Gadget news
Keap review
2:02 pm | November 23, 2021

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

Keap delivers an integrated sales and marketing CRM suite including contact management, email marketing, and payment capabilities. Your business needs one of the best CRM software solutions to manage its pipeline, so read our Keap review to find out if this is the right one for you.

Keap review: Snapshot

Keap is not your typical CRM software. Its combined set of features blurs the line between sales and marketing, with native payments, appointment booking, and email marketing functionality built on top of a core contact and pipeline management system.

Though its steep price and contact storage limits may deter some small businesses, Keap helps you convert leads through advanced marketing campaigns and save time through workflow automation and payment integration.

Its straightforward interface and generous support options make it highly accessible even for the most novice CRM users. With Keap, you can get started straight away and reap benefits from email campaigns and automated triggers without a huge learning curve.

Score: 4/5

Read on for our full review.

Keap competitors

Keap: Key features

You can add your contacts to Keap manually, through a CSV file, by scanning business cards with the mobile app, or by capturing leads from webforms. You can use Keap tags, such as “Nurture subscriber,” to segment contact lists, or create your own. On the Pro and Max plans, you can create unlimited sales and project pipelines by using existing Keap templates or designing your own.

With a UI similar to Mailchimp’s, Keap offers advanced email campaign building, sending, and tracking functionality. You can create unlimited templates on all plans and send bulk emails at no additional cost and with no contact limits. Customer engagement is recorded, including open and click rates, and is synced across contact lists. 

Native appointment management functionality saves you from setting up meetings in another program: you can create recurring appointments, accept bookings via shareable links, and automate meeting reminders directly from Keap. If you’re in the US or Canada, you can also make and track calls.

Keap throws payment functionality into the mix, which isn’t usually native to CRM products such as Zoho CRM or HubSpot CRM. On Lite plans and above, you can track your invoices, send one-click quotes to clients, and receive one-time payments directly to your bank account. On Pro and Max, you can additionally set recurring payments and create checkout forms for your e-commerce website.

Finally, automation is an enticing Keap feature: triggers can be set based on contact tags, email engagement, and pipeline stages, among others, so you can reduce your team’s manual work. For example, you can automate a welcome email when a new lead is captured on a webform. 

The sales reporting function, available on Pro and Max plans, includes not just internal company data, such as closed deals and email engagement, but also comparative industry data. The main shortcoming is that you can’t build your own reports from scratch, which is a common feature among competitors including Zoho CRM, Hubspot CRM, and Insightly.

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Keap review

Keap’s home screen summarizes sales figures, campaign stats, and upcoming team tasks (Image credit: Keap)
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Keap review

It’s easy to add, manage, and prioritize contacts on Keap’s CRM (Image credit: Keap)
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Keap review

Setting trigger-based workflow automation is available on all Keap plans (Image credit: Keap)
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Keap review

You can integrate with your email client and manage appointments without leaving Keap (Image credit: Keap)
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Keap review

Sales reporting and analytics are available on Keap’s Pro and Max plans (Image credit: Keap)

Keap: What’s new?

Keap has integrated the formerly known Infusionsoft software into its Max plan, aimed at established businesses. Max includes advanced features such as lead scoring, one-click cross-selling, customizable analytics, and real-time updates and automations from Shopify sales. 

E-commerce integrations have been upgraded on Pro as well, with online check-out forms being customizable and synced across your CRM data. The Lite and Pro plans have additionally seen improvements in mobile marketing: for instance, you can broadcast and automate text messages to your contacts if based in the US and Canada.

Keap: Pricing

Keap charges for its three plans on a monthly basis. Although it has no annual billing option, it does drop 30% off the initial five months, with regular prices billed thereafter. Keap monthly pricing increases with the number of contacts stored, and each additional user is billed at a flat $30 each. Starting with $56 a month for 500 contacts on the Lite plan, Keap plans can go as high as $350 a month for 25,000 contacts on the Max plan.

Users can also work with a professional Keap coach to develop a personalized sales and marketing playbook for a one-off fee of $499.

*limited functionality

Testing Keap

Below, we test how well Keap’s main features perform and how quickly you can start to use it with a small to midsize team. Our tests help conclude whether you can expect to increase your team’s productivity and pipeline effectiveness.

How easy to use is Keap?

Keap’s UI is impressively intuitive. Though chatbot tips and in-app tutorials are provided on first use, an inexperienced user could easily get by without them. With a larger-than-average font size, plenty of white space, and observable action buttons, doing the CRM basics - managing contacts, visualizing pipelines, and appointing tasks - is seamless.

When starting off, you’re prompted to add your first contacts, either manually or by importing from a spreadsheet or alternative contact lists such as Google, Mailchimp, or Quickbooks. This would be a quick process necessitating only a few clicks, if not for a spam-deterrent question asking if the contacts are expecting emails from your business. If the answer is no, Keap won’t allow you to email them. 

Some automations can be set without leaving the Contacts tab, such as adding contacts to a list when an email has been opened. Conveniently, real-time information about ongoing conversations, appointments, and tasks is available in the contact’s profile summary. 

Overall, Keap’s interface is easy to get used to, but there are some less intuitive features, such as placing the Save button at the top of forms and not at the bottom.

Screenshot from Automations tab in Keap

You can choose Keap’s ready-made workflow automations or create your own (Image credit: Keap)

Get up and running with Keap

On sign-up, a quick but mandatory questionnaire registers your top CRM priorities using straightforward statements such as “I want to quickly follow up with new leads.” It also integrates with email and calendar services such as Google or Microsoft. This saves time doing vital integrations later on and tailors your in-app recommendations.

The home dashboard provides a big-picture view of your sales figures, upcoming meetings, and email campaign stats, with a short two-click journey to create a new contact, email, task, or appointment. 

Setting up a pipeline takes only a few minutes: you can either choose Keap’s template or customize your own. A drag-and-drop Kanban board makes it easy to move deals throughout sales stages, and pipeline analytics are just one click away, allowing you to identify bottlenecks across pipelines and appraise individual rep performance.

Screenshot of customizing a sales pipeline in Keap

You can choose Keap’s ready-made workflow automations or create your own (Image credit: Keap)

How advanced are Keap’s email campaigns?

Keap’s bulk emails are sent from the Broadcasts tab and its email builder felt intuitive and glitch-free in our testing. Pop-ups offer useful suggestions - including adding name fields in subject lines - while industry-specific templates get you started with email structures and designs.

The template editor works by dragging and dropping content blocks, including text, image, video, and social media buttons. It is easy to make quick changes directly in the email design, such as undoing, deleting, or adding an element. Switching from desktop to mobile preview is just a click away at any point. This is an important feature as a large proportion of emails are opened on mobile devices.

Before sending to specified recipient lists, Keap asks for details such as your business address, to comply with marketing regulations. While this is a welcome feature, the pop-up could appear prior to editing for a more frictionless experience. In our test, the email broadcast reached the recipient within a minute or so, after choosing “immediate” sending.

Screenshot of Keap’s email template editor

Email templates are easily customized with drag-and-drop elements (Image credit: Keap)

Alternatives to Keap

Like Keap, competitors Zoho CRM and HubSpot CRM are suitable for small to midsize businesses that require an integrated sales and marketing suite. A shared feature for all three products is the ability to send and track bulk emails, although Zoho CRM lacks advanced features provided by the other two, including newsletter templates, drag-and-drop functionality, and A/B testing.

Keap outperforms Zoho CRM and HubSpot CRM in user-friendly design: contact lists, appointments, and pipelines look less cluttered, and automations are created with fewer clicks. Keap also features payment and quote management, which is rare across competitor products. That said, reporting and pipeline management, which Zoho CRM and HubSpot CRM offer on their free plans, are not available on the Keap starter plan.

For more information, read our Zoho CRM review and HubSpot CRM review.

Keap: Final verdict

Keap’s above-average price tag is justified through a seamlessly integrated sales and marketing engine. Its price includes unlimited emails and templates, which can be sent to all contacts in your database. Real-time payment integrations with ecommerce platforms such as Shopify are augmented by automatic quote-to-invoice conversions as leads become clients. 

One of Keap’s biggest selling points is how easy it is to set up and use. With clear user journeys, pop-up tips, and an action-oriented interface, you can add contacts and appointments, and send email campaigns in no time. Though you can do advanced tracking and A/B testing for email campaigns, sales reporting and analytics are reserved for Pro and Max plans. But even then, it’s not as customizable as reporting offered by competitors like HubSpot CRM or Zoho CRM. 

Keap’s workflow automation effectiveness can’t be understated. Available across all plans, it can replace manual tasks with triggers from sales stages, contact details, email engagement, payments, and more. 

While clearly on the pricey side, Keap has a compelling set of tools for small teams who are ready to ride their next wave of growth.

Further reading

For more background information, read our feature on what CRM software is. Our best CRM software buying guide includes more alternatives to Keap, and you can also check out our best free CRM software and best CRM for small business top picks.

Sony WF-1000XM4 Wireless Earbuds review
11:51 pm | November 22, 2021

Author: admin | Category: Audio Computers Earbuds & Airpods Gadgets Headphones | Comments: Off

Editor's note: January 2024

• Original review date: June 2021
• Newer Sony WH-1000XM5 now out
• Launch price: $279 / £250 / AU$449.95
• Official price now: $199 / £199 / $359

Even three years after their launch, we still rate the Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds highly among the best wireless earbuds, because price cuts over the years (and the fact that their successor, the Sony WH-1000XM5 actually came with a price rise) means they still offer fantastic value. The particular balance of noise cancellation, sound quality and features is unbeatable at the discounted price you can often find them for during sales events – we've seen them at $160 / £180 / AU$260 during Black Friday. You can't do better at that price – though obviously, these days, if you pay more you'll get a better overall package. The rest of this review remains as previously published.

Sony WH-1000XM4: Two-minute review

The Sony WF-1000XM4 are smaller, lighter and greener than previous wireless earbuds in the line – oh, and the Sony WF-1000XM4 also sound even more articulate and immediate than the model they replace.

It’s true to say there’s no one area (with the possible exception of control-app excellence) in which they truly lead the field; but if you want to beat them for their combination of sound quality, noise-cancelling and battery life you’ll have to buy three pairs of noise-cancelling earbuds.

In every respect, the Sony WF-1000XM4 are either ‘very good’ or ‘very good indeed’ –and taken as a complete package they’re very difficult to lay a glove on.

Compared to their predecessors, the Sony WF-1000XM3, the new wireless earbuds offer enough quality-of-life features to make them worth upgrading to, even if they are slightly more expensive. 

A more compact design means the Sony WF-1000XM4 are more comfortable and easier to carry around, while the accompanying app makes it simple to adjust the controls and your EQ settings, rivalling the best headphones

Meanwhile, features taken from the over-ear Sony WH-1000XM4, including Speak-To-Chat, DSEE Extreme audio upscaling, and adaptive noise cancellation, mean you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more comprehensively-specced pair of wireless earbuds, even when seeking out the best wireless headphones

While other true wireless earbuds surpass the Sony WF-1000XM4 in particular areas – noise cancellation, for example – no other model comes close to offering such excellent quality across the board. That’s why the Sony WF-1000XM4 are hands-down the best true wireless earbuds you can buy today.

Read on for our full Sony WF-1000XM4 review.

sony wf-1000xm4 review

The Sony WF-1000XM4 are the best true wireless earbuds you can buy today. (Image credit: TechRadar)

Sony WH-1000XM4 review: Price & release date

  • Available now, released June 8, 2021
  • $279.99 / £250 / AU$449.95

The Sony WF-1000XM4 are on sale now, priced at $279.99 / £250 / AU$449.95, and when you consider that the outgoing WF-1000XM3 started life at a nominal $230 / £220 / AU$399 back in 2019, with the last few pairs currently available for around $170 / £150 / AU$200, that price seems fair enough.

In terms of the competition, the WF-1000XM4 compares pretty favorably with alternative designs from the likes of Bose, Grado and Sennheiser, and looks a bit of a bargain next to Bowers & Wilkins’ outstanding (and dizzily priced) PI7.

sony wf-1000xm4 case

The charging case is 40% smaller than the Sony WF-1000XM3.  (Image credit: TechRadar)

Sony WH-1000XM4 review: Design & controls

  • Smaller than predecessors
  • Outstanding control app
  • Touch controls

The outgoing WF-1000XM3 gave us plenty of reasons to recommend them, but ‘discretion’ was not high on that list. The earbuds were big, and so was their charging case, and Sony has wisely chosen to try and reduce some of this bulk in this new model. 

Key specs

Acoustic design: Closed

Weight: 7.3g

Frequency response: 20-40,000Hz

Drivers: 6mm

Battery life : 8 hours (earbuds) 16 hours (charging case)

The charging case is a full 40% smaller, while the earbuds themselves are 10% smaller. The fact that they’re still among the heftier examples of this type only serves to illustrate how big the WF-1000XM3 were – but at least the new charging case might conceivably slip into a trouser pocket, while the earbuds don’t protrude from the wearer’s head like a prop in a sci-fi movie.

(Sony has taken a big chunk out of the packaging, too. The box the WF-1000XM4 arrive in is 40% smaller than the WF-1000XM3 box, and it’s entirely paper-based, recyclable and eco-friendly.)

sony wf-1000xm4

The earbuds come with some of the features first shown on the Sony WH-1000XM4 over-ear headphones. (Image credit: TechRadar)

The WF-1000XM4 incorporate some of the features first showcased on last year’s WH-1000XM4 over-ears: active noise-cancellation that can ascertain what you’re doing and where you’re doing it in order to adapt to your circumstances; fast pairing for Android and Windows devices; and ‘speak to chat’, which simply requires you to make a noise in order to pause your music so that you can have a brief chat without removing the earbuds. Noise cancelling is augmented by new polyurethane eartips (small, medium and large are all provided) designed to provide improved passive noise reduction.

Your one-stop-shop for controlling the WF-1000XM4 is Sony’s fully featured, fully stable Headphones app. Here’s where you can fiddle with all the features (both great and small) that are partially duplicated on the capacitive touch surface of each earbud. In the app you can decide what you’d like the left and right earbuds to control: ‘volume up/down’, ‘play/pause/skip forwards/skip backwards/summon voice assistant’, ‘active noise-cancelling on/off/adaptive’, or the rather less helpful ‘nothing assigned’. 

There’s also EQ adjustment (the numerous presets include one racily titled ‘Excited’), with space for a custom preset or two, and the option to turn auto-pause and DSEE Extreme on or off. Here’s where you can submit pictures of your ears, too, in an effort to help Sony optimize those music streaming apps that offer 360 Reality Audio or Dolby Atmos, and where you can decide whether you’d like your Bluetooth connection to prioritize sound quality or connection stability.

sony wf-1000xm4 app

The app allows you to adjust the EQ settings of the earbuds. (Image credit: TechRadar)

Control is also available via the big three voice assistants – Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa – which can be summoned via their established ‘wake’ words. No matter your assistant of choice, the WF-1000XM4 prove sharp-eared and alert to instructions, even in unpromisingly noisy environments.

There are three mics in each earbud, taking care of active noise-cancelling, call quality, and interaction with voice assistants. A combination of feed-forward and feed-back mics capture the wearer’s voice directionally (from the mouth), though the feed-forward mics will automatically mute when adverse conditions (wind noise, most likely) are detected. Sony has also included a bone conduction sensor, which picks up voice vibration, but doesn’t register it as ambient sound.

sony wf-1000xm4

There are three mics in each earbud, taking care of active noise-cancelling, call quality, and interaction with voice assistants. (Image credit: TechRadar)

Sony WH-1000XM4 review: Audio performance and noise cancellation

  • Balanced, driving, poised and convincing sound
  • Pretty good noise cancellation
  • Great dynamic and rhythmic ability

Positioning the WF-1000XM4 comfortably takes a little longer than it really should – we found them a little fiddly to insert, and felt they should fit more deeply in the ear than is the case – but once it’s done you can set up the touch controls, the EQ levels and the myriad other options to your liking. All done? Good. Time to stick some music on.

We kicked off our testing with a Tidal Masters file of Burner by Ross From Friends, and the WF-1000XM4 immediately impressed. They don’t give any area of the frequency range undue prominence, they don’t let any details go unnoticed, and they don’t let rhythms or tempos hang around. There’s vigor and enthusiasm to their presentation, but it’s tempered by unarguable control.

Down at the bottom end, the earbuds freight bass sounds with substance, texture, and an absolute stack of detail. There’s drive and momentum to spare here, but the WF-1000XM4 never lose the run of themselves – there’s an equal amount of poise to go along with it. Entry into and exit from bass notes is clean and well-defined, which helps prevent the bottom end smearing up into the midrange.

sony wf-1000xm4 review

The Sony WF-1000XM4 have drive and momentum to spare. (Image credit: TechRadar)

The midrange itself is equally information-rich – listening to Kate Bush’s Lake Tahoe, the ability of the WF-1000XM4 to identify and incorporate the tiniest details or the most fleeting transients into a much broader picture was obvious. ‘Communicative’ may seem a redundant word when discussing a person’s singing voice, but here it’s absolutely appropriate: if they’re anything, the WF-1000XM4 are communicative.

The handover from midrange to top end is smooth and naturalistic, and treble sounds themselves have plenty of shine and bite without ever getting shouty about it. Both Kate Bush and Ross From Friends are more than happy to pile on the high-frequency information, but the WF-1000XM4 control it as deftly as they do the rest of the frequency range.

(All of the above assumes an unchanged EQ setting, we should point out. Sony is slightly unusual in allowing the end-user to fiddle endlessly with the sound of their earbuds, but the most natural and convincing sound comes from the WF-1000XM4 when their EQ is flat.)

sony wf-1000xm4

The handover from midrange to top end is smooth and naturalistic. (Image credit: TechRadar)

Dynamically, too, there's little to criticize. The WF-1000XM4 are capable of switching from ‘ear-splitting’ to ‘almost silent’ and back again in an instant, and even the most subtle harmonic dynamics of Bush’s piano-playing are given full description too. As far as rhythmic certainty and expression goes, their combination of control and attack ensures that, like James Brown, they’re always on the good foot. All of this is helped no end by convincingly natural timing and unity of presentation.

The active noise cancelling is a success of the slightly more qualified kind. The problem for every other pair of ANC true wireless earbuds is that the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds have demonstrated that it’s possible to utterly reject external sounds, without leaving any counter-signal and without impacting on the quality of the music you’re listening to. 

The WF-1000XM4 can’t quite pull off the same trick – but they certainly minimize the impact of ambient noise on your listening experience. They may not be the market leader where noise-cancellation is concerned but, for most of the people most of the time, they’re extremely capable.  

sony wf-1000xm4 charging case

The noise cancellation is very good, but it's just beaten by the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds. (Image credit: TechRadar)

Sony WH-1000XM4 review: Battery life and connectivity

  • Eight hours onboard battery life
  • Wireless charging
  • Bluetooth 5.2

Even within the new and reduced physical dimensions of the WF-1000XM4 there’s much more going on than there was before. Connectivity is now via Bluetooth 5.2, which means simultaneous transmission to the left and right earbuds, and (when using Sony’s bespoke LDAC codec) Hi-Res Audio Wireless certification. 

Bluetooth 5.2 should, in theory, mean better battery life, too – but the best-case real-world scenario of 24 hours (between eight and 12 in the earbuds, depending on whether active noise cancellation is on or off, plus another couple of charges in the case) is really nothing special. Still, at least the WF-1000XM4 are Qi charging pad-compatible, and five minutes plugged into an outlet will deliver another hour of action. 

As well as LDAC, the WF-1000XM4 are compatible with SBC and AAC codecs – but there’s no sign of aptX in any of its guises. They also incorporate DSEE Extreme capability, in case you’re a believer in an algorithm supposedly capable of extracting high-resolution sound from a standard-definition digital audio file (we've never been entirely convinced).

Should I buy the Sony WH-1000XM4?

sony wf-1000xm4

The Sony WF-1000XM4 are ideal if you're looking for a pair of excellent all-rounders. (Image credit: TechRadar)

Buy them if...

Don't buy them if...

Sony WH-1000XM4 review: Also consider

Not convinced by our Sony WF-1000XM4 review? Here are three more pairs of true wireless earbuds to consider.

First reviewed: June 2021

Sonos Arc review
11:45 pm |

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

The Sonos Arc is the company's biggest and beefiest soundbar even now, a few years on from its release. While we’re not sure if the device gets its name from the HDMI interface it uses, the curved sound it pitches or the fact that it is perhaps, metaphorically, a vessel delivering impressive surround sound to the modern minimalist home – but whichever the case, this bar is built to deliver big sound without taking over the room. 

The Sonos Arc can deliver the best quality Dolby lossless audio found on cutting edge Blu-ray disks, and can provide the 3D soundscape of Dolby Atmos object tracks from discs and streaming movies. This means that it can bounce certain sounds off the walls around you so they feel like they’re coming at you from all angles. Interestingly, this is what the Sonos Era 100 & 300 are rumored to do – the upcoming Sonos speakers that could blow the competition out of the water. 

the sonos arc soundbar on a tv stand

(Image credit: Future)

While all this might sound complicated, the Sonos Arc setup couldn’t be simpler, involving just a couple of steps on the smartphone app. The minimalist cable connections and all-in-one system construction add to this no-fuss feeling and streamlined aesthetic. If you’ve got a media room with four walls and a roof then this is absolutely one of the best soundbars around. 

There are some caveats for those with expansive TV rooms – or smaller rooms that might be able to get away with using the smaller and more affordable Sonos Beam (Gen 2) instead. It's also important to note that it only has one HDMI port – it doesn't have a 'passthrough' port, like most soundbars do these days, so you lose the use of the port it's connected to.

But all up, the Arc is a pretty amazing bit of kit that can mimic impressive 3D sound from a sleek and self-contained unit, making it the best Dolby Atmos soundbar around if you want one without a separate subwoofer or speakers. Though being Sonos, you could add those later, of course…

a closeup of the Sonos Arc soundbar

The Sonos Arc soundbar was subject to a price increase. (Image credit: Future)

Sonos Arc: price and availability

  • Released in June 2020
  • Official price: $899 / £899 / AU$1,499

The Sonos Arc soundbar launched globally on June 10, 2020 and cost $799 / £799 / AU$1,399 as a standalone unit. However, after Sonos announced a nearly product-wide price hike, it now costs $899 / £899 / AU$1,499.

While this Atmos-enabled speaker is perfectly capable on its own, you can also add the Sonos Sub (Gen 3) for $749 / £749 / AU$1099 for huge bass upgrage, or a Sonos Sub Mini ($429 / £429 / AU$699) for a smaller bass boost. You can also add a pair of Sonos One SL units for rear left and right surround sound, which will set you back $199 / £179 / AU$289 each. These speakers have also increased in price since their launch.

The Arc has been designed to sit on the tabletop beneath your TV, but you can also mount it below a screen using the Sonos Arc compatible wall mount ($79 / £79 / AU$99).

A lot has happened in soundbar world since the Sonos Arc's release, and it's price looks a little on the high side if you just want big home theater sound. You can get something like the Samsung HW-Q930B, with sub and rear speakers included, for around the same price as the Sonos Arc alone. However, not everyone wants all those boxes, even when they're wireless, and when it comes to all-in-one soundbars, the Arc is good value compared to competition such as the Sony HT-A7000.

a closeup of the Sonos Arc soundbar

The soundbar is the same width as a 55-inch TV. (Image credit: Future)

Sonos Arc: design and features

  • Width of a 55-inch TV 
  • Simple setup
  • Taller than most soundbars

There was a time where you wouldn’t consider anything other than a multi speaker array for the best quality surround sound, but Dolby Atmos is leading the charge to deliver 3D audio effects from a more streamlined system – and the Sonos Arc is a great example of this.

The self contained single unit has only two essential inputs: a power cable and a HDMI in, and while an Ethernet socket and a Digital Optical to HDMI adapter are available out of the box, it’s only recommended you use them if you absolutely have to. Sonos doesn’t even include a remote, suggesting you instead connect the soundbar to your TV via the Audio Return Channel (ARC) and just use your TV remote (or control it through the new Sonos S2 smartphone app). 

Key specs

Speakers: 5.0.2, 11 Class-D amplifiers, 8 woofers, 3 tweeters  Dimensions: 45 x 3.4 x 4.5 inches (1141.7 x 87 x 115.7mm), 13.78 lbs (6.25 kg )
Finish: Matte Black or White
Connections: HDMI input (ARC), optical digital audio to HDMI converter, Bluetooth, Ethernet port, 802.11b,g Wi-Fi, Apple AirPlay 2, IR receiver
App: Android (no Trueplay), iOS
Subwoofer included: No 

Even the color choices are simple with the Arc, being available in just back or white. And while you can of course pair the Sonos Arc soundbar with the Sonos Sub or a pair of One SL speakers for deeper bass and true surround sound, it’s been created to be an excellent audio solution on its own, which cuts down on overall clutter.

Since the Arc is intended to bounce audio off the roof and walls of your room to create a 3D soundscape, it’s wrapped on the top, front, and either end by metal, hole-punch speaker grilles that cover the various orientations of the Atmos driver array.

a closeup of the Sonos arc soundbar

The Arc is intended to bounce audio off the roof and walls of your room. (Image credit: Future)

The soundbar sits a little higher than most at 3.4-inches (8.7cm), and this can be a problem with TVs that sit very low on their stands. But the built in IR repeater means it won’t block your remote connection, and this extra headroom gives a little more space to the upward firing Atmos drivers. At 45-inches (114.17cm) wide it’ll line up roughly with the edges of the average 55-inch TV, and its scale makes it suitable for anything up to 85 inches.

There is a simple status LED light that self-adjusts brightness according to ambient light and the subtle capacitive play/pause, volume and mute buttons help it blend into the background. 

There’s two rear reinforced holes to wall mount the 13.78 lb (6.25 kg) unit for a forward facing mounting setup, but naturally the bass response is a little more concentrated when it can reflect off a tabletop surface. 

While there is a Digital Optical converter included with the Arc, Atmos can only be carried over HDMI so by connecting it you’ll be sacrificing top quality sound. Dolby Atmos still isn't ubiquitous in terms of availability so making sure you have all the right bits can be a bit of a process. To see if your other current components are Atmos-ready check out our Dolby Atmos explainer

a closeup of the Sonos Arc

The setup process is designed to be as simple as possible, all done through the Sonos S2 smartphone app. (Image credit: Future)

Much like everything else with the Arc, the setup process is designed to be as simple as possible, all done through the new Sonos S2 smartphone app. After the initial plug in, you’re asked to download the app from the App store or Google Play Store (if you don’t already have it). 

Then, you'll need to follow a couple of prompts to connect the TV to Wi-Fi, any audio streaming or internet radio services you may already be signed up to, and your choice of Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. Other than this there’s not much else to the setup, it’s a relatively painless process (especially if you already have a Sonos account). 

There is one last task you’ll want to perform before firing up your favorite movies, however: Trueplay Tuning. Trueplay is Sonos’ tool that analyzes the shape of a room in order to best balance the sound output. It can detect how the sound reflects, and tweak its audio to make everything sound as good as possible.

It makes a marked difference to detail overall, and to the clarity and precision of Dolby Atmos positional effects.

the sonos arc on a tv stand

Trueplay is Sonos’ proprietary adaptive soundscape tool which analyzes the shape of a room in order to best balance the sound output for everyone in it. (Image credit: Future)

There is one pretty considerable hitch, however: Trueplay is only compatible with iOS devices. This is a big inconvenience for non-Apple users and Sonos says that the diversity in Android hardware means it isn’t planning on developing it anytime soon. 

Fortunately, you can borrow an iOS device to run the calibration in the soundbar’s final location and it’ll remain true as long as you keep things in vaguely the same place. It’s an inconvenience, but on balance it’s probably simpler than having to store a dedicated tuning microphone somewhere memorable after setup. 

the side speakers on the sonos arc soundbar

The Sonos Arc contains eight elliptical woofers combine to deliver a solid overall bass response. (Image credit: Future)

Sonos Arc: audio performance

  • Excellent for both music and movies
  • Great surround sound for a single bar
  • Best with the right-shaped room

The Sonos Arc’s audio capabilities are seriously great. Eight elliptical woofers combine to deliver a solid overall bass response and the tuning balances a nice amount of warmth through the mids with an impressive level of clarity. 

This precision is matched by the three silk dome tweeters that deliver particularly crisp highs with an impressive level of control. We were particularly taken by the unit's ability to deliver soundscapes that distinguished sound from individual instruments during particular arrangements without feeling disjointed. 

This type of spatial precision makes sense when you consider that the Sonos Arc was designed to make the most of Dolby Atmos, an audio codec which separates sounds into object based audio tracks, so particular sources can be quickly shifted between speakers and bounced around the room more easily. So unsurprisingly, the Arc is very capable once you’ve tuned it to the room and it’s able to bounce effects around you. 

a closeup of the sonos arc soundbar

The Sonos Arc offers an impressive level of clarity. (Image credit: Future)

It’s worth pointing out that because the system uses your room to actually get the sound around you there’s going to be some variation in the Arc’s ability to deliver surround sound. 

We tested it in a room with a 20 foot (6 meter) vaulted ceiling and a nib wall behind the sofa, which makes it essentially impossible to bounce audio around behind you. 

So while we were able to experience excellent height and left/right soundscape movement, we definitely didn’t get the same surround sound experience as a multi-speaker array. 

That said, the speaker’s audio positioning was good enough that in a boxier media room we’d expect you’d be able to get surprisingly close to multi-speaker surround sound using just the Arc soundbar.

We really didn’t feel any desperate need to add a Sub to the Arc soundbar, there was more than enough powerful bass to allow you to feel those on-screen explosions or beat drops when turned up loud. We even felt the night mode settings that lower the bass EQ would be a useful feature for those in apartments with thin walls.

However, we have tested the Sonos Sub Mini with all three Sonos soundbars, and it does add extra power to the mix, no question – it's just not essential.

Should I buy the Sonos Arc?

Sonos Arc

(Image credit: Future)

Buy the Arc if ...

Don't buy it if...

Also consider

Not convinced by our Sonos Arc review? We've picked three other soundbars you may want to consider below:

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition (2021) review
10:30 pm | November 19, 2021

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

Editor's Note

• Original review date: November 2021
No refresh on the horizon
• Launch price: $189 / £179 / AU$289
• Official price now: $189 / £179
/ AU$299

Updated: January 2024. The Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition still fills the gab between the standard Paperwhite and the ageing Kindle Oasis. And it remains one of the ereaders to get if your an audiobook fan thanks to its 32GB of onboard storage as standard. If you can do without the extra space then you can save a bit by going for the standard Kindle Paperwhite. Overall the prices have remains broadly the same as they were at launch outside of sales events like Black Friday, only the price appears to have increased a bit in Australia.  For 2024, the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition is still an ereader worth considering, but do think about whether you really need its few extra features over cheaper Kindle models. The rest of this review remains as previously published.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition 2021: Two-minute review

Among Amazon’s current ereaders, the new Kindle Paperwhite (2021) is a middle-of-the-road model that has everything you need to read – but the Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition has just a little bit more. 

The Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition is essentially a rebranded version of the previous Paperwhite’s higher-storage configuration, with those aforementioned extras (wireless charging and an auto-sensing screen dimmer). We don’t feel the bonus perks justify the Signature Edition’s significantly higher price, but if someone did want to pay for more features, this is the model to choose.

The Signature Edition has the same design as the standard Kindle Paperwhite 2021, which is the first upgrade on the ereader since 2018. Both versions have some obvious improvements from the 2018 ereader, like smaller bezels around the screen and a bigger 6.8-inch display (up from six inches on their predecessor).  

While the 2021 ereader doesn’t have a drastically different visual design than its predecessor, keeping the E Ink front display and plastic back, Amazon claims the screen is 10% brighter at maximum brightness than the 2018 model, though it keeps the same 300 pixels per inch density.

Kindle fans will cheer the addition of some long overdue Paperwhite upgrades including the swap out of the micro-USB for a USB-C charging port. The battery life has also increased to 10 weeks, per Amazon’s claims, which is significantly longer than the six weeks we got with the 2018 Paperwhite.

The Kindle Paperwhite 2021 still starts at 8GB of storage, which is enough space for plenty of books and some additional media. If you want the larger 32GB option, go with the Signature Edition.

The Signature Edition is an improvement for an ereader slightly more affordable than the luxe Kindle Oasis, especially with the wireless charging – a feature even the pricier model lacks.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition 2021 review: Price and release date

Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition

(Image credit: Future)

The Kindle Paperwhite 2021 remains Amazon’s mid-entry ereader, between the basic Kindle and the Kindle Oasis, and the Signature Edition is a pricier version that costs $189 (around £139 / AU$250). For that price, you get a higher internal storage (32GB) and some premium features like wireless charging and auto-adjusting brightness.

Given the extra features, it makes sense that the new Signature Edition got a price bump from the 32GB version of the 2018 Kindle Paperwhite, which retailed for $159 / £149 / AU$249. It still costs more than the standard Kindle Paperwhite 2021 with 8GB of storage, which has a price tag of $139 (around £100 / AU$190), but if you want more space for books and a bigger display for reading them, the Signature Edition is right for you.

Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition

(Image credit: Future)

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition 2021 review: Design and display

The new Kindle Paperwhite 2021 hasn’t changed much from its predecessor in terms of looks, as it’s still an E Ink front screen and plastic black. It’s still a flat slate with no buttons, so you’ll have to swipe and tap to navigate around the display. This is fine for those with the patience to withstand the slow transitions when turning a page, but it can be annoying for faster readers trying to get through a real page-turner.

If you want buttons, you’ll want to opt for the Kindle Oasis, a more expensive model than the Signature Edition. But you should know that the Oasis hasn’t been updated since 2019, so the new Signature Edition has upgrades that its more expensive sibling lacks (the aforementioned wireless charging and an auto-dimmer).

New in the 2021 Paperwhites is a USB-C port at the bottom, which replaced the aging micro USB. Next to the port is the power button, which really only gets in the way if you’re standing the ereader up (say, for some product photos), so you’re unlikely to accidentally bump it and power off your device.

Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition

(Image credit: Future)

As previously mentioned, the new Kindle Paperwhite 2021 has a 6.8-inch E Ink display, which is noticeably larger than the 6-inch screen on the 2018 Paperwhite. But don’t expect the 2021 display to be any sharper since it still has the same 300 pixels per inch density.

Still, text is displayed clearly on the ereader. The Paperwhite’s  front light allows users to read in the dark without harsh blue light. The ereader also features an adjustable warm light and a white-on-black dark mode to ease eye strain for those reading in dim surroundings.

The Paperwhite has an IPX8 waterproof rating (but no dust resistance), which means it can be submerged up to two meters for an hour – enough to save it from accidental spills or dips into the pool, but don’t leave it in water for too long. 

Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition

(Image credit: Future)

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition 2021 review: Reading

Like most ereaders, the Kindle Paperwhite 2021 has a non-glossy E Ink display that looks like paper. This means reading on a Kindle is easier on the eyes than reading books or viewing media on the LCD or OLED displays on tablets. The Paperwhite is also easy to hold, and pretty light at 205g (the Signature Edition is only slightly heavier at 208g). These Paperwhites are only a bit heavier than most smartphones.

The Paperwhite 2021 has Amazon’s Kindle operating system and interface, with simplified swipe navigation and an animation when turning pages. Unlike other ereaders that have buttons for getting around, you’ll only be able to swipe when navigating the Paperwhite. 

Being restricted to swiping can be annoying if you’re used to different ereader interfaces. Even the smartphone Kindle app has different touch controls: tap on the center of the screen and you’ll bring up menu and navigation bars when reading on a phone. With the Signature Edition, you’ll need to tap the top of the display.

Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition

(Image credit: Future)

The Paperwhite also features Amazon’s assortment of reading tools: you can look up word definitions, sync pages between Kindle devices and apps via the Whispersync feature, and keep track of characters and terms with X-Ray. Note that these features are only available for ereader formats, though there are limited format, sizing, and font choices for other file formats like PDFs.

The Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition packs 32GB of storage, but with the OS and other core data taking up space, you’ll have about 27GB for storing media. Still, books usually only take up around 1MB apiece, so you can conceivably store tens of thousands of works without any issues. We downloaded our entire Kindle library and didn’t even use up a single gigabyte (full disclosure,  we don’t have a lot of large-file formats like audiobooks or graphic novels).

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition 2021 review: Battery life

Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition

(Image credit: Future)

Amazon claims that the Kindle Paperwhite lasts up to 10 weeks on a full charge. Whether that holds true for you will depend on various factors. In our experience, we were able to drain 4% in a 24-hour period by keeping the display at maximum brightness while we casually read. Under those conditions, the battery wouldn’t last longer than about 3.5 weeks without a charge. The battery range can also fluctuate depending on other factors, including the length of reading sessions.

Suffice it to say that it’s tough to fully verify Amazon’s claims, but using energy-saving methods like keeping brightness down and keeping the Power Saver mode switched on (on by default) will definitely help the battery to last longer.

The ereader includes a USB-C cable in the box, but not a wall charger – you’ll have to supply that yourself. The maximum charge speed of 9W isn’t that fast compared to other devices, but it might not be necessary to have a faster one since you can fully charge the device in about 2.5 hours, according to Amazon estimates.

Exclusive to the Signature Edition is wireless charging, which is compatible with any Qi charger, but it can be finicky to get working. We were able to charge our device on a pad sometimes, but at other times we couldn’t get it in the right position to allow the wireless charger to do it’s thing.

Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition

(Image credit: Future)

Should you buy the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition?

Buy it if…

You want a sleeker ereader with less bezel

The Paperwhite 2021 design is a step up from the 2018 model, with thinner bezels and a larger 6.8-inch display. The new model looks a bit sharper, too.

You want more storage space on your ereader

While you could surely store a ton of books in the 8GB standard Kindle Paperwhite 2021, the Signature Edition’s 32GB storage ensures enough space for plenty of audiobooks and graphic novels, too.

You want more premium ereader perks at a (relatively) lower price

The Signature Edition has several perks like USB-C, wireless charging, and an auto-adjusting display that not even the more expensive Kindle Oasis has, making this a more enticing option (if you don’t need button navigation).

Don’t buy it if…

You want to read comics (or anything in color) on your ereader

E-Ink screens like on the Signature Edition are monochrome, which is great for battery life but not for media that deserves to be seen in color, like comic books. If you like colorful graphic novels and vivid comic books, opt for a traditional tablet like the Amazon Fire HD 8 or even a cheap iPad.

You want a more premium-feeling ereader

The Signature Edition has smaller bezels, but still the same plastic case and back. If you want a more premium ereader, pick up the pricier Kindle Oasis (which has a more refined metal frame). 

You want an ereader that’s easier to hold in one hand

The Signature Edition has a symmetric design that looks nice, but can be tough to use one-handed. If you like reading on the go or while you cook, opt for the Kindle Oasis or the Kobo Libra H20, both of which have asymmetric layouts conducive to holding with one hand.

First reviewed: November 2021

SpeedLine point of sale (POS) system review
9:07 pm |

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Pro Software & Services | Comments: Off

The SpeedLine POS system has been created specifically to meet the needs of pizza delivery businesses of all shapes and sizes. It’s a dedicated pizza POS system that can work for smaller independent outlets, but can be scaled up for use within larger franchise operations if needed. 

📖 Read next: Competitors and alternatives

Revel iPad POS on business desktop

(Image credit: Revel)

Looking for another POS system alternative for your food business? Checkout this NCR Aloha POS review to see how it can meet your business' needs. Revel POS is another smart choice for pizza restaurants.  Alternatively, read our Best POS systems for food trucks guide to see other options for your Quick Service Restaurant. Or, learn if we've already reviewed the right POS system for your dine-in restaurant in our Best POS systems for restaurants buying guide

Investing in a dedicated POS system for pizza shop requirements is something of an essential requirement if you’re looking to boost your food retail business and also adapt to the changing needs of customers in the post COVID-19 environment.

Indeed, the best POS system for pizza shop needs has to be dynamic and able to adapt to both the ever-changing business landscape, as well as being able to meet the evolving eating habits of customers.

Both of these challenges mean you will want to be armed with a POS system for pizza restaurant needs that can adapt accordingly. SpeedLine POS system ticks all of the right boxes, especially if you’re looking for a universal point of sale solution that can be adapted as your business grows.

SpeedLine POS system

Pizza delivery outlets can tailor a SpeedLine POS system to suit their exact needs (Image Credit: SpeedLine) (Image credit: SpeedLine)

SpeedLine POS: Pricing

Despite the fact that the SpeedLine POS system is designed specifically with pizza outlets in mind, it doesn't have an off-the-shelf pricing system. Naturally this is largely down to the fact that businesses vary in size, have varying numbers of staff who will use the point of sale system and different customer needs to boot.

If you’re interested in exploring the capabilities of this pizza POS system then it’s a good idea to sign up for a demo in the first instance. This will let you see the SpeedLine POS software in action, how the SpeedLine POS hardware could work in your own business environment and also check that it will integrate with any other systems your outlet may be running.

The major benefit of the SpeedLine POS system is that it’s an all-in-one solution, which means that you’ll be able to get software, hardware and the whole thing installed via one source. Of course, what you actually get depends on your business needs as well as the complexity of your menu and ordering options, along with how many terminals will be required.

You could therefore find that a custom quote from the SpeedLine POS sales team might seem higher than some other providers, but the initial cost is tempered by the fact that there are no on-going subscription fees. So, while there may be a seemingly sizeable outlay early on, there is the opportunity to claw back this value over a longer period of time.

SpeedLine POS: Perks

As part of your POS search, it's useful to keep in mind the perks you get from partnering with a pizza delivery-specific POS such as SpeedLine and its dedicated tools including: 

✔ SpeedLine LiveMaps visual dispatch

✔ SpeedDine online ordering

✔ SpeedLine Pay

✔ SpeedLine Inventory

✔ SpeedLine Menu Designer Topping Matrix

In addition SpeedLine POS empowers your team to easily keep on top of common pizza business tasks, such as the following:

  • Monitor delivery statistics all day
  • Cut costs with accurate forecasts and schedule planning
  • Ensure accurate street addresses
  • Flag side orders to avoid missed items on deliveries
  • Improve rate of on-time deliveries
  • Make more with consistent delivery zones and fees

SpeedLine POS: Features

SpeedLine POS system

The SpeedLine POS has a superb map tracking system in place (Image Credit: SpeedLine) (Image credit: SpeedLine)

The pizza delivery business, and indeed the whole food delivery landscape have changed dramatically since COVID-19 arrived. As a result, it's now more important than ever to ensure you have the right POS system for your pizza delivery requirements.

The SpeedLine POS system has therefore been carefully adapted to better handle pizza deliveries in the wake of the pandemic. SpeedLine has tweaked its POS system to meet customer requests for a wider range of alternative delivery and pick-up options. Much of this development work has resulted in the SpeedLine POS system requiring much less physical contact with the end customer.

At the same time, however, the system is now much more efficient. A combination of neat SpeedLine POS integrations, the beefed up SpeedLine POS hardware and software, plus a much-improved SpeedLine POS app, has produced a much more rounded end user-experience.

SpeedLine POS

SpeedLine packages offer the ability to get help with updating menus (Image Credit: SpeedLine) (Image credit: SpeedLine)

SpeedLine POS is now able to better support customer needs having also introduced SpeedLine Pay, which allows restaurants and takeout businesses to offer the ability to pay at the table, curbside and also on delivery. 

Crucially for pizza delivery businesses the new SpeedLine Pay system also tackles common security and payment issues, with the ability to handle fraudulent and card-not-present transactional issues more effectively.

SpeedLine Pay works by pairing with an EMV card reader using either a Windows-based tablet or an iOS device. This automatically offers more freedom for the customer, allowing them to pay at their table, in a vehicle or on pickup using tap to pay simplicity. As a result, SpeedLine POS offers more credit card security for both business and customer, while also reducing transaction fee overheads for the former.

SpeedLine POS: Interface and in use

SpeedLine POS monitor and display screen

The SpeedLine POS interface is user-friendly yet incredibly powerful (Image Credit: SpeedLine) (Image credit: SpeedLine)

The SpeedLine POS, including the SpeedLine POS software and SpeedLine POS hardware respectively, will be installed locally. While it’s not a cloud-based arrangement and interface is slightly dated in design, using it everyday is still very quick and easy. You get off to a head start because the SpeedLine staff can set up and implement the point of sale system for you. 

Once that’s in place the SpeedLine POS system enjoys much praise for its powerful but easy to use software design. Most obviously, the point of sale interface offers control over online ordering and menu management, but it’s also a great tool for managing inventory, allowing outlets to forecast demand, along with offering a huge array of customizable options.

For example, the online ordering and delivery journey includes everything needed for staff to process requests in a fast and efficient manner. There are detailed delivery reports, automated customer messaging about the status of orders, a practical visual dispatch feature that boosts delivery efficiency and, of course, simple everyday tools including the option that allows customers to pay at the door using their credit card.

Crucially, SpeedLine POS possesses a formidable suite of delivery dispatch and driver management tools. The great thing about using this map-based system is that it allows staff to coordinate deliveries and their respective drivers much more effectively using the simple but slick on-screen interface. 

This is complimented by the SpeedLine POS on-screen menu system, which whilst it is certainly busy, offers unrivalled management of pizza-making ingredients plus all of those ancillaries, such as soda, sides and so on.

SpeedLine POS: Support

A very big part of the appeal with the SpeedLine POS system is its beefy levels of support. Although this point of sale system might not be the cheapest to initially implement, SpeedLine POS enjoys frequent praise from its customers and a lot of that is based around the levels of support on offer.

The support journey starts early on, and after working with the sales team to ensure you’ve got the right package there follows a series of steps from support staff to get things up and running. SpeedLine POS integration will need the help of some experts, and this comes as part of the package.

For product support there’s the opportunity to speak to an in-house and fully qualified technician, toll-free and this is offered 365 days a year. The SpeedLine support options are flexible too, with a standard SpeedLine Support subscription offering unlimited support along with system upgrades, which is seen as a ‘best value’ option by many.

Meanwhile, if you have multiple stores, it may be advantageous to use your own IT staff to offer second level support after receiving full training from SpeedLine, which comes with certification too.

There’s SpeedLine Live Assist too, which can connect with your POS stations remotely to tackle any technical issues or help with staff training. Crucially, alongside using secure access for any technical hands-on help, all installation work and training is covered by specialists who are QIR certified. This means that they have been trained by the PCI Security Standards Council to meet its specific guidelines.

SpeedLine POS delivery map tracking software

The dynamic map system in SpeedLine POS allows tracking of both drivers and their deliveries (Image Credit: SpeedLine) (Image credit: SpeedLine)

Let’s also not forget the SpeedLine POS customer support website, which is an online hub that comes packed with greats resources. There are training tutorials and videos, documentation, critical update advisories, constantly updated guides showcasing new features and functions plus the option to order more hardware and software if your business is expanding.

Rounding things out is the Premiere Support Services option from SpeedLine POS. This can be really useful if you need to make frequent menu changes, or add upgrades to systems. The service offers one hour of menu changes per month, for each of your stores that are in operation. It’s a feature that’s worth thinking about if you’re looking for someone to help take the strain.

SpeedLine POS: Security

SpeedLine POS can be used to process payments via major payment gateways such as Worldpay and Monetra and that’s good news for security. Any transactions processed use end-to-end encryption, plus there’s the added benefit of flexibility. 

Speedline POS is a secure POS system that's EMV and PCI compliant

SpeedLine POS has the added advantage of great support, installation and training (Image Credit: SpeedLine) (Image credit: SpeedLine)

With customers wanting more ways to pay you can use secure processing no matter if they’re making an in-person payment, an online order, want to use a mobile wallet or prefer to pay by credit card when their food gets delivered.

With security being of such a concern for both businesses and customers alike it’s also reassuring to know that the SpeedLine POS system is fully PCI and EMV compliant. This provides additional reassurance to those ordering food through your outlet while your business gets the benefit of secure and fully-encrypted payment processing.

The competition

Aloha POS Systems: Aloha POS Essentials and Silver Hardware

(Image credit: Aloha POS Systems)

If you’re looking for the best POS system for pizza shop requirements, either to upgrade or for a new food delivery venture then SpeedLine POS is certainly one to consider. However, there are alternatives out there, alongside the best POS systems aimed at a wider market.

The main difference to consider about SpeedLine POS is that it’s not a cloud-based system. This might be perfect for some needs, but if you’re running a pizza delivery operation that requires a cloud POS it’s also worth considering the likes of Revel POS, NCR's Aloha POS, the Upserve POS and Toast's point of sale system.

Similarly, TouchBistro is worthy of a look too, although this is tailored more to restaurants rather than catering businesses dealing with customer deliveries in mind. 

Much the same can be said for Lightspeed POS, which has more of the same beefy features and functionality that makes it suitable for use in the catering industry and, in particular, the restaurant sector.

Final verdict: Is Speedline the right bite for your business?

Business team in suits eat pizza together

(Image credit: Getty Images)

SpeedLine POS is very clearly a niche point of sale product, but the seemingly small slice of the market it serves is huge. Pizza delivery has and continues to be a big business opportunity thanks to low cost fresh ingredients and high mark-up, so having the right point of sale system in place is crucial. We like the way that SpeedLine POS has a raft of features and functions that can boost efficiency and make the customer experience a better one.

We’ve been really impressed with the level of positivity shown towards SpeedLine POS support staff too. The help with integration and ongoing support once the SpeedLine POS is in place is hugely impressive. 

Day-to-day features such as being able to dynamically modify menus, often with SpeedLine POS support assistance and the ability to collate reams of customer data with ease, also makes it appealing.

While there is a reasonable cost involved with the implementation of a point of sale system like this one, any pizza delivery business looking for a non-cloud based setup that’s easy to use will doubtless warm to SpeedLine POS. It’s certainly got plenty going for it.

Apple MacBook Air (M1, 2020) review
1:08 am |

Author: admin | Category: Computers Computing Gadgets Laptops Macbooks | Tags: , | Comments: Off

Two-minute review

The MacBook Air (M1, 2020) is now several years old, but it still remains one of the best laptops you can buy today. Why? Well, it's almost all thanks to the Apple M1 processor it launched with. This was Apple's first highly-acclaimed, impressively powerful ARM-based chip, under its hood, giving it just the right boost it’s long deserved, after years of being powered by Intel chips.

The M1 chip inside this MacBook Air proved that Apple could make its own chips that didn't just match what the likes of Intel and AMD were putting out - but it could surpass them as well. The performance of the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) was incredibly impressive when it launched, and it still remains an excellent performer today.

Sure, Apple has now released a successor, the MacBook Air (M2, 2022), which comes with hardware improvements and a brilliant new design, and it's also since launched new M3 MacBooks (though no MacBook Air... yet), but as the years have gone on, the M1 MacBook Air has dropped in price, making an already great value laptop (which launched at $999 / £999 / AU$1,599) even better value.

It also continues to run applications well, and supports macOS Sonoma, the latest version of Apple's operating system. Its long battery life, which is again down to the M1 chip, which is impressively efficient, remains ahead of many more modern (and expensive) Windows 11 laptops as well.

That's why Apple, with a break from tradition, has continued to sell the MacBook Air (M1, 2020), even after the release of its M2-powered successor.

Price-wise, Apple nailed it at launch, undercutting a lot of Windows-powered ultrabooks. Of course, this certainly isn't a cheap laptop, but nor does it feel overpriced, especially compared to its similarly specced rivals - something that Apple has been accused of in the past. However, nearly four years after it was released, the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) has enjoyed several price cuts (especially when the M2 version later launched), so if you can get it in a sale, this is even better value for money, and is one of the reasons we also recommend it as one of the best laptops for students as well.

Apple has also been accused of caring more about aesthetics of its products than the actual features and functions, but with the MacBook Air (M1, 2020), we actually think the opposite is true. This is because while the MacBook Air has some huge changes on the inside - most noticeably the M1 chip - on the outside, nothing has really changed.

So, this model looks (and feels) just like the previous model (and the model before that). For people who love the look of the MacBook Air, this may be good news, but we feel it's a bit of a missed opportunity. The M1-based MacBook Air is such a revolutionary and exciting device, we'd have loved to have seen Apple take a few risks with the design as well, even if it was just by making it lighter, or slimming the bezels down that surround the screen. Funnily enough, this is exactly what Apple did do with the M2 MacBook Air, which came with an overhauled design - but also a higher price tag.

When it comes to performance of the M1 MacBook Air, however, we have no qualms. The M1 has proved to be a complete beast that puts Intel to shame in many respects. During our time with the MacBook Air (M1, 2020), we were incredibly impressed with how it performed.

macOS runs well, and the visual overhaul of the operating system offers a nice change, while still feeling familiar. The fact that both new and legacy apps run well on the M1 chip is very commendable, and so far there don't seem to be any issues with running apps built for Intel Macs using Rosetta 2, the tool used by Apple to allow older Mac apps to run on the M1. Also, the fact that you can now run thousands of iOS apps and games pretty much flawlessly is a huge win as well.

Battery life also seems to be fantastic, and the fanless design is nice, as it means the laptop runs silently; we do have our concerns about how it manages heat, however.

In the end, we'd have liked Apple to have been a bit more ambitious with the design of the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) – a bold reinvention of the laptop to match the internal hardware and software overhauls would have made this an even more exciting device.

Apple MacBook Air (M1,2020) on a gray surface

(Image credit: Future)

Apple MacBook Air (M1, 2020): Price and availability

  • Starts at $999 / £999 / AU$1,599
  • Cheaper than Windows alternatives
Spec sheet

Here is the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) configuration sent to TechRadar for review:

CPU: Apple M1 (8-core)
Graphics: Integrated 7-core GPU
RAM: 8GB Unified PDDR4X-4266 MHz SDRAM
Screen: 13.3-inch, 2,560 x 1,600 Retina True Tone display (backlit LED, IPS)
Storage: 256GB PCIe SSD
Ports: 2x Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C), 3.5mm headphone jack
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5
Camera: 720p FaceTime HD webcam
Weight: 2.8 pounds (1.29kg)
Size: 11.97 x 8.36 x 0.63 inches (30.41 x 21.24 x 1.61cm; W x D x H)

Prices for the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) start at $999 / £999 / AU$1,599. As usual, there are a number of specifications available at launch, and you can further customize these to get the MacBook Air (2020) that best suits your needs and budget.

The base model features an M1 chip with an 8-core CPU and 7-core GPU, 8GB of RAM and 256GB SSD.

There's also a higher-specced model, priced at $1,249 / £1,249 / AU$1,949, which has an M1 chip with an 8-core CPU and 8-core GPU, 8GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. So, for that extra money you're getting an additional core in the GPU, and double the storage.

You can also configure these models to have 16GB of RAM (for $200 / £200 / AU$300 extra), and up to 2TB of SSD storage (for $800 / £800 / AU$1,200).

For comparison, the MacBook Air (2020) launched earlier in 2020 also started at $999 / £999 / AU$1,599, which was actually cheaper than the launch price of the MacBook Air (2019).

So you're getting the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) for the same price as the earlier model, which we commend Apple for. If you bought a MacBook Air a few months ago, however, you may feel a little annoyed that it’s already outdated.

That $999 / £999 / AU$1,599 entry point isn’t just the cheapest way of getting an Apple laptop; it’s an incredibly competitive price point that undercuts many of the best 13-inch laptops running Windows 10, such as the Dell XPS 13. If you thought Apple’s laptops were overpriced compared to the competition, think again.

Apple MacBook Air (M1,2020) on a gray surface

(Image credit: Future)

Apple MacBook Air (M1, 2020): Design

  • Thin and light design
  • Completely silent when in use

We've mentioned how, thanks to its competitive price, the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) is helping challenge people’s preconceptions about MacBooks – but the MacBook Air, along with the MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020) and Mac mini (M1, 2020), also offer strong rebuttals to the criticism, often leveled at the Apple, that its products are more style than substance.

People often dismiss Apple as making products that look good, but that don’t do anything particularly revolutionary when it comes to the actual hardware. With the  MacBook Air (M1, 2020), however, it's the complete opposite. 

With this laptop, Apple has actually done some really exciting things on the inside – switching to its own M1 chip, and building macOS Big Sur from the ground up to take advantage of it – while leaving the actual design of the device completely unchanged. This is both good news and bad news.

Apple MacBook Air (M1,2020) on a gray surface

(Image credit: Future)

First, the good news. For many people, the iconic design of the MacBook Air is pretty much perfect, so they don't see the need for any radical change. At the same time, by simply offering minor spec bumps every year, the MacBook Air was in danger of being outclassed by more ambitious rivals. So, by concentrating on revolutionizing the hardware of the MacBook Air, and not tinkering with the design, Apple is doing something many of its critics have argued it should do: focus on the unglamorous, yet essential, stuff.

But what about the bad news? Well, because the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) promises to be such a big revolution, the fact that it looks – and feels – exactly the same as previous MacBook Airs is a little disappointing, to put it mildly.

The MacBook Air (M1, 2020)’s dimensions of 0.16–0.63 x 11.97 x 8.36 inches (0.41–1.61 x 30.41 x  21.24cm) and weight of 2.8 pounds (1.29kg) are exactly the same as those of both the MacBook Air (2020) and the 2019 model, and virtually the same as those of the 2018 Air, which is a bit lighter.

On the outside, then, this MacBook Air looks identical to the three previous models – and it means that the excitement that comes with pulling the MacBook Air from its packaging is somewhat dulled, particular if you've owned one of those earlier machines.

There had been rumors that the move to Apple’s own silicon would result in lighter devices, but this isn't the case. One big design change that has been enabled by the M1 chip, though, is that the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) is now fanless. This means the internals keep cool enough under workloads without the need for fans to kick in and cool them down. There’s a catch to this (which we’ll get to in a bit), but it means the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) runs virtually silently, and it’s very impressive.

The lack of fans could have allowed Apple to make the MacBook Air thinner and lighter, so it’s interesting that it remains the same size and weight as its predecessors.

Apple MacBook Air (M1,2020) on a gray surface

(Image credit: Future)

On opening up the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) you’re again presented with a sight that's familiar, and in a good way. The best addition to the previous MacBook Air’s design, the Magic Keyboard, is again included here. It really is a lovely keyboard to work on, feeling tactile and responsive despite how flat the keys are. 

A Touch ID button is again situated above the keyboard, and it remains the best fingerprint scanner we’ve used on a laptop. Too many of the fingerprint scanners on Windows laptops struggle to log us in reliably, but the Touch ID button here logged us in successfully pretty much every time, even when we’d not completely covered the scanner with a finger.

The screen is also virtually the same as the one on the MacBook Air (2020), except for one big difference. So, it’s still 13.3 inches with a 400-nit LED backlit display, and a Retina display of 2560 x 1600 resolution, and comes with Apple's True Tone technology, which automatically adjusts the color temperature on the screen based on the ambient light.

Apple MacBook Air (M1,2020) on a gray surface

(Image credit: Future)

What’s new here is that the MacBook Air (M1, 2020)’s screen now supports the P3 wide color gamut, which results in more accurate, true-to-life images. P3 support used to be only found in the more expensive MacBook Pros, so it’s great to see Apple bring this feature to its more affordable MacBook Air lineup. If you’re a photographer or video editor who requires accurate colors, you no longer have to automatically go for a MacBook Pro.

The screen is also surrounded by those big thick bezels that have been a staple of the MacBook Air’s design for ages now, and which leave this laptop feeling a little dated. Devices such as the Dell XPS 13 and the Huawei MateBook X (2020) offer incredibly thin bezels around the display, and not only does it make these devices look more modern, it means the makers can actually reduce the overall size of the laptop further while offering the same-size screen.

Yep, you read that right: we think Huawei has the edge over Apple when it comes to thin and light laptop design. Strange times indeed.

The webcam above the screen is also unchanged from last time, with the same 720p FaceTime webcam. The 720p resolution feels distinctly outdated when most competitors offer 1080p, and with more people spending more time working from home these days, we’d have liked Apple to have given the webcam a boost.

However, the company claims that thanks to the M1 chip, the image signal processor has been overhauled, giving the webcam supposedly better noise reduction and dynamic range, along with auto white balance. We’ve only used the webcam for a limited time so far, and it seemed fine, if not mind-blowing.

Port-wise you get the same two Thunderbolt 3 ports and an audio jack as on recent MacBook Airs. The Thunderbolt 3 ports support charging, and can be used to power external monitors, and transfer data up to 40Gb/s. We’re glad to see that Apple’s move to its own M1 chip, rather than Intel, hasn't meant the loss of the Thunderbolt ports (Thunderbolt is an interface developed by Intel).

Apple MacBook Air (M1,2020) on a gray surface

(Image credit: Future)

Apple MacBook Air (M1, 2020): Performance

  • Excellent performance
  • Can now run iOS apps as well

As soon as we began using the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) we were impressed. It boots up quickly (an additional benefit of the M1 chip), Big Sur feels fast and responsive, and the look for the operating system really impresses. The interface has a more modern look, with bright, vibrant colors that really show off the MacBook Air's screen. It's also less cluttered, so you're not overwhelmed by icons and options, while the Control Center has been redesigned based on the version in iOS. It looks neater, and it's easier to use. 


Here’s how the Apple MacBook Air (M1,2020) performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

Cinebench R23 CPU: Single-Core: 1,493; Multi-core: 6,586
Geekbench 5 Single-Core: 1,729; Multi-Core: 7,583
Battery Life (TechRadar movie test): 11 hours and 15 minutes

All applications that you usually run in macOS on Intel-based MacBooks should work fine with the MacBook Air (M1, 2020), thanks to some software wizardry using Apple's Rosetta 2 tool, which allows apps to run on the new architecture.

We tried a mix of both new apps built for the M1 chip, as well as legacy apps built for Intel Macs, and running via Rosetta, and there was no noticeable difference in terms of performance. The fact that you can seamlessly run older apps on the MacBook Air really is commendable – the M1 chip is based on ARM architecture, and one of the biggest drawbacks of Windows 10 on devices running on ARM-based chips is that you're limited to running only ARM-compatible apps from the Windows Store. There's a rather sparse selection of these, and this severely limits the usability of these devices. Microsoft needs to come up with its own Rosetta, pronto.

Not only can you run pretty much any existing Mac app on the MacBook Air (M1, 2020), but thanks to the M1 chip using similar architecture to iPhones, you can now run any iOS app or game as well. This brings a huge amount of new tools to the MacBook, and is genuinely exciting. iOS apps and games are more feature-rich and graphically impressive than ever before, and having access to these could be a game-changer. We played a few iOS games, and they ran perfectly on the MacBook Air – suddenly, the MacBook has become a decent gaming machine.

We were able to have quite a few apps running all at once, swapping between them with ease, and the Apple MacBook Air (M1,2020) kept up brilliantly. Throughout our tests it felt fast and capable. Moving a large 14GB file from an external SSD took less than a minute, for example. This really does feel like a fast and spritely machine.

Apple claims the MacBook Air is three times faster than other laptops in its class, and faster than 98% of PC laptops sold in the past year. It also says the neural engine is nine times faster than the one in the previous MacBook Air, and its SSD is up to twice as fast thanks to the M1 and the latest flash technology.

One thing to note is that the fanless design of the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) could mean that performance is throttled when it's performing demanding tasks over long periods of time. Because there are no fans to stop it overheating, the only thing it can do is reduce the performance of the components – known as throttling – to control temperatures.

In fact, that’s why pros may want to go for the MacBook Pro 13-inch. It has the same M1 chip as the MacBook Air, but it has fans, which means it can be used for intensive tasks over longer periods of time, without, Apple claims, throttling.

However, in our tests we didn't notice any major incidents of throttling, and as you can see from the benchmark tests, the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) came impressively close to the performance of the more expensive 13-inch MacBook Pro (M1, 2020).

In both Geekbench 5 and Cinebench, the single-core performance of the MacBook Air was pretty much on par with the MacBook Pro, and multi-core scores weren't that much different either.

This is great news for the MacBook Air - and slightly less good news for the 13-inch MacBook Pro (M1, 2020). Because the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) is such a good laptop, it almost makes the MacBook Pro feel unnecessary. Performance seemed pretty similar in our day-to-day use, and we even played around with 8K video editing in Final Cut Pro, and while Apple seems keen to stress that the Air is capable of 4K video editing - it actually did a great job at 8K as well, allowing us to scrub through multiple 8K sources with ease. Very impressive.

So, with that boost in performance, along with the P3 color gamut support, the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) is a brilliant choice for video editors who want a more affordable laptop than the MacBook Pro. It makes the MacBook Pro 13-inch a slightly harder to justify purchase, though it does have a few key features that the Air misses, such as the TouchBar and better cooling. Having both MacBooks churning through high intensity tasks for long periods of time should show a bigger performance gap in the Pro's favor. But for most people, the MacBook Air (M1, 2020), will offer plenty of power and performance.

Apple MacBook Air (M1, 2020): Battery life

  • Very impressive battery life
  • Lasts around four hours longer than previous model

As for battery life, we knew that the 'Apple silicon' would be more power-efficient, so it's no surprise to find that the MacBook Air has the longest battery life of any MacBook Air yet – up to 15 hours of wireless web browsing, or up to 18 hours of video, according to Apple.

We’ve been very impressed with the MacBook Air’s battery life – even after a few hours of work (and web browsing), the battery only dropped a few percentage points, and even if you leave it on standby for a day and come back to it, the battery level remains high.

In our official battery test, where we run a looped 1080p video at 50% brightness until the battery dies, the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) lasted a very impressive 11 hours and 15 minutes.

That's a lot longer than the previous model lasted in the same tests (7 hours 55 minutes), and it just beats the latest Dell XPS 13 as well (11 hours 1 minute).

This means you should be easily able to go a full work day (and more) without needing to charge the MacBook Air - though obviously the battery will deplete quicker if you're doing more intensive tasks with it.

It doesn't quite reach the huge 13 hours and 22 minutes the 13-inch MacBook Pro (M1, 2020) managed, but we can’t imagine anyone having any complaints with the MacBook Air (M1, 2020)’s battery life.

Should I buy the Apple MacBook Air (M1, 2020)?

Apple MacBook Air M1 being used by a photographer

(Image credit: Apple)

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Also consider...

If our Apple MacBook Air (M1, 2020) review has you considering other options, here are three more laptops to consider...  

Amazon Kindle Oasis review
2:53 pm | November 17, 2021

Author: admin | Category: Computers eReaders Gadgets Tablets | Tags: , , , | Comments: Off

Editor's Note

• Original review date: August 2019
No refresh on the horizon
• Launch price: $249 / £229 / AU$399
• Now with limited availability 

Updated: January 2024. One of the most expensive Kindle devices around, the Amazon Kindle Oasis remains one of the best premium ereaders around. It's a little long in the tooth now, having been released way back in 2019. But with no refresh on the horizon, likely due the the Kindle Paperwhite offering a great ereader experience, the Oasis is still relevant in 2024. It's availability appears to be limited however, so you may have to go hunting to find it in some regions. Nevertheless, the Kindle Oasis is still worth your consideration, though for most people the Paperwhite may be the better bet. The rest of this review remains as previously published.

Amazon Kindle Oasis: One-minute review

The Kindle Oasis devices are Amazon's top-of-the-line ereaders, and the most recent one is this 2019 model. If you want a luxury reading experience (and don’t want those large, expensive, lumps of dead tree known as a ‘book’), the Amazon Kindle Oasis (2019) is where you should look. 

In Amazon's hierarchy, the base Amazon Kindle sits as the most affordable device, with its basic screen, limited storage space and few features, and the Kindle Paperwhite bumps up the screen resolution and storage space and adding a few tricks like waterproofing. This Oasis is technically the top Kindle, though the Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition has lots of its features and is two years newer.

The Oasis has a range of features you won’t find in lesser ereaders, like its high-quality display and the range of customization options for screen color and brightness. The fact that you’re plugged into the Amazon Store doesn’t hurt either.

But how much value do you put on this experience? Are you willing to splash out on such an expensive device when you’re going to have to buy the books on top? We think for many people the Kindle Oasis is going to be prohibitively expensive.

Amazon Kindle Oasis review: Price and availability

(Image credit: Amazon)

Given the status of the Amazon Kindle Oasis (2019) as Amazon’s most premium ereader, you should be prepared to wince at its $249.99 / £229.99 / AU$399 / AED 999 price tag. That’s for 8GB onboard memory; if you want 32GB storage the price goes up to $279.99 / £259.99 / AU$449 / AED 1,099.

There’s also a version with 32GB memory and free 4G for downloading books on the go in limited markets, which will set you back $349.99 / £319.99 / AU$559.

In comparison, the base Kindle costs $89.99 / £69.99 / AU$139 / AED359 for 4GB storage, and the Kindle Paperwhite will set you back $129.99 / £119.99 / AU$199 / AED649 for 8GB memory, so even the cheapest Oasis is still a big step up from the Paperwhite.

Amazon Kindle Oasis review: Design

The Amazon Kindle Oasis (2019) doesn’t follow the mini-tablet design of most ereaders – one half of the device is noticeable thicker than the other, which gives you a ridge down the back so that it’s easier to hold (in theory).

In practice, we found the ridge wasn’t quite thick enough to offer a comfortable hold – at 8.4mm thick, it’s only 5mm thicker than the 3.4mm of the main body, which doesn’t provide a deep enough ridge to really get your fingers into. We found the Kindle Oasis a little hard to hold when only using this ridge, so we wouldn’t recommend it depending on what position you like to sit in to read.

The Kindle Oasis (2019)’s other dimensions are 159 x 141mm, so it wouldn’t be big compared to a tablet, but its display is bigger than those of the other Kindles – more on the display later.

(Image credit: TechRadar)

One of the more ‘premium’ features of the device is the metal build, which you won’t find in other Kindles. This makes it feel more hardy, which offsets the fact the 3.4mm part of the device, and its relatively lightweight of 188g, can make it feel a little delicate – the overall effect is a device the looks and feels sleek.

The device is also water resistant, with its IPX8 rating meaning that in theory it can survive being immersed in two metres of water for a whole hour. We can’t imagine that you’d want to take it underwater for that long, but it’ll certainly be fine if you accidentally drop it in the bath while reading, or get it splashed here and there.

Something a little less premium is the micro USB charging port, as most tablets and smartphones have done away with it in favor of USB-C, which is faster for charging. You’re not going to be using that much power with an ereader, so it’s not a huge issue, but we could do without the inconvenience of swapping out the charging cables we use for the rest of our devices.

There’s no 3.5mm headphone jack either, nor loudspeakers, so if you want to listen to audiobooks you’re going to need to use Bluetooth headphones or speakers. 

(Image credit: TechRadar)

There are two buttons on the right of the Kindle Oasis, used for skipping forward or backwards through pages. It felt a lot more snappy using these to turn pages than touching the screen, due both to the fact they’re in positions that fall naturally under the fingers, and also because pages turned quicker when we pressed the buttons than when we touched the screen.

There were occasions, however, when the buttons didn’t register our touch, and other times they did but the device stuttered before the next page loaded, prompting us to press again then accidentally skip pages. This often happened when reading books that were complicated in terms of their layout and design, like comic books and our own PDFs, and we didn’t notice it as much for text-based books.

It’s worth noting that for the most part, the design is exactly the same as the previous generation of Kindle Oasis, and that ereader costs quite a bit less now.

Amazon Kindle Oasis review: Display

The display is where you’re seeing the main improvements on the Amazon Kindle Oasis (2019), as there are quite a few additions and changes that improve its quality, and the reading experience.

The display is 7 inches diagonally, which is bigger than the 6-inch screens in the Kindle and Kindle Paperwhite, so you can fit more words or comic book frames on the screen at once, and it’s also higher quality, with 300 pixels per inch, so content looks good too. 

This screen is backlit by 25 LEDs, a big jump over the 12 LEDs in the 2017 Kindle Oasis, and you can see the different – max brightness is really high, so you can read in a variety of situations, and there’s better contrast between light and dark, which makes comic books in particular more vivid.

(Image credit: TechRadar)

The brightness can be changed through the easily-accessible settings menu, but there’s also the option to have it automatically change depending on your environment, as on many smartphones.

It’s in the settings menu that you’ll find another of the Kindle Oasis’ big new features, in the form of the ‘warmness’ light setting. This gives the display an orange hue, which makes it more comfortable to look at during night-time reading, and protects your eyes over long reading binges.

The feature is primarily designed to make it more comfortable to read at night, but we also found that when we used it on a low setting we could read more easily in daylight. There’s not a huge range when you change the warmth, but it’s an appreciated upgrade anyway.

The refresh rate of the screen is appropriate – being an ereader display, you’re not seeing as snappy a refresh as on a smartphone screen, but it was far from slow. When zooming into parts of a document we could see the zoom increments, and this made it easier to zoom to the right part of the file.

Amazon Kindle Oasis review: Battery life

Amazon estimates that the battery in the Kindle Oasis (2019) will last you for six weeks, but that’s with a few caveats: to achieve that figure you’ll need to limit your reading to half an hour a day, keep Bluetooth turned off, and the brightness setting on 13, which is roughly half brightness.

While that might sound slightly limiting, in practice, if you’re going to be reading for an hour or so daily, and with the display a little brighter than Amazon recommends, your ereader is still going to take a fair few weeks to run flat, and this is exactly what we found in our testing.

We read for a good two-three hours daily, and it took about a week for the battery to drop down to 50% – that’s roughly the rate of battery consumption quoted by Amazon. In short, the battery life is pretty impressive – this thing will last you for ages.

(Image credit: TechRadar)

This is one of the perks of E Ink, as the tech uses barely any battery power to show content on the screen, and it’s certainly an eco-friendly alternative to reading books on your smartphone.

Charging via the micro USB port isn’t exactly snappy though – we found it took a few hours to charge the Oasis up to full power, but this doesn’t really matter too much if you’re only going to be powering up once in a blue moon.

Amazon Kindle Oasis review: Software

The Amazon Kindle Oasis (2019) runs on software that’s very tightly integrated with the Amazon Store – so much so that it can be easy to get confused between which books you own as part of your library, and which are suggestions from Amazon.

Once you get the hang of the software, though, it’s easy to find your way between the home page, your library, the settings, the store, and everything else you’ll need.

As is the case with ereaders in general, it’s not the snappiest device in the world, and it can often take quite a while to navigate through menus. This sluggishness can be particularly annoying when you’re trying to type, but it’s a price you pay for using a device that’s optimized for reading books rather than for smooth navigation of the user interface.

cheap kindle oasis sale prices deals

(Image credit: Amazon)

As on other Kindles, you there are a few useful features you’ll find in the Oasis that make it a useful reading tool. One of these is the ability to change text fonts for ebooks, so if you absolutely must read your books in a sans serif font, you’re set. You can also change the page spacing, margins, and orientation, to fully customize your reading experience.

Amazon Kindle Oasis review: Features

The Amazon Store is the biggest collection of ebooks around, so you’re almost certainly going to find the fiction or non-fiction book, comic book or audiobook with relative ease.

If you’re a keen reader you may be interested in Amazon Kindle Unlimited, a subscription service available in some parts of the world that lets you ‘rent’ ebooks. It costs $9.99 / £7.99 / AU$13.99 per month, and you can download and store up to 10 books or comics at any one time, so it’s perfect for quick readers. 

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Kindle Unlimited is particularly good for fans of comic books and graphic novels, as those are typically quite quick to get through but the physical versions cost quite a bit; and the Kindle library has many of the classics, so you can use Kindle Unlimited to make your way through lots of titles quickly.

The selection of books on Kindle Unlimited is rather limited, certainly compared to the standard Kindle store, but it’s great for classic novels like War of the Worlds and 10,000 Leagues Under The Sea, as well as comic books, and a smattering of other titles you may not have heard of but might want to try.

Depending on your tastes and reading habits, Amazon Kindle Unlimited may or may not be worth the regular outlay for you, so do have a look at which titles are supported before you commit.

Alternatively, Amazon Prime members can use Prime Reading, which is like Prime Video in that it offers you free reading of certain ebooks as part of your Prime membership.

You can access both of these services from your Kindle or computer browser, as well as the standard library of books which you can buy, and overall we were able to find any book we wanted.

Should I buy the Amazon Kindle Oasis?

The Amazon Kindle Oasis is for people who value their reading experience above all else, and are willing to throw a good chunk of money at a device that will deliver that experience.

Should you buy it?

If you’re in the market for a premium ereader you could do worse than the Amazon Kindle Oasis (2019), but it’s not much of a jump in quality over the previous-gen Amazon Kindle Oasis, which has now had a price reduction thanks to there being an upgrade on the market.

If the upgraded screen quality appeals to you, and you’re willing to stump up the cash for it, buy the new Kindle Oasis – but if you can take or leave those features, the older version will serve you just as well.

First reviewed: August 2019


Kindle Paperwhite

(Image credit: Future)

If the high price tag of the Kindle Oasis puts you off somewhat, then you might want to take a step down in the Kindle range and look at the Paperwhite. It’s a simpler device in terms of build quality and screen customization options, but it has all the features and functions of the Kindle, so you’ll be able to read your books just as easily.

Read our in-depth Kindle Paperwhite review

Kobo Forma

(Image credit: Future)

Kobo is one of the best-known competitors to Amazon, and the Forma is basically its equivalent of the Oasis. Kobo’s ebook store may not quite rival Amazon’s in terms of choice, but it’s a sturdy device with a very long battery life.

Read our in-depth Kobo Forma review

Google Play Books

(Image credit: Future)

You don’t need to pay for an ereader at all if you have a smartphone, as the Google Play Books app, which is available on Android and iOS devices, is free, and gives you access to millions of cheap or affordable books. Of course, your smartphone doesn’t make for as great a reading experience as an ereader, but it’s certainly a more economical solution. 

Ooma Office VoIP service review
6:11 pm | November 15, 2021

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Phone & Communications Pro | Comments: Off

Ooma Office VoIP for businesses was designed for smaller companies with just a few employees, meaning the software is extremely easy to use, which might help in the ranking of the best VoIP services

On the other hand, Ooma Office doesn’t have all of the advanced features you might expect as your business scales up. So, it may not be the best VoIP service if you plan to grow your operations and expand your staff pool.

One thing we're keenly aware of at TechRadar is that every business has very specific – and often quite different – needs, and so making broad-based recommendations for software is very hard. In that spirit, we recommend checking out some of Roma's rivals, like GoTo Connect, 8x8, and Zoom, to make sure you're getting the best. 

In our Ooma Office review, we’ll cover everything you need to know to decide if this VoIP service is right for your business. Let's dive in. 

Ooma Office pricing October 2022

(Image credit: Ooma)

Ooma Office VoIP: Plans and pricing

Ooma Office starts at $19.95 per user per month, and offers a wide variety of VoIP features, including call routing, digital voicemail, and multi-device ringing. However, the basic plan doesn’t include the Ooma Office desktop app, call recording, or voicemail transcription.

For those features, you’ll need the Ooma Office Pro plan, which costs $24.95 per user per month and adds video conferencing via the desktop app and enhanced robocall blocking, as well as Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 integrations. For a lot more features and not a lot more money, we think this mid-tier plan represents the best value for money.

Sitting at the top is Pro Plus, which costs $29.95 per user per month. While it’s refreshing to see a fairly small price gap between Ooma’s cheapest and most expensive plans (compared with other VoIP rivals where you can expect to pay double for the most expensive), it’s not the most feature-filled option out there. 

The highlights of Pro Plus include call queuing, support for hot desking, and salesforce integration.

For those features, you’ll need the Ooma Office Pro plan, which costs $24.95 per user per month. This plan also adds video conferencing via the desktop app and enhanced robocall blocking.

We recommend checking out the Ooma pricing page to see the specific features your organisation might need, and which plan they belong to. 

Ooma Office features October 2022

(Image credit: Ooma)

Ooma Office VoIP: Features

All users get access to the Ooma Office phone service through an Ooma-enabled desktop phone. You can also place and receive calls using your smartphone with the Ooma Office mobile app. The service also supports SMS text messages.

One of the key features within Ooma Office is the ability to create ring groups. These come in handy if you have multiple employees who could answer a specific call. For example, your sales team and your customer service team could each have their own ring group.

When someone calls a number associated with a ring group, all phones in the group can ring simultaneously, so that anyone can answer right away. Alternatively, you can set up the ring group so that one phone rings first, and then the call switches to ringing another phone if no one picks up. This sort of customization on a relatively cheap service for small businesses is pretty noteworthy. 

Ooma Office’s virtual receptionist dovetails nicely with ring groups. With the virtual receptionist, you can play a recorded message for customers when they call your business and present options for different extensions to dial. 

The virtual receptionist enables customers to dial a specific extension if they’re familiar with your company and want to bypass a ring group. Helpfully, you can have different messages play depending on whether a call comes in during or after business hours.

Unfortunately, some features that many small businesses would consider essential are restricted to Pro users. For instance, you cannot place calls from your computer without the desktop app, which is only available with a Pro subscription. 

You also need a Pro subscription to record calls or to read transcripts of your voicemail messages. Maybe more fortunately, as we’ve already touched upon, is the fact that upgrading between the three tiers of subscription only costs an additional $5 each, which is respectably low.

Ooma Office falls severely short of the mark when it comes to reporting and integration. This VoIP service doesn’t have a dedicated administration dashboard, and there is no way to track call volume or duration. In fact, you can’t easily see how many calls have been placed to a specific employee or ring group. For a small business or a startup, this might not be a key priority, but as things start to grow, gathering analytics will prove to be vital.

In previous versions of this review, we complained about the lack of third-party integrations. This time around, Ooma has fixed this issue with the introduction of Office 365 and Google integrations for Pro, and salesforce integration for Pro Plus, but this still leaves Ooma behind some key rivals offering way more in terms of additional tools.

Ooma Office review

(Image credit: Ooma Office)

Ooma Office VoIP: User interface

The thing we liked best about Ooma Office is that it’s incredibly easy to use. You can configure your account settings online, and it only takes a few minutes to add all of your business's users and extensions. Setting up more complex options like ring groups and the virtual receptionist is fast and easy, too.

We found that most settings within Ooma Office could be customized. For example, when setting up ring groups, you can choose how long one phone should ring before the call moves on to the next extension in the group. You can also create an unlimited number of custom recordings for the virtual receptionist. 

Ooma Office Pro users will be very happy with the desktop app, which supports a centralized company directory, and can launch an audio or video conference with coworkers in just a few clicks. There’s also an option to host a company-wide speed dial, although this gets less useful as the number of people in your company grows.

Ooma Office review

(Image credit: Ooma Office)

Ooma Office VoIP: Support

Ooma offers 24/7 support for business users by phone, email, and live chat.

The company also has a very thorough online support center, where you’ll find detailed tutorials for how to set up your phone network, as well as videos walking you through how to use key features like ring groups and the virtual receptionist.

Ooma Office review

(Image credit: Ooma Office)

Ooma Office VoIP: Security

All calls between two devices using Ooma Office are fully encrypted, and the service also encrypts video calls.

Still, we think Ooma Office could do more to keep your account and communications secure. The platform doesn’t offer two-factor authentication, so there’s very little to protect your phone network if your password is stolen. 

In addition, you can password-protect video meetings, but you cannot lock a meeting room so that new users can’t enter without being approved first.

As more and more VoIP companies venture into the video conferencing market, Ooma seems a little left behind in this respect.

Ooma Office VoIP: The competition

At $24.95 per user per month, Ooma Office Pro isn’t particularly cheap or expensive, and because of that, there is a lot of competition. We think there are many more robust VoIP services for small businesses for a similar price.

For example, the Nextiva Essential package for SMB teams of 5-19 is much less at $21.95 per user per month (when paid annually). Of course, it comes with less service features than the Nextiva Professional package which is $25.95 per user per month on an annual basis.

But price isn't everything. Another competitor known for their quality service is, GoTo Connect, which also costs a smidge more at $27 per user per month if you have at least five users.

GoTo Connect offers call recording, video conferencing, an incredibly flexible call routing system, and integrations for enterprise-scale software like Salesforce. In addition, administrators can access detailed reports about the call volume your business is getting and where those calls are coming from.

We also recommend checking out RingCentral, Zoom, 8x8, Aircall, Vonage, and some of our other picks for the best VoIP services


(Image credit: Ooma)

Ooma Office VoIP: Final verdict

Ooma Office is a straightforward VoIP service that can be good for small businesses with just a handful of employees. It offers a virtual receptionist for incoming calls, supports video conferencing, and is very easy to use. 

However, given that Ooma Office isn’t a budget VoIP service, we were disappointed with what it doesn’t offer. The administrative and reporting tools are minimal, and integrations with popular office applications are far from extensive, too.

Overall, we think that competing VoIP services offer more value for growing small businesses than Ooma Office.

Bitdefender Premium VPN review
7:26 pm | November 11, 2021

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

With global connectivity and increased security, the importance of daily Internet access cannot be overstated. There is a growing need to secure one's internet access, which is why so many people are turning to the best VPNs, which protect your identity from online threats and hide your IP address from intruders and hackers. 

It’s here where Bitdefender Premium VPN sits. You may have heard of Bitdefender, one of the world's largest cybersecurity technology companies, and its VPN offering is a product powered by the impressive standalone VPN service Hotspot Shield.

As such, Bitdefender employs Hotspot Shield's Catapult Hydra protocol, which is one of the fastest VPN tunneling protocols available on the market. Available through Bitdefender’s official app, it includes core essentials, with P2P support and a VPN kill switch to protect you if the VPN connection drops. There’s also AES 256-bit key encryption to ensure complete online anonymity. Bitdefender VPN boasts 4,000 servers in 49 countries. 

  • You can try Bitdefender Premium VPN by clicking here

Bitdefender Premium VPN: Pricing & plans 

Bitdefender Premium VPN in action

(Image credit: Bitdefender)

Bitdefender Premium price starts at $6.99 per month. To save up to 40%, consider using the discounted annual subscription for the first year for $29.99, which works out at around $2.50 a month. There's also a 30-day money-back guarantee if the service doesn't work out for you. Payments can be made by MasterCard, PayPal, or bank transfer.

Alternatively, you can try the Bitdefender free VPN. However, this is only accessible if you have an active security package with the provider. On the free plan, daily traffic is capped at 200MB, with no ability to select a location, so it won't be of much use if you’re looking to access geo-restricted content online. Additionally, you can connect up to ten devices, including those running Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. 

Bitdefender Premium VPN: Privacy & encryption 

Bitdefender Premium VPN in action

(Image credit: Bitdefender)

Nearly every common VPN website claims that "No Loging" however there is frequently a privacy policy that either provides very little information about any specifics or indicates that the firm does, in fact, log some of your information. 

Bitdefender Premium VPN does not have complete control over its service logging policies because its software works by connecting to Hotspot Shield servers via the Hotspot Shield network. The company’s basic privacy statement explains what information is collected and how it is used: 

“We collect for this service only randomly generated or hashed user and device IDs, IP addresses, and randomly generated tokens to establish a VPN connection for the sole purpose of providing the VPN service. For this service, we use AnchorFree as a data processor who processes data on behalf of Bitdefender in accordance with Bitdefender's instructions and for the sole purpose of providing VPN services to users."

Bitdefender Premium VPN in action

(Image credit: Bitdefender)

When we checked the Hotspot Shield privacy policy for more information, we were reassured that there is no monitoring of your web traffic or browsing history. However, data such as your browser type, device settings, network information, and more are logged in. While this does not allow the company to see anything of what you're doing online, it is definitely more than you will find with the majority of the competition.

With support for the Advanced Encryption Standard, employing a 256-bit version of it, the privacy tool is impenetrable even to the most powerful modern computers and ensures complete online anonymity. The VPN also uses the superfast catapult hydra protocol so when you browse the internet your IP address is rerouted. Also, you won’t find any Domain Name System (DNS), Web Real-time Communication, or other leaks when using Bitdefender Premium VPN.

Bitdefender Premium VPN: Streaming  

Netflix menu showing popular shows

(Image credit: Netflix)

Bitdefender Premium VPN is sold mostly for the sake of encrypting your data and allowing you to anonymously browse the internet. But the website does claim that you can unlock media, videos, and messages from all over the world - it’s just a shame it doesn't.

In our tests, we found this is certainly no streaming VPN. In fact, it’s terrible for at it. It doesn't work with top sites like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and Amazon Prime. On the other hand, we were able to access BBC iPlayer when we connected to the UK server. If you’re looking for the best VPNs for Netflix and the like, we recommend ExpressVPN, as connections are great, it features lightning-fast speeds, and it’s simple to use across all apps.

We noticed that popular torrent applications like BitTorrent and Vuze are compatible with all of its servers and the VPN allows P2P transmission, so you may have better luck using it as a VPN for torrenting

Bitdefender Premium VPN: Speed & experience 

Bitdefender Premium VPN in action

(Image credit: Bitdefender)

In our testing, we discovered that the download speed peaked at 54.65Mbps when Bitfinder’s VPN was turned off. 

When we turned it on, we found speeds decreased to 18.68mpbs, well below average. To be honest, since the release of WireGuard, Bitdefender VPN isn't as fast as providers like NordVPN, CyberGhost, and IPVanish that reach about 880Mbps. 

Bitdefender Premium VPN: Customer support 

Bitdefender Premium VPN in action

(Image credit: Bitdefender)

The Bitdefender support staff can be contacted via phone, live chat, email, and phone. It should be noted that this is the general support team for all of Bitdefender's products and services, not just Premium VPN. 

And that’s a concern. Getting support from the support team may be simple, but we’re not sure a company that sells antivirus software with a VPN on the side can provide the kind of support offered by specialist providers. 

Bitdefender Premium VPN: Apps 

Bitdefender Premium VPN in action

(Image credit: Bitdefender)

If you've ever used Bitdefender antivirus software, you're probably already aware of Linux's absence from it. Its VPN is the same - there is no Linux application. But there are programs for Windows and Mac, with mobile VPN apps for Android and iOS. 


The Windows interface for Bitdefender Premium VPN is clear and easy to use with useful settings such as the kill switch, which blocks internet traffic if the VPN connection drops. Although the location list lacks favorites or previously used servers for easier reconnection, it allows switching locations without disconnecting the current connection. Desktop notifications also let you know when you're protected and when you're not.

The UI is recognizable with its sizable blue Connect button, the name of the location you are currently selecting, and, if you click it, a list of more locations to choose from.There is a search box, but no cities are provided (just countries), and there are no server load figures or ping times to help you in choosing.

The UI of the macOS version remains the same, but features have been drastically reduced, and split tunneling and the most advanced auto-connect options are no longer available. It leaves you with a stripped-down version, but it still has the kill switch and it is still usable.

We were surprised to find a kill switch here - historically iOS apps have lacked the most features due to strict Apple policies that make make adding features a challenge. Bitdefender’s iOS VPN app looks and feels very similar to its desktop counterpart, so it's just as simple to use, but suffers from the same flaws: a basic location list, no cities, limited server information, and no favorites system to help reduce scrolling.

Although essentially identical to the iOS version, the Android version includes additional features that are unique to it. The mobile app can block local network traffic, by doing this, your phone becomes invisible to other Wi-Fi-connected devices, this might deter some attackers who are waiting in public hotspots. 

The fact that mobile apps work well for simple tasks may explain why users give them such high ratings. We believe, however, that they have a long way to go before they can compete with the best in the field.

Bitdefender Premium VPN: Alternatives 

Although Bitdefender is an excellent VPN service, it lacks some features provided by the market's leading VPN providers, such as ExpressVPN, NordVPN, CyberGhost, and Surfshark. They do cost more, but provide plenty of tools, features, thousands of servers, and ultimately more bang for your buck. . 


Bitdefender Premium VPN in action

(Image credit: Bitdefender)

If you want something cheap, fast, and with a familiar name the Bitdefender Premium VPN is for you. But it’s worth noting that the extent of their logging is unclear, no VPN audit reports are published, and streaming isn't one of their strengths. 

While Bitdefender is an excellent antivirus provider, its VPN isn’t the same, falling short of the advanced features and smart design found in the market leaders. 

Bluehost website builder review 2024
6:51 pm | November 10, 2021

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Pro Website Building | Tags: | Comments: Off

Bluehost is best known for website hosting, but also offers one of the best website builders on the market. Unlike its top competitors such as Wix and Squarespace, Bluehost provides a dedicated tool for building websites on WordPress. In fact, it currently tops our list of the best WordPress website builders

The drag-and-drop website builder offers a simplified, intuitive, and streamlined interface. You have the freedom to switch to WordPress’ builder as well, which is an incredibly useful feature, and necessary. That’s because while the website builder will help novices, and new users, those familiar with WordPress’s malleability will find its offerings rather basic.

Thanks to the integration between the two, you can set up parts of your website using Bluehost’s website builder, and other elements using WordPress. But there’s a downside to this approach as well. WordPress is almost infinitely customizable thanks to the availability of myriad plugins. But if a function is added to a website using a plugin that’s not natively offered with the Bluehost website builder, such as an ecommerce store, you must use WordPress to customize this feature.

In this review, our experts get hands-on testing the tools, features, and ease of use of Bluehost's website builder - helping you understand if this might be the best website builder for you. 

Bluehost website builder plans screenshot

Bluehost Website Builder pricing (Image credit: Bluehost)

Bluehost website builder pricing and plans

Apart from all the other hosting plans on offer, Bluehost offers four plans for its website builder. You must consider each plan carefully before settling on one as they have distinct capabilities. 

By its own admission, the Basic plan is intended for personal websites and blogs, while the other plans are aimed at businesses and store owners. It includes a bevy of useful hosting essentials such as free SSL and domain name, albeit for the first year only. You also get 10GB of SSD storage and chat support. 

The Choice Plus plan gives you everything from the Basic plan, along with the ability to build up to 3 websites, 40GB of SSD storage, chat/phone support, malware scanning, daily backups (for the first year only), and a permanently free SSL. 

The Pro plan is the same as the Choice Plus plan, but bumps up the number of websites you can build to 5 and your SSD storage to 100GB. 

If you want to sell via your website, you will need to go for the Online Store plan. This plan gives you everything from the Choice Plus plan along with advanced ecommerce tools such as exclusive store themes, unlimited products, secure online payments, and shipping labels. 

Note: Although Bluehost offers some generous introductory rates, you will see big jumps in price when it comes to renewals (see table above). These sometimes reach over double the initial rate, so they are worth noting before deciding whether to buy. 

Bluehost website builder alternatives

1. Wix

Wix also offers website builder services coupled with hosting. There are seven plans on offer, split into Website Plans and Business & ecommerce Plans. The cheapest plan starts at $4.50 per month but will add ads to your website. The other costlier plans let you remove Wix ads. You can try Wix for free for a 14 day period.

2. HostGator

HostGator’s offer a choice of three plans for its Gator Website Builder. The plans start at $3.84 per month and include most hosting essentials, as well as email marketing tools and also a $200 credit for search engine marketing. Further, all plans allow the user to build and host an online store.

3. Squarespace

Squarespace too includes the domain in all the plans, which are expensive compared to the competition. The cheapest plan starts at $12 per month for a one-year term, and comes with unlimited bandwidth and storage, subject to acceptable usage policy. There are 4 plans in all with specialized ones for online stores. 


While one might be attracted by the $1.95 per month introductory price, note that this is only for the first month. After that you get charged at the renewal rates, which is $10 per month. distinguishes itself from others by also providing you the option of having experts make the site for you, instead of mucking about with the builder yourself. 

Bluehost new page template

Bluehost new page template (Image credit: Bluehost )

Bluehost website builder features

The four website builder plans on offer all come with ‘hosting included’. 

The Bluehost website builder is built on top of WordPress, and serves to provide a more streamlined and straightforward interface for building websites using WordPress.

Novice users will appreciate the drag-and-drop website builder which lets you assemble robust websites with any technical know-how, coding skills, or even familiarity with WordPress.

The interface is minimalist in design and you can create pages and add different components to them by dragging the required elements from the sections menu. 

Creating a website

Once you’ve completed the sign-up formalities and the domain registration, you’re ready to create your website with Bluehost. Click the Create website button to get started. 

You’re presented with three options - ‘No Help needed’, ‘Little Help Needed’, and ‘Built for you’. The names are self-explanatory, and describe the level of skill and familiarity you have working with WordPress. Opt for ‘Little Help Needed’ if you’d like to use the Smart AI driven system to create your website. 

You’ll be asked to answer a few basic questions, and then asked whether you wish to install WordPress or Bluehost website builder. Choosing the latter option will still automatically install WordPress, but additionally grants you access to the new website builder. 

You’ll then be asked questions to help identify the nature of your business and type of website you wish to deploy. This is important because a website for a restaurant or coffee shop will look nothing like the website for a tech startup, which is altogether different from a photo gallery. 

You’ll be sent to the website builder interface after you’ve answered these handful of questions. 

This interface is divided into three panels. The panel at the top allows you to toggle between the desktop view and the mobile view of your website. The left panel gives you access to the overall website and the pages, whereas the right panel gives you flexibility to edit properties/elements of the selected page.

All the website builder plans include various features that are aimed at businesses, such as landing pages, social post buttons to help visitors share content on their favorite social media platforms, social review templates to help visitors see reviews from Yelp, Google, etc. You can conveniently use the website builder to add any or all of these disparate elements to your website without any hassle.

Bluehost website builder dashboard

Bluehost website builder dashboard (Image credit: Bluehost)

About Bluehost

Headquartered in Utah, USA, Bluehost is one of the most popular web hosting providers, and hosts over two million websites. Unlike some of it’s peers, such as HostGator which revel in sharing statistics such as starting with only three servers and growing to 12,000, Bluehost is stingy with such details.

Despite being a global behemoth, stands apart from it’s peers as its data centers are located only in Utah, USA. 

Started in 2003, the company began offering WordPress-focused solutions in 2005. It reached 500,000 domain registrations in August 2007 and by June 2008 was home to over a million domains.

Bluehost was acquired by Endurance International Group (EIG) in November 2010 and started offering VPS and dedicated hosting solutions in April 2013. 

Early this year, investment firm Clearlake Capital Group completed a $3bn acquisition of the Endurance International Group, and in partnership with the Siris Captial Group spun a new company called Newfold Digital, a SMB-focused provider of web presence solutions. Newfold Digital is now home to some of the most popular hosting providers including HostGator, BlueHost,, iPage, etc.

By its own admission, Bluehost has been recommended by WordPress because of their customer service and expertise. Since 2014, Bluehost has offered hosting plans optimized for WordPress.

While our experience with billing and the customer support was satisfactory, a quick look at Trustpilot reveals a different story. At present, Bluehost scores a rating of 3.2 out of 5. Most of the reviews are from dissatisfied customers expressing frustration at their interaction with the technical support and questions about billing. 

Only 37% of users reported their experience with Bluehost as 'Excellent', while an even 50% voted it as 'Bad'. Thankfully, Bluehost has responded to each of the negative comments and even escalated the issue with respective teams to provide a meaningful solution to their customers. 

Bluehost builder guide

Bluehost builder guide (Image credit: Bluehost)

Bluehost website builder support

The mere knowledge that expert advice is only a mouse-click or phone call away is quite a reassuring safety net.

Bluehost used to offer a ticket-based support system but that’s been discontinued. Your only options are phone support, live chat, or scavenging for a solution on the Knowledge Base. 

The Knowledge Base is home to a vast collection of guides, tutorials, articles and more discussing all hosting. You’ll find a series of FAQ’s on billing, domain registration, configuring email accounts, and all other basic aspects of website setup and management. 

The content on the Knowledge Base is split across eight broad categories, FAQ, WordPress, email, domains, account and control panel. You can also use the search bar at the top to quickly find relevant answers. All guides and how-tos provide detailed step-by-step instructions, supported by screenshots.

You can also call for support, which is available 24x7. Dial 888-401-4678 if you’re in the USA but international users must call +1 801-765-9400.

We also tried the live chat service, and a representative connected to the chat almost instantly. The support staff are all well versed with all aspects of Bluehost’s operations, and are determined to address your queries to your satisfaction. The only downside is that it’s not possible to access the chat history, or a previous chat session.  

If you want to go over a previous chat session, maybe because of a solution that was discussed, your only option is to start a new chat session, and request the representative/advisor to share the previous chat session with you. This is a bizarre process, but thankfully there’s a quick remedy. 

At the end of the chat session, request the representative/advisor to email you a transcript of the chat session. This way, you can easily refer to the discussion at a later date, if needed. 

Bluehost website builder speed and experience

Our web host speed tests are generally based on the cheapest shared hosting plan available from a provider. If instead we use a free hosting plan, we’ll spell that out in the review.

We then upload a basic static site to our web space and configure to check the availability and server response time of our site at five-minute intervals. One week later, we note the site uptime (the percentage of checks where the server returned HTTP code 200, meaning 'OK') and average, minimum and maximum response time. We save the seven-day response time chart, too, as it's a useful indicator of consistency.

These results are handy as a way of spotting hosts with significant reliability or performance issues, but note that this testing also has significant limits.

We only test the cheapest shared hosting plans so these results can’t be used to measure the response for the VPS or dedicated plans, or any other plan with more resources.

The tests also take no account of page load time, and give us little or no indication of available CPU time, database setup, PHP configuration and more.

We’re happy to report that our Bluehost website reported no outages during the test duration. This is to be expected for such a short period but it’s still good to know.

Response times averaged 1.95ms, which is incredibly fast, as most providers average between 200-400ms on their shared hosting plans.

For comparison, consider that for the same duration and identical plans, HostGator and Hostinger averaged between 400ms - 700ms. In fact, the only provider slower was GoDaddy, which is home to this author’s website.

Apart from, you can also utilise the Dotcom-Tools website speed test to benchmark the performance of a website. 

Bluehost website builder review: Summary

If you are using or want to use WordPress it is clear that Bluehost could be a smart option that is well worth considering. Its simple to use interface and powerful AI tools make creating a site with the platform a breeze. 

It also offers you great flexibility, allowing you to switch between the dedicated Bluehost website builder and the tools offered by WordPress. This can help turn your website dreams into reality. 

Looking for an alternative AI powered website builder? Check out our best AI website builders

Bluehost website builder review: FAQs

Who owns Bluehost?

Investment firm Clearlake Capital Group completed a $3 billion all-cash takeover of the Endurance International Group, and spun a  web hosting company called Newfold Digital in partnership with Siris Capital Group. 

The new organization serves around 6.7 million customers around the world and owns some of the most popular hosting providers such as Bluehost, HostGator, and others.

How is Bluehost different from WordPress?

When it comes to the difference between WordPress and Bluehost, the answer is pretty simple. Bluehost is a web hosting provider that offers website builder capabilities, while WordPress is a fully hosted content management system (CMS).

Is Bluehost website builder any good?

We found Bluehost to be a very useful website builder for those looking to create a WordPress website and have no clue where to begin or how to do it. You can create any type of website with Bluehost, from a portfolio site to an ecommerce store.

Is Bluehost good for beginners?

The short answer is yes. Bluehost is a popular choice for beginnings starting out their online journey. The tool includes 24/7 customer support, promises 99.9% uptime and has 1-click WordPress install, which will enable beginners to build their website with ease. 

Is Bluehost billed monthly or annually?

Unfortunately, Bluehost doesn't offer monthly payment options for its cheap shared hosting or managed WordPress hosting. However, you can choose month-to-month billing with Bluehost's VPS or dedicated hosting plans.

For Bluehost's website builder plans, you have the option to commit to 12 months or 36 months.

What email does Bluehost use?

Bluehost offers the same three individual webmail clients you will see on most mainstream web hosting providers: Roundcube, Horde, and SquirrelMail. 

Is Bluehost good for blogging?

Bluehost is great for bloggers because of its simplicity, great support and excellent interface. You can quite literally have your blog up and running in minutes. Bluehost is also the recommended web hosting provider by WordPress, a top quality blogging platform.

Does Bluehost offer refunds?

You can cancel your hosting plan within the first 30 days for a full refund, and if you cancel within 30 days, you receive a full refund on your hosting service only. The money-back guarantee does not apply to most add-on products, such as domains, given the unique nature of their costs.

Do I own my domain name with Bluehost?

You can register new domain names and transfer domains you already own right inside your Bluehost account. Please note that once you have registered a domain name with Bluehost, it cannot be cancelled for a refund.

Which one is better: Bluehost or Hostinger?

Both Bluehost and Hostinger have plenty to offer, and are top quality hosting providers. It mostly boils down to your individual needs. Luckily, we've written a deep analysis of both providers, highlighting their strengths and weaknesses.

While both Hostinger and Bluehost are particularly popular choices, the latter has been around for almost two decades, establishing itself as one of the biggest names in the web hosting industry and home to more than two million domain names. 

Check out the latest Bluehost coupon codes.

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