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MiniTool Power Data Recovery review
10:22 am | September 29, 2022

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

Load up MiniTool Power Data Recovery and you may not be impressed by its relatively basic interface – but spend a bit of time with this data recovery software and you’ll find plenty of hidden power.

Power Data Recovery can hunt down photos on inaccessible partitions, crashed operating systems, formatted drives and from images you’ve deleted on conventional hard disks and SSDs, and it goes into more restoration detail than many of its rivals.

Combine its skillset with a decent free version and some relatively generous pricing for the paid upgrades and you’ve got a tempting photo recovery app.

To help keep all your media secure, we’ve also tested and rated the best photo cloud storage.

MiniTool Power Data Recovery: Plans & pricing

  • Decent pricing and a reasonable free version - but avoid its monthly subscriptions 

If you opt for the free version of MiniTool Power Data Recovery, you’ll access an app that can work on an unlimited number of PCs. The free variant has a mediocre 1GB data recovery limit, though, and it doesn’t include support for bootable media or for loading previous scans.

If you want to pay for MiniTool Power Data Recovery then all of those features get reactivated, and you’ll benefit from unlimited data recovery, file previews and extra features. And if you’re willing to sign up for the long haul you benefit from better value: it costs $99 (£80) for a lifetime license that includes upgrades and support for up to three PCs.

That lifetime option looks to be even better value when you consider that a one-year license still costs $89 (£72), and both deals are better value than many pro-level photo recovery utilities.

At the other end of the scale, we don’t recommend this app’s monthly subscription – it still costs $69 and only offers one month's worth of free upgrades. At that price, you may as well stump up the cash for the longer-term options in case you need to restore more photos in the future.

MiniTool Power Data Recovery: Features

  • Straightforward mainstream features in an old interface - and without high-end abilities 


MiniTool Power Data Recovery can restore photos from a broad array of devices. It can scan and recover from hard disks, SSDs, USB drives, and SD cards, which means that you’ll be able to find your lost photos in most mainstream situations.

This app has decent file support, too: it can recover hundreds of different files. It will also serve up previews of more than 70 file types. 

For photographers and photo editors, that means you’ll get previews of JPG, PNG, GIF and PSD files alongside loads of extra types. We were particularly impressed that MinitTool Power Data Recovery supports rarer image formats like TIFF.

And if you’re trying to find other kinds of media, expect previews for MP3 and MP4 files and AVI, WAV and OGG media.

There's even support for common document formats like Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, Excel and Publisher files as well as PDFs and documents saved in the Open Document Format such as ODT. 

The MiniTool website claims that you'll need to download the file previewer separately but it's free of charge. It also comes bundled with paid versions of the utility at no extra cost. 

That’s an impressive array of conventional features, and elsewhere this tool can scan and recover files from lost and raw partitions and crashed operating systems. It works with formatted drives, optical media and corrupted hard disks. 

While there are certainly apps that recover an even greater number of file formats from a broader range of devices, this is rock-solid for mainstream photo recovery tools and you’ll have to pay for beefier packages.

MiniTool has a neat feature that allows users to select and scan individual folders, which is an ideal time-saving solution if you know exactly where you need to scan for forgotten photographs. There’s also an options menu where users can choose to prioritize photos or other kinds of files during scans. Paid versions of the apps also support loading the previous scan so you can quit and resume when you want.

Screenshot of MiniTool Power Data Recovery in action

(Image credit: MiniTool)

It’s easy to use all of these features, too. MiniTool Power Data Recovery has a straightforward interface that instantly displays exactly where it’s possible to search – including any attached devices or external drives – and users can easily navigate scan results using a familiar Windows Explorer-style interface. Filtering and searching are readily available, and it’s possible to see results and recover files while scans are still ongoing.

Those scans only offer moderate speed levels, but they don’t take up a huge amount of system resources – so you can easily go about the rest of your day while you’re hunting down those lost pictures.

MiniTool Power Data Recovery isn’t as impressive in some areas. Its interface looks outdated and downright ugly compared to many slicker tools you’ll find elsewhere.

Go beyond this purely aesthetic concern and you’ll find missing features, too: lots of more expensive apps, like EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard, support a wider variety of files and devices – elsewhere you’ll find advanced abilities like RAID and NAS drive support.

Unsurprisingly, you also don’t get extensive backup software options or tools that can repair damaged photos or videos. And while MiniTool does include support for file systems like NTFS, FAT32 and exFAT, this app can’t handle more obscure systems such as ext3/ext4 partitions used by the Linux operating system.

That does mean that alternative tools offer better features for professional and high-level photo recovery.

MiniTool Power Data Recovery: Support

  • A handy manual and FAQ section plus 24/7 e-mail support for registered/paid users 

As you've seen, the MiniTool Power Data Recovery GUI is very intuitive. Still if you run into difficulties, there's a dedicated manual on the main site. This covers basics like system requirements, installation and registration. There are also sections for more advanced topics like recovering data from multiple drives.

The support page also has a helpful FAQ section. MiniTool claim to offer 24/7 technical support to users but priority is given to registered and "licensed" i.e. paid customers. They do offer tips on how to speed up responses to queries for help including providing screenshots and being clear about which specific version of the utility you're using.

There's a live chat, but it's only designed for "Download, Purchase and License" issues, not technical support. This is a shame, as it would seem like an easy way to get the help you need without firing off e-mails. 

How we tested

For our data recovery tests we used a virtual machine with a clean install of Windows 11. The only third-party tools installed besides MiniTool Power Data Recovery were VLC Media Player and GIMP. 

Data files

The files we chose for recovery are an album of Mozart's Music available from the Internet Archive. 

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

We copied the files in the music album to a 512MB virtual NTFS-formatted hard drive, which was then attached to the Windows 11 virtual machine.

Data tests

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

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

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

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

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

Test results

During testing, we found that when we ran a test for the very first time, the utility would quickly detect the volume but would pause file recovery at around 75%. It would then finish around ten minutes later. This was surprising as our benchmarks were being done on just 25 files of around 100MB each.

However, whenever we rebooted the machine and ran the tests again, MiniTool Power Data Recovery seemed to spring to life, detecting files within seconds and offering to store them on the hard drive. This was a minor inconvenience but we were unable to account for why the tool would be so slow on first run then perform flawlessly the second time. The issue persisted even when we installed the utility into a new Windows 11 virtual machine. 

In our first test, we simply tried to recover data that had been deleted from the drive. MiniTool's app discovered 32 separate files, which we copied to a hard drive. Amongst these were all 25 of the original files, which we could open without issue. The remaining files related to system information and the Recycle Bin. 

Our second test was done on a drive where the files had been deleted and then the partition "quick" formatted using Windows Disk Management. This time MiniTool Power Data Recovery found 19 files based on their "raw" data. This included all of the image files and both MP3 files but the remaining audio files, XML files, torrent file and sqlite file didn't make it. As the files were recovered from 'raw' data, the filenames were also missing. 

Finally we simulated a corrupted hard drive. The utility was able to see this immediately as "Unallocated Space"  under "Devices" and began file recovery of  54 files. Amongst these were all 25 of the original files present and intact, with the remainder being either duplicates based on 'raw' data or system files. We were very impressed to see this, as not all data recovery utilities can detect lost partitions, let alone restore all the missing data.

Unlike other free tools we tested with data limits MiniTool Power Data Recovery played very fair: we ran three tests to recover a total of around 300MB of data in total and this was deducted correctly from our free allowance. 

MiniTool Power Data Recovery: Final verdict

MiniTool Power Data Recovery does a decent job of finding and recovering mainstream photography files, and it’s got a couple of handy features that can speed up the process.

Its paid options offer reasonable value if you’re happy to sign up for a longer length of time, and the free version is worth consideration if you just want to recover smaller amounts of data from mainstream sources. It’s certainly more generous than many other free products that only offer 500MB of data recovery. As you've seen, the utility also only counts actual data recovered towards your limit. You can choose to preview files to check if they're worth restoring to stay under the 1GB limit if you wish. 

That said, you’ll find broader system and format support from rival photo recovery apps that don’t cost much more, and MiniTool Power Data Recovery suffers from an outdated interface and a lack of high-end features. This is an effective tool for basic photo and file recovery, but it can’t tackle much beyond that.

Should I buy?

Screenshot of MiniTool Power Data Recovery in action

(Image credit: MiniTool)

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Laifen Swift review
3:00 pm | September 26, 2022

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Hair Care Home Small Appliances | Comments: Off

• Original review date: October 2022
• Still Laifen's flagship, but the new Swift SE provides a more affordable alternative
• Launch price: $199.99 / £175.11 / AU$297.83
• Official price now: The same

Updated: February 2024. The Laifen Swift remains to be a great Dyson Supersonic alternative, though it's far from the only one at this point. Still, it's a fraction of the price, and nearly as affordable as some of the most high-performing standard hair dryers in this list. Since our original review, Laifen has released a more affordable sister product, the Laifen Swift SE ($149.99 / £128.01 / AU$228.02), which is marginally less powerful and more cheaply made, but comes in some adorable pastel hues.

One-minute review

Skepticism is key when shopping online, especially when it comes to new names and viral trends, so Laifen has an uphill battle establishing itself in the fiercely competitive hair styling market. Thankfully, the Laifen Swift makes an immediate impact. 

Launching its campaign on Indiegogo in 2020, Laifen Swift was met with enthusiasm by its backers. Having hit the market in 2022, all eyes are now fixed on its lofty promises and more affordable price tag compared to some of the best hair dryers.

This lightweight, powerful tool arrives with some impressive specs, packing 1600W of power in its slimline frame with a 110,000RPM brushless motor that generates 22m/s airflow. It offers three temperature and two airflow settings.

While it offers professional-grade specs and performance, there are a few missteps that make the Laifen Swift a little less spectacular than it could have been. It doesn’t have a separate cool shot button, nor does it have a hook for hanging – and, as of writing, it has a cord length of just 1.8m/5.9ft. The latter might be fine for home use, but in a professional setting the Laifen Swift’s cord might prove limiting.

Still, having used the Laifen Swift over the course of a week, we were impressed by how quickly it dried hair, keeping frizz to a minimum as a result of it generating and releasing negative ions into the airflow. With such a strong start in the market, Laifen is one to watch in the years to come.

Laifen Swift Special in its box with the three attachments

(Image credit: Future)

Laifen Swift price and availability

  • Laifen Swift: $199.99 / £175.11 / AU$297.83
  • Laifen Swift Special: $239.99 / £210.14 / AU$357.40

We received the Laifen Swift Special for review, which is identical to the regular Laifen Swift hair dryer, but comes with three attachments – a diffuser, standard nozzle and quick styling nozzle – as opposed to the standard nozzle-only bundle. You can also buy the quick styling nozzle separately, but the diffuser is exclusive to the Swift Special.

Compared to its biggest rival, the Dyson Supersonic (which retails at $429 / £329 / AU$599 as of writing), the Laifen Swift presents a much more affordable option with much of the same technology.

Currently, the Laifen Swift is the only product available from Laifen, and you can buy it directly from Laifen or on Amazon.

Value: 4.5/5

Laifen Swift Special without any attachments on

(Image credit: Future)

Laifen Swift design

  • Lightweight and compact
  • Short cord and no hook
  • Three heat settings and two speeds
Hair dryer Specifications

Here are the specifications for the Laifen Swift:

Speed settings: Two
Heat settings:
Three, plus autocycle
Hanging loop: No
Cord length: 1.8m
Cool shot: No
Weight: 0.89lb/407g
Attachments: One with regular package, three with the Special bundle

The Laifen Swift hair dryer is available in four colors – matte black, silver blue, pearl white and ruby red – and has a wonderfully luxe soft finish that makes it a joy to behold and, well, hold. It has a short, rounded barrel atop its long, straight handle; but it’s a shape that might not be for everyone. Personally, we’ve found this form to be far more storage-friendly.

Measuring 10.9 x 2.7 x 3.5in/ 27.7 x 7 x 8.9cm, the Laifen Swift is wonderfully light at 0.89lbs/407g without its cable, so you’re unlikely to feel much arm fatigue, especially given how quickly it dries hair – but more on that later. The attachments connect magnetically to the front of the barrel, snapping on and off easily.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the Laifen Swift is its airflow design. Instead of channeling air through the rear of the barrel, it’s pulled through from the base of the handle. Here, users will also find the dust filter, the casing of which also attaches magnetically, clicking on and off quickly for maintenance.

Laifen Swift without its dust filter casing on

(Image credit: Future)

As mentioned above, the hair dryer delivers 1600W of power across three temperature settings and two speed levels, the controls for which are situated at the top of the handle. If you press and hold the temperature button, you can also switch on its temperature autocycle mode. There’s no separate cool shot - you have to use the temperature button to cycle through the settings - which is a little disappointing, as was the omission of a hanging loop. 

The biggest setback in the Laifen Swift’s design is its short cord length. While most home users may be content with its 1.8m/5.9ft length, with the professional potential of this hair dryer it’s a shame that Laifen didn’t opt to deliver its hair dryer with the longer cable lengths now commonly seen across the market. Plus, if you don’t have a well-situated mirror near a plug socket at home, you might find yourself reaching – or having to use an extension cord – with the Laifen Swift.

Design: 4.5/5

Laifen Swift performance

  • Fast drying times
  • Comfortable to use
  • Ionic technology reduces frizz

Delivering high-powered jets of ionized air, the Laifen Swift makes swift work of drying hair. We tested it on damp, thick, medium-length hair on its highest setting, which dried completely in just under seven minutes. It isn’t quite as impressive as the Dyson Supersonic, which takes four and a half minutes to dry the same hair type, but it’s a whole lot faster than the 12-15 minutes of the Panasonic EH-NA65 – which is this writer’s current home use hair dryer. For less porous and thinner hair, we’d expect a drying time of about five and a half minutes with the Laifen Swift, which just about matches the manufacturer’s claims. 

After drying, our hair was left feeling super-smooth with a gentle shine, and we actually noticed it didn’t become greasy as quickly as it does having used less powerful airflow dryers. Perhaps this is because we felt more confident getting stuck into drying our roots without fear of hair being caught in the rear of the barrel. 

The attachments all worked well during use, and while they (and the barrel) were prone to getting a little hot, temperatures didn’t reach anything close to being dangerous or uncomfortable. Switching the attachments out mid-dry proved nice and easy, too, thanks to the magnetic fixture.

Image 1 of 3

Laifen swift barrel rear, showing temperature setting LED indicator

The rear of the barrel displays the current temperature setting - blue for cool, orange for warm, red for hot. (Image credit: Future)
Image 2 of 3

Laifen swift barrel rear, showing temperature setting LED indicator

The rear of the barrel displays the current temperature setting - blue for cool, orange for warm, red for hot. (Image credit: Future)
Image 3 of 3

Laifen swift barrel rear, showing temperature setting LED indicator

The rear of the barrel displays the current temperature setting - blue for cool, orange for warm, red for hot. (Image credit: Future)

We’ve mentioned before just how well designed the Laifen Swift is, but the actual experience of blow drying hair really is a feat worth highlighting. The handle remains cool throughout use, the hair dryer is light enough to reduce arm strain (or even eliminate it, depending on how long your hair takes to dry), and switching out attachments is supremely easy.

The Laifen Swift claims to be incredibly quiet, emitting just 59db while in use. Unfortunately, this wasn’t our experience – unless those figures were achieved through very specific testing parameters of which we’re not aware. 

In our test, from six inches away, on the fastest setting the Laifen Swift recorded 79db for noise. This figure is fairly middle of the road in comparison to other hair dryers; the Dyson Supersonic registered 74db on our decibel meter, while one of the noisiest hair dryers we’ve tested, the Remington Hydraluxe Pro EC9001, registered 82db. However, what we can say in defense of the Laifen Swift is that the sound it emits is far less aggressive and grating than other hair dryers we’ve tried.

Laifen Swift rear showing its temperature and speed controls

(Image credit: Future)

A small, but notable issue we had with the Laifen Swift was its button placement. While the temperature and speed controls look and feel great, it’s far too easy to brush across or lightly press the temperature controls accidentally. If you’re not drying hair in front of a mirror, where you can see the temperature indicator on the rear of the barrel, you might not even notice that you’ve done it.

Performance: 4/5

Laifen Swift score card

Should I buy?

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Hands on: VITURE One XR Glasses prototype
4:00 pm | September 25, 2022

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

We were under the impression the device we tested represented the final product, but VITURE has since made it clear we were sent a prototype. With that in mind we’ve revised this article to be a hands on review and removed our rating until we can test the final product.

VITURE One XR Glasses: initial thoughts

The VITURE One XR Glasses are like a portable projector for your face. Slap them on, connect them to a compatible smartphone, laptop, or games console and their full-HD OLED displays will virtually project a 120-inch screen before your eyes.

We say virtually project as onlookers won’t be able to see the screen floating in mid-air that you can see. Instead, these AR glasses provide you with a private personal home-cinema experience complete with surround sound – and you can take them anywhere you go.

However, while the glasses promise a lot the prototype we were sent for testing had some design issues that negatively impacted the picture quality during our tests. Despite trying all three of the included nose clips the glasses wouldn’t sit right on our faces which meant we struggled to see the image without awkwardly holding them in place. What’s more, the edges of the image could get quite blurry, making playing games and watching shows a bit of a challenge.

VITURE has told us it's making tweaks to the final design so the retail version of the glasses could solve our issues. But unless that includes a new additional nose clip option then the One XR Glasses aren’t a pair of smart specs that we can recommend right now.

VITURE One XR Glasses: Price and availability

The VITURE One XR Glasses are available to buy in four different packages

The most basic is buying the glasses on their own, which costs $479 (around £425 / AU$720). Taking things up a gear is the Dock Pack, which includes the glasses and a mobile dock so you can use the glasses with your Nintendo Switch and other HDMI-compatible devices; it’s $568 (around £500 / AU$855). Alternatively, you could nab the Cloud Pack for $588 (around £520 / AU$885) and swap the dock for a neckband that allows you to stream TV shows and games to the glasses over Wi-Fi.

Or, if you want it all, you can get the Ultimate pack for $677 (around £599 / AU$1,019).

The VITURE One XR Glasses

The Steam Deck connected to the VITURE XR Glasses. (Image credit: Future)

We were sent a prototype version of the Cloud Pack and definitely think this one is the best value for money of the four options – the dock seems useful but the neckband is what makes the glasses feel like they’re a portable projector rather than just an AR monitor for your phone or Steam Deck.

That said, none of the bundles are super-budget friendly though that’s the case for most AR glasses right now. The tech is too fresh for it to come at a super affordable, mainstream price yet – so you should expect to pay a similar ‘early-adopter’ price for the VITURE glasses or specs from any other brand 

VITURE One XR Glasses: Design

Whether you pick the black, white, or blue model, you’ll find there are a lot of similarities between the VITURE One XR glasses and other AR specs on the market like the Nreal Air AR glasses.

Just like Nreal’s offering they look like a fairly normal – albeit chunky (coming in at 78g / 0.17lbs) – pair of shades with interchangeable and adjustable nose clips. The wired connection is placed at the end of one of the arms too, though VITURE has opted for a slightly different placement (on the side rather than the tip) and to use a magnetic pogo pin instead of a USB-C port. It works just as well though; the connection is secure and never came loose while we were using the glasses.

The glasses also come with a plastic cover for the lenses to help stop light coming through the lenses, just like the Nreal Airs.

However VITURE doesn’t just copy its rival, and the first improvement it makes is to the glasses’ regular lenses. VITURE’s glasses use mirrored lenses instead of simply dark tinted ones, which better hide the internal screens from onlookers. In addition, it adds controls to the glasses themselves, with a button on the left arm that lets you control volume, brightness, and a few other settings.

You’ll also find dials on the top of each lens that let your correct the image between 0D and -5.0D to help you see what’s being displayed if you’re near-sighted.

Unfortunately, for all the improvements, the VITURE Glasses also seem to take a few steps back. At least, the prototype we tested takes some steps back.

The biggest problem with the design we tested is that the glasses don’t dominate enough of your vision – there’s a lot of space around the side of them that lets light and distractions get in the way of your immersed experience. On top of that, we noticed that the picture always looked a little blurry, especially at the periphery where the most distractions were.

Part of this is caused by the lenses not being quite large enough, but the nose clips also bear some of the blame. While there are three clips to choose from in the box they aren’t quite malleable enough, so we couldn’t alter their shape at all and make the glasses sit properly.

To get around this we’d love to see VITURE pack in some better nose clips when the full-release glasses become available to the public, and potentially look at a plastic cover that could surround the glasses – turning them from glasses to something more like goggles. When we help the glasses in the right place and cup our hands around the specs to block out more light the issues became much less noticeable.

The VITURE One XR Glasses power cable inserted into the port

The power cable never came loose while we were wearing the glasses. (Image credit: Future)

On top of these issues, the dials for near-sightedness, while a neat concept, fall a little short as they could still keep some players excluded. Nreal included a free add-on for its AR glasses that could be outfitted with any kind of prescription lenses, a feature that could have worked just as well for VITURE.

Moving past the glasses, the neckband is generally great. The 170g electronic is comfy to wear and the connector cable is the perfect length – long enough to reach the glasses but not so long that it leaves too much excess lying around.

The only downside is the controller placement of the design we were sent to test. It sits with the buttons facing your chest meaning you can’t actually see what you’re pressing – so you’ll need to memorize the layout before putting the glasses on.

VITURE One XR Glasses: Performance

To put VITURE’s prototype glasses through their paces we used them to play Stray and Marvel’s Spider-Man: Remastered on the Steam Deck.

Stray is a game chock full of dusky city streets, with levels where the only illumination is from neon lights and bioluminescent matter. Despite being filled with generally darker scenes the VITURE glasses put their 5000:1 contrast ratio to good use and helped keep the game’s objects fairly well-defined instead of a mess of indiscernible dark blobs.

Meanwhile, the daytime streets of New York City and Spidey’s cartoonishly bright red, blue, and white suit were rendered pretty well too. We would have liked some of the brighter colors to pop more but this full-HD OLED screen with 1800 nits of brightness still made sure that swinging from digital skyscrapers didn’t lose much of the magic.

To help make everything look as great as it can we’d recommend turning the glasses up to high brightness and wearing them in a fairly dark room with the lights off or at least dimmed – the same sort of setup we’d recommend for a projector. Even in this ideal setting, you won’t get an experience that’s on par with one of the best OLED TVs, nor one of the best 4K projectors, but it’ll be about as good as a mid-range projector. For something that you can take with you and wear on your face that’s not half bad.

The VITURE One XR Glasses

The VITURE Neckband turns these glasses into a projector instead of just a glorified monitor. (Image credit: Future)

The image latency seemed fine too, there were no noticeable input delays, so we could still pull off Spidey’s web-slinging combat combos without issue.

But, as we mentioned above because of the prototype specs’ design we did face some issues with the outer edges of the image being blurry. This wasn’t always a problem if the subject was in the center of the screen, but if we needed to read an in-game menu or pay attention to something at the edge we couldn’t tell what was going on. Over time the blurry image also gave us a headache, limiting the length of time we could stay immersed in each session.

Audio-wise these glasses house some pretty solid Harmon speakers that provide spatial audio for whatever you’re playing or watching. However, if you have a pair of great headphones lying around we’d suggest using those instead. 

The VITURE One XR prototype’s speakers didn’t have enough oomph to provide the majesty that’s required by some tracks – like the heroic orchestral tracks that play in the background of Marvel’s Spider-Man. This left the audio feeling a little empty at times, something which we easily fixed using a pair of cans.

VITURE One XR Glasses: Features

The VITURE One XR glasses are compatible with any device that supports video output through a USB-C port. This means you can hook them up to your Steam Deck, Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2, 2022), iPad Air (2022), and many of the best Windows laptops and Android smartphones, to name just a few devices.

That said, we’d recommend checking your devices are indeed usable with these glasses before you buy. Case in point, despite being Google’s top-of-the-line phone the Google Pixel 6 isn’t compatible as it doesn’t support video output through its USB-C port.

One device they are compatible with is the VITURE neckband, which effectively turns the VITURE One XR Glasses into a portable projector with the Android 11 TV OS. Beyond being able to access apps like Netflix and YouTube, you can access game streaming through Google Stadia, Nvidia GeForce Now, and PlayStation 5 remote play.

And thanks to its Bluetooth connectivity you can hook up your wireless game controller so you can play those streamed games the way you like. What’s more, if you want to download videos or apps to the neckband you can use its 128GB to good effect.

The VITURE One XR Glasses

The VITURE Glasses cover with a cover to keep them safe and help to keep light out, but the cover needs to go further. (Image credit: Future)

Last but not least is the Mobile Deck, which is compatible with the Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Switch OLED, Steam Deck, and any device that outputs video with an HDMI – which includes some of the best iPhones if you use a Lightning-HDMI adapter.

While the VITURE One XRs don’t come with their own unique features, they more than make up for it with the breadth of compatible devices that you can hook them up to. Plus, the neckband helps make the VITURE glasses feel like an entertainment system in its own right rather than just a portable monitor.

VITURE One XR Glasses: Battery

The VITURE One XR  glasses don’t have a battery, instead using the internal charge of the connected device to power the screen. While this does help to keep the glasses fairly light, it also means that you can expect the Steam Deck’s fairly short battery life to get slashed further – especially if you’re playing a labor-intensive game.

Because the glasses rely on a wired connection you can’t plug your Steam Deck in to charge while also using the specs. That means while you can get a decent play time out of games like Stray, you’ll need to make sure your Deck is fully charged before jumping into something like Spider-Man Remastered if you want to game for a while.

The problem persists on other devices too, however, the impact isn’t quite as severe as it is on the Steam Deck. 

Much like other AR glasses that we’ve tested, we’d love it if the VITURE One XR glasses either had their own internal battery or if there was a way to use the glasses and charge the connected device at the same time.

As for VITURE’s own add-ons, the neckband and mobile dock do each have their own internal batteries. The neckband currently lasts for three and a half hours and charges up to full in about one hour and 20 minutes. VITURE tells us it’s still working on optimizing the battery of the neckband so we could see these details change. The mobile deck, on the other hand, boasts up to a 12-hour charge, or eight hours if it's connected to a Nintendo Switch.

The VITURE One XR Glasses

Our reviewer wearing the VITURE One XR Glasses and Neckband (Image credit: Future)

Should I Buy The VITURE One XR Glasses?

Buy it if… 

Don’t buy it if… 

Also consider

First reviewed: September 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

SteelSeries Arena 3
6:25 pm | September 23, 2022

Author: admin | Category: Computers Computing Gadgets Gaming Computers Gaming PCs | Comments: Off

Editor's Note

• Original review date: September 2022
• Still on sale
• Launch price:
$149 / £149 / AU$289
• Official price now: $129 / £129 / AU$199

Update: February 2024. These remain some of the best computer speakers you can buy right now - especially as since their launch back in 2022, there have been some decent price cuts, making them better value than ever. As PC speaker tech doesn't move that quickly, we can safely continue to recommend the SteelSeries Arena 3 nearly two years after we first reviewed them.

SteelSeries Arena 3: One-minute review

The SteelSeries Arena 3 joins a line of PC audio peripherals that has long-established a legacy of delivering great sound to users who aren't very discerning in terms of audio quality. In many ways, SteelSeries, more specifically its Arctis gaming headset family, has helped elevate not just the gaming headset scene but also the way gamers experience sound in gaming.

That means that the SteelSeries Arena 3 has a lot to live up to and massive shoes to fill especially in a world where even the best PC speakers are no longer as compelling to gamers as PC gaming headsets

Luckily, SteelSeries is also a master at offering a wide range of options in a way that’s inclusive to all gamers, not just the ones who have the money to splurge. And, alongside the Arena 3, it also rolled out the 2.1 Arena 7 that comes with a subwoofer and the expansive (and impressive) Arena 9 whose surround sound prowess absolutely blew us away. 

Those two speaker systems take the pressure off the Arena 3 whose main job is now to meet the needs of PC users and gamers who just want an affordable pair of PC speakers that will get them through their daily listening needs. And, as that, it’s a great option, one that has a cute design, good soundstage, and a lot of volume.

It isn’t going to blow you away like the Arena 9 does, but it’s a great pair of PC speakers in its own right.

SteelSeries Arena 3: Price and availability

  • How much does it cost? $149 (£149, AU$289)
  • Where is it available? Available now
  • Where can you get it? Available in the US, the UK, and Australia
SteelSeries Arena 3: SPECS

Frequency range: 50-20,000 Hz
Drivers: 4-inch full range
Supported Connectivity: Bluetooth
Audio Inputs: 3x 3.5mm for PC wired, aux, and wired headset audio
Outputs: N/A

Now available for purchase in the US, UK, and Australia, the SteelSeries Arena 3 will set you back $149 (£149, AU$289), putting it squarely in the mid-range. 

If you’re on a budget, there are definitely cheaper options available that will deliver comparable audio quality. There are also some bookshelf speakers that are around the same price that deliver better sound – although those typically have a larger footprint. However, if you do want that nice balance in sound quality, portability, and cost, the SteelSeries Arena 3 is a good choice.

If you want better and more immersive audio with a bit of oomph – and have the space and the budget for it, the SteelSeries Arena 9 is the ticket. Although, it is much more expensive as well.

  • Value: 3 / 5

SteelSeries Arena 3: Design

SteelSeries Arena 3 in a gaming setup

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)
  • Egg-shaped design
  • Multiple inputs and adjustable stand
  • Not very customizable via Sonar

We appreciate SteelSeries’ attempt to come up with an appealing and unique design. Shaped like an egg mounted on a stand, the SteelSeries Arena 3 speakers actually remind us of soft-boiled eggs served in egg cups at breakfast, which we don’t mind as we love eggs, and these speakers are undeniably adorable.

Granted, there are smaller and more portable speakers out there, but these don’t take up a lot of space either. At least not as much as the boxy bookshelf speakers that some people do use as PC speakers. It helps that these have smaller adjustable stands that still keep them stable. These stands also allow you to tilt the speakers for better listening.

SteelSeries Arena 3 in a gaming setup

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Above the four-inch driver on each speaker is a bass port, which is basically a directional empty space designed to amplify certain sounds, usually the bass frequency. Unfortunately, they don’t help that much in terms of sound quality. 

SteelSeries Arena 3 in a gaming setup

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

The right speaker comes with a volume wheel-slash-multifunctional button that serves as the main speaker control for muting, switching input sources, and more. And, in the back, it has three audio ports – PC wired, aux, and wired headset – to plug in three different audio inputs simultaneously. That’s on top of the Bluetooth connectivity these speakers also come with.

SteelSeries Arena 3 in a gaming setup

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

There’s a fair amount of customizability here thanks to Sonar, the new add-on to SteelSeries’ GG software that’s specifically designed for the brand’s audio devices. With Sonar, you can customize the Arena 3 to do things like toggle the ChatMix, adjust the Master Volume, and experiment with the parametric EQ to fine-tune the sound. 

The presence of the Parametric EQ in Sonar is a treat. It’s not something gamers see often, as only audiophiles and audio engineers utilize it. So, having it handy is a big deal and allows for A LOT of finetuning. 

There’s also a Gain and Smart Volume (compressor), which makes loud bits quieter and quiet bits a little louder – you know, the thing that Christopher Nolan almost always forgets exists when mixing his movies. Finally, Sonar allows you to enable and fine-tune Spatial Audio – although on the Arena 3, it merely expands the soundstage just a touch.

  • Design: 4 / 5

SteelSeries Arena 3: Performance

SteelSeries Arena 3 in a gaming setup

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)
  • A lot of volume
  • Mids are the fairly well balanced, not a lot of bass
  • Soundstage is good

For a small-ish pair of PC speakers, the SteelSeries Arena 3 speakers have a powerful set of pipes and can fill a medium-sized room when its volume is turned all the way up. That’s without a lot of distortion. Turn that volume up halfway, and it can fill a small room as well.

Sound quality is good, but you’ll definitely miss the absence of a subwoofer, however, especially when playing tunes like Dua Lipa’s ‘Levitating,’ which, being a dance song, usually has a punchy kick, and Tierra Whack’s ‘Unemployed,’ a song with a lot of low end. If you’re expecting a lot of rumble, you might be disappointed. There’s no sub bass here because, well… there’s no subwoofer.

SteelSeries Arena 3 in a gaming setup

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

To make up for that missing real low end, the lower mids are pretty prominent and boosted. It’s not a very effective solution, but it works for certain things. Maneskin’s ‘Mammamia’ isn’t as punchy either, but because this is essentially a rock song, you don’t miss the bass as much. Rock is more mid-focused musically, and because these speakers have boosted lower mids, the song sounds fuller.

The rest of the mids are fairly well-balanced. However, the highs are rounded off so there isn’t as much detail here or brightness and treble is rolled off so you’re losing a little bit of presence as well.

Even though you’re not getting that nice rumble when playing Cyberpunk 2077, the environmental elements come through pretty clearly, which is a nice surprise since the high end is rounded off in music. The soundstage is about what you’d expect from bookshelf speakers – there’s obviously no real surround sound here, just your typical stereo soundstage. But, you can hear elements going from left to right, or moving away or towards you.

Turn on the Spatial Audio feature on GG’s Sonar, and the soundstage becomes wider, if only just a little, and the addition of the reverb almost sounds like there are more elements as it gives sound elements space, which in effect gives them more dimension and a little more weight.

  • Performance: 3.5 / 5

Should I buy the SteelSeries Arena 3?

SteelSeries Arena 3 in a gaming setup

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Also consider

SteelSeries Arena 3: Report card

  • First reviewed September 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

AirPods Pro 2 review
6:06 pm | September 22, 2022

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

AirPods Pro 2: two-minute review

The Apple AirPods Pro 2 are a significant upgrade from the original AirPods Pro true wireless earbuds. Because although the first AirPods Pro were a good move forward for Apple – sound quality and overall performance was good – there are plenty of new features to enjoy in these buds that came out in late 2022. 

While the design hasn't moved on that much since the first iteration (just a new audio vent hinting at a difference), the case has a speaker and a lanyard attachment, for both ease of finding the lost earbuds and keeping hold of them on your person.

What's more, volume control from the stems is welcome, if fiddly to use, and the microphones have been enhanced to allow for better voice clarity as well. The Personalized Spatial Audio capability is also nice to have, making them feel like your earbuds, but we're not sure it adds a lot.

However, the audio performance has been massively upgraded thanks to the new H2 chip inside, and it makes the AirPods Pro 2 a real contender for the best noise-cancelling earbuds and overall best true wireless earbuds around – even more than 6 months after they were first released.

AirPods Pro 2 in action

(Image credit: TechRadar)

The overall soundscape is wide, expansive and the AirPods Pro 2 are excellent at pulling out different instruments in the audio. The vocal tones are clear, the bass thudding but not dominant - we found ourselves reaching for them just to sink into a sonic world when we had an idle moment.

That feeling of audio envelopment comes from an enhanced noise-cancelling capability, and it's brilliant on the AirPods Pro 2. Turn it on and the world fades away – it's among the best we've tried in any true wireless earbuds.

The battery life has been extended, but not to beat many other rivals on the market. Turn on all the head tracking, Spatial Audio and noise-cancelling features and you'll get about 4-5 hours between charges, with the case now able to charge in a variety of new ways too.

In short, while they're expensive and a real investment, if you're embedded in the Apple ecosystem these are excellent, immersive and beautifully-sounding buds.

AirPods Pro 2 price and release date

  • Price impressive stays the same as original AirPods Pro
  • AirPods Pro 2 release date: September 23

AirPods Pro 2 in use

(Image credit: TechRadar)

If you’re looking to pick up the Apple AirPods Pro 2, you'll find them for $249 / £249 / AU$399 – and they've remained at this price since they were first released on September 23.

This is the same price as the previous model, the Apple AirPods Pro, except in the UK, where it's a £10 increase. However, the older model is always discounted these days at retailers other than Apple, so while both are available, the new version costs more, effectively.

In the current climate, keeping the official price the same is actually a more aggressive move from Apple than it looks, because almost all other new flagship earbuds have increased their price. They're not exactly affordable, but most major players are coming in higher with their latest true wireless earbuds.

  • Price score: 3.5/5

AirPods Pro 2 design and features

AirPods Pro 2 in action

(Image credit: TechRadar)
  • Design is almost identical to previous models
  • Case is same shape, but with a few extra accessories
  • Volume control is welcome, but erratic
  • Good on-board microphones for voice

If you’re looking for AirPods with an all-new design, you’re not going to get that here. The AirPods Pro are precisely the same as the previous iterations, with the shorter stem and the wider, more squat case to house them in.

Side by side, you will notice that the AirPods Pro 2 do have an extra black section cut out, which is an audio vent designed to improve the quality of sound coming out of the diminutive buds - and, as you’ll see in a moment, that audio quality is darned impressive.

The only other small design change on the buds actually comes in the box, where Apple has packed in extra small tips for those with teenier ears - as our Senior Audio Writer Becky Scarrott can attest, this is a much-needed change and one that Apple should be applauded for making (especially as it’s keeping the RRP of the AirPods the same as the models from 2019).

While the stems on the AirPods Pro 2 might look the same, they house a new feature on AirPods: volume control. We’ve been mournfully crying out for this feature since the first AirPods emerged years ago, and it’s finally here - except, well, it’s far from perfect.

It works by stroking the small stem up and down, waiting for the small click to confirm a change. When you get the rhythm, it’s fine - the strokes work perfectly and you can alter volume easily, despite being a little slow to respond.

However, it’s so hard to get the sweet spot each time - while the feature is nice to have and one we use regularly, it’s not well implemented enough to be flawless.

The only other design change comes on the new charging case, which both last longer on a single charge but also comes with a new lanyard clip, as well as a speaker on the base.

AirPods Pro 2 in use

(Image credit: TechRadar)

The lanyard clip is a surprise, allowing one to wear the AirPods case around the neck in a nod to the world of fashion - but the speaker is more of a useful upgrade.

This speaker allows the AirPods Pro to gain ‘Find My’ features, so you can press a button on your phone to make a sound emanate from the AirPods Pro case. This is a useful upgrade as the previous method on the older models - making the buds themselves play ear-splitting sound - didn't really work.

The AirPods Pro 2 also pack in the U1 chip that’s been added to iPhones of late, meaning you can see on your handset the direction of the headphones too - helpful if the sound isn’t playing.

It’s not perfect, as we sometimes just couldn’t connect to the case when we knew it was in the house somewhere, but on the other occasions when the connection appeared, it was fun to follow the signal around the house, with an increasingly strong vibration on the phone happening as we closed in.

The new charging case does have another neat trick: allowing you to use an Apple Watch charger to juice up the AirPods Pro holder. It feels so seamless to do that it's hard to understand why this hasn't happened before, but it's a great feature nonetheless.

AirPods Pro 2 in use

(Image credit: TechRadar)

There's also a new AirPods app in iOS 16, which allows you to head in and alter the settings on the AirPods themselves.

One of the key features here is the ability to set up Personalized Spatial Audio, where a scan of your face and ears will be able to re-calibrate the sound performance of the AirPods Pro 2.

It's hard to see how holding your phone at arm's length from your head is going to be able to see inside your ear, but Apple is adamant it makes a difference.

The set up is easy enough to achieve, and there is a marked difference using the personalized system - far more expansive and ‘interesting’ to listen to, with different instruments easier to pick out.

Another useful feature of the AirPods Pro 2 is the strong voice pickup when using the headphones as a headset for a Zoom call or taking a phone call. You can pair the Pro 2 with any Bluetooth device that requires a headset (such as a laptop, tablet or phone), and thus have decent video calls or have a phone conversation without worrying that the headphones aren't going to pick it up.

It might sound like a small thing, but being able to use the new AirPods as a headset is crucial for many people, and the new AirPods Pro 2 didn’t disappoint in our testing. Just be warned: if you connect them to a PC running Windows it can disable the auto-connect feature on your iPhone.

  • Design score: 4.5/5
  • Features score: 4.5/5

AirPods Pro 2 sound quality and noise cancellation

AirPods Pro 2 in action

(Image credit: TechRadar)
  • Sound quality is brilliant
  • Noise reduction is phenomenal
  • Spatial Audio works well
  • Transparency allows for natural conversations

Right, let's get onto the good stuff: how the AirPods Pro 2 actually sound. Short answer: phenomenal.

Longer answer: despite the fact Apple decided to not make the AirPods Pro 2 capable of Lossless audio (even though its own Apple Music platform supports it really heavily) the sound quality is so good that we just found ourselves wanting to put them on to drift off into a beautiful sonic world.

It's hard to put into words how a pair of headphones can bring joy, because it's about how they enable a connection with the music that wasn't there before.

The way that the AirPods Pro 2 do this is a combination of factors: a clear ability to separate out different elements in the music, a strong ability to reproduce bass, a crispness in voice especially, and all combined with excellent Spatial Audio playback and mind-blowing noise cancellation.

It makes it even more maddening that Lossless audio isn't supported here, as you feel that there could be even more to come from them, but if that's the cost of keeping the price the same as in 2019, we guess we can stomach it.

Let's pause a moment on the noise-cancelling qualities of these headphones, as it's genuinely amazing for a pair of earbuds and up there with anything we've ever experienced. Sure, it's not got a gradient of cancellation (some earbuds allow you to set the level of noise cancelling depending on your situation) but you'll find it hard to care when switching it on.

We've been using noise-cancelling products for nearly 20 years now, when headphones came with a massive extra microphone block to achieve the feat. But slip on the AirPods Pro 2 in a noisy environment - we're currently writing this review in a noisy cafe, for instance - and hold one of the stems to activate noise cancellation.

AirPods Pro 2 in use

(Image credit: TechRadar)

The world goes quiet, and you instantly enter a soft, comfortable studio where it's just you and your music. The effect is stark and worth the cost of the headphones alone.

The AirPods Pro 2 will cancel out wind, train sounds and easily destroy the noise of an air conditioning unit or fan in the background. This is all possible thanks to the H2 chip that's been unveiled with the Pro 2, and it's such a good upgrade.

If you combine this with some Dolby Atmos-enabled sound on Apple Music or Tidal, you'll find yourself seeking out the AirPods Pro 2 as an activity rather than just having them as a soundtrack to a commute or a walk. That's the power of music, and Apple's brought that closer here.

We tried a number of songs to experience the different modes and capabilities of the AirPods Pro 2, and the main thing that struck us was the sheer expanse of the sound in the ears compared to the original AirPods Pro from three years ago. 

Sure, they’re never going to rival dedicated over-ear headphones, but they more than make up for that with the lightness and convenience that true wireless earbuds offer. It's also true that the AirPods Pro 2 have definitely gone for 'safe' audio - it's not 'pull your pants down and spank you' startling sound, but it is a hugely enjoyable audio experience.

Listening the Coheed and Cambria’s The Embers of Fire, the first thing that strikes is the crackling of fire creeping up behind you, rolling up to a crescendo of drums that’s handled with real stability.

Moving onto Violence Broken by No Mono, and the emotive vocals break through the music really clearly, that same stability meaning every drum beat is rich while the singing is crisp and emotive.

AirPods Pro 2 in use

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Flirting with June by Les Gordon showed where the Spatial Audio really performed, with the stereo sounds popping back and forth with a similar crispness, and the repeated ‘Yeah!’ from Prince in When Doves Cry slithered around our head as the song began, with the Spatial Audio kicking in nicely again here.

Even when not using Apple Music or Dolby Atmos, the sound is decent. Comparing The Ting Tings’ Fine and Dandy, the pitchy opening is quickly absorbed by background synth and electric guitar, and where the original AirPods Pro remained a bit too tinny, there's a clear evolution to an expansive sounds with the new Pro 2.

It's not just music that benefits either. While having an hour to kill during testing, we popped the new Thor Love and Thunder on an iPhone 14 Pro Max, and activated head tracking in the AirPods Pro 2. 

The richness of the sound, the ability to follow the head perfectly in space and the clarity of the film on the iPhone's OLED screen meant we felt completely absorbed, getting entirely lost in the experience despite being in the middle of a very noisy canteen with people coming and going.

The head tracking is far more subtle on the AirPods Pro 2, compared to something like the  LG Tone Free T90, but we still don't really see the point of it most of the time.

There are some fun elements - listen to Weaver of Dreams by Freddie Hubbard, and the wailing trumpet on your left and the soft drumbeat on the right are clearly distinguishable - and turning your head to 'look' at each instrument suddenly brings an evocative sense of being in a smokey jazz club with the lights turned down low.

However, for other songs where Dolby Atmos isn't available, it's basically just the sound coming straight at you from in front, and turning your head makes it move around a bit.

As we've mentioned before, Personalized Spatial Audio is worth doing, simply because it takes about 30 seconds and seems to enhance the audio performance by tailoring it to your own hearing. For audiophiles, they may appreciate this feature, but most will struggle to know if things are truly better.

(Case in point - we let someone else create a Personalized Spatial Audio profile, and to our ears theirs sounded better, with more clarity and richness in the sound, which doesn't make a lot of sense).

AirPods Pro 2 in use

(Image credit: TechRadar)

The other thing that the H2 chip now enables is an almost-flawless Transparency mode. If you open up the microphones on the AirPods Pro 2 (by long-pressing on the stem when in noise-cancelling mode) it will open up the world again - and it's so clear that you can easily have a conversation with someone else while wearing the Pro 2 headphones.

You will need to turn off the music, as that's a bit too much to process, but it's easy to forget you're wearing the headphones when chatting to someone. It makes us wish that the AirPods Pro 2 had an auto-transparency feature, where when you started to speak it would automatically shut off the music and open up the microphones, like on the Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones.

Apple's also thrown in Adaptive Transparency too, where the headphones monitor the audio conditions 48,000 a second to quickly dampen any sudden sounds like a siren or drill, but we didn't encounter anything like that in our testing to say how well it worked (and we did go and hang out by a hospital to try... but after a while it just looked weird).

  • Sound quality score: 4.5/5
  • Noise cancellation score: 5/5

AirPods Pro 2 battery life

AirPods Pro 2 in action

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Apple has increased the battery life of the AirPods Pro 2 to manage 6 hours of use on a single charge, with noise cancelling enabled - and that's what we found in our testing too.

However, we mostly had them in noise cancelling mode with head tracking and Spatial Audio enabled, to get the full experince, and Apple thinks this should last closer to five hours.

That seems a tiny bit generous, with a single hour's listening dropping the battery life by about 25% - but in our view it's more about the ability of the case to charge the headphones, as nobody is going to listen for four hours in a row regularly.

The AirPods Pro 2 case is now able to hold 30 hours' charge - or five recharges of the AirPods - but, again, we found this a bit generous. Don't get us wrong, we rarely had an issue where both the AirPods and the case was out of juice, but we estimate you'll need to top it up once a week easily - and there are plenty of true wireless earbuds out there which can last longer.

You can pop the AirPods Pro 2 into the case when completely dead, and five minutes later you'll be good to go for about an hour - that's a useful touch.

When you do need to charge though, the aforementioned methods of re-juicing are good. There's the novelty of using the Apple Watch charger to charge up the AirPods Pro 2 case, the Lightning port at the bottom, you can slot them onto an iPhone MagSafe charger or just plonk the case on a Qi-enabled charging pad.

Basically, invest in a couple of charging pads for home and work and you'll likely never run out of charge again.

  • Battery life score: 4/5

AirPods Pro 2: Should I buy them?

Buy them if…

Don’t buy them if…

Also consider

If our Apple AirPods Pro 2 review has you considering other options, here are three other true wireless earbuds for you to look at.

Helix Midnight mattress review 2024: a winner for side sleepers
10:30 pm | September 10, 2022

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

Editor's note

  • Original review date: September 2022
  • Height has shrunk since review
  • Price has increased slightly since launch

Updated: February 2024. The Helix Midnight mattress remains much the same as it was when we reviewed it back in 2022, but with one intriguing adjustment. In our original review we reported its height as being 12", but checking now it's listed as being 11.5", and it would seem that Helix has lopped half an inch off most of its mattress range. That half-inch really shouldn't trouble you, and aside from the inevitable price increase over the past year that means you'll likely pay around $100 more than when it was reviewed, the Helix Midnight still an excellently-performing mattress at a great price.

Helix Midnight mattress: two-minute review

In this Helix Midnight mattress review, I'm taking a look at Helix's most popular mattress, aimed at side sleepers, to see if it's worthy of inclusion in TechRadar's best mattress guide. The Helix Midnight is one of seven main mattresses (excluding upgrades within specific models) in this brand's range. 

I'll dig into it more in our full review, but the short version is that I think this is the best mattress for side sleepers, bar none. Depending on your body type and preferences, it might also be suitable for back sleepers and combination sleepers. The hybrid design offers four layers, each of which provides different benefits in terms of durability, motion transfer, ergonomic support, pressure relief, and more.

The Midnight was softer than I expected when I first slept on it. Helix describes it as medium feel mattress (rated 5-6 out of 10 on firmness), and after a period of adjustment, I judged that to be about right. With that said, the most common complaint about the Helix Midnight is that it’s too soft for some people’s preferences, and it lacks adequate support that stomach sleepers and heavier sleepers require.

Overall, I found the Helix Midnight mattress to be a great value for the price and most impressive for pressure relief and cooling properties. It offers a great balance of sink and support while side sleeping, though it also performs well for those who sleep on their back. I believe it to be a safe bet for co-sleepers who sleep in either of these positions, as well as if your bed partner tosses and turns throughout the night.

Helix Midnight mattress review: Materials & design

  • 11.5" deep, hybrid mattress
  • Four foam layers plus up to 1,000 wrapped coils
  • Designed for side sleepers

The Helix Midnight is a hybrid mattress made of foam and coils (if you're not sure what this means, this memory foam vs hybrid mattress explainer will help clarify). The standard version of this mattress is 11.5 inches deep with five layers (whereas the Helix Midnight Luxe is 13.5 inches deep with six layers).

Close up for fabric topper on Helix Midnight mattress

(Image credit: Future)

From the bottom up, DuraDense Foam provides solid base support and durability; approximately 950 individually wrapped eight-inch steel coils in the next layer adjust to your body and reduce motion transfer, with lengthwise-only edge support for structural reinforcement; high-grade polyfoam in the transition layer gives the mattress its bounce while offering ergonomic support and medium-feel cushioning; and Helix’s own memory plus foam blend, which is also medium feel, helps to relieve pressure along the shoulders, hips, lower back, and knees.

The foam used in the Helix Midnight is CertiPUR-US Certified, meaning it passes safety standards and is confirmed to contain no harmful chemicals including but not limited to formaldehyde, phthalates, mercury, lead, and other heavy metals.

The Helix Midnight is topped off with a soft, stretchy, knitted cover for breathability and additional comfort; if you want more in the way of cooling or comfort, there's the option to upgrade to a GlacioTex Cooling Cover for an extra $199.20, or a GlacioTex Pillow Top for an extra $299.

  • Design score: 4.5 out of 5

Helix Midnight mattress review: price & value for money

  • Mid-range mattress
  • Regular discount of at least 20%, plus free pillows 

Costing just over the $1,000 mark for a queen size, the Helix Midnight sits in the mid-range mattress market. Price-wise, that puts it roughly in line with the original DreamCloud (see TechRadar's DreamCloud mattress review for more on that one) and the Casper Original mattress.

Helix makes a range of seven mattresses, each of which is available in a regular or a significantly more expensive Luxe version. It's a bit unusual in that each has exactly the same pricing – at time of writing, MSRP $1,373.80 for the regular queen size, $2,373.80 for the Luxe queen for every mattress line.

  • Twin MSRP: $936.30 (normally sells for $749)
  • Twin XL MSRP: $1061.30 (normally sells for $849)
  • Full MSRP: $1,248.80 (normally sells for $999)
  • Queen MSRP: $1,373.80 (normally sells for $1,099)
  • Short Queen MSRP: $1,373.80 (normally sells for $1,099)
  • King MSRP: $1,748.80 (normally sells for $1,399)
  • Cal King MSRP: $1,748.80 (normally sells for $1,399)
  • RV King MSRP: $1,748.80 (normally sells for $1,399)

If you've been looking at beds for any amount of time, you'll know that this market is very competitive. There are regular mattress deals and sales throughout the year, but especially around national holidays. The standard Helix mattress sale is a 20% discount, but this tends to rise to 25% around major sales events, including the Presidents' Day mattress sales in February, Memorial Day mattress sales in May, 4th of July mattress sales, Labor Day mattress sales in September and of course Black Friday mattress deals, which is when the biggest discounts usually appear.

Helix's 25%-off promotions are when you get the lowest price, so if you're set on saving you should hold out until the next big sales event. Whenever you buy, you'll usually get two free Dream pillows included, too. 

  • Value score: 4.5 out of 5

Helix Midnight mattress review: comfort & support

  • A medium mattress with a 5-6 out of 10 rating
  • Particularly comfortable for side sleepers
  • Provides a good balance of sink and support

Helix says that the Midnight mattress is neither too firm nor too soft, purporting that this middle ground is great for co-sleepers with varying preferences for feel. The brand classifies its best-selling mattress broadly between 5 and 6 on the firmness scale (with 10 being the firmest). From my experience and compared to other medium-feel mattresses I’ve tested, I’d gauge it more precisely at the average of 5.5.

During the first few nights of testing, I found it to be noticeably softer, bouncier, and more plush than I’d expected – especially compared to other mattresses advertised as offering a similar level of firmness (it’s worth noting however, that firmness is subjective and will vary based on your height, weight, personal preferences, and history of mattress use). However, it’s not so soft that you feel a lack of support or think you ordered the wrong model. In addition, as each night passed, I began to feel it work its magic for support and comfort along the body while side sleeping.

I was impressed to discover that the Helix Midnight lived up to its claims – not to mention accolades and awards – as being one of the best mattresses for side sleepers. Within just a few days, I experienced noticeable relief for aches and pains along my neck and shoulders, which I credit to the well-balanced levels of sink from the top two foam layers and support from the lower base and body shaping layers.

To gauge the pressure relief of the Helix Midnight, I placed a 55-pound kettlebell at the center of the mattress. The level of sinkage clocked in at just over 3 inches. (The amount of sinkage from your own body may be less, given the distribution of your body weight; I also found that it will sink more in some denser areas of the body than others, such as around the hips.) The mattress also returned back to form within seconds of removing the kettlebell.

Photo of Helix Midnight mattress in a bedroom, with a weight on it, and a wine glass stood upright on the mattress surface nearby

(Image credit: Future)

I primarily tested this mattress for side sleeping, and I enjoyed how well it contoured the body in this position and gave an adequate amount of sink – particularly along the shoulders and hips – while still providing support.

The Helix Midnight also offers noticeable pressure relief for back-sleeping. It cushions and contours the body (especially by the hips), so I have no complaints about its ability to hold up for those who primarily sleep on their backs or for combination sleepers. Based on my experience, I can see why this model is also marketed for co-sleepers with varying preferences – so if you’re a side sleeper and your partner is a back-sleeper (or vice versa), this claim holds up.

With that said, this mattress is not ideal for stomach sleepers or people of heavier weights (from 230-300lbs and above), as the amount of give may be excessive and the sinkage can prove to be uncomfortable. In these cases, firm models would be more suitable. If you’d like to stay with this brand, the Helix Twilight and Helix Dawn are safer bets since they won’t sink or give. In addition, while it’s medium-firm, the Helix Plus is made for taller and heavier sleepers.

Overall, I experienced greater body contouring and pressure relief particular to side sleeping than other medium-firm, memory foam-only mattresses we’ve tried.

  • Comfort score: 4.5 out of 5

Helix Midnight mattress review: performance

  • Offers noticeable relief and comfort for side sleepers
  • Minimal motion transfer
  • Lacks the level of edge support we anticipated

I tested the Helix Midnight mattress for just under four weeks, and as well as taking its design, comfort and value for money into consideration, I also reviewed it on key performance metrics: its temperature-regulating properties, its effectiveness in absorbing motion, and the quality of its edge support. Here's how it performed.

Temperature regulation 

Within only a few days of testing, I was pleased to discover how breathable the Helix Midnight is – without even opting for the GlacioTex Cooling Cover (which you can upgrade to at checkout). The cooling properties of the standard Midnight mattress can be credited to both its breathable cover as well as its hybrid composition. While it doesn’t necessarily remain cool to the touch, it doesn’t trap body heat, which is a common issue of all-foam mattresses.

I used linen bedding (fitted sheets and a duvet) and a light down comforter to further promote airflow, as I tend to run warm at night. Within this testing period, I experienced a notable reduction in night sweats and heat-related discomfort compared to other non-cooling medium mattresses on the market.

  • Temperature regulation score: 4.5 out of 5

Motion isolation

To gauge how well the Helix Midnight holds up in terms of motion transfer, I placed an empty wine glass near the top edge of one side of the bed and dropped a 10-pound kettlebell 25 inches away from the glass. Whether I dropped it from heights at four inches, eight inches and 12 inches, and while the glass wobbled slightly more with each higher increment, it stayed upright the whole time.

Photo of Helix Midnight mattress in a bedroom, with a weight on it, and a wine glass stood upright on the mattress surface nearby. A tape measure shows the distance between glass and weight.

(Image credit: Future)

The same went for when I dropped the weight at these intervals 12 inches away from the glass – though dropping the kettlebell from higher points almost did knock the glass over.

All things considered, I credit the limited amount of motion transfer to the hundreds of individually wrapped coils. If you or your bed partner tend to toss and turn throughout the night, based on this test, I don’t believe that the other’s sleep will be significantly disrupted on account of excess movement.

  • Motion isolation score: 4.5 out of 5

Edge support

While I wouldn’t say that the Helix Midnight underperforms in the edge support department, I found this element to be less impressive than other markers of performance.

I first tested edge support by placing the 55-pound kettlebell four inches from the side of the mattress. To the naked eye, the amount of sinkage appeared to be greater than that from the bed’s center, so I wasn’t entirely confident about leaving the weight there unattended or for too long.

Next, when I tested the edge support with my own body weight by sitting upright along the side of the bed, the give wasn’t too drastic. However, testing the edge support while reclining at night, I did experience a notable amount of sinkage. Again, I didn’t find this to be drastic in my case (i.e. I never feared rolling off the bed), though co-sleepers with limited space and especially heavier sleepers are likely to desire and require a bit more support on this front.

  • Edge support score: 4 out of 5

Helix Midnight mattress review: customer experience

The Helix Midnight comes with free shipping within the USA via FedEx Ground; if you're in a hurry you can opt for expedited production at the cost of $49 per mattress, which guarantees that your mattress will be shipped within two business days of your order.

I opted for the queen-sized Helix Midnight mattress, which weighs 100 pounds. Packed in a relatively compact box measuring 46 x 17 x 17", I was grateful it was delivered directly to my floor. Even for a relatively petite tester (at 5' 2" and weighing slightly above the mattress itself), I was able to push the package into my apartment, unbox it, unroll it, and unwrap it solo – though it would inevitably have been less laborious with two people.

Once I slid it out of the box, it was simple and hassle-free to unroll it from the first layer of plastic packaging. From there, it took some shifting and shimmying to get the mattress straight onto my bed frame. (While the Helix Midnight doesn't require a foundation, the brand advises that your slats should be no wider than five inches apart, as bigger gaps may cause sagging and potentially void the 10-year warranty). From there, I cut the second, thicker protective plastic layer off. These two steps took no more than 10 minutes, which would likely be cut in half with four hands instead of two.

The unboxing guide recommends allowing one to two hours for the Midnight to fully unwind and expand before sleeping on it.

Image 1 of 2

Helix Midnight mattress rolled up in its packaging

(Image credit: Future)
Image 2 of 2

Helix Midnight mattress in vacuum packed packaging

(Image credit: Future)

Despite living in a studio apartment and sitting directly next to the Helix Midnight as it expanded over the next two hours, I was pleased that I didn’t pick up on any odors, or even wheezing sounds for that matter. (At the same time, I do note that the mattress was situated next to a half-open window with the ceiling fan on.)

In all, I felt confident in this mattress while it decompressed and continued to feel safe sleeping on it thereafter. Things don't always go quite so smoothly, though, so it's useful to know that Helix Midnight comes with a 100-night trial as well as a 10-year warranty that covers all manufacturing defects.

  • Customer experience score: 4 out of 5

Helix Midnight mattress specs

Helix Midnight mattress

(Image credit: 3Z Brands for Tom's Guide / TechRadar)

Helix Midnight mattress: other reviews

User reviews for the Helix Midnight mattress are generally positive, with an average rating of 4.5 out of stars across 6,600+ reviews on the Helix Midnight product page as of February 2024. Many reviewers call out its comfort and support (highlighting its balance between plushness and sturdiness), as well as quality and value for the price and ease to set up. Others have mentioned that the Helix Sleep Quiz, which matched them to the Midnight mattress, proved to be helpful in their decision to buy this particular model – even more so among side sleepers. 

The most impressive benefits that users have reported include help with chronic postural problems and even reductions in blood pressure, plus immediate relief from back pain and improvements in sleep quality. Users have also commented on quick shipping times (despite widespread supply chain issues elsewhere) and excellent customer service.

The majority of users who rated the Helix Midnight less favorably reported that they found it to be too soft for their preferences. However, many of these reviewers called out their satisfaction after reaching out to Helix customer support, as team members solved their issues by facilitating exchanges to a firmer mattress (like the Twilight, which is also designed for side sleepers) or shipping them a free mattress topper.

All of these ratings and reviews considered, both the Midnight mattress itself and Helix as a brand were commented upon in a positive light; firmly negative reviews and reports of poor experiences and regrets were few and far between. (Again, reviews of firmness and thus comfort are subjective and particular to one’s body composition and personal preferences.)

Should you buy the Helix Midnight mattress?

Buy it if...

✅ You sleep on your side: The Helix Midnight is designed specifically for side sleepers, so you can order with confidence that it'll provide enough contouring and sink-in comfort to keep your body comfortable and aligned in the night. 

✅ You wake up with sore joints: The pressure relief you get from the Helix Midnight is seriously impressive; this means that when you're sleeping on your side, your shoulders and hips will receive plenty of cushioning and support, and you'll wake up feeling a lot less achy. 

✅ You share with a restless partner: Thanks to its combination of contouring foam and individually-wrapped coils, the motion isolation in the Helix Midnight is remarkably good, so nobody should be disturbed by a night-time fidget.

Don't buy it if...

❌ You like a bit of bounce to your bed: The Helix Midnight excels at contouring and pressure relief, but the downside of this is that if you enjoy a responsive mattress, you may find that it feels a little dead. The Saatva Classic could be a better alternative if that's the case; it has less hug but its innersprings give it more bounce.

 You need good edge support: The edges on the Helix Midnight aren't exactly squashy, but there's more give to them than you might be comfortable. For sturdier edges, check the DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid, which holds its shape much better when you sit on the sides.

❌ You're a front sleeper: If you're a front sleeper then the Helix Midnight really isn't for you, as you'll sink in too much to get the support you need. The Helix Dusk Luxe has a similar (but more luxurious) feel, is designed to support stomach and back sleepers. 

Helix Midnight mattress review: also consider

How I tested the Helix Midnight mattress

I slept on the Helix Midnight mattress for a period of just under four weeks, sleeping on my side and in other positions to get a full impression of just how this mattress feels over an extended period.

To get a objective measurements of the Helix Midnight's comfort, support, motion isolation and edge support, I also ran a series of standardized tests using kettlebells. I used a 55lb kettlebell to rate the Midnight's pressure relief and edge support, and a 10lb kettlebell to evaluate its motion isolation.

Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW review: excellent and stylish cheap earbuds
1:00 pm |

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

Editor's Note

• Original review date: September 2022
• Launch price: $79 / £79 / AU$129
• Official price now: $59 / £49 / AU$129

Update: February 2024. We still love the Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW a lot, but the world of the best budget earbuds has become way hotter since their launch. The price cut in the US and UK helps them a lot, but you've now got products like the Earfun Air Pro 3 offering pretty advanced features including next-gen Bluetooth and active noise cancellation for a dangerously similar price to this. However, these don't have the hi-fi audio prowess of the Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW, nor do they have the cool, stand-out-from-the-crowd design and color options of these buds. So we will happily still recommend these to you strongly is sound is your priority in particular, but if you want other features too, you can get them elsewhere. The rest of this review remains as previously published.

Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW: two-minute review

Damn, the Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW wireless earbuds are too cool for school. These cute-but-cubist buds have been stealing hearts at a fee that'll have you smitten for all the right reasons – and having heard them, we simply have to bring them to your attention.

Will the Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW soon find a rightful spot among the best budget wireless earbuds we've tested? Heck yes. And actually, they're good enough to crash our best wireless earbuds guide too – because the excellent sound here warrants the recommendation regardless of price.

Audio-Technica is now 60 years old and the Tokyo-based audio specialist has been a legendary name in vinyl for well over half a century. To snap up these inexpensive earbuds is to buy into that history, in the coolest way. These earbuds don't scream about their sonic chops – they don't have to, but they are worthy of their heritage.

Let's express the sentiment in Prince lyrics shall we? In Style, His Royal Badness remarked, "Style is not lusting after someone because they're cool. Style is loving yourself until everyone else does too".

See, what we're trying to express is that the ATH-SQ1TW are clear proof that Audio-Technica is loving Audio-Technica right now. The company has not tried to emulate any other earbuds, or indeed any competing audio brand. The company has paid the cost to be the boss for over 60 years, and it shows in this little, unassuming, winning pair of earphones.

They're available in no fewer than six delicious-sounding colorways (Caramel, Popsicle, Cupcake, Blueberry, Liquorice and Popcorn – try that for size, ice-white-only AirPods) and you're getting Bluetooth 5.0, 20 hours of battery, a beautiful product that fits comfortably, on-ear controls that work well (including volume) plus a low-latency mode, a hear-through function and a sound that's more expansive, clearer and generally better than anything else you can buy for this money.

As long as a lack of companion app and active noise cancellation aren't deal-breakers, these inexpensive earbuds should be on your list.

Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW earbuds out of case, on red background

Cut a dash with these square, effortlessly chic Audio-Technica earbuds. (Image credit: Future)

Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW: price & release date

  • $79 / £79 / AU$129
  • Released: December 1, 2021

Although they started at a very affordable price anyway, you can now cut the cost further while cutting a dash in these Audio-Technica earbuds, provided you know where to look. 

We've seen the ATH-SQ1TW discounted by £20 in the UK at times, and up to AU$40 across certain Australian online retailers, meaning their price has dropped to as low as AU$89 – and they truly are a steal for that kind of money. 

But wherever you live, know that the price here is shockingly low when you feel how high quality they are when holding them in your hand – and even more so upon placing them into your ears and firing up your music. 

Perhaps you want to buy something small for the vinyl-lover in your life – something that isn't actual vinyl? Gift these little buds and watch their faces light up at the recognition of the branding. Now that is priceless…

Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW case held in hand, on red background

Such a compact, likeable little case. (Image credit: Future)

Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW: features

  • Bluetooth 5.0 and a classy build quality
  • Useful hear-through function
  • On-ear volume control 

Not content with adding unabashed style to your wallet-friendly wireless listening experience, the ATH-SQ1TW offer exclusive 5.8mm drivers plus an "IPX4-equivalent" splashproof design and plenty of user-friendly features. 

As is now the norm, the headphones automatically turn on when they are removed from the case, then power down and begin charging when you pop them back in. But place them in your ears from the case and the buds announce their battery level and connectivity status, which is a reassuringly high-end touch at this budget level. Tap an earpiece and a voice will say "play", "pause" or the like too, which keeps you in the loop. There's also dual connectivity onboard so you can connect to your laptop and phone at the same time, say. 

The touch controls on the earbuds work extremely well during our testing, enabling you to handle music playback (using the right earpiece), answer calls, and crucially adjust the volume directly from the earphones (via the left bud). Furthermore, long-pressing the left earpiece initiates and cancels the low-latency mode (to make sure the action matches the sound when playing games on your phone, or when watching with a Bluetooth-enabled TV), while long-pressing the right deploys and nixes the hear-through function, which filters in external noises but refreshingly, without bus engines and the like coming off tinny or distorting the quality of your music. 

And there's even a relatively effective Sidetone function, thanks to the mic nestled in each earpiece, which lets you tweak the volume of your own voice by tapping the left earpiece during calls – which we found to be clear and rock solid. 

Google Fast Pair is also onboard, for one-touch pairing with Android devices, and you can enjoy up to 6.5 hours of use with the headphones fully charged plus an additional 13 hours of juice from the charging case, for a total of 19.5 hours.

Charging for just 15 minutes (or thereabouts) with the USB-C charger provides around 60 minutes of continuous playback too, although the case doesn't support wireless charging. 

What you're not getting is active noise cancellation or a companion app, but at this level (and thanks to the impressive levels of passive isolation provided by the buds), we don't miss these perks. In the budget space, the feature-set here represents a sensible decision from Audio-Technica. We imagine the brief was to focus on the basics and do them well – which is exactly what has been achieved. 

Perhaps the only thing we might have hoped for which isn't here is auto-off wearer detection, but honestly, the ATH-SQ1TW are so likeable it's hardly a big deal. 

  • Features score: 4.5/5

Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW earbuds with LED illuminated on black and white background

The square earpieces are still surprizingly comfortable, and the illuminating 'L' or 'R' is a classy touch.  (Image credit: Future)

Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW: sound quality

  • Excellent separation and clarity
  • Energetic, zealous listen
  • Pleasingly musical across the frequencies 

These earbuds, though… you're not getting aptX HD, LDAC or hifalutin’ higher-res codecs, but what you are getting is an agile, zealous, musically pleasing performance across the frequencies. As with the aesthetic, the sound here is what Londoners might call 'a bit of all right'; a door to good old fashioned rock 'n' roll but in a neat true wireless package. 

Any serious comparison between these $80 in-ears and class-leading products from the likes of Sony, Apple, Bose or Sennheiser is more than a little unjust – and there simply isn't much serious competition at that price, but step up to the $100/£100 Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus and the sound is comparable for detail, clarity and neutrality – and that's huge considering these earbuds are the class-leaders at the level. 

We actually found that what the Audio-Technicas lacked in precision and timing when it came to cohesion (which was a very minor shortfall) they made up for in energy and good old fashioned fun, in direct comparison. Again, the shortfall is small, and it simply shouldn't be – not here, where a $20 surcharge typically nets you huge gains. For agility and fun, we actually find ourselves selecting the Audio-Technicas across the course of our listening. 

Stream Perfume Genius' On the Floor on Tidal and the complex intro comes through with such detail that we're noting treble elements in our right ear we never picked up before. A female backing vocal is easily perceptible and impactful – delivered with the kind of insight that lesser earbuds at this money cannot begin to dish up. The rallentando (slowing down; yes, we know big words) is also expertly handled and the strings sound three-dimensional and layered in an expansive soundstage.  

Switch to Aerosmith's Dream On, and Steven Tyler's keyed chords, conceived while lying beneath his dad's piano as a three-year-old and listening to him play classical music (completed when Steven was 14 years old) are emotive and given ample space within the mix to shine. 

What these earbuds are not is shy or reticent, in any way. If a recording is less than refined, you're getting that with no holds barred – which means they'll shine a light on your chosen streaming services, bands and vocalists in ways you may not have heard before. Give them your music and they'll celebrate it to the best of their plucky little ability – and we have to say we're big fans. 

  • Sound quality score: 5/5

Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW earbud on black and white background

In case you forget the (admittedly forgettable) name, it's printed on each earpiece…  (Image credit: Future)

Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW: design

  • Available in six mouth-watering foodie colorways
  • Beautifully cubist design 
  • Earpiece weighs just 5.2g

Let's start with the earbuds themselves. They're small and light, at 5.2g, and although JLab's $20 Go Air Pop weigh just 3.7g per earpiece (the bijou Sony LinkBuds S come in at 4.8g per bud) they will suit practically all human ears. They certainly suit our smaller ear canals, and with a total of four different-sized ear tips provided (which is one more than may offer) they almost certainly will work for you too. 

The design of these earpieces really is quite lovely, with LED Bluetooth connectivity lights illuminating little 'L' and 'R' cutouts in the top corner of each bud so you won't have to stare at them to work out which is which. Put them in, twist to lock, and you're away. 

The ATH-SQ1TW's diddy case is similarly beautiful in a minimalist but unique way. Audio-Technica hasn't given a hoot about what Apple might be doing with its toothbrush-head shaped earphones. This is Audio-Technica's solution, all squares, the triangle-within-a-circle branding, and colorful accents. Our sample is black 'Liquorice', but we particularly love the 'Popsicle' colorway. The case snaps shut reassuringly like a suitcase (rather than a backpack) and it charges via USB-C. 

A quick jolt of just 15 minutes will provide around 60 minutes of continuous playback if you're in a rush, but the whole thing will charge fully in two hours to provide a total of 20 hours of playtime – 6.5 hours from the buds and 13.5 hours of stamina in the case. 

All in all, the intrinsic beauty of this little product should not be understated. In a sea of AirPods impersonators, Audio-Technica has gone for something a bit different – and different can be good. 

  • Design score: 5/5

Audio Technica ATH-SQ1TW case, held on red backgound

The USB-C charging port we all want to see, although there's no wireless charging support here.  (Image credit: Future)

Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW: value

  • Excellent connectivity and comfort for $79
  • Easily betters anything else at this price for sound and features
  • No companion app

For $79 / £79 / AU$129, Audio-Technica's ATH-SQ1TW represent exceptionally good value. Despite the lack of a companion app or active noise cancellation, you get an impressively accurate set of features all handled by the reliable on-ear controls. And the sound is good

For build, battery life and feature set at this budget level, Audio-Technica's decisions here are all spot on. These earbuds are a worthy tribute to everything Audio-Technica has done to date within the music industry, which is probably the biggest compliment we could possibly pay them. 

These earbuds are not even a tiny bit unreliable (as you'd be forgiven for expecting, given their $80 asking fee) and if you want the best ice-cold sonic chops you can get for $80, you've found it. 

  • Value score: 4.5/5

Should you buy Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW?

Buy them if…

Don't buy them if…

Also consider

Think the Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW might not be the true wireless earbuds for you? That's cool, here are three alternatives that could offer just the design, feature-set and sound quality you're looking for. 

Apple AirPods Max review
1:47 pm | September 8, 2022

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

Editor's Note

• Original review date: January 2021
• AirPods Max 2 rumored for 2024 launch
• Launch price: $549 / £549 / AU$899
• Official price now: $549 / £499 / AU$899

Update: February 2024. AirPods Max sit a difficult place here in 2024. We still wouldn't argue with the quality of their sound overall, and they offer the best spatial audio you can get even today, when used with Apple devices (plus their other Apple-centric features), so they're definitely still among the best wireless headphones for certain buyers. However, it partly depends on what price you can get them for – we wouldn't recommend buying at full price. The Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphones sound just as good and cost a lot less, and have far better noise cancellation (and are lighter). However, rumors also suggest that the AirPods Max 2 will arrive in 2024, with better processing, sound and features that match AirPods Pro 2. At this stage, we think it'd be wise to go with Bose or wait to see what happens with the Max 2 – but if you can find these for the right price, they can still make you very happy. The rest of this review remains as previously published.

AirPods Max: Two-minute review

The Apple AirPods Max launched in late 2020, but were the subject of rumor and speculation for years. As the Apple AirPods and the AirPods Pro have been extremely successful, expectations were high for the first ever Apple over-ear headphones.

Did they live up to the hype? Yes and no. Rumors suggested the AirPods Max would be the most advanced wireless headphones ever, with futuristic features, like air gestures. If the Apple AirPods Max had come with those game-changing specs, their $549 / £549 / AU$899 price tag may be justified—unfortunately that’s not the case.

In reality, the Apple AirPods Max are more ordinary than expected; albeit with extraordinary audio quality and brilliant quality of life features for those already devoted to the Apple ecosystem. 

The best thing about the AirPods Max is their sound, which is nothing short of outstanding. That's why they're a top pick in our definitive best headphones guide.

They also hold a prime position in our best over-ear headphones guide, our best wireless headphones guide and our best noise-cancelling headphones guide. 

They can easily compete with all of the other rivals in those guides in this regard, with a wide, immersive soundstage and carefully balanced profile, with crisp trebles, smooth mids, and powerful bass frequencies. 

Apple AirPods Max Specs

Weight: 385g
Dimensions: 187.3 mm X 168.6 mm X 83.4 mm (H X W X D)
Noise cancellation: Yes
Battery life: 20 hours
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0
Chip: Apple H1 headphone chip (each ear cup)
Controls: Digital Crown, Noise control button, Siri

The design, although divisive, is another win for Apple. With large, flat earcups crafted from hunks of stainless steel. The AirPods Max look unmistakably 'Apple' and feel premium, though the stainless steel build means they're heavy—saying that, we did find them comfortable enough during our tests.

One issue is the lack of a 3.5mm audio port; if you want to listen with a wired connection, or hook up the Apple AirPods Max to an amp or DAC, you'll have to shell out for a USB-C to 3.5mm audio port adaptor. That seems miserly when you consider the price. Another thing that will put off the audiophile crowd is the lack of support for Hi-Res Audio codecs, which is limited to Apple's own Apple Digital Masters. 

Someone holding the exterior of the Apple AirPods Max earcup against a white surface

(Image credit: TechRadar)

So despite their premium price and fantastic sound, they're not marketed towards audiophiles. But their price means the Apple AirPods Max are hardly a mass-market product—casual listeners will be unwilling to shell out so much.

We've decided the AirPods Max are aimed at Apple devotees, as there are many benefits open to Apple users and not Android users. These include immersive Spatial Audio, the ability to automatically switch between iOS devices, one-tap setup, hands-free Siri activation, and Audio Sharing. Post-launch updates include Conversation Boost, the ability to announce notifications with Siri, and integration with Apple's Find My feature.

For Android users, the AirPods Max are simply a high-performance pair of noise-cancelling headphones—and we can't see how the high price is justified. 

If you're a card-carrying member of the wider Apple ecosystem, you have a lot of money to spend on headphones, and don't care about Hi-Res Audio, you won't find headphones that sound better or are easier to use. 

If those points all apply to you but you prefer the true wireless earbuds form factor, it's also worth taking a look at the newest Apple AirPods Pro 2, a pair of buds that offer a significant upgrade in terms of performance compared to the AirPods Pro (2019) but certainly aren't cheap. If you're wedded to the over-ear design, read on for our full Apple AirPods Max review.

Someone holding the exterior of the Apple AirPods Max earcup against a white surface

(Image credit: TechRadar)

AirPods Max review: Price and release date

  • The Apple AirPods Max cost $549 / £549 / AU$899
  • Incredibly expensive compared to rivals

The Apple AirPods Max cost $549 / £549 / AU$899 and were officially released on December 15, 2020.

That price makes the Apple AirPods Max far more expensive than most of the best over-ear headphones on the market. 

Read our Sony WH-1000XM5 review for our current favorites. Although they're still pricey, they cost significantly less than the AirPods Max at  $399 / £380 / AU$649. And our pick of the best pair of budget over-ears cost $199 / £160, which you can find out more about in our Philips PH805 wireless headphones review. There's no doubt about it, the Apple AirPods Max are incredibly expensive.

There are rumors that Apple is planning to release a cheaper, sports-friendly variant of the AirPods Max, but even then you can expect those to cost a pretty penny. 

The Apple AirPods Max over-ear headphones pictured on a light grey surface

(Image credit: TechRadar)

AirPods Max review: Design

  • Stylish and minimal looks
  • But the design won't appeal to everyone
  • Heavy at 385g

After the price, the next biggest controversy surrounding the Apple AirPods Max is their design; they look quite unlike any other headphones on the market right now, with large flat earcups crafted from stainless steel, and a carrying case that's instantly recognizable. 

There's an unmistakably 'Apple' quality to the earcups; some may describe them as stylishly minimal, while others might say they're rather featureless. Those that are looking for a bit more impact from their headphones may want to try the AirPods Max in one of their brighter color options, which include, silver, sky blue, green, and pink

We weren't sure about the overall design at first, but we have to say it's grown on us; they do look rather special compared to the competition, with a build quality that feels suitably premium for the price. 

Special though they may be, those stainless steel earcups mean that the AirPods Max are quite heavy, coming in at 385g—for comparison, the Sony WH-1000XM4 weigh 254g. Sure, that extra heft does make the AirPods Max feel as though they're sturdy and well-made, but it's a lot of weight to be carrying around on your head all day. 

A close up of the Apple AirPods Max earcups

(Image credit: TechRadar)

To offset that added weight, the Apple AirPods Max come with a headband made from a knitted mesh fabric that's designed to reduce on-head pressure. The look of the headband is certainly novel, but after spending time with the AirPods Max, we've come to appreciate it—they're very comfortable to wear despite their relative heaviness. 

Are they as comfortable as the Sony WH-1000XM4? We don't think they quite measure up to the best headphones you can buy today in that respect, but the AirPods Max don't come with that uncomfortable clamping feeling that some over-ear headphones cause. 

The headband frame itself is made from stainless steel, with telescoping arms that you can adjust to find a good fit – they'll stay in place once you adjust them, so you won't be constantly fiddling with the fit. The frame feels sturdy and well-made, but it's not so heavy as to put pressure on your head. 

The memory foam earcups also feel comfortable, and can pivot independently to fit your head. The earcups are easily removable, snapping in place via a magnet; you'll be able to buy replacement earcups for the AirPods Max for $69 / £75 / $99 from the Apple Store.

The Apple AirPods Max pictured on a light grey surface

(Image credit: TechRadar)

The on-ear controls on the AirPods Max are minimal; interestingly, Apple has reprised the Digital Crown dial of the Apple Watch, which it says enables precise volume control, as well as allowing you to play or pause audio, skip tracks, answer or end phone calls, and activate Siri. 

You can simply turn the dial on the top of the right earcup to adjust the volume, or press once to play / pause your music, press once to answer and end phone calls, press twice to skip to the next track, and press three times to skip backwards.

We liked the tactility a dial provides, and it definitely feels like a more precise way of adjusting the volume as opposed to a button or swipe controls. In fact, we're quite pleased that Apple hasn't opted for touch-sensitive housings; in our experience, they can be temperamental, and it's tricky to remember all those different gestures.

Someone holding one of the Apple AirPods Max earcups against a white surface

(Image credit: TechRadar)

The right earcup also houses a noise control button that allows you to switch between active noise cancellation and Transparency mode, which allows some environmental noise to pass through the headphones, while the bottom of the earcup houses an Apple Lightning port for charging. 

What isn't included is a 3.5mm audio port. So, if you want to listen with a wired connection, you'll have to fork out for a Lighting to 3.5mm audio adapter for an additional $35 / £35 (about AU$45). 

It's frustrating that this doesn't come included with the headphones when you consider how expensive they are—if you're paying $549 / £549 / AU$899 for a pair of headphones, you might (quite reasonably) expect to be able to plug them into an amplifier or DAC to squeeze out every last drop of fidelity right out of the box. 

The Apple AirPods Max pictured on a light grey surface

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Interestingly, the lack of audio port isn't the most divisive design aspect of the AirPods Max; that award goes to the unusual-looking Smart Case, which puts the headphones in an 'ultralow power state', preserving the battery while the headphones aren't in use. 

So far, the Smart Case has been compared to a bra, a sleeping mask, and a handbag by bemused Twitter users, and we can't say that we blame them. 

That design wouldn't be so egregious if the case actually did what it's supposed to do: protect your headphones. Instead, the Smart Case leaves the headband of the AirPods Max totally exposed, and while an opening at the bottom of the case does make it easy to charge the headphones without removing them, it leaves them vulnerable to debris finding its way inside. 

The rubberized material is also a magnet for smudges and scrapes, and just placing the Smart Case in a bag is enough to ruin the pristine look you get straight out of the box. Again, we'’d expect more from Apple at the price; while lightweight and compact, a hard case with a zip would provide far more protection and peace of mind.

The Apple AirPods Max pictured next to their case

(Image credit: TechRadar)

AirPods Max review: Audio performance

  • A wide, well-balanced soundstage
  • Support for Hi-Res Audio files is limited

The audio quality offered by the Apple AirPods Max is simply outstanding. They come with a wide, well-balanced soundstage that leaves plenty of room for each instrument to really sing—pair that with cool extra features like automatically pausing your music when you remove the headphones and Spatial Audio, and you've got yourself a very special pair of cans. 

Listening to Phoebe Bridgers' Garden Song, and her soft vocal sounded smooth and clear, with every detail meticulously conveyed by the AirPods Max. The glitchy picked guitar had a lovely rich quality to it, with a fantastic sense of rhythm and stereo separation. 

Moving onto Love My Way by The Psychedelic Furs, the glockenspiel sounded bright and vivid, while the tightly-controlled bass provided a solid bedrock for the guitar and vocals. As we turned up the volume, we didn't experience any issues with distortion, partly thanks to the neodymium ring magnet motor inside the headphones that powers its 40mm drivers.

A close up of the earcups of the Apple AirPods Max headphones

(Image credit: TechRadar)

The AirPods Max are great for listening to pretty much any genre of music, whether you're into sparkly pop with strong vocals or hip-hop with punchy basslines—and unlike the AirPods Pro, they can handle classical music, too. As we listened to Mozart's Jupiter, the raucous opening sounded expansive and decadent, while the quieter flute passages were handled delicately with accuracy and precision. 

Despite the high price of the AirPods Max, support for Hi-Res Audio files is limited to Apple's own Apple Digital Masters tracks, which are only available via Apple Music. Again, this makes it feel as though we're being somewhat shortchanged, as we'd expect comprehensive codec support at this price—and now that Apple Music offers Lossless Audio, the lack of lossless streaming support is unfortunate.

A close up of the earcups of the Apple AirPods Max headphones

(Image credit: TechRadar)

AirPods Max review: Spatial audio

  • Spatial Audio is great and immersive
  • Fantastic for movie watching

Like the AirPods and AirPods Pro, the AirPods Max come with the Apple H1 chip in each earcup, which features no less than 10 audio cores to allow for Adaptive EQ, active noise cancellation, Transparency mode, and Spatial Audio.

Released as part of iOS 14, the Spatial Audio feature first came to the AirPods Pro, and works for content in 5.1, 7.1 and Dolby Atmos, which positions sound all around you within a virtual sphere – this means that, for example, if you're watching a Dolby Atmos film that shows a plane flying overhead, it will sound as though the plane really is passing above you.

Something that's unique to Spatial Audio is the fact that the AirPods Max are able to track your head movement using inbuilt accelerometers and gyroscopes, as well as the position of your iOS device; that means that as you move your head, the audio will always sound as though it's coming from the screen.

To try it for yourself, you just need to find content that's available in the aforementioned surround formats—Apple TV Plus, Disney Plus and HBO Max all allow for Spatial Audio, though the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime Video are yet to follow suit and add surround sound support for their iOS apps.

Happily, it's possible for stereo content to be converted to Spatial Audio while using the AirPods Max or AirPods Pro by opening the headphones' settings on your device.

We tested out the Spatial Audio feature on the AirPods Max with content from Apple TV Plus, and we have to say it's very effective. No, it's not as convincing as a true Dolby Atmos surround setup, but it does make movie-watching feel far more immersive—and it's a fantastic extra feature for those that watch a lot of TV shows and films on an iPhone or iPad.

A close up of the exterior of the Apple AirPods Max

(Image credit: TechRadar)

AirPods Max review: Noise cancellation

  • Excellent noise cancellation
  • The Transparency mode is useful

The noise cancellation provided by the Apple AirPods Max is very strong, and we'd say it's on par with the likes of the Sony WH-1000XM4 and the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700.

Each ear cup features three outward-facing microphones to detect environmental noise, while one microphone inside the ear cup monitors the sound reaching your ear. 

Apple says the AirPods Max use computational audio to continuously adapt their noise cancellation performance based on "the headphone fit and movement in real time". It certainly seemed effective when we tested them out in a range of situations. 

During a commute, most of the rumble from the train was blocked out, and with our music playing, we couldn't hear it at all. You truly get a sense of peace when using the AirPods Max in noisy environments, whether you're working in your kitchen with the washing machine roaring away in the background, or trying to steal a few moments of solitude on a busy journey.

The Transparency mode is useful, too; you just need to press the noise cancellation button on the right earcup to allow environmental noise to pass through the headphones, allowing you to tap into your surroundings. 

It's certainly handy if you need to have a quick conversation with someone without having to stop your music, and it worked really well in our tests, making it feel as though you're not wearing headphones at all. 

A close up of the Apple Airpods Max in their smart case

(Image credit: Techradar)

AirPods Max review: Battery life and connectivity

  • 20 hours of battery life
  • Low power mode with the Smart Case

Apple says the AirPods Max provide up to 20 hours of high-fidelity audio, talk time, or movie playback, which ordinarily wouldn't seem a huge amount; however, given that this is with Active Noise Cancellation enabled, it's a pretty respectable figure.

The best over-ear headphones will usually hit around 30 hours of battery life, although many very good models only make it to around 20—either way it's enough for a full day or two's use, depending on how wedded they'll be to your ears.

The stated battery life seems about right to us, and we like the fact that the Smart Case puts the headphones into a low power mode; however, the inability to actually turn the AirPods Max off is puzzling. Still, having left them in the Smart Case overnight several times, we didn't notice a significant drop off in battery life.

Connectivity comes courtesy of Bluetooth 5, and as such, pairing is fast and stable, and you shouldn't lose your connection as you move away from your source device (as long as you don't go further than 800 feet / 420 meters, or put several thick walls between the AirPods Max and your phone).

Apple says the AirPods Max require Apple devices running iOS 14.3 or later, iPadOS 14.3 or later, macOS Big Sur 11.1 or later, watchOS 7.2 or later, or tvOS 14.3 or later—while they'll work with both Android and Windows devices, you won't be able to use Spatial Audio or Automatic Switching without one of the aforementioned Apple devices.

Someone holding the Apple AirPods Max in their case

(Image credit: TechRadar)

The Automatic Switching feature means you can easily switch between iPhone, iPad and Mac when jumping between music listening and taking calls, while one-tap setup will mean you can get up and running with your new cans pretty swiftly. We found the setup to be incredibly easy using both an Android device and an iOS device, though iPhone users do benefit from the ability to toggle Spatial Audio and other control settings.

You can also share audio between two sets of AirPods from pretty much any Apple source device—even the Apple TV 4K or the iPod Touch—so you and a friend can listen to the same music simultaneously. 

As ever, Apple has included support for its smart assistant Siri too, meaning you can use voice commands to play music, make phone calls, adjust the volume and get directions when you're on the move, among other things. Siri can also read your incoming messages, which is useful if you don't want to dig your phone out of your pocket, bag or wherever you may have left it.

Since their release, Apple has brought a new feature to the AirPods Max: Conversation Boost. This feature dials up the volume of conversations happening in front of the user when you're in transparency mode. While anyone can benefit, it effectively allows people who are hearing impaired to better understand what people are saying in a conversation.

Again, these features are limited to iOS devices, which means many of the things that set the AirPods Max apart from the competition won't be available to Android users.

Someone holding the Apple AirPods Max by their headband

(Image credit: TechRadar)

AirPods Max review: Conclusion

The Apple AirPods Max are a truly excellent pair of over-ear headphones—and among the best-sounding headphones we've ever tested. They're incredibly easy to use—thanks as always, Apple—noise cancellation stands up to the best in the bunch and they look sleek and a little unusual.

However, they're incredibly expensive and there are limitations for Android users. There's also no 3.5mm audio port here either, which means we'd only recommend them to iOS users with a lot of money to spare—and no interest in Hi-Res Audio. 

AirPods Max review: Also consider

If our Apple AirPods Max review has you considering a new pair of over-ear headphones or noise-cancelling headphones, then here are three alternatives for you to check out. 

  • First reviewed in January 2021.
Fujifilm X-H2S review
2:50 am | September 7, 2022

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

Editor's Note

• Original review date: September 2022
• Still the only 'stacked' APS-C sensor
• Launch price: $2,499 / £2,499 / AU$4,449 (body only)
• Official price now: $2,499 / £1,999 / AU$3,999 (body only)

Update: February 2024. The X-H2S remains the quickest camera around with APS-C sensor. It's the only camera in this format to feature a stacked sensor that offers unparalled speed for action photography and video, with 40fps burst shooting and 6.2K 10-bit internal video, plus in-body stabilization. It's still the most expensive APS-C mirrorless camera, but price reductions particularly in the UK make the X-H2S one of the most compelling video cameras and stills camera especially for sports and wildlife. The rest of this review remains as previously published.

Fujifilm X-H2S: Two-minute review

The Fujifilm X-H2S is an incredibly powerful mirrorless camera for sports and action photographers who also want to shoot pro-quality video. It’s expensive for an APS-C camera and features like 40fps burst shooting will be overkill for many. But the X-H2S is also a hybrid camera with few peers, and its all-round performance also justifies that price tag.

The key to its power is a new, stacked 26MP X-Trans CMOS 5 HS APS-C sensor. So-called ‘stacked’ sensors, which have a design that delivers incredibly fast read-out speeds, have so far only appeared in flagship full-frame cameras like the Nikon Z9, Sony A1 and Canon EOS R3. But the X-H2S brings some of that performance to a camera with the comparatively ‘low’ price of $2,499 / £2,499 / AU$4,449 (body only).

The X-H2S may have a smaller sensor than those full-frame cameras, but it’s definitely capable of pro-quality results. Thanks to the combination of that new sensor and an X-Processor 5, it offers blackout-free continuous shooting at 40fps (with the electronic shutter), plus some impressive subject-tracking skills, and the option of shooting 6.2K/30p or 4K/120p video with 4:2:2 10-bit color depth.

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The Fujifilm X-H2S camera sitting on a wooden bench

(Image credit: Future)

Fans of Fujifilm’s signature retro look, which usually includes the tactile dials seen on old film cameras, might be disappointed by the design of the X-H2S. It’s very much a modern brute of a camera, with a more clinical focus on performance. But while it lacks the charms of the X-T series, the X-H2S is an incredibly fun camera to use.

It has one of the best electronic viewfinders we’ve used, while the subject-tracking autofocus (which now recognizes animals, birds, cars, motorcycles, bicycles, airplanes and trains) makes it by far the best Fujifilm X-series camera for shooting moving subjects. Video shooters are also incredibly well-served by a sparkling spec sheet that includes internal ProRes recording.

There’s no denying that the X-H2S is expensive, and many photographers will probably be better off buying an X-T4 plus a lens or two with the considerable spare change. After all, 40fps burst shooting isn’t ideal for your editing workflow and Fujifilm’s autofocus, which is still a little short of the flagship performance offered by its rivals, is more hit-and-miss in this top mode.

But if you do regularly shoot speeding subjects and also need a pro-quality video camera that’s more travel-friendly than many of its full-frame rivals, the X-H2S makes a very compelling argument for being top of your shortlist. 

Fujifilm X-H2S: Release date and price

  • Available to buy now for $2,499 / £2,499 / AU$4,449 (body-only)
  • Similar price to some full-frame cameras like the Sony A7 IV
  • X-H2S has a smaller sensor but superior performance to its full-frame rivals

The Fujifilm X-H2S is available to buy now for $2,499 / £2,499 / AU$4,449 (body-only). Some new X-H2S accessories are also now available, including the VG-XH vertical battery grip ($399 / £399 / AU$749) and, for video shooters, a FAN-001 Cooling Fan ($199 / AU$369).

This price makes the X-H2S one of the most expensive APS-C cameras around and it’s a pretty big step up from the Fujifilm X-H1, which arrived in 2018 for £1,699 / $1,899 / AU$3,399. But the X-H2S does combine a new 26.1MP stacked sensor with the X-Processor 5, which allows it to make improvements across the board to autofocus, video, burst shooting and more.

The Fujifilm X-H2S camera sitting on a wooden bench

(Image credit: Future)

The X-H2S faces stiff opposition in its price bracket, including the Canon EOS R6 ($2,499 / £2,499 / AU$4,499), Sony A7 IV ($2,499 / £2,400 / AU$$4,299) and Panasonic Lumix S5 ($1,999 / £1,799 / AU$3,199). 

All of those cameras have larger full-frame sensors, but none offer the speedy all-rounded performance of a stacked APS-C sensor, which is the USP of Fujifilm's new flagship.

  • Price: 4.5/5

Fujifilm X-H2S: design

  • Has ‘PASM’ control setup rather than Fujifilm’s traditional dials
  • Excellent 5.76-million dot viewfinder and articulating screen
  • Tough, weather-sealed body with useful top-plate LCD

The Fujfilm X-H2S looks and feels like a professional camera. This may disappoint fans of Fujifilm’s retro dials, but its pronounced grip, top-plate LCD screen and overall heft helps to balance out the longer lenses you'll likely want to pair it with. The X-H2S also has one of the best electronic viewfinders (EVF) we’ve used on any camera.

Weighing in at 660g, the X-H2S is slightly smaller and lighter than the X-H1. But it also borrows many of its design cues from Fujifilm’s medium format GFX series. Its top plate, for example, is pretty similar to the one on the Fujifilm GFX50S II.

This all means that the X-H2S does away with Fujifilm's signature array of manual dials, instead adopting the PASM (Program, Aperture, Shutter Speed, Manual) approach favored by its rivals. You’ll largely be changing shutter speed or ISO using the front and rear dials, which will be a comfortably familiar experience for most non-Fuji fans.

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The Fujifilm X-H2S camera sitting on a wooden bench

(Image credit: Future)
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The Fujifilm X-H2S camera sitting on a wooden bench

(Image credit: Future)
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The Fujifilm X-H2S camera sitting on a wooden bench

(Image credit: Future)

While some may miss the dedicated dials of the X-T series, this approach makes sense on a camera like the X-H2S, where settings like shutter speed will be largely tweaked while looking through the viewfinder at speeding subjects. Fuji has also previously stated that many photographers have been put off from switching to the X-series because they find its dials too confusing.

This PASM dial, with its seven custom modes, sits to the left of the viewfinder, though it’s a shame there’s no handy ‘drive mode’ switch underneath for quickly switching between. Still, on the right-hand side of the top plate you'll find that useful LCD screen (for quickly checking settings like shutter speed, aperture and ISO) on the right next to buttons for ISO, white balance and video recording. 

Unlike cameras like the Canon EOS R7 and Sony A7 IV, the X-H2S only has a standard hot-shoe rather than a 'multi-function' one that can power or transfer data to external accessories. If you regularly use flashes or external microphones, you might find the setup of those rival cameras to be a bit simpler and cleaner due to the lack of cables.

The Fujifilm X-H2S camera sitting on a wooden bench

(Image credit: Future)

Around the back, the Fujifilm X-H2S is pretty similar to the X-H1. There's a fully articulating touchscreen, which flips around the front for video shooters. One of the main changes is a new AF joystick, which is larger than before and has moved up next to the viewfinder. While we initially found this AF stick to be a bit of a stretch for our thumb, we soon got used to it and found the X-H2S to be very comfortable to shoot with.

One significant upgrade that the X-H2S has over the rest of the X-series is that impressive 5.76-million dot OLED viewfinder. Thanks to its size (it has an equivalent 0.8x magnification), resolution and 120fps refresh rate, we found it to be one of the best viewfinders we’ve used. The resolution remains high whatever focusing method you’re using and it makes the EVFs on the rest of the X-series, and even rivals like the Sony A7 IV, look dated.

Overall, the X-H2S has great handling and is a lot of fun to use. The lack of a drive mode switch beneath the main dial is a bit annoying, as is the absence of a focus mode switch on the front. We also wish the front and rear dials were still clickable like on other Fuji cameras. But the X-H2S otherwise offers a very polished, and customizable, shooting experience for both stills and video shooters.

  • Design and handling: 4.5/5

Fujifilm X-H2S: features and performance

  • Maintains 40fps speeds for over three seconds with CFexpress card
  • Impressive subject-tracking autofocus, if not quite class-leading
  • Useful in-body image stabilization and no overheating issues

The X-H2S is by far the most powerful Fujifilm camera to date and one of the best hybrid cameras for stills and video that you can buy. It may not offer the dynamic range or low-light performance of full-frame rivals like the Sony A7 IV, but it more than compensates with the burst shooting, autofocus and video skills that are unlocked by its stacked sensor. 

Like the OM System OM-1, the X-H2S focuses mainly on speed for wildlife and sports shooters (hence the ‘S’ in its name). It can blast through stills at 40fps (raw or JPEG) when using the electronic shutter, all with full AF / AE tracking and with no blackout in the viewfinder. But how usable is this burst shooting in practice?

The Fujifilm X-H2S camera sitting on a wooden bench

(Image credit: Future)

We did some burst-shooting tests using both a CFexpress card and SD card to find out. You can see our results below. The conclusion is that you’ll definitely want to use a CFexpress card to unlock the true potential of the X-H2S. 

This will let you hit the top 40fps speed for just over three seconds until the buffer slows things down, or over five seconds when shooting at 30fps. While the 20fps mode isn’t quite unlimited, we found you can keep going for at least 15 seconds at these speeds, which is more than enough for most situations.

There are a few caveats to add to this, though. Firstly, we found the autofocus performance to be a little more hit-and-miss when shooting fast-moving subjects like motocross riders at 40fps. 

This means that you’re better off switching to ‘only’ 20fps or 30fps during particularly challenging scenes. Also, while the rolling shutter is minimal when using the electronic shutter, it hasn’t been completely eliminated for fast panning shots. This means you’ll still want to use this camera’s 15fps mechanical shutter mode on some occasions.

Lastly, the final thing to bear in mind when shooting at 40fps is that it’ll leave you with some considerable photo-culling to do before editing. So while it’s definitely a useful more to have for extreme situations, you may not ultimately use it that often for those reasons.

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A young fox in a garden

(Image credit: Future)
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A young fox in a garden

(Image credit: Future)
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A young fox in a garden

(Image credit: Future)

How does the X-H2S’ autofocus perform overall? In our tests, very well. It isn’t a huge leap up from the Fujifilm X-T4, and its tracking isn’t quite as unerringly confident as the systems on flagship rivals like the Canon EOS R5 or Sony A7 IV. 

But it’s still certainly good enough for high-end sports and wildlife shooting, once you’ve tailored it to your needs.

A football player pointing and shouting

(Image credit: Future)

Alongside the usual ability to track human faces and eyes, the X-H2S can track animals, birds, cars, motorcycles, bicycles, airplanes and trains, as long as you’ve selected the right one in the menu. 

One day, cameras will be able to automatically apply the right AF mode to whatever you’re looking at, but for now you still need to manually pick your subject in the menus.

We found the eye detection worked well for portrait shots or soccer matches, proving pretty sticky whether our subject was moving or not. Animal detection, meanwhile, was versatile enough to recognize subjects like foxes and lock onto their eyes. 

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A rally car turning the corner of a race track at Goodwood

(Image credit: Future)
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A rally car turning the corner of a race track at Goodwood

(Image credit: Future)
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A rally car turning the corner of a race track at Goodwood

(Image credit: Future)

Switching to car and bike autofocus mode at the Goodwood Festival of Speed produced similarly impressive results, with the X-H2S quickly drawing a tracking box around our speedily-moving subject before locking onto a face or head. 

For cars, it’d often default to the front of the car if it couldn’t find a helmet through the windshield. Our autofocus hit-rate was again best when using either the 15fps or 20fps burst modes, so we generally stuck to these for the best results. 

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A car racing on as track at Goodwood

(Image credit: Future)
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A car racing on as track at Goodwood

(Image credit: Future)
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A car racing on as track at Goodwood

(Image credit: Future)

When it comes to stabilization, the X-H2S is pretty similar to the Fujifilm X-T4. On paper, these cameras offer six-to-seven stops of compensation when shooting handheld, although in our experience that’s closer to four-to-five stops with most lenses and does vary depending on which lens you’re using. 

Still, you certainly get a useful helping hand when using longer lenses and the combination of in-body stabilization with Fujifilm’s digital image stabilization (DIS) can produce tripod-style results when handholding. It’s less useful for moving shots, though, so you’ll definitely still need a gimbal when doing walk-and-talk style vlogging.

The Fujifilm X-H2S camera sitting on a wooden bench

(Image credit: Future)

Lastly, battery life and overheating. The X-H2S offers a fairly standard battery performance for a high-end mirrorless cameras, lasting for 390 shots per charge when using the EVF or 580 when shooting with the LCD. That might sound a bit limiting, but you’ll get a lot more shots than that in reality when using burst mode – we took over 1,000 photos before needing to change batteries. You can also add an optional VG-XH grip ($399 / £399 / AU$749) to triple the camera’s endurance.

Video shooters will be pleased to hear that the X-H2S doesn’t have any overheating limitations either. Without any of the old recording limits that we’ve seen on previous Fujifilm cameras, we were able to shoot in 4K for over two hours before the battery gave out. This makes it a good choice for those looking to shoot longform interviews, particularly as the eye-tracking works best in fairly static scenes.

  • Features and performance: 5/5

Fujifilm X-H2S: image and video quality

For photos, the Fujifilm X-H2S offers no major image quality upgrades over its cheaper siblings like the X-T4. That might sound a bit disappointing considering the camera’s price, but the benefits of its new 26.1MP X-Trans CMOS 5 HS sensor are its fast readout speeds, which mainly affect autofocus and burst shooting (alongside video).

Those features can definitely help you get shots that aren’t possible on cameras like the X-T4, particularly when it comes to moving subjects. But because the X-H2S has the same 26.1MP resolution as previous X-Trans IV cameras, you won’t see any major quality improvements in the shots themselves.

This is no bad thing. We’ve long been impressed with the results produced by X-series cameras, including the ‘color science’ behind that unique X-Trans design. And it’s no different on the X-H2S, which produces some lovely JPEGs and raw files with a good few stops of editing leeway.

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A young deer calling at Bushy Park

(Image credit: Future)
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A young deer calling at Bushy Park

(Image credit: Future)
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A car racing on as track at Goodwood

(Image credit: Future)

Our ISO tests produced very similar results to our X-T3, with results very acceptable up to ISO 6400 before smoothing becomes visible due to some increased luminance noise. This is where full-frame cameras still have the slight edge, but the X-H2S’ results from ISO 12800 or above are still certainly usable in emergencies.

Fans of Fujifilm’s Film Simulations – which are based on its classic film stock – will also be pleased to see that all 19 options, from Classic Chroma to Eterna, are available to add a quick bit of personality to JPEGs.

But it’s video where the X-H2S really does feel like a step up from previous X-series cameras, particularly when it comes to the resolutions, frame-rates and bit-depths that are available. 

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A rally car turning the corner of a race track at Goodwood

(Image credit: Future)
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A rally car turning the corner of a race track at Goodwood

(Image credit: Future)
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A rally car turning the corner of a race track at Goodwood

(Image credit: Future)

You can shoot 6.2K/30p video internally with 4:2:2 10-bit color depth, or 4K/120p slo-mo video if you're prepared to accept a 1.29x crop. Unfortunately, there is also a slight crop when shooting Full HD/240p video and that mode is pretty soft, but the sensor's speedy read-out speeds largely control any rolling shutter issues.   

Pro videographers will also be pleased to see support for the flat F-Log2 profile, which offers 14 stops of dynamic range for color-grading in post. If you bring a CFexpress card to the party, there's also support for three Apple ProRes codecs: ProRes 422 HQ, ProRes 422, and particularly useful ProRes 422 LT. Perhaps our only complaint here is how labyrinthine all the menus are.

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A man's face on the sidelines of a football match

(Image credit: Future)
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A car racing on as track at Goodwood

(Image credit: Future)
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A car racing on as track at Goodwood

(Image credit: Future)
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A BMX rider doing a jump on a track

(Image credit: Future)
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The front of a supercar in the paddocks

(Image credit: Future)
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The grill of a supercar at Goodwood

(Image credit: Future)
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A car racing on as track at Goodwood

(Image credit: Future)
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Three boys watching a crowd

(Image credit: Future)
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The front of a racing car in the paddocks

(Image credit: Future)

Whatever settings you choose, the X-H2S’ video quality is generally clean and crisp, even if its slo-mo modes are slightly disappointing – the 4K/120p mode incurs a 1.29x crop, while the 240p mode is best avoided. But overall the X-H2S is a powerful, pro-quality video camera, which is pretty impressive when you consider how capable it is for stills, too.

  • Image and video quality: 4.5

Should I buy the Fujifilm X-H2S?

The Fujifilm X-H2S camera sitting on a wooden bench

(Image credit: Future)

Buy it if...

Don'y buy it if...

Fujifilm X-H2S: also consider

Testing scorecard

Canon EOS R10 review
9:31 pm | September 3, 2022

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

Editor's Note

• Original review date: September 2022
• Mid-level mirrorless camera with Canon's RF mount
• Launch price: $979 / £899 / AU$1,499 (body only)
• Official price now: $879 / £999 / AU$1,729 (body only)

Update: May 2024. Nearly two years after its launch, Canon’s mid-tier mirrorless camera remains our top pick among the best beginner cameras you can buy. We continue to rate its handling, autofocus performance and rapid bursts speeds. In terms of overall value, it’s a camera that offers a huge amount of potential for novices, as well as versatility for hobbyists. In certain regions, including the UK and Australia, it actually costs more from Canon now than it did at launch. However, many online retailers offer it for less than the official price, so it’s worth shopping around, especially if you’re looking for a lens bundle. We’ve also seen its price reduced during seasonal sales events, including a £326 saving versus the RRP in January of this year. In the US, the EOS R10 costs $100 less in 2024 than it did in 2022, making it even better value. The rest of this review remains as previously published.

Two-minute review

There's been a hole in the middle of Canon's mirrorless camera lineup for a few years now, but the Canon EOS R10 finally fills it. If you're a beginner looking to expand your photographic horizons, or an existing Canon fan who wants a fun second camera for everyday shooting, it's now one of the best cameras around, and thanks to its small size and weight, it's also one of the best travel cameras.

While it's a little more advanced and expensive than traditional entry-level cameras, like the Canon EOS Rebel SL3 / EOS 250D DSLR, the EOS R10 is a considerable upgrade on those models and well worth its price tag. It's really an evolution of the double-digit DSLRs like the Canon EOS 90D, cameras that became firm favorites with those who wanted to snap their family, vacations and day-to-day lives with smartphone-beating quality.

The key to the Canon EOS R10's charm is its Digic X processor, which helps unlock the latest autofocus tech and some impressive burst-shooting speeds for its price. You get Dual Pixel CMOS AF II and 15fps continuous shooting (albeit with a firm brake applied by the EOS R10's buffer), which make this camera more than capable of snagging a shot of the family dog's winning goal in the garden water polo.

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The Canon EOS R10 camers sitting on a wooden bannister

(Image credit: Future)
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The Canon EOS R10 camers sitting on a wooden bannister

(Image credit: Future)
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The Canon EOS R10 camers sitting on a wooden bannister

(Image credit: Future)

The EOS R10 can track a wide range of subjects, including people, animals (dogs, cats, birds) and vehicles, and follows them around pretty tenaciously. This is a really useful tool that lifts this camera above rivals like the Fujifilm X-S10, although that camera does fight back with in-body image stabilization and (right now) a bigger selection of lenses.

Ah yes, lenses. Along with a slightly small viewfinder (with 0.59x magnification), these are the EOS R10's main weakness. At the time of writing, Canon has only made two native lenses for the EOS R10 and its EOS R7 sibling: the RF-S 18-45mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM and RF-S 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM zoom. This is pretty paltry compared to Sony and Fujifilm, although you can use both Canon's full-frame RF lenses and older EF ones on this camera with an optional adaptor.

How important this is very much depends on your photographic preferences and experience. There are some affordable RF lenses that will work nicely with the EOS R10, including the RF 50mm f/1.8 ($180 / £220 / AU$340), RF 16mm f/2.8 ($299 / £320 / AU$479) and, for wildlife snappers, the RF 600mm f/11 ($699 / £860 / AU$1,399). We also tested it with the RF 85mm f/2 Macro ($550 / £670 / AU$1,049), which is a versatile prime lens.

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The Canon EOS R10 camers sitting on a wooden bannister

(Image credit: Future)

There's a good chance that these options will tide you over until Canon gets around to launching some new APS-C lenses. But if you want more options out of the gate, or don't like the uncertainty, then a camera like the Fujifilm X-S10 or Fujifilm X-T30 II could be more suitable.

If you're just starting out and want a lightweight camera that'll grow with you, though, then the Canon EOS R10 is one of the best beginner cameras around. Its new 24MP CMOS sensor produces some lovely images with enough leeway for you to claw back some details from shadows, even if you won't want to regularly push it beyond ISO 6400. You can also shoot some impressive video, even if the 4K/60p mode does come with a 1.56x crop. 

Despite its relatively old-fashioned sensor, which isn't backside-illuminated, the EOS R10's powerful processor, autofocus experience and versatile controls give beginners a great camera to start with and a powerful one to grow into. That means you can have plenty of fun with it while you wait for Canon to make some more native lenses.

Canon EOS R10 price and release date

  • Available to buy now for $979 / £899 / AU$1,499 (body only)
  • Also available in two different kit lens bundles
  • Slightly cheaper than the Fujifilm X-S10

The Canon EOS R10 is available to buy now in a few different bundles, with the cheapest one being its body-only price of $979 / £899 / AU$1,499.

If you'd rather buy it with one of Canon's new RF-S kit lenses, you can pick it up for $1,349 / £1,249 / AU$2,049 with the RF-S 18-150mm kit lens, or $1,099 / £999 / AU$1,649 with the RF-S 18-45mm f4.5-6.3 IS STM kit lens.

The Canon EOS R10 camers sitting on a wooden bannister

The Canon EOS R10 lacks native lenses, but some affordable full-frame options like the RF 85mm f/2 Macro IS STM (above) are available. (Image credit: Future)

This is pretty reasonable pricing that has echoes of the Canon EOS RP, a full-frame camera that landed for $1,299 / £1,399 (body-only) back in 2019. 

The EOS R10 slightly undercuts the Fujifilm X-S10 ($999 / £949 / AU$1,699), although that camera does offer in-body image stabilization, which is useful for preserving image quality and shooting video. And it's priced similarly to the Nikon Z50, another relatively compact APS-C camera that's now a little behind the EOS R10.

  • Price score: 4/5

Canon EOS R10: design

  • Small and lightweight, weighing only 429g
  • Deep grip makes it comfortable to hold with most lenses
  • Small viewfinder magnification (0.59x) and no weather-proofing

The Canon EOS R10 probably isn't going to win any Red Dot Design awards, but it does fulfill its brief of being both impressively small and comfortably familiar to anyone who's used a Canon DSLR.

In your hand, the little thing is quite reminiscent of a Canon EOS Rebel SL3 (otherwise known as the Canon EOS 250D, outside the US), which actually weighs 20g more than the 429g EOS R10. 

Realistically, this is about as small as RF-mount cameras are likely to get – which is to say, not quite as diddy as EOS-M series like the Canon EOS M50 Mark II. Those cameras will live on, albeit looking wistfully through the garden fence as photographers play fetch with Canon's new APS-C darlings, the R7 and R10.

The top of the Canon EOS R10 camera sitting on a wooden bench

(Image credit: Future)

On top, the Canon EOS R10 again looks like a Rebel SL3 / EOS 250D, with a mode dial joined by front and rear command dials, a multi-function button and a video record button. One useful addition, though, is the inclusion of Canon's multi-function accessory shoe, which can both power and send data to accessories like shotgun mics. Considering this is a feature you don't even get on the full-frame cameras like the EOS R6, it's another reason to feel smug about owning an R10.

Around the back, it's a similar setup to the pricier Canon EOS R7. There's a fully articulating touchscreen that can flip forwards for video shooters and, helpfully, an AF joystick. This is a feature that affordable cameras often jettison in the name of simplicity, but it's a real boon for photographers who are looking to quickly move AF points. And that's likely to be the case when you have a powerful autofocus system with 651 AF points, like on the R10.

One slight disappointment with the EOS R10 is its small viewfinder. While this EVF has a similar 2.36-million dot resolution to the one on the EOS R7, its limited 0.59x magnification does feel a bit stingy. It works well enough in practice and can be customized with handy tools like live histograms and gridlines, but other cameras at this price point do offer better views of your scenes.

The Canon EOS R10 camera sitting on a wooden bench

(Image credit: Future)

There are a couple of other design downers on the EOS R10 that are a little more understandable for the price. The EOS R10 lacks the weather-proofing you get on the EOS R7, which means you'll need to look after it that little bit more. There's also only one UHS-II card slot, rather than two. And while the EOS R10 does have a microphone input, you also lose the headphone jack for monitoring your audio when shooting videos.

All in all, though, we really enjoyed shooting with the Canon EOS R10 during our time with the camera. Like the Nikon Z50, it has a pretty deep grip for such a small camera, which means you can pair it with relatively long lenses if needed. But it's also a neat, lightweight little bundle when combined with primes like the RF 50mm f/1.8 STM lens and is a camera you'll look forward to taking out.

  • Design score: 4/5

Canon EOS R10: features and performance

  • Can briefly hit 15fps speeds with the mechanical shutter
  • Electronic shutter brings a higher top speed but also rolling shutter limitations
  • Impressive autofocus tracking for a mid-range camera

Like the Canon EOS R7, one of the most appealing things about the EOS R10 is its combination of modern autofocus smarts and pretty rapid burst-shooting speeds. The R10 isn't quite in the same category as the R7 for the latter, but it's still an improvement on mid-range DSLRs like the Canon EOS 80D and even the EOS 90D.

Canon's specs sheet says that the EOS R10 can shoot at an impressive 15fps with its mechanical shutter or at 23fps with its electronic shutter. And out tests backed up these claims, even if the camera's buffer couldn't maintain those speeds for as long as the official specs claim.

We were able to shoot uncompressed raw files for 15fps for one second using the mechanical shutter, before the buffer slowed things down to around 7fps. When shooting JPEGs, we were able to keep going at 15fps for a more useful six seconds, before it dropped to around 12fps.

The Canon EOS R10 camera sitting on a wooden bench

(Image credit: Future)

Switch to the electronic shutter and you're able to briefly hit 23fps speeds. There are a couple of reasons why this is best avoided in most situations, though. Firstly, the electronic shutter is much slower than the mechanical one over extended bursts in this mode. Also, shooting moving subjects with the electronic shutter can produce warping issues (otherwise known as rolling shutter), which means you're best off sticking to the mechanical one most of the time.

Fortunately, the EOS R10's autofocus is able to keep up with these decent burst-shootings skills. Its Dual Pixel CMOS AF II setup, seen in more advanced forms on cameras like the professional Canon EOS R3, is both impressive and intuitive, too. You get a total of 4,053 AF points, which is impressive for an entry-level camera, and moving around them is easy thanks to the inclusion AF joystick (another feature that's often jettisoned on beginner cameras).

We tested this AF system on a wide range of animals, including cats, deer and a very speedy cockapoodle. And while the hit-rate certainly wasn't 100%, the EOS R10 did a good job of finding eyes and locking onto them, even from distances of 5-10 meters away. 

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A dog running in a garden

Canon EOS R10 with RF 85mm f/2 Macro IS STM, 1/1000 sec at f/4, ISO 320 (Image credit: Future)
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A running cockapoo dog in a garden

Canon EOS R10 with RF 85mm f/2 Macro IS STM, 1/1000 sec at f/4, ISO 250 (Image credit: Future)
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A running cockapoo dog in a garden

Canon EOS R10 with RF 85mm f/2 Macro IS STM, 1/500 sec at f/4.5, ISO 160 (Image credit: Future)

Unlike previous autofocus systems, this tracking is available across most of the EOS R10's AF modes, and it'll automatically switch to a face or body if it can't find any eyes. Switch to continuous AF (or 'Servo', as Canon calls it) and the EOS R10 will also track any subject you choose to lock onto around the frame, which puts it ahead of rivals like Fujifilm.

Where the Canon EOS R10 is slightly weaker than some rivals is battery life and the lack of in-body image stabilization (IBIS). The Fujifilm X-S10, for example, offers IBIS for a similar price to the R10, and this can be a useful way to preserve image quality when shooting handheld in lower light (thanks to longer shutter speeds).

The EOS R10's battery life isn't terrible in comparison to other mirrorless cameras. Its CIPA rating (which is a standardized metric for camera battery life) is 340 shots per charge, or 210 if you're solely using the EVF. While Sony cameras tend to fare a little better, that's only just below par for mirrorless cameras. 

DSLRs like the Canon EOS Rebel T8i / EOS 850D (which uses the same LP-E17 battery as the EOS R10) can keep going for 800 shots, though, because they use optical viewfinders rather than electronic ones. We still think the EOS R10's overall advantages make it the better buy, but it's something to bear in mind if you're planning to take it on long days out. Getting a spare battery is likely a wise idea.

  • Features and performance score: 4.5/5

Canon EOS R10: image and video quality

  • Image quality impresses despite sensor's lack of backside-illumination
  • Shoots uncropped 4K/30p video that's oversampled from 6K capture
  • No headphone jack or 'flat' log video profile for color graders

The EOS R10 has a new 24.2MP sensor, but this chip isn't backside-illuminated (BSI). As the name suggests, BSI sensors have their circuitry on the back of the sensor rather than in front of the light-sensitive photosites, which traditionally means they have less noise and better all-round image quality.

This could have been a black mark against the EOS R10, but overall we've been impressed with its image quality. Photos look very clean and detailed up to ISO 1600, with pleasing colors and skin tones.

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A deer standing in a field

Canon EOS R10 with RF 85mm f/2 Macro IS STM, 1/800 sec at f/5.6, ISO 500 (Image credit: Future)
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The head of a black and white cat

Canon EOS R10 with RF 85mm f/2 Macro IS STM, 1/100 sec at f/4.5, ISO 125 (Image credit: Future)
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A running cockapoo dog in a garden

Canon EOS R10 with RF 85mm f/2 Macro IS STM, 1/1000 sec at f/4, ISO 250 (Image credit: Future)

Noise starts to become slightly noticeable from ISO 3200, but results are certainly still usable here and at ISO 6400. It's really only ISO 12800 and above that should be considered emergency options for particularly gloomy situations.

In short, the image quality is very similar to APS-C rivals like the Sony A6400 and Nikon Z50. Only the Fujifilm X-S10 and X-T30 II hold any advantage at this price point, because they use BSI CMOS sensors that should (in theory) give them a slight advantage at higher ISO sensitivities. But we haven't been able to do a side-by-side comparison between the EOS R10 and those cameras yet.

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A man standing in the shade at a station reading his phone

Canon EOS R10 with RF-S 18-45mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM, 1/800 at f/7.1, ISO 100 (Image credit: Future)
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A man sitting outside a train station

Canon EOS R10 with RF-S 18-45mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM, 1/320 at f/7.1, ISO 100 (Image credit: Future)
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A man standing in the shade at a station reading his phone

Canon EOS R10 with RF-S 18-45mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM, 1/800 at f/7.1, ISO 100 (Image credit: Future)
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A man standing in the shade at a station reading his phone

Canon EOS R10 with RF-S 18-45mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM, 1/800 at f/7.1, ISO 100 (Image credit: Future)
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A man standing in the shade at a station reading his phone

Canon EOS R10 with RF-S 18-45mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM, 1/800 at f/7.1, ISO 100 (Image credit: Future)

Slightly more impressive, compared to the competition, are the EOS R10's video skills. Some occasionally temperamental autofocus aside, it impresses with the ability to shoot uncropped 4K/30p that's oversampled from the sensor's 6K resolution. 

While this isn't the case for the camera's 4K/60p mode (which as you can see below, incurs a 1.56x crop), this is still a useful tool for vloggers and YouTubers. The benefit of 60p mode is that you can slow it down to half-speed to create some nice cut-scenes.

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The petals of a red flower in a garden

Canon EOS R10 with RF 85mm f/2 Macro IS STM, 1/125 at f/6.3, ISO 100 (Image credit: Future)
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A purple and white flower in a garden

Canon EOS R10 with RF 85mm f/2 Macro IS STM, 1/250 at f/6.3, ISO 160 (Image credit: Future)
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A flower in front of the sky

Canon EOS R10 with RF 85mm f/2 Macro IS STM, 1/1250 at f/4.5, ISO 160 (Image credit: Future)
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A pink flower in a garden

Canon EOS R10 with RF 85mm f/2 Macro IS STM, 1/40 at f/7.1, ISO 100 (Image credit: Future)

Other video bonuses include the ability to shoot 1080/120p slo-mo and an 'HDR PQ' mode that delivers 4:2:2 10-bit quality. Unfortunately, there's no 'flat' log option on the EOS R10, though, which means keen color graders will need to consider the EOS R7 or rivals like the Fujifilm X-T30 II. And the lack of a headphone jack means there's no way to monitor audio when you're out in the field.

Still, there's no 30-minute video recording limit on the EOS R10, which means you can shoot clips for up to two hours (depending on battery life and card capacity). And pair the camera with a slightly better lens than Canon's two RF-S kit zooms, and you have a very capable video tool for shooting clips alongside your snaps.

  • Image and video quality score: 4/5/5

Should I buy the Canon EOS R10?

The Canon EOS R10 camera sitting on a wooden bench

(Image credit: Future)

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Also consider...

If our Canon EOS R10 review has you considering other options, here are three more cameras to consider...

Testing scorecard

  • First reviewed August 2022
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