EOS R5 and the first thing you’ll notice is that it practically floats in the hand. Its 738g weight with a card and battery compares extremely favorably to the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV’s 890g, and even more favorably to the tank-like Canon EOS 1D X Mark III’s 1.4kg kerb weight.

The EOS R5 is still substantial-feeling, with a deep grip that makes it easy and comfortable to hold, but it’s also easy to tote around without it feeling burdensome. Weather resistance is said to be up to the standard of Canon's 5D series, which professionals will tell you means the R5 should withstand troublesome weather better than some photographers. We’d be confident in most situations.

Canon’s adroit touch when it comes to building cameras that are quick and easy to use is much in evidence. Along with that four-way joystick, which makes diddling through menus or selecting autofocus points a breeze, you also get a click-wheel on the back, plus a dial behind the shutter button and a ring around the mode dial. 

Don’t forget that RF-mount lenses also have a control ring, so getting the EOS R5 set up just-so is easy. If you’re coming from another of Canon’s cameras, the learning curve is basically flat – the R5 is easy to adjust to. Newcomers will find the menus responsive, intuitive, and powerful, whether you’re a power user or launching into photography for the first time.

A square display on the top right-hand shoulder of the camera displays your current shooting information. This is a good way to keep the rear monitor turned off between shots, and the secondary display has a backlight that you can turn on and off manually. The touchscreen monitor is a good ‘un, too, measuring a generous 3.15in and offering a 2.1MP resolution. It’s also vari-angle, which is handy for video.

But goodness gracious, the electronic viewfinder. The only thing that beats it for resolution right now is the 9.44-million pixel EVF seen on the Sony A7S III and Sony A1. And while the R5 might only offer 5.76-million pixels, in use we could barely distinguish it from the true optical viewfinders found in traditional DSLRs. 

Beautifully smooth and with an incredible amount of fine detail, it makes the normal bugbear of mirrorless cameras – being able to tell when an image with slim depth of field is actually focussed – a thing of past. It’s really easy to tell, and with focus peaking available in manual focus mode, it conspires to make the R5 very easy to use.

Canon EOS R5 had a standard SD card slot and CFexpress slot

(Image credit: Future)

Canon EOS R5 review: specs and features

  • 45MP (effective) full-frame sensor
  • Same DIGIC X processor as the EOS 1D X Mark III
  • 8K video recording

On paper, the EOS R5 might be the best hybrid mirrorless camera on the market. It’s both high resolution and full-frame, producing 8,192 x 5,464 resolution files that weighed in, on average, at about 60MB each. 

That means, at the R5’s fastest continuous motor mode, you’re shooting about 1.2GB per second. In other words, make sure you’ve budgeted for extra storage, both in your camera and at home.

Speaking of storage, the R5 brings a pro-level solution to the table, offering both a standard SD card slot and a CFexpress slot. This allows you to either boost your camera’s available storage, shoot to two cards for real-time backup, or shoot raw files to one card and JPEGs to the other.

Memory cards take on more of a bearing if you plan to use the R5’s movie-shooting abilities. Its higher-end video modes, including 4K 10-bit HEVC (which is what you’ll shoot in Canon LOG or HDR PQ), 4K ALL-I 50/60fps, 4K 100/120fps or 8K ALL-I or raw, all require a CFexpress card. We shot exclusively with SanDisk’s 512GB Extreme PRO card, which is rated at 1,400MB/s write speed, and found that the buffer refilled at virtually the rate it was depleted, making in-the-field workflow completely hassle-free.

Canon EOS R5 articulating screen

(Image credit: Future)

Powering everything is Canon’s DIGIC X processor. It’s the same chip as the one you'll find in the powerhouse 1D X Mark III and it kept everything ticking over as our EOS R5 voraciously gobbled up light and churned out data.

The sensor is a new model, and this is Canon’s first body to feature in-body image stabilization (IBIS). In combination with the high speed data throughput of the RF mount, this can combine with the image stabilization in a lens to offer, in the right circumstances, up to eight stops of image stabilization.

You get all the expected mod cons, and then some. Wi-fi is there, of course, but in exotic 5GHz as well as 2.4GHz. There’s an FTP client built-in, allowing press photographers to offload images to remote servers as they shoot. 

Just about the only thing not present is a proper Ethernet socket – the Sony A9 Mark II does have one of these and pro sports photographers might lament its absence here. If you want one, you’ll need to dig out your wallet for the Canon WTF-R10B –this upgrades the R5’s FTP client to one that supports SFTP, while also adding two MIMO antennae for stronger connections and a Gigabit Ethernet port. Those are pretty niche features that will only be desirable for full-time agency photographers, though.

Of more interest to the rest of us is the EOS R5's new battery – the LP-E6NH has about 14 per cent more capacity than the slightly older LC-E6N. Those who already own Canon kit should note that the older model of battery is still compatible with the R5. You can also use a Power Delivery supply to charge the R5 via its USB-C port, saving you popping the battery out when it’s time to recharge.

Flick the mode selector to video and you’re greeted with yet more out-of-this-world performance. 4K, naturally, but up to 120fps, and with the option of shooting raw. 

Or, the headliner: 8K video. Again, the option of shooting raw is there, at 30, 25, 24 or 23.98fps, and at a galactic bitrate of approximately 2,600Mbps. Opting to shoot H.265 files, at the same settings, lowers the bitrate to about 1,300Mbps, while H.264 lowers it further to 300Mbps. 

Of course, these headline figures are only part of the video story, and Canon was forced to subsequently recalibrate expectations a little by publishing estimated recording times for each of the EOS R5's modes. We've included that information in the table below.

Perhaps even more significant than these recording times, particularly if you're planning to use the Canon EOS R5 as your main video workhorse, are the 'cool down' recovery times it needs after shooting extended scenes. Most mirrorless video cameras overheat, but not as many need quite as long to recover as the EOS R5.

We re-tested the Canon EOS R5's video performance after the arrival of its 1.1.0 firmware update, which promised to "extend video shooting times in some situations". You can read the full results of our video tests here, but the short answer is that while it slightly improves recovery times in some modes and situations, it's not a radical change from the original figures quoted for the EOS R5.

For example, when shooting 8K/30p, a 10-minute rest will then give you only three minutes of recording time, while letting it cool for an additional 20 minutes will give you an extra eight minutes of recording.

That's fair enough for 8K, a mode that no other mirrorless camera offers, but even if you're shooting 4K/60p on the EOS R5, a 10-minute rest will only give you another 10 minutes of recording time. So for both of the EOS R5's most demanding modes, you're still restricted to relatively short bursts. 

Canon EOS R5 rear screen and controls

(Image credit: Future)

Canon EOS R5 review: autofocus

  • 5,940 AF zones
  • Animal and face-detection
  • 100 per cent horizontal autofocus coverage

The Canon EOS R5’s autofocus is very nearly unbelievable. Its eye-detection is practically infallible, grabbing hold of human faces and holding on even with subjects moving rapidly forwards or backwards through the frame. Subject detection and tracking is similarly impressive. 

The new animal detection mode is out of this world, as we raved about in our wildlife test, with the R5 detecting and tracking non-human eyes and faces in some very demanding circumstances.

The R5 uses a new version of Dual Pixel CMOS autofocus, which means focussing is done on the sensor itself. This allows you to manually choose from 5,940 different AF points across 100 per cent of the sensor’s horizontal dimension and 90 per cent of its vertical. 

You can cut things however you want; splitting the sensor into large autofocus zones, allowing it to pick entirely for itself, or opting for tiny individual autofocus points using either the joystick or by dragging your thumb across the touchscreen monitor. Once you’ve got a zone picked, the R5’s autofocus will blow you away.

The animal recognition currently works for dogs, cats and birds, but it naturally isn't blind to other species, too. We're looking forward to seeing where this autofocus system goes next, but Canon's certainly made a very impressive start on the EOS R5.

Canon EOS R5 card slots

(Image credit: Future)

Canon EOS R5 review: performance

  • 12fps mechanical shutter/20fps electronic shutter
  • Backwards-compatible batteries
  • High-speed video modes

With the Digic X processor on board, it’s fair to expect good things of the R5’s performance – and so it proved in our tests. 

With our SanDisk Extreme Pro card we found the buffer cleared almost as fast as we could shoot, writing multiple frames per second when we’d finished shooting a burst of raw files. The EOS R5 will shoot 12fps using the mechanical shutter, or up to 20 with the electronic shutter. 

Purists who are concerned about the jello-effect of electronic shutters can put their minds at rest – we saw very little evidence of it. It was possible, on frames with tall elements in them, to detect a very small amount of distortion, but even with incredibly fast subjects, frames shot with the electronic shutter were just as usable as with the mechanical option. Another plus: the electronic shutter is totally – literally – silent. Wedding photographers and wildlife photographers, rejoice.

Battery life gets a significant thumbs-up as well. It’s still well down on traditional DSLRs, of course, but we managed about four hours of extremely intensive shooting (approximately 2,000 raw frames, all shot using the power-sucking electronic viewfinder) on a single charge. 

On a fairly intensive shoot we’d anticipate going through perhaps two batteries in a day, maybe three at a push. Because the R5 is backwards-compatible with the LP-E6N battery – first seen on the 2009 EOS 7D – it’s possible that many upgraders will already have a few spares.

Canon EOS R5 review: video and image quality

Video performance

Video performance is excellent as well. We tested the EOS R5 on a small half-day documentary shoot (see above), capturing just over 240GB of 4K video for a total of a shade over 55 minutes overall. 

Of that, about just about 38 minutes was shot in 4K, All-I, 25fps in 10-bit Canon LOG, with the rest (a hair under 17 minutes) shot at 50fps, still in All-I and in LOG. Of note is that the shoot happened on the warmest day of the year with the ambient temperature resting at an uncomfortable 32-degrees. We didn’t see any overheating warnings. 

Canon’s own claim is that the R5 will shoot up to 35 minutes at 50/60fps before it overheats, at which point it will recover at the rate of one shootable minute per minute of cool down. Not ideal, perhaps, if you want to shoot a documentary at 4K and 60fps, but those shooting 24 or 25fps films with a smattering of 60p for slow motion clips it’s quite possible you could use the R5 fairly intensively and never see an overheating warning. Canon claims that 25/30fps full-frame 4K video has no heat limitation.

Putting those slightly overhyped overheating claims to one side, it's far more useful –and fun – to look at the results that the Canon EOS R5 is capable of. 4K video is gorgeously sharp and the LOG files we shot were incredibly flexible when it came to grading. 

It's also worth noting that a recent firmware update, version 1.3.0, has brought the very useful Canon Log 3 (C-Log 3) format, which lets you achieve wide dynamic range and means its slots nicely into workflows that also include footage shot on Canon's EOS Cinema cameras. The update also brings a slo-mo 120p option for Full HD recording, though sadly the 30-minute recording limit for video files remains. 

Still, the combination of stabilized RF-mount lenses and in-camera IBIS ensures that, if you tread softly enough, you can create reasonably smooth tracking shots on the EOS R5 without a gimbal. Our selection of RF-mount lenses – the RF 15-35mm F2.8L IS USM, RF 24-70mm F2.8L IS USM and RF 70-200mm F2.8L IS USM – all provided sound-free tracking autofocus. For single-crewed shooters, or those tasked with filming BTS (Behind the Scenes) or B-roll, the EOS R5 could be an incredible addition to any toolkit.

A quick note – if you’re shooting 10-bit files, you’ll be wanting a proper editor. Those using BlackMagic’s free version of Resolve will need to upgrade. We edited and graded with Premiere Pro on an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription.

Image quality

As you'd hope for the price, the R5 shoots excellent images. Up to about ISO 4000 you should have very few concerns, which is incredible. Push further and you’ll find fine-grained speckling in your images – we suspect editorial photographers won’t mind it much, but those with an eye on producing art prints might be a bit more cautious. 

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For those dedicated to capturing once-in-a-lifetime moments, whatever the light, the R5 will shoot ISOs up to 102,400. We shot in anger up to ISO 51,200 and while the results were undoubtedly grainy, there was no color shift to contend with and there was plenty of detail. 

Having a camera that produces outstanding, high-resolution images in perfect light but which is capable of shooting usable shutter speeds in the dark again marks the EOS R5 out as an exceptional photographic tool. For a more in-depth look at the EOS R5's Animal Eye AF performance, check out our feature on a wildlife photographer's visit to a bird hide.

Should I buy the Canon EOS R5

Canon EOS R5 front

(Image credit: Future)

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Elementor website builder review
5:27 am | April 26, 2021

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Comments: Off

Building a website can be a daunting task, especially for those with limited technical knowledge. Luckily, there is a solution to make your life easier: the Elementor website builder. 

This powerful program allows you to create stunning, professional websites in minutes without any coding experience. It's no wonder why Elementor is one of the best website builder platforms on the market today. Let’s explore the tool in detail and review what it has to offer businesses and individuals alike.  

What is Elementor website builder? 

Elementor is a website builder that allows you to create beautiful websites without any coding knowledge. The website builder has an intuitive drag-and-drop interface that allows you to easily move elements around the page, customize text and images, add new sections or blocks, and more. Plus, with Elementor’s vast library of widgets, you can add extra functionality like sliders, Google maps, contact forms, and more with just a few clicks. 


Elementor’s welcome page will give you loads of information, but all the action takes place in WordPress’ Dashboard… (Image credit: Elementor)


When designing a website, it’s important to be able to make changes without worrying about breaking something on your live site. That’s why one of my favorite features of Elementor is its staging environment. With the staging environment, you can create and test out new designs without affecting your public-facing site. This feature allowed me to experiment with different designs and made sure everything looks exactly how I wanted it before publishing it on my live site. 

Another feature I appreciate is that Elementor offers SSL encryption and CDN hosting from Cloudflare. This means that all of my data is securely encrypted, protecting both me and my visitors from any malicious attacks. Additionally, the CDN hosting ensures that my site loads quickly, no matter where in the world someone is trying to access it from. 

Elementor also offers some interesting design features like motion effects and loop builder which allow me to create dynamic graphics that move on the page when viewed. These motion effects help capture people’s attention and keep them engaged with my content longer than static images would otherwise allow me to do. Similarly, loop builder enabled me to create seamless loops of video and animation which have helped bring more life and personality into my webpages.                             

I also love the popup builder feature which allowed me easily create popups whenever needed for promotions or special offers. Additionally, Elementor integrates seamlessly with most popular social media platforms so I can easily add sharing buttons to my pages in order to increase reachability across multiple channels at once. Finally, the payment method integration feature makes accepting payments through Stripe or PayPal fast and easy while Google map integration allows visitors to quickly find directions if they are looking for physical store locations associated with my business. 

Elementor editing dashboard

Editing a page using Elementor offers you a very sparse look - at first (Image credit: Elementor)

Elementor tools

One of the first things I loved about Elementor was its excellent collaboration tools. This allowed me to quickly share my work with colleagues, clients, or freelancers so that everyone can stay up-to-date on progress. This feature not only saves time by eliminating the need for manual updates but also keeps all stakeholders informed on any changes that are made. Plus, the collaboration tools are intuitive and easy to use so anyone can contribute. 

The landing page builder tool was especially helpful for me because it allowed me to easily create customized landing pages for my products and services without having to learn any coding language. The drag-and-drop editor was simple enough for me to use right away and gave me full control over every aspect of my page design. Plus, the library of pre-made templates provided plenty of ideas on how I could customize my landing page to make it truly unique while still maintaining a professional look and feel. 

Another great tool was the form builder which allowed me to collect user data easily using customizable forms like polls, surveys, and contact forms, all without having to write any code. 

The drag and drop editor tool allowed me to design web pages with ease and precision within minutes. With just a few clicks, I could add buttons, images, videos, columns & grids, adjust font sizes, choose different colors, add animation effects, insert widgets such as sliders or carousels, customize backgrounds, and create custom menus.  

The image carousel tool was another great addition as this helped liven up my web pages with dynamic slideshows featuring multiple images at once. This tool not only adds visual appeal but also allowed me quickly showcase various products/services within seconds instead of long lists that may put off viewers from sticking around longer (which would be bad for SEO).  

Elementor editor screenshot

(Image credit: Elementor)

Is Elementor easy to use?

Elementor truly lives up to its reputation for being one of the most user-friendly website builders available. 

The drag-and-drop feature makes it a breeze to create entire pages from scratch with no effort at all - all you have to do is select an element from the left sidebar menu, drag it onto your desired location on the page, customize it as needed then click “publish” when you’re done. 

You can also quickly edit existing pages by dragging new elements over to them and making changes until they look exactly how you want them to look.  

Elementor pricing plans

(Image credit: Elementor)

 Pricing: Is Elementor good value for money? 

The basic plan from Elementor is ideal for those just starting out. It offers all the essential features needed to get your website up and running quickly. With this plan, you'll receive 1 hosted WordPress site with 10 GB of storage, 25K monthly visits, 30 GB/mo bandwidth, 14 days of backups, SSL & CDN from Cloudflare, and 1 premium member support. All this comes at a monthly cost of $9.99.

If you're a business owner looking for more advanced features then the business plan may be right for you. This plan includes everything included in the basic plan plus 20 GB of storage, 50K monthly visits, 50 GB/mo bandwidth, 30 days' backups, staging environment access, and two premium member supports - all for a monthly cost of $19.99.   

The Grow plan is priced at $22.99 per month. This plan includes up to three WordPress-hosted websites as well as Elementor Pro website builder features, 25GB storage, 75K monthly visits, 75GB bandwidth, 30 days of backup, SSL & CDN from Cloudflare, premium support with up to four members and a staging environment. 

If you need more than the Grow plan offers or if you have higher traffic needs, then the Scale plan may be the better choice for you. The Scale plan is priced at $49.99 per month. This plan includes up to 10 WordPress-hosted websites as well as all of the features included in the grow plan plus 40GB storage, 100K monthly visits, 100GB bandwidth and premium support with up to six members.


Just like any plugin, Elementor is installed via your WordPress Dashboard. Its interface is clean and easy to figure out. When you create a new page, you’re now given the option to “Open with Elementor”. The traditional WordPress tools are then replaced by Elementor’s.

Front and centre are two main buttons. A dark red + one (‘add a new section’) and a dark grey folder one (‘add a new template’).

These pages are made up of sections, within the sections are columns, and inside those columns are widgets.

Elementor has various widgets, elements, and settings to choose from, and you’re able to choose between a pre-designed page or start building your own. The drag and drop feature of the interface allows you to choose what you want from the left column, then drag over to any section on your web page. 


Many free templates are available - interspersed within the Pro ones… (Image credit: Elementor)

Do note that you can’t access any of Elementor’s templates, be they for pages or blocks, without setting up an account with them first. However this process is free and easy: all they need from you is your email address and a password.

The number of tools at your disposal is quite impressive, from the basics like alignment, to more advances features such as motion effects, and responsive rules. You can design some truly unique pages.

Elementor comes with over 150 pre-designed SEO friendly pages, which can be extremely helpful if you’re looking for a style that’s quick, professional, and already put together. 40 of these are available in the free version, but they’re not so easy to find as they’re interspersed throughout the list. You can’t really miss the ones that need to be paid for, as they have a ‘Pro’ label top right of their thumbnail, but you have no alternative but to scroll through the list to locate the free ones.

It’s clearer with the widgets: only the Basic 10 are free. As you’d expect, the more interesting ones, such as Accordion, Social Icons, and Menu Anchor, are located in the Pro section, and need a yearly plan to be used.

Regarding templates, it’s also possible to upload some from third party clients to use in Elementor, giving you even more variety if you’re looking for a specific design, but want to use the platform’s drag and drop features.

As you build your page, you’ll notice how useful this drag and drop capability is: want to move a section, column or widget around? Just drag it to its new location. It’s really that simple. Column widths can be altered by dragging them. It’s all very intuitive, and it’s not hard to achieve pixel-level precision.


A Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate is an essential component of any secure website. It is a digital certificate that encrypts the data sent between your server and browser, ensuring that any information entered on your site remains confidential. The Elementor website builder includes an SSL certificate so you can rest knowing that your website is fully protected and secure. 

Another important feature of Elementor’s website builder is malware scanning. Malware refers to malicious software programs such as viruses, worms, Trojans, or ransomware which can be used to gain access to sensitive information or damage a computer system. 

The Elementor website builder provides real-time scanning for malware threats to prevent malicious attacks before they happen. In addition to the immediate protection offered by its scanning service, it also provides a detailed report after every scan along with recommendations on how to address any potential threats found on your site. 

Customer support

If you're an Elementor Pro user, you have access to 24/7 premium support via forms and tickets from a team of experts who are ready to answer any questions or address any issues. 

The Elementor help center provides a wealth of information about using the website builder. This includes extensive documentation that covers topics such as design fundamentals, tips on getting started with Elementor, how-to articles and tutorials, and more - which we found useful when creating our test site.

In addition to Pro support and help center resources, there's also an active community of web creators where you can connect with each other to share tips, ask questions, find inspiration, and get answers from experienced professionals.

 The competition 

Weebly is an all-in-one website builder that makes it easy for anyone to create a professional website without the need for coding or design skills. It features drag-and-drop functionality that allows users to customize their websites with ease, and also includes access to hundreds of free themes and templates. 

Squarespace is another popular website building platform that offers users drag-and-drop customization options. It provides an easy way for people with little or no coding experience to create beautiful websites with ease. Squarespace also provides access to hundreds of free templates and themes, and has an impressive array of ecommerce features that make it easy for businesses to set up online stores. 

Wix is one of the most popular website building platforms on the market today with over 110 million users worldwide. It offers an intuitive drag-and-drop interface that makes customizing your site easy, as well as access to hundreds of free templates and themes. Wix also includes powerful ecommerce features, such as payment integration and invoicing capabilities, so businesses can easily set up online stores on their sites. 

Is Elementor the right website builder for you?

Elementor is one of the highest-rated website building platforms available, and it’s easy to see why. With its helpful front-end page builder, live editor, and wide variety of pre-designed templates, Elementor is a helpful tool for creating your own professional website. The front-end builder approach makes it easy to see the changes you’re making to your website as you edit, rather than blindly working your way through WordPress and hoping for the best, making even the free option an ideal partner for anyone looking to build a site.

NordLocker cloud storage review
3:17 am | April 14, 2021

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Comments: Off

Right from the start, NordLocker offers a reliable, secure, and feature-rich cloud storage platform. But then, it’s from the developers behind the excellent NordVPN and NordPass, so there’s a certain level of expectation here - and we think it might compete with the best cloud storage services.  

NordLocker: Plans & pricing 

NordLocker is available through a freemium pricing model. Like all the best free cloud storage solutions, you can download the app and encrypt files locally without paying anything. You get 3GB, and your files are encrypted and stored on the specific device in use. 

Users wanting extra storage space will need to upgrade to either a Personal or Business plan. 

The Personal plan offers 500GB for $7.99 a month or $35.88 for the first year. This works out at $2.99 per month.  

A Personal Plus 2TB plan costs $19.99 a month or $83.88 for the first year. Paying annually in this case would save you $156. 

For businesses, there's a 500GB plan ($8.99 a month / $215.76 a year), a 2TB plan ($14.99 a month / $359.76 a year), or the option to create a custom plan. 

Although we’re disappointed not to see any lifetime cloud storage deals, it’s otherwise all very straightforward and simple to follow. But given the company’s range of other tools, we would like deeper integration between its products. NordVPN, for example, costs at least $12.99 a month in its most basic form - subscribers can use NordLocker, but only its free 3GB plan. Clearly some kind of bundle deal is in order here.  

NordLocker cloud storage showing an empty locker on start up

(Image credit: Nord Security)

NordLocker: Interface & experience 

This category is one in which NordLocker really shines. We’ve reviewed loads of cloud storage platforms, and this app is easily one of the simplest and slickest to use. 

On both Windows 11 and macOS, drag-and-drop functionality made it easy to upload, download, and organize files. Heavy use of the macOS app revealed no glitches. The app was always responsive. 

In terms of interface, we’re confident in labeling it one of the top cloud storage platforms. 

We previously criticized the service for a lack of mobile support. That’s all changed, with Android and iOS apps that we found to be just as easy to use as the browser portal.

It’s a bit of a funny one, though. Rather than a dedicated mobile app, the app houses a Safari-based browser (on our iPad test device) which redirects to the NordLocker browser portal. That said, it’s easy enough to navigate and has worked fine for us. It’s a shame that it doesn’t integrate with the native file management system (Files for iPadOS), which most of its rivals do, including Dropbox and Google Drive.

For macOS users with an Apple Silicon chip (M1 or newer), the setup process for the desktop client involves some fiddling around with the security setup of your computer. To the most humble user, this can feel particularly daunting, and while there are plenty of other similar tools that require the same setup process, there are others that don’t. 

NordLocker: Features 

NordLocker strikes a great balance between simplicity and breadth of features. The platform is defiantly easy to use, and it isn’t overwhelmed by features you’ll never use. 

Although NordLocker is primarily a cloud storage platform, local storage of encrypted files is possible. This local encryption means files are encrypted but remain stored on your device’s hard drive. So, if a hacker accessed your computer or mobile device, they wouldn’t be able to decrypt or access data encrypted with NordLocker. It’s a perk that may appeal to some business and personal users However, this data cannot be accessed from any other device. 

NordLocker’s premium plans enable files to be uploaded to Nord Security's cloud servers, meaning files are both encrypted and available from any device that has NordLocker installed on it. 

This flexibility is likely to appeal to business leaders who want to encrypt data but keep it close at hand (on a local server). This reduces the data’s exposure to data security breaches elsewhere (such as on Nord Security’s servers).

This feature enables users to grant file or folder access to friends, family, or colleagues while maintaining end-to-end encryption. From directly within the NordLocker app, users can invite users to access a folder via their email address. The only downside is that the invitee will need a free NordLocker account before accessing the files. However, if your entire office is using NordLocker, file sharing is seamless and instant, making it easy to work effectively in total security.

NordLocker cloud storage showing a file sync in the context menu

(Image credit: Nord Security)

Nordlocker: Our tests 

We ran three core tests on NordLocker, measuring sync speed, file recovery and versioning. Our tests were conducted on a Windows 11 virtual machine running the NordLocker desktop client. The VM was connected to the internet via fiber broadband via VPN server, which in our speed tests consistently showed an average upload speed of 70 Mbps  

  • Test 1 - Sync speed

In our original testing in 2022, we found that the process of encrypting files was extremely quick. Time and time again, our 1GB test file was encrypted comfortably under 30 seconds. That said, an average upload speed of just over eight minutes for 1GB seems reasonable compared with other services we’ve used. 

For our latest tests, we copied a 650 MB folder into the application directory and measured how quickly the desktop client was able to sync the files to the cloud. The folder contained 22 files including MP3s, images, metadata files and a PDF. 

And we found it was similarly quick and efficient. We chose Import Folder from within the app to begin uploading our test files. NordLocker offered us the choice between creating an encrypted copy of the folder both here and in the cloud or deleting the original and keeping only the encrypted files.

As in our previous test, the client app didn't display the upload progress of individual files but there is a readout at the bottom left that displays Syncing, as well as the amount of space used. We could also click into the folder to see green checkmarks against those files that had been successfully uploaded. The data uploaded in just under 100 seconds, which is exactly right given our connection upload speed.

Other cloud storage solutions also have better control to throttle things like bandwidth and CPU usage. There’s nothing like that here, but features we previously wanted have been added so it’s possible that something like this may come eventually.

  • Test 2 - File recovery

In this test we simply deleted the folder from the application directory, removing it from the device. We then checked to see if the files had been removed from the cloud drive and if it was possible to recover them. 

Given that we'd chosen to create an encrypted copy of our test files, we right-clicked and chose to delete this from within the NordLocker client app. The app displayed a warning confirmation saying that the files would be permanently deleted. 

This turned out to be the case as we couldn't find any Trash option neither in the app nor in the NordLocker Cloud Control Panel online. This means the data couldn't be recovered. 

Still, given that NordLocker is primarily designed for security, this could be seen as a good thing given that even if someone were to try to recover deleted data from your device it would still be encrypted. This may also be why NordLocker doesn't offer a Secure Delete option to overwrite data, as any fragments recovered would be indecipherable without the Master Key. 

  • Test 3 - Versioning

FIle versioning is offered by many top cloud providers - it’s a way to roll-back changes to a file to a previous version. 

Given that it wasn't possible to recover deleted files we weren't optimistic that NordLocker would store multiple versions of files in the cloud. Sure enough, when we synced the document and made changes, we couldn't find any option to restore a previous version. Of course there's no reason why you couldn't store files from a program that does support this feature in a NordLocker 'locker'.

NordLocker cloud storage displaying the TechRadar test folder ready for action

(Image credit: Nord Security)

NordLocker: Support 

The NordLocker Help Center provides answers to many FAQs, but doesn’t offer much technical or advanced support. If users need tailored support, they can submit an online help request. Users can also send an email directly to the support team (we received a reply within 24 hours). Phone support options don’t appear to be available.  

NordLocker: Security 

NordLocker uses a zero-knowledge encryption system, also referred to as end-to-end encryption. When you first set up your NordLocker account, you chose both a login password and a Master Password. The latter of which is used to encrypt/decrypt your data. You're also asked to save a special 'Recovery Key' in case you forget the password. 

In theory this means no one, not even Nord Security employees, can decrypt your stored files. Among the best cloud storage providers, this is not a widely available feature, thereby earning NordLocker a significant boost in our rating of the service. 

As the software is proprietary instead of open source, there's no way to examine the code used to develop NordLocker to check if this 'zero knowledge' encryption has been set up properly. 

But such is Nord Security’s confidence in its encryption protocols that in 2022 they offered $10,000 to anyone who could break into an encrypted locker, which they offered for download. The bounty was withdrawn after 350 days. NordLocker claims the vault was downloaded over 700 times. So far, no one has managed to break into it. As NordVPN pointed out in their blog, this bounty was offered before NordLocker included cloud storage features. 

The service also offers multi-factor authentication, letting you add an extra layer of protection against people trying to gain access to your account.

NordLocker cloud storage browser showing  a locker

(Image credit: Nord Security)

NordLocker: Alternatives 

NordLocker is competing against many top-quality cloud storage platforms, many with decades of experience and extensive market share. Platforms like Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox, and Apple iCloud will be hard to displace. 

However, NordLocker’s zero-knowledge encryption framework surpasses that of both Dropbox and iCloud, and arguably even OneDrive, where end-to-end encryption is limited to the Vault sub-folder. 

The greatest thing NordLocker has going for its security claims is that it's developed by NordVPN - one of the most popular providers who are dedicated to protecting people's privacy. This gives them a very strong interest in making sure none of their products are ever compromised. 

When it comes to storage capacity, however, NordLocker struggles. Competitors such as IDrive and pCloud both provide end-to-end encryption as well as high-capacity plans that far surpass the 500 GB offered in NordLocker’s premium plan. 

NordLocker: Verdict 

NordLocker, despite its release just a few years ago, is on its way to becoming one of our favorite cloud storage platforms. It is highly secure and affordable, and provides a user experience that is close to best-in-class. 

If the creators were to improve their iOS and Android apps, we think it could appeal to even more users and give it a lot more utility. We also think if more emphasis was placed on productivity like online collaboration and recovery of deleted/edited files, NordLocker could become a much more serious contender. 

But overall, building on the success of one of the best VPN and best password manager tools, we think NordLocker has huge potential to solidify its position in the cloud storage market. website builder review
9:21 pm | April 10, 2021

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Comments: Off

With nearly two decades of catering to businesses and professionals, is well versed in the art of getting you online, and noticed. Its website builder service includes hosting space, lucrative introductory offers on essentials such as domain name, daily automatic backups, and more have helped it become one of the most trusted hosting companies.

With the help of its incredibly intuitive UI, you can create stylish, modern pages in minutes with just a few clicks. The builder also offers mobile-friendly designs and ready-made templates to make building a website easier.

Unlike many other hosting companies that provide a range of plans for different hosting solutions such as shared, VPS or dedicated servers, only provides shared servers. On offer are two shared hosting plans aimed at novices and SMB’s and two plans for those looking to create an ecommerce platform.

With so many features promised by the company, one might wonder if is worth it. In this review, I'll have an in-depth look at this website builder's features and performance to help you decide if it's the right pick for you or not.


The first feature that caught my attention was the DIY website builder. It allowed me to quickly and easily create my own website without any coding or design experience whatsoever! The intuitive drag-and-drop editor made it simple for me to customize my site with different page elements such as text, images, videos, and more. Plus, the pre-made templates were incredibly helpful in getting me started on the right foot. 

Another great feature of is its ability to register custom domains as well as transfer existing domains from other registrars. This allowed me to choose a domain name that was unique and memorable while still being easy enough for customers to remember when they search for my business online. Plus, transferring existing domains was fast and easy thanks to the automated process provided by 

Having reliable web hosting is essential if you want your website to stay up and running all the time, that’s why offers high-performance hosting solutions that are both secure and reliable at an affordable price point. also provides access to Google Workspace which allows you to access popular Google products like Gmail, Drive, Docs, Sheets, etc., all under one roof - making it easier than ever before for businesses like mine to stay connected with clients and colleagues while working remotely or on-the-go. It also offers business email services so you can create professional email addresses using your custom domain name which helps make your brand look more legitimate in the eyes of potential customers or partners!  

It can happen in an instant - a power outage or server error can wipe away hours of work in just seconds. That’s why one of my favorite features of is its automatic website backup feature. With this feature, I don’t have to worry about losing any information because all changes are automatically backed up daily, so even if something unexpected happens, my hard work won't be lost forever. also offers custom website design services so I can create exactly what I want while still being able to use the tools and templates provided by the platform. Plus, with its ecommerce website design features, setting up an online store has never been easier. Whether I'm selling physical products or digital downloads, the easy-to-use tools make adding items and tracking orders simple and efficient.

Having a unique WordPress theme for your site is key to creating a memorable brand experience for your customers, which is why offers hundreds of customizable WordPress themes perfect for any business or personal blog. Plus, it also provides search engine optimization (SEO) features so that my content will always show up at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs). This helps attract more visitors to my site and increases my traffic over time. 

Last but certainly not least is’s pay-per-click advertising service which allows me to reach more potential customers by targeting specific keywords related to my product or service via Google Ads or Bing Ads campaigns. 

Themes and templates offers

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The first tool I tried out was the business name generator tool. This is a great way to come up with a catchy, memorable name for my business that will help me stand out from the competition. It's easy to use; all you have to do is enter some keywords related to your business and it will generate several potential names for you. You can also customize your search by setting parameters such as length and whether or not you want the name to include a keyword related to your product or service. I was also quite impressed with the platform’s WHOIS lookup tool, which allowed me to easily check if domains were available or not, as well as find out information about who owns them and when they expire. 

The Business listing tool is another great inclusion in's builder tools. This feature allowed me to create profiles for my website on popular business listing sites like Yelp and Google My Business so that customers can easily find my website online. It also allowed me to track customer reviews so that I can get feedback on how well my website business is performing and make adjustments accordingly if necessary. Also, I found the Appointment scheduler very helpful in managing bookings and appointments without any additional hassle or cost. 

I was especially pleased with the stock images & videos tool since it made finding high-quality images and videos easy, without having to pay for expensive stock photos or footage. Another great thing was the connected social media tool that allowed me to add links to all of my social media channels on my website quickly and easily. With this tool, I could also track how many people visited my website from each one of these channels separately. 

Finally, its contact & maps tool allowed me to add contact information along with a map showing where my business is located on my website in just a few clicks; this way customers can quickly get in touch with me or find directions to visit my store if needed. Additionally, also had options for shipping software, inventory & stock tools that helped me manage these aspects of running a website right from within the platform as well. 

Getting started

Having bought your first month and hooked up your account to a domain name, the next stage is to choose the template you’d like to work with. Even though this is a new service, there are already 125 to choose from, all broken down by categories such as “Business”, “Services”, “Health”, and “Portfolio”, among others. ‘Blank’ is also available should you prefer to start from scratch.

Each template is then further divided based on whether you need to create a single or multi-page website.

Once you’ve chosen your template, you’re then introduced to the website builder proper, with a few handy tool tips. You have the option of switching between Desktop, Tablet and Mobile thanks to icons at the top of the page, to see what your creation looks like on various devices.

Blocks on's dashboard

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The whole concept of’s website creation process is centred around dragging and dropping ‘features’ or ‘blocks’. The Features’ titles are pretty self explanatory: Heading, Text, Button, Icon, Slider, etc. Just drag them onto the page, as the right section turns red, release the mouse button to insert that feature there.

Blocks behave in the same way, but come more pre-assembled, with placeholder text and images in various location. This is a great and easy way to add what could be seen as more complex parts of a website - like a navigation menu - in seconds. It’s also great to quickly generate sections which you can easily customise, such as Testimonials, a Call to Action, Galleries, etc. website builder price plans

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I started with the Website Essentials plan, which costs $1.95/mo and renews at $141.99 when billed monthly. This plan came with a DIY website builder and blog as well as 150+ mobile-optimized templates, thousands of stock images, website analytics, and professional email support. In addition to all this, it also offers customer support through email, phone calls, and chat support if you ever get stuck or have any questions. The website essentials plan was great for getting started on the platform. The DIY website builder was incredibly easy to use and it allowed me to customize my site with just a few clicks of the mouse. 

Once I had created my site using the website essentials plan, I wanted to take it one step further so I upgraded to the website and marketing plan for $3.95/mo (renewing at $21.99/mo). This plan includes all of the features offered in the website essentials plan plus logo builder tools and powerful SEO tools that help improve my search engine rankings and visibility online. These additional features are especially helpful for businesses looking to increase their online presence and reach more customers. 

The online store plan starts at $9.95/mo but will renew at $29.99/mo after the initial purchase period ends. This plan includes a mobile-responsive online store as well as unlimited products and categories so that customers can quickly find what they are looking for on your site. Additionally, you will have access to secure online payment options and real-time shipping rates – all essential components of any successful online store. This plan also includes custom discount codes, appointment scheduling, and an abandoned cart saver feature that is designed to save lost sales due to shoppers abandoning their carts before checking out. Finally, you’ll be able to take advantage of social selling features to help promote your products on popular social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. 

The online marketplaces plan costs $24.95/mo and goes for $44.99/mo when you renew. In addition to all the features included in the ecommerce essentials plan, this plan also includes unlimited inventory locations so that you can track multiple stock levels across different stores or warehouses with ease, marketplace & social settings which allow customers to share product reviews and ratings, automated sales tax calculations, and powerful ecommerce reports that provide detailed insights into customers habits and buying behavior patterns so that you can optimize your marketing efforts accordingly. also recently introduced the QUICKSTART web design special offer for business owners who want an easy and effective way to get online.

QUICKSTART is the perfect solution for anyone who needs a website designed and built quickly. The entire process takes as little as 7 days, so you can have your very own professional website up and running in no time. This plan costs $199 and comes with you a custom domain name, hosting setup, and easy-to-use software so you can start building your site right away. Plus,'s experienced designers are on hand to help customize the look of your site according to your specifications. And should any problems arise along the way, there is always someone available to assist with technical support 24/7. QUICKSTART also comes with added benefits such as SEO optimization tools that guarantee higher visibility online and Google Analytics integration so you can track how people are interacting with your site in real-time. 


SSL stands for secure socket layer and is an encryption technology that helps protect your data from being intercepted and stolen by hackers or cyber criminals. It also helps verify your website's identity and authenticity, which is important for establishing trust with customers. offers SSL certificates for every website on its platform making sure that websites are secure and data are encrypted. 

Another way that helps me keep my website safe is by providing comprehensive security monitoring services that scan incoming web traffic for malicious activity 24/7. The service also provides regular updates on the status of my site security so that I can stay informed about any potential threats or issues as they arise. Additionally, when there are issues identified, the team at is always available to help me address them quickly and efficiently so I don’t have to worry about losing any critical data or information due to cyberattacks or other security threats. also provides automatic daily backups of my entire website so that if something goes wrong, all of my content is safely stored away offsite and can be restored quickly without any loss of data or functionality.  

Screenshot of a blog on

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You’d be forgiven for thinking doesn’t support blogging, but that’s because this feature is hidden by default - possibly because it’s still in beta. To reveal it, go to Settings in the Sidebar, select Blog and click on ‘Enable Blog’. A new Blog icon will then appear in the sidebar and a ‘Blog’ page will have been added to your site (which you’re free to rename of course).

Blogging itself is pretty straightforward. You add a title, write your piece, and pepper it with images. I can add an image above or below a section of text, but can’t apparently get the text to wrap around the image.

We also couldn’t find a way to schedule a post’s publication, add a featured image, or even tags. Although simple and trouble-free, blogging with feels pretty bare bones and definitely earns its ‘beta’ monicker.

Screenshot of ecommerce dashboard with items of clothing and prices below

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ecommerce now has a more advanced ecommerce website builder platform with more layout designs for product and category listing pages. There are more options for customization on the product details pages within the store.

The product is really easy to use and needs no technical skills. offers a single place where you can manage all the day-to-day tasks of running an online business with its ecommerce software. 

On testing out the ecommerce platform, I was able to list products for sale on my test website and on marketplaces like Etsy, Amazon, eBay, Walmart, Bonanza, and Google, managing all customer orders in one place. You can also manage fulfillment, product listing updates, restocking, reporting and more. also offers 24/7 automated inventory sync technology - your product quantities will show accurately everywhere they sell. You can also connect to suppliers via’s feed management system to automatically sync product data, order data and tracking details when suppliers fulfills an order. 

The SEO tool integrated in’s ecommerce product offers monthly health checks, tracks keyword rankings, and creates a custom action plan to improve site visibility. Payment gateways offered include Paypal, Stripe and also offer the option for your customers to pay by cash on delivery.

Screenshot of a travel blog on dashboard with support function the bottom right

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The first thing that impressed me was the availability of customer support options. offers a wide range of ways to get in touch with its team, including an online chat feature, phone support, and email support. This was great because it meant I could reach out at any time of the day or night if I had an issue or question related to my website build. 

Another great thing about its customer support is the knowledge base articles. These resources are incredibly helpful, especially for newbies who don't know much about building websites from scratch. There are step-by-step tutorials for setting up your account, as well as more general advice on topics such as SEO optimization and social media marketing. website builder alternatives is one of the most popular website building tools in the world today, and for good reason. It's easy to use and completely customizable, making it ideal for businesses of all sizes and types. The platform also comes with plenty of features, including customizable themes and plugins that can help you create an effective and attractive website in no time at all. 

Wix is another great alternative to website builder if you are looking for something that's easy to use while still providing plenty of features and customization options. With Wix, you can create a professional-looking site without any coding knowledge or technical skills at all—all you need is a drag-and-drop interface and a few clicks of the mouse. 

Squarespace is another excellent alternative to if you want something that's both powerful and easy to use at the same time. Squarespace lets users customize their websites quickly and easily with its intuitive drag-and-drop editor as well as dozens of templates designed specifically for businesses in mind.  

Is’s website builder right for you? 

I found to be a very good website builder. Its features and blocks allow you to create a unique and visually interesting page (or series of pages) in minutes. Beefing up the blogging, and offer bulk product imports for the online store, would make it even better. It’s a simple, and affordable solution. website builder FAQ 

How do I create a website on

Creating a website on is easy and straightforward. All you need to do is sign up for an account, select the type of website you want to create (such as an e-commerce store or portfolio site), and then customize it with your own design elements and content. 

You can even add features like contact forms, galleries, blogs, and more. Once you’re happy with the design of your site, click “Publish” and your new website will be live for everyone to see.

Does offer a free trial?

Unfortunately, does not offer a free trial of its website builder service at this time. However, they do offer several different pricing plans to suit any budget, so if you have some money saved up you can try out its service without breaking the bank.  

Can I create a web page with

Yes. With’s easy-to-use tools, you can create a basic web page in no time at all - no coding experience required.  

Tidal review
2:58 pm | April 8, 2021

Author: admin | Category: Audio Audio Streaming Computers Gadgets Tidal | Comments: Off

Tidal review: Two-minute review

Tidal is our top streaming service recommendation if you're after the best possible audio experience. Since it launched in 2014, Tidal has positioned itself as a solid rival to other platforms, with a strong commitment to prioritizing both artists and sound quality. In recent years, it has expanded its offering to include over 100 million tracks, mirroring Spotify's library size, and enhanced both its user interface and social sharing capabilities.

Despite the fact it looks similar to Spotify, Tidal sets itself apart in two significant ways. First, it ensures artists receive fairer compensation per stream compared to many competitors. Second, it provides listeners with exceptional CD-quality audio.

Tidal isn’t for casual listeners. But for those who take their audio experience seriously, Tidal offers a sonic paradise. Particularly for anyone who owns high-quality audio gear, like the best noise cancelling headphones or the best surround sound system, Tidal's lossless and high-resolution audio files are designed to complement sophisticated setups, deliver a rich and immersive listening experience. Not sure if this applies to you? Start with the 30-day free trial. You might not notice a difference between Tidal and your music streaming service of choice, but you might notice the difference immediately and realize what you’ve been missing out on.

While Tidal is a leading choice for high-fidelity music streaming, it’s not without competition. Deezer also caters to the high-resolution audio market, and both Amazon Music Unlimited and Qobuz offer CD-quality streams. However, Tidal's combination of a user-friendly interface, exclusive content and commitment to audio excellence secures its position as a top pick for audiophiles who prioritize quality and artist connection above all else. 

Tidal review: Pricing and subscription

A promo shot for Tidal showing the app open on several devices.

Tidal might have the best design of all of the top music streaming services.  (Image credit: Tidal)
  • Two options: Tidal HiFi and Tidal HiFi Plus
  • Subscription starts at $10.99 / £10.99 / $11.99 for Tidal HiFi
  • A 30-day free trial

You have two subscription options with Tidal, Tidal HiFi and Tidal HiFi Plus. Tidal HiFi costs $10.99 / £10.99 / AU$11.99 a month, while Tidal HiFi Plus costs $19.99 / £19.99 / AU$23.99 a month. 

The difference between the two is that with Tidal HiFi you get great audio quality at 16-bit, 44.1 kHz in FLAC. But with Tidal HiFi Plus you get excellent audio quality up to 24-bit, 192 kHz, including HiRes FLAC, as well as immersive formats Dolby Atmos and Sony 360 Reality Audio.

Is there a free version of Tidal? That's a tricky question to answer. Sign-up for one of the two options above and you get a 30-day free trial before your subscription kicks in to check it's right for you.

Back in 2021, Tidal also announced it would be launching a Tidal Free plan in the US, a free version of the music streaming service. A number of people then signed up, but as far as we can tell, that option no longer exists and Tidal never made an official announcement saying it was no longer an option. Since then, users have posted to Reddit and other forums saying they were prompted to sign-up for a subscription after using Tidal Free.

Tidal review: Key specs

A promo image showing Tidal displayed on a smartphone.

(Image credit: Tidal)

Tidal review: Music library and content

A promo image for Tidal showing the app displayed on a smartphone

(Image credit: Tidal)
  • More than 100 million tracks
  • Over 650,000 videos
  • Limited number of podcasts

There are currently more than 100 million tracks on Tidal, which is the same amount you'll find on Spotify and Apple Music. There used to be a time when you’d need to check a music streaming service has your favorite artist before you sign up, but that’s no longer the case now. Although it’s worth mentioning you’re likely to find artists on Tidal who leave (or temporarily leave) Spotify over its various controversies.

Unlike many other music streaming services, Tidal also has a section specially for videos. Right now there are more than 650,000 videos on the platform. You can watch many full length shows and concerts, exclusive content, as well as some classic videos, either within the app or cast them to your TV. This is a cool addition, but you won’t find videos from all of your favorite artists here.

Tidal has added podcasts to its offering. Tidal says it has “curated a selection of podcast series that focus on intimate storytelling”, which means you’ll find a small library of shows that tend to focus on music, creativity and culture. This is a nice addition, but don’t expect the huge selection you’ll find on Spotify covering a range of subjects.

Tidal review: Apps and compatibility

A promo shot for Tidal, showing the Tidal app displayed on a range of devices.

(Image credit: Tidal)
  • Mobile and desktop app
  • Nice and slick experience
  • Tidal Connect for seamless streaming 

Tidal has a mobile app and a desktop app, but you can also listen via a web player too. There are a few key sections in both apps. Home is where you’ll find lots of suggested mixes, artists and albums based on what you’ve listened to before. In Videos you’ll have access to video playlists, documentaries and live content. Go to Explore to search by genre, moods and activities or by quality categories, like HiRes and Dolby Atmos. My Activity is where your most streamed and played artists appear and Your Account is where you can access your collection of mixes, radio stations, playlists, albums, tracks, videos and artists. 

In the desktop app the larger screen the menu is displayed down the left hand side and there you’ll also find all of your playlists. There are standard sharing features too, to Facebook, X and you can copy the track link or even an embed code. In the mobile app, you can share directly to Facebook Stories or Instagram Stories. Some people won’t care about this feature, others will love the Stories-worthy image Tidal creates for you out of the artwork for the track you’re listening to, which you can then share instantly. 

The Tidal apps might be the nicest to use and best-looking compared to its rivals. The design is very similar to Spotify with a grid-like layout, but it feels a little cleaner and less cluttered to scroll through your options. I also like the simple black and gray color palette with bright turquoise accents, as well as the neat font.

Like Spotify, Tidal has a feature called Spotify Connect, which allows you to stream tracks straight from the cloud to a range of other devices, including Cambridge Audio and KEF sound systems, as well as within some cars thanks to Apple’s AirPlay and Android Auto. Simply find the little icon that looks like a speaker in the top right hand corner of whatever you’re playing and compatible devices will appear. 

Tidal review: Playlists and recommendations

A promo shot for Tidal showing the app open on a smartphone showing playlists.

(Image credit: Tidal)
  • Great recommendations
  • Mixes are spot on
  • Tidal Rising is fun

Spotify is considered the king of playlists perfectly crafted for you, but Tidal clearly has a powerful algorithm working behind-the-scenes to make solid recommendations too. When you first sign up for the service, you’re encouraged to pick three of your favorite artists. This informs your first mix, called your Welcome Mix. Based on only three artists, I wasn't holding out much hope with this playlist, but it was spot on taste-wise and I listened to nothing else for the first morning I signed up.

The more you like and listen to music, the more Tidal will learn about your tastes and generate different playlists called mixes. Each is based on your listening and focuses on a different genre. These don’t update as regularly as Spotify’s, but tend to do a great job at predicting what users will like. Make sure to hit save if you like a particular mix, this way you can save it as a separate playlist before it gets refreshed. 

The mix of playlist recommendations and updates doesn’t feel as expansive as what Spotify offers, there also aren’t as many fun themed playlists, like Spotify's Wrapped or Daylist, but it’s not too far off. And if you're the kind of person who just wants quality music and doesn't need the themed playlists, then you'll love it here at Tidal.

When it comes to recommendations, a great feature of Tidal’s service is Tidal Rising, which you can find in the explore tab. This is where Tidal spotlights up-and-coming artists from all over the world. It’s a fun way to stay ahead of trends and discover new talent. If you’re at all worried that services like Spotify might serve up the same kind of music and the same kind of artists over and over, Tidal Rising is a good antidote.

Unfortunately, you can’t add local music files to Tidal. This is a bit of a shame but shouldn’t be a dealbreaker for most people. If it is, look at Spotify or Deezer instead. However, you can transfer your music library and your playlists from other music streaming services to your Tidal library via third-party apps. 

Tidal review: Audio quality

Screenshots of the Tidal music app

See the little yellow labels under the tracks? That's how you'll know which format you're listening in. (Image credit: Tidal)
  • Tidal HiFi offers 1411kbps or 16-bit/44.1kHz sound quality with FLAC
  • Tidal HiFi Plus offers up to 9,216kbps or 24-bit/192kHz with HiRes FLAC
  • You'll need good audio tech to make the most of Tidal HiFi Plus

You’ll get a great audio experience with Tidal. But there are a couple of things to note about differences between the quality of the two price plans and some of the audio technologies and terminology Tidal has changed since it first launched. 

So the first thing to note is with Tidal HiFi you’ll get streaming at 1411kbps or 16-bit/44.1kHz sound quality with FLAC. FLAC is an audio format that offers a better way to stream music compared to most other streaming services, which use MP3 or other formats that remove aspects of the original recording to compress the file. This, as you might expect, means they don’t have the same high-res sound performance. Therefore, Tidal HiFi actually offers a similar listening experience to Apple Music and Amazon Music Unlimited. 

Tidal HiFi Plus pushes things up a notch and offers music at a higher quality and fidelity streaming with a bitrate of up to 9,216kbps or 24-bit/192kHz with HiRes FLAC. 

When you have Tidal HiFi Plus, you have three sound quality options to choose from, which you can manually select. Max is up to 9,216kbps or 24-bit/192kHz, which Tidal says is HiRes Free Lossless Audio Codec (HiRes FLAC). This is best if you’re on 5G or WiFi. High is up to 1411kbps or 16-bit/441.kHz, which Tidal calls “studio quality” in a FLAC format. And finally, Low 320kbps, which Tidal recommends if you have a weak signal. Low actually matches the bitrate on offer from Spotify. With Tidal HiFi, you’ll only get access to High and Low.

I spent a lot of time trialling both Tidal HiFi and Tidal HiFi Plus. With the right audio equipment (more on that soon), I could definitely tell a difference between the two options. In summary, Max was just so much better. With Max, tracks sounded clearer, more detailed and more expansive. This means if you really care about audiophile-grade sound, you’re going to love Tidal and you’d be better off choosing Tidal HiFi Plus.

A promo shot of Tidal on an Android device.

(Image credit: Tidal)

However, the quality of the sound you hear will depend on a couple of factors. The first is the format and quality of the track you’re playing. In 2023, Tidal made some changes to its service. Before then, it was really its Masters tracks. These had an MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) format. This claims to be a superior format, but not everyone is a fan and not all audio devices support MQA decoding. This could be why Tidal has since moved its focus away from MQA, and no longer seems to refer to tracks as Masters. It now instead calls these higher quality tracks Max tracks or just HiRes tracks.

Tidal says it now offers the best quality version of these tracks, which might be FLAC, or it might be MQA. These tracks are now labelled as HiRes in the Tidal app. Go to Explore and scroll down to HiRes to see them. What seems to be happening here is Tidal is migrating tracks to lossless hi-res audio in the open-source FLAC format. So now you’ll play a HiRes track and it might be MQA or not. Take a look at the image above and you’ll see that Water by Tyla has a small MQA label. Whereas Back on 74 by Jungle has a 24-bit, 44.1Hz FLAC label.

It’s also worth mentioning FLAC will never sound quite as good through an average mobile device's headphone jack as it does from a device with more competent audio hardware. That means you might want to upgrade your headphones or sound system to really make the most of Tidal HiFi Plus if you don’t have compatible tech already. If you don’t want to do that, definitely consider saving your money and settling for Tidal HiFi, or even opting for a cheaper streaming option instead, like Spotify.

With Tidal HiFi Plus, you’ll also get Dolby Atmos Music and Sony 360 Reality Audio. These are spatial sound formats that place sounds around, creating a more immersive experience. However, this isn’t new or unique to Tidal. Apple Music actually offers a similar experience and during testing I couldn’t tell that much of a difference between them in terms of how immersive they are – then again I’m not a huge fan of spatial sound and don’t think it always adds to the experience. That could be a personal preference, but it’s worth considering if you’re agonizing over whether to pick HiFi or HiFi Plus.

Should I subscribe to Tidal?

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