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Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless review
7:00 am | August 24, 2022

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

Editor's Note

• Original review date: August 2022
• Still Sennheiser's flagship wireless headphones
• Launch price: $349 / £300 / AU$549
• Regular price now: $299 / £269 / AU$450

Update: February 2024. We still rate the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless as the best wireless headphones in the more premium bracket (without getting super high-end) because their sound quality and, especially, battery life and smart features haven't been beaten yet for the price. And it helps that they're now basically always available cheaper than their list price, and fell as low as $249 / £219 over Black Friday. The latest releases from Bose and Sony can beat them when it comes to noise cancellation strength, but not sound quality at the same price – these remain fantastic value. And we really can't over-emphasize how much we love the 60-hour battery life too. We've tested all the new contenders, and these remain our favorite at this price. The rest of this review remains as previously published.

Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless: two-minute review

The Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless are the latest over-ear wireless headphones from Sennheiser and if Sony isn't worried, it should be. These cans have an incredible battery life, a likeable app, an extensive feature set, easy on-ear controls, talented adaptive noise cancellation and a zealous sound that'll have you nodding your head happily wherever you go. 

Did the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless head straight to the top of our best over-ear headphones buying guide in August 2022? You betcha they did – and two months later in October, they subsequently became our headphones of the year for 2022 – consult the TechRadar Choice Awards hub for the full list of 2022 winners. 

Back to Sennheiser, and while the slightly quirky anchored aluminium headband aesthetic of the third-generation Momentum Wireless cans has gone in favor of a more business-like (can we say 'boring'? I suppose we just have) black plastic and fabric aesthetic, as soon as you put them on you'll forgive it – the sound is that good, we'd wear them even if they only came in slime green and had a big shaky bug eye on each ear cup. 

The Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless are an evolution of the November 2019-issue Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless – even though the familial resemblance has been scrapped. We rated the older cans, commending them for their excellent sound, feature set, built-in Tile tracking (so you needn't lose them) and active noise-cancellation (ANC) but we were disappointed by the 17-hour battery life. 

Well, that has certainly changed with the fourth-generation model – and not just because two years and nine months between iterations is an awfully long time in audio tech. The Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless boast a whopping 60-hour battery life even with ANC deployed, and to save you the bother of checking, we'll tell you right now that you only get 30 hours from the Sony WH-1000XM5, which launched in May 2022. 

If you're not put off by the slightly commonplace design (and we'll be honest, we do miss the altogether more rock 'n' roll Momentum 3 Wireless aesthetic) the sound quality for the money here is unbeatable. 

On top of this, the tweakable ANC works a treat (you can actually control it by 'pinching' the right ear cup in the same way you would to pan in and out of photos on your smartphone), the app sports a clear and intuitive interface, the auto-off works consistently, calls are dramatically improved by Sennheiser's unique and delightfully-named Sidetone (which sounds as if you'll be dialling up the sarcasm, but actually helps you hear your own voice during phone calls) and the immersive detail here will last actual, whole days. 

Senior staff writer Becky Scarrott wearing the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless on white background

Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless are comfortable to wear, and the sound is nothing short of exceptional  (Image credit: TechRadar)

Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless review: price and release date

  • Released on August 9, 2022
  • $349.95 / £300 / AU$549.95 

Sennheiser's fourth generation cans are available now, priced $349.95 / £300 / AU$549.95. They arrived on August 9, 2022. 

The keen-eyed will note that Sennheiser priced its newest over-ear wireless noise-cancelling headphones at $50 (or £80) cheaper than the class-leading Sony WH-1000XM5 cans at launch, which regularly retail for $399 / £380 / AU$550. 

And considering the Sennheiser over-ears boast double the stamina of the Sony proposition, things start to get really interesting… 

Yes, $350 is hardly cheap for a set of headphones, but the Momentum 4 Wireless actually launched at a more palatable price than their 2019-issue predecessors, which we think is quite remarkable. 

Sennheiser is clearly happy to compete against the likes of Bose (the Bose QC 45 launched September 23, 2021 and cost $329 / £329 / AU$499.95) and Sony in a price war, and it's safe to say that the gamble has paid off – and then some. Remember to check out any Sennheiser promo codes currently available to potentially save more.

Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless in case on white background

Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless come in a durable hardshell case – but note that they don't fold up entirely.  (Image credit: TechRadar)

Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless review: features

  • Excellent, fully-featured app 
  • Simple, dependable on-ear controls
  • Useful sound zones and EQ presets

Sennheiser has packed everything and the kitchen sink into the Momentum 4 Wireless’s spec sheet. Aside from that remarkable 60-hour battery life (which, before you ask, is at normal volume levels and with active noise cancellation engaged) that's twice the stamina of many rivals, including the Sony WH-1000XM4 and XM5, which both offer 30 hours, and the Bose QC 45 and Bose Noise Cancelling 700 which offer between 24 and 30 hours.

Rarely have we only had to juice up our cans once and once only during testing, but here the Sennheiser just went on and on... and on, aided by wearer-detection to pause playback if you remove them and an automatic function which powers them off if they've been inactive for 15 minutes, to be roused by another touch. But if you do find yourself low on juice, wired listening is also an option, either using the bundled 2.5mm to 3.5mm audio cable or a USB-C to USB-C one (not supplied, although you do get a flight adapter and a USB-C to USB-A charging cable in the stylish hardshell fabric case).

The Momentum 4 Wireless come bearing Bluetooth 5.2, which means they can simultaneously connect to multiple Bluetooth devices and switch between them more easily – there's a nice connection management tab in the app to see your devices. There’s also support for apt X and aptX Adaptive, aka one of the newest and best Bluetooth codecs around. 

The Sennheiser Smart Control app is your useful, clean, easy-to-use gateway to EQ tweaks and presets (Sennheiser can guide you through a 'Sound Check', which involves listening to your favorite music to create custom presets), as well as Adaptive ANC, which includes a slider to tweak how much extraneous noise you want to eliminate all the way into Transparency, which lets ambient sounds in to keep you aware of traffic, say. 

One of the most novel inclusions here is ‘Sound Zones’. You can create up to 20 profiles (think home, the office, the gym, the train station) featuring specific EQ and noise isolation levels – which will magically activate or deactivate when you enter or leave a specific 'zone' wearing the Momentum 4 Wireless. Want maximum ANC and a thumping bass to kick in as soon as you get within throwing distance of the station? Want to hear conversations in the office – but don't want to conspicuously tweak the settings as you sit at your desk? Sound Zones will make it happen.

And another likeable Sennheiser feature is back here: Sidetone. It makes call-handling much easier because you can actually choose to hear a little (or a lot) of your own voice. As such, you won't find yourself shouting (not even over even the enviable levels of passive noise isolation here) to the recipient of your calls. 

  • Features score: 5/5

Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless on gray background

Lovely big ear cups and only one physical button needed.  (Image credit: TechRadar)

Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless review: design

  • Big oval ear cups
  • One physical button, excellent on-ear controls
  • Ear cups lie flat but do not fold into the headband

What the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless design lacks in physical flair, it atones for in functionality. For example, the fact that the ear cups are no longer anchored in the middle, to the headband, means firstly that adjusting them is a silent experience, and secondly that the entirety of the right ear cup's top surface is now a touchpad. 

This can be tapped once for playback/pause, swiped from near your cheek towards your crown or vice versa for track skipping, swiped up/down for volume adjustment or ‘pinched’ (in the same way as you might zoom in on your phone when looking at photos) for increasing or minimizing ANC. This touchpad is accurate and refreshingly dependable, to the point that we often forego our phone entirely when cueing up music on our commute. 

Physical buttons are limited to one: the combined power and pairing button, also on the right earcup, alongside a USB-C charging port and five battery LED indicators. The ear cups can swivel flat to fit in their case or sit flush around your neck, and although they echo the current trend for ear cups that rotate to lie flat but do not fold up – see the Sony WH-1000XM5Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2 and pricier Bowers & Wilkins PX8 or Focal Bathys over the older, foldable Sony WH-1000XM4 for reference – the design is well conceived. 

In terms of comfort, this new design doesn't initially look that well padded, but what cushioning there is is more than sufficient because the relatively wide headband does a great job of distributing pressure across your crown so that nothing wears heavily or pinches, even after several hours of wear. And the clamping force is good, but not aggressively so.

The only real design flourishes here are the fabric on the external aspect of the headband (available in two colorways) and Sennheiser's trademark S-in-a-rectangle branding at the base of the headband. It's demure to a fault, especially when those ear cups are devoid of any accent whatsoever – and it's the reason we removed half a star from the rating here. But if you'll only glance at the overall star-rating we awarded these excellent Sennheiser noise-cancelling over-ears, you'll see we forgave it all… 

  • Design score: 4.5/5

Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless on white background

Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless boast few design flourishes, but those ear cups are supremely talented when it comes to sound (Image credit: TechRadar)

Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless review: sound quality

  • Excellent adaptive ANC
  • Improved neutrality, crispness and detail 
  • Full-bodied, zealous, expansive sound

First off: the noise cancellation in the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless is very good indeed. Taking to the streets, we find cars, barking dogs and the general thrum of everyday life largely absent from our now unimpeded music. Occasionally, we find Sony's XM5 proposition able to nix just a tiny bit more when it comes to constant low-level noise (a bus engine as we sit on the top deck; the AC unit in the office) but it's a very closely run race and, unless you're switching quickly between each set of headphones it's impossible to call. Even now we hesitate to offer this judgement, since both sets of over-ears offer great levels of ANC – but it is our job to do so and we said what we said. 

Now, the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless sound. Oh, what a sound! Cueing up Somos Nada by Christina Aguilera, we hear all of the texture and emotion in Aguilera's more mature, considered and yet still effortless belt. The keys also feel three-dimensional in an expressive and dynamically agile mix that's capable of intense and supremely musical rise and fall – the kind that creates space for us to hear musical instruments playing and intakes of breath between vocal licks. The album continues to Santo and the placement of casual diners in a cafe and a soft shaker before the track starts proper are all delicately handled and expertly relayed. 

The foreboding guttural vocal stylings alongside whispered close-up utterances throughout Mudvayne's Dig are some of the most challenging ways to test these cans' sense of timing through the low end, and the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless never shy away from the task. 

In fact, whatever genre we throw at the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless, we find ourselves remarking at the open, detailed, expansive, neutral and crisp performance. Never is it overly warm; never is it congested or muddied through the bass. The intro to FKA Twigs' Two Weeks has never sounded so deep and uninhibited through the low-end, and as her bell-like vocal starts, we notice inflections within it and throughout the engaging treble other headphones simply cannot unearth. 

  • Sound quality score: 5/5

Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless in two colorways on white background

Sennheiser Momentum Wireless in both available colorways.  (Image credit: Sennheiser )

Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless review: value

  • High-end sound for a shade under premium prices
  • ANC is bang on for the level
  • Incredible battery life adds value

Although these prices can hardly be considered budget-friendly and we appreciate that, given their talent, (remember, the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2 cost $399 / £379 / approx. AU$575 – aka a $50 premium) we'd still have awarded them five stars for value at $50 more expensive. 

Why? The adaptive noise cancellation is strong, the feature set is as exhaustive as you'll find at the level, the design is minimalist but carefully considered, and the sound is supremely talented. Simply put, the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless are an excellent pair of headphones – truly some of the best noise cancelling headphones you can buy.

  • Value score: 5/5

Should you buy them Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless?

Buy them if…

Don't buy them if…

Also consider…

If our Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless review has you considering whether to buy them or to scope out other wireless over-ear headphones, take a glance at these three competing cans at the level.

SteelSeries Arena 9 speakers
6:00 pm | August 23, 2022

Author: admin | Category: Computers Computing Gadgets Mics & Speakers Peripherals & Accessories | Tags: | Comments: Off

Editor's Note

• Original review date: August 2022
• Still on sale
• Launch price:
$549 / €599 / AU$599
• Official price now: $499 / £470 / AU$230

Update: February 2024. While these computer speakers were first released almost two years ago, they remain some of the best computer speakers you can buy in 2024. This is because there are few PC speaker systems that offer discrete 5.1 surround sound - so if you want immersive audio and aren't impressed with virtual surround offered by some soundbars and headsets, this is still a great choice. You can also get full 5.1 surround sound via a USB connection, which can be a lot more convenient that using older audio connections. The price has also dropped since launch, making these much better value (though still pricey for computer speakers).

The SteelSeries Arena 9 speaker system is an anomaly among computer speakers, though it shouldn’t be. While 5.1 (and the more robust 7.1) speaker systems have been standard in home theaters for a long time now, PC gamers have had a very limited selection of options to pick from. Most computer speakers are typically either a 2.0 or 2.1 system, meaning you get just a left and a right speaker, sometimes with a subwoofer thrown in.

Considering all the gaming headsets out there emulating surround sound to varying degrees of success, it’s surprising that the SteelSeries Arena 9 only has a few surround sound capable rivals among all the computer speakers out there. Of course, just having surround sound isn’t enough. That three-dimensional audio has to sound good as does the stereo performance. And, the speaker system’s utility needs to meet gamers’ needs.

So, how well does it do that? The short answer is pretty close to excellent. The long answer is a bit more nuanced. But, it’s still pretty close to excellent.

SteelSeries Arena 9: Price and availability

  • How much does it cost? $549 (€599, AU$599)
  • When is it available? Available August 23rd
  • Where can you get it? Available in the US, UK, and Australia

When comparing the SteelSeries Arena 9’s price of $549 (599€ / AU$599) to other 5.1 systems, remember that most of them are meant for home theaters. Klipsch has more than a few sets for example that cost about half. But, unlike the Arena 9, they’re generally not powered speakers so you’ll also have to invest in a receiver as well, not to mention find a place to put that receiver in your PC desk setup.

And, when considering other computer speaker systems like the Logitech Z906, which goes for $399 (399€, AU$649), the Arena 9 has a leg up just from being a newer release, having launched in August of 2022. Digital audio inputs for the Z906 are limited to optical audio (no USB), a port that you won’t find on a lot of computers, especially gaming laptops. And, you miss out on features like Bluetooth as well.

  •  Value: 4 / 5

SteelSeries Arena 9 at a gaming desk setup

(Image credit: Future / James Holland)

SteelSeries Arena 9: Design

  • Lots of speakers and lots of connectivity on hand
  • RGB lighting is bright but limited

For whatever reason, PC speaker brands like to shape their speakers in a somewhat cylindrical, almost alien egg-type shape. And, the SteelSeries Arena 9 speakers, not including the subwoofer, are no different. All the speakers also come in matte-black hard plastic enclosures, traits they share with just about every other computer speaker.

There are a total of 6 speaker cabinets in the Arena 9 setup. A dual-driver center speaker, as well as two tiltable front speakers, form the main part of your audio experience. A downward-firing subwoofer provides that extended low-end. And, two rear speakers, one for the left and one for the right, turn the system into a surround sound experience. The rear left and right speakers are all wall-mountable as well. Since this is a 5.1 system, make sure you have a place to put those rear speakers. Otherwise, you won't be able to take advantage of that surround sound.

SteelSeries Arena 9

(Image credit: Future / James Holland)

The SteelSeries Arena 9 also comes with a control pod that provides almost all of your interactivity with the speaker system. It has two buttons on its circular OLED display to either go back in a menu or accept an entry (or press enter) as well as an enclosure that also functions as a scroll or volume wheel. It’s through this control pod that you can adjust the volume on-the-fly, choose audio inputs as well as pair Bluetooth devices, play around with EQ, and select some RGB lighting effects.

SteelSeries Arena 9

(Image credit: Future / James Holland)

You do have some  EQ on hand through the control pod but you can only cycle through six different presets. You have the usual options like bass boost, bass cut, or a high-mid boost appropriately called “Excite”, among others. You can customize one custom setting where you can adjust a 10-band EQ. For more EQ fine-tuning, you’ll have to go through the SteelSeries GG Engine and its Sonar add-on (discussed below) which we highly recommend.

When it comes to RGB lighting, the Arena 9 is not going to give you the most nuanced light show. There are only 4 lighting zones in total and those are only individually customizable on certain settings. The front left and right speakers each have RGB trim around their base as well as a large single zone on the upper back part of their enclosures. 

And, while they get plenty bright, you can’t do a deep dive as you would with other gaming peripherals. There are just four lighting settings available: Steady, Breathe, Color Shift, and Visualizer. You can pick up to six colors for the first two settings, adjust the speed for Breathe and Color Shift, and adjust the brightness on all of them. You can individualize colors and even effects a little further through the SteelSeries GG Engine. Though the RGB lighting could be a bit more robust, the Visualizer setting which is essentially reactive lighting is pretty cool.

Lastly, connectivity on the Arena 9 is just about everything a gamer needs. Not only is USB connectivity on hand with an included cable, but also optical audio and optical audio passthrough, Bluetooth, and an Aux 3.5mm input if you need to go analog (or plug in a different source). There’s also a headphone jack on the control pod that lets you switch from speakers to headphones. You can use the control pod’s menu to go between the two without having to unplug anything.

  • Design: 4.5 / 5 

SteelSeries Arena 9

(Image credit: Future / James Holland)

SteelSeries Arena 9: Performance

  • The sound quality is impressively detailed and fun to listen to
  • The app is very customizable and powerful once you've updated it


It doesn’t matter what speakers or headsets can do if they don’t sound good. Luckily, the SteelSeries Arena 9 is not only plenty loud but it has a fun and engaging sound quality. It’s not quite audiophile level as there’s a mid-high boost which makes everything sound more exciting but also a little too rich in that frequency range. To be fair though, it’s mostly noticeable with music. Regarding the rest of the frequency range, the bass is powerful. Since the subwoofer has a physical dial on the back, you can adjust the bass response to your heart’s content. The mids are generally well-balanced outside of that mid-high boost mentioned above. And, the highs are nice and crisp.

While listening to music such as the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s new single provided a robust and powerful sound, it wasn’t until loading Kena: Bridge of Spirits that we realized how detailed the sound quality is. The game has a lot of interesting high-end audio information and the speakers let us hear every chime and twinkling sound as clear and detailed as any time we struck down an enemy.

SteelSeries Arena 9

(Image credit: Future / James Holland)

When considering a 5.1 sound system, the sound stage and the resultant sound imaging have to be on point. And, the Arena 9 does a generally fantastic job of immersing us into whatever media we’re consuming or playing. We were able to get full three-dimensional audio in Cyberpunk 2077, Kena: Bridge of Spirits, and Psychonauts 2 to name a few. Elements were easy to pinpoint whether they were NPCs or environmental elements. However, unlike virtual surround sound, you must be aware of your speaker placement. Going back to Kena: Bridge of Spirits, we were moving the camera in circles while standing in one spot. While doing so, the rush of a waterfall would transition from one speaker to another but disappear for brief moments. Once we adjusted the rear speaker placements (they weren’t pointed directly at our ears), we achieved a seamless speaker-to-speaker transition.

SteelSeries Arena 9

(Image credit: Future / James Holland)

However, we did have one issue with the surround sound aspect of the Arena 9s that was easily fixed with a firmware update. The only way we could achieve audio from all the speakers with anything other than games was to use the "upmix" feature. It's a great sounding feature that sends the audio from the front speakers to the rear for an immersive and overwhelming experience. Unfortunately, it's still a stereo image. To fix the issue, we had to delete and reinstall the SteelSeries GG Engine. 

Why mention this? If you already have SteelSeries products, just be aware that you might have to go through a similar process to get the Arena 9s to show up on your app. Otherwise, you won't be able to get certain media in 5.1 surround sound and you won't be able to use some of the features of the SteelSeries GG Engine and the Sonar Add-on without losing that surround sound functionality.

And, the Sonar Add-on is worth the trouble. It offers a parametric EQ, something that you don't generally find in consumer EQ products and apps. If you're not familiar, parametric EQs are very customizable and therefore very powerful for shaping audio to your taste. With the one in Sonar, you can boost or cut frequencies by up to 12 decibels and at whichever frequencies you want. You can also control  how wide or narrow a boost or cut is via a Q control. There is a “Smart Volume” setting which compresses the audio signal so nothing is too loud or quiet, a great feature when using the speakers late at night.

Even without the Sonar add-on, the SteelSeries GG Engine offers plenty of customizability including a 10 band EQ with presets mirroring the ones available through the control pod, the ability to adjust when the RGB lighting and LED on the control pod turn off, toggle the upmix feature, and even adjust the volume of all the individual speakers.

  •  Performance: 4.8 / 5

Should I buy the SteelSeries Arena 9?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Also consider

SteelSeries Arena 9: Report card

  • First reviewed August 2022

How we test

We pride ourselves on our independence and our rigorous review-testing process, offering up long-term attention to the products we review and making sure our reviews are updated and maintained - regardless of when a device was released, if you can still buy it, it's on our radar.

Read more about how we test

Saints Row review
5:00 pm | August 22, 2022

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

Time Played: 18 hours

Platform: PC

Saints Row is an identity crisis distilled into a piece of software. Though the playful charm of Volition’s third-person mayhem simulators is still alive and well in places, the 2022 iteration of the fan-favorite series struggles to get to grips with what exactly it’s supposed to be. However, if you believe you can perform the necessary mental gymnastics, you may well be able to get a great deal out of a visit to Vegas. Sorry – Santo Ileso.

For those who just got here, Saints Row is a third-person shooter and open-world GTA-alike where you play the role of an aspiring gang boss, tired of being unappreciated in their nine-to-five role as a rent-a-cop. The game attempts to marry madcap, over-the-top criminal antics with a grounded story about struggling Zellennials. 

It's been seven years since the last entry in the series and a lot has changed since then. The gig economy has become more rampant, we're in the midst of a pandemic, and politics has become somehow even more caustic and vicious. Saints Row has a go at dragging the whimsical and chaotic formula of its predecessors into this new decade. 

And this attempt to have its cake and eat it too really reveals the limitations of Saints Row. Sometimes, the more earnest moments of the narrative add a nice layer of seasoning to the adventure, rooting the antics of the Saints in a relatable world. But this contrast often creates as much dissonance as it does intrigue. 

Saints Row price and release date 

  • What is it? An open-world third-person shooter where you take on the role of an up-and-coming gang boss
  • Release date: August 23, 2022
  • Price: $59.99 / £54.99 / AU$99.95
  • What can I play it on? PS4PS5Xbox OneXbox Series XXbox Series S, and PC, via the Epic Games Store. 

Angel with a shotgun

Saints Row Review Combat

(Image credit: Future)


You spend most of your time in Saints Row shooting at somebody. You turn up, do some crime, then shoot some people out of necessity. This is the core gameplay loop. At its best, it’s glorious. At its worst, it's tedious and overwrought. What you get out of Saints Row will be largely contingent on how much you enjoy this process. 

The basic assault rifle feels like a firehose crossed with your kid brother's fully automatic, electric-powered Nerf gun

Do not come to Saints Row expecting a precise, artisanal shooting experience. This is not Battlefield 2042 or Arma. Fortunately, Saints Row doesn't care that it's not Battlefield. It revels in this fact. The basic assault rifle feels like a firehose crossed with your kid brother's fully automatic, electric-powered Nerf gun. It is like aiming a harpoon while trapped inside a giant vat of treacle. This is a feature that makes the game better. 

This is because combat in Saints Row is not a carefully curated military contest. Rather, it is an exercise in showboating. Despite the title's more grounded pretensions, your every action in combat amounts to gloating. Fight long enough, and your takedown meter fills. Approach an unfortunate enemy fighter, press the correct button, and your Boss will deftly execute a no-holds-barred takedown worthy of only the juiciest action movies or most bombastic WWE cage fights. They are luxurious.  

Adding icing to the Layer Cake, we have the new Flow system, a welcome addition to the Saints Row combat experience. As you progress through the game, you’ll unlock skills that you can use during combat to destructive effect. These range from mundane fare, like grenades and smoke bombs, to anime fire punches and vampiric, health-stealing buffs. These extra tools in your arsenal can be activated by spending Flow points, which you acquire as you inflict damage or take lives. Though they don’t make for a radical shift from the third-person shooter status quo, they do add another avenue through which Saints Row’s more over-the-top elements might manifest themselves.

The trifecta of abilities, takedowns, and overblown gunplay make you feel at least a little bit superhuman. It rarely feels like a fair fight. In fact, mowing down hordes of enemies in Saints Row often feels gratuitous. It is, at its core, a ludicrous power fantasy. I love it.  

Saints Row factions: Marshalls talking to each other

(Image credit: Deep Silver)

Unfortunately, Volition's latest doesn't always remember this crucial aspect of Saints Row's appeal. No more clearly is this neglect demonstrated than in the opening mission. 

Here, our hero endures their first day at Marshall, an extremely morally dubious private military group. Contrary to the far more joyful atmosphere that pervades most of the rest of the title, the opening scene comes across as a near-parodic rendering of the very worst aspects of forgettable, gung-ho FPS games of the late '00s. Unfortunately, the action is played straight and doesn't veer into the parody that it seems to be craving for. It is bizarre that Volition refrains from putting a foot on the gas during this first segment. 

This starkly contrasts with later missions, the majority of which are simple yet enjoyable romps through the city of Santo Ileso. One mission in particular, an homage to Fortnite and Elden Ring, maroons the player on a spooky island and forces them to collect weapons that drop from the sky. Victory is secured only when you're the last person standing. It is hard to believe that the tutorial mission and this melodramatic battle royale pastiche can be found in the same game. It is in this duality that we see the fundamental struggle threaded through almost every aspect of Saints Row.

Saints and sinners

Saints Row, the gang

(Image credit: Future)

Still, there is an impudent charm at the core of Saints Row that no amount of indecision can entirely quash. In its stronger moments, the dialogue sparkles. 

During the early stages of the game, you and your cohort of downtrodden Zellenial friends, Eli, Neenah and Kevin, attempt to break out of economic deadlock with the judicious application of wanton criminality. The majority of the time, these characters are great fun to spend time with. They offer snappy and well-polished chatter. Unfortunately, they’re not free from the uneasy tonal ambiguity that besets the game. In more personal missions with each character, whiplash abounds. 

Tragically, Saints Row often seems ashamed of itself

Tragically, Saints Row often seems ashamed of itself. Though the game flirts with a refreshingly skeptical line on the excesses of capitalism, it rarely commits to a political statement for long. The main characters, all of them hard-pressed gig economy laborers, will often offer exactly the kinds of acerbic and critical one-liners befitting their situation. However, in the next moment, they'll mock the idealism of others who share their skepticism. The lack of consistency is sometimes baffling. Why should a cast of characters who can steal cars and rob pawn shops on a whim feel tied to such mundane concerns as “rent” and “job security”?

Saints Row how to make money, yelling about kevin

(Image credit: Future)

In one mission, you help a character take revenge for the destruction of their car, a gift from their beloved, terminally-ill mother. Your heart-to-heart about a delicate and painful family situation is instantly followed up by a helicopter battle. Alone, both of these things are compelling, albeit in profoundly different ways. Together, they make for a strange cocktail. 

In its more serious moments, Saints Row asks for you to pretend that you are not a superhuman killing machine in a world full of hapless NPCs. Though this attempt at sleight of hand is occasionally successful, the game never quite escapes the strain that this places upon the main story. 

Be your own boss

Saints Row Reboot Review, Boss customization screen

(Image credit: Future)

Saints Row is keen to remind you that you are the figurehead of an up-and-coming street gang. 

As well as taking a significant role in the lives of your friends, you will also find yourself helming the gang’s financial prospects through the Venture system. This system allows you to construct shady businesses and revenue sources across town. Each Venture then offers a series of side missions that improve the financial output of the business, and the passive income of the Saints as a whole. These Vice City-style side hustles do not disappoint. Ranging from insurance scams to a literal LARP fortress, each Criminal Enterprise is endearingly characterful.

When it comes to the Boss themselves, Saints Row doesn’t skimp on further opportunities to build character, quite literally. The character creator is lavish in its offering, bordering on the gratuitous. Dispensing with the Gender Slider from previous titles, the Boss Factory allows you to customize every facet of your physical appearance and gender presentation individually, allowing for a more complete spectrum of human beings to be represented. The game also offers a degree of representation for disabled people. For instance, you are able to create a Boss with prosthetic limbs. It’s refreshing to see, and emblematic of Saints Row’s pervasive generosity.

The majority of vehicles are also completely customizable, allowing you to mix and match with paint jobs, extra fittings and even hood ornaments should it strike your fancy. There are a wide range of distinct rides on offer as you make your way through Saints Row’s busy open world. Muscle cars, convertibles, and even jet bikes are readily available to those who go in search of them. Fans of the series will be pleased to know that the radio is back, too, allowing you to cruise down the highway accompanied by anything from Bach to KRS-One. Fans of bespoke open-world experiences are unlikely to be disappointed.   

No rest for the wicked

Saints Row Reboot Review, funny movie poster in game

(Image credit: Future)

Saints Row is, ultimately, an ambitious but flawed title. The game dips its feet in two contrasting tones, sometimes to its credit but often to its detriment. However, when it decides to tap into the shameless melodrama of its predecessors at the expense of a grittier, GTA 5-adjacent experience, it shines.  

Some aspects of Saints Row will need to face the test of time before they can be assessed. Bugs are infrequent but present, and though none have been game-breaking as of yet, some have required the occasional mission restart. Though it seems likely that Volition will address these in time, I would be lying if I said they didn’t affect the play experience. On the other hand, the co-op campaign system, though promising, will require stress testing before anyone can possibly speak to its robustness or enjoyability. 

If you play Saints Row, I guarantee that something about it will make you laugh. It might be a quip from one of the central cast that gets you. Or perhaps you will revel in the childlike joy that only comes from flipping a car full of police officers over with a dumper truck. Despite sometimes seeming ashamed of its own excesses, Volition packs in enough of them to amuse even the most stoic among us. You’ll have to decide for yourself whether that’s worth wearing a neck brace after all the tonal whiplash.

TruthFinder background check service review
6:18 am |

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. 

TruthFinder allows users to search large databases that include public records that are maintained by government agencies, as well as social media profiles. The platform sifts through this data to offer reports that contain all the relevant details of the individual you're researching. While this may sound a bit out of place from a moral side, there are reasonable scenarios where looking into someone's background makes a lot of sense. 

With that being said, it is essential to note that TruthFinder should not be used to conduct employee background checks, tenant screening, or verify consumer credit. As a note, the service can not be used for purposes that violate the Fair Credit Reporting Act. In essence, you should look at services like TruthFinder as a faster service for obtaining information that is publicly available but more difficult to aggregate on your own. All of the data it aggregates is from reliable and authorized sources, as per its legal obligation. These databases are regularly maintained and inaccuracies removed, as per the company’s claims.   

Plans and pricing

TruthFinder offers a few pricing options, the People Search option starts at $28.05 per month with an option to pay bi-monthly, for a total cost of $46.56 or $23.28 a month. With this plan, you will get everything that the platform offers in terms of people search, including unlimited person reports and location reports, with social media profiles, location history, and much more. For unlimited phone reports, and more limited details for the people search option, there is the Reverse Phone Lookup plan that costs $4.99 a month. If you’re looking for someone’s employment history and email and phone information, then this plan makes a lot more sense.  

TruthFinder review

TruthFinder requires a subscription to use, not ideal if you only want to buy a single report (Image credit: TruthFinder)

Finally, there is the Reverse Email Lookup plan that costs $29.73 a month, for unlimited email reports and unlimited person reports. The reports offered here are more limited compared to the People Search plan, however, you do get all the reports delivered to your email conveniently. There is also an option for you to customize your pricing plans with the help of their customer support team if what they have per default does not suit you. If you want to download and view reports offline, there is a $3.99 monthly fee for this service. Summing up, there is also a Dark Web Monitoring service that costs $2.99 a month and offers the services of monitoring known hacker gathering places for your password and credentials.  

Payment can be made via major credit and debit cards or PayPal and Amazon Pay for digital payment options.

TruthFinder review

TruthFinder lets you perform background searches on anyone in the USA (Image credit: TruthFinder)


TruthFinder offers many of the same features that you’d expect to find with other background check services. These include searches that cover both public and private databases, plus the ability to identify potential associates and relatives of your search subject. 

If TruthFinder correctly manages to identify the person you are searching for, you could receive a report containing many essential details about their life. These will be collated from birth records, social media profiles, and criminal histories.

The TruthFinder platform also offers self-monitoring tools, meaning you can view your record to see what potential employers, or other people who search for you, will see on the platform. Through TruthFinder, you can even claim a particular record as your own. If you do this, you’ll be able to correct factual inaccuracies on it or hide it from other TruthFinder users.

If you’re getting suspicious calls from a number that you don’t recognize, you may be able to use TruthFinder to identify its owner via the reverse phone lookup feature. In some cases, TruthFinder may even be able to reveal social media profiles or photographs associated with the number you are searching for.

Interface and in use

The TruthFinder interface is slick and easy to use. To perform a search, all you need to do is enter the search subject’s name and their local city. Next, TruthFinder will ask questions to help narrow down possible results, such as the gender, age, and known locations of the individual being searched for. You are also requested to provide your first and last name, email, and zip code.

TruthFinder review

You’ll have to sit through numerous loading screens before purchasing and accessing your TruthFinder report (Image credit: TruthFinder)

After that, TruthFinder will display a series of loading screens and progress bars. However, although these pages are visually attractive, it’s hard to avoid the feeling that they are presented for show. There are also enticing statements about how you may be “shocked” to see what is in this individual’s report, and you also have to verify that you are over 18 years old. There is also some marketing as 5-star favorable service reviews are flashed non-stop during the process.

Eventually, TurthFinder will show you a list of candidates who match your search query. You can identify the correct person based on a few factors, such as address and social network. During our testing, TruthFinder successfully identified the majority of people we tried searching for.

Once you’ve found the correct person, you’ll have to pay for your report before opening it. The final report screen is a lengthy interactive document containing a wide range of information on your search subject, including location history, contact information, and possible relatives. Strangely, TruthFinder also includes extraneous information in reports, such as horoscopes and astrological signs.


If you run into trouble or have any difficulty using TruthFinder, you can turn to the help section of the platform’s website. Unfortunately, the information presented here isn’t as detailed as we’d like, but there are some articles on essential topics such as “Cancel Account” and “Is TruthFinder Safe?” Consequently, If you need assistance, you’ll probably be better off contacting the service via the toll-free number, which is available Monday to Friday, 10 AM to 10 PM ET. TruthFinder support staff are available on weekdays and work extended hours, so your query will be responded to quickly.

There are not many companies that offer 24/7 customer support, and unfortunately, TruthFinder is not one of them. 

We were disappointed to find limited other options, such as chat, videos, or a user forum. We also did not find a direct email or a support portal. While not perfect, the support system that is in place will surely answer your queries fairly quickly. 

TruthFinder review

It would be good if TruthFinder was more forthcoming about how the platform works and which databases it sources data from during background checks (Image credit: TruthFinder)


The service offered is secure and private, ensuring that the person you’re looking up will never be able to know that you tried looking them up, using their phone, email, or any other personal information. Data protection is entrusted to the 256-bit encryption mechanism, an encryption protocol used by the US Army, which will safeguard all of your classified information. Moreover, the platform employs SSL certificates from Cloudfllare Inc. guaranteeing your privacy and data security. An additional layer of security can be obtained by utilizing the platform’s Dark Web Monitoring services, but if you’re a diligent and conscientious internet user, you can skip the expense. 

The competition

One major limitation of TruthFinder is that you can’t use the service to complete pre-employment background checks as it is not FRCA compliant. If you are looking for such a service, consider People Trail instead. People Trail is licensed to perform pre-employment background checks and doesn’t require you to sign up for a lengthy membership as TruthFinder does.

PeopleFinders is another background checking service in direct competition with TruthFinder. If you’re not keen on TruthFinder’s hefty monthly cost, you’ll be glad to hear that PeopleFinders’ prices start at a more budget-friendly $2.95.

Final verdict

TruthFinder is a helpful tool if you need to look up a long-lost relative or double-check what information about yourself is available in the public domain. It is one of the top-rated platforms for conducting background checks. Moreover, it provides the option to perform reverse phone lookups and check if your personal information is being sold on the dark web. Rest assured, the website is reliable and secure. However, it is important to note that a monthly membership fee is required for unlimited searches. If you only need to conduct a single search, it may be more practical to consider an alternative service that offers pricing based on individual reports. 

We've also highlighted the best employee background check services.

Intelius background check service review
8:52 pm | August 20, 2022

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Pro | 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. 

Intelius is widely respected as a platform that boasts a collection of more than 20 billion public records. While there are criticisms about inaccuracies and incomplete data in some reviews, Intelius shines when it comes to providing detailed information about a person's educational achievements. One notable feature of the platform is Intelius Connections, a tool that allows users to explore connections beyond an individual's circle. 

Additionally, Intelius offers service tiers with search and billing options, giving users the flexibility to choose between subscription-based or pay-per-lookup models. The company also provides identity protection services through its Identity Protect subscription, which keeps tabs on records and credit card activity. Notably, Intelius has earned an A rating from the Better Business Bureau. It is recognized as a trusted organization by the Internet Society Online Trust Alliance. Users have the ability to request their data and also have their records removed from the database if they so wish. 

Its website is fairly easy to use with all the necessary tools easily reachable. However, since its relaunch in 2019, there have been some complaints regarding the quality of reports, with concerns raised about missing details. Despite some flaws, Intelius remains one of the best in background checkers on the market. 

Performing a search

You’ll need to sign up for a paid account to access records through Intelius. Unfortunately, doing so is perhaps one of the most confusing aspects of Intelius.

There is the “skip wait now” button that will lead you to the section where you can choose to pay for the People Search membership and choose either a monthly or bi-monthly payment. Other than that, you can access different plans by visiting the pricing section of the website and choosing which plan you want from there. This is not as intuitive as for example, clicking on sign-up button and choosing everything from that section, which has become a sort of a standard with modern websites.  

Once you sign up and agree to some fine print, a search based on federal, state, and county data begins. During the process, you might be asked questions to narrow the probe along the way. Then, near the end of the search process, you’re given one final opportunity to narrow the search further by adding other information such as first, middle, or last name, city, state, and age.

Intelius will finally provide a list of people who might match your criteria on the first results page. Listed are their name, age, and locations where they might have lived. Then, tap the “Open Report” button for additional information. 

As a final step, you’ll need to check a box stating you won’t use the information to “make decisions about consumer credit, employment, insurance, tenant screening, or any other purpose that would require FCRA compliance.” That’s the 50-year-old U.S. Fair Credit Reporting Act that was initially developed to help individuals resolve inaccuracies in their credit reports. However, in 1996, the act’s scope was expanded to include additional reports about consumers, such as employment background checks. As a result, FCRA Compliance is mandatory for any employer using a third party to conduct background checks.

Intelius search process begins

(Image credit: Future)

Plans and pricing

Intelius offers a lot of variety in terms of pricing, claiming that there is a customization option with its pricing. We would agree, as the People Search membership plan costs $24.86 per month if you opt for monthly payments, for bi-monthly payments, this price drops to $21.13. This plan offers everything that you need to perform a thorough background check. 

If the price is too steep, Intelius offers a great 5-day trial for the Reverse Phone Lookup with People Search membership plan at $0.95, after that, the service will cost $34.95 per month. It offers unlimited phone, person, and address reports. In addition,  there is the Adress Lookup with people search membership with a 7-day trial at $0.95, offering unlimited address and person reports. After the trial period, this plan will cost $34.95 per month. 

If you’re looking for detailed downloadable report files, Intelius offers those at a $3.99 one-time fee. Moreover, the company also offers Intelius Identity Protection services that will cost $9.95 per month to complete the offer.  

No search results are provided until you give Intelius your credit/debit card or PayPal information and make a purchase. 

You have to subscribe to Intelius to see reports as one-time payments aren’t available (Image credit: Intelius)

The results you get and other goodies

Naturally, the results you receive on someone will differ, depending on what Intelius finds. When found, the report can include address records, public records, images, criminal or traffic information, public social profiles, assets, licenses, and more. If you're looking for a lot of data about someone, there is perhaps nothing better than Intelius. In particular, it offers extensive background check capabilities if that's what you're after. 

Additionally, I'd give Intelius high marks for making it easy to contact customer service. There's a phone number and email readily available on the site. This one-two punch is missing with many of Intelius' competitors. 

As noted above, it takes a long time to access a report. With this in mind, Intelius has introduced a fast pass feature. By choosing this option on the front page, you can get past the payment page before you search. It's a slightly quicker process and one I'm thrilled that Intelius offers. And without directly saying so, going this route shows Intelius giving a little more transparency since you see the price upfront. 

Canceling the service and some negatives

Unfortunately, Intelius' confusing pricing extends further than what was mentioned above. It also offers smaller packages, such as reverse phone searches and address lookups. These are priced below $1, which sounds good until you read the fine print. These options come with limited-time trials that automatically upgrade to full membership once the trial ends. 

Yes, Intelius addresses this online before you make a purchase. However, the upgraded price is addressed in tinier print, at best. Be sure to cancel your membership BEFORE the trial ends so you aren't charged the full fee. 

Additionally, although it didn't happen during my research, some Intelius users online claimed Intelius charged them even after canceling the service. Some others have mentioned being overcharged. Neither of these events should occur with a reputable company; hopefully, Intelius has addressed these concerns since those comments have been made. 

Support and customer care

Intelius offers a “Customer Support” section which takes you to a database of knowledge and articles that may help you, a type of an FAQ section. 

However, any more serious issue needs to be addressed directly with Intelius support. Staff members are on hand during the working hours of 7 AM to 5 PM PT, Monday to Friday, so your query should be dealt with quickly. Unfortunately, there are no weekend hours. You can call or email support; other options such as chat, a support portal, or a forum aren't available.

The competition

A downside to the Intelius search service is that you can’t use the product to perform employment background checks. If that’s the reason that you’re looking for a background check service in the first place, consider using People Trail instead. Unlike Intelius, People Trail is an accredited employment screening service.

Another downside of Intelius is that the service requires a monthly membership, and paying for a one-time background search is impossible. A competitor service worth considering that does employ a straightforward pricing scheme is Sterling for those that only need a one-off or occasional search. This subscription model makes Intelius better suited to those needing multiple searches each month.

Final verdict

Intelius is a remarkable platform that could benefit from improvements in various aspects. There have been mixed reviews regarding Intelius background checks, with many highlighting concerns about data accuracy and consistency. While our personal experience with the platform was positive, we acknowledge that these allegations are not unfounded. 

The Better Business Bureau itself holds a favorable opinion of the platform, and we’re confident that you will be content with the reports that you receive from the platform.

We've also highlighted the best employee background check services.

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro review: the best Samsung Buds yet
7:00 am | August 18, 2022

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

Editor's Note

• Original review date: August 2022
• Galaxy Buds 3 Pro rumored for August 2024 release
• Launch price: $229 / £219 / AU$349
• Target price now: $169 / £159 / $235

Updated: January 2024. There have been new releases from Sony and Bose since the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro came out, but we're still huge fans of these buds – especially for Galaxy phone owners, of course. Their hi-res audio support is still best in class, and their sound is rewarding, detailed and generally impressive. You will get better ANC power from something like the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II, but the Samsung can often be found for much cheaper than basically any of these other premium earbuds, for only a small step down in effectiveness. The official price is still high, but you should aim to pay the 'target' price listed above, which was possible at the time of writing this update. We should note that the Samsung Galaxy Buds 3 Pro are expected to launch in August 2024, but they will surely cost more, so don't let it put you off unless you simply must always have the cutting-edge stuff, and you're willing to wait for something as-yet unconfirmed. The rest of this review remains as previously published.

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro: two-minute review

Given Samsung's formidable reputation in the smartphone and tablet arena, it has long surprised us that the company's Galaxy Buds output never quite hit the mark. A sensible (and color-coordinating) bet if you're already buying a Galaxy phone, maybe, but best avoided by everyone else as a serious sonic proposition.

The big news is that Apple, Sony, Bose, Sennheiser and in fact all of the best wireless earbuds manufacturers now need to take a good look at what Samsung has done with the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. They're good. No, really, they're good

The company has emphatically turned a corner. These smaller, more comfortable and less arrogant earbuds (remember the rose gold, kidney-bean shaped Galaxy Buds Live? These are nothing like those) are packed full of useful perks such as excellent ANC, voice detect, wearer detection and customizable on-ear controls – all of which work very well indeed – plus IPX7 water ingress protection. 

But the headline-grabber, if you own a Samsung Galaxy device (and thus, access to the Samsung Wearable companion app and home-screen widget) is 360 audio with optional head-tracking, thus allowing you to use your phone as the focal point to direct more of that new end-to-end 24-bit high-res audio to whichever ear you prefer. 

With a standard price of $229 / £219 / AU$349 and available in Graphite, White, and Bora Purple, these are viable and slightly cheaper rivals to the Apple AirPods Pro if you own a Samsung Galaxy device – and we mulled this judgement over at length before telling you as much.

The uptick in sound quality emphatically goes hand in hand with the improved fit and lightness here – the Buds Pro 2 are 15% smaller than Samsung's last effort and 0.8g lighter per earpiece (5.5g vs the 6.3g Buds Pro) – but more importantly, the design fits your ear simply and without the wearer having to master any overly-aggressive twist-and-lock techniques. In terms of fit, Samsung has absolutely hit a home run with the Buds 2 Pro – and the praise doesn't stop there. 

The sound quality features a punchy bass, impactful and textured mids and sparkling, easily handled highs. You can tweak the EQ for yourself if you'd like, and a useful Voice Detect feature means that when you pipe up vocally, Ambient mode and lower music volume is automatically deployed to make your conversation easier. After five, 10 or 15 seconds of no talky (you can choose in the app), the music simply returns to normal. 

The scope for noise cancellation is on, off, or ambient (so you cannot select the level you'd like on a slider, for example), but it works easily as well as anything at this price and the extra features for the level are comprehensive. It's possible to connect the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro to two devices simultaneously, and the touch controls cover every function you'll want – including volume alterations via a long press of either bud, as long as you tailor it in the app and are prepared to forego the option to scroll between noise cancellation profiles. 

The only fly in the ointment is battery life, which is a claimed five hours of continuous playtime with ANC on (or eight without it) and up to 18 hours in the cradle. This is acceptable rather than class-leading and we had hoped for a little extra stamina. 

Ultimately though, we find ourselves shaking our heads at the improved sound quality. The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro support Bluetooth 5.3 – and LE Audio "will be eventually supported" by the end of the year, according to Samsung. All of this bodes well for the future, because it means Auracast audio sharing might soon be on the cards.

We're willing to wager that the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro's sound and design will suit practically every ear. The sound quality also now falls in line with Samsung's great reputation in other arenas. Bravo Sammers!

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro on white background

Samsung's clearly worked hard on this shape – and it has paid dividends (Image credit: TechRadar)

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro review: price and release date

  • $229 / £219 / AU$349 
  • Announced August 10, available in stores from August 26

Samsung unveiled the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro on August 10, as part of its Unpacked event where the tech giant also announced the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4, its Galaxy Watch 5, and Watch 5 Pro.

The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro cost $229 / £219 / AU$349 and are available in three colorways: Graphite, White, and Bora Purple. 

To put that pricing into perspective, it's a middle ground between the Apple AirPods Pro, which came with a launch price of $249 / £249 / AU$399, and the AirPods 3, which cost $179 / £169 / AU$279 – but remember, those cheaper 'Pods don't feature any active noise cancellation. 

You can bag the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro on pre-order now, and the Buds 2 Pro will land in stores on August 26.

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro showing USB-C port on colorful background

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro sport a USB-C charger, but there's also wireless charging support (Image credit: TechRadar)

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro review: design and features

  • Small, comfortable earphones
  • IPX7 waterproof earbuds
  • 5 hours of playtime with ANC on; up to 18 hrs in the case

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are refreshingly smaller and lighter than most competing options – and Samsung was right to shave a little off the design. The result is a stylish, minimalist, secure and ergonomic fit that almost feels as if you're not wearing earbuds. 

Across the course of our listening, we experienced zero fall-out anxiety, even with our small ears and without switching from the pre-fitted medium eartips (although you also get small and large tip sets in the box). We found the earpieces never budged, even when breaking into a sprint for the train en route to work, which is unusual. 

The rounded top surface of the earbuds had us a little worried that the touch controls might be somewhat hit-and-miss. We were wrong to doubt them – the Buds 2 Pro's on-ear touch capacitive controls are very good indeed. They're easy to tap, registering your touch with little reassuring beeps, to the point that we found ourselves rarely needing to dig out our phone during our commute thanks to their efficacy. 

USB-C and wireless charging is supported here as expected. The earbuds themselves boast an unusual IPX7 waterproof rating however, which will keep them safe even if submerged in freshwater up to a depth of one meter for up to 30 minutes, but take note – the case is not water resistant at all. 

Wearer detection works, voice detect works, dual connectivity works, the Find My Earbuds feature works and ANC nixes noise without adversely coloring your music – everything does as claimed without fuss or dropouts. And if it sounds de riguer for a product's claimed features to come good under intense review, know that it isn't always the case. 

On the subject of cases, this one is small and easily pocketable, with strong magnets to keep it shut, a solo LED light on the front and a finish that resolutely refuses to collect fingerprint smudges. 

Until you come to that slightly underwhelming battery life of five hours from the buds with ANC on, we've got nothing but good things to say about the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro's design and feature set. 

  • Design and features score: 4.5/5

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro and a phone showing the Samsung Wearable app

Simply toggle on 360 Audio with head-tracking in the app on your Samsung device and you're away (Image credit: TechRadar)

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro review: sound quality

  • 2-way speaker design (woofer and tweeter) 
  • Impressive and detailed 24-bit audio 
  • ANC is seriously good for the level 

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro sport a two-way driver design, with a 10mm woofer and 5.4mm tweeter in each earbud. It's a formidable improvement on Samsung's previous earbud releases too, with YoDogg and Cardo's NIP (streamed in 360 reality audio, on Tidal) sounding atmospheric and foreboding while snaking from one ear to the other in a talented display of immersive audio. 

On the subject of head-tracked Dolby Atmos content, it's a subtler performance than LG's Tone Free T90 when it comes to serving up audio betwixt each ear as you turn your head, but it is fun and effective nevertheless – and make no mistake, the sound is expansive and realistic throughout. 

Sheryl Crow's Soak Up the Sun has us nodding our heads happily as we seek out backing vocals other earbuds can't deliver as cleanly or with as much space around each singer. Here, they are showcased pleasingly against a backdrop of keys in our right ear and guitars in our left. 

DJ Snake's reggaeton romp Taki Taki is nothing short of zealous as whirring synths jump across the soundstage and drums crash in centrally and unapologetically. The soundstage is wide for a set of in-ear headphones and, as our playlist continues to Daddy Yankee and Snow's Con Calma, we realize it's the most energetic and agile performance of the track we've heard in some time through the grippy bassline. 

Samsung's Galaxy Buds 2 Pro include Bluetooth 5.3 and high-quality 24-bit music support, when used with compatible Samsung devices, thanks to the new 'Samsung Seamless Codec'. Although we still don't have full details on exactly what this codec can do, Samsung's slightly older (but still very talented) Scalable Codec is capable of handling 24-bit/96kHz audio streaming, with bitrates of up to 512kbps, so that's the likely minimum support we're talking about here – and regardless of the numbers, the resulting performance is impressive, with high-frequency treble instruments coming through with clarity and nuance, alongside a rock-solid midrange and expressive, impactful low end. 

When it comes to noise cancellation, the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro delivered the goods and then some. When using the Buds 2 Pro for the first time with ANC on, we had to check that the AC unit we were sitting next to was still in fact working. With 3 high SNR (Signal-to-Noise Ratio) microphones, Samsung claims the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro can track and eliminate more outside sound than any Galaxy Buds that have gone before it – even soft sounds like wind – and we'd agree with the claim. 

The Sony WF-1000XM4 are beaten initially for ANC by the Galaxy product, but these and the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds can still lay claim to the being the best noise-cancelling earbuds on the market owing to their more tailored experience – although now, it's a far more closely run race. 

  • Sound quality and noise cancellation score: 4.5/5

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro on white background

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are a bijou and retiring proposition (Image credit: TechRadar)

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro review: value

  • Cheaper than AirPods Pro, dearer than AirPods 3
  • Recommended for Samsung Galaxy device owners

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro squeeze an incredible amount into their bijou design for mid-range money. OK, you might still wish for ANC you can tweak in increments on a slider in the app, but forgive this and it's hard to quibble with the sound-per-pound value. 

The sound quality is unexpectedly good given Samsung's middling track record, and although we had hoped for a little more stamina for those longer listening sessions, there's an awful lot to like here. 

  • Value score: 4.5/5

Should I buy the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro?

Buy them if…

Don't buy them if…

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro review: Also consider

Think the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro might not be the true wireless earbuds for you? That's no biggie. Here are three alternatives that could offer just the design, feature-set and sound quality you're looking for. 

SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless
6:00 pm | August 15, 2022

Author: admin | Category: Computer Gaming Accessories Computers Computing Gadgets Gaming Computers | Tags: | Comments: Off

Editor's Note

• Original review date: August 2022
• No new version out
• Launch price: $349 / £329 / AU$649
• Official price now: $349 / £329 / AU$649

Updated: January 2024. The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless remains one of the best PC gaming headsets on the market, even almost two years after its initial release. Many gaming headsets have tried to offer its impressive feature set that includes multi-device-and-platform connectivity and a swappable battery, but very few have matched its luxurious comfort and none have surpassed its excellent sound quality. In fact, if it wasn't for its high price tag, we'd put this at the very top of the list. And unfortunately, it has yet to go down in price, though you might find it discounted at some online retail stores. The rest of this review remains as previously published.

SteelSeries Arctic Nova Pro Wireless: One-minute review

The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless launch might be one of those defining moments in gaming peripherals history. Ladies and gents, we might just be looking at the future of gaming headsets right now – a dual-purpose, multi-connectivity hybrid that comes with everything you want from the best gaming headset: a detailed sound, immersive soundstage, a long battery life, and off-the-charts comfort.

While we might be a little biased – this author has long been a fan of the Arctis line’s excellent audio quality – there’s no denying the ambitious undertaking that SteelSeries has successfully implemented in this wireless gaming headset

Admittedly, some design elements need tweaking such as that secondary button on its base station that works only 25% of the time and the slightly confusing, non-intuitive physical controls on the headset. But, considering that this is the whole gaming headset package, those barely spoil all the fun you’re getting.

Not that this whole do-it-all thing hasn’t been done before. Another personal favorite, the Astro A50, did it first. But, the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless takes the A50, slaps on some hi-res audio to rival the Audeze Penrose, and tops it all off with elements you’d see on a pair of noise-canceling headphones.

The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless is quite literally the one gaming headset that does it all. How could you want anything less?

SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless: Price and availability

  • How much does it cost? $349 (£329, AU$649)
  • Where is it available? Available now
  • Where can you get it? Available in the US, UK, and Australia

All that doesn’t come cheap. The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless will cost a pretty penny – $349 (£329, AU$649) to be exact. And, if you want to customize it with the Nova Booster Pack, which comes in Cherry Red, Lilac, Mint, and Rose Quartz, you’ll have to pay an extra $34 / £29.

That isn’t surprising. Flagship SteelSeries gaming headsets have always sat around that price range. And, so does the competition. However, you’re getting a lot more value for your money with the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless.

The Astro A50, for example, costs $299 (£349, AU$489), and that’s without the Arctis Nova Pro Wireless’ Bluetooth connectivity and wider frequency range. Meanwhile, the Audeze Penrose will set you back $299 (£299, AU$399) but doesn’t have its multi-device connectivity, comfort level, and active noise cancellation.

  • Value: 3.8 / 5

SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless on a white table next to a Switch

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless: Design

  • Beautiful gaming headset-cum-headphones design
  • Multi-platform, multi-device connectivity
  • One of the most versatile headsets we've tested

The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless boasts a beautiful, elegant look, luxurious fit and comfort, and all-around connectivity. And, despite its fiddly controls and perhaps ear foams that could be a little more breathable, this is one of the best-designed headphones we’ve tested.

Image 1 of 2

SteelSeries Arctic Nova Pro Wireless

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)
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SteelSeries Arctic Nova Pro Wireless

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

It’s relatively lightweight at 337g and comes with plush ear cushions draped in soft-to-touch leatherette, a floating ski headband that’s thinly padded, and earcups that have a lot of swivel to fit different head shapes. Overall, you’re getting an incredibly comfortable gaming headset with good enough hold and size that fits most heads. We only wish that the leatherette is a lot more breathable than it is.

Image 1 of 2

SteelSeries Arctic Nova Pro Wireless

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)
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SteelSeries Arctic Nova Pro Wireless

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

That design is a classier, more accessible, and toned-down version of a gamer’s aesthetic, in an attempt to go for a more all-purpose look so you won’t be embarrassed about wearing it as Bluetooth headphones in public. A good example of this is the mic boom, which seamlessly tucks away inside the left earcup while still offering mic functionality. 

It isn’t the first gaming headset to implement this hybrid design approach – Razer’s done something similar as well – but SteelSeries has done such a good job with it. It looks just as great as a pair of headphones as it does a gaming headset, and we can’t wait to take it with us on our next vacation.

SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless and base station on a gaming mat

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Luckily, it comes with two Fuji lithium-ion batteries that are swappable and offer 22 hours of battery life per. You slot one in the right earcup behind a removable (and customizable) magnetic plate, then swap it out for the other when it runs out of juice. 

Both batteries need charging? Pop one in the built-in battery charging slot in the base station, keep the other in the headphones to charge via the USB-C port behind the left earcup magnetic plate, and charge simultaneously. Easy peasy. SteelSeries has also added fast charging for good measure, so you’ll get three hours of play after 15 minutes of charging.

SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless on a white table

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Sadly, the controls are confusing and non-intuitive. You’ll likely need to memorize that part of the manual first before you can use them seamlessly. And, even then, there’s still a lot to be desired. 

There are two separate on/off buttons, for example, for when you’re using Bluetooth and when you’re using wireless connectivity. Simply turning the headset off using the power button doesn’t mean you’re turning it off completely. If Bluetooth is on, it’ll keep its current connection and still play music from that source. Meanwhile, the wireless base station has a second button that only works 25% of the time.

SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless and base station on a gaming mat

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Speaking of the base station, it gives the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless its multi-platform, multi-device prowess, which when coupled with its Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity, makes it perhaps the single most versatile headset on the market right now. 

SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless and base station on a gaming mat

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

The base station allows it to be connected to two sources wirelessly and simultaneously. But, you also do not need it to use the headset, thanks to the Bluetooth and the 3.5mm wired connection that it also offers. Connect it to a mobile device via Bluetooth or a 3.5mm cable, and you can use it as a pair of standalone headphones you can take with you on hikes, during your commutes, or on a long-haul flight. 

Nifty, right?!

  • Design: 4.6 / 5

SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless: Performance

  • Hi-res audio with 10Hz to 40KHz frequency range
  • Amazing, detailed audio
  • ANC not very good, sadly

With a frequency range of 10Hz to 40KHz, the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless delivers a little more sub-bass and high-res audio. 

Sound quality is, therefore, exquisite here, giving us deep bass with a lot of rumble even at under 75% volume, a beautifully-present treble with a lot of detail, and well-represented mids. That’s whether we’re playing a game like Sable whose sound elements are very much a part of and vital to your gaming experience, listening to Florence and the Machine’s “Dance Fever,” or watching the movie, “Prey.”

SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless on a white table next to a Switch

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

We’ve tested gaming headsets that have a much wider soundstage. The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless still delivers a great soundstage. More importantly, thanks to its 360° Spatial Audio feature, its sound imaging is very much on point. We really feel the movements of the different game and movie elements when using it, whether it’s a bear chasing the main protagonist in the woods or background game characters moving from left to right.

SteelSeries Arctic Nova Pro Wireless next to a Switch with its mic retracted

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

The mic, which still works when stowed away, is clear and crisp when retracted. Guaranteed, you’re coming out loud and clear whether you’re chatting with your friends on Discord or hopping on a quick call with your colleague via your smartphone. Unfortunately, noise rejection is only available for Windows 10/11. As in our experience, the person on the other end of that phone call will hear even the hum of the AC in your apartment.

The ANC is not very good. It’s effective in drowning out noises like the sounds of distant traffic or your AC. However, it’s not as good if you’re trying to block out all the noise. That’s ok for the most part as the audio to an extent takes care of the rest. However, if you plan on using this on the plane, it isn’t going to block out the sounds of those engines.

  • Performance: 5 / 5

Should I buy the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless?

SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless on a white table next to the Switch

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Also consider

SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless: Report card

  • First reviewed August 2022

How we test

We pride ourselves on our independence and our rigorous review-testing process, offering up long-term attention to the products we review and making sure our reviews are updated and maintained - regardless of when a device was released, if you can still buy it, it's on our radar.

Read more about how we test

DreamCloud Mattress review 2023
3:30 pm | August 14, 2022

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Health & Fitness Mattresses Sleep | Tags: , | Comments: Off

DreamCloud Mattress: Two-minute review

The DreamCloud Mattress is a luxuriously thick hybrid mattress that's sold at a much lower price than equivalent beds from rival brands. It also comes with excellent perks – a full year's trial period and lifetime warranty. After sleeping on a queen-size model for three weeks and testing it on a range of comfort and support criteria, I'd rate this the best mattress around if you're looking for an affordable yet surprisingly premium-feeling hybrid. 

The hybrid design consists of an innerspring base, a cashmere-blend quilted foam cover, and three layers of foams sandwiched in between them – including a layer of gel-infused memory foam to keep sleepers cool. During testing I found it to be the perfect blend of bouncy, soft, and supportive. It's responsive yet cradling, with a nice amount of cushioning, and kept my head, neck, and shoulders nicely aligned.

Some other (pricier) brands offer a choice of different sleep feels, but there's only one firmness option here. That medium-firm feel manages to satisfy most sleepers, although very lightweight people might find it a bit too hard, while very heavy bodies should seek out something more supportive. In fact, the DreamCloud Mattress performed impressively well in all of my tests – check out the table below for an overview.

The generous 365-night trial means you can sleep on it in all seasons before fully committing, and you’re not satisfied, the company will refund your money and also cover the returns fee. 

That's the super-short version. Read on for my full DreamCloud mattress review.

Note: I'm reviewing the US model here. For the UK review, toggle the flag dropdown in the main navigation bar.

DreamCloud mattress review: Design & materials

  • 14-inch tall, hybrid mattress with five internal layers, plus cover
  • Includes quilted, cashmere blend cover, memory foam and wrapped coils
  • You'll have to spot-treat stains since the cover is not removable

The DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid has five internal layers, including foams and springs. At 14 inches tall, it's thicker than most mattresses, which helps it feel more luxurious, but is worth bearing in mind if you're going to need to move it around a lot, or are planning on adding a topper, for example. It's available in the usual range of common US sizes, and ranks highly in TechRadar's best king size mattress guide.

At the top is a soft-touch cover made from quilted foam and cashmere blend material. It's stitched with a cloud pattern, and has a fairly luxurious look and feel (it's still designed to be nice and durable). 

Right underneath that is a pressure-relieving comfort layer made of 'soft foam', followed by a layer of sink-in memory foam, infused with gel to promote cooling. These sit on top of a 'transition layer' of a third type of foam. All of the foams used here are CertiPUR-US certified, which means they meet certain basic health and environmental standards. 

DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid Mattress materials diagram

Inside the DreamCloud Hybrid you'll find layers of different foams and pocket coils (Image credit: DreamCloud)

Beneath these three foams is the layer of eight-and-a-half inch tall innerspring steel coils. These are individually pocketed, to help isolate movements, and extra-thick around the perimeter, to give a sturdier edge. The coils will also boost breathability by creating space for air to circulate within the mattress (all-foam mattresses can cling on to body heat). 

Below the coils is a layer of base foam for stability, followed by the shift-resistant lower cover. Unlike some other models, the upper cover cannot be removed and popped into the washing machine for easy cleaning – this one is spot-clean only (if you're unsure of how to do this read our guide to learn how to clean a mattress). To further safeguard the mattress from stains, spills, and other undesirables, wrap it in one of the best mattress protectors. There are, however, handles to help with maneuvering.

Diagram showing layers of hybrid DreamCloud (left) and all-foam version

The memory foam version (left) swaps the springs of the hybrid (right) for more foam (Image credit: DreamCloud)

The DreamCloud Hybrid is the brand's original and flagship model. There are a couple of pricier, and more advanced models in the range – the Premier and the Premier Rest. In fall 2023, DreamCloud also introduced all-foam versions of all of its mattresses, so it is possible to buy the DreamCloud original in a version that swaps the springs for more foam.

  • Design score: 4 out of 5

DreamCloud mattress review: Price & value for money

  • Lower-mid / mid-range mattress; queen size typically sold at $799
  • Never sold at full price – expect around 40% off
  • Comes with a 1-year trial and forever warranty

The DreamCloud Mattress is very competitively priced among other luxury hybrids and is among the most affordable mattresses in its class. Ignore MSRP, because there's always a DreamCloud mattress sale on. The evergreen offer runs year-round and knocks around 40% off. One exception is the Black Friday mattress deals – while the offer on the day itself is usually just the standard evergreen deal, there are often flash sales that occur in the late October and early November that deliver especially low prices.

Outside of those holiday flash sales, the evergreen offer gets you a queen-size DreamCloud Hybrid for $799. The all-foam version will typically have the same discount structure, and overall is slightly cheaper.

Here's the 'official' pricing for the DreamCloud mattress, and alongside the typical sale price:

  • Twin: MSRP $839 (usually on sale for $503)
  • Twin XL: MSRP $1,089 (usually on sale for $653)
  • Full: MSRP $1,199 (usually on sale for $719)
  • Queen: MSRP $1,332 (usually on sale for $799)
  • King: MSRP $1,669 (usually on sale for $1,001)
  • Cal king: MSRP $1,669 (usually on sale for $1,001)

The DreamCloud is one of the most affordable options in TechRadar's best hybrid mattress ranking, and punches above its weight when it comes to quality. It's a great alternative to something like the Saatva Classic or the WinkBed mattress, but can't afford the premium price tag – while the DreamCloud isn't as high quality as either of those models, it has a similar look and feel. 

DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid Mattress uncovered on a bed frame

(Image credit: Future)

Standard with the DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid is a 365-night mattress trial, providing you with an entire year to decide if the mattress is right for you. If you decide not to keep the mattress, you can request a refund as long as you tried it for 30 full days. (You'll also avail of free returns.) But if you do decide to keep it, the DreamCloud Mattress is guaranteed for life. Should you ever find a manufacturer’s flaw or defect, DreamCloud will repair or replace it.

With a few weeks of testing under my belt, I would be surprised if DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid Mattress didn't remain sturdy and new-looking. The mattress utilizes high-quality build materials and premium construction, which means it should stand up to years of use. 

  • Value score: 4.5 out of 5

DreamCloud mattress review: Comfort & support

  • I'd rate it a 7.5 out of 10 on the firmness scale
  • Suitable for most side or back sleepers who battle joint pain
  • Lighter bodies or front-side sleepers may find it too firm

The DreamCloud Mattress comes in one firmness level, which the company declares is a 'luxury firm' at 6.5 out of 10 on the firmness scale. However, my testing panel judged it to be a little firmer – somewhere between a 7 and 8 out of 10. Some more expensive hybrid mattresses are available in a few different firmness feels, so you can pick according to your preferences, but that's not the case with the DreamCloud. It's one of the concessions you're making for that lower price point. 

Luckily, the DreamCloud proved to be a very comfortable level of firmness for most of my testing panel, myself included. The upper foam layers add some plush cushioning and pressure relief, but this isn't a mattress that you'll sink too far into – don't expect that memory foam 'hug' feel. Meanwhile, the pocket coils keep deliver plenty of support, and it's responsive enough that you'll be able to change position easily.

DreamCloud Mattress with a kettlebell in the middle to test pressure relief

(Image credit: Future)

When I placed a 50lb kettlebell weight in the middle of the DreamCloud Mattress, it sunk in a minimal 1.5 inches, and I didn't notice any indentations upon removing the weight. 

Remember, however, that mattress firmness is subjective. Height, weight, and dominant sleep position play a role in how you'll feel about a particular mattress. That's why I asked a range of sleepers of different body types and sleep preferences to share their views for this review, as well as consulting available customer reviews (below). 

DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid Mattress on a white background

(Image credit: DreamCloud)

Most of my testers found the DreamCloud comfortable in any position, with plenty of pressure relief for back and side sleepers in particular. Those among us with achy joints said the DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid sufficiently alleviated joint pain in their knees and hips by cradling and cushioning in all of the right places. Meanwhile, our back-sleeping weekend guest reviewer found much relief when resting on the DreamCloud, also noting that she felt her spine was well-aligned. I'd also recommend it to anyone who deals with back pain (this model features amongst TechRadar's best mattresses for back pain), thanks to the combination of sturdy support and comfortable cushioning.

It won't suit everyone. Front sleepers might need something a little firmer, and similarly if you weigh much above 230lbs, you might crave slightly more support (those in the latter camp could consider upgrading to the DreamCloud Premier Hybrid Mattress, or another models from TechRadar's best mattress for bigger bodies guide). On the flip side, lightweight sleepers might find it a tad too hard for their liking.

DreamCloud mattress review: Performance

  • Low motion transfer makes it suitable for co-sleepers
  • Hot sleepers are likely to sleep cooler on this
  • Edge support is also very good

I slept on a queen-sized DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid for three weeks, asking others of different weights and sleep preferences to come and test the mattress during this time. In addition to assessing the DreamCloud for comfort and support, I also tested out other key performance aspects – namely, temperature regulation, motion transfer and edge support. Keep reading to learn what I discovered...

Temperature regulation

Despite not being a designated cooling mattress, the DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid also does a superb job of regulating temperature. As a rule, hybrids tend to be more breathable than all-foam models, because the coils create space for air to circulate within the mattress. Some foams can also cling on to body heat, but I didn't have any issue with the DreamCloud's foam layers. The cashmere-blend top fabric might also have contributed to this mattress' temperature regulation properties – the sleep surface remained cool to the touch throughout the night. 

During my review period, I used several different sheets including a jersey blend and a Pima cotton blend set, and found no difference in the DreamCloud’s ability to keep cool.

  • Temperature regulation score: 4.5 out of 5

Motion isolation

To evaluate the DreamCloud's motion transfer – which is when you can feel someone tossing, turning, or getting in or out of bed while someone else is sleeping – I performed several drop tests using an empty wine glass and a 10lb kettlebell. 

I dropped the weight roughly two feet away from the glass from three different heights: 4 inches (to mimic a partner tossing-and-turning), 8 inches (a partner getting in or out of bed), and 12 inches (a partner jumping into bed, or a larger co-sleeper turning over).

DreamCloud Mattress during motion isolation test

(Image credit: Future)

With all three drop tests, the wine glass was solid, barely stirred, and only slightly stirred, respectively. This is a great result, suggesting that you would hardly feel any of the motion transfer on the other side of the bed from a partner.

That matches up with my real-world experience – I had no issue with being disturbed by a partner's movements on my queen-sized bed during my review period. I can confidently recommend the DreamCloud Mattress for couples who operate on different schedules or sleep with someone who is very restless.

  • Motion isolation score: 4.5 out of 5

Edge support

The edge support on DreamCloud Mattress is another area where I was mostly impressed. I was not only able to sit fairly comfortably on the edge of DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid without problem, but I also placed a 50lb kettlebell on the edge of the bed to simulate a child or large animal resting on the side if the bed and experienced no issue. The mattress does a decent job of holding its shape and the weight only sunk in the same 1.5 inches that it did when placed in the middle, indicating that the edge support is decent.

Edge of the DreamCloud Mattress

(Image credit: Future)

This is good news for anyone who tends to roll towards the edge of the bed while they sleep, as they won't have to worry about possibly falling onto the floor. It's also beneficial for anyone with mobility issues who needs to sit on the edge of the bed before getting in or out of it.

  • Edge support score: 4.5 out of 5

DreamCloud mattress review: Customer service

The DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid ships free, and typically takes around two to five business days to arrive. This is a bed-in-a-box mattress, which means, it's vacuum-packed and rolled for delivery, making it easier to get it through your home, even if you have tight corners or cramped stairwells to contend with. 

When I first reviewed this mattress, there was an option to pay extra to upgrade to white glove delivery or have your old mattress removed, but it looks like these options have disappeared. That means you're probably going to need to rope someone else in to help you get your mattress into place, because even though it's compact, it's still heavy (especially the larger sizes). 

Inside the cardboard box you'll find a large, plastic-covered-barrel-shaped mattress to unwrap – made easier courtesy of the little cutting gadget that's included. After rolling it out and removing the plastic, the mattress emerges and begins to instantly expand from its vacuum seal. You can sleep on the mattress within an hour, which means you can set it up closer to bedtime if you wish.

I hardly detected any off-gassing smell while unpacking the mattress and if there was any odor, it quickly dissipated. But this is a hybrid mattress, which isn't as susceptible to off-gassing as its full-foam counterparts in the first place. 

The DreamCloud Mattress wrapped in plastic on a bed frame

(Image credit: Future)

Almost all of the big bed brands offer free delivery, but quite a few do also give you the option to upgrade to a more comprehensive delivery if it's needed, so that's slightly disappointing. Saatva is the only brand I know of to include white glove delivery for free, but those mattresses are significantly more expensive. 

When it comes to trial period, DreamCloud fares better – you'll get a full year's sleep trial to test out your purchase and make sure it's right for you. That matches the longest trial you'll find on the market, and returns are free too (some brands charge a processing fee for this). Finally, there's a forever warranty, which again matches the longest you'll find anywhere (... obviously), and is very generous for a mattress in this price bracket. 

  • Customer service score: 4.5 out of 5

DreamCloud mattress review: Specs

DreamCloud mattress review: Other reviews

  • 4.6* average over ~8,200 reviews (Nov 2023)
  • Complaints focus on it being to soft or firm, a few also found it slept warm
  • Most reviews are very enthusiastic and positive

My testing panel was made up of individuals with varying builds and preferences, but it's still a rather small sample size to go by. Thus, I've also analyzed user reviews from other DreamCloud customers to provide you with a more comprehensive look at how well this mattress performs.

The DreamCloud Hybrid has gained popularity since its 2017 debut in the bed-in-a-box category. As of November 2023, you can find over 8,200 customer-verified reviews of the mattress on its site, 80% of which are five stars – scoring an average of 4.6 stars. Since DreamCloud only sells from its online retailer and not third-party sellers, there aren’t other sites to gather more reviews.

Most of the less-than-perfect reviews were a result of an issue with firmness (which is subjective anyway). However, a few found the mattress slept warm (I didn't find this), and a handful also reported signs of sagging sooner than expected. DreamCloud is obviously confident in its mattress' durability, because it has a forever warranty (it'll also help to know how long a mattress lasts so you can anticipate when it may be time to replace it – hybrids typically last 7 to 10 years). You've also got a full year's trial, which you can use to make sure it suits your needs. 

Most customers, however, credit the DreamCloud Mattress with alleviating back pain and overall improving their sleep. There were several users who praised DreamCloud's timely customer service as well. 

The DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid Mattress placed on a wooden bed frame in a white bedroom

(Image credit: DreamCloud)

Should you buy the DreamCloud mattress?

Buy it if...

✅ You want a luxurious feel for an affordable price: The DreamCloud is one of the best value mattresses around, and delivers a surprisingly luxurious feel for its lower-mid / mid-range price bracket. The very generous extras – a full year's trial and forever warranty – really amp up your value for money. 

You struggle with back or joint pain: The combination of supportive coils and gentle cushioning make this mattress a great choice for those struggling with back pain or sore joints. 

You share a bed: Bed-sharers should look for a mattress that offers high levels of motion isolation, and I found the DreamCloud excelled in this area. You shouldn't be disturbed by a partner's nocturnal movements. 

Don't buy it if...

❌ You prefer a memory foam hug feel: This mattress has comfortable cushioning, but if you want a contouring feel, you'll need something with a higher proportion of memory foam. Consider something like the Helix Midnight, which TechRadar rates as the best mattress for side sleepers.

You want the best of the best: The DreamCloud is great value for money, but if you can push to a higher price, then the Saatva Classic can't be beaten. This is our #1 rated mattress overall, and boasts impeccable build quality and a luxurious feel. 

You need something cheaper: Hybrids typically cost a bit more than all-foam mattresses, so if you want to save a bit of money and aren't fussed about the springs, check out the Nectar mattress – TechRadar's best memory foam mattress. It's from the same parent company as the DreamCloud, so you'll still get those excellent extras. See exactly how the two compare in this Nectar vs DreamCloud showdown. 

You're very lightweight: Very light people might find the DreamCloud a bit too firm for comfort – especially if you typically lie on your side. If that's the case, consider something softer, like the Amerisleep AS3 Hybrid

ErgoTune Supreme V3 review: it’s time to sit up straight
6:22 am | August 12, 2022

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

ErgoTune Supreme V3: two-minute review

The ErgoTune Supreme V3 office chair looks like so many other cheap, no-brand, all-mesh alternatives on the market... and then you look a little more closely to quickly realize the quality on offer here.

While you need to assemble it yourself (at least in the US and Australia), outstanding instructions (with helpful tips about using boxes for support, plus ‘How To Build’ videos) make assembly simple. Everything fits together perfectly and you’re quickly facing a solid chair whose lines are both horizontal and vertical where they need to be.

Singapore-based parent company Northday has liaised with the enthusiastic community that has grown around the ErgoTune chair to identify areas of improvement for this third iteration of its Supreme model. Innovations include a three-axis adjustable neck rest, a wider, more adjustable lumbar support and improved height adjustment from the pneumatic base. These join existing features like highly adjustable arm rests (which move in-and-out, point inwards and outwards, and move up and down).

Despite the high-quality mesh fabric, it can feel rather stiff – especially in the first week of use. However, once I got used to the lumbar support, I stopped aching as much throughout the day. I did struggle with the (otherwise impressive) adjustable mesh seat, however. This reviewer’s big, Aussie backside was just too wide to be fully comfortable with it, being forced to sit on the solid slats that suspend the mesh. However, it’s worth noting that I had the same problem with Herman Miller’s largest Aeron (the industry’s ‘gold-standard’ mesh chair), which is considerably more expensive. 

There was also a gripe concerning reclining. For a big guy, the settings are essentially fixed upright, loose, looser or very loose. I suspect that ErgoTune’s expansion out of Singapore, into Western markets, may require some updated average-person measurements. 

Nonetheless, although these issues made this particular reviewer struggle to relax in the chair, working in it day in and day out saw him suffer far fewer aches when clocking off for the day. Not everyone will experience these problems – especially those with more dainty derrières.

Ultimately, it feels very high quality and is backed with an impressive 12-year warranty. You can certainly buy cheaper chairs, but the ErgoTune Supreme V3 ranks up there with some of the best office chairs on the market (which exist in much higher price brackets).

ErgoTune Supreme V3's back- and armrests

The ErgoTune Supreme V3's mesh backrest and adjustable armrests. (Image credit: TechRadar)

ErgoTune Supreme V3 review: Price and availability

ErgoTune Supreme V3 review: Price and availability

  • How much does it cost? AU$749 / SG$599
  • When is it out? Available to buy now
  • Where can you get it? Currently available in the US, Australia and Singapore direct from ErgoTune or parent brand NorthDay, as well as on Amazon

Having started life in Singapore, the ErgoTune Supreme V3 arrived in Australia in 2021 and then made its way to the US market early in 2023.

What's quite striking about the ErgoTune Supreme V3 is its competitive pricing: it will set you back $569 in the US, AU$749 in Australia and SG$599 in Singapore

There are many cheaper alternatives, but none offer the quality or adjustability on offer here. Alternative high-quality mesh office chairs include the NeueChair ($729 / AU$1,229 / SG$1,169) and the classic Herman Miller Aeron ($1,535 / AU$2,095 / SG$2,679). The former’s mesh feels lower quality and its less adjustable. The Aeron can be more comfortable but offers less posture support – and is considerably more expensive. This means the ErgoTune Supreme V3 punches well above its weight and is great value.

  • Value: 4.5 / 5

Side profile of the ErgoTune Supreme V3

With neck and lumbar support, plus adjustable armrests, the ErgoTune Supreme V3 has a lot to recommend it. (Image credit: TechRadar)

ErgoTune Supreme V3 Office Chair review: Design and features

  • New adjustments for lumbar, neck and height

ErgoTune is based in Singapore and has developed an enthusiastic following. It’s good to know that the company has liaised with this group to design the innovations that make up this third iteration (V3) of the ErgoTune Supreme.

It offers a very solid, five-feet, wheeled base that feels fully planted (and yet very moveable) both on carpet and hard floors. This connects to the upper portion via a high-quality pneumatic stem. The V3 now comes with three options of this for different heights: Petite (140cm – 159cm), Standard (160cm – 179cm) and Tall (180cm – 210cm). When I was first sent the Supreme V3 for review, supply chain issues meant that I received the Tall stem later, by which time the default Standard stem was fully wedged and not coming out. Still, the standard stem suited my 189cm height just fine. The new Petite stem will suit shorter people who don’t like their legs dangling off the ground.

There are two levers just below the seat and both can be lifted to make serious movement adjustments or twisted into a number of positions to adjust tension and motion locks. The left lever allows the seat to move forward and back to a generous degree, so that everyone should be able to sit with their lower legs pointing straight down. Twisting the lever enables the back rest to recline or be locked in place. The right lever allows the pneumatic stem to raise or lower the seat, while twisting it changes the looseness of the backrest’s movement. 

ErgoTune Supreme V3's neck support

The neck support on the ErgoTune Supreme V3 can be adjusted across three axes. (Image credit: TechRadar)

The adjustable lumbar support’s protrusion takes some getting used to as you can’t avoid it – even if on some occasions you might wish you could. It certainly can support your back better than most rivals, but it’s very stiff, and the rotating bars behind it only allow for adjustments that range through fixed, firm or medium tension. I know it’s doing me good, especially in the long run, but sometimes you need to slouch for a moment! 

The seatback is simple to adjust to nine different height settings. I'm also a very big fan of the neck rest. While I was initially concerned that the latter’s three-axis adjustment might be a little loose, I learned that the tilt, height and depth settings made it simple to snuggle it into my neck for comfortable support without putting any forward pressure on my head.

The arm rests deserve a special mention. Not only do they rotate on the primary pivot, they can rotate on an additional pivot in front of that. This allows them to move in (towards your body) or further away from it, and also to have the rests point inwards or outwards. The latter movement is useful as the firmness can make for sore elbows after extended periods, but twisting them outwards alleviates this problem.

  • Design: 4.5 / 5

ErgoTune Supreme V3 rear view

Two main levers beneath the ErgoTune Supreme V3's seat operate height, recline and seat-depth adjustments. The two bars behind the lumbar support twist to adjust its tension. (Image credit: TechRadar)

ErgoTune Supreme V3 Office Chair review: Comfort

  • It’s no La-Z-Boy comfy chair, but it’s better for you

If you can imagine what a very firm, mesh-based posture chair might feel like to sit in all day – ensuring that your back is well supported at all times – then you’ve got a good idea of the ErgoTune Supreme V3. It’s good for you in the same way that a probing, remedial massage is good for you, but it’s not the equivalent of a relaxing, oil-based, Thai full-body massage.

The mesh is a special product called DuraWeave (from Germany) and it’s impressively sag resistant. It’s just a shame that I found the seat a little narrow in that I was sitting on the solid, supporting slats rather than the looser mesh, but this won’t be an issue for everyone.

The backrest of the ErgoTune Supreme V3 behind a white desk

The ErgoTune Supreme V3 feels very planted, both on carpet and hard floors. (Image credit: TechRadar)

Nonetheless, the mesh ensures that you are kept cool and breathable all day – which is important in hot and humid climes. It’s also more hygienic over time due to the ‘pass-through ability’ concerning bodily emissions. In this sense, it’s very different to the epic (in terms of both comfort and price) Logitech x Herman Miller Embody chair, but only slightly different to its sibling Aeron, which is softer and a bit more comfortable but doesn’t have nearly as good posture support.

ErgoTune claims this is a chair to relax in – largely due to the recline mode – but this is where I struggled most. The recline feature was just too loose for my long, heavy body. However, this won’t be an issue for smaller, lighter people.

Ultimately, comfort is a relative thing. Sitting in a beanbag all day might seem comfortable until you get up. I’ve sat in enough dodgy, office chairs to respect that the ErgoTune Supreme V3 doles out some tough love, in that you can sit in it all day and get up and happily move around afterwards… in comfort! Not many other chairs (especially at this price) allow that.

  • Comfort: 4 / 5

Should you buy the ErgoTune Supreme V3?

ErgoTune branding on the Supreme's neck support

Everything about the design, including the branding, gives the ErgoTune Supreme V3 a sleek profile. (Image credit: TechRadar)

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Also consider

Steelcase Series 2 Task Chair
Though the optional extras can push the price up significantly, the base model of Steelcase's Task Chair is an excellent, highly-customisable office chair that offers a mesh back and cushioned seat.
Check out our Steelcase Series 2 Task Chair review

ErgoTune Supreme V3: Report card

[First reviewed August 2022]

How we test

We pride ourselves on our independence and our rigorous review-testing process, offering up long-term attention to the products we review and making sure our reviews are updated and maintained – regardless of when a device was released, if you can still buy it, it's on our radar.

Read more about how we test

Avast One review
4:00 pm | August 3, 2022

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

This is the all-in-one roundup reviewing every Avast One consumer security solution for 2023. On this page, after the intro, you’ll find

(a) a full evaluation of the free Avast One Essential, along with reviews of the additional features incorporated with the rest of the range: 

(b) Avast One Individual and Family offerings,

(c) the top-end package Avast One Premium

You can jump to the reviews of those individual products by clicking on the links in the bar at the top of this page, but bear in mind that this article is really designed to be read all the way through, as the features of Avast One Essential are also present in the higher-level security suites, of course.

While it's still the newest offering from Avast, Avast One has been around long enough for users to get a good feel of the program, and third-party test labs to see how consistent it is in stopping malware. In both instances, Avast One has proven it deserves to be one of the best antivirus software.

Some reasons Avast One is worth considering include the number of advanced security tools most of its subscription offerings have. For example, every paid subscription comes with access to a secured VPN, and a helpful system cleanup tool.

There are options to have webcam monitoring and parental controls included, but all Avast One apps feature anti-phishing, ransomware protection, password monitoring, and a simple but effective firewall. You also can protect multiple devices, and Avast One works on all the major platforms, Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS.

You can take the free antivirus app, Avast One Essentials for a spin, though you will be quite limited in the tools you can use, and you can only protect a single Windows computer. But I'm sure once you see how well Avast works, and how easy the program is to use, you'll want to upgrade and take advantage of everything Avast has to offer.

Plans and pricing

For a free program, Avast One Essential has an impressive number of security tools. These include a firewall, system cleaner, and email protections that help keep phishing scams out of your inbox.

Essential has other tools, but they have limits. For example, you can use the password manager to look for any passwords that have been compromised, but this must be run manually. You also have to manually check for software updates and start the process of downloading and installing them yourself.

The secure VPN is available for Essential users, but it's limited to only 5GB each week, with a single server location available. This is enough data for more than a day of continuous music streaming, or 10 hours of watching Netflix.

Avast One Individual and Avast One Family are the same program with the only difference being the number of devices you can protect. For $4.19/mo ($50.28/yr) you can cover 5 devices at once. The Family plan covers 30 devices for $5.79/mo ($69.48/yr.)

This mid-tier subscription doesn't add much more in the way of security tools, but the password manager and software updates are automatic, so you don't need to worry about them. Also, you have unlimited VPN use and can connect to any server in over 50 locations worldwide.

The only tool added to Avast One Premium is identity monitoring. This is actually a good feature to have because it keeps tabs on your personal information notifying you if it is used illegally or sold on the black web, and will help you recover your identity after a breach. Premium protects 30 devices for $119.88 per year.

Compare Avast One subscriptions

Avast One Essential

Avast Installer with browser permissions

(Image credit: Avast)

Avast One's installer isn't as customizable so you don't get to pick and choose the tools you want to download. This makes the process rather simple. However, as with all Avast antivirus solutions, it will try and install the Avast Browser and make it your default. There is a place on the install where you can unclick this option, but you have to look for it because it is in pretty small print.

After it was installed, I tested Avast One's impact on system performance by running top benchmark PCMark Professional before and after installation. Previously Avast software slowed me down a little more than average, but this time I found no measurable difference at all. Absolutely nothing. 

That's based on Avast One Essentials and without using any of Avast's speedup tools, either. There are too many variables to make any guarantees, but it's at least possible that installing and setting up Avast One could leave your system faster than it was before.

There was more good news in my self-protection tests, where I launched a number of attacks on Avast One to see if malware could disable it. These involve attempting to delete files, change Registry settings, stop or disable services, close processes, unload drivers, and more. None of them made the tiniest difference to the package, which continued to protect me as usual.

Avast One: Interface

(Image credit: Avast)


Avast One interface has a light and airy look, with friendly graphics and speedy access to all of One's core features.

Looking to run a scan, connect to the VPN, or accelerate your system, for instance? No need to go browsing through various tabs, then try to remember wherever everything is. Just scroll down and there are shortcuts to scans, the VPN, and others, and you can run them all in a couple of clicks.

Clicking the Explore button displays a full list of Avast One's features, which does look a little more complicated. But it's easier to understand what's on offer when you can see everything in one place, rather than browsing around a number of tabs. And if you don't understand something - what is 'File Shield', exactly? - clicking the option gets you a simple explanation (the File Shield allows Avast to scan every file you access to make sure it's safe.)

Several options aren't available in the free Avast One Essentials (Webcam Protection, Web Hijack Guard, Driver Updater, and more.) Some free apps don't mark these, so you're forever clicking buttons and being told 'Can't have that until you upgrade, you freeloader.' Avast highlights options you can't use with a padlock, a smarter approach that makes One Essential much more comfortable to use.

Overall, Avast One's dashboard looks great, and is easy for beginners to use, but also makes it simple to discover and access the suite's more advanced features.

Avast One: Antivirus

(Image credit: Avast)


Avast One's antivirus features begin with the Smart Scan. Launch this with a click and it runs a 10-15 second Quick Scan for malware, combined with checks for dubious browser add-ons and PC performance issues. (It doesn't look for missing software patches, unlike the previous Avast Antivirus, although you can still do this manually.)

The Smart Scan and Avast's real-time protection should spot most threats, but the package has plenty of other options. There's a Deep Scan (previously called a Full Scan) to check your entire system; a Targeted Scan which examines specific files or folders, and a Boot-Time Scan to check for threats before Windows fully starts. And, if that's not enough, you can create custom scan types to do whatever you like.

There are plenty of configuration options, too. You're able to define what to scan (all hard drives, the system drive only, removable drives, archives, and more), how to treat any threats, set scan priority to optimize performance, and more.

Avast One: Getting started

(Image credit: Avast)

On-demand scans

The engine supports running on-demand scans in parallel, a level of flexibility you won't always see elsewhere. If you're running a lengthy full system scan, for instance, you're able to run a separate targeted scan on a removable drive you've just connected, and maybe check some recent downloads, all at the same time.

This didn't always work smoothly. Although My normal on-demand scans ended with a reassuring 'we didn't find anything' message, the Scan History page warned that 'your Explorer Scan was unable to scan all files', and 'we suggest scanning again.'

Could that be a problem? I needed to see which files had been missed to decide. But, no - although I think that's really important information, the Scan History page doesn't make it available.

Scan speeds

Scan speeds were average, with Avast Essentials taking 32 minutes to scan 50GB of executable files. That's fractionally slower than Avira (28 minutes), but well ahead of Bitdefender (39 minutes.)

I scanned the same test data a second time to find out whether an antivirus uses any optimizations. Avast's time dropped fractionally to 27 minutes, similar to Avira's second scan of 24:41. But some apps only scan files if they're new or change, and that makes a huge difference. Bitdefender's second scan of my test data took 27 seconds, and Kaspersky managed 170 seconds.

Avast has little room for antivirus improvements, but on balance, it's a likable product, easy to use, powerful, and configurable, with something for every level of user.

Avast One: Protection

(Image credit: Avast)


AV-Comparatives regularly check top antivirus products against the very latest malware. In its latest round of testing, it looked at 16 different antivirus software and how well they stopped malware.

The latest March 2023 summary report places Avast in the top spot with an impressive 99.97% online detection rate. It dipped a little in offline detection and did wrongly tag two files as malicious when they weren't. But compared to the competition, Avast is clearly the program to beat.

AV-Test's Home Windows from February 2023 also places Avast in its top antivirus software group. This lab looked at 18 different antivirus software and rated them in three different areas. Avast was one of 14 that earned a perfect 6/6 for protection. However, it was only one of 6 that earned perfect scores in all three areas.

AV-Comparatives antivirus protection March 2023 test results for Avast

(Image credit: AV-Comparatives)

My own tests began with some simple behavior monitoring checks, where a custom executable uses common scripting tricks to download a malicious file.

Results were mixed, with Avast quarantining the test app immediately for some actions while allowing others to continue and only detecting an issue when the file hit the hard drive. Bitdefender is more consistent, blocking all tests, but others have done much worse (Adaware missed all the suspicious behavior, although it did detect the files), and Avast was acceptable overall.

The second, more advanced test used a simple ransomware simulator I developed myself. As Avast hadn't seen this before, it wouldn't be able to detect it from a file signature alone, making this a useful test of behavior monitoring.

I launched the simulator and Avast One realized this was something new, and announced that it was being scanned for threats. A positive start? Maybe, but around 15 seconds later Avast told me the simulator was safe, then did nothing at all as it encrypted thousands of user files.

Some antivirus apps perform much better on this test. Bitdefender and Kaspersky not only killed the simulator within a fraction of a second, but they also recovered the handful of files it managed to encrypt (five to ten.)

My simulator isn't real malware, though, so while I treat successful detections as a plus, I don't significantly penalize apps that fail to detect it.

What's more, this isn't Avast's only ransomware defense. There's another more effective layer available.

Avast One: Ransomware Shield

(Image credit: Avast)

Ransomware Shield

Install Avast One and it automatically detects folders with user documents, then adds them to Avast's Ransomware Shield Protect list. Untrusted apps aren't allowed to modify the contents of anything in these folders without permission.

Sounds good, and sure enough, Avast correctly added the main user folders to its Protected list. It wasn't so smart at detecting others, though, missing folders containing thousands of documents.

That's a problem, especially as there's no sign of any issue. Avast One doesn't tell you it's running this document search, and unless you happen to click the Ransomware Shield option, choose 'View protected folders' and browse the list, you might never realize Avast has missed something.

If you happen to find the option, though, it's easy enough to understand. I spotted the problem and added my extra data folders manually in just a few seconds.

Shield fully activated; I ran my ransomware simulator again. This time Avast One raised an alert as soon as it accessed a file, I chose the Block option, and it wasn't able to touch anything on my system.

Once I did, Avast raised an alert as soon as my ransomware simulator or other untrusted apps attempted to access the files, and they weren't able to do so until I gave permission.

This isn't a substitute for correctly recognizing malware in the first place (my test ransomware wasn't able to encrypt any documents, but Avast didn't recognize it as a serious threat and allowed it to continue running.) Still, it's a useful extra layer of protection that could work with even the very latest threats. Just keep in mind that it's not a paid feature - you can get it for nothing in Avast One Essential.

Avast One: Blocking malicious sites

(Image credit: Avast)

Blocking malicious sites

Avast One doesn't just do a good job of detecting malware: it detects and blocks access to malicious websites, reducing the chance you'll get infected in the first place.

This isn't an area where Avast has always excelled in the past, but the company looks to have upped its game. Just to make sure, I assembled a collection of box-fresh phishing URLs to run my own tests, comparing Avast One with Bitdefender. That delivered a positive result, with Avast detecting 67% of threats compared to Bitdefender's 41%. 

Avast One doesn't include the Avast browser extensions anymore, which means users miss out on one or two useful web-related extras (there's no highlighting of malicious links in your search results, for instance.) I think that apps messing with my browser setup are generally a bad idea, though, and Avast Online Security can still be installed separately if you need it.

On balance it's a great web protection package, especially as you don't have to buy Avast One Individual to get it: all this web filtering power comes for free in Avast One Essentials.

Avast One: Network protection

(Image credit: Avast)

Network protection

Avast One Essential includes a simple firewall that monitors your network traffic and aims to prevent hackers from penetrating your system and malware from phoning home.

You can also view a list of apps using your connection, the amount of data they've transferred so far, and manually decide to block them.

Upgrading to the paid Avast Individual apparently gets you more shielding of your system and detection and user alerts for port scans and ARP spoofing attacks (an exploit that may allow hackers to infiltrate your network.)

Although this sounds reasonable, I'm not sure how much functionality it adds to the regular Windows firewall. I'm not convinced by all the talk of interaction with the user, either. Norton and Bitdefender's firewalls are still my network favorites, not because they raise alerts and have plenty of tweaks and settings, but because they don't need all that: they do a great job of intelligently managing your network connection all on their own, no manual intervention required.

I noticed that Avast One's Windows app has dropped Wi-Fi Inspector, a handy tool that previously allowed you to view connected devices and highlight vulnerabilities. The Android One Essentials app has a similar Wi-Fi Scanner feature, so the feature hasn't disappeared entirely, but it's a pity it's now Android-only.

Avast One: Avast SecureLine VPN

(Image credit: Avast)

Avast SecureLine VPN

Installing the free Avast One Essential gets you a restricted (but still very useable) version of Avast's HideMyAss!-powered SecureLine VPN.

The major restriction is there's no support for choosing a location: the app just automatically connects to your nearest server, wherever it might be. So, you can forget about unblocking streaming platforms in other countries. It's not going to happen.

There's a data limit, too, although that looks relatively generous at 5GB a week. Avira's Phantom VPN gives you a miserly 500MB a month, Bitdefender's VPN offers 200MB a day (6GB a month), and even Windscribe's excellent free plan stops at 10GB a month. Proton VPN's unlimited data plan is still top of the free VPN list, but Avast is way better than most.

Speeds were much more ordinary. My local server managed only 45Mbps, well below average, though enough for browsing and occasional use.

Windows Locations

(Image credit: Avast)

Avast's Windows app has a capable kill switch which correctly blocked my internet access whenever the VPN dropped. I used some very drastic techniques to simulate various problems - turning the router off and on again, crashing the OpenVPN executable - but the app just blocked my internet, displayed an alert, and got me reconnected as soon as possible.

SecureLine can automatically connect whenever you access insecure Wi-Fi. That's handy, but there's a very unusual extra: it can also warn you to connect whenever you visit a banking site, a web store, a 'sensitive' site (adult, gambling, violence, more), or any website login screen. This could save you a lot of trouble if you regularly forget to connect. Bitdefender Premium VPN does something similar with even more site categories and app types (file sharing, P2P), but I've not seen this functionality from anyone else.

Upgrading to Avast One Individual gives you unlimited data and 54 locations to choose from. Download speeds are still below average in my tests, but I've had some unblocking success in previous reviews, including the ability to unblock US Netflix.

The VPN is a great addition to Avast One Essentials, and the 5GB a week data allowance tramples over most of the competition. It's not such a clear picture when comparing paid products, though. Bitdefender's commercial VPN in particular is significantly faster than Avast and did a little better at unblocking in my last round of testing.

Avast One: Password Protection

(Image credit: Avast)

Password Protection

Avast One doesn't include a password manager, but you do get a couple of extra protective layers designed to keep your credentials private.

All versions of Avast One have the option to scan a database of data breaches (provided by dark web monitoring experts SpyCloud) to find out if their account details have been exposed.

Avast One's paid products add breach monitoring, where the app automatically checks new breaches and warns you if your credentials are included.

The paid editions also include Browser Protection, a feature that limits access to passwords stored in your browser. I tried using a couple of NirSoft tools to access Chrome and Firefox passwords and Browser Protection worked perfectly, spotting the attempt, and blocking access until I approved it.

These features are genuinely useful, but they don't add a great deal of value to the suite. You can already scan data breaches for your details at Have I Been Pwned, and optionally get a notification if they turn up in a new breach. And the most secure way to handle passwords isn't to control how they're accessed in the browser, but not to store them in the browser in the first place. You're far safer with a quality password manager such as Dashlane.

Avast One: Software Updater

(Image credit: Avast)

Software Updater

Avast One Essential's Software Updater scans your apps, detecting and listing missing updates. It'll install them, too, although you must manually click an Update button for every app you'd like patched.

Upgrade to Avast One Individual and you get the ability to automatically update all your apps. I tried this, and Software Updater found six available updates, downloaded the patches in parallel, then silently installed them, all in a very few seconds. 

This looks good and performs reasonably well, especially the free version. Avira's free Software Updater tells you about missing updates but won't do anything to install them until you upgrade.

Avast One only supports updating 50 common apps, though, compared to 150 for Avira, and hundreds for some of the free patch management competition. Still, it's a useful tool and I'm glad to see it included in the suite.

Privacy extras

All Avast One users (free and paid) get access to a Clear Browsing Data feature, where you can quickly clear away your browsing history, cache, cookies, and more. This works much like every other web cleanup tool you've ever used, but Avast does deserve credit for its wide app support: the module cleaned Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Opera, Brave, and even Thunderbird on my test system.

Avast One Android app virus scan results

(Image credit: Avast)


While testing Avast One I downloaded the program to my Android phone. Part of this review was to see how easy it is to install, set up and use. Overall the process had the same layers of permissions that needed to be given for all the security tools to work, so there wasn't anything unique or surprising for this app.

The antivirus program itself ran great and I found the interface easier to understand and use compared to Norton and McAfee, two programs commonly included with a new phone purchase or cellular contract. But there was a concern that I experienced.

Every time I opened Avast to run scans or check notifications more closely, my phone quickly became really, really hot. Because of this, and the potential damage that level of heat can have on your mobile device, I don't recommend it for this purpose.


There's a reason why Avast is considered one of the most popular antivirus software in the world, and why its Essential program is a stellar free app. The number of security tools is impressive for a free offering, and it continues the Avast protection legacy of earning top scores in both malware detection and zxero-day threat blocking.

I don't recommend using Avast One for mobile because of the heat issue, but don't have any qualms about recommending it for Windows or Mac computer protection.

Avast One Personal and Family

Avast One: Performance boost

(Image credit: Avast)

Paying for Avast One Individual or family gets you a number of other interesting and unusual features.

The Sensitive Data Shield (SDS) automatically scans your drive for files that might contain sensitive data - names, addresses, passwords, financial details, and more - and prevents other users of your device from accessing them. 

VIPRE's Privacy Shield does something similar, but both tools have the same issue: they're not great at identifying which documents are safe, and which aren't. SDS highlighted some files apparently just because they contained mine and a few other names, for instance, but ignored others containing my bank account details. You can opt to protect files manually, so Sensitive Data Shield is still a feature worth having, but it's not as smart as Avast thinks.

Web Hijack Guard protects browser traffic from DNS hijacking, a nasty exploit where hackers redirect your traffic to malicious websites. [I'm] glad to see Avast One is working to keep you safe by including this protection.

Web Hijack Guard protects browser traffic from DNS hijacking, a nasty exploit where hackers redirect your traffic to malicious websites. I don't have a test to evaluate this, but DNS attacks are a very real danger, and I'm glad to see Avast One is working to keep you safe by including this protection.

Avast's Webcam Protection controls webcam access to reduce the chance of malware accessing your device. By default, this allows trusted apps to access your webcam and blocks everything else until you give permission. But you can also up the protection level to Strict Mode (you're asked for permission whenever anything tries to access the webcam), and there's even an option to disable your webcam entirely.

It's a simple system, with well-chosen default settings, and worked perfectly for me. Avast One spotted my custom webcam hijacker when it tried to grab an image, asked if it had permission, and when I said no, prevented it from accessing my hardware.

Avast One

(Image credit: Avast)

Performance boost

Avast One's paid versions round off their feature set with a trio of PC maintenance tools.

Performance Boost lists apps running in the software and can selectively optimize them. This effectively freezes a process, preventing it from using any system resources. Avast restores the process when you open the app again and it should work as normal.

It's a clever idea and can work well. The problem is figuring out where to use it. The point of 'optimizing' an app is you stop it from running any background tasks, but are you really sure it's not doing something important? Syncing files? Checking for updates? Monitoring your system so it can raise notifications? Avast One gave clues for processes it recognized, but there weren't many, and it listed many processes which should really be left alone (the backup tool Backblaze, for instance.)

Driver Updater scans your system for missing driver updates and can download and install any patches in a couple of clicks.

Driver Updater scans your system for missing driver updates and can download and install any patches in a couple of clicks.

It's easy to use, but also risky. Avast One recommended I update multiple Intel chipset drivers, for instance - a single mistake with any of these could break a PC to the point that it wouldn't boot, maybe even in Safe Mode. Unless your PC is seriously unstable, you're better off leaving the drivers alone.

Avast One does better with its final maintenance tool, Disk Cleaner. As you'll guess from the name, this scans your system for surplus and leftover files, potentially freeing up a significant amount of drive space. 

Disk Cleaner did a reasonable job on my test system, finding 8.4GB of data I could safely delete. That beat Windows' own Disk Cleanup, which managed only 5GB, but the free CCleaner did a little better with 9GB.

Avast One's maintenance tools aren't bad and may help speed up your system. They can't match Avira's System Speedup for features or power, though, and you'll need some knowledge and expertise to get the most out of them.


All of Avast One's paid subscriptions give you access to the same secured VPN as its Essential offering. However, at this point, you are no longer limited in your usage. With unlimited data, you can connect and use the Avast VPN whenever you want for however long you need to.

What's more, you're not limited to a single server location. Instead, you can access any of Avast's VPN servers in more than 50 locations throughout the world. This gives you added security with more options to generate a new IP address every time you connect.


The jump in protection between the free Avast One and the paid subscriptions is impressive and worth the money. In fact, the unlimited VPN access alone is worth the annual cost.

Using the system cleaner and performance boost tools is worth extending the life of your devices, though some tools need to be used with care since tampering with the wrong files or drivers could have the opposite effect.

Avast One Premium

Avast One: Summary

(Image credit: Avast)

ID monitoring

Both Avast One Essential and Individual have a useful password tool that looks to see if your online identity has been compromised. But Avast One Premium takes this further by including ID monitoring. This service will also keep an eye on the dark web for your personal identifying information, like bank accounts and credit card numbers, full names, birthdates, and social security numbers.

If any personal information is found. Avast will work with you to help contact appropriate agencies, change login credentials, and restore your identity to a pre-attack state. Not many identity theft monitoring services include this part of the deal, so knowing Avast has your back both before and after an ID theft is reassuring.


Overall, there are a lot of good antivirus platforms out there, but Avast One is clearly one of the leaders. It's not simply that there are so many useful protection tools in place, but also that these tools are powerful and do exactly what they need to do.

While there are competitors who can beat Avast One in individual areas, what Avast One really succeeds in doing is bundling a strong set of individual tools into a single suite where everything can work well together.

Even better, this is all available in the free version for home use (and it's one of the best free antivirus apps you'll find) with paid upgrades available for those who wish to have more extensive protections in place.

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