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Laifen Wave toothbrush review: Great for a deep clean, but you’ll need nerves of steel
1:00 pm | May 16, 2024

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

Laifen Wave: One-minute review

Suffice to say, Chinese brand Laifen is pretty excited to bring its latest device, the Laifen Wave, to market – especially following the success of its supersonic hairdryer, the Laifen Swift. Is it the best electric toothbrush? Not in my view; but it’s a very promising start, and for those who need frequent deep cleans, it could be everything they’ve been hoping for. 

Laifen has made some pretty bold claims about the efficacy of the Laifen Wave toothbrush, including that it “perfectly aligns with the dentist-recommended Bass brushing technique” and offers three times the power and brushing efficiency of a standard electric toothbrush. Based on my experience, that may be true – my teeth felt cleaner than ever after using the toothbrush. However, I’m not entirely convinced that this level of deep cleaning is necessary, nor healthy, on a daily basis.

The Laifen Wave offers 60-degree oscillation with 66,000 vibrations per minute, mimicking the motion of a regular non-electric toothbrush for what Laifen promises is a superior clean. You can set up three brushing profiles in the app, selecting between 10 levels of oscillation range and power, as well as vibration power. Plus, it has an average 30-day battery life, and takes only 2.5-3 hours to charge.

One thing is for certain, the Laifen Wave is a looker. It’s available in three different finishes: ABS plastic, aluminum alloy, and stainless steel. The toothbrush stands at 5.7in / 142.7mm tall, which is a little shorter than the majority of electric toothbrushes, but which makes it an excellent travel companion.

Laifen Wave review: Pricing

At the top of the handle sit three indicator lights that display the current mode selected, and just below these you’ll find the touch-sensitive power button. Towards the bottom sit an option for airplane mode and a battery indicator. 

I tested the stainless steel model, clad in a gorgeous shiny casing that certainly makes it the best-looking toothbrush I’ve ever used. Note that it does scuff easily, and is pretty slippery when wet, which could quickly result in a very scruffy-looking finish. 

The toothbrush heads are also a thing of beauty – well, as much as they can be. Elegant and slim, these heads are bespoke, although Philips Sonicare heads do fit, which is a real boon given you’ll be hard-pressed to find the Laifen Wave toothbrush heads in your local drugstore.

Out of the box, the Laifen Wave comes with three different toothbrush heads designed for different purposes: gum care, ultra-whitening and super clean. I found myself most drawn to the softer gum care brush head; but the super clean makes fantastic work of cleaning deeper into the recesses of your mouth, while the ultra-whitening brush head offers powerful cleaning to leave your grill gleaming. These can be purchased in packs of three or six directly from Laifen for $9.99 (about £8) and $16.99 (about £15) respectively. 

Laifen Wave toothbrush on mat

(Image credit: Future)

I don’t love the quality of the toothbrush heads; the bristles are great on all three heads, but they require some force to attach to the handle and can sometimes, rather inexplicably, become stuck. 

My stainless steel handle came with transparent heads instead of the white variant – which proved insightful. I noticed after not using the toothbrush for a week that a lot of condensation builds up inside the stem and inside the brush casing, which doesn’t feel particularly hygienic. 

This can happen in most toothbrush heads, but is easily rectified by removing them and shaking out any residue. However, with the Laifen Wave, not only is removing the head difficult, but it’s also supposedly watertight, meaning the water in the brush head either trickled down from the brush, or seeped in over time through the sealant. Neither bodes well for the brush design, or makes it terribly easy to prevent. 

Broadly speaking, though, I’ve been happy with the results, and I welcome the fact that the brush is customizable. 

After a super-quick and easy pairing process with its companion app, you can adjust the oscillation range and speed, as well as the vibration. You can also switch on flight mode, 30-second reminders, and even a high-frequency mode that unlocks a further 10 vibration strength settings. However, note that you need the app to really unlock most of these features. 

I did appreciate that you can set up different profiles and navigate between them by double-tapping the power button on the handle, though, as well as the ability to toggle flight mode by long-pressing the power button.

There are also some other clever features. When you pick up the toothbrush, it will turn on automatically. It will also activate its “backpack mode” when in motion for more than three minutes, which prevents battery wastage. That’s great; but some features I consider must-haves – such as pressure sensors – are missing. 

Laifen Wave toothbrush on mat

(Image credit: Future)

One thing that really ground my gears with the Laifen Wave is that, due to its oscillating head, it’s really easy to make a huge mess while brushing your teeth. I found that when I cleaned behind my lower-front teeth, the Laifen Wave flicked toothpaste and spit everywhere, meaning I was constantly cleaning up globs from all over my bathroom sink.

With the toothbrush heads being made of quite thick and robust plastic, I also learned the hard way that you really don’t want to nick your teeth while brushing. I was in physical pain for about 10 minutes one day having lost focus while brushing my teeth and catching the tip of my tooth with the back of the toothbrush head – I can’t say for sure, but I’m pretty sure I was close to chipping it. 

That alone was enough for me to think twice about recommending the Laifen Wave – which is a shame, since I think it shows a lot of promise and could be fantastic for those who struggle with gum health and plaque buildup. Right now, though, it just hasn’t been thought through quite enough.

Laifen Wave review: Specs

Should I buy?

Buy it if... 

Don't buy it if...

Also consider

How I tested the Laifen Wave

  •  I used the Laifen Wave as my main toothbrush for two months
  •  I brushed my teeth twice a day  
  •  I tried the different settings and toothbrush heads 

To test the Laifen Wave, I used it every day, twice a day, as my main toothbrush. While I settled on my personalized settings and favored brush head, I tried all of the different power settings and heads to see how effective they were in use.

I also tested all of the extra features – the smart-lifting technology, backpack mode, airplane mode and high-frequency mode – and found they all worked as described.

I’ve been reviewing lifestyle technology for two years, but like all readers, I’ve been brushing my teeth for a lot longer. I’ve used a variety of toothbrushes over the years, from budget-friendly to premium, and used this combined experience to rate the Laifen Wave.

Brompton C Line Explore electric review: 12-speed innovation for the classic bike
10:30 am |

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

Brompton C Line 12-speed: One minute review

Ever since 1976, Brompton bikes have been one of the best and, at times, only options for folding bikes. The innovative 3-part fold has made it perfect for taking on trains, throwing in the back of a car, or zipping around city streets. 

Over the years, Brompton has been increasing its gear options, with a big jump in the latest C, P and T Lines from six to 12 speeds. This significant increase in gear range has moved these bikes away from only being able to cope with simple, small-incline roads and made them equally at home going up and down steep hills and round uneven country roads.

The new gear system, a 3-speed Sturmey-Archer hub, and a 4-speed derailleur give users pretty much every gear option they could want. I never found myself needing more than the offered range, and in fact, I only ever needed the middle range of 8 gears. Being able to drop into something really low and receive the added pedal assist made it possible to eat up steep hills.

Everything else about the C Line Explore is tried and tested and previously available. The 300Wh lithium-ion battery pack and 250-watt brushless motor make it road-legal  here in the UK, while still delivering enough power when it's needed. 

The build quality is what we have come to expect with Brompton: high-quality parts that will last a lifetime. This is particularly evident with all three folding mechanisms that will see a lot of action.

This new bike gives us the best of everything: all the gears for various different inclines and the convenience of the compact Brompton package: lightweight, portable, and folding.

Brompton C Line 12-speed: Price and availability

Brompton, C-Line, 12 speed

(Image credit: Future)
  • $4,250 / £3,150 / AU$7,300 for Electric C Line Explore 12-speed
  • $4,950 / £3,895 for Electric P Line Explore 12-speed 
  • Non-electric 12-speed options are also available

The Brompton 12-speed options are available across the C and P Line Explore electric bikes as well as the standard P and T line models. 

The Electric C Line Explore 12-speed comes in at 17.3kg / 38.1 lbs with the battery and costs $4,250 / £3,150 / AU$7,300.

For the slightly lighter (16.3 kg / 35.9 lbs), with battery, P Line Explore with 12-speed, you'll be looking at a significantly higher price of $4,950 / £3,895, while it currently seems to be unavailable in Australia.

The bikes are packaged with everything required to construct the bike, including a detachable battery and charger to go with it. A range of accessories are also available, including a Quad Lock Mount for mounting phones to the bike. 

This is certainly on the higher end of folding electric bike prices, so the value score is weighed down by this. However, Brompton is a premium, long-lasting product, and there's no doubting the quality construction on offer here. 

  • Value score: 3.5/5

Brompton C Line 12-speed: Design

Brompton, C-Line, 12 speed

(Image credit: Future)
  • 3-speed Sturmey-Archer and 4-speed derailleur
  • Classic Brompton bike design
  • Lightweight frame and robust folding mechanisms

The only new addition to the C Line Explore Electric, P Line Electric, P Line Explore, and T Line Explore is the introduction of a 12-speed gearing option. This has been achieved using a 3-speed hub and a 4-speed derailleur.

Brompton enthusiasts will know that we've seen a hub gear and derailleur combo before with the previous C Line Explore connecting a 3-speed hub to a 2-speed derailleur. This new version is this principle on steroids. 

The Sturmey-Archer hub is completely weather-sealed, keeping it away from the elements and increasing its longevity. The hard-wearing hub shell protects it from damage from foreign objects and, again, guarantees the requirement for minimal maintenance. 

The derailleur, originally designed for the ultralight titanium T Line, is small and super lightweight, meaning it's always out of the way, whether folded or in use.

The two sets of shifters are pretty easy to understand, with the right shifter controlling the hub gear and the left shifter controlling the derailleur. The buttons are easy to push, and the gears change quickly and effortlessly. The shifter displays are fairly easy to interpret, although the 4-speed derailleur only has the numbers 1 and 4 displayed at the two extremes. 

Everything else about the Brompton C Line Explore is what was available on previous bikes in this line. The steel frame is robust enough yet lightweight enough to make it possible to lift the bike easily, especially when in its folded position.

The small and thin wheels are classic Brompton, which is probably where this bike comes up short. With 12 speeds, I wanted to be able to go anywhere. I had no limitations when it came to having the right gear for the job, but not all terrains were ideally suited to such small wheels.

I would also like to have seen a kickstand included, even a small, flimsy one. 

  • Design Score: 4.5/5

Brompton C Line 12-speed: Performance

Brompton, C-Line, 12 speed

(Image credit: Future)
  • Impressive gear range for a folding bike
  • Smooth gear changes throughout the range
  • It can take a few seconds for motor to kick in

I have next to nothing negative to say about the performance of the new C Line Explore electric bike.

The new 12-speed gear setup across a hub and a derailleur is beautifully executed, delivering a whole new range of gears never seen before on a Brompton bike. Gear changing through the full range is quick, effective, and seamless, with absolutely zero sticking mid-shift. Gears were located with no problems whatsoever.

The gear shifters performed equally well, with the gear shift buttons substantial enough to be easily found with my thumbs, but ergonomically designed to not be in the way while gripping the handlebars

The motor had enough power in most instances, but sadly fell slightly short on the steepest inclines I could find. This was a little disappointing because surely that's the purpose of having the 12 speeds. That being said, having extra gears at least meant I could manually ride those hills. The power assist modes are located on the battery itself and are not easily changeable mid-cycle, which is, in my opinion, a bit of a design flaw. 

The seat was absolutely fine for shorter journeys, but towards the end of my 7-mile commute, I was beginning to have some comfort problems. The smaller wheels were also far from ideal on the more rugged terrain of the rural roads that I took the bike on. 

  • Performance score: 4.5/5

Brompton C Line 12-speed: Battery life

Brompton C-Line, 12 speed

(Image credit: Future)
  • 20-45 miles per full battery
  • Four-hour per charge
  • Battery makes weight front-loaded

The Brompton C Line Explore electric bike has a range of between 20 and 45 miles, depending on which of the three power assist modes is selected. This range isn't terrible, but it will require most users to recharge the battery every few days.

While I was testing the bike, I opted to use it on my 7-mile commute, resulting in a 14-mile round trip. I also went for the highest level of power assist and was definitely experiencing some range anxiety towards the end of my return trip. This range isn't necessarily a problem because most Brompton owners are unlikely to be travelling more than 20 miles per day. My annoyance with it is more the necessity of having to do a daily charge and the associated charging costs.

A full charge from empty takes around 4 hours, which is perfectly reasonable for this type and size of battery. The battery itself takes pride of place right at the front of the bike and is easily clipped in and out. The battery connections are well protected, with the charging port located behind a rubber safety flap.

  • Battery life score: 3.5/5

Brompton C Line 12-speed: Scorecard

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Also consider

How I tested the Brompton C-Line 12-speed

Due to the fact that the single biggest improvement was the increase from 6-speed to 12-speed, I decided that the bike really had to be put through its paces. It would be no good putting it in a city environment that it is familiar with. We need some hills and some uncomfortable terrain!

My daily commute provided the perfect test ride. 7 miles of hills, rural roads, city streets, on-road, off-road, and everything in between. The gear range performed admirably well, with little need for all 12 speeds.

First reviewed: January 2024

OnePlus Watch 2 review: Finally, a Wear OS watch with staying power
7:34 pm | May 13, 2024

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

OnePlus Watch 2: One minute review

After a less-than-stellar introduction to the world of smartwatches with the original OnePlus Watch in 2021, OnePlus is back with its second effort, and it’s a different beast entirely. Rather than relying on its own software, OnePlus’ latest wearable uses Google’s Wear OS platform to deliver a comprehensive set of features that will satisfy even the most demanding user.

Anyone who’s familiar with Wear OS will know that poor battery life is its biggest hurdle, and OnePlus manages to leap right over it with an ingenious solution. This watch has two processors and two operating systems working in tandem, one handles all the basic functions like telling the time and counting steps, while the other tackles the more complex stuff. Depending on your usage, you really can achieve 100 hours on a single charge.

The OnePlus Watch 2 offers a tasteful design, but its large dimensions mean that it’s less suited to those with petite wrists. It feels quality throughout, but I can’t help but wish for a functional rotating crown. This one can be rotated, but it doesn’t do anything. It’s just a circular button.

When it comes to features and performance, I have no complaints whatsoever. Fitness tracking data seems accurate, it pairs easily and remains connected to your phone, and the Wear OS ecosystem means you can install a wide variety of applications to achieve all sorts of tasks. I managed three days on a charge with the always-on display enabled, too.

As it stands, I think it’s one of the most compelling Wear OS options available today, and certainly one of the best smartwatches outside of Apple. It’s reasonably priced, well-designed, feature-packed and lasts for a long time. What more could you need?

OnePlus Watch 2: Specifications

OnePlus Watch 2: Price and Availability

OnePlus Watch 2 worn on man's wrist

(Image credit: Luke Baker)
  • £299 in the UK
  • $299.99 in the US
  • AU$459 in Australia

The OnePlus Watch 2 is available to purchase now globally with an MSRP of $299.99 / £299 / AU$459. It originally launched in Black Steel and Radiant Steel, but a Nordic Blue variant was introduced more recently in Europe, too. The specs and features are the same across all variants, it’s only the colour of the chassis and strap that changes.

The OnePlus Watch 2 is very reasonably priced compared to its Wear OS rivals. The Pixel Watch 2, TicWatch Pro 5 and Galaxy Watch 5 Pro are all slightly more expensive at full retail, but frequent discounts mean that they can be found at similar prices.

  •  Value score: 4/5 

OnePlus Watch 2: Design and screen

OnePlus Watch 2 worn on man's wrist

(Image credit: Luke Baker)
  • 1.43-inch AMOLED display
  • Steel chassis with sapphire crystal face
  • Black Steel, Radiant Steel and Nordic Blue options

The OnePlus Watch 2 immediately gives the impression of quality, it's dense, heavy and shiny, as you’d expect a high-end watch to be. However, the downsides to this design are immediately apparent, too: it’s a big, thick watch, and it’s only available in a single 46mm case size. This means it’s not going to be for everyone. I’m a big guy, and even on my wrists it felt a little large and heavy; I can certainly imagine it looking ridiculous on those with slim wrists.

The OnePlus Watch 2 is mostly circular, but it has a flat edge on the right-hand side. The buttons are offset at an angle, which means they’re never accidentally pressed by the back of your hand when you lean on a table. It’s a thoughtful touch.

OnePlus says the design is inspired by classic stopwatches, but it equally reminds me of the camera surround on the OnePlus 12, it’s a nice bit of design synergy if you happen to own both. On the whole, though, I think it’s lacking in personality. There’s nothing wrong with the design, it just doesn’t do much to stand out, either.

The uppermost button is circular and sticks out from the main body, like a watch crown. However, while it can be rotated, rotating it doesn’t do anything, it’s just a normal button. I found this a bit disappointing, most of the Watch 2’s competitors have functional crowns, and even the budget-oriented Huawei Watch Fit 3 manages to include one.

The display has an ample 466 x 466 resolution and it’s bright enough that I never had trouble seeing it in direct sunlight. The bezels are fairly chunky, but a selection of predominantly dark watch faces do a great job of disguising this. The screen is coated with sapphire crystal and has a hardness rating of 8+ Mohs, which essentially means that it’s highly scratch-resistant. After wearing it for a few weeks, the glass is still spotless (despite taking a few knocks).

The watch also has a MIL-STD 810H rating for durability, and it's completely waterproof up to 5ATM. So, no matter how adventurous your lifestyle may be, the OnePlus Watch 2 should be up to the task.

  • Design score: 3.5/5

OnePlus Watch 2: Features

OnePlus Watch 2 worn on man's wrist

(Image credit: Luke Baker)
  • 32GB of onboard storage
  • Great flexibility with Wear OS apps
  • Over 100 built-in exercise modes

Since the Watch 2 runs Wear OS, it integrates seamlessly with all of Google’s services like Google Calendar, Google Fit, Google Wallet, Maps and more. As someone who relies on Google for most of my digital life, it’s blissful not having to manually link any of these services.

The other big advantage of Wear OS is that it has an app store. As an example, I like to track my rides using Strava. Most watches will require a (sometimes complex) linking process to share data with Strava, but on the OnePlus Watch 2 you just tap the Play Store, install Strava, and you’re ready to track. 

It’s not just fitness stuff that you’ll find here either. You can find all manner of functionalities on Wear OS: I love having the ability to control my smart lights from my watch using Google Home or IFTTT, for example. That’s the kind of function that proprietary operating systems struggle with, but Wear OS handles like a breeze.

The downside to this system is usually the battery drain. Wear OS is a notoriously demanding smartwatch platform, and Wear OS watches with multi-day battery life are few and far between. Brands have tried various techniques to get around this, the TicWatch Pro 5’s dual-layer low-power display is a great example, but none are quite as seamless as the OnePlus Watch 2’s approach.

This watch is essentially two watches in one, and that’s probably why it’s so chunky. It has a Snapdragon W5 to run Wear OS and all the smart bits, while a low-power BES2700BP chip and RTOS system runs all the basics, like telling the time and capturing health data. The watch switches between the two systems depending on what you ask it to do, so you get all the features, without the usual battery woes. It’s a brilliant workaround.

You get 32GB of storage built in, ample space for offline Spotify listening if you want to leave the phone at home. Meanwhile, the default fitness tracking application can track over 100 different types of exercise. Of course, if your favorite is missing, you can always install a different app instead.

The watch uses the OHealth Android app to pair with your smartphone, but there’s no equivalent for iOS, so iPhone users need not apply. In the app, you can check out your fitness metrics, customize your watch face and settings, and start tracking a workout. It’s a little barebones, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. It keeps everything simple, and if you want to do something more advanced, you can do that on the watch itself.

  • Features score: 4/5

OnePlus Watch 2: Performance

OnePlus Watch 2 screen

(Image credit: Luke Baker)
  • Up to 100 hours of battery life
  • Heart rate, sleep, stress and SpO2 monitoring
  • Multi-band GPS tracking

The big thing that sets this watch apart is its battery life. I like to use my smartwatches with everything enabled, and the always-on display active, essentially the worst-case scenario for battery life. Even still, I was able to manage around three days per charge when I wasn’t using GPS, and around two days when I was.

If you’re fine with raise-to-wake, and maybe disable some of your more frequent notifications, then you’ll be able to achieve much longer. Kick it into power-saving mode and you can go 12 days between charges, and you’ll still get notifications and track your steps and heart rate, too. Of course, the more advanced features are disabled in this mode.

When it’s time to charge, it's done with a magnetic puck that attaches to the watch with some pogo pins. It’s a nice, compact unit with a removable USB-C cable, I found it much nicer to travel with than a lengthy proprietary cable. Wireless charging support would have been even nicer, though.

The connection between my phone and the OnePlus Watch 2 was rock-solid throughout my testing. Notifications came through reliably and quickly, and if I left the phone somewhere and came back to it, the two devices would reconnect without any hiccups.

It’s hard to gauge the accuracy of the watch’s many fitness sensors, but the readings I got were in line with most of my other wearables. The step count was continually a little higher than my phone’s built-in pedometer, but much of that can be attributed to leaving my phone at my desk as I get up and run errands. Heart rate readings matched those that I’m used to seeing from my TicWatch Pro 5, too.

The watch can track your sleep habits, too. The metrics include everything from sleep stage breakdowns to heart rate changes and even breathing patterns. I hate sleeping in a watch, especially one as chunky as this, but I was on a couple of overnight flights during my testing and managed to capture some data. I did, in fact, not get much sleep, as the watch kindly reminded me.

  • Performance score: 4.5/5

OnePlus Watch 2: Scorecard

OnePlus Watch 2: Should I buy?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

OnePlus Watch 2: How we tested

Our reviewer wore the OnePlus Watch 2 as his primary smartwatch for over two weeks, and it accompanied him on some international travels and during regular workouts. It was paired to a Vivo X100 Pro for the majority of the testing period but was also tried with the Huawei Pura 70 Ultra.

The tracking results were compared to historical results from the Huawei Watch Fit 3 and TicWatch Pro 5, as well as the built-in step counter on the smartphone to assess accuracy.

OnePlus Watch 2: Also consider

First reviewed: May 2024

Inov-8 F-Lite G 300 review: A superb choice for wider feet
3:30 pm | May 11, 2024

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

Inov-8 F-Lite G 300: One minute review

Stepping into the realm of cross-training shoes, the Inov-8 F-Lite G 300 is a standout choice for those with wider feet. This shoe blends durability and stability in a package that can be applied to a range of fitness environments. 

The shoe boasts a lovely, striking design. It’s made with durable graphene, yet remains surprisingly light at only 300g – a balance of strength and lightness which is a rare find in cross-training shoes. The F-Lite G 300 offers a range of color selections, including a stylish black-and-white cow print, appealing to those who value aesthetics alongside performance.

Performance-wise, the F-Lite G 300 impresses. Its cushioning and flexibility are apt for diverse workouts, from weightlifting to cross-training. However, it's not without its quirks that prevent it from being given an elusive five stars: the laces don’t tighten as much as I’d like, and the black tab bled color on my ankle during initial uses. Comfort is generally good but not always consistent during testing. 

Ideal for individuals with a wider foot, the shoe supports a transition between running and lifting seamlessly. Yet, it’s worth mentioning that it might not be the perfect fit for everyone, particularly those with narrow feet or people who prefer a completely flat-bottomed shoe.

Overall, the Inov-8 F-Lite G 300 stands as a robust option in the world of cross-training shoes, especially for those prioritising durability and a wider fit. Its unique blend of materials and thoughtful design make it a worthy consideration for your next athletic shoe purchase.

Inov-8 F-Lite G 300: Specifications

Inov-8 F-Lite G 300: Price and availability

The Inov-8 F-Lite G 300

(Image credit: Future / Lee Bell)
  • Around $150 in the US
  • £145 in the UK
  • AU$159 in Australia

The Inov-8 F-Lite G 300 is competitively priced, catering to a global audience with varied regional pricing. In the United States, the cross-training shoes are available for approximately $150. For fitness enthusiasts in the UK, they can be purchased for £145, while in Australia, the price is set at around AU$159. 

This is about the going rate for a good pair of fitness shoes, especially those that support a wide range of athletic pursuits, from gym workouts to outdoor activities, like these do. However, it’s not outstanding enough value to recommend on price alone.

  •  Value score: 3.5/5 

Inov-8 F-Lite G 300: Design

The Inov-8 F-Lite G 300

(Image credit: Future / Lee Bell)
  • Robust graphene construction
  • Lightweight, weighing only 300g
  • Wide range of color options

When it comes to cross-training shoes, design isn't just about good looks; it's about crafting a shoe that meets the demands of varied workouts. The Inov-8 F-Lite G 300 makes a good first impression thanks to a blend of functionality and style.

One of the first things you'll notice about this shoe once it's on your foot is its durable graphene construction. Graphene is renowned for its strength, but don't let this toughness fool you – these shoes are surprisingly lightweight at just 300 grams. This delicate balance of durability and weight is quite the design feat, in my opinion, catering to the needs of cross-trainers who need both resilience and agility from their kicks.

Available in a variety of color combinations, the F-Lite G 300 can match just about any gym outfit. For those who prefer understated elegance, the black/white variant is the color I reviewed and proved to be a solid choice. If you're more about making a statement, then the black-and-white cow print could be your go-to. 

As for the fit, these shoes are specially designed for those with wider feet, providing ample room without compromising on support. The knit upper of the shoe adds to the comfort factor, ensuring breathability during intense workouts. However, it's worth noting that the laces might not tighten to everyone's liking since their design tightens to the cage of the shoe, not your foot. Something to keep in mind for those who prefer a snugger fit.

  • Design score: 4/5

Inov-8 F-Lite G 300: Performance

The Inov-8 F-Lite G 300

(Image credit: Future / Lee Bell)
  • Versatile performance across multiple activities
  • Stable base for weightlifting
  • Mixed bag comfort-wise

After putting the Inov-8 F-Lite G 300 through its paces, it's clear these shoes are a strong contender in the cross-training category, albeit with a few caveats.

Let's start with the positives. The graphene-enhanced durability means these shoes can take a beating, whether it's from rope climbs, box jumps, or sprints. Their resilience in varied training scenarios is commendable. Also, their lightweight nature is a pleasant surprise, especially given their robust build. During quick runs, the shoes felt agile and didn't weigh me down, a vital aspect for any cross-trainer.

The grip is another plus. The graphene outsole ensures excellent traction, giving that extra bit of confidence during workouts, particularly in lifts and quick directional changes. It's one of those features you don't realise you need until you experience it.

However, the F-Lite G 300 isn't without its drawbacks. The laces don't provide the tightness some athletes prefer, which could be a dealbreaker for those who need absolute stability, especially in dynamic movements. This was a notable concern during high-intensity workouts where foot security is paramount.

Comfort-wise, they're a mixed bag. The shoes don't require a lengthy break-in period, which is a significant plus. They're comfortable out of the box, a rarity in training shoes. Yet, for narrow-footed individuals, there’s risk they could be a bit too roomy: yet another reminder that these shoes are best suited for those with wider feet.

In terms of versatility, the Inov-8 F-Lite G 300 shoes do a decent job of balancing between lifting and cardio. While they aren't the best for specialised activities like Olympic lifting or long-distance running, they perform well in a general cross-training setting. A decent buy for those who like to do a bit of everything, if you ask me.

  • Performance score: 4/5 

Inov-8 F-Lite G 300: Scorecard

Inov-8 F-Lite G 300: Should I buy?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Also consider

Bob & Brad D6 Pro massage gun review: Elite-tier percussive massage support
2:53 pm | May 9, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Exercise Equipment Gadgets Health & Fitness | Comments: Off

Bob & Brad D6 Pro: One-minute review

Massage guns are growing in popularity, and Bob & Brad are one of the brands leading that charge. We loved the smaller Q2 Mini last year, awarding it five stars in our review.

Our only complaint is that it needed a bit more power. If you were looking for something that packs more of a literal punch, then the D6 Pro is its bigger brother, and boy does it deliver on this promise, while building on everything that made the Q2 Mini so good.

It’s much less portable than the Q2 Mini, but still comes with a carry case for easy transportation, with a bunch of attachments for various muscle groups. The massage gun is outstanding in every way: it's simple to set up, easy to use, and can really hit the spot, delivering percussive relief from exercise-induced soreness anywhere on the body with its flexible grip and rotation.

There’s a definite learning curve, both with the relatively basic on-device button layout and the pretty thick instruction manual, but I’ve been using it for a few weeks as a post-gym treat and it’s helped me work on an injury, improving ROM and reducing soreness. A terrific device.

Bob and Brad D6 massage gun

(Image credit: Future)

Bob and Brad D6 Pro: Specifications

Bob & Brad D6 Pro: Price and availability

  •  Available now 
  •  Priced at $249.99 / £249.99 / AU$380 

The D6 Pro arrived back in 2022 and retails for $249.99 or £249.99, which equates to around AU$380 in Australia. It’s available pretty much anywhere in the US and Ul, including Amazon, but Austrailian outlets are scarce.  

At some retailers, we’ve seen discounts down to around $180 / £170, so there's scope to score a deal during sales events such as Amazon Prime Day or Black Friday. 

This is remarkably cheap for a five-star gun of this caliber. Therabody, the biggest name in percussive message, tends to price higher than Bob & Brad, but both this device and the compact Q2 Mini earned their five stars by offering comparable performance and outstanding value for money. 

  • Value score: 5 / 5

Bob & Brad D6 Pro: Design

Bob & Brad D6 Pro massage gun display screen

(Image credit: Future)
  •  Pretty large for small hands 
  •  Minimal buttons 
  •  Multiple attachments 

The Bob & Brad D6 Pro is portable, in that it comes with a carry case, but it’s still much larger than the Q2 Mini. That does mean it has much more power (more on that shortly), but if you’re using it on yourself, you may struggle. Especially if you have smaller hands: it's clearly built for men, and some women may struggle to hold onto it and hit their shoulders or back. 

I’m blessed with pretty large paws and even then it can be a little unwieldy. However, it's a small gripe: the massage gun is remarkably well put together with a matte finish that makes it easier to grip. However, if you are worried about this sort of thing, the Q2 Mini is the perfect solution. 

It’s also very easy to switch the attachment heads out. Just pull and they come out, and you can push another right in, sharing the same push-lock mechanism as other Bob & Brad guns. The carry case has enough room for the D6 Pro and all of the heads, so it's easy to transport and sling into the back of a car when needed. 

On the upper grip of the gun, there are two buttons and a small display. One button increases the speed and powers it on, while the other can lower the speed and switch to a different mode setting. It’s nice and simple, but when it springs to life it can take a second to get it in position afterward. 

I think I’d have liked a dedicated power button to get myself ready before switching it on, but such gripes are small potatoes compared to the efficiency of the gun.

It’s also got a button that allows the neck to be stretched out so it’s more linear, making it ideal for self-massage in harder-to-reach spots.

The D6 Pro charges via USB-C and there’s a cable and power adapter included in the box. Thank god it's USB-C, as close a thing to a universal charger as we have these days. No specailist cable means it's easy to find a way to charge it when you need it. 

  • Design score: 4.5 / 5

Bob & Brad D6 Pro: Performance

Bob & Brad D6 Pro massage gun in hand

(Image credit: Future)
  •  Long battery life 
  •  Attachments can offer completely different massages 
  •  Packs a punch 

I’ve had a few sports massages in my life and used massage guns before, but none have hit as hard as the D6 Pro. It offers plenty of force (over double the Q2 Mini’s output) at such a pace that it regularly and reliably hits the spot after a gym session.

While I’ve been using it post-squats to massage my quadriceps and glutes, I was most impressed with it on my upper arms. I’ve been carrying an injury on my left deltoid, and in lieu of booking a massage appointment, I’d just been living with it. It flares up with shoulder press exercises, but for the most part, I’d been trying to ignore it.

Bob and Brad D6 Pro massage gun attachments

(Image credit: Future)

I set the D6 Pro to tackle it and, despite it being in a pretty awkward position to self-massage, was impressed with the results. It’s still an issue, but it gets better after each session with the massage gun. I’m not saying the D6 Pro can cure whatever it is that ails you, but for my specific use case, I found it very useful indeed. 

It doesn’t hurt (well it does, but in a good way) that the heads themselves are softer than some alternatives.

I did find the instruction manual pretty dense with detail. That’s no bad thing, and there’s a lot of information in there, but I think I’d have preferred a companion app to triage a muscle issue and recommend the attachment for the job rather than thumbing through each time. Still, it’s a small nitpick.

  • Performance score: 5 / 5 

Bob & Brad D6 Pro: Scorecard

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Also consider

Withings ScanWatch Nova review: analog looks with exceptional digital brains
11:28 am | April 22, 2024

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

Withings ScanWatch Nova: Two-minute review

Smartwatches have become ubiquitous in society. Certainly spearheaded by the arrival of the Apple Watch, you now can’t go anywhere without seeing a digital display on someone’s wrist. It could be argued that until we had the smartwatch, we didn’t know we needed it and we were perfectly content with a classic analog wrist watch to simply tell the time. 

Withings has championed a combination of past and present with all of its watch releases – something it has dubbed as a ‘hybrid’ design – and the ScanWatch Nova is the latest model (alongside the ScanWatch 2) that combines analog looks, health and fitness tracking and a few smartwatch niceties into one elegant package. 

Using the previous ScanWatch Horizon as its starting base, the ScanWatch Nova takes what we considered to be a winning formula, and makes aesthetic and technological improvements to make this one of the best smartwatches for those who prefer classic looks, but who are also intrigued by sensors to track their overall health. 

As with its predecessor, a quick glance at the ScanWatch Nova doesn’t immediately give away the fact it has digital sensors for a brain instead of a traditional watch movement. Its polished chrome body, analog hands with glow-in-the-dark LumiNova coating and rotating crown, give the impression this could be something straight out of Switzerland. 

Look a little closer though, and instead of a traditional chronometer or seconds-hand ticker, you’ll notice a small OLED display at 12 o’clock and a second dial at 6 o’clock that displays your progress towards your health goal in the form of 0 to 100%. The previous ScanWatch Horizon exhibited essentially the same design, but Withings says the resolution of the OLED display has been improved this time around and the watch itself is sleeker in design. 

I’d have to agree. Having worn both (and still owning the Horizon) the Nova’s case has more rounded edges and the lug around the crown has been reduced. When wearing the Horizon, I found it could occasionally dig into my wrist when I bent my hand, but with the Nova, that’s been resolved. The display is definitely a tad sharper as well, and scrolling text across the display moves at a readable speed and is clearly legible. 

On the rear is a quartet of sensors to track your heart rate, 24/7 temperature, ECG and blood oxygen levels. As before, interacting with the crown doesn’t adjust the time or date, but instead brings the OLED display to life, whereby you can then scroll through the various menus and data. 

In the ScanWatch Nova, Withings is once again putting a firm focus on your health. You can use it to track workouts and it will display notifications from your smartphone apps, but this is a watch that ultimately wants to keep an accurate record of how your body is performing and all data is presented in the thoughtfully designed HealthMate companion app. It can also be exported to (and imported from) your phone’s native health app. 

Battery life is once again excellent with Withings accurately claiming 30 days of use, and what I particularly love about this new model is the charger. The charger that came with the ScanWatch Horizon was terrible; it didn’t magnetically attach to the watch which meant it could easily fall off. The new charger is like a cradle you have to physically insert the ScanWatch Nova into, where it’s held in place. 

As my US colleague Lance Ulanoff said of the ScanWatch Horizon, the ScanWatch Nova is the perfect smartwatch for those who don’t want one, or who at least want to be more inconspicuous in owning one. It collects a vast amount of data with accuracy, presents it well in a companion app and lasts forever on a single charge. For me it’s the perfect smartwatch and so I encourage everyone to give it a try. 

Withings ScanWatch Nova: Price & availability

The Withings ScanWatch Nova launched on December 5, 2023 and was available from Withings in the US and UK directly on the same date for $599.95 / £549.95. It arrived in Australia in March 2024 for AU$799 at third-party retailers. 

This does make it more expensive than the Apple Watch Series 9 and not a huge amount cheaper than the Apple Watch Ultra in comparison. iPhone users will get more use from the Apple Watch and there’s a huge amount more in the way of customizing how it looks, but the Apple Watch’s battery doesn’t last nearly as long. 

  • Value score: 3.5/5

Withings ScanWatch Nova: Specifications

Withings ScanWatch Nova: Design

  • Slimmer than previous ScanWatch Horizon
  • Improved display resolution
  • Looks and feels like a traditional diver’s watch

The Withings ScanWatch Nova employs a 42mm watch face and a design reminiscent of traditional diver’s watches. If you’ve always looked at other smartwatches but haven’t admired their use of all-digital displays then a hybrid smartwatch such as the Nova is ideal. I’m personally in this camp myself. 

I used to own an Apple Watch Series 3 about five years ago, but stopped wearing it because I wasn’t using it to its full potential, and preferred to wear a traditional watch instead. Because the Withings ScanWatch Nova combines this traditional look with health-tracking capabilities, it makes it the perfect smartwatch in my opinion. 

While the Nova employs a similar design to the Horizon, Withings has made some notable improvements. It’s slimmer in the body (and 1mm narrower on the watch face) and has gone on a weight loss kick, shaving its weight down from 72g to 52.6g. This makes a huge difference for everyday wear. The ScanWatch Horizon didn’t necessarily feel heavy, but in comparison it’s like wearing an anvil tied to your wrist compared to the featherweight nature of the ScanWatch Nova. The lighter design also makes it more comfortable to wear to bed at night, which is something you should do, since it can track your sleep and present you with a sleep performance score the next morning (more on that later). 

Withings ScanWatch Nova in box with accessories

Withings shipings the ScanWatch Nova complete with a second sport strap and tools to add or remove links. (Image credit: Future)

Withings ships the ScanWatch Nova with everything you need to get the perfect fit too, including spare links for the oyster metal bracelet should you need to make it larger, and a plastic holder and metal hammer to help you in adding or removing links as required. Finding the perfect fit is paramount to ensuring the ScanWatch Nova records accurate data. When we reviewed the ScanWatch Horizon we found this tricky to do, especially with the metal bracelet. I don’t think anyone should have too much issue getting a good fit with the Nova though as you’re able to remove full-size or half-size links from the bracelet.

There’s also a fluoroelastomer sport brand included which matches the color of the dial – it’s available in black, green and blue – which is soft and flexible and should provide a more secure fit if you struggle with the oyster metal bracelet. Both wristbands have a quick release function to make switching easy, although I found them easier to remove than to put back on, since they require you to compress some tiny pins that my chubby fingers had a bit of trouble with. In the UK and US you can choose from a variety of other sports and leather wristbands when buying directly from Withings, but customers in Australia are limited to just the two that come in the box.

Withings ScanWatch Nova

(Image credit: Future)

At 12 o’clock you’ll find a 0.63-inch digital display which is the clearest indicator that this isn’t a traditional analog watch. It’s slightly larger than the Horizon’s 0.5-inch screen and Withings says it has increased the resolution to improve legibility too. I have to agree, as comparing the two side by side does reveal a clear improvement in the Nova’s display. Text is that little bit clearer, sharper and more legible. I certainly had no issues reading the display and thanks to an ambient light sensor, it will automatically adjust the brightness when required. If you want to view the display but the hands are covering it, a press of the crown will see them both immediately move out the way and settle at the 10 and 2 positions. If neither of the hands are covering the display, they’ll remain where they are when you press the crown.

The way you interact with the ScanWatch Nova is similar to how you would an Apple Watch in the fact that you scroll the crown to cycle through menus. But there’s no touchscreen option here and the menus are black and white only. I like this more basic approach, I found it to be incredibly intuitive and there’s no risk of selecting the wrong app or option.

  • Design score: 4.5/5

Withings ScanWatch Nova: Features

  • Sensors to track a range of health metrics
  • Automatic sleep and workout detection
  • Single-line app notifications

There are four sensors on the back of the ScanWatch Nova for heart rate, SpO2, electrocardiogram (ECG) and a new TempTech24/7 module which is the main upgrade over the previous ScanWatch Horizon. You’ll find the same set of sensors on the recently released ScanWatch 2 as well. The main difference between the ScanWatch 2 and the ScanWatch Nova is their design, with the former taking on a more dress watch style appearance.

Using these sensors and obtaining data is incredibly easy and when you first connect the ScanWatch Nova to your phone and the companion HealthMate app, you’re presented with tutorials for each to get you up to speed. 

Your heart rate and 24/7 temperature run continuously in the background and you only need to scroll to either of them in the menu to view the current reading. For SpO2 and ECG readings, you need to cover the watch face with your other hand for 30 seconds since the watch face doubles up as a sensor. Naturally, you’re not going to be able to see when the 30 seconds is up, so the ScanWatch Nova provides a rather lovely vibration to let you know the time is up. As soon as a reading is taken, you’ll get a pop-up notification on your phone directing you to view the results. 

 

Withings ScanWatch Nova

(Image credit: Future)

I had no issues obtaining an ECG result (mine was normal) but on the first few tries the Nova wasn’t able to record an SpO2 reading. I have to put this down to me not putting my hand on the watch face correctly (somehow) as on the third try it worked fine (and I was normal, again).

The Withings ScanWatch Nova isn’t the only smartwatch to offer this functionality of course – although it is the first health wearable to offer the 24/7 temperature tracking – but it is one of the few that is clinically evaluated and developed in collaboration with doctors and health professionals (Withings does say the SpO2 sensor is non-medical grade). Withings claims the 24/7 temperature tracking, which provides “baseline fluctuations of day and night body temperature,” can help to indicate the onset of an illness or other health conditions. You can also share your health reports directly with doctors via the HealthMate app.

More features are due in 2024 including irregular heart rhythm notifications and your respiratory rate.

Data recorded is displayed clearly in the HealthMate app although it somehow recorded two sets of sleep data on the first night I wore it to bed. One gave a sleep score of 20 and the other a score of 89. I’m taking the latter as being the more accurate. The ScanWatch Nova automatically detects when you go to sleep by the way, so no need to activate any settings before you nod off.

Withings ScanWatch Nova

The Withings ScanWatch Nova's screen (top) is much clearer than the ScanWatch Horizon's screen (below) it replaces (Image credit: Future)

If you want to use the ScanWatch Nova to its full potential then it can also track a range of workouts. Your options are limited to running, walking, swimming, cycling and “other”. New for the Nova is the ability to automatically detect workouts – something the Horizon couldn’t do – but if for whatever reason it doesn’t, you’ll need to navigate to the workout type and press the crown to begin. A long press of the crown will pause the workout and a further long pause will restart, or you can scroll to the square stop icon on the screen and long press to end.

When you start a workout, you’ll also find start and stop actions, along with live data in the app. The ScanWatch Nova doesn’t have built-in GPS either, but can use the GPS capabilities of your phone to accurately track your workouts. This of course means you can’t leave your phone at home, but if you workout with music, you’ll likely have your phone with you anyway.

I don’t mind this stripped back approach, not least because I’m not exactly the workout type but because when I see other fitness trackers offering support for things like yoga and pilates, I have to wonder exactly what they’re tracking. But, it would be fair to say that the ScanWatch Nova is a health tracker first and a fitness tracker second. If you’re a triathlete or ultra marathon runner, then this likely won’t be the watch for you, although you will no doubt benefit from the accurate and insightful health data.

Finally, because it is also a smartwatch, the Withings ScanWatch Nova will display messages and notifications from apps installed on your phone. You can choose which apps you do and don’t receive notifications from within the HealthMate app. I personally just kept notifications from messaging apps turned on and everything else turned off. When I receive a message, it’s displayed on the small OLED screen, with text scrolling across in a single line.

Some people may prefer to see an entire message and also to be able to reply to messages from their watch. That’s not possible with the ScanWatch Nova, but again for me, I like it. My opinion towards smartwatches is that they’re simply an extension to a phone, not a replacement for one. If I see a message come through on my watch, my first instinct is to then get my phone out of my pocket to read it fully and respond, I’m not going to be someone who speaks into their watch to dictate a message. It could well be this interaction, or lack thereof, that will persuade someone to buy the Withings ScanWatch Nova. It is a totally different product to something like the Apple Watch, which does offer a lot more in terms of interactivity.

  • Features score: 5/5

Withings ScanWatch Nova: Performance

  • Accurate measurements from sensors
  • Impeccable battery life
  • A few niggles with automatic sleep and workout detection

In relation to its fitness tracking capabilities, the Withings ScanWatch does a very good job of recording accurate measurements when you select a workout as well as automatically recording when you go to sleep. I say very good, rather than great, because there are a couple of niggles. 

Starting with sleep, in general the Nova does indeed notice when I’ve gone into full sleep mode and the morning after it displays the various stages of sleep in the HealthMate app. However, the night before writing this section, I happened to get very lucky and fall asleep at 4.30pm. I woke up at around 12.30am before managing to get back to sleep for another few hours. Following on from my initial observations earlier, the ScanWatch Nova once again only tracked the first period of sleep but for some reason didn’t pick up the second stage. The most recent tracked sleep falls under a “Last Night” banner, as opposed to the day of the week it occurred, so I have to wonder if it only assumes there can be one period of “Last Night’s” sleep. 

With regards to workouts, the ScanWatch Nova does automatically detect when you’re performing an activity, although when I looked in the app to view data, it had detected seven cycling sessions which is strange, since I don’t even own a bike, let alone cycle. All it could show was the duration of time and the day they occurred. No distance or speed. This is, however, likely because at the time I didn’t have GPS enabled on my phone. 

The morning of writing this section of the review I decided to walk to work, since I was feeling so refreshed from the 16 hours or so of sleep from the night before. To ensure it would accurately record my walking data, I selected ‘Walking’ from the workout menu on the watch itself and enabled GPS. When you have a workout mode enabled, the screens you scroll through change from the default options. The first screen still shows the time in digital format, but underneath you’re also shown the distance travelled.

Withings HealthMate app screenshots

(Image credit: Future)

Interestingly, the map data recorded within the app showed a black screen with the route I took. Selecting it did bring up a view within Apple Maps and my walking workout data overlayed, so I'm going to put this down to an app issue. Also interestingly, walking data recorded later the same day by automatic detection didn't show any GPS map route. It seems the only time you'll see that kind of data is when you actually select a workout on the watch.

When you scroll, you can view your heart rate, pace and body temperature. Of course, on something like an Apple Watch, you can view multiple metrics of data on one screen which will undoubtedly be more useful for real fitness fanatics. But for someone like me who doesn’t pour blood, sweat and tears into keeping fit, I was still grateful for the accurate tracking.

As for health tracking, all recorded data is presented neatly and efficiently in the companion app. Understanding that the average person is unlikely to know what a good or bad ECG or oxygen saturation reading is, the app gives a green tick of approval if you’re in good shape.

Generating data is simple too, as both the watch itself and the app give you instructions for how to record an ECG and SpO2 reading. You’re required to put your hand over the watch face, since this doubles up as a sensor, and the watch will give off a vibration when the 30 second recording period is up.

Withings ScanWatch Nova

(Image credit: Future)

Along with choosing which apps you want to display notifications, you can also customize other aspects of the watch from within the app, such as the order of workout options or the order of screens that show up when you scroll through with the crown. I chose to move Walking to the top of the list, since this was the one I was going to be using the most.

The app also lets you know how much battery the ScanWatch Nova has left – after wearing it almost constantly for a week, I still have 54% at the time of writing – and you can also set an alarm to wake you up in the morning. What you can’t do with the app or the ScanWatch Nova, is activate any kind of Find My feature. This means if you lose the Nova somewhere, or simply forget where you put it at home, you can’t enable it to play any sounds to help you locate it. While it could be fair to assume that Withings expects the ScanWatch Nova will be on your wrist almost 24/7 (especially if you want to constantly track sleep) the fact remains you will likely take it off on occasion.

Finally, switching the wrist straps around is a simple affair and I did ultimately find the fluoroelastomer sport band to be the more comfortable of the two, especially for wearing to bed at night. With this strap attached, coupled with the lightweight build of the ScanWatch Nova, I barely noticed it was on my wrist, it was that comfortable.

  • Performance score: 4.5/5

Withings ScanWatch Nova: Scorecard

Withings ScanWatch Nova: Should I buy?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Withings ScanWatch Nova: Also consider

Nike Ultrafly review: The carbon-plated off-road cruiser
2:05 pm | April 18, 2024

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

One minute review

If you’re the kind of runner who prefers to head out to the trails for hours as opposed to tackling the same stretch of pavement, the Nike Ultrafly is made for you.

The Ultrafly is designed to handle up to ultra distances including racing, grabbing elements from Nike’s best running shoes like its ZoomX foam and a carbon plate, which on paper makes it sound like a Vaporfly for the trails.

I’ve used a bunch of Nike’s trail shoes including the long distance, off-road focused Nike Wildhorse 8 and the ZoomX-packing Nike Zegama Trail. While I’ve enjoyed my time in the new Ultrafly, it’s not quite the shoe I thought it would be: it's not zippy and quick like the Vaporfly is on roads, but it is a workhorse. 

Nike Ultrafly: Specifications

Nike Ultrafly: Price and availability

  • Priced at $250 in the US
  • £229.95 in the UK
  • AU$330 in Australia

The Nike Ultrafly launched in July 2023 in limited quantities before going on wider release in August, priced at £229.95 / $250 / AU$ 330. 

That put it around the same price as Nike’s Vaporfly road running shoe and also makes it pricier than standout trail shoes like the Hoka Speedgoat 5 and the Nike Wildhorse 8, another Nike trail shoe designed for long distance running.

  • Value score: 3.5/5

Nike Ultrafly: Design

Nike Ultrafly

(Image credit: Michael Sawh)
  • Vaporweave upper
  • Vibram Megagrip outsole
  • Nike ZoomX foam

While the Ultrafly is built for the trails, it definitely has the look of one of Nike’s road shoes. There’s just the two colourway options, both with a mostly white upper that thankfully hasn’t become caked in mud as the trails I’ve tested them on have been mostly the dry and hard kind.

Dealing with the key specs, it’s got a 8.5mm drop: that’s 38.5mm at the heel and 30mm at the forefoot, so it’s a chunky shoe. For comparison, the ultra-focused Nike Wildhorse 8 has an 8mm drop coming in at 35.5mm at the heel and 27.5mm at the forefoot.

Nike uses an upper made from Vaporweave, which is built from a mixture of plastics and is similar to the upper material used on its road running shoes like the Zoom Fly and the first generation Vaporfly. While the upper looks pretty low volume, there’s a nice bit of stretch to it and it’s nice and roomy up front, making it ideal for going long where feet can swell and you need that extra space.

While the Ultrafly opens up at the toes, it narrows at the midfoot and at the heel to offer a good lockdown with not overly generous padding at the heel collar to offer some comfort further back. The laces are the standard kind that sit on top of a skinny tongue that offers some padding on top to make sure you don’t feel those laces if they’re tightly tied.

For the midsole, Nike is using the ZoomX foam it uses on its successful Vaporfly, Alphafly and Invincible road shoes. That midsole is wrapped in fabric to protect the foam and is designed to make it feel more stable than Nike’s road shoes. Nike also places a Carbon Flyplate between that ZoomX and fabric-wrapped midsole to help deliver smoother transitions.

In an interesting move from Nike, it included a Vibram Megagrip outsole to deliver off-road grip. Nike typically uses its own outsole technology, which I’ve had mixed experiences with. The decision to go with Vibram on the Ultrafly seems like a wise move as it’s the same outsole technology featured on other standout trail shoes including the Hoka Speedgoat 5.

Weight-wise, the Ultrafly weighed in at 282g in my UK size 8, which is lighter than something like the Nike Wildhorse 8, which weighed in at almost 320g in a UK size 8. While not super-light, it definitely didn’t feel heavy during runs and was comfortable enough to walk around in as well.

  •  Design score: 4/5

Nike Ultrafly: Performance

Nike Ultrafly

(Image credit: Michael Sawh)
  • Smooth, stable and consistent ride
  • ZoomX isn’t bouncy like Nike road shoes
  • Outsole works well on moderate trails and roads

If you’re hoping that the Ultrafly is going to give you that feeling of running in one of Nike’s carbon racing shoes, then that’s simply not the case here. This isn’t an aggressive, speed shoe that delivers an extremely bouncy feeling. It’s different, but in a good way.

I haven’t run an ultra in it, instead focusing on getting as much time on my feet as my current state of running fitness permits, maxing out a couple of hours on a mixture of trail surfaces. I’ve also been mixing in some road time and taking in some lighter, more challenging trail terrain. The first thing you notice about the Ultrafly is that it doesn’t feel built like Nike’s other trail shoes. That’s largely down to the roominess of that toe box.

The ZoomX foam typically delivers a very bouncy ride, just like it does in the Vaporfly and Invincible, but things are slightly more tempered here. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t deliver the same lively ride. What it does instead is provide comfort and that’s really what you need over longer distances. 

As a package, it’s smooth and stable. It’s certainly not one that feels equipped for all-out speed and is better suited to cruising and moving at slightly more up-tempo speeds. It’s not super light or nimble, but it’s not overly heavy either to make it a taxing shoe to have on your feet as you roll through the miles.

It’s great to see that Nike has opted to plant on a Vibram outsole, which features on some of the best trail shoes in the business and feels like a step up in general on Nike’s trail shoe outsoles. The 3.5mm lugs aren’t exceptionally deep, which makes handling some road time in them absolutely fine, and in general, the grip was good across a mixture of terrain including mud, rockier surfaces, and tackling some hills. I do feel like on more technical trails and likely muddier ones, you’re going to want something a little more aggressive in the outsole department though.

In terms of protection on the trails, there doesn’t seem to be a huge amount going on here and plays into the idea that this is one best suited to lighter and more moderate routes as opposed to the more technical kind. Yes, the upper looks great and uses material that’s designed to prevent rips, but Nike does go pretty light on the protective features here.

Overall though, it’s a shoe that I’ve enjoyed spending time in. It does feel like a bit of a cruiser of a shoe that’s comfortable enough to wear outside of runs, and prioritizes offering a consistent feel from a not-too-heavy design that makes it ideal for long distance runs. It feels like a good start for the Ultrafly line with room to tweak things and for it to evolve to be a truly standout trail shoe to justify picking it up over other trail shoes that cost less.

  • Performance score: 4/5 

Nike Ultrafly: Scorecard

Nike Ultrafly: Should I buy?

Nike Ultrafly

(Image credit: Michael Sawh)

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Also consider

Xiaomi Smart Band 8 Pro review: Good GPS tracking on the cheap
7:54 pm | April 10, 2024

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

Xiaomi Smart Band 8: One-minute review

It’s not often you get a device like the Xiaomi Smart Band 8. It’s a very affordable fitness tracker at just $90 / £60 / AU$95, but it’s also remarkably competent thanks to great battery life and an array of sensors that some much more expensive alternatives are missing.

Not only is it one of the most complete budget fitness trackers we’ve tested, but it even defeats the Huawei Band 7 (a tracker I loved) by offering built-in GPS location tracking, too. That could make it a big worry for the likes of even the best Fitbit, and competition can only be a good thing.

I wore it on one wrist with my Apple Watch Ultra on the other (a considerably more expensive option) and was very impressed by just how accurate the Xiaomi Smart Band 8 Pro is. Xiaomi says it uses “next-generation data algorithms” for things like heart rate and oxygen saturation accuracy, and from my usage its findings were in lockstep with Apple’s own.

In fact, my only real gripe is that of the setup process. Your mileage may end up varying, but it felt like it got me off on the wrong foot with the Xiaomi Smart Band 8 Pro, although thankfully the excellent features and design fixed that nice and quickly.

There are some other omissions, too, like payments, music downloads, and third-party apps, but given the price, those are all things you’d perhaps expect.

Xiaomi Smart Band 8 worn on the wrist

(Image credit: Future)

Xiaomi Smart Band 8 Pro: Specifications

Xiaomi Smart Band 8 Pro: Price and release date

  • Available now 
  • Priced at $99.99 in the US
  • £60 in the UK
  • AU$95 in Australia

The Xiaomi Smart Band 8 Pro originally debuted in China last August, but it’s taken some time to go international. 

Thankfully, it’s available from most retailers now, and at a discounted price of $99 in the US, £60 in the UK, and AU$95 via outlets such as Amazon. 

We’ve seen it as low as £50 or $80 in recent weeks, and it’s a steal for that price, which makes it considerably cheaper than its nearest competitors like the Fitbit Inspire 3.

  • Value score: 5/5

Xiaomi Smart Band 8 Pro: Design

Xiaomi Smart Band 8 strap

(Image credit: Future)
  • Available in black or white with swappable straps 
  • 1.74-inch AMOLED display 
  • Lightweight and slim

I find it difficult to get excited about fitness trackers these days because, for the most part, they all look mostly the same. That’s not to damn the Xiaomi Smart Band 8 Pro with faint praise, but more acknowledge that just by looking at it, there’s no way you’d expect it to cost as little as it does.

It has a slick, rectangular chassis, and our white unit has a shining chrome shell. It does collect some fingerprints but not as many as you may expect, and houses a 1.74-inch AMOLED display that’s small enough to sit comfortably on your wrist while also being large enough to convey plenty of information at a glance.

It’s a good balance, and it doesn’t hurt that it’s packing a 336 x 480 px resolution that’s easy to read, and it weighs just 22.5g without the strap (still heavier than the Huawei Band 7, admittedly).

There are no buttons, physical or otherwise, on the sides, so you’ll be doing everything with the touchscreen, while the straps detach easily through a subtle mechanism and click into place in a satisfying way. Our review unit comes with an off-white option, but there’s no second strap in the box; it’s a one-size-fits-all kind of deal, and as someone who usually uses larger straps, I can say it works nicely.

On the back you’ll find a charging port, and while there’s no power brick included in the box, it’s worth noting that the USB-A cable that is here isn’t the longest. Some users will prefer USB-C, as USB-A is starting to look a little dated. Still, for under $100, it's just a charging cable. You get what you get. 

  • Design score: 4.5/5

Xiaomi Smart Band 8 laying on a flat surface

(Image credit: Future)

Xiaomi Smart Band 8 Pro: Performance

Xiaomi Smart Band 8 worn on the wrist

(Image credit: Future)
  • Strictly a fitness tracker 
  • Plenty of functions 
  • Smart use of widgets 

The folks at Xiaomi have built much of the user interface here with the larger display in mind, which means you can swipe between screens that pack multiple widgets into each, making use of every available pixel. It took a little bit of habit-busting to get into the swing of swiping ‘backward’ rather than Apple's ‘up’ to return to a prior menu, but once I did, I was enjoying its functionality with ease.

You can swipe up from the bottom of the screen to access a sort of “All Apps” list, but that’s about the only time the UI feels a little tricky as you try to prod the right option.

As always (because many still conflate the two), it’s worth remembering this is a fitness tracker and not a smartwatch. The Xiaomi Smart Band 8 Pro won’t pay for your shopping, download music for offline playback, or download third-party apps. It's essentially a single-purpose device, and for that purpose – fitness tracking – it’s great.

I used it to head out for a brisk walk, indoors for a treadmill run, and at the gym. As mentioned in the intro, in all these scenarios, all of its metrics tied up nicely with that of my Apple Watch,  which costs around nine times the price of the Xiaomi Smart Band 8 Pro in the US.

Xiaomi Smart Band 8 music playback screen

(Image credit: Future)

Step counting is accurate, and heart rate data was consistent while awake and asleep. While some have reported inaccuracies with VO2 data, mine synced up with the Apple Watch Ultra nicely. 

My favorite thing, though, is the GNSS support for GPS. It’s only a single-frequency connection, so it may struggle in big cities or when surrounded by large buildings, but it works really nicely for a casual run. If you’re a hardcore runner you’ll likely want something with more accuracy or a stronger connection, but then again, if you’re a hardcore runner you probably already own a much more expensive running watch.

When it comes to sleep tracking, things are mainly centered around the stages of sleep you’ll get. That’s fine at a basic level, but outside of that, you’re not going to get as much information as you’d perhaps get with a more fully-featured smartwatch such as the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6, or a sleep tracker like the Oura Ring Generation 3.

Battery life is great, though, with Xiaomi suggesting you can hit 14 days on a single charge. That is, admittedly, with some functionality toned down (like always-on display and some health notifications), but it’s still impressive in a device at this price point.

Without those concessions, you can still reasonably expect around four-and-a-half days, which is still pretty great – and can easily go past five with light use, a.k.a. fewer workouts.

  • Performance score: 4/5

Xiaomi Smart Band 8 Pro: Features

  • iOS and Android compatible 
  • Don’t expect a lot of analysis on companion app

Xiaomi Smart Band 8 companion app devices page

(Image credit: Future)

I’ll be honest, I feel like the Xiaomi Mi Fitness app and I got off on the wrong foot. Pairing the device with my iPhone was pretty painful; it wouldn’t scan the QR code on the screen, so I had to add it manually via the Bluetooth settings, then that didn’t work on two separate attempts, and then just as I prepared to give up, it sprung to life.

Not a great first impression, sure, and to add to that many of the basic functions of the Xiaomi Smart Band 8 Pro were switched off – including things like sleep tracking.

Xiaomi Smart Band 8 companion app sleep settings

(Image credit: Future)

Once I switched those on, though, everything was pretty smooth. The Health tab is essentially a dashboard with all of your data for calories, steps, and exercise, as well as sleep and heart rate data, while the Workout tab actually incorporates Apple Maps so you can feasibly use it without needing to switch to Strava to log your routes. 

Xiaomi Smart Band 8 companion app running map

(Image credit: Future)

There’s also a nice marketplace of watch faces you can download with ease and set on your device.

Xiaomi Smart Band 8 companion app band displays

(Image credit: Future)

In fact, the only thing missing is anything close to a deeper analysis of the data collected, which you may expect would be missing at this price. 

Xiaomi Smart Band 8 companion app vitality score settings

(Image credit: Future)

The closest thing is the Vitality Score, which is a little like Fitbit’s Daily Readiness Score. This takes into account the activity you’ve done in the last seven days and calculates a score for how ready you are for exercise. It’s a nice idea, but as far as I can tell it’s not pulling extra data like sleep history. 

  • Features score: 4/5

Xiaomi Smart Band 8 Pro: Scorecard

Xiaomi Smart Band 8 Pro: Should I buy?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Also consider

Honor Band 7 review: Budget-friendly fitness tracker with great features
5:20 pm | April 3, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Fitness Trackers Gadgets Health & Fitness | Tags: | Comments: Off

Honor Band 7: One minute review

If you're after a budget-friendly fitness tracker then look no further than the Honor Band 7. It's remarkably similar to the Huawei Band 8 and the Xiaomi Smart Band 7 and, with similar prices, it's difficult to set them apart.

The Honor Band 7 boasts an incredible 1.47-inch AMOLED display which is lovely to look at and engage with. Color graphics are displayed with clarity and brightness, even when outside in the bright sun. The display itself is large enough to present enough health and fitness data so you can avoid needing to launch the app too often.

Tracking data seems pretty reliable across the board, although if you want the most accurate results then you'll need to invest in one of the more expensive trackers that you can find in our best fitness trackers guide. If you'd just like to keep track of steps, heart rate and Sp02 levels, then the Honor Band 7 has everything you need.

I knew there wasn't going to be the luxury of onboard GPS, but I was disappointed to find that tethered GPS could only be activated from a connected phone rather than from the tracker itself. This unnecessary additional step proved to be rather annoying especially when I wanted to just get up and go without getting my phone out of my bag or pocket. 

Despite this, I actually really enjoyed using the tracker. It was a pleasure to interact with and I'm not sure you'll find anything better for the price.

Honor Band 7: Price and availability

Honor Band 7

(Image credit: Future)
  • $59.99 US
  • £49.99 UK
  • Around AU$96.50 

The Honor Band 7 is available for $59.99 in the US and £49.99 in the UK, which equates to around AU$96.50 in Australia. This is priced very similarly to other budget fitness trackers, such as the Huawei Band 8 and the Xiaomi Smart Band 8 Pro.

The only customization in terms of colorways on offer is the color of the bands, with the three options being: Meteorite Black, Pink, and Emerald Green. Make sure you choose wisely, because the band is not removable.

For the price, you'll get a large AMOLED screen, 96 workout modes, and 14 days of battery life. 

  • Value score: 4.5 / 5

Honor Band 7: Design

Honor Band 7

(Image credit: Future)
  • 1.47-inch AMOLED screen
  • Thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) not metal
  • Three band colours

The design of the Honor Band 7 is almost identical to that of the Band 6. Considering Honor is releasing a new version every two years, it's disappointing not to see some level of upgrade in the size and design of the screen.

The standout feature of the Band 7 is its 1.47-inch AMOLED screen. It's big, bright, and beautifully responsive. The fact that the screen is full-color rather than mono means all the extra details and interface graphics Honor has taken the time to include really pop. I had no issues with fingerprint marks, and the interface transitions were smooth and reliable.

The tracker itself is made of thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) with a spray coating applied to make it look metallic. Despite it looking great, there's no getting away from the fact that it is still of plastic construction, especially when you touch it or get up close to it. 

The band comes in three different colors including Meteorite Black, Pink, and Emerald Green. The version I was testing is the pink one, although it's more of a rose gold color in reality. The silicone band is unfortunately non-removable, which is admittedly common for budget fitness trackers like this. It's usually used as a feature to set more premium alternatives apart, although some cheaper trackers like Fitbit Inspire 3 can also detach from their bands.

At 29 grams, it is double the weight of the Huawei Band 8, but it is still comfy and light to wear. I had it on all day and all night for a couple of weeks and had no problems whatsoever with it feeling uncomfortable.

The software interface is where the tracker excels. The graphics are beautifully designed, with just the right amount of data included on each screen. The homescreen can be customized using a range of watch faces, with each one displaying different stats.

The design ethos is replicated in the Honor app, which enables users to see a significant extra level of detail and reports on heart rate, oxygen levels, and activities tracked.

  • Design Score: 4/5

Honor Band 7: Features

  • Detailed heart rate and step count info
  • Optical heart rate and SpO2 sensor
  • GPS tethered from phone only

One of the most used features of any fitness tracker is the step count. The Band 7 tracks these while displaying the results in a graphic that shows how much progress has been made. The number of steps is tracked with accuracy and presented alongside the number of exercise minutes and active calories burned. Considering most users only want tracked steps as a guide, the accuracy level is more than sufficient.

The optical sensor tracks both heart rate and Sp02 levels. These are available on most fitness trackers, and, even though the results were far from inaccurate on the Band 7, you'll definitely find more reliable results on more expensive trackers such as the Garmin Vívoactive 5.

The stress tracking feature is calculated using heart rate variability collected during manually-activated stress tests, while automatic sleep tracking also uses heart health data to collect information. 

Aside from health tracking, the Honor Band 7 can also record data when exercising. By picking from a range of different workout modes, including running, cycling, and rowing, users are presented with a set of analytics, including the time, heart rate, and steps. 

GPS tracking can be activated by tethering it to your smart phone. My biggest issue with this fitness tracker is that this GPS functionality can't be activated from the tracker, even if it is close to the connected phone. Workouts that require GPS tracking must be launched from a phone instead. This is an annoying and unnecessary step that makes the process of launching workouts more involved than it needs to be. Nevertheless, a good chunk of features for a band at this price. 

  • Features score: 4/5

Honor Band 7: Performance

Honor Band 7

(Image credit: Future)
  • Quick and responsive
  • Generally accurate tracking data 
  • 14 days of battery life, 10-12 days for heavy usage

The 180mAh battery on the Honor Band 7 is really good, and I was surprised given how much the device costs. The advertised length of battery life is 14 days, an amount of time that very much matched my experience, especially during weeks in which I wasn't doing much exercise.

As soon as I started using it for my daily commute alongside other exercise activities, I found the battery draining more quickly. No surprises there. Even though Honor promises 10 days for heavy usage, I actually found it to be nearer to 12. It's always nice when the reality is better than expected.

Charging a watch like this every couple of weeks is no trouble at all, especially considering it takes less than an hour to go from empty to full charge. You'll want to keep it within the magic 20-80% to maximize the life of the battery but that's easily done by keeping an eye on the battery life through the watch interface.

When it comes to metrics, I ran stress tests at different times of the day and during different events in my everyday life. I generally found the Band 7 would report my stress levels as normal even at times when I felt noticeably stressed and could tell that my heart rate was raised. I certainly didn't feel like I could trust it.

Automatic sleep tracking provides data that is broken down into sleep stages and the duration of each stage. It's almost impossible to verify the reliability of this data, and fitness trackers are not renowned for being the most reliable anyway. That being said, during my testing period, I was up numerous times during the night and I did find that the tracker was able to identify every one of them.

The tracker itself has a waterproof rating of 5ATM, which means the Honor Band 7 is theoretically able to withstand pressures up to 50m depth, an industry standard among smart wearables these days. I never made it this deep, but had absolutely no problems wearing it in the shower or submerging it in water.

  • Performance score: 4/5

Honor Band 7: Scorecard

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Also consider

How I tested the Honor Band 7

I wore the Honor Band 7 non-stop for two weeks and thoroughly enjoyed doing so. During this time, I used every single feature and carried out a range of different exercise workouts, including running, swimming, and cycling. Throughout all of this I kept track of my heart rate, my stress levels, and my oxygen levels, amongst other similar health measureables.

I used the app to control the device as well as run a number of more advanced tests that were not possible with the watch on its own. 

First reviewed: April 2024

Cozy Earth Silk Pillow review
3:00 pm |

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

Cozy Earth Silk Pillow: two-minute review

I’m always on the hunt for the next great pillow. I’ve tested dozens of high-end bed pillows, and several were very good. However, the Cozy Earth Silk Pillow may be the very best pillow that I’ve ever tested (it’s definitely in my top five). I love thick, plush pillows, and this one falls in that category. However, it’s the reason why this pillow is so thick and plush that impresses me: it’s made of mulberry silk.

Now, silk in general, is a soft and luxurious material. But mulberry silk takes this experience to another level. I’ve tested mulberry silk pillowcases and head scarves that reduce hair frizzing and dryness. I also have mulberry silk pajamas that are also luxurious and tend to wrinkle less. And my mulberry silk sleep eye mask is smooth and cooling.

But how would a pillow with silk filling perform? Marvelously. The 100% mulberry silk filling is both strong enough to be durable, and soft enough to feel like I’m at a 5-star hotel. And the bamboo cover is also smooth and soft to the touch. While the pillow is soft, it also provides enough support that I avoid waking up with aches and pain. It works well for back and side sleepers, but may not be ideal for stomach sleepers. 

A pair of Cozy Earth Silk Pillows on a bed

(Image credit: Future)

I tested a pair of the Cozy Earth Silk Pillows for over two weeks to see how they compare to the rest of the best pillows on the market. And if you really want to elevate your sleep comfort to another level, check out our guide to this year's best mattresses for all budgets.

Cozy Earth Silk Pillow review: price & value for money

  • Luxury pillow with a premium price
  • 100-night trial period, 10-year warranty
  • Currently 20% off

At $299 (currently on sale for $239.20) in the standard size, the Cozy Earth Silk Pillow is absolutely a premium pillow – and it’s at the top of that category as well.  However, this long-strand mulberry silk pillow is like the crème de la crème of pillows. I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re on a budget, but if you’re prepared to splurge, it’s definitely worth considering.

The king size pillow is regularly $349 (currently on sale for $279.20). Cozy Earth also makes a Bamboo Down Alternative Pillow for $115, and a Bamboo Down Alternative Body Pillow for $195.  

Another one of the best pillows I’ve ever tested is the Purple Harmony Pillow, which combines a honeycomb-patterned GelFlex grid over a latex core. It’s a super-squishy pillow that moves when I do, and has temperature-regulating features. The pillow comes in a low, medium, and tall pillow height, making it ideal for any type of sleeper. The pillow, which should only be spot-cleaned, is $199.

If you prefer a down pillow, the Casper Down Pillow has a multi-chamber design. The outer pillow consists of ethically-sourced 80% white duck down, and a 20% feather outer chamber. The inner pillow consists of 60% white duck down and 40% feather inner chambers. This provides an ultra-soft experience, similar to sleeping on a cloud, but also thick enough to be supportive. The pillow is cool to the touch, machine washable, and regularly priced at $139.

Cozy Earth provides free shipping for thes pillow. There’s also a 100-night trial, and a 10-year warranty. In comparison, Purple Harmony provides a 100-night trial period and a 1-year warranty, and Casper provides a 30-day trial period and a 1-year warranty.

Cozy Earth Silk Pillow review: design and materials

  • 100% mulberry silk fill
  • Bounces back but needs to be fluffed
  • Breathable bamboo viscose shell

The Cozy Earth Silk Pillow is filled with 100% mulberry silk that’s made exclusively for the company. It provides a supremely comfortable feel that’s soft as a cloud, but also thick enough to be supportive. The long strand mulberry silk is actually softer than other types of silk, and this is what creates such a luxurious feel.

Some pillows start off feeling soft, but then they start clumping – meaning there are soft spots in places, and also spots where the filling is now missing. However the filling in the Cozy Earth pillow never clumps. In fact, Cozy Earth guarantees this won't happen.

A Cozy Earth Silk Pillow opened to show the filling

(Image credit: Future)

I have a set of standard size pillows, but they're also available in king size. The cover is made of 100% premium viscose from bamboo, which is designed to stay cool.

The pair of Cozy Earth Pillows arrived safely in a cardboard box. Inside, each pillow was in a stylish fabric bag with zipper closure, along with vegan leather handles and trim. I’d give the company full marks for presentation. Upon unzipping each bag, the pillows were encased in plastic as a sanitary measure. Since the pillows were not compressed, they didn’t have to expand, and I was not subjected to any off-gassing.

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Cozy Earth Silk Pillows in their shipping box

(Image credit: Future)
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Cozy Earth Silk Pillows in their carry bags

(Image credit: Future)

Cozy Earth Silk Pillow review: care and allergies

On its website, Cozy Earth recommends spot cleaning or dry cleaning the silk pillows. However, according to the tag attached to the silk pillow, it can be machine washed in cold water using normal detergent. However, no fabric softener or bleach should be used. Also, the pillows should not be put in a spin cycle. They can be machine dried on normal, or hung to dry.

The website also recommends using a protective pillowcase – in fact, a pillowcase is required to validate the manufacturer’s extended warranty. Cozy Earth also states that if you’re using a pillowcase and washing that pillowcase on a regular basis, then regular or excessive washing of the pillow is unnecessary.

A pair of Cozy Earth Silk Pillows on a bed

(Image credit: Future)

Cozy Earth also recommends fluffing the pillow on a regular basis to maintain the loft and shape. In addition, it can be aired in the sunlight occasionally to keep it fresh. The pillow is OEKO-TEX certified, which means that it’s free from harmful chemicals. 

Cozy Earth Silk Pillow review: comfort & support

  • Plush yet supportive
  • Best for side or back sleepers
  • Refluffing is recommended

For over two weeks, I slept on a pair of Cozy Earth Silk Pillows to see how comfortable and supportive they were. The pillows provided an extremely comfortable experience, while also being supportive.

The pillows had a cloud-like softness, and were light and fluffy. They’re stuffed with 100% mulberry silk, which has a luxurious feel. The light and airy pillows were also able to cradle my head and neck in cocoon-like comfort. However, they bounced back when my head moved to another position. 

A pair of Cozy Earth Silk Pillows on a bed

(Image credit: Future)

Since the pillows have a mid to high-loft, they were the perfect height for me. I’m a combination sleeper, and this height works well for side and back sleepers. However, for sleeping on your stomach, the pillows may serve to be too high. Granted, not all side, back, and stomach sleepers are alike, so keep that in mind.

Cozy Earth recommends fluffing the pillows on a regular basis. In lieu of doing this, I just tossed them in the dryer for a few minutes.

Cozy Earth Silk Pillow review: temperature regulation

Mulberry silk is designed to resist mildew and eliminate moisture better than cotton, and I found that the Cozy Earth Silk Pillows kept me warm at night while sleeping. In addition, the cover is made from a 100% premium viscose from bamboo fabric, which is also designed to provide a smooth and cool sensation.

Even underneath winter bedding, the pillows seemed to regulate my body temperature, so I never woke up hot.  I tested the pillows during the fall/winter season, in Birmingham, AL, which tends to have mild winters.

A hand pressed down on a Cozy Earth Silk Pillow

(Image credit: Future)

Cozy Earth Silk Pillow review: specs

Should you buy the Cozy Earth Silk Pillow?

Buy it if...

  You’re looking for a luxury pillow: This 100% mulberry silk pillow isn’t cheap. It’s a top-of-the-line pillow that’s designed to provide the ultimate in luxury. Sleeping on the pillow feels like your head and neck are cocooned in comfort, but it’s also supportive enough to avoid any aches and pains.

 You don’t like down or down alternative: Down pillows can poke you and may cause your allergies to flare up. On the other hand, down alternative pillows may not provide the same level of comfort. The Cozy Earth Silk Pillow is an alternative to both.

  You want a breathable pillow: The fill and the cover combine to provide a pillow that doesn’t trap heat. It regulates your body’s temperature to keep you cool while you sleep.

Don’t buy it if...

You’re a stomach sleeper: The pillow is a better choice for side and back sleepers. If you tend to sleep on your stomach, you may find the loft too high to keep your head and spine aligned while you sleep. As a result, you may wake up with aches and pains. 

You like to adjust the fill: While the cover does unzip, technically, the pillow isn’t designed to add or remove fill. Doing so may render your pillow useless, and also void your warranty.

You like to wash your pillows and covers: Cozy Earth recommends spot cleaning or dry cleaning your pillow. If you’re the type who likes to wash pillows on a regular basis, again, you may end up voiding your warranty. And even if you do wash it, the company warns against using the spin cycle, so it will take forever for the pillow to dry.

How I tested the Cozy Earth Silk Pillow

I slept on a pair of Cozy Earth Silk Pillows for over two weeks, testing for performance, comfort, and support. These tests were conducted during the fall/winter season. Since I tend to sleep hot – but I love all of the stylish fall and winter bedding – I slept with the HVAC off to avoid getting overly hot in my mild climate.

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