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Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus review
7:13 pm | February 28, 2022

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

Two-minute review

Before getting to to the Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus it's worth noting that we now have a Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus hands-on review, as the S22 Plus's successor has been unveiled. You might also want to check out our Samsung Galaxy S23 hands-on review and Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra hands-on review. So the S22 Plus is no longer one of Samsung's latest flagships. That doesn't mean it's not worth considering though.

That said, of the three members of Samsung’s 2022 flagship line, the Galaxy S22 Plus feels like the one that most people will forget about.

The Samsung Galaxy S22 is the one that’s easy to recommend: it’s small enough to fit comfortably in your hand, and has a low price that won’t immediately alienate buyers. And then there’s the S22 Ultra with its high price but its S Pen stylus, premium design and plentiful rear cameras which will interest those looking for a super-powerful handset.

Between those two phones, it’s harder to get excited for the Galaxy S22 Plus, the awkward middle child in Samsung’s 2022 family. It mostly has the same specs as the S22, and a similar design, but with a bigger screen and battery. Oh, and its price is a significant step up, too.

Like Samsung’s other S22 mobiles, the Galaxy S22 Plus remains one of the best phones in many different fields, but its high price and lack of upgrades over the S21 Plus make it look less appealing given the competitive actions of most rivals. Compared to the Xiaomi 12 Pro, OnePlus 10 Pro or Realme GT 2 Pro, or even affordable and capable alternatives like the Moto G200, Realme GT and OnePlus Nord 2, this is a really tough sell.

There are certainly some points in its favor. The Galaxy S22 Plus is great for taking portrait shots, and the camera app’s Portrait mode is fantastic both at the artificial background blur and for the range of effects and filters you can utilize. The camera app is great, and Single Take (which basically picks the best picture from a burst) remains a huge selling point for the company’s phones.

We also have to commend Samsung for being one of the few phone companies putting out vibrantly colored phones - we tested a pink S22 Plus, and other options include green, blue and violet. How many companies are putting out pink phones these days?

And in many other areas, this is a powerful phone, with a top-end chipset, decent battery life and great main camera. 

But while in many ways it's one of the best Samsung phones, it’s not a perfect phone, and we have quite a few gripes, too. With a flat edge, it’s not particularly comfortable to hold, and OneUI remains a sluggish-feeling software that’s slightly slower than other Android forks to use. Its display quality, charging speeds, and build quality are all decidedly average, too.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus

(Image credit: Future)

Plus, it’s exceedingly expensive - we shouldn’t be calling a phone that costs this much ‘average’ in any way, and the overall use experience of this mobile is more comparable to mid-rangers than similarly priced Android or iPhone rivals you might be considering instead.

With a few discounts this phone might prove popular, but at its current price, it’s hard to recommend.

If, however, you're looking for the perfect Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus audio partner, you may want to check out our Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro review.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus price and availability

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus price starts at $999.99 / £949 / AU$1,549 - and if you winced at that, you’re not going to like the prices for its other variants, which you can find listed below.

For context, the standard Galaxy S22 starts at $799 / £769 / AU$1,249 while the lowest price for the S22 Ultra is $1,199.99 / £1,149 / AU$1,849. Last year’s S21 Plus cost exactly the same as the S22 Plus, so at least we’re not looking at a more expensive phone, even though the size decrease from last year made us hope for a lower price to match.

Either way, that’s a supremely expensive smartphone - but then again, Samsung’s S-series devices aren’t designed for people on a budget.

The Galaxy S22 Plus went on sale February 25 in the US, March 3 in Australia and March 11 in the UK.

You'll note that those dates were a while back now - long enough ago that you can often find the S22 Plus at a discount. In fact, it came out long enough ago that there's now a Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus, so S22 Plus prices are likely to further fall.


We both love and hate the way the Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus’ design.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus

(Image credit: Future)

We love the way it looks. The phone comes in white, black, green, pink, gray, cream, pale blue, and violet (the latter four are only available via Samsung’s website), so you have loads of choices in the shade with some great options. The Contour Cut camera bump is fairly distinct and chic, as far as smartphone lens mounts go at least, but it certainly makes the phone look distinct.

The hate factor becomes apparent when you pick up the phone though, as it just doesn’t feel comfortable. This is partly because of its palm-stretching size, but also thanks to its angular edge. It’s not quite as sharp as the iPhone 13’s totally flat edge, due to its slight curve, but it still digs into your hand when you’re using the device.

Beyond that, this is your standard Android phone. There’s a USB-C slot but no 3.5mm headphone jack, and both the power button and volume rocker are on the right edge (and are fairly easily reachable even when using the device one-handed).

The S22 Plus is a little on the big side, with dimensions of 157.4 x 75.8 x 7.6mm, but the ‘Plus’ in the name should mean that’s no surprise. It weighs 195g, so it’s not overwhelmingly heavy.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus

(Image credit: Future)

One difference between this and the S21 Plus is the material - while that device was clad in plastic, this newer one uses glass, in particular Corning Gorilla Glass Victus Plus which is a hardy version of the material. This means it’s scratchproof and won’t disintegrate after a single drop. There’s also IP68 protection against dust and water submersion, so the device will survive a quick drop in the tub.


Samsung’s Galaxy S devices used to be industry-leading for its amazing-looking displays. While the S22 Ultra gets to keep this title, we’re not sure the S22 Plus deserves it. That’s not to say the display is bad looking, but it doesn’t stand out from the crowd.

The screen is 6.6 inches across - that’s 0.1 inches smaller than the S21 Plus’ - broken up by a fairly small punch-hole cut-out for the front-facing camera. The bezel around the display is pretty small.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus

(Image credit: Future)

With a resolution of 1080 x 2340 (or FHD+), the S22 Plus has the same resolution as most other Android phones save for super-cheap or super-pricey phones, and thanks to its cost, we would have thought the Plus falls into that latter category. The Ultra has a screen with a 1440 x 3088 resolution, and we would have liked to see something similar here.

FHD+ is fine for most tasks though, as only select streaming services or games offer content that’s a higher resolution than that anyway. There’s also a refresh rate of 120Hz, which means motion looks pretty smooth when you’re swiping between menus or playing games.

While the resolution is pretty average, the S22 Plus wins some points in other display areas. Its max brightness is very high at 1,750 nits, and thanks to the AMOLED screen, contrast is impressive.


The Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus has the same four cameras as its non-Plus counterpart: that’s a 50MP f/1.8 main, 12MP f/2.2 ultrawide and 10MP f/2.4 telephoto for 3x optical zoom on the back, and a 10MP f/2.2 front-facing camera on the other side.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus

(Image credit: Future)

That camera combination is somewhat of a remix of the S21’s sensors, with only the ultra-wide and front-facers the same, and the most notable difference is the jump from a 12MP to 50MP main camera. 

This upgrade is welcome as the 50MP sensor  is a large one, so it ‘sees’ more light, resulting in brighter images and more vibrant colors. This is most noteworthy for low-light photography, as we managed to capture some surprisingly bright-looking snaps at nighttime, but also helps during the day to make colors stand out more.

The S22 Plus doesn’t quite have the camera versatility of its Ultra sibling, most notably with a greatly reduced zoom distance - max digital zoom is just 30x here. Still, some of its great features are here too, particularly Samsung’s fantastic Portrait mode which is second to none at isolating a subject, adding great-looking ‘Bokeh’ background blur, and letting you add a range of effects to the snap.

The rear trio works well together - jumping between ultra-wide, standard photos and zoom in the camera app is seamless, and pictures taken retain the same color profile, too. Ultra-wide pictures were a touch distorted, but not much - we had to specifically look for this to find it.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus

(Image credit: Future)

The front-facing camera might sound iffy at just 10MP, but in practice images looked great, with vibrant colors and clear features. That was particularly true of Portrait mode on this camera, which was fantastic at balancing exposure - no overly bright background was going to ruin this selfie, no chance!

Video recording goes up to 8K, which we’ve no idea why any average user would  use. There’s also 4K recording at up to 60fps, and using a sub-8K-resolution also lets you use image smoothing and stabilization.

Some useful modes are present here, including Samsung’s Single Take which lets you record a video of a subject, and the camera app will pick out the best still shot from it and will edit it for you. This is a great way of letting AI do all the heavy lifting when you’re taking a snap.

Camera samples

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Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus camera sample

A sunset shot taken on the main camera (Image credit: Future)
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Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus camera sample

An ultra-wide shot (Image credit: Future)
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Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus camera sample

A 1x zoom shot (Image credit: Future)
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Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus camera sample

A 3x zoom shot (Image credit: Future)
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Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus camera sample

Some balls taken in macro mode (Image credit: Future)
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Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus camera sample

A selfie taken without Portrait mode (Image credit: Future)
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Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus camera sample

A selfie taken with Portrait mode (Image credit: Future)
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Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus camera sample

Taken using Night mode during the nighttime (Image credit: Future)

Performance and specs

When it comes to performance, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus has two identities: in most of the world, it packs Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset, while in Europe it uses Samsung’s Exynos 2200. Both are roughly equal in terms of performance, though Qualcomm’s processor generally has a slight edge over Samsung’s.

For our full review, we used the Exynos-powered phone, and it ran  well. When we put the device through a multi-core benchmark test using Geekbench 5, it returned a score of 3,431. That’s a very high score, and one of the highest we’ve seen from a Samsung phone too, but a few 2021 devices beat it, including the Xiaomi Mi 11, Realme GT, OnePlus 9, and ZTE Axon 30 Ultra. Those devices all use the Snapdragon 888, the predecessor to the 8 Gen 1, which points towards the Exynos chip being a tiny bit weaker.

We’re only talking about a couple of hundred points in the test though, and in practice, most people won’t notice that kind of difference. The phone is great for gaming as it loads titles quickly, doesn’t stutter during sessions, and lets you load up the top-graphics settings for games.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus

(Image credit: Future)

There’s 8GB RAM here which is just about as much as any smartphone needs, and it’ll be useful for people who like jumping between different apps all the time. Storage comes in at 128GB or 256GB, but there’s no expandable storage, so you better be happy with whichever option you pick (or just use cloud storage).

Both chipsets are paired with 5G modems, so both of these phones let you connect to next-gen networks which is useful for streaming and gaming on the go.

We found the audio quality a tiny bit tinny when the phone was on higher volumes, but it was fit for something like gaming or taking video calls.


The Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus comes with Android 12, with Samsung’s One UI laid over the top. At the S22 launch, Samsung pledged that its new phones would get at least four years of software updates, which will take you to Android 16 in 2026.

Android 12’s big feature is Material You, which lets you recolor aspects of the user interface to match your wallpaper, and that’s also here, to an extent, though it doesn’t affect too many aspects of the home screen and menus.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus

(Image credit: Future)

One UI feels a little bit slower than lots of rival user interfaces like Xiaomi’s MIUI, OnePlus’ OxygenOS or even stock Android. The different animations for swiping between menus, opening apps and unlocking the phone all take a little longer than we’d like, and together these factors make navigating the phone feel sluggish.

Don’t get us wrong: using the S22 Plus isn’t the same as using a cheap phone. But it doesn’t quite feel like a flagship in terms of navigation either. This is something we’ve found with previous Samsung phones and it’s the case here, too.

Battery life

Many Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus reports criticized the phone’s battery life, but we can’t go that far. From our time testing the phone, the 4,500mAh battery saw the phone through a day of use just fine. Sure, the mobile didn’t last long into a second day, but most premium phones don’t.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus

(Image credit: Future)

Obviously intensive tasks like gaming, streaming lots of media or recording high-res footage will drain the battery quickly, but even with bouts of all three we found the phone lasted a day just fine. It certainly had more lasting power than the S22 Ultra, which we tested separately.

If there’s something that does make us narrow our eyes in doubt, it’s the charging speed. Samsung claims that the phone charges at 45W, a figure that’s hard for average users to test given that the phone doesn’t come with an in-box charger. But when we used an 80W charger on the phone, it still took over two hours to power from empty to full.

That’s not 45W charging, and we’re not the only reviewers who’ve found issues with Samsung’s claims of 45W charging. It seems that the powering speed is closer to 20W, which really isn’t good for a phone that costs this much.

There’s also reverse wireless powering at 15W and reverse power-sharing at 4.5W (which lets you power up other devices using the Plus as a wireless charging pad). 

Should I buy the Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus? 

Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus

(Image credit: Future)

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

  • First reviewed February 2022
Auvik review
9:30 pm | February 26, 2022

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

Why you can trust TechRadar  We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test. 

Auvik is a cloud-based network monitoring solution that aims to simplify network monitoring and management. The final goal of the entire platform is to increase your efficiency as you support your network. By creating a physical and logical map of your network (routers, switches, firewalls, etc.) you will get automatic network monitoring for all mapped devices. 

While there are metrics that you can track out of the box, it would be helpful to have a greater level of customization when it comes to this aspect, but by no means are the out-of-the-box KPIs bad. Its monitoring capabilities also extend out to devices like PCs, phones, and printers. Auvik has the capability to provide services to multiple separate networks, enabling administrators handling various independent clients to merge all of their networks into one account, thereby simplifying management. 


Auvik's pricing may be opaque but at least there's a free trial (Image credit: Auvik)

Plans and pricing

When we head to the pricing tab to navigate the company website, it isn't very reassuring to see that we need to exchange our company credentials- including a business email- in order to get the pricing info.  

If you want to get the exact pricing, which is custom-made, you will have to go through their sales channel. There is a calculator on their website (which sometimes freezes), in which you can calculate an approximate amount of money you will have to pay for the services. Remember that the services are charged per device, and a minimum device number is 5, regardless if you have less than that. We’ve managed to get a rough calculation of $25 per device license, making the service quite pricey. 

We would appreciate a few tiers of plans, that would help less advanced users know exactly what they’re getting and how much it will cost. Playing gymnastics with the calculator or going through the sales team, is not something we find amusing. 


Detect issues, know what's on your network and manage it over the cloud with Auvik (Image credit: Auvik)


Auvik is designed to monitor your network for events, and provide alerts that can be used preconfigured (with 50 available), or even customized for your needs. The included alerts are based on the best practices from the industry, and range from informational to emergencies. With the custom options available, administrators can also select the frequency to receive the alert.

With Auvik in action, much better control of the network can be performed. Administrators gain access to real time network metrics with data on topology, config history, and device performance, that not only gives a snapshot on current performance, but also can be compared as this data gets stored for years back for comparison purposes. Insights then get revealed, such as if the poor performance is due to the IDP or the internal network, or if the SSL VPN has reached the license limit by tracking the number of simultaneous VPN licenses in use.


Auvik offers a range of resources and tools to assist users in maximizing the platform's support capabilities. These resources include online manuals, a knowledge base, and a user community forum. Additionally, Auvik provides round-the-clock email support and phone assistance during business hours. It sets itself apart by prioritizing partner support and offering a range of services and tools to aid partners in achieving success. These include a partner site, co-branded marketing materials, and dedicated partner assistance.


Auvik also provides an extensive knowledgebase with plenty of useful articles (Image credit: Auvik)

You have the option of sending a message if you didn’t find an answer to your question in the extensive knowledge database, or if you simply want to get in touch and discuss some specifics. On the support part of the page there is also a prominent support number, so you can always pick up the phone and dial their support for any issues you may have. When it comes to configuration issues, we would recommend consulting the knowledge database or simply the extensive forum, prior to calling support, as you may be directed to the manuals first.

Final verdict

Auvik is a comprehensive network management platform that is packed with various features that aim to help IT professionals manage their networks more easily and faster. The network mapping and management capabilities offer enhanced visibility, and it is fairly easy to set up. 

While some parts are more difficult to configure, overall, we would argue that the platform is designed for ease of use. However, its scalability and performance are really good, allowing you to effectively monitor large networks

The pricing aspect could have been done better, but perhaps that comes down to personal preference in the end. Support is fairly decent, with a lot of documentation available on the forums and knowledge base. Therefore, if you’re looking for a powerful network management platform, Auvik could be the solution for you, just keep in mind you will have to pay for the powerful feature set.  

We've also featured the best wireless routers, best Wireless Access Points and the best VPN

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra review
6:26 pm | February 25, 2022

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

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra: Two-minute review

If we were to judge the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra on nothing but its cameras and, in particular, the optical and digitally-enhanced zoom capabilities, we might call it the best smartphone ever.

Or at least, the best phone of 2022. Its successor has since been announced though, so check out our hands-on Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra review for first impressions of that. We also have a hands-on Samsung Galaxy S23 review and a hands-on Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus review.

Of course, even before its successor landed, it wouldn't have been fair to judge the S22 Ultra as the best based on its cameras alone – every handset is the sum of its design, features, components, utility, and value – but taken as a whole, this Samsung Galaxy Series-Galaxy Note hybrid is an excellent, albeit massive Android handset that not only ticks all the important boxes, but delivers more features than you may ever want or use.

The design is an echo of, but also more forward-leaning than, Samsung’s last Note device. It really is a hybrid. There will be no complaints about the ultra-high-resolution, 6.8-inch screen, which offers brilliant colors and smooth motion at 120Hz, but is smart enough to stop down all the way to 1Hz, when that’s all you need, to save on battery life.

The camera array is strong. Sure, it’s not a complete overhaul of the Galaxy S21’s camera system, but that was already pretty darn good. This is arguably better – the Optical and Space Zooms are simply marvels of modern technology.

We also love the thin and light S Pen, and we’re thrilled that it’s finally integrated – literally – into the Galaxy line. It does so many things so well, and for productivity-focused mobile users it could be a godsend.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra full back

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra's back is black, satin Gorilla Glass Victus+ (Image credit: Future)
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra Specs

Display: 6.8-inch, Quad HD+
Dimensions: 77.9 x 163.3 x 8.9 mm
Weight: 229G
Screen refresh: 120Hz
Screen brightness: 1750 nits
Glass: Corning Gorilla Glass Victus+
Water resistance: IP68
Selfie camera: 40MP resolution
Main camera: 108MP resolution
Telephoto camera: 2 10MP resolution sensors
Ultrawide: 12MP resolution
Battery: 5000mAh
Memory: 8GB or 12GB available
Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB available

Samsung’s One UI 4.1 software is mostly good, even if it does create some duplication of browsers, photos, and messages apps. Other tools, like Expert Raw, a freely downloadable Samsung app that gives you full access to all the camera controls and lets you capture and save RAW format photos, and the video-conferencing app Google Duo, which both do an excellent job of showing off the phone’s power and versatility, are the real highlights here.

Performance-wise, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra’s 4nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor acquits itself nicely (no, it doesn’t beat Apple’s A15 Bionic). The point is, we couldn't find a single app that was sluggish or disappointing on the mobile monolith.

Battery life was more of a mixed bag. We did get a full day of solid use (18 hours or so), but we thought we might get more out of the massive 5,000 mAh battery and high-performance, energy-efficient CPU.

Ultimately, though, this is the kind of device that can make you forget what’s come before it. If you were used to a smaller-screen device, you’ll feel cramped if you ever go back to it. If you struggled in the past to take photos of the moon, you’ll wonder why Apple hasn’t figured this out yet. If you wished that your device had just a little more power to complete those raw image-editing tasks, your wish has been granted.

Part of Samsung’s new S22 lineup, but looking nothing like its siblings, the Galaxy S22 Ultra is to the casual observer a Galaxy Note in a shiny, new coat. It does have a much bigger and bolder camera array (lifted pretty much intact from the S21 Ultra), but it’s otherwise a canny adjustment of the Note aesthetic or, as Samsung might call it, the “Note Experience.” Still, this adjustment leaves it as easily the best Samsung phone.

If you're looking for the perfect Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra audio partner, you may want to check out our Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro review.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra: Release date and price

  • Starts at $1,199.99 / £1,149 / AU$1,849 for 128GB storage and 8GB of RAM
  • Storage options up to 1TB, no microSD slot for expansion

A device that combines the best of Samsung’s S Series and the Note’s more industrial design and capabilities doesn't come cheap. The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra starts at $1,199.99 / £1,149 / AU$1,849 for 128GB storage and 8GB of RAM.

There are naturally bigger storage options (that also include more RAM), which can take you all the way to a 1TB model ($1,599.99 / £1,499 / AU$2,449 ). 256GB will run you $1,299,99 / £1,249 / AU$1,999, and 512GB is $1,399.99 / £1,329 / AU$2,149. 

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

(Image credit: Future)

Choose your storage options wisely, because none of the Samsung Galaxy S22 phones come with a microSD card slot for upgrading your storage space.

The good news is, prices are often lower than that now that the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is getting on a bit - and they're likely to drop further now that the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra has arrived.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra: Design and display

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra Screen

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra's AMOLED screen measures 6.8-inches diagonally. (Image credit: Future)
  • Screen is 6.8-inch OLED with WQHD+ resolution
  • Armor Aluminum frame with Gorilla Glass Victus+
  • S Pen housed in a silo in the phone

An inarguably beautiful device, the 6.8-inch Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra – owing to its Note roots – doesn’t look much like the Galaxy S22 Plus. It starts from the original Galaxy Note 10 design but takes it forward with even more premium materials.

The frame is a solid Armor Aluminum that rigidly resists bends. Polished on the outside to a near-chrome finish, the metal is sandwiched between two Corning Gorilla Glass Victus+ plates. The front glass is high-gloss, and the back is a warm satin finish; both do a decent job of repelling fingerprints. The phone’s IP68-rated body also handily resided the water we ran over it.

The above finishes come in seven color options: Phantom Black, Phantom White, Burgundy, Green, Graphite, Sky Blue and Red. The dark green is sexy, but we’ve fallen in love with the inky Phantom Black of our test device.

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Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

(Image credit: Future)
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Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

(Image credit: Future)

Did we mention that this is a big phone? Its dimensions are 163.3 x 77.9 x 8.9mm, which is taller than a 6.7-inch Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max, but, somewhat surprisingly, at 229g, lighter than Apple’s biggest handset. Small hands will struggle with the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. The curved edges make the Galaxy S22 Ultra comfortable to hold, but the lack of edges also makes it feel slippery as a fish – albeit a fish made of hard glass and metal.

There are two flat surfaces, on the top and bottom of the device. The top plane is a mostly unbroken slab of metal, with one tiny drill-through hole for a microphone. The bottom surface houses the SIM slot, USB-C charging port (the phone ships with a USB-C cable but no charging brick- BYOB is a thing now), speaker grille, and the S Pen.

If you’re in any doubt that this is a Note in S Series clothing, you need only to press that slight bump on the base and pop out the familiar and light S Pen. It’s all the things a Samsung S Pen should be, giving up nothing for its new Galaxy S22 Ultra home. More on the stylus later.

The 6.8-inch AMOLED screen is another highlight. It supports up to 3088 x 1440 pixels (WQHD+) resolution, which works out to 500 ppi. The iPhone 13 Pro Max, by contrast, has 458ppi on its 6.7-inch 2778 x 1284 screen. It’s worth noting that the S22 Ultra’s default resolution is 2316 x 1080 (FHD+), which Samsung says uses somewhat less battery life – although halfway through our testing we switched to WQHD+ and didn’t notice much, if any, battery performance loss.

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Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra base

(Image credit: Future)
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Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra edge

(Image credit: Future)
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Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra wet screen

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra wet screen (Image credit: Future)

Everything from games and videos to apps looks fantastic on the display, which now has the ability to smoothly shift from a 1Hz refresh rate all the way up to a butter-smooth 120Hz. Such adaptive technology can be hard to notice because, for instance, 1Hz might be used for the home screen or a word processor, while 120Hz might be called on for gaming.

The point is, when the imagery should be clean and smooth, it is. The lower refresh rates primarily help to conserve battery – there’s no need to update the screen more than a hundred times per second if nothing is moving.

With a peak brightness of 1750 nits and Samsung’s new Vision Booster technology, the screen does a decent job of maintaining visibility even in direct sunlight. Naturally, though, this means the brightness gets turned up to 100%, which will impact your daily battery life.

Hidden under the screen, roughly a third of the way up from the bottom edge, is the effective ultrasonic fingerprint reader. We found it easy to both register a finger and use it to unlock the phone. The other biometric security option is facial recognition, but Samsung warns that this isn’t as secure as other options, like a PIN or fingerprint.

There’s also a small drill hole through the screen for the 40MP front-facing camera.

Put simply, this is a lovely screen for viewing and writing.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra: Cameras

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra camera array

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra camera array (Image credit: Future)
  • Main camera is 108MP with f/1.8 aperture and an 85-defree FOV
  • Two telephoto lenses with 10MP sensors, one ultrawide 12MP sensor
  • Optical zoom up to 10x, Space Zoom enhanced up to 100x

When people say, “So, it’s basically a new Samsung Galaxy Note, right?” we have to flip over the phone to show them the camera array, which is a dead ringer for the one on the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. 

Don’t worry, though – this is not some Frankenstein’s monster of smartphone design. Because Samsung has done away with the contour box that popped the whole thing up a millimeter or so above the back of the S21, the S22 Ultra’s array of five lenses looks perfectly at home.

The cameras don’t just look similar – they’re almost the same. There are two 10MP telephoto lenses: one is f/2.4 with a 36-degree field of view (FOV) and the other is f/4.9 with an 11-degree FOV. There’s also a 12MP ultrawide with a 120-degree FOV, and then there’s the 108MP main wide camera (f/1.8) with an 85-degree FOV. 

However, the technology backing these lenses has gotten an upgrade. While the image sensors haven't changed since the S21 Ultra, Samsung has done some work on optical image stabilization, digital image stabilization (for a better Super Steady system), and image processing. The result is better performance from all the lenses, but especially in the zoom arena. 

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra’s zoom capabilities simply blow away anything we’ve ever seen before from a mobile phone camera. Obviously, the 3x and 10x optical zoom are not only solid but offer clear images of distant objects with enough clarity that you can crop in on details without seeing much pixelation.

The 30x and especially 100x Space Zoom is where, at least in previous iterations of Samsung’s technology, you’d see significant artifacts in your photos.

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Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra 1x

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra 1x (Image credit: Future)
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Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra 3x

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra 3x (Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)
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Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra 10x

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra 10x (Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)
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Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra 30x space zoom

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra 30x space zoom (Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)
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Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra 100x space zoom

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra 100x space zoom (Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)

Now, however, these images are shockingly good, at least at first glance. Sure, you can’t crop in too much without the images breaking down into a Picasso-like mess, but untouched, these can be perfectly shareable images.

Part of this has to do with the stabilization, which at 100x, basically takes control of the lens and holds a subject (like the moon) in the frame. It can feel a little like you’re no longer in control of the lens, but it does do a good job of countering your shaky hands.

Wide and ultrawide images also benefit from some new pixel sorcery. With the Galaxy S22 Ultra, Samsung introduced Adaptive Pixel. This takes nona-binning (first introduced with the S21 Ultra), which takes nine pixels of information and combines them for better color and contrast, and combines it with the full resolution of the 108MP wide-angle original. That lens also gets an auto-focus assist from what looks like a fifth lens on the back of the phone - it's actually a Laser Auto Focus sensor. If you look closely, you can see the little red laser light peeking out from behind the glass.

Virtually every image we shot looked great, even if we did detect a hint of over-saturation (it wouldn’t be Samsung if they didn’t over-saturate the image).

The front-facing camera, meanwhile, uses tetra-binning to combine four pixels into one for a high-quality 10MP image.

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Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra Nightography selfie

(Image credit: Future)
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Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra Nightography night sky shot

(Image credit: Future)
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Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra long exposure pro camera settings test

(Image credit: Future)

Samsung’s lenses, stabilization, image sensors, and algorithms also make what the company calls ‘Nightography’ possible. While we don’t like the marketing term, the phone’s night-time and low-light photographic skills are clear. It can brighten a night sky to near daytime, capture the moon or your face in poor lighting, and has some long-exposure skills too.

The front and rear cameras do a nice job with portrait photography, courtesy of a Portrait mode that’s getting good enough to separate stray hairs from a bokeh background. Samsung told us this is due, in part, to its new depth map technology. The presets, which include the ability to create a virtual backdrop (a chromakey color is used so that you can easily substitute some other background later) are pretty good, as well.

You can also shoot some high-quality 4K video at 60fps, and up to 8K at 24fps. We were pleased with the results.

We were less impressed with the phone’s Portrait Video capabilities, which come nowhere close to the magic of Apple’s iPhone 13 line’s Cinematic mode video (it needs a face in frame to work). The auto-framing capability, which literally zooms the camera in and out to keep people in frame, doesn’t seem all that useful – we suspect it needs more refinement.

One thing we do appreciate about Samsung’s video shooting capabilities is that, unlike an iPhone, it lets you shoot video, hit pause, and continue shooting while keeping the entire shoot in one video file. Apple should add this feature ASAP.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra: Camera samples

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Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra Space Zoom photo of almost full moon

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra Space Zoom photo of almost full moon (Image credit: Future)
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Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra Space Zoom shot of the moon through trees

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra Space Zoom shot of the moon through trees (Image credit: Future)
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Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra Space Zoom bird photo

(Image credit: Future)
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Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra sunset photo

(Image credit: Future)
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Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra ultrawide camera photo

(Image credit: Future)
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Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra optical zoom test

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra optical zoom test (Image credit: Future)
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Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra front facing camera Portrait Mode test

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra front facing camera Portrait Mode test (Image credit: Future)
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Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra portrait mode test

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra portrait mode test (Image credit: Future)
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Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra Space Zoom photo Freedom Tower from 3 miles away

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra Space Zoom photo Freedom Tower from 3 miles away (Image credit: Future)
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Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra Pro Camera test full control shutter speed ISO

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra Pro Camera test full control shutter speed ISO (Image credit: Future)

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra: S Pen

  • Very light and versatile
  • Take notes on the lock screen

Aside from the awesome cameras, the main reason you’d spend all that extra dough on a Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is for the integrated S Pen. The light and versatile stylus is hidden inside the phone’s body; it’s small, thin, and feels so easy to lose that you’ll wish there were magnets in the S Pen and on the body of the S22 Ultra to hold these companions together when you don’t slip the stylus inside the phone.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra S Pen

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra S Pen (Image credit: Future)

With the S Pen, you can take notes on a lock screen (they’re white ink on a black background), or open the phone and access a slide-in menu of eight customizable options. 

These include taking notes, viewing them, making smart selections of anything on the screen, drawing on a screen capture, live messages, doodling in augmented reality, translations, and PenUp, a community space where you can learn how to draw with the S Pen and share your creations with others. 

All of these features work as advertised, and offer fast ways of grabbing content, marking it up, and sharing with friends and coworkers.

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Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra with S Pen on top

(Image credit: Future)
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Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra drawing with the S Pen

(Image credit: Future)
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Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra S Pen software menu

(Image credit: Future)

In our estimation, the S Pen is a wildly useful implement and, despite its small size (small for this reviewer’s hands anyway), it’s an effective drawing implement. We opened Sketchbook and had a great time drawing, especially because the pen and screen recognize pressure and angle.

The S Pen is also a solid productivity tool. We scrawled some notes in Samsung Notes and then let the system convert the scribbles to real text. It didn’t miss a word.

Overall, there’s a lot you can do with the S Pen, but it also follows the 80/20 rule – most of us will use 20% of the features, 80% of the time.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra: Software

  • Android 12 with Samsung One UI 4.1
  • Some apps, like Messages, are duplicated with Samsung and Google versions

While the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is an Android 12 phone - and one of the best Android phones at that - it’s also running One UI 4.1, the latest version of Samsung’s Android interface software. Like most Android overlays, this one isn’t primarily there to enforce a bespoke design aesthetic on top of pure Android; rather, it duplicates some utilities, like the web browser and photos apps, and adds tons of smart software touches and useful tools, like Samsung’s new Wallet, that should enhance the Android experience

Samsung’s onboard photo and video-editing capabilities, for example, are strong. We especially like the ability to magically remove an object from a photo, which worked like a charm on a photo of a dozen donuts – instead of eating them, we just selected them one by one and removed them from the original image. The software did leave behind a few telltale artifacts, but you'd be hard-pressed to tell what was there before we digitally removed a donut.

There’s also a freely downloadable Expert Raw app, which gives you access to all the pro shooting tools (ISO, white balance, focus, shutter speed) and lets you shoot raw images, which we then edited on the phone in Adobe’s Lightroom app.

It’s not great, however, that there’s both a Messages app and a Samsung Messages app. The icons look similar, but they’re two distinct apps. It’s this kind of nonsense that will always keep the Android messaging system slightly behind iOS’s iMessage. We want one system – the new RCS (Rich Communication Services) is fine – and complete cross-app compatibility.

Samsung has made a lot of noise about Google’s updated Google Duo video conferencing utility, which makes its debut on the S22 Ultra, and it does work as advertised. We made a Duo call to a friend, which looked and sounded good on both sides, and then quite effortlessly shared views of our screen, apps like Twitter, and played a YouTube video that we were both able to enjoy.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra connecting phone to Windows 11

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra connecting phone to Windows 11 (Image credit: Future)

Samsung is also strengthening its partnership with Microsoft, and we had no trouble adding our Microsoft account, which includes OneDrive and the Office Suite. It was also easy to connect the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra to our Windows 11 PC. 

We started the process on the phone, and then we had to visit a URL on the PC (it was supposed to pop up automatically, but didn’t) where we found a QR code. We pointed the S22 Ultra camera at the code, and the phone then guided us through the rest of the set-up process.

With the connection complete, we were able to control our phone through the desktop using our mouse; we even ran Asphalt 9 for a hot second before the connection crashed.

While, in our tests, it wasn’t immediately clear how having these platforms blended in this way benefits the user, we think the ability to quickly access on-phone data, messages, and calls is surely part of the attraction.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra: Specs and performance

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra with camera app open

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra with camera app open (Image credit: Future)
  • A 4nm processor, Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 in most of the world
  • UK and Australia get Samsung Exynos 2200 chipset

Over almost a week of intense testing, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra never let us down. It’s a fast and powerful phone. The 4nm processor (in our test phone it’s the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset – UK or Australia will get Samsung’s own Exynos 2200 chipset.) doesn’t outperform Apple’s A15 Bionic in Geekbench benchmarks, but raw numbers never tell the full story.

For what it’s worth, here are the numbers for our device, which shipped with 12GB of memory and 256GB of storage). 

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra Geekbench benchmarks


Single Core: 1236
Multi-Core: 3417

OpenCL Score: 5866 

Apple’s numbers are better, but the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra didn’t feel any slower across all tasks. Perhaps the only situation where we detected a small stutter was on 8K video playback (that’s 8K video that we shot with the very same phone). 

This is also a gorgeous and quite powerful gaming phone, and handled my Asphalt 9 race through Barcelona without a single hiccup.

Call quality was generally excellent. We could hear our caller clearly, and they told us we were coming through equally clear. The 5G performance (we were on T-Mobile in the US) was, by turns, excellent and average – it seemed to depend on how close we were to a decent 5G tower.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra: Battery life

  • Large 5,000 mAh battery and wireless charging
  • Could not meet our expectations for battery life

Like the Galaxy S21 Ultra, the S22 Ultra features a beefy 5,000mAh battery and wireless charging. In our tests, the battery was good for a full day of varied activity (roughly from 7am to 11pm) but not much more (this was the same for mid-range and high-resolution screen settings). 

We were a little surprised that such a large battery didn’t provide a day and a half of battery life. Perhaps the new 4nm chip isn’t as efficient as Samsung had hoped. 

Samsung Galaxy S22 S Pen

(Image credit: Future)

The phone has a built-in vapor champer and heat-sync material. Even so, we detected some warmth on the back of the phone when performing a variety of tasks, including web browsing, photography, and gaming, for extended periods. We wonder if Samsung might be able to improve battery performance with some software tweaks.

As noted above, the phone doesn't ship with a charger, just the USB-C cable to connect to one – a potential shock for people upgrading from the previous Note. Also, the in-the-box package no longer includes a set of earbuds, and while this at least makes some sense, as the phone no longer has a 3.5mm headphone jack, you start to feel like Samsung is asking for more money while giving you less.

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is probably not for everyone. It’s giant, expensive, and might be overkill for people who simply want a nice screen, decent photos, and a good on-screen social media experience. For those who want more, say a phone that is ready to run Raw photo editing apps, mark up screens and images, create detailed works of art and take zoom photos that will make you the envy of all your iPhone-carrying friends, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is worth every dime.

Should you buy the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra?

Should you buy the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra?

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

(Image credit: Future)

Buy it if...

Don't buy if...

Also consider...

If the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra review has you curious about the fastest smartphones on the market, you can read our full roundup of the best phones you can buy. 

First reviewed: February 2022

Scribd with Everand review: the popular ebook and audiobook subscription service gets a revamp
9:20 am |

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

Editor's Note

• Original Scribd review date: February 2022
• Rebranded in November 2023
• Launch subscription price: $9.99 / £7.99 / AU$14.99
• Current price: $11.99 / £10.99 / AU$14.99

Updated: February 2024. Scribd, when it originally launched, was a subscription hub for ebooks, audiobooks, podcasts, magazines, sheet music, various documents, slides and even the odd recipe. The platform has undergone a full overhaul, however, and has been broken into three different services. Everand is now the app for ebooks, audiobooks, podcasts, magazines and sheet music. Scribd is exclusively for documents – so whitepapers, court filings, some scientific research, recipes, etc. All the presentations have been moved to SlideShare. The three platforms are still owned and run by Scribd Inc and you need only one subscription to access all three. The monthly subscription has gone up in the US and UK, but remains unchanged for Australia, and the extensive Everand library makes it worthwhile. In lieu of this overhaul, we’ve redone our original review, concentrating on Everand, but also touching upon Scribd and SlideShare too.

Scribd with Everand: One-minute review

Scribd began life as a document-sharing platform in 2007, but it grew from there to become an ebook and audiobook subscription service to rival Kindle Unlimited and Kobo Plus. In November 2023, however, the platform underwent a full overhaul, and parent company Scribd Inc separated the mainstream offerings like ebook and audiobooks from the documents and presentations that littered the service. The original Scribd has now been divided into three new platforms – Everand housing all the ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, podcasts and sheet music, Scribd is now the home for documents only (think whitepapers, court filings, etc), and all the presentations have moved to SlideShare.

The good news is that the one subscription gets you access to all three, and the price in some regions is still the same as before. For this review, I’ve concentrated on the mainstream Everand service, but it all works exactly as it did previously.

As before, there’s quite a decent library of ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, podcasts and sheet music on Everand, with the app looking pretty much the same as the original Scribd. The only difference is some minor changes to the color schemes to differentiate between the three divisions of the old Scribd platform.

Compared to Kindle Unlimited and Kobo Plus, Everand has a more extensive selection of titles in its library but only if you take both ebooks and audiobooks into consideration. However, as with Scribd previously, there’s still more audiobooks than ebooks on the platform, although the number of titles has increased significantly compared to what I saw when I first reviewed it in 2022. 

The headline here is the addition of Originals on Everand – titles written exclusively for Scribd Inc by some well-known authors like Magaret Atwood and Stephen King.

While Kindle Unlimited offers magazines to its US subscribers, other markets aren’t able to access those, and Everand can fill the void. However, the number of magazines is limited compared to what you’ll find on Readly. And while podcasts are a great addition to Everand (something you won’t find on Kindle Unlimited or Kobo Plus), several are available for free on other platforms. Still, they add value to the subscription.

There’s no native ereader integration with the Everand app, but you can use it on a desktop or a handheld device like your phone or tablet – apps are available for Apple and Android users. Owners of Onyx Boox ereaders – which run on Android and give you access to the Google Play Store – can download it for use on e-ink slates like the Onyx Boox Tab Mini C or Onyx Boox Page.

The Everand ebook and audiobook subscription service homepage

(Image credit: Scribd Inc)

Scribd with Everand review: price and availability

  • More expensive than Kindle Unlimited in some markets
  • Monthly subscription of $11.99 / £10.99 / AU$14.99
  • 30-day free trial

A monthly subscription to any of Scribd Inc’s apps – Everand, Scribd or SlideShare – will cost you $11.99 / £10.99 / AU$14.99. That’s a touch more expensive than Kindle Unlimited in the US and UK, but costs the same in Australia. 

Signing up for only Everand gets you access to the other two, or vice versa, adding value to the subscription if you’re a student or researcher, but the variety in the Everand library alone makes it better value than either Kindle Unlimited or Kobo Plus, but this is only if you take full advantage of both ebooks and audiobooks.

That said, if you already use an Amazon Kindle or Kobo ereader, you might be better off with the ebook subscription service associated with your chosen brand if you want to read on the device.

You can subscribe to Everand from anywhere in the world – you’ll just have to pay the equivalent of the US pricing if your country doesn’t have an official version of the site or application. Plus there’s a 30-day free trial available to test the waters before you commit to paying for the service when you sign up via either Everand or Scribd. Strangely, SlideShare offers a 60-day free trial, which might be the better option to test the waters for longer.

Scribd with Everand review: Content library

  • Lots of audiobooks
  • Limited ebooks compared to audiobppls
  • Decent collection of magazines and podcasts

Like I mentioned at the start of this review, there’s a lot on Everand. As versatile as it looks on paper, the individual libraries of each type of content is limited, although I found far more titles I’d like to read and listen to on Everand than I did on Kindle Unlimited and Kobo Plus.

An Everand save list with ebooks and audiobooks

(Image credit: Scribd Inc)

Let’s start with ebooks. While there’s a lot here to keep you occupied for a very long time, you could be disappointed if you’re looking for something specific. A couple of missing examples I found were David Graeber’s The Dawn of Everything and Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn Trilogy. Fans of Brandon Sanderson, though, will be glad to know that several of his other titles are available on Everand, including his “secret project” books from his Kickstarter campaign.

What’s interesting about Everand, though, are the original titles. Started in 2019, the Scribd Originals program (called so they came into being before Everand was launched as a separate platform) was a way for authors to reach new audiences, but these are written exclusively by some well known writers like Magaret Atwood, Stephen King, Paul Theroux and Simon Winchester. Most of these are short stories or essays, and several are in audiobook format, but there are some very interesting titles amongst the Scribd Originals, none of which you’ll find anywhere else.

An ebook open on the Everand web browser application

(Image credit: Scribd Inc)

The number of audiobooks on Everand is much more impressive than its ebook collection, just as it was when it was still called Scribd. Some titles that don’t have the ebook versions on Scribd can be found in audiobook format instead. For example, Neil Price’s Children of Ash and Elm and Mary Beard’s SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome are only available as audiobooks. Another example of the deficit of ebook titles is Steven Erikson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen series – all 10 are available as audiobooks but none as an ebook. It's the same with Martha Wells' Murderbot Diaries too – the first seven are available in audiobook format only. 

Some of these missing ebook titles used to be available as user-uploaded documents in PDF format – likely from questionable sources – on the original platform, but those are no longer on Everand, having moved to the new Scribd.

When it comes to magazines and newspapers, you’re not going to get as extensive a collection as on Readly, but there are some very good options on Everand, like Time, Marie Claire and National Geographic. There are some obvious big names missing too, like Reader’s Digest and Cosmopolitan, although you can find a few individual articles from the missing mags. Despite the missing titles, the magazine stand does cover several genres including news and current affairs, tech, and lifestyle, with the News Rack including access to The Guardian, NPR, The Independent and Futurity. Some of TechRadar’s sister magazines can be found on Everand, including Kiplinger, Digital Camera World, Classic Rock, T3 and APC.

One of Future Publishing's Australian magazines on Everand

(Image credit: Scribd Inc)

There’s a pretty decent collection of podcasts across several genres as well, like Grounded with Louis Theroux, Day X, Revisionist History and Criminal. Practically every one I searched for, I found on Everand, however they’re also available for free on Apple and Google Podcast services.

I’m not certain what sheet music is doing on Everand – I think it should be on Scribd with other documents – but if you’re a keen musician, you could strike gold and that alone might be worth the subscription cost for you. There’s a lot of sheet music, from Disney songs to Broadway, Mozart to Frank Sinatra, even Beyonce, Adele and Taylor Swift.

An Everand save list with ebooks and audiobooks

(Image credit: Scribd Inc)

Scribd content library

With all the mainstream items now on Everand, Scribd has gone back to being what it started out as – a repository of user-uploaded content, specifically documents like whitepapers, some research papers, court filings and the like. 

The documents are categorized into several genres, including wellness, technology, business, religion and politics, and their usefulness will depend on what precisely you’re after. Each document can be rated by the user with a thumbs up or a thumbs down, and this becomes important when you’re looking for authenticity on a platform that can have some dodgy content from questionable sources.

The Scribd homepage with documents

(Image credit: Scribd Inc)

Most of the content on the new Scribd document platform, however, is good and could be useful depending on the subject. I found books on metabolism that were interesting, plus something on modern sewer designs that I never thought would hold me attention for longer than a minute. There are textbooks and test papers, even court filings against Donald Trump.

And, as I’ve already mentioned, you don’t pay extra to access Scribd – it’s included in the Everand subscription. Any document you save via Scribd is added to a common saved list that’s accessible via any of the three apps, but if you select a document via the Everand app, you will be redirected to the Scribd app. So if you do use all the Scribd Inc apps, you will need to download them all on your preferred device. If you only use the web browser option, then they open in a new tab.

SlideShare content library

As with Scribd, SlideShare is also niche, now home to the presentations that were previously uploaded to the original Scribd platform. There are a wide range of slide shows and decks to choose from, including business templates, guides to social media platforms, case studies in education and a heck of a lot more.

You can download an entire presentation if you need it offline, or you can choose specific slides from a deck to download. The uploader’s username is displayed against each presentation, plus the number of slides in each, how many views they’ve had and how long they’ve been available on SlideShare.

The SlideShare homepage, part of the Scribd-Everand revamp

(Image credit: Scribd Inc)

The presentations aren’t editable, although it might be possible to find the odd template that might allow you to do so after downloading for offline access.

Interestingly, when viewing SlideShare on a web browser, it gives you the option of signing up to all three apps to get a 60-day free trail, which doesn’t seem to be available via the other two. So if you really are keen to try Everand, it might be a good option to sign up via SlideShare.

Scribd with Everand review: user experience

  • Mobile apps are easy to use
  • Clunky browser interface
  • Formatting issues on some ebooks

Everand, Scribd and SlideShare can be used on a desktop browser, on a phone or a tablet, with apps available for both Apple and Android operating systems. Signing up is easy and there’s a 30-day free trial for you to road test the service before you need to cough up the monthly fee (60 days if you sign up via SlideShare).

Apps for all three on any platform are identical, so I’ll stick to Everand for the sake of this review. Using the app on mobile or tablet is quite easy and intuitive, with browsing the library made easy thanks to sections for different genres and categories. The different content types are neatly arranged on the top of the app and there’s even curated lists for anyone keen to find a new story to get lost in. 

When you find something you want to read or listen to, you just have to save it by tapping on the bookmark icon. You can even download items for offline reading or listening and, in theory, there’s no limit to how many you can download at a time. I didn’t go beyond downloading five items at a time, but I have seen some users complain that Scribd Inc throttles how much you can download in one go.

An audiobook playing on the Everand desktop application

(Image credit: Scribd Inc)

Audiobook quality – based on the titles I listened to – is great, but if your device goes to sleep due to inactivity, the narration will stop unless you use the app’s sleep timer functionality (the crescent moon icon). Audiobooks require the screen to be on at all times for it to work nonstop.

Ebook quality, for the most part, is great but I did find some that had formatting issues – not the kind you’d expect from a page trying to automatically adjust to screen sizes. I found a number of them with just one word on a line or large chunks of empty space after a paragraph (with the next one starting on the subsequent page).

Note that the Everand app itself doesn’t have a dark mode option, but if your device settings is selected for dark mode, then all content will appear on a black background with white text.

Everand mobile app screenshots with podcasts and ebooks

(Image credit: Scribd Inc)

Reading magazines is a mixed-bag experience – none of the covers can be viewed full-screen and you can only read one article at a time, no scrolling through the whole issue here. That said, each article is nicely formatted, with any accompanying imagery placed very well to avoid weird line and page breaks, no matter what screen size you’re viewing it on.

The browser experience, however, isn’t as great as on mobile or tablet. The interface is easy to navigate, yes, but it’s just too clunky to be a smooth experience. That said, we reckon most users would prefer to read (or listen) on a handheld device, so the online interface shouldn’t really be too much of an issue.

Scribd magazine interface on iPad

(Image credit: Scribd)

The one drawback that could be a deal breaker for some potential subscribers is the lack of ereader support. If you already own a Kindle, then Amazon’s ebook/audiobook subscription service will be a lot more convenient for you. It’s a similar case with Kobo users – where Kobo Plus is available, that would seem like a better option. 

However, as I’ve mentioned earlier, Onyx Boox ereaders with access to the Google Play Store will be able to open the Android version of the Everand app so you can read (or listen) on an ereader. Scribd Inc will probably have to go through licensing red tape to partner with some of the best ereader brands out there, but if that can be wrangled, then Everand might have a fighting chance to compete with Kindle Unlimited in terms of popularity.

Should I subscribe to Scribd with Everand?

The Everand ebook and audiobook subscription service sign-up page

(Image credit: Scribd Inc)

Whether you should subscribe to Everand (or Scribd and SlideShare) is not an easy question to answer. If you’re an avid reader and don’t already subscribe to an ebook/audiobook subscription service, then Everand might be worth considering, particularly if you primarily do your digital reading on a phone or tablet. Considering you get access to a very diverse range of content types could just make that subscription price worth it.

In fact, it’s great for audiobook lovers who don’t already have an Audible subscription (which is cheaper in some markets but more expensive in others), considering there’s more audio titles than ebooks. 

Having access to magazines and podcasts on the same platform is great too, but Readly has a better magazine collection (if that is your area of interest), and the podcasts can be found on other platforms for free, so it’s up to you to decide if they add value to your subscription cost.

If ebooks and audiobooks are your main goals, then at the time of writing, Kindle Unlimited has an extensive library of ebooks and offers you the convenience of reading on a Kindle device or on the Kindle app. You’ll also need to remember Everand won’t get new releases on its platform on day one.

Unlike any other subscription service of this kind, however, your Everand membership gets you some exclusive content in the form of the Scribd Originals, but there aren’t too many of these, but it’s possible this might grow. And if you take into account both ebooks and audiobooks, then the Everand library is arguably the best, but only if you enjoy both reading and listening to stories.

Subscribe if...

Don't subscribe if...

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[First reviewed February 2022]

Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Headphones review
7:37 pm | February 16, 2022

Author: admin | Category: Audio Computers Gadgets Headphones Wireless Headphones | Tags: , , , | Comments: Off

Editor's Note

• Original review date: August 2020
• Newer Sony WH-1000XM5 now out
• Launch price: $349 / £349 / AU$549
• Target price now: $249 / £199 / AU$399

Update: February 2024. The Sony WH-1000XM4 might be getting on these days, but because you can regularly find them for so much cheaper than their launch, we think these still rule the roost in terms of bang for your buck. The 'target' price above is what you should aim to pay for these headphones, and we've seen them for cheaper than those prices, so they're not unrealistic at all. The Sony WH-1000XM5 have now been launched, but with a much higher price than the XM4 and without feeling like a huge leap in terms of sound or noise cancellation. So the WH-1000XM4 really hit the sweet spot if you can get them for our recommended prices, which isn't hard. We still rate them as the best headphones for most people – they've been bettered in many ways, don't get us wrong… but not for this kind of price. Plus the new version doesn't have the handy folding design for traveling! The rest of this review remains as previously published.

Sony WH-1000XM5: One-minute review

The Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Headphones are a wonderful pair of wireless noise-cancelling headphones in every way. That's why they're still up there among our pick of the best headphones of 2022, even though they were released in 2020 – and even though they've recently been superseded by the new WH-1000XM5. 

We love that they deliver exactly what they promise and then some, thanks to their exceptional noise cancellation and cutting-edge codec support.

Granted, they haven’t seen a massive overhaul aesthetically from the Sony WH-1000XM3 that were released back in 2018. However, the WH-1000XM4 headphones pack in a number of new improvements, including DSEE Extreme audio upscaling and multipoint pairing.

The Sony WH-1000XM4 support Sony’s 360 Reality Audio format, which enables spatial audio on stereo headphones, plus the LDAC codec that can send a bitrate of up to 990 kbps. The unfortunate bit there, though, is that it no longer supports aptX or aptX HD, so your hi-res audio support mileage may vary.

Thanks to their extremely comfortable fit and great noise cancellation, we highly recommend the Sony WH-1000XM4 as the best headphones and the best over-ear headphones for most people, but particularly travelers or those with long commutes. However, they’re not great for workout enthusiasts who need a secure fit and water-resistance – or business people who require a best-in-class microphone for phone calls. For nearly everyone else, however, these are some of the best wireless headphones you can buy from a brand with an excellent track record in audio devices.

Since their release in August 2020, the Sony WH-1000XM4 have been given a few updates. For starters, Sony released a limited edition white colorway with a gold finish. The company also releases a firmware update to improve Bluetooth stability when the headphones are paired to multiple devices and to fix a bug which saw users struggle to connect the Sony WH-1000XM4 to Windows computers.

Read on for our full Sony WH-1000XM4 review, with everything you need to know about the best noise-cancelling headphones you can buy today.

Sony WH-1000XM5 review: Price & release date

  • Price: $349 in the US
  • Price: £349 in the UK
  • Price: AU$549 in Australia
  • Released in August 2020

The Sony WH-1000XM4 were announced on August 6, 2020 and while they come from Sony's flagship line, they are no longer Sony’s top-tier go to proposition simply because they've now got a younger XM5 sibling. These over-ear cans sit above the mid-range Sony WH-CH710N and true wireless Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds.

In terms of price, you’re looking at $350 / £349 / AU$549 or thereabouts – which is exactly what the Sony WH-1000XM3 launched in 2018 in the US, and £50 more expensive in the UK. 

That puts the Sony WH-1000XM4 in the same price range as the Bose Noise-Cancelling 700 Headphones that come in at $339.99 / £349.95 / AU$599.95, and slightly less than the more upscale Bowers and Wilkins PX7 that cost $399.99 / £349 / AU$600 – but let's not forget, that model has now been superseded too, thanks to the arrival of the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2, which can be yours for a cool $399 / £379 / approx. AU$575.

They're also far cheaper than the Apple AirPods Max, which cost $549 / £549 / AU$899 – and since the Sony XM4s are now a slightly older model, we wouldn't be surprised if there are some tasty deals to be had soon…

the Sony WH-1000XM4 headband

(Image credit: Future)

Sony WH-1000XM5 review: Design

  • Imperceptible design changes since the 1000XM3
  • Sturdy build and comfortable padding
  • New SoC for improved noise cancellation
  • Lack any sort of water-resistance

Though the Sony WH-100XM4 have a slew of new components inside the headphones themselves, there’s not a major difference between them and their predecessors in terms of aesthetics. In fact, put them next to each other and you’d have a hard time telling the 1000XM3 apart from the 1000XM4. 

That’s not the end of the world, though, as the design of the 1000XM3 is refined and subtle, allowing it to blend in on subway stations, planes and offices without drawing any attention. 

In terms of materials, you’re mostly looking at a high-quality plastic build with supple pleather padding. The result is a product that feels mostly durable while remaining extremely comfortable to wear for an extended period of time.

Around the outside of the earcups you’ll find two physical control buttons for power/pairing and a button that cycles through noise-cancelling modes, as well as a 3.5mm aux. jack and a USB-C port for charging. The outer part of the earcups act as a touch-capacitive control panel that can be used to play, pause or skip music, and raise or lower the volume.

Inside the headphones is where the magic happens, though. Sony has swapped out the old system-on-a-chip (SoC) for a new one that promises better noise cancellation. Key to that, of course, is the Sony QNe1 Processor that constantly samples ambient audio to reactively adjust the level of noise cancellation. It’s an ingenious setup and design that separates it from the one-size-fits-all noise cancelling algorithm from other manufacturers.

The bad news here, however, is that the Sony WH-1000XM4 aren’t water-friendly - they’re not splash-proof, water-proof or even very water-resistant. Sony recommends keeping them dry and far away from any source of water that might damage them. That sounds like common sense - and fairly easy to achieve - but that does limit the places you can bring them: if you’re looking for a pair of running headphones, these aren’t them.

a closeup of the Sony WH-1000XM4 earcup

(Image credit: Future)

Sony WH-1000XM5 review: Features

  • Class-leading noise cancellation
  • Situational and conversational awareness
  • Multi-point pairing to connect to two devices
  • May pause the music if it hears you singing along

The Sony WH-1000XM3 were feature-rich upon release, full of inventive control schemes and intelligent applications of their noise cancellation technology. All that was great about the WH-1000XM3 headphones has carried over to the WH-1000XM4 successors, and with some all-new tricks, too. These aren’t just gimmicks either – they’re useful additions that actually work as advertised.

So let’s kick off with the brand-new stuff. First, and perhaps most importantly, Sony has refined its wireless noise-cancelling approach. Like all good design, it’s subtle to the point where you may not notice it at first (such was the strength of the previous system, anyway). 

Key specs

Acoustic design: Closed

Weight: 253g

Frequency response: 4Hz to 40kHz

Drivers: 1.57-inch dome-type

Battery life: 30 hours

Active noise cancellation? Yes

Extra features: Speak to Chat, DSEE Extreme, 360 Reality Audio

But with the WH-1000XM4, you’re getting a much greater sense of noise cancellation in the mid-ranges – those sorts of areas where you get a low-level humming kind of sound that you could attribute to a fan, or air conditioning unit, or engine noise. It’s never fully silenced, but it’s remarkably quiet, and as soon as you have actual audio playing through the cans, you can’t hear the outside world at all. 

Though high wind can still cause a bit of extraneous noise to come through, it’s otherwise among the best (if not, the best) noise-cancelling system we’ve heard from a pair of wireless headphones.

These noise-cancelling modes are intelligent, too – with your permission, the WH-1000XM4 headphones can learn where you are using geo-location access, and apply your preferred level of noise-cancellation or ambient sound passthrough depending on where you are. So, at home you may prefer a fully cancelled noise mode, while in the office you may want voices to come through. 

With the feature activated, the Sony headphones play a small chiming tone when it’s reached one of your set locations, and dials the noise-cancellation up or back appropriately. Though GPS requirements mean it won’t be able to work during a subterranean commute, you can preset your station or travel hub in the accompanying Headphones Connect app, and have it activate your preferred noise cancelling settings whilst above ground before descending. 

The best of the WH-1000XM4 features though are those that pander to convenience. They’re simple and effective additions. A sensor in the earcups will recognize when you take the headphones off, and pause music accordingly, resuming playback automatically when you replace them. If they’re paused for a few minutes (at a delay of your choosing), they’ll automatically switch off to save battery life. A new multipoint connection lets the headphones connect to two devices at once, intelligently switching between both as the requirement of each device dictates – say, to deliver a notification or answering a call. 

Most impressive is a new Speak-to-Chat feature. With this option switched on, the headphones’ microphone will intelligently recognize when you’ve started talking, and pause your music while ramping up ambient noise being funneled into the cans. It’ll let you have a chat naturally without taking your headphones off, with a short pause occurring after you stop chatting before resuming music playback. 

However, it’s a double edged sword, as it’s almost too effective – if you decide to break into song and sing along with your tunes with the feature activated, it’ll pause your track, ending your karaoke session. Convenient then – so long as you’re restrained with your vocal gymnastics.

a man wearing the Sony WH-1000XM4 wireless headphones

(Image credit: Future)

Sony WH-1000XM5 review: Audio quality

  • Circumaural 40mm drivers
  • Warm and balanced, clear and powerful bass
  • Support for 360 Reality Audio for spatial audio
  • LDAC and AAC but not aptX or aptX HD

Sony’s using the same 40mm drivers in the WH-1000XM4 as it had in the WH-1000XM3, so tonally and in terms of mix, there’s not much to separate the WH-1000XM4 from the WH-1000XM3 headphones that preceded them. It’s a warm and balanced sound that does well to offer a wide soundstage when required and detail that can pierce through a powerful bass performance.

On the noise-cancelling front, Sony’s using its Dual Noise Sensor tech, making use of two mics in each earcup to suck in sound and analyse it with the QN1 noise cancelling processor. This allows the headphones to adjust its noise cancellation response imperceptibly quickly, at more than 700 times a second. It’s fantastically powerful, and never gets in the way of your tunes.

While aptX HD support would have been welcome, the Sony’s LDAC codec, present here, does a good job with devices that support it, pushing lots of detail through wirelessly. The introduction of DSEE Extreme, an AI-driven process that looks to restore detail from lossy compressed formats, does well to bring clarity to even the lower quality formats and files you may throw at the WH-1000XM4. 

Sony’s still pushing its 360 Reality Audio offering too, which is its homegrown immersive audio format, putting you in the middle of a surround-sound mix, and it’s still impressive – even if actually accessing its library is limited to just a few streaming services, and the catalogue’s growth has been slow.

As ever, we put the headphones through their paces with a mixture of streaming services, file formats and spoken word clips, and the Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones impressed across the board.

Jeff Buckley’s elegiac Last Goodbye shimmers into action, its slide guitar giving way to a warm bass groove and layers of acoustic guitars, jangling electrics and orchestral strings. It’s a complicated mix, but the WH-1000XM4 headphones do it justice, soaring with Buckley’s falsetto comfortably sitting at the fore.

Putting the bass to the test by jumping over to Bjork’s Army of Me, you can hear the can’s masterful management of bass frequencies, with the arpeggiated bass line walking through the song as the machine-like snare snaps through.

For something a little softer, Bright Eyes’ First Day of My Life has a great warmth – great vocal clarity is paired with sparkly finger picked guitars and a comforting, guiding double bass that never sounds flabby.

At the other end of the spectrum, Janelle Monae’s absolute banger Make Me Feel sounds supremely powerful on the WH-1000XM4 headphones. From the bop of the percussion to the wall of sound that accompanies the pre-chorus, it sees the Sony WH-1000XM4s firing on all cylinders, with expressive dynamics and clear and distinct separation between each instrument. It’s a pleasure at the best of times, and Sony’s cans bring out the best of the track.     

From the perspective of a work-at-home, share-the-kitchen-table-with-a-flatmate user scenario, those around us did notice a substantial amount of noise leakage from the Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones – enough to distract at even half their maximum volume level. You may not be able to hear the outside world, but it can hear what you’re listening to, so keep that in mind if you’re planning on taking these to a quiet office or library.

the Sony WH-1000XM4 with their case

(Image credit: Future)

Sony WH-1000XM5 review: Battery life

  • No improvement on battery life compared to predecessors
  • 30 hours with noise cancelling on / 38 hours with it off
  • Quick charging (five hours of charge after just 10 minutes)
  • Last just as long or longer than the competition

While the Sony WH-1000XM4 didn’t get a boost in battery life compared to their predecessors, you're getting a substantial 30 hours with noise cancelling turned on and around 38 hours with noise cancelling turned off. 

At first, that number somewhat disappointed us – how could a product not improve battery life year-on-year? But then it dawned on us that now the headphones have speech detection, a new SoC and algorithm, plus new sensors, too. The fact that it remained the same in spite of adding a host of new features is actually kind of impressive.

Although the Sony WH-1000XM4 don't come with a battery life improvement compared to their predecessors, they do stretch their playback time as far as possible thanks to the new auto-on/off and play/pause sensor inside the earcup that can tell when you’ve taken the headphones off. It’s a huge boon to folks who might forget to turn off their headphones at the end of the day only to find that they’re dead 24 hours later.

The 30 hours should be enough to get you through multiple international flights or a few days to the office, but it’s also good to know that the headphones can be charged in a matter of minutes thanks to fast-charging. According to Sony, you can get about five hours of charge from 10 minutes of power and a full charge after about three hours. 

So how do the Sony WH-1000XM4 compare to the competition? Quite favorably. The Bose Noise-Cancelling 700 only clocked in at around 20 hours of battery life with noise cancelling turned on, while the Bowers and Wilkins PX7 matches the Sony at 30.

Should I buy the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Headphones?

the Sony WH-1000XM4 in their carrying case

(Image credit: Future)

Buy them if...

Don't buy them if...

Sony WH-1000XM4 review: Also consider

First reviewed: August 2020

Kobo Sage review
9:40 am |

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

Two-minute review

The Kobo Sage is ostensibly a more refined version of the now three-year-old Forma, one-upping Amazon’s Kindle Oasis by offering an 8-inch display that also boasts stylus support. It’s the first ‘mainstream’ Kobo ereader to come with the latter but, unlike the Elipsa (a bigger and more niche device), you’ll need to buy the Kobo Stylus separately.  

To further justify its premium price, the Sage has a noticeably improved chassis. Although it’s still plastic (unlike the metal body of the Kindle Oasis), it’s a step up from the slightly janky design of the Forma. The body has a cleaner and more elegant look with less distinct sections; it’s effectively just one front piece and one back piece that are cleanly sandwiched together.

Fitting into the sleeker chassis is the latest in E Ink displays. The 8-inch screen is now a Carta 1200 panel that enables faster page turns (Kobo claims it’s 20% more responsive than the previous-gen E Ink display) and has a higher contrast ratio that makes text appear sharper. Additionally, the new touchscreen integrates a ‘digitizer’ that allows handwriting and drawings to appear smoothly and clearly on the display.

Under the hood are even more notable changes, starting with a 1.8GHz quad core processor (inherited from the Elipsa) to keep the device running smoothly no matter how much you read or write on it. More importantly, there’s now 32GB of internal storage to store thousands of ebooks, notes and audiobooks.

Like the Libra 2 that launched alongside it, the Sage now has Bluetooth support built in. This allows you to pair a set of wireless headphones so you can listen to those aforementioned audiobooks, but note these have to be purchased directly from the Kobo Store, and can’t be sourced from elsewhere.

Despite all these improvements, the one area the Sage is a letdown is battery life. Unlike the Kobo Libra 2, which got a new 1,500mAh battery, the Sage sticks to the same 1,200mAh pack used in the Forma. It’s a strange choice, as the quad-core processor seems to suck up a lot more juice and, even after a recent firmware update that promised improvements, battery life on the Sage seems to max out at about 20 hours.

Somewhat frustratingly, though, the Sage’s design improvements over the Forma make the latter, older reader very hard to recommend at its current price, which is just $10 / £20 / AU$30 less.

If Kobo can address the battery issue, the Sage will get a lot closer to qualifying as the perfect package for anyone seeking a premium ereading and note-taking experience, especially since it packs OverDrive, Pocket and Dropbox integration too. With its sub-par battery life, however, it’s difficult to recommend for users who plan to use it exclusively for reading.

Kobo Sage on a table with headphones

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Price and availability

  • Announced October 2021
  • Launch price of $259.99 / £239.99 / AU$439.99
  • Kobo Plus available in select markets

The 8-inch Sage is Kobo’s most premium ebook reader (not counting the 10-inch Elipsa, which we consider a note-taking device first and ereader second) and as such it carried a high-ish price of $259.99 / £239.99 / AU$439.99 on release. As of February 2023, there has been a slight increase across all markets, and the Kobo Sage is now priced at $269.99 / £259.99 / AU$459.95.

For comparison, Amazon’s 32GB Wi-Fi Kindle Oasis is a touch more expensive at $299.99 / £259.99 / AU$449, but the Oasis does include an aluminum chassis, whereas the Sage uses soft-touch plastic (not to mention more functionality thanks to stylus support); the Kindle is undeniably the more premium option here. 

Depending on where you live, the Sage’s price is still a significant 50-60% step up from the next Kobo model down – that’s the 7-inch Libra 2, which sells for $189.99 / £169.99 / AU$299.99 and shares a very similar design in a slightly smaller (and arguably more convenient) size.

The Sage is now broadly available across the major regions that Kobo ereaders are sold in (North America, Europe, Asia and Oceania) and can be purchased directly from the Kobo online store in select markets.

Brightness settings on the Kobo Sage

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Design and display

  • Slightly refined body
  • 8-inch display
  • Latest E Ink screen tech

In many respects, the Sage is a more refined and polished version of the 2018 Kobo Forma. Both have an asymmetrical design and big 8-inch screens as their main draws, with the latter providing a significant step up from their 7-inch siblings in terms of visual real estate. That size difference may not sound like much on paper, but (as you can see in the side-by-side comparison image below) if you compare the Sage to the 7-inch Libra 2 in the flesh, you’ll find that the former is a surprising degree larger. 

Kobo Sage key specs

Kobo Sage sleepcover and stylus

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Display: 8-inch E Ink Carta 1200
Storage: 32GB
Processor: 1.8GHz quad-core
Battery: 1,200mAh
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB-C
Weight: 240.8g

The display on the Sage and Forma provide roughly the same amount of physical space as the page of a printed paperback and their bigger screens give you more flexibility when it comes to font size, and also means onscreen images are bigger – both elements that lead to a generally more comfortable reading experience. The larger display also makes reading comics and graphics novels a more pleasing experience, with fewer frames and speech bubbles getting cropped as compared to the Libra 2.

From a tech standpoint, the Sage’s screen has had a generational upgrade from the Forma – employing an E Ink Carta 1200 panel versus a Carta 1000 one – however both displays share the same 1,440 x 1,920 pixel resolution, so they’re essentially the same in terms of sharpness, packing in 300 pixels per inch (ppi).

In many respects that generational jump is a subtle one. As mentioned earlier, Kobo claims a 15% improvement in contrast on the Carta 1200 and while it’s true that when compared side by side, black text on the Sage appears ever-so-slightly darker than on the Forma, we suspect some of that may be down to the Sage screen’s panel being fractionally darker overall – it’s whitepoint is slightly yellow, as compared to the Forma’s marginally bluish hue.

One area where the Sage’s screen upgrade does become apparent is with images; there’s a clear improvement when rendering gradients, in particular. On the Forma, subtle changes in color (like you’ll see on clouds, clothing and skin tones) can often result in what’s called ‘banding’, where similar colors get smooshed together and rather than blending into one another, you end up with distinct different colors separated into clear layers or ‘bands’. The Sage’s next-gen display almost eliminates this issue and makes reading image-heavy content (like comics, online articles you’ve saved via Pocket, or just books with lots of pictures, diagrams or graphs) a more natural experience.

Kobo Sage and Kobo Libra 2 side-by-side

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Physically, the Sage has also seen some notable changes – although arguably not all of them are positive. The chassis design feels more robust and is undeniably cleaner, friendlier and overall just more attractive as compared to the Forma. Much of that comes from the new seamless, single-piece front face, which is only broken by the two page-turn buttons.

In the hand, the page-turn buttons are, physically at least, a step up from the Forma. While they’re in an almost identical position, they’re sleeker and more distinct – very reminiscent of the Kindle Oasis – and provide a cleaner and more satisfying click action, making the Forma’s buttons feel sloppy and spongy by comparison. Despite the similarity of the page-turn buttons to those on the Oasis, the Sage’s are a bit longer and widely spaced apart.

The robust soft-touch plastic back remains a single molded piece like on the Forma, wrapping around all four sides and coming up to meet the screen, which is now flush with the bezels as on the Kindle Oasis. Kobo’s designers have also moved the power button, so it’s now on the back of the reader rather than the spine, and it’s also round and significantly larger (similar to what’s on the Kobo Libra H2O and Libra 2 models).

The charge/data port is now a far more convenient USB-C – ereaders are one of the final categories that have been hanging onto the (now-ancient) USB micro-B, so this change is arguably well overdue.

One change we’re not so enamored with is the Sage’s thicker body, which is where we assume most of the device’s extra weight comes from; it’s 20% heavier than the Forma, at 241g vs 197g. And that is something that’s definitely felt in the hand – and almost doubly so if you’re using it with a cover, which takes the Sage to 400g on the dot; that’s considerably heavier than all but the chunkiest of paperbacks.

Kobo Sage's USB-C port

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Features and ease of use

  • Stylus support
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • 32GB storage

The Sage brings with it the same flexibility and range of features that we’ve come to expect from Kobo’s ereaders. On the hardware side, that means there’s IPX8 waterproofing, and on the software front there’s useful things like wide file-format support (ePub, PDF, TXT, RTF, Mobi, CBZ/CBR, BMP, PNG and more), the ability to sign into Adobe Digital Editions to read DRM-protected ePubs or PDFs you’ve bought from third-party ebook stores, and the potential to sync web articles via the Pocket ‘read-it-later’ service.

A more recent addition is Dropbox integration; it’s only available on the more premium Kobo ereaders, having debuted on the Forma. This allows you to save your personal digital library in the cloud and transfer ebooks and files back and forth wirelessly, without the need to ever plug your ereader into a computer.

And let’s not forget the quintessential Kobo feature – baked-in OverDrive support. Every Kobo ereader has this, including the Sage, and most libraries in countries where Kobo is available now allow users to borrow ebooks via the app – all you need is a library card.

Completely new is support for audiobooks, albeit at the requirement of pairing Bluetooth headphones. That’s thankfully easy to do, and similar to how it works on a phone. There’s one major audiobook caveat though – for the first time Kobo has shut its open-door and inclusive ecosystem by only allowing audiobooks purchased from its own store to play on the Sage (or Libra 2). Still, the catalogue is vast and you’ll find many popular titles on the Kobo Store.

In order to accommodate those audiobooks, the Sage comes with 32GB of internal storage by default – there's no long a smaller (and cheaper) option for those who might just want to stick with books.

Audiobook playback on the Kobo Sage

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Also new is the addition of a dark mode, thanks to that new generation of E Ink screen tech. Available under the Settings pane, this allows you to invert the default colors to display white text on a black background… or pretty much how dark mode works on phones and computer screens. It’s important to note that dark mode inverts colors only for ebooks you’re reading – the home screen remains the usual black on white.

If you’re not a fan of dark modes, then Kobo’s proprietary ComfortLight Pro technology should ease the strain on your eyes. This is available on pretty much every Kobo ereader and involves a series of white and amber LED lights embedded just under the bezels. If you like reading at night, then setting the light to automatically change from cooler hues to a warmer yellow light is possible. If you’d prefer a vibrant white screen, though, all amber LEDs switch off. This tech works remarkably well as the light is projected absolutely evenly throughout the screen, with no evidence of gradients, bright spots or shadows.

When it comes to the interface, the Sage retains an almost identical fixed setup as the Forma, which again largely revolves around books. A bank of icons across the bottom gives you quick access to the main areas and features: Home, My Books, My Notebooks and Discover (aka the Kobo Store and OverDrive library lending) as well as More for secondary areas, like settings, saved articles, activity tracking and so on. On that main home screen, a strip across the top displays the four most-recent titles you’ve had open with cover previews, and below this are two large tiles linking to My Books and a selection of titles from a specific author. Directly underneath those tiles are text links – the left to the Kobo Store, and the right a dynamic notification that cycles through various options; spruiking Kobo Plus subscriptions, what’s new in the latest firmware, or reminding you about saved Pocket articles, for example.

Kobo Sage in sleepcover with stylus

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Somewhat frustratingly, there’s still no way to customize the home screen – you can’t move elements around or replace less-used features with others (and reduce some repetition; there’s effectively two links to both the Kobo Store and My Books areas with the default setup). We’d love to be able to permanently pin a link to My Articles on the home screen, for example, rather than having to dig into the More menu to access it.

Arguably the biggest feature addition on the Sage is stylus support. If you’re old-school and like to jot down notes in margins of books or feel the need to doodle on the page, the Sage is the first mainstream ereader that lets you. However, as we’ve mentioned above, the Kobo Stylus is an additional accessory that needs to be purchased separately at a cost of $39.99 / £39.99 / AU$69.95. As with the larger Elipsa, the UX on the Sage includes a ‘My Notebooks’ tab on the homepage from where you can access all your notes and lists, and even upload those to Dropbox or transfer to a computer, if desired.

Notes app on the Kobo Sage

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Reading experience

  • Sharp, high contrast display
  • Redesigned page-turn buttons
  • Heavy in the hand

Reading on the Sage is for the most part a first-class experience. The large, sharp, high-contrast screen delivers great-looking text and images, and the speedy new processor makes page turns and other interface actions both fast and responsive. In many respects, however, the Sage’s improvements over the Forma are only marginal – and depending on your preferences, some of them could arguably be a step backwards.

Firstly, as we touched on above, the Sage feels heavier in use. While that weight isn’t too much more than on the Libra 2’s 215g, its distribution across a larger surface area does subjectively make it feel heavier and more fatiguing over the long term. In comparison,  we could single-handedly hold both the Libra 2 and Forma in the air for long periods of time but, even when not in its standard case (which takes the weight to 241g), the Sage does eventually start to feel heavy.

That’s not the only physical issue with the Sage – the ‘improved’ page-turn buttons now require a firm press to ensure they register. It’s possible to press hard enough that they’ll actually physically ‘click’ underneath your thumb, but not actually trigger a page turn. While the buttons operate as intended the majority of the time, they’re broken frequently enough that it does become frustrating – and interrupts your reading flow – because it’s not always obvious that the page hasn’t turned and you end up re-reading a line or two on top of the old page before you realise the error. It’s a flaw that we’re frankly surprised made it through quality-assurance testing. Ultimately, we tried to avoid using the Sage’s page-turn buttons and just resorted to tapping the screen all the time – that element, at least, works without fault. 

Redesigning the power button from that of the Forma was a good move by Kobo; its position on the back means it’s now easy to locate just by touch, and it provides a nice, crisp click that isn’t prone to accidental pushes. However, the new position means it’s not quite as simple to use one-handed unless you have something to rest it on (a bit of a pain if you’re, say, standing up on public transport). And if you’re using it with the sleepcover designed specifically for the Sage by Kobo, it’s completely covered up, unlike the two Libras that have cutouts in the cover to access it. This might seem like a minor irritant, but when your device has gone to sleep due to inactivity, the only way to switch it back on is to close and open the sleepcover, as opposed to just reaching for the button.

Text displayed on the Kobo Sage

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Writing and drawing experience

  • Stylus available as additional accessory
  • Smooth writing experience
  • Handwritten notes can be digitized and saved

As mentioned earlier, the Sage’s headline act is stylus support. This is an entirely optional extra, with the Kobo Stylus available for separate purchase at a cost of $39.99 / £39.99 / AU$69.95. If you choose to get the stylus, you’ll quickly find there’s nowhere to safely stow it (for that, you’ll need to pony up for the battery-equipped PowerCover, at $79.95 / £69.95 / AU$129.95), and chances are high it could just roll away and hide under some piece of furniture.

If you do manage to hold on to it, you’ll find it’s powered by a single non-rechargeable AAAA battery (it's thinne than the standard AAA battery), has a replaceable plastic nib and two buttons about an inch down the shaft – it’s the same pen that ships with the Elipsa. It’s all-metal body feels great in the hand and writing with it is quite natural. Using it also feels quite intuitive and you get used to the buttons very quickly – one lets you highlight text while reading, the other allows you to erase whatever you’ve done on the screen.

Writing or drawing with the Kobo Stylus is almost real time, with minimal lag before marks appear on screen – a few milliseconds at most. However, the 8-inch screen is still relatively small, so the margin space you have is limited on screen, and scribbling marginalia can feel cramped. That said, Kobo’s devs have been clever enough to realize that changing things like font style/size or margins will mess with the placement of notes, and have built in an option to switch back to the settings that were in place when the note was made.

Writing with the stylus on the Kobo Sage

(Image credit: TechRadar)

As well as being able to scribble in the margins of selected books (including sideloaded and Kobo Store-bought ePubs – with marginalia available under the Annotations section), the Sage also provides a dedicated My Notebooks app as on the Elipsa. This lets you create virtual notebooks, each with its own title and (theoretically) infinite pages inside it – a new blank page is created as soon as you enter anything on the ‘last’ one.

Within notebooks, there’s also the capacity to convert handwritten notes to digital text, and this generally worked well (even with our less-than-perfect handwriting), although it can sometimes take 20 or more seconds for the conversion to complete, depending on how much you’ve written.

If you’re a doodler, there’s a variety of pen styles to choose from (ballpoint, fountain, calligraphy, brush and highlighter), plus five widths and five shades, giving you plenty of flexibility to create quite detailed black-and-white art. However, with only two levels of pressure sensitivity and inability to zoom in, it’s not at the same level as a dedicated graphics tablet (or even an iPad) when it comes to image creation.

If you think you’ve made a mistake at any point, whether while writing or drawing, the eraser button on the stylus will let you remove any marks you’ve made (stroke by stroke) by just tapping it, making quick work of deleting whole words or lines.

Despite being able to scribble in margins of books, there’s sadly no way to attach a written note to highlighted text – as with other Kobo ereaders, text highlighting only supports typed notes using an onscreen keyboard. It feels like implementing handwriting here (even if it then needs to be converted to digital text) would have been a no-brainer – perhaps it’ll be made possible with a future firmware update.

Kobo Sage battery indicator

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Battery life

  • Poor battery life for an ereader
  • USB-C charging port
  • Additional PowerCover accessory works like a portable charger

One of the main reasons for choosing a dedicated E Ink reader over a small tablet (like an iPad mini or Kindle Fire, for example) for digital books is that ereaders provide significantly improved battery life – or at least they’re supposed to.

The Sage packs the same size li-ion battery as the Forma – a 1,200mAh pack – but sadly doesn’t offer anywhere near as much battery life as its older sibling. During our initial testing, we got no more than a maximum of 15 hours on a full charge (and that’s restricting use to just reading – no writing or browsing the Kobo Store), which is rather dismal for an ereader. 

We suspect the new quad-core processor and new digitizing layer in the screen (both of which are required for stylus support) are in large part responsible for the additional drain, but it’s worth noting that even if you’re not using the stylus (or don’t even have one paired) the Sage still depletes its battery much more swiftly than its predecessor.

A firmware update that arrived late in our testing did improve battery life marginally, extending reading-only time with the Sage up to about 18-20 hours, depending on backlight brightness and use. That’s a good improvement, but still far shy of the 35-40 hours you’ll get with the Forma, or the 50+ hours we achieved on the Libra 2.

Why Kobo decided to stick with a 1,200mAh pack for a device with a significantly more powerful processor is unclear (the Forma has a single-core 1GHz chip, while the Sage has jumped to a 1.8GHz quad-core CPU), especially since it gave the Libra 2 a 1,500mAh battery. Perhaps this oversight (if it truly was one) was only realized late in the device’s development, and Kobo’s answer was to create the PowerCover we mentioned earlier – that’s essentially a magnetic sleepcover with a built-in 1,200mAh battery, essentially doubling the battery capacity. We weren’t sent a PowerCover for testing, so we’re not certain on how much more life it would add, but it should theoretically offer another 15-20 hours. 

The Sage’s shortish runtime isn’t the only slightly underwhelming element when it comes to the battery – we found it also takes up to 3 hours to fully recharge. Despite that shiny new USB-C port, the Sage generally takes longer to recharge than the Forma – the latter goes from about 10% to full in 2 hours. While the Sage initially charges at about the same rate, once the 90% mark has been hit it seems to switch to a very slow trickle-charge setting, meaning the last 10% takes about an hour to complete.

Should I buy the Kobo Sage?

Kobo Sage sleepcover and stylus

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

[First reviewed February 2022]

Samsung The Freestyle projector (2022) review
1:19 pm | February 15, 2022

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Home Theater Projectors Televisions | Comments: Off

Editor's note

• Original review date: February 2022
• New 2nd Gen version launched in 2023
• Launch price: $899 / £999 / AU$1,299
• Target price now: $465 / £549 

Samsung’s The Freestyle (2022) remains our top choice among the best portable projectors owing to its clever design, cool features, and good picture for the price. It’s since been replaced by an updated version, The Freestyle 2nd Gen, which adds Samsung’s Gaming Hub for cloud gaming via Xbox, Nvidia GeForce Now, and other gaming services. Although there’s a new model, The Freestyle (2022) is still available, and sells for $465 / £549. That’s a great price for a portable projector with auto-keystone adjustment that’s capable of beaming a 100-inch image, though gamers may want to spend more for The Freestyle 2023. The rest of this review remains as previously published.

One-minute review

It's no secret that the last couple of years have changed the way we socialize, with many of us opting to partake in the safety of outdoor gatherings rather than risk the spread of Covid-19 in confined, indoor spaces.

Perhaps sensing this trend would only continue to grow in popularity moving forward, Samsung has ingeniously delivered The Freestyle, a portable projector that's capable of producing admirable Full HD images at up to 100 inches in size – perfect for backyard movie nights.

With The Freestyle, Samsung provides almost everything you need for a night of entertainment, bringing the smart TV experience to any surface it's aimed at. It offers access to all of your favorite streaming services, a powerful 360° built-in speaker with smart assistant support, and even mobile mirroring functionality – all you need to provide is a power source (either via a nearby wall socket or a compatible power bank) and a Wi-Fi connection (or, failing that, a mobile hotspot).

Approachability is key for mainstream acceptance of any new product, and Samsung has nailed this aspect with The Freestyle. Simply put, any projector which is ready to go within minutes of being taken out of the box is a triumph of design and engineering, and should be celebrated.

That said, its execution isn't entirely flawless. Though The Freestyle's auto keystone feature worked well for the most part, it did have trouble registering the surface of our provided projector screen properly, leading to a skewed image that needed to be manually adjusted.

Additionally, we weren't too keen on Samsung's updated smart TV platform, which makes its debut on The Freestyle before rolling out to the rest of its 2022 range. It's not only sluggish, but also forces us to leave our content in order to perform simple tasks, like adjusting viewing modes.

Still, The Freestyle is by far the most user-friendly projector solution that this reviewer has encountered, offering better than expected picture quality, excellent connectivity and a variety of clever and endearing features.

Price and availability

Samsung's The Freestyle will release in the UK on February 16, 2022, and is set for release in Australia by the end of February 2022. Though a US release date hasn't been set, retailers are already taking orders for The Freestyle with an expected delivery date of March 31, 2022.

Pricing for The Freestyle has been set at $899 / £999 / AU$1,299, which is a little pricier than other portable projectors on the market. Of course, that should be expected for a product that offers far more functionality and polish than its competition. Taking this into account, we'd argue the price is quite reasonable for a 1080p HDR projector that delivers the Samsung smart TV experience on the go. 

Samsung's The Freestyle

(Image credit: TechRadar / Stephen Lambrechts)


Samsung's The Freestyle has been designed with portability in mind, and its compact size and cylindrical shape is a testament to that. It weighs just 0.8kg, and at 95.2 x 171.4 x 95.2mm, it's roughly the size of a can of dog food, meaning you can pick it up and toss it in your backpack without any hassle whatsoever.

The projector itself is propped up by a sturdy aluminum cradle stand with a flat base which offers well over 180° of tilt, making it easy to project an image on practically any surface.

While The Freestyle is primarily intended for use with a power outlet, The Freestyle can also be powered by compatible power banks which offer 50W/20V output and USB PB functionality, making it especially suited for outdoor settings.

As you'd expect, its 360° degree speaker wraps around The Freestyle's entire circumference, delivering audio in every direction. On top of the device, you'll find touch capacitive controls which allow you to power it on and adjust The Freestyle's volume without a remote.

Samsung's The Freestyle

(Image credit: TechRadar / Stephen Lambrechts)

Meanwhile, on the bottom of the device, you can see The Freestyle's passive radiator, which is used to expel bass, along with some pin connectors that will come in handy for future accessories, such as an already-planned battery pack.

Along the side of the unit, you'll spot a USB Type-C port for powering the device, along with a mini HDMI port (which you'll need in order to connect any sort of games console) and a toggle switch which shuts the device's mic on and off. 

We really appreciate this last inclusion, because while The Freestyle is intended for use as a smart speaker, it's understandable that some people would just want to use it exclusively as a projector, without it listening in on every conversation. 


When it comes to functionality, you won't find a more feature-packed portable projector than Samsung's The Freestyle.

Not only is it a cinema which you can take anywhere, it's an Amazon Alexa and Samsung Bixby capable smart speaker, as well as a custom lighting solution that can change the atmosphere of whichever room it's in entirely.

But let's start with its cinematic prowess. The Freestyle offers Full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution projection with HDR10 support at up to 550 lumens of brightness. On paper, that doesn't sound like much, but we were pleasantly surprised by the bright and vivid images it's able to produce.

Even when used during the day, and with indirect light from outside coming into the room, The Freestyle is able to project confident images that still exhibit an acceptable amount of contrast (depending on how bright your content is to begin with, of course).

We put this down to clever processing from Samsung's Hyper Real picture engine, which is able to automatically adjust color and brightness using its Smart Calibration feature.

One of The Freestyle's most talked about features is its Digital Keystone Correction functionality, which is able to automatically adjust your picture on the fly to present a perfectly squared image, even when projected onto angled surfaces. Adding to this is an auto-levelling feature which will get you a perfectly straight image, even when The Freestyle itself is placed on an uneven surface.

Samsung's The Freestyle

(Image credit: TechRadar / Stephen Lambrechts)

Of course, there's a limit to how much your image can adjust itself – look closely and you'll see a sort of boundary area in your projection, which your reshaped image has to stay within. While that obviously can't be helped, it's worth noting that the crazier your projection and surface angles are, the smaller your image will get.

Speaking of image size, The Freestyle is capable of projecting images starting at 30 inches (from a projection distance of around 79.5cm), all the way up to 100 inches (with a 2.6m projection distance).

As discussed earlier, one thing that gives Samsung's The Freestyle the edge over many other portable projectors is that it has a suite of streaming apps and other services built in from the word go.

Users can take The Freestyle out of its box and start watching the likes of Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime Video and more within minutes – a setup process that's even faster and smoother when done via Samsung's SmartThings phone app.

Which brings us to one of The Freestyle's lesser known features; one which honestly makes all the difference in the world for those looking to use Samsung's projector as their primary home entertainment device – The Freestyle will automatically connect to compatible devices on your Wi-Fi network, especially Samsung ones.

Not only does this mean the ability to mirror our Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 to any projected surface (a feature that's also available to iPhones via AirPlay), The Freestyle also automatically connected to our Samsung soundbar (something which was discovered entirely by accident).

Movie and TV viewing aside, The Freestyle also offers a number of clever ambient modes which will bring a great deal of fun into your home. Sick of looking at a wall all day? Project a virtual window onto it with a beautifully picturesque (and animated) outdoor setting to look at instead. Or maybe you're having a party? The Freestyle will let you project a happy birthday message on your wall in neon, among other things.

Picture and audio quality

As we mentioned earlier, we were genuinely surprised by how The Freestyle was able to overcome the limitations of a 1080p maximum resolution, 60Hz refresh rate and just 550 lumens of brightness to produce impressively vibrant images.

The Freestyle offers three primary picture mode presets: Standard, Dynamic and Movie. In our testing, we did notice the brighter Dynamic mode brought about some motion smoothing, which makes us think it would be best suited to watching sporting events.

Our preferred setting, however, was Movie mode, which offered any experience similar to Filmmaker Mode on Samsung's premium television models, in which the image offers enhanced contrast and colors which are closer to the Hollywood standard.

After switching off all the lights in our living room, we kicked off our home movie by testing the bright and colorful Disney film Encanto, and came away very impressed with The Freestyle's picture quality. Color reproduction was strong and faithful, with a sufficiently good level of contrast.

Samsung's The Freestyle

(Image credit: TechRadar / Stephen Lambrechts)

Later, we chose to watch the dark and grimy action film The Raid, and were once again surprised by how well The Freestyle handled not just the more muted material, but also the aggressive motion and shaky camera work that the movie possesses.

It's worth noting that The Freestyle also offers a Game mode, which brings its latency down from around 70 milliseconds to 43.2 milliseconds. That's fine for casual gamers who want to play a bit of Mario Kart, though competitive players will probably want to steer clear of any projector.

As expected with portable projectors, The Freestyle's image sharpness decreases somewhat the larger you go, and moving it further away from your desired surface will also see a drop in brightness, but even then its images remain fairly crisp and viewable. 

In fact, we'd go as far as saying that The Freestyle's picture quality becomes more pleasant the larger it goes, as the tighter its image projection gets (and the closer you are to it), the easier it is to spot a sort of grid-like, dotted texture to the image, which we imagine is a side effect of how the projector works.

Samsung's The Freestyle

(Image credit: TechRadar / Stephen Lambrechts)

Obviously, this texture would be even less noticeable were The Freestyle capable of a 4K image output (and we don't doubt to see that as a bullet point in future models), however, this model's 1080p looks perfectly fine at an optimal viewing distance of a couple meters or so.

If, like us, you were initially concerned about having to use The Freestyle's built-in 360° degree speaker as your home cinema's primary audio source, you don't have to worry – switching to our aforementioned soundbar in The Freestyle's quick settings menu allowed it to output full surround sound over a Wi-Fi connection, instantly allowing for a more traditional home theatre audio experience.

To be clear, you won't be able to produce full Dolby Atmos audio over Wi-Fi, however, you will get far superior multi-channel sound, which any cinephile will find to be an enormous improvement.


For the purposes of our review, Samsung was able to provide us with a 92-inch roll-up projector screen which gave us the opportunity to have a real cinema-style experience at home (minus the risk of Covid, crying children and exorbitant snack prices).

As for The Freestyle's auto keystone feature, in our experience it worked well in any instance in which the projector was pointed at a wall or ceiling, automatically levelling and adjusting its image into the correct proportions regardless of the surface's shape or angle.

That said, we did find that The Freestyle ironically had trouble registering the surface of our projector screen. Even with the projector pointed directly at the screen from a very central position, it always defaulted to a skewed image.

Additionally, there were some instances where The Freestyle was unable to settle into focus. Eventually, we ended up switching both features off, opting instead to manually adjust both the keystone and focus settings. Thankfully, doing so is a relatively straightforward process.

Samsung's The Freestyle

(Image credit: TechRadar / Stephen Lambrechts)

Our biggest bugbear, however, is the extreme sluggishness of The Freestyle's user interface. The new projector acts as the debut of Samsung's new smart TV operating system, and we must admit, it isn't off to a great start.

For starters, Samsung's new TV OS is now a full-screen affair, meaning you can no longer adjust settings on the fly without leaving the show or movie you're watching. This also means that reaching the (now not so) quick settings requires additional steps.

While the new OS is still based on Tizen, it often takes well over a second for individual button presses on the supplied remote to register on screen. This makes the act of simply navigating Netflix, or adjusting picture settings, an absolutely aggravating affair.

It's worth noting that the remote which was provided to us for review isn't the final remote that'll ship with The Freestyle, but rather the standard remote that ships with
Samsung's mid-tier TVs. Despite this, we don't think the remote has anything to do with The Freestyle's slow-moving navigation.

Issues like these obviously go against the effortlessness and ease of use that Samsung's The Freestyle is primarily being sold on, however, we imagine (and hope) that issues like these could be sorted with a firmware update.

should you buy the Samsung The Freestyle (2022)?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if… 

Bright Data review
12:00 pm | February 14, 2022

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

Bright Data  which was previously known as Luminati Networks, is a web data giant which offers a comprehensive range of proxies in countries and cities  on a global basis. It has over 15,000 customers, and holds over 3,300 patents. 

Need residential proxies? The company has 72 million shared and exclusive IPs across 195 countries. They're sourced from user devices, but if you're looking for more reliability and speed, Bright Data also has 700,000 proxies sourced  directly from ISPs.

Mobile proxies give you IPs from real mobile devices on either 3G or 4G networks. Most proxy providers don't offer them: Bright Data has more than 7 million, making it the largest peer mobile network. 

If your needs are simple, the company's data center proxies offer great performance at a much lower cost. But even here, Bright Data outperforms most of the competition, with a 1.6+ million+ proxy pool spread across 3,000+ subnets, and both country and city-level targeting.

Using Bright Data in a basic form can be as easy as setting up its Chrome extension, which has over 70,000 users. There's no coding involved and it's only marginally more complicated than using a commercial VPN. However, it is more geared towards intermediate to advanced users as the less experienced have issues frequently, that the Chrome extension rating of 2.7 stars out of 5 bears out.

Bright Data's open source Proxy Manager also bypasses the need for coding, and manages to add  many powerful and advanced features: SSL decryption, intelligent routing, custom rules to reduce bandwidth use, and more.

Additional products add web scraping and related abilities. Web Unlocker can solve CAPTCHAs and automatically retry for better success rates; Data Collector fetches hundreds of standard data types (Google search results, Amazon products, social media profiles, YouTube contents) using your search terms; Search Engine Crawler gets you precisely geo-targeted search results for any keyword, on every search engine.

Whatever you're using, support for unlimited concurrent sessions helps to maximize performance. A quoted 08.16% residential proxies uptime guarantee suggests Bright Data is confident about its tech, but if you do run into problems, support is available 24/7 to get your project running smoothly again.


(Image credit: Bright Data)


Bright Data has multiple pricing options for each of its four IP address types: data center, residential, static residential and mobile.

Simple pay-as-you-go plans are available. Residential IPs are priced at $15 per GB,  and mobile IPs are $40. There are also IP proxies that come in at $0.50/IP, and $15/GB of data. Finally, there is the datacenter proxies, coming in at $0.80/IP and $0.110/GB.

Committing to a monthly payment gets you traffic and IP at a better price. For example, $500 a month for the Starter cuts residential proxy costs to $12.75 per GB, while mobile traffic drops to $34 per GB. Another benefit of a plan is the dedicated account manager.

Signing up for a year of service at a time garners additional savings. Opting for the $1,000 a month Advanced plan gets you datacenter proxies for $0.56 per IP and $0.077, for instance, with residential proxy traffic at $10.13 per GB. At the top of the scale, the Advanced+ plan costs $2,000 a month and asks $0.50/IP and $9.75 per GB for ISP proxies, and $9.45 per GB for residential proxies.

Finally, there is a custom plan, which can scale on an unlimited basis. It requires contact to build this plan to you needs and specs. 

There are trials in some situations, although the rules are quite complicated. You can get a 7-day trial, for instance, and you're signing up for a company, and you can verify company registration and ownership, and you're spending at least $500 a month. 

These prices are above average, and you can get lower starting prices with most providers. Smartproxy's Micro plan enables dipping your toe in the residential proxy waters from only $80 a month, and its $12.50 per GB on the Pay as You Go plan is only fractionally higher than Bright Data. And you can bring this down to $8 per GB for a very reasonable $400 a month, while Bright Data asks $2,700 a month  and still charges more per GB .

In fairness, Bright Data does deserve some credit for its pricing flexibility, though, and the Pay-As-You-Go option makes it easy to see if the proxies have the quality to justify their price. 

Startup Wizard

(Image credit: Bright Data)

Signing up

Getting access to Bright Data starts with handing over your details to create an account. It's all set up in a few seconds, and the website redirects you to Bright Data's web dashboard.


(Image credit: Bright Data)

This prompted us for the type of product we needed - datacenter proxies, mobile, residential and so on - before displaying a basic cURL request to see how the service works.

The site next asked us to verify our identity. It's a hassle, but Bright Data has found a way to make it more acceptable. Hand over your credit card, PayPal, Alipay or Payoneer details, the company charges you $1, but credits you with $5. There's no commitment and you're not automatically charged again, but having a positive account balance does mean you're able to access Bright Data's dashboard and run maybe 5-6GB of datacenter proxy texts.


(Image credit: Bright Data)


If you're new to the proxy world, or just used to much smaller providers, Bright Data's web dashboard could be an intimidating surprise. No simple text boxes with lists of proxies here: instead, there's a bunch of summary information, charts where you can monitor your proxy use later, and a sidebar with icons for various areas of the service: zones, the Chrome extension, proxy manager, API setup, reports, account settings, billing and more – and many of these have their own complexities to explore.

 Before you get overwhelmed, be sure to check out the guides in the 'Start using Bright Data' section of the support site, though, and you'll begin to see it's not quite as involved as it first looks.

Create a Zone

(Image credit: Bright Data)

The site first asks you to create a Zone, for instance. Turns out this is really just a group of settings which defines your project: the type of IP addresses you'd like to use (data center, residential, static residential, mobile), your preferred IP type (shared, exclusive), the IP country, state, city, carrier and more.

Once you've created a zone, you can customize it in many ways, for example limiting zones to particular domains, or adding specific domains which you don't want to target.

The value here is you can create multiple zones, each with their own settings and permissions, and reuse them with particular project types. (Bright Data allows you up to 50 zones for free, with the option to add more as needed.)

When  you don't need any of these interface or management extras, you can access all the usual data you need - it’s literally just a click or two away. Zone Details page lists your proxy user name and password, for instance; gives you the ability to add trusted IPs to an allow-list; and can display your allocated IPs, or download a file containing your IPs in the form IP:PORT:USERNAME:PASSWORD.)

There's still significantly more to learn with Bright Data than almost all of the competition. But it's not difficult, and these extra layers are handy for heavy-duty users or anyone with multiple projects to manage and will value these levels of granular control.

Going further

Bright Data's web dashboard may be stuffed with proxy-handling technology, but it's not all the company has to offer. There are other tools to help you access, use and manage your proxy projects.

Bright Data Proxy Browser Extension is a Chrome add-on which enables using your proxies direct from the browser. At its simplest, you can use it much like a VPN: choose a country, connect, then visit your target sites, run searches and do whatever else you need.

As this is Bright Data, though, of course the proxy is also amazingly configurable. You can change the user agent, of course. Customize DNS. You can even allow others to use the extension without giving them your Bright Data login, very handy when you need help in managing a project.

Proxy Manager

(Image credit: Bright Data)

Bright Data's Proxy Manager is an open-source desktop tool which is crammed with ways to automate and optimize your proxy projects.

You can create custom rules to define which requests are routed through the proxy and which can use your regular connection, for instance, cutting costs. And smart handling of connection problems includes the ability to automatically retry on failures, or blacklist IPs which give you bad results.


(Image credit: Bright Data)

Bright Data also provides a custom API. You'll need some development experience to use that, but the Bright Data web dashboard does a lot to speed up the process by making it easy to automatically generate the necessary code.

At a minimum this could involve choosing your zone, exit node country and destination side. Additional options encompass routing, DNS preferences and your choice of user agent (Chrome, Firefox, IE or none).

By default, this generates example shell code, but Node.js, Java, C#, VB, PHP, Python, Ruby and Perl scripts are just a click away. If that's not enough, there are also custom instructions on how to set up a browser or other custom software with the details it needs. (We're not talking some generic text about 'go here to set up proxy', either – this has the proxy name, port and user credentials you need to configure the software for your chosen settings.)


(Image credit: Bright Data)

It's a comprehensive setup to get you up and running with minimal effort. You'll probably have plenty more work to do to get everything working as you expect, but the Bright Data support pages have further details and code samples to ease the process..

Final verdict

Bright Data is more expensive than most providers, has only a limited free trial, and can be far trickier to set up. But its huge network including mobile proxies, flexible billing, 24/7 support and highly powerful and configurable tools make it a must-try for serious users and demanding projects. 

We've also highlighted the best proxy and best VPN

Avast Driver Updater review
11:30 pm | February 11, 2022

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

Driver issues can lead to frustration -  a slow PC, stuttering games and software, and even video playback. While Windows Update adds drivers to your PC, operating system patches and updates are prioritized.

From a point of overall stability, this might make sense. However, if you have specific hardware (e.g. specialist audio equipment) or a brand new device (perhaps a monitor) and its drivers are not available in Windows Update, you have a problem.

The solution is a driver updater, software like Avast Driver Updater that is designed to find, download, and install the latest drivers for your computer. 

You’ve probably heard of Avast Software s.r.o, the Czech cybersecurity company now owned by Gen Digital Inc. (formerly Symantec). But you might be more familiar with Avast’s antivirus tools, rather than system performance tools.

Avast driver updater: Plans and pricing


(Image credit: Avast)

You can sign up for an annual Avast Driver Updater subscription via the website for an annual license that covers a single computer, at $43.99 for 1 year. However, if you opt to download the trial version and click the upgrade button, you’re offered a choice of discounted options to sign up for 2 or 3 years.

Payment options are limited to credit/debit cards or PayPal. Note that the software comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee should you decide you don’t want the subscription. Note that this isn’t a one-off payment, but an annual subscription. This will recur annually until canceled, so keep an eye on this if you don’t think you’ll use it long-term.

Avast driver updater: Features

Outdated Drivers

(Image credit: Avast)

To run Avast Driver Updater, you need Windows 10 or 11 (although 7, 8, and 8.1 are supported). Minimum hardware is 1GB of RAM, 2GB of storage, and an Intel Pentium 4/AMD Athlon 64 or later.

Avast Driver Updater includes the key features you would expect from a driver management tool. 

Automatically scans

The software scans your system for outdated drivers automatically when you load it, and identifies anything that needs updating. This can have a beneficial impact on your system, notably in reducing security risks caused by old drivers and reducing the chances of system crashes or lock-ups.

Similarly, improved audio and smoother graphics can be enjoyed with the latest drivers installed.

Checks over 300,000 hardware devices

Avast Driver Updater can compare your system setup with a database of over 300,000 devices and components and scans in real time to look for drivers when new devices are added. Identified drivers are selected based on the operating system version in use, and the hardware itself. For instance, a hybrid may require different drivers for the same device than a desktop PC would.

Backup and restore drivers

It isn’t wise to simply bulk-update a bunch of drivers without first taking steps to back things up. Windows uses restore points when running Windows Updates, and Avast Driver Updater uses a similar feature here. Before new updates are installed, the existing drivers are backed up. If you run into any problems using the new drivers, you can easily reinstate the originals.

Note that older backups are deleted after 3 months by default, but you can set this to 6 months at the longest.

Driver Database

(Image credit: Avast)

Alternative drivers

In the event of a hardware vendor not providing updated drivers for a prolonged period, Avast Driver Updater offers alternatives. These are installed after a specific length of time (6 months by default, 1 year maximum) after the official driver developer’s last update.

Although useful, this feature can cause problems. Although it is enabled by default, this feature can be disabled.

Desktop notifications

If you want to know the latest news from Avast Driver Updater, you can enable desktop notifications. This will inform you when new scans have run in the background. Note that multiple languages are supported with this software.

Account management

You can access account information from within the Avast Driver Updater tool. As well as being able to sign into an existing Avast account, you can enter the software’s activation code, and manage your Avast subscriptions.

Avast driver updater: Interface and in use

Sign In

(Image credit: Avast)

Firstly, downloading the Avast Driver Updater is uncomplicated. Go to the official website and download the installation file, whether free or paid. Afterward, run the downloaded file, and it begins installing. It doesn't require much computing resources, just 1GB RAM or above and at least 1GB free space on your hard drive.

The free version only lets you scan and update drivers, whereas the paid version has added features.

After installing and launching the software, you’ll see that it's easy to use. It has a central dashboard from which you can control all the features. The features are easily accessible on this dashboard for you to choose from.  

The Avast Driver Updater scores very high in user-friendliness and ease of use.

Avast driver updater: Support


Avast's searchable knowledge base can help you find answers to common problems (Image credit: Avast)

What happens if you can’t get results from Avast Driver Updater, or need to cancel the subscription? Avast’s website has a whole subdomain dedicated to product support, providing assistance for everything from installation and activation to billing, subscriptions, and refunds.

Several help pages can be found for each Avast application, including Avast Driver Updater, which should help you to solve most issues. For those problems that aren’t covered, you can get in touch with Avast’s support team through the website (limited to subscribers).

Support can be contacted directly if you wish to cancel your subscription. 

Avast has a 4-star rating on Trustpilot.

Avast driver updater: Competition

Driver updating tools are popular PC performance options, so it should come as no surprise that a whole host of similar apps are available. Think IObit Driver Booster and Ashampoo Driver Updater; many others also crowd this somewhat niche sector. 

In fact, Avast even has competition from within its own stable. Avast and AVG (a company it bought in 2017?) are both now owned by Gen Digital. Both offer very similar suites of software, including driver updating tools. In our view, there is very little difference between these two utilities. 

The similarities between the tools are so great that you cannot actually install them both on the same system. 

Avast driver updater: Final verdict

When looking for a driver updater utility, you want software that doesn’t just look like it is regularly updated, it runs like it is. Avast Driver Updater looks good, boasts modern features (a slick user interface, account, and license management options), and will also update your Windows drivers.

Avast Driver Updater’s free trial is functional and limited only by time, rather than features. This means you can get a good idea of whether it will help you get the best performance out of your PC without paying first. And when it comes to subscribing, the app isn’t too expensive. 

Overall, it’s a good driver updater that will deliver the latest drivers to your Windows PC as they’re released.

We've also highlighted the best driver update software

Apple Music review
2:10 pm |

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

Apple Music: Two-minute review

Apple Music is the tech giant's music streaming service and our top choice if you love Apple products. Since its debut in 2015, Apple Music has rapidly expanded its catalogue to boast over 100 million tracks, aligning its library size with that of Spotify. Despite a smaller subscriber base than its streaming rival, Apple Music is a worthy competitor, brimming with features catering to music lovers.

Apple Music is geared toward helping you discover new tracks and artists, whether that’s through recommendations, curated playlists, music videos or its 24/7 digital radio stations. Granted, its playlists and social features aren't as fun to use as Spotify's, but suggested tracks and artists always hit the spot. Apple Music's advantage is its ability to integrate locally owned music with its streaming content, providing a unified listening experience.

Apple Music's offering includes Spatial Audio with support for Dolby Atmos. Its catalogue is now also available to subscribers in Lossless Audio at no extra cost, and it sounds great as long as you have the right kit to listen to it. This commitment to high-quality sound positions Apple Music as a strong competitor against other services like Deezer, Amazon Music Unlimited, and Tidal, giving it a leg up over Spotify.

These days, many of the best music streaming services increasingly resemble each other. However, Apple Music still carves out its niche with unique features that affirm its status as an excellent Spotify alternative, especially for those deeply integrated into the Apple ecosystem. While you can use Apple Music on most devices, it's optimized for a seamless experience across all Apple devices and further enhanced by Siri’s compatibility, offering convenience and ease for Apple users.

Apple Music review: Pricing and subscription

(Image credit: TechRadar)
  • $10.99 / £10.99 / AU$12.99 a month
  • One-month free trial 
  • No free ad-based tier

There's no free ad-based tier for Apple Music like there is with Spotify. Instead, a subscription costs $10.99 / £10.99 / AU$12.99 per month for a standard user. However, this does come with a one month free trial to determine if it's right for you. This makes Apple Music the same price as Spotify Premium with access to the same amount of tracks.

Apple also offers a reduced student subscription for $5.99 / £5.99 / AU$6.99 and a family subscription for $16.99 / £16.99 / AU$19.99, which gives up to six people unlimited access and their own personalized music library and music recommendations. 

Whichever type of subscription you choose, you'll also get free access to Apple Music Classical, a separate app dedicated solely to classical music.

Apple Music review: Specs

Two iPhones on a red background showing the Apple Music Classical app

(Image credit: Future)

Apple Music review: Music library and content

An Apple Music promo image of the app on a smartphone and Mac showing lyrics.

(Image credit: Apple)
  • 100 million tracks
  • Integrated with iTunes purchases
  • Separate app for podcasts

There are more than 100 million tracks available to stream on Apple Music at the time of writing. This is the same amount as most major rivals, including Spotify and Tidal. You’ll also find three radio stations with actual DJs playing music, Apple Music 1, Apple Music Hits, and Apple Music Country. 

There are no podcasts on offer within Apple Music – you’ll need the separate Apple Podcasts app for those – but there are thousands of music videos. There’s also a 24/7 music video channel called Apple Music TV. It’s ad-free and mostly plays videos along with some interviews and live performances, think of it as MTV in your pocket.

One thing I didn’t know you could get on Apple Music until I was digging around in my most recent testing was standup comedy. You won’t find an exhaustive selection of comedians here, but some well-known ones have audio-only standup work on the platform, my favorite being Maria Bamford.

What sets the streaming service apart from some rivals is that Apple Music combines the music you already have locally and in iTunes, whether that's what you've bought or ripped from a CD. This is great for bringing all your music together in one place. There's similar functionality on offer from rivals, but it doesn’t work as seamlessly and some require a third-party app.

In 2023 Apple launched Apple Music Classical. This is a separate app, but it’s worth mentioning here considering it’s free for all Apple Music subscribers. Apple says that Apple Music Classical has more than five million tracks, making it “the world’s largest classical music catalog”. I like that search functionality is detailed, catering to different versions and recordings, but there are plenty of ways in for classical beginners, like playlists, guides and even biographies of composers.

Apple Music review: Apps and compatibility

Apple HomePod 2 with iPhone held nearby

(Image credit: Apple)
  • Great integration with Apple devices
  • Siri support
  • Minimal app design

I enjoy using the Apple Music app, especially on my iPhone, it looks good and much less cluttered than Spotify’s with a clean and simple UI. Album artwork is big and takes center stage and I also like that you can choose between light and dark modes. 

The Mac app is similar and looks nice with that extra screen real estate to make the artwork shine. You can use it on non-Apple devices, like a PC or Android phone. As you might expect, the experience feels a little less intuitive, but still works well.

Apple is constantly updating the app to make it more user-friendly. For example, you can now favorite tracks, which are added to a new Favorite Songs playlist in your Library. 

There are also several features that you won’t find in competing music streaming apps, like Apple Music Sing, which is more commonly known as Apple Music’s karaoke feature. This allows you to see lyrics for songs and adjust the volume of the vocals, meaning you can sing along while watching the lyrics as they’re highlighted. 

You can use Siri to operate the Apple Music app. This is why it’s a no-brainer for those who like Apple products and Apple’s smart assistant. You can ask Siri to play anything on Apple Music, which is great if you’re already used to using voice commands in your home.

A Listen Now section on the app – which works pretty much the same across all devices – is like a personalized dashboard filled with recommendations based on your tastes and listening history.

Browse is where you can find updated playlists, new releases, radio stations and trending songs. This feels somewhat personalized, but is more of a hub for all the fresh, new content you might miss if you only follow recommendations. Within Browse the service highlights its Spatial Audio tracks that also support Dolby Atmos, this is good news if you’re listening with headphones or speakers that’ll make the most of it, like the Airpods Pro. 

There’s also a tab dedicated Radio, which is where you’ll find the Apple Music 1, Apple Music Hits, and Apple Music Country stations. 

Next, you’ll find your Library. This is where all of the music you’ve downloaded and saved to your device is kept, as well as everything you’ve saved, added to a playlist and played. It’s all divided up by Playlists, Artists, Albums, Songs, Music Videos, Genres, Compilations, Composers and what you have Downloaded. 

The search bar works well for locating everything on Apple Music, as well as your own tracks. You can even type lyrics in here if that's all you remember.

Apple Music review: Playlists and recommendations

Apple Music Replay on a MacBook and iPhone

(Image credit: Apple)
  • Big focus on curation and recommendations
  • You can download tracks for offline listening
  • Spotify has the edge with discovery playlists

When you first sign up, Apple Music encourages you to select your favorite genres so it can better recommend music, and it gets started straight away. There’s a big focus on curation and recommendations. According to Apple, although an algorithm powers these recommendations, playlists are sometimes curated by a team of experts.

Top Picks For You sit at the top of your Listen Now homepage. This is a good recommendation source, featuring your Station, think of this as your own radio show based on artists you love, a Discovery Station, for only new music you haven’t listened to but Apple Music assumes you’ll like, and a Heavy Rotation Mix. There are also new releases here that the streaming service things you might like. You’ll find these mixes and stations will feature tracks from an artist, as well as similar artists and tracks you might not have listened to before. 

apple music review

Sign up for Apple Music via the desktop app and you’ll be asked to choose your favorite genres to get started. (Image credit: TechRadar / Apple)

Spotify might still have the edge with its super popular customized playlists – we love Daylist and Spotify Wrapped – but there’s a lot to love about Apple Music’s recommendations too. There’s also a Favorites Mix, which is always guaranteed to be packed with artists I love, as well as a Get Up! Mix, which I put on whenever I head to the gym. 

You can download tracks and playlists for offline listening. According to Apple Music you can download up to 10,000 songs, but obviously that will depend on how much storage space you have left on your device too. 

Apple Music review: Sound quality

An image of Apple Music being controlled with Siri

(Image credit: Apple)
  • Spatial Audio and Lossless Audio
  • Crisp and clear sound

Apple Music added lossless streaming and Spatial Audio a few years ago, as well as support for Dolby Atmos. Apple Music’s lossless music streams will top out at 24-bit/48KHz. The hi-res, lossless streams on offer top out at 24-bit/192KHz. It says that it streams at the highest quality by default and reduces it if you’re streaming on the move.

Apple didn't charge for this uplift in quality and now matches rivals like Amazon Music Unlimited, Qobuz, and Tidal with their hi-res audio offerings. So it enters the space of Spotify alternative streaming services for those who are sick of waiting around for Spotify to launch its HiFi service, which has been promised for years.

We've always been impressed with the sound quality on offer at Apple Music. More recent tests show that to still be true with crisp, clear and reliable audio. 

Without a good set of headphones or speakers it can be hard to tell the difference between Apple Music and a rival like Spotify, especially when you're listening via Bluetooth. But with wired and lossless, Apple Music is noticeably better – this highlights the importance of high-end equipment. You have to have a wired connection (for headphones or speakers) or be streaming over Wi-Fi for lossless, and the hi-res lossless tracks require an external DAC than can support 24-bit/192 kHz.

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