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Keychron C3 Pro review: punching way above its weight
2:59 am | February 23, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Computing Gadgets Keyboards Peripherals & Accessories | Comments: Off

Keychron C3 Pro: Two-minute review

The Keychron C3 Pro keyboard thrives in a league of its own with a price point that’s below $40 while offering features usually reserved for the heavier hitters with money to spend.

To get a good keyboard for less than $50 usually means sacrificing a lot to give the illusion of more premium-priced products. When it comes to performance, the most obvious cut-back in the design are the key switches, lack of programmable keys and the like. Regardless of how one uses the C3 Pro, the mechanical keyboard is backed by a sophisticated gasket mount design and sound-absorbing foam that keeps keystrokes relatively quiet. 

Having a black and red design aesthetic, the ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) chassis feels durable. Adding comfortability are three adjustable typing angles and curved keycaps. If there’s anything exactly wrong with the C3 Pro’s design its the location of the USB-C port that sits near the back-panel center.

The awkward placement can be a nuisance but it also allows better cable management as there are both vertical and horizontal nooks. This can be a problem for those who want to travel with the keyboard, but the average desktop user won’t think much about it after installation. 

The Keychron C3 Pro on a purple deskmat

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

The C3 Pro is a mechanical switch keyboard with a 1000Hz polling rate and ARM architecture with 256KB flash storage. With N-Key Rollover into the mix, you have an incredibly solid gaming keyboard that goes a bit beyond casual usage.

Serious gamers who need quick keys or maybe more pronounced media keys may find trouble with the C3 Pro, but considering its price, anyone with those complaints should probably spend the extra money on the best mechanical keyboard they can afford and save themselves the trouble.

For most users though, it won’t matter if you use this keyboard for gaming or general tasks, the keystrokes will always feel good. They are tactile and springy enough for quick multiplayer rounds of Call of Duty or writing editorials through Google Docs.

The C3 Pro’s versatility is also one of its biggest assets, featuring the ability to switch between Windows and macOS keysets. All users have to do is hold the function key and tap the CAPS Lock.

Add QMK/VIA software support and there’s some crafty customization that can take place when using the C3 Pro. The open-source nature even contributes to some intricate backlight effects due to the per-key lighting that only comes in red. Interestingly enough, there are over 14 types of red back lights to choose from though many may have an issue with the singular color type. 

Overall though, the Keychron C3 Pro is a masterpiece of customization, performance, and price, and is absolutely one of the best keyboard offerings we've seen so far this year, and it will be hard to beat.

The Keychron C3 Pro on a purple deskmat

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

Keychron C3 Pro: Price & Availability

Priced at just $36.99 in the US, the Keychron C3 Pro is currently available in the US and the UK through both Keychron’s website and Amazon. Australian residents are out of luck, however. At least for now.

Considering the budget nature of the C3 Pro, it stands tall against various rivals in both gaming and creative sectors. When it comes to rivals within its price point, the Logitech G213 Prodigy and Roccat Pyro RGB lean more into gaming. The Logitech G213 Prodigy provides more gaming specific features, tenkey number pad, and dedicated media keys in exchange for Mech Dome switches at the same price.

Meanwhile, the Roccat Pyro RGB has mechanical switches alongside dedicated media keys but is a bit more expensive at around $80. Considering those are more serious gaming keyboards, they lack the versatility provided by the C3 Pro. For someone looking for a keyboard on a budget, this is definitely something to consider.

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The Keychron C3 Pro on a purple deskmat

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)
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The Keychron C3 Pro on a purple deskmat

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)
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The Keychron C3 Pro on a purple deskmat

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

Keychron C3 Pro: Design

As mentioned above, the Keychron C3 Pro’s black and red design adds a bit of flair to the ABS chassis. Despite the plastic material, it successfully rides the fine line between being lightweight but flimsy and sturdy but heavy, giving it the right amount of strength without adding too much weight.

This means that the C3 Pro can also survive a rough time in a backpack alongside some reasonable drops to the floor. Part of that may come from the internal keyboard plate material being made out of steel. The backlight design comes in over a dozen modes that affect the keys alongside light bars that run along the side. And while the all-red LED looks fine and also helps save on cost instead of per-key RGB lighting, some other solid color options would have been nice.

To make sure that users are on the correct operating system layout, there’s a small LED light that sits next to the CAPS Lock notification, which is a nice touch. The C3 Pro is also made to be configured with different keycaps so you can personalize its look somewhat. By itself, the key placement is laid out well enough while allowing users to easily switch between layouts for Windows and macOS. Considering there aren’t any additional media buttons or anything, the function button works well with the function keys. 

Comfort really takes centerstage in this the design, starting with three separate typing angles, and the key quality if outstanding, making it great to type on. If anything, the biggest design issue I have is the location of the USB-C port on the back panel near the center. The trade-off is that there is both a horizontal and vertical nook for better cable management, but it can still be a pain sometimes. 

The Keychron C3 Pro on a purple deskmat

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

Keychron C3 Pro: Performance

The Keychron C3 Pro was billed as a keyboard that’s ideal for “gaming and work.” When it comes to casual gaming experiences, it does more than a good job. Having a 1000Hz polling rate and N-Key Rollover makes the experience of playing fast paced shooters like Doom Eternal, El Paso, Elsewhere and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III a blast.

Keystrokes were springy, tactile, and responsive, and the additional foam padding underneath the switches also ensures that this keyboard won’t disturb anyone in the office with a whole lot of clickity clack.

As mentioned previously, switching between Windows and macOS is as easy as hitting the function button neat the CAPS Lock, and when using a Macbook, users can easily set spaces, change brightness, and more. In an interesting touch, there’s an AI assistant button for Apple users who need Siri to make an appearance. 

Users looking to customize their button layout can use either QMK or VIA for support as the keyboard also has a 256KB flash storage. Serious gamers who want more dedicated macro buttons in addition to other functions are going to have to pay a bit more or leave the mechanical switches aside for something less. 

Though less complex shooters like the ones mentioned above will work more than fine with the C3 Pro, gamers into macro-heavy games like League of Legends and high-level Fortnite play might want to look elsewhere. Again, within the bounds of its $36.99 price point, the C3 Pro can hang in there with rivals double its price even if some features are missing.

Should You Buy the Keychron C3 Pro?

Buy the Keychron C3 Pro if...

You want a cheap yet quality keyboard
At $36.99, there isn’t a better budget mechanical keyboard for gamers who have to get general task work done as well. 

You are ambidextrous for Windows and macOS
Users who love both Windows and macOS are going to appreciate the C3 Pro a lot.

Don't buy it if...

You need a more gamer-centered keyboard
Serious gamers or individuals with e-sports aspirations may want to spend the money for something that offers a bit more in terms of feature set.

You want a colorway and backlight that’s more than red
While the black and red colorway looks great, it would be nice to have other color options available.

Keychron C3 Pro: Also consider

If my Keychron C3 Pro review has you looking for other options, here are two more keyboards to consider...

How I tested the Keychron C3 Pro

I tested the Keychron C3 Pro over a week’s time. When using Windows, some of the games played included Palworld, Alan Wake 2, Robocop Rouge City, El Paso, Elsewhere and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III. When not working, Google office suite and Adobe Photoshop were used as well. For macOS, Google Office suite and Adobe Photoshop were used as well. 

Since 2020, I’ve been covering various gaming laptops, monitors, keyboards and more for TechRadar. As a PC Gaming enthusiast, I can definitely help anyone who is looking for a quality keyboard for various price tiers. 

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

Read more about how we test

First reviewed February 2024

Alienware Pro Wireless Keyboard and Mouse: a near-complete overhaul for the better
2:01 pm | January 9, 2024

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

Alienware hasn't just been working hard on its monitor and computer lines; it's also been busy revitalizing its gaming keyboard and mouse offerings to better suit competitive players. In fact, the manufacturer worked with 100 professional gamers, including the competitive gaming team Team Liquid, to refine the build and performance of both the Alienware Pro Wireless Keyboard and Pro Wireless Mouse to make them among the best gaming mice and best gaming keyboards around.

My brief hands-on time with both showed me how much more advanced these peripherals are compared to last year's offerings. It's impressive that Dell has gone the distance in improving these designs, rather than simply resting on its laurels and turning out a perfunctory refresh.

Alienware Pro Wireless mouse and keyboard: Price and availability

While there's no official pricing for the Alienware Pro Wireless Keyboard or Pro Wireless Mouse as yet, we know that their release date will be January 11 2024 for the US and UK, with other countries and regions seeing a later release, although it's not clear right now if these peripherals will be released in Australia.

Going by the price of last year's models, the list price for the keyboard will most likely be around, or possibly a bit higher than, $150 / £145 / AU$240, while we'd expect the mouse to come in at around $130 / £125 / AU$150.

Alienware Pro Wireless Keyboard and Mouse: Design

The new Alienware Pro Wireless Keyboard is a tenkyless marvel. It features two silicone sound-dampening layers, which makes for a richer and higher-quality typing experience. Compared to last year's model, which I also briefly tested out, and the Alienware AW420K, which I reviewed in full, the difference is noticeable.

It also looks beautiful, especially with the RGB lighting illuminating it. Alienware has a way of making an otherwise boring black finish look stunning and sleek, with this keyboard being no exception, and you can choose between that color – Dark Side of the Moon – or the white Lunar Light. It's well-built yet lightweight at under two pounds, and feels able to withstand a drop while still being easily portable.

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black RGB lit keyboard

(Image credit: Future)
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black RGB lit keyboard

(Image credit: Future)
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black RGB lit keyboard

(Image credit: Future)
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black gaming mouse

(Image credit: Future)
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black gaming mouse

(Image credit: Future)
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black gaming mouse

(Image credit: Future)

The Alienware Pro Wireless Mouse has also been improved in most ways spec-wise, though its outward appearance is mainly the same design as the 2023 Alienware AW720M. While the latter weighed 3oz / 86g, the new model is remarkably light at under 2.12oz / 60g. As I was told by Team Liquid, thanks to the lost weight movement speed and response time were incredibly fast, helping to improve gaming performance.

There is one caveat, however. In 2023 I praised the Alienware AW720M for being one of the few truly ambidextrous gaming mice; but here, the new design and reduced weight have come at the cost of the two buttons on the right side, making this a right-handed mouse only. It's disappointing that left-handed players are left behind again for the sake of a few grams.

As with the keyboard you can choose between the Dark Side of the Moon and Lunar Light colors.

Alienware Pro Wireless Keyboard and Mouse: Performance

The Alienware Pro Wireless Keyboard's linear mechanical switches have an actuation force of 40g, and I could feel how much lighter it was to use than either of the two aforementioned Alienware keyboards, with its sound quality being much softer. A member of Team Liquid remarked to me that the keyboard felt easier and more responsive to use.

It's not just the actuation force that's been completely overhauled. Unlike the 2023 model, this keyboard is using Alienware Linear Mechanical switches instead of the Cherry MX switches. This means that Dell has been able to better customize them to suit the more esports-minded goals of this year's release.

The switches are also hot-swappable, and compatible with pretty much any 3-pin and 5-pin switches, including the Cherry MX ones.

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switches

(Image credit: Future)
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switches

(Image credit: Future)
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switches

(Image credit: Future)
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black RGB lit keyboard

(Image credit: Future)
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black keyboard

(Image credit: Future)
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black gaming mouse

(Image credit: Future)
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black gaming mouse

(Image credit: Future)

While I had limited time using the Alienware Pro Wireless Mouse, it does feel very noticeably lighter that its predecessor, which will make gaming with it that much more responsive – and when it comes to competitive gaming, every moment saved can mean the difference between victory and defeat.

It seems that the mouse has lost its Bluetooth connectivity in the overhaul process, which makes sense since it's easily the slowest type of connectivity, and this mouse is built specifically for esports. However, this means there's one less option for non-competitive gamers and general users.

Alienware Pro Wireless Keyboard and Mouse: Early verdict

black gaming mouse

(Image credit: Future)

Both the Alienware Pro Wireless Mouse and Keyboard have been nearly completely overhauled for these new releases, and I applaud Dell for putting in significant effort in terms of research and development – it pays off in spades for both peripherals.

Both the keyboard and mouse benefit from increased response times due to lighter and more efficient builds. The keyboard switches' decreased actuation force is impressive, as is how much lighter the mouse is to move, even if that came at the cost of ambidextrous functionality.

Despite that one misstep, it's still impressive to see how much progress Dell has made in improving both of these accessories. I'm looking forward to fully testing how well they perform – and to what improvements Dell brings to future models.

Yunzii AL71 keyboard review: bringing the fun back to customizable mechanical keyboards
3:52 am | November 10, 2023

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

Yunzii AL71: Two-minute review

There's no sense beating around the bush; the Yunzii AL71 is exceptional. Whether you’re looking for something to add to your mech keeb collection or just a reliable keyboard, this might be the best mechanical keyboard and the best wireless keyboard available.

That’s saying a lot, considering the sheer number of great mechanical keyboards currently on offer, but the Yunzii AL71 delivers in every way that counts. It’s incredibly robust, delivers a fantastic performance and typing experience, and comes with a slew of features, some of which you’d be hard-pressed to find in other similarly priced models. 

In other words, it’s the complete package. No, scratch that, it’s more than the complete package, with Yunzii throwing in thrills like RGB lighting that syncs up to the audio your PC is playing and seven different colorways. So, not only is it incredibly reliable for both typing and gaming, but it’s also loads of fun. It's one of the best keyboards I've ever tested.

Yunzii AL71 software screenshots

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

The fun starts in the design, of course. While you can get the Yunzii AL71 barebones to mod it the way you want, it also comes in silver, black, red, pink, purple, green, and blue colorways. My purple unit came with a set of purple, lavender, and green keycaps because, honestly, a single-color keycap set is kinda boring these days. You even get an extra set of keycaps beyond the 71 that the keyboard requires so you can mix and match when you feel like it.

That’s right, this keyboard is a compact one. Not so compact that you’re missing out on dedicated arrow keys, but the 68% form factor is compact enough to save considerable space. Unfortunately, due to its full aluminum case, it’s on the heavy side – too heavy to just toss in your backpack and take with you during commutes or when traveling.

Yunzii AL71 software screenshots

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

The upside to that though is that it is incredibly robust. The CNC aluminum case means it's also corrosion- and oxidation-resistant, so it’ll last you for years to come. And as an added bonus, it will weigh it down and keep it steady on your desk. You don’t have to worry about this keyboard moving around as you’re button-mashing or typing up long documents. I even tried lightly pushing it around and it would not budge.

It also has a garage for the USB dongle so you don't have to worry about losing it. Next to the garage are two switches, one for changing connections and another for switching between Mac and PC, and the USB-C port.

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Yunzii AL71 software screenshots

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)
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Yunzii AL71 software screenshots

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Adding to its fun element is its RGB lighting, which has several aspects to it. It illuminates through the two windows on either side of the case for some ambient lighting. And while the accompanying keycaps have printed legends and aren’t transparent, Yunzii designed the keyboard so the RGB lighting illuminates between the keycaps, creating a vibrant glowy effect. The result, I think, is a stunner.

There are, of course, multiple – 14 to be exact – RGB lighting effects that you can cycle through on the fly using the pre-set keyboard shortcuts. If you download the Yunzii app from the Yunzii website, you can further customize them, effectively creating your own RGB lighting design. 

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Yunzii AL71 software screenshots

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)
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Yunzii AL71 software screenshots

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)
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Yunzii AL71 software screenshots

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)
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Yunzii AL71 software screenshots

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Something fun that many keyboards don't have, though, is the ability to synchronize the RGB lighting to your audio. It’s a nice little surprise that lets you set your RGB lighting to one of 10 available light patterns that move based on the audio that’s playing on your computer. I prefer going with one of the regular lighting effects, but this is still a nifty feature, and I found it works pretty well. Each pattern is customizable as well. 

You will, however, need to install the app to access this, as well as the ability to program macros.

Even without the app, you’re getting a feature-rich keyboard. It comes with three types of connection: 2.4GHz wireless, Bluetooth, and wired. The cable-free connections are very reliable – impressively fast with no noticeable lags, even when the keyboard is waking. The keyboard also lets you quickly switch between connections on the fly, thanks to its FN shortcuts. And when it’s run out of juice, the convenience of being able to use it while it’s charging is a much-appreciated treat.

What’s more, the AL71 has multi-platform compatibility. You can now only use it with MacOS and Windows devices, but iOS, iPad OS, and Android ones too. So, if you’ve got a multi-device setup, this one’s a no-brainer.

Yunzii AL71 software screenshots

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

The feature set and design already make it well worth your money, but Yunzii doesn’t stop there. The true test of a mechanical keyboard’s worthiness is in its performance, and I’m happy to say that the Yunzii AL71 passes with flying colors.

In fact, it only really took a day for this keyboard to impress me. Available in Crystal White and Peach V2 switches, both of which are linear and quiet, typing on it is an absolute joy. I got the Crystal White Switch, which isn’t as quiet as the Peach V2, but I do like a little bit of a satisfying clack – one that’s not so loud that it’s distracting everyone else in the room with me. To be very honest, I prefer a thocky keyboard, but a clacky one, which this keyboard is, comes in a close second. 

Luckily, this one comes with pre-lubed stabilizers, which help reduce noise as well as enhance the typing feel. That’s made better by the gasket mount inside, which gives it a slightly more cushioned feel. That helps with reducing finger fatigue, especially for someone like me who spends most of her workday tapping away at the keys. There’s a fine line there, I think. I absolutely hate keyboards that have too much cushion, but this one gets it just right.

Due to its fast wireless performance, I have no problem gaming on this keyboard. Testing it with my current favorites, Kena: Bridge of Spirits and Hogwarts Legacy, I found it to be on par with some of the gaming keyboards I’ve tested from top brands. And while Yunzii hasn’t specified some of the important specs for gaming, it does come with N-key rollover, which helps when you have to press several keys almost all at once. 

Yunzii AL71: Price & availability

  • How much does it cost?  $159.99 / £129.30 / AU$245.64 
  • When is it available? Available now
  • Where can you get it? Available in the US, UK, and Australia

The Yunzii AL71 bears the price tag you’d expect for a great-quality keyboard. However, at $159.99 / £129.30 / AU$245.64, I would argue that it's actually more affordable than other keyboards in its class. Or at least, it offers much better value considering the robust feature set on top of its excellent performance and solid design.

To put that into better perspective, both the Lofree 1% Transparent and the Drop + The Lord of the Rings Elvish cost a bit more than the Yunzii AL71, and they have less robust feature sets. 

  • Value: 5 / 5

Yunzii AL71: Specs

Yunzii AL71 software screenshots

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Should you buy the Yunzii AL71?

Buy it if...

You want a top-quality mechanical keyboard

The Yunzii AL71 is a fantastic keyboard that delivers on performance, design, and features.

You want the best value for your money

Compared to other keyboards in its class, it's packed with features you won’t find in pricier keyboards.

Don't buy it if...

You are on a tight budget

If your budget is under $100/£100, this might be a little too much for your wallet.

You prefer a clicky keyboard

This is a clacky keyboard so if you personally prefer the clicky sound, you might not like it.

Yunzii AL71: Also consider

How I tested the Yunzii AL71

  • I tested the Yunzii AL71 for two weeks
  • I used it for work and gaming
  • I put its features through their paces

Making the Yunzii AL71 my main keyboard for two weeks, I used it every day for work, writing articles, emails, and more with it. At night, I used it as my gaming keyboard to play Kena: Bridge of Spirits and Hogwarts Legacy. On top of testing its performance, typing feel, and wireless connectivity, I also put its specific features to the test to make sure that they work as expected.

I've been testing gaming keyboards and other PC gaming peripherals for about 10 years. As a keyboard enthusiast, I also have a collection of mechanical keyboards that I've amassed over the years.

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

Read more about how we test

First reviewed November 2023

Obsbot Tiny 2 review: great features come at great cost
4:00 pm | November 1, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Computing Gadgets Peripherals & Accessories Webcams | Comments: Off

Obsbot Tiny 2: Two-minute review

If you want to see what a webcam of the future looks like, take a peek at the Obsbot Tiny 2. This webcam packs a serious punch, not just in performance but also – or more accurately, especially – in advanced features you won’t see elsewhere, making it the best webcam to buy right now.

If you have the money for it, that is.

But that’s how it's always worked, right? With great features comes an even greater price tag, and in the case of this aptly-named webcam (it really is tiny at just 47 x 44 x 62.02 mm), that means more than $300 / £250, which feels like a punch in the gut if you’re itching to get it. 

At least your wallet can rest in peace knowing it wasn't “unalived” for nothing because you get a whole lotta bang for your buck here.

Obsbot Tiny 2 in use in author's home

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Even in its design, you can already tell that this is no ordinary webcam. Touting an elegant, lightweight and pocket-friendly design, the Obsbot Tiny 2 looks and feels solidly built and premium. Made of magnesium alloy that feels luxurious to the touch, it’s clear that Obsbot spared no expense in building it. 

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Obsbot Tiny 2 in use in author's home

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)
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Obsbot Tiny 2 in use in author's home

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)
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Obsbot Tiny 2 in use in author's home

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Of course, being a premium piece of kit, you wouldn’t want to just toss this in your pocket or backpack, which is why Obsbot provides a robust case to protect it while you’re gallivanting around Asia or something. And you should protect it. After all, the camera is mounted on a gimbal, and you wouldn’t want anything heavy breaking it off the axis. That would then ruin the purpose of the whole webcam.

Obsbot Tiny 2 in use in author's home

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

While it has a lot of features that most webcams on the market only wish they had, it’s got all the requisite ones too. A small light indicator up front lets you know which mode it’s in or if the gesture controls are working properly. There's a female tripod thread on the underside of the gimbal and a USB-C port for connecting the webcam to your PC or laptop. 

Naturally, it comes with a mount for your monitor. The cool thing about this mount, however, is that it’s magnetic, so the webcam just snaps onto it in a fraction of a second for convenience. If you want a bit more versatility, you can get extra accessories like a tripod, a remote control, and even a mic – for an extra cost, of course.

Obsbot Webcam app

(Image credit: Obsbot )

Where the Obsbot Tiny 2 really shines is in its feature set, a list that is pretty long for a webcam. The coolest of those features is its Dynamic Gesture Control, which has apparently been improved from its previous version. There are three gestures currently available – I’m really hoping Obsbot will add more with the firmware update – which can trigger the camera’s zoom, dynamic zoom, and subject tracking. It’s very responsive and works incredibly well, although you might have to practice a little before you get those gestures down.

Speaking of subject tracking, the AI Tracking with Auto Zoom is also incredibly responsive and works smoothly, thanks in large part to that built-in gimbal.

Tiny 2 also comes with Voice Control, which has nine different commands, letting you do things like wake the webcam, put it to sleep, adjust zoom, turn subject tracking on and off, and switch from one reset position to another. This, too, works beautifully, and you need not raise your voice for the webcam to hear your commands.

These three features can be used without having to download the Obsbot Webcam app, but if you do fancy expanding the webcam’s features, installing the app will let you do exactly that. With it, you can do things like change modes, manually adjust the view, change the field of view, and play with the exposure settings.

Obsbot Webcam app

(Image credit: Obsbot )

Then there’s Beauty Mode, which allows you to apply retouching effects and beauty filters, enabling you to do things like smoothing your skin, brightening your eyes, and even changing your body shape. Now, I don’t advocate for drastically changing one’s appearance on screen and in photos, as that’s one of the reasons we get body image disorders, but, if you need to make some minor adjustments to look your best on camera, go for it. We all use filters; there’s no judgment.

Bear in mind, though, that you have to turn on the Virtual Camera setting in the Obsbot Webcam app and then select the 'virtual camera' option as your webcam in whatever video app you’re using for these beauty effects to reflect in your feed or footage. Plus, the app has to remain open for it to work.

Obsbot Tiny 2 in use in author's home

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Though its sensor and aperture aren’t quite as big as that on the Razer Kiyo Pro Ultra, it does have a slightly bigger sensor than the Elgato Facecam Pro. On paper, that means it should offer a wider dynamic range than the latter as better noise handling. 

Sadly, overblown highlights and dark shadows are not uncommon on the Obsbot Tiny 2 because its dynamic range is not quite as wide. Not that there are considerable details lost, especially if you’re in a well- and evenly-lit room, but it’s still worth mentioning in case you’re planning to set up somewhere with uneven lighting or where it’s really dark. If you want to recover some of the details lost or maybe have a more creative exposure, you can adjust that, plus contrast, saturation, sharpness, hue, and white balance on the app as well – but only to a degree. 

In addition, its autofocus can sometimes be iffy. Most of the time, it’s reliable and responsive, but it has moments of sluggishness.

And since I’m on the subject, something is going on with the mic. During testing, there was no difference in volume, no matter how much I adjusted it. Plus, while I come out sounding audible, my voice does sound a little distorted and harsh. There’s also a lot of sibilance.

That said, there’s a lot to love about its performance. Again, its AI Tracking and Auto Zoom work smoothly and are very responsive. More importantly, the picture quality is fantastic, especially in 4K – it's sharp with fine grain or noise and good contrast. It also comes with what Obsbot calls PixGain HDR, which captures two images in the two native ISOs separately but simultaneously, then combines them to reduce motion blur, resulting in crisper picture quality.

Overall, you’re still getting great footage with this webcam – more than good enough for your business meetings or streaming content. That's especially true with its suite of extra features that help you have more professional-looking videos.

Obsbot Tiny 2: Price & availability

  • How much does it cost? $329 / £269 / AU$519 
  • When is it available? Available now
  • Where can you get it? Available in the US, the UK, and Australia

At $329 / £269 / AU$519, the Obsbot Tiny 2 is expensive. How expensive exactly? It’s more expensive than the Razer Kiyo Pro Ultra, which outside of the Tiny 2 is the best webcam on the market if money is no object. It’s more expensive than the Elgato Facecam Pro, a premium option known for being the world’s first webcam that shoots in 4K at 60fps.

The Tiny 2 is outmatched by these two in dynamic range, autofocus, and, in the case of the Facecam Pro, 4K frame rate. However, it’s superior in terms of smart features. The question is, which aspects of a webcam are more important to you? And, is it worth that sizable hole in your wallet if it’s the latter?

Personally, I would say no, based on my daily webcam usage. But, if I had deeper pockets, I would probably buy it just to get all those wonderful features.

  • Value: 3.5 / 5

Obsbot Tiny 2: Specs

Should you buy the Obsbot Tiny 2?

Obsbot Tiny 2 in use in author's home

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Buy it if...

You have more money than you know what to do with

The Obsbot Tiny 2 is expensive, even for a premium webcam. If you have the money, though, you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck.

You want to look best during business meetings

Want to look your best during client meetings, board presentations, and other business-related video calls? This will make that effortless.

You’re a streamer or a content creator making bank

Streamers and content creators who can make the most of this webcam’s features will get their money’s worth.

Don't buy it if...

You just want a regular webcam for work or personal use

This might be overkill if all you really need is an ordinary webcam so you can show your face and be heard during video meetings at work or calls with loved ones.

You’re kinda, sorta broke

If your budget is under $100 / £100, forget about it.

Obsbot Tiny 2: Also consider

How I tested the Obsbot Tiny 2

  • I spent a couple of weeks testing the Tiny 2
  • I used the webcam for my daily work meetings
  • I tested its general performance as well as its special features

Spending at least two weeks with the Obsbot Tiny 2, I used it as my main webcam for daily work video calls, testing its picture quality and slew of extra features during those calls to see how well they worked. 

Of course, I also spent some time experimenting with those features, using the Obsbot Webcam app to play around with the gimbal as well as the camera's exposure and the beauty filters.

I’ve been reviewing webcams for TechRadar for a few months now. However, prior to this, I tested and reviewed a lot of DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, giving me extensive experience in cameras. I’m also a film and digital photographer.

Read more about how we test

First reviewed October 2023

Gamakay LK75 75% review: a mechanical keyboard for the truly hardcore
6:08 pm | October 18, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Computing Gadgets Keyboards Peripherals & Accessories | Comments: Off

Gamakay LK75 75%: Two-minute review

The Gamakay LK75 75% is a mechanical keyboard for the truly hardcore, allowing users to customize virtually every part of it. Thanks to the level of depth of its customization options alone, it's easily one of the best mechanical keyboards out there and could even personalized to be one of the best gaming keyboards and the best keyboard for programmers.

You can swap out the keycaps, replace the switches, and reprogram every key including the knob at the top right. The knob itself is pretty interesting, as it has its own LED screen that displays the time, date, and the OS the keyboard is connected to. You can also change up the RGB lighting through the knob display.

Reprogramming the keys requires the Gamakay software, which you can download from the official website. However, you wouldn’t know that since the included manual doesn’t mention it at all, which is a bit baffling. The software is quite intricate, offering tons of ways to customize the keys including function, lightning, and performance. 

The knob is also customizable through the software itself. Its initial function is to control the volume, but I found that it doesn’t work. Also, even though the time is displayed through it, it’s not set properly until you do it yourself, which is odd since it would make more sense to automatically sync with the OS time once you connect it.

white and orange mechanical keyboard

(Image credit: Future)

The Gamakay LK75’s PC plate and PCB are 'top mount' and, combined with the built-in PET pad, bottom silicone pad, PCB sandwich silicone pad, and spacebar form, it offers increased stability and reduces both sound and general harshness when typing.

Handling this keyboard can be a bit intimidating at first for those not completely familiar with the intricacies of mechanical keyboards, especially as the Gamakay line of switches doesn’t follow normal naming conventions and the abundance of text on the keycaps themselves can be confusing. But at least one aspect is much easier compared to other keyboards: the process of changing the switches.

Included with the keyboard is a combo keycap and switch puller. The keycaps come off pretty smoothly and you can swap them out for any other Gamakays keycaps to change up the aesthetic of the keyboard, though I rather like the orange caps myself. The switches are surprisingly simple to pull out as well and are not only compatible with the three-pin Gamakay Planet switches but with any other three or five-pin switches.

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blue switch

(Image credit: Future)
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various mechanical switches

(Image credit: Future)
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various mechanical switches

(Image credit: Future)

Depending on the type of switch you install, it has a huge effect on the sound and feel, though overall each switch that I tried out still has a softer impact compared to other mechanical keyboards. The Gamakay Planet switches which is the set I tried out are Mercury (the clickiest linear), Venus clickiest tactile), Mars (heaviest and strongest feedback), and Jupiter (the most balanced linear). 

They all have the same travel distance of 3.30mm, with the Mercury and Venus switches sharing the same actuation force of 40g. You can feel it in how light and easy they are to type on. My personal favorite is the Venus switches for that reason – providing a nice clickiness and tactile feedback without requiring too much force to activate. 

But even the highest ones, Jupiter and Mars, have an actuation force of 50g compared to Gateron Greens with one of 80g. There are plenty of other Gamakay switches to choose from including the Silent switches and, if you’re yearning for something a bit more traditional, Gamakay also offers Gateron switches on its site.

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white and orange mechanical keyboard

(Image credit: Future)
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white and orange mechanical keyboard

(Image credit: Future)
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white and orange mechanical keyboard

(Image credit: Future)

There are three methods of connectivity: wired via a USB Type-C port, 2.4 wireless, and Bluetooth. They’re activated by use of the FN key plus a number key, outlined in the thin manual included. All three work well, with the wired connection offering the least latency. I also adore that there’s a tiny magnetic slot to store the dongle in, preventing it from being misplaced. 

However, there was an odd issue when I tried connecting the keyboard to an all-in-one PC using all three methods - as in, it wouldn’t connect at all. But regular and gaming PCs seemed to work just fine. It's possible this was a one-off glitch, but it may be something to be wary of.

Gamakay LK75 75%: Price & availability

white and orange mechanical keyboard

(Image credit: Future)
  • How much does it cost? $129.99 / £110 / AU$211
  • When is it available? Available now
  • Where can you get it? Available in the US, UK, and Australia

The Gamakay LK75 75% keyboard is available in the US, UK, and Australia for $129.99 / £110 / AU$211. Gamakay also ships to most other regions, which is even better for those outside the aforementioned three.

Pricing is pretty standard for high-end mechanical keyboards, meaning that it’s very expensive though less so than others. Though at the time of writing, there’s a sale that shaves off about $10. Compared to other more notable brands like the Drop ALT,  SteelSeries Apex Pro TKL (2023), and the Razer Huntsman V2 TKL, this easily competes with them while being much cheaper.

Gamakay LK75 75%: Specs

Should you buy the Gamakay LK75 75%?

Buy it if...

You want a great-quality mechanical keyboard
It's a solid-quality mechanical keyboard that's heavy and well-built, with nice feeling switches and excellent features.

You want a fully customizable keyboard
Every bit of this keyboard is customizable from the keycaps to the switches to the programmable keys themselves.

Don't buy it if...

You need a more budget-minded mechanical keyboard
Though it's cheaper than other similar keyboards, its price point is still a hard pill to swallow.

You want a plug-and-play keyboard that works everywhere
I did have some issues connecting the keyboard to certain devices, and the Gamakay software is a must-have, so this isn't an easy plug-and-play recommendation.

Gamakay LK75 75%: Also consider

How I tested the Gamakay LK75 75%

  • I spent about a week testing this keyboard
  • I tested it both for productivity work and gaming
  • I used it extensively in a home office environment

I tested the Gamakay LK75 75% keyboard in a home office environment, seeing how well it functioned in both productivity work and gaming. I also carried it around in various bags to test its portability.

The Gamakay LK75 75% is a mechanical keyboard that's meant for extensive use over years. I made sure to quality-test it to see if it held up to those standards, as well as to see how easy it is to pull the keycaps off and how easy it is to reprogram the RGB lighting.

I've tested a wide range of keyboards including mechanical ones, and understand how to properly rate and test them out to ensure that they reach a certain level of quality.

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

Read more about how we test

First reviewed October 2023

Logitech Wave Keys review: a truly ergonomic option for office workers
10:01 am | October 11, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Computing Gadgets Keyboards Peripherals & Accessories | Comments: Off

Logitech Wave Keys: Two-minute review

When Logitech touted its new keyboard, the Wave Keys, as an ergonomic wonder I was more than a bit skeptical. After all, why would a simple wave design and a wrist mat make this keyboard more distinctive? But did I ever eat my words once I took the Wave Keys for a spin myself. This is a strong claim for a non-mechanical keyboard but it’s convinced me that it could be a strong contender for best keyboard on the market, and easily take the number one spot for best office keyboard.

One of the direct claims from Logitech is that this keyboard’s wave shape makes it instantly approachable and comfortable to use, and it really does. The setup itself is super fast and easy, as you can either choose to use Bluetooth or wireless via a dongle. Simply enter the code that the built-in software provides, and it’s fully connected to your PC or laptop of choice. 

From the moment I had the Logitech Wave Keys keyboard running in my home office and placed my hands on it, I was immediately shocked at how downright comfortable and natural it felt. The wave design conforms perfectly to how you naturally rest your wrists and hands in proportion to the keyboard. The wrists are made from memory foam and support said wrists with a heavenly combination of comfort and firmness.

One aspect of this keyboard that may turn off most is the fact that’s not mechanical. And that does have an impact on longevity, as mechanical switches last for millions of clicks on average while the Wave Keys are most likely far less. However, the trade-off is that membrane switches don’t require nearly as much force to push down on as mechanical switches tend to, which means that the average office worker is putting less strain on their fingers and wrists to press down on each key. 

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pink keyboard

(Image credit: Future)
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black keyboard

(Image credit: Future)
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white keyboard

(Image credit: Future)
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many keyboards on desk

(Image credit: Future)
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many keyboards on desk

(Image credit: Future)
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taken apart keyboard

(Image credit: Future)
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taken apart keyboard

(Image credit: Future)

As an aside, the keys themselves have a satisfying clacking sound and feedback to them, similar to an older style keyboard from the 90s. Even better is that, unlike older keyboards, the function keys are customizable using the Logitech software. You can even create shortcuts for repetitive actions, which is another great option for either those with disabilities or those wanting to avoid repetitive movement injuries.

The Logitech Wave Keys initially come in two colors: Graphite and Off-White, with a Rose color coming sometime in 2024. The first two colors are standard fair, the former much more so than the latter. But the Rose is a pretty yet classy light pink that’s sure to stand out in any office setup, which is why I wish that color had been available from the start.

There is another peculiarity in the Wave Keys which is that it’s not a rechargable keyboard. Instead, it’s powered by two AAA batteries, with a pair thankfully included, and according to Logitech it lasts up to three years. While I would have preferred a rechargeable battery, there haven’t been any power issues so far.

For those who are concerned about it, the Wave Keys are made of a significant amount of recycled plastics. The Graphic version is manufactured with 61% recycled plastic, and the Off-White version uses 46% recycled plastic.

Logitech Wave Keys: Price & availability

black keyboard on desk with computer

(Image credit: Future)
  • How much does it cost? $59.99 (around £49 / AU$94)
  • When is it available? Graphite and Off-White available October 13, 2023; Rose available in 2024
  • Where can you get it? Available in the US

Though still affordable, the Logitech Wave Keys are a bit on the pricey side compared to most other membrane keyboards. One of these will set you back $59.99 (around £49 / AU$94), with models only available in the US and in the EU. 

Even compared to cheaper mechanical keyboards like the MSI GK50 Elite TKL starting at 64.99 (around £53 / AU$101) or the Logitech G213 Prodigy at $50 (£40, around AU$80), the Wave Keys can seem a bit steep. So if you prefer mechanical, there are options for you.

If you're interested in a combination pack for the full ergonomic package, there's also the Logitech Wave Keys MK670 Combo which includes a Wave Keys Wireless Ergonomic Keyboard and a Signature M550 L Wireless Mouse. That would cost you $79.99 (around £65 / AU$125).

Hopefully, we'll see a more global release for this keyboard in the near future, as many office workers around the world would benefit from such a product.

Logitech Wave Keys: Specs

Should you buy the Wave Keys?

Buy it if...

You need an ergonomic keyboard
The unique wave design and memory foam wrist rest both go a long way in making this keyboard comfortable and natural to use.

You need a more budget-minded keyboard
Though a bit pricier than many cheaper membrane keyboard options, it's still quite affordable especially compared to most mechanical keyboards.

Don't buy it if...

You want a mechanical keyboard
If you are a die-hard mechanical keyboard fan, this is not the option for you.

Wave Keys: Also consider

How I tested the Logitech Wave Keys

  • I spent about a week testing this keyboard
  • I tested it for productivity work
  • I used it extensively in a home office environment

I tested the Logitech Wave Keys keyboard in a home office environment, seeing how well it functioned in purely productivity work. I also carried it around in various bags to test its portability.

The Wave Keys is an ergonomic membrane keyboard that's meant for extensive use over a period of years. I made sure to quality-test it to see if it held up to those standards while maintaining maximum comfort levels.

I've tested a wide range of keyboards including mechanical and membrane ones, and understand how to properly rate and test them out to ensure that they reach a certain level of quality.

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

Read more about how we test

First reviewed October 2023

Drop ALT V2 keyboard review: too much of a good thing isn’t always bad
6:27 pm | September 30, 2023

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

Drop ALT: Two-minute review

The Drop ALT V2 is part of a recent refresh of the original CTRL, ALT, and SHIFT series of mechanical keyboards that were first released in 2018. Drop has made several improvements to the beloved line, adding highly requested features such as stabilizer upgrades, improved sound dampening, new switch options, improvements to lighting, and more. The result is an even higher-quality mechanical keyboard that feels luxurious in every sense of the word, and is easily one of the best mechanical keyboards and one of the best keyboards all round.

I received the Drop ALT V2 low-profile unit, a TKL (TenKeyLess) board that's sufficiently weighty that it could be used as a weapon in an emergency. Crafted from a solid block of aircraft-grade aluminum, this is absolutely a keyboard made to last – which, considering the cost of entry, makes this an investment for the long haul. The chassis and keys are meant to last for millions of clicks over a period of years.

The ALT V2 also features north-facing RGB lighting that glows through the keycaps as well as around the base of the keyboard. Unlike the original Drop ALT, the LED lights are a bit dimmer here, which could be a positive or negative, depending on your preference. In my experience, at times I found it difficult to see the lit letters while typing, but I appreciated the base lighting effect.

That said, the overall typing experience has definitely improved over the older model. The additional layers of foam throughout the keyboard – including Poron top case foam, IXPE switch foam, Poron hot-swap socket foam, and bottom case Poron foam – really do go a long way to improve the typing feel. And thanks to the upgraded stabilizers, the sound has changed as well. While I prefer the sharper keystroke of the older model, others may welcome the more subdued sound this model offers. 

I’ve loved the smooth feel of the keycaps, as if my fingers are gliding on air as I type. However, they can feel a bit narrow, which could be an issue for those with thicker fingers or shaky handsI was able to adjust to them relatively quickly and with minimal typos.

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yellow switch of black and grey keyboard

(Image credit: Future)
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black and grey keyboard upside

(Image credit: Future)
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black and grey keyboard RGB lit

(Image credit: Future)
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black and grey keyboard RGB lit

(Image credit: Future)
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black and grey keyboard RGB lit

(Image credit: Future)

There are two switches to choose from, the Gateron Yellow KS3 Linear switches or Drop Holy Panda X Clear tactile switches. My own keyboard came with the former, and although I’m not the biggest fan of linear switches (my true love lies in tactile), these have felt amazing – the usual mark of quality in Drop switches that I believe only Cherry MX switches can rival.

Since the keys are hot swappable, changing them is much easier too. This means you can customize these keyboards to your heart's content, with the built-in switch plate and hot-swappable PCB. Drop has also upgraded its already great QMK firmware, which already offers programable macros and customized key mapping. Now, Vial and QMK expands compatibility options, with support for the former coming later this year.

Speaking about customization, it's also now possible for hardcore mechanical keyboard enthusiasts to purchase the barebones version of each keyboard, to create a version that's tailor-made to their exact specifications. And if you own the original version of the CTRL, ALT, and SHIFT keyboards, the more cost-effective option would be to order the PCBA + foam kit and Phantom Stabilizers and update your unit to the V2 model without wasting materials.

Like most of Drop’s other keyboards, the ALT V2 comes with two USB Type-C ports: one for the wire to connect to your PC; and the other to connect any other hub device. I'd say the removable cable increases portability, but this isn't entirely accurate when you consider the keyboard's heavy weight.

Drop ALT: Price & availability

black and grey keyboard RGB lit

(Image credit: Future)
  • How much does it cost? $200 (around £164 / AU$311)
  • When is it available? Available now
  • Where can you get it? Available in the US

There are two kinds of Drop V2 keyboards available, the fully assembled unit and the barebones edition. The former ranges in price between $180 - $250, while the latter costs $140 - $190. If you own the older versions of the CTRL, ALT, and SHIFT keyboards, the PCBA + foam kit and Phantom Stabilizers are available for purchase starting at $105, allowing you to upgrade your keyboard to the V2 version. 

Regardless of which option you choose, these keyboards are expensive, coming at a prices you'd usually associate with high-quality and fully customizable mechanical keyboards made for more serious of enthusiasts. If you’re not someone who likes to tinker with a keyboard to achieve the best possible fit, then you might be better looking elsewhere. There are plenty of options that offer a similar level of typing quality and tactile feedback without making such a dent in your wallet.

The Drop ALT V2 can be picked up via the company's  online store. However, both the UK and Australia are out of luck, unless buyers are willing to pay the steep price of importing.

Drop ALT: Specs

Should you buy the Drop ALT?

Buy it if...

You want a high-quality mechanical keyboard
Drop is well known for its impeccable keyboard quality, and the ALT V2 is no exception, from its aluminum chassis to its switches and keycaps.

You want a fully customizable keyboard
If you're looking for a mechanical keyboard that you can customize to your heart's content, then this model is for you.

Don't buy it if...

You're on a budget
If you can't afford to drop two hundred bucks on a single keyboard, then look elsewhere. There are plenty of cheaper models on the market offering similar quality for less.

You live outside the US
Unfortunately, Drop's only really retails in the US, so if you're in the UK or Australia, then you'll have to import a unit with all the associated costs.

Drop ALT: Also consider

How I tested the Drop ALT

  • I spent about a week testing this keyboard
  • I used it for both work and gaming
  • I used it extensively in a home-office environment

I tested the Drop ALT keyboard in a home-office environment, evaluating how well it functioned for both work and gaming. I also carried it around in various bags to test its portability.

The Drop ALT is a mechanical keyboard that's meant for extensive use over a period of years. I made sure to assess its quality to see if it held up to those standards, while also reviewing how easy it was to switch out the keycaps and reprogram the RGB lighting.

I've tested a wide range of keyboards over the years, including mechanical units, and understand how to rate and test them out to ensure that they reach a certain level of quality.

We pride ourselves on our independent and rigorous review-testing process, paying long-term attention to the products we assess, and ensuring our reviews are updated and maintained. Regardless of when a device was released, if you can still buy it, it's on our radar.

Read more about how we test

First reviewed September 2023

MSI GK50 Elite TKL review: a great budget mechanical keyboard
3:00 pm | September 24, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Computing Gadgets Keyboards Peripherals & Accessories | Comments: Off

MSI GK50 Elite TKL: Two-minute review

The MSI GK50 Elite TKL is a keyboard meant for those who want the distinctive feel and responsiveness of a mechanical keyboard but who are looking for more budget options. It balances on an aluminum top plate that’s both sturdy and lightweight, making it easy to carry around. The black metal has a sleek-looking design with the logo etched into the side, giving it an almost sophisticated aesthetic appeal that stands out from other similar keyboards. I do wish there were more colors available to offer more of a variety from the standard gamer look.

This is a wired keyboard, which I’m sure will disappoint the wireless fans but it keeps the price down, which is one of the most important factors. It’s also an option that’s ideal for professional and hardcore gaming as it eliminates any latency and response issues. Even better is that the cable can be detached from the keyboard and easily slipped into the included carrying case.

Though it’s very much a budget mechanical keyboard, being able to remove and customize the keycaps is always a welcome feature. Included in the box are a few spare keycaps as well as a keycap puller, which works well for the smaller keys but is slightly more difficult to use when it comes to removing larger keys like the spacebar.

Despite it being very much a budget mechanical keyboard, being able to remove and customize the keycaps is great. However, there’s no option for customizing the switches or the keys, something that more hardcore mechanical keyboard enthusiasts will miss. But there has to be some trade-off in terms of price versus features.

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a black mechanical gaming keyboard

(Image credit: Future)
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a black mechanical gaming keyboard

(Image credit: Future)
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a black mechanical gaming keyboard

(Image credit: Future)
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a black mechanical gaming keyboard

(Image credit: Future)
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a black mechanical gaming keyboard

(Image credit: Future)
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a black mechanical gaming keyboard

(Image credit: Future)

Though the switches are no Cherry MX, the Kailh switches in the MSI GK50 Elite TKL are of solid quality and deliver some excellent performance in both gaming and productivity work. There are three different switches to choose from – Blue, Red, and Box White – which offer a different response, pre-travel distance, total travel, and operational force. 

While both the Red and Blue switches have a total travel distance of 4mm and an operational force of 50gf, the Blue switches’ pre-travel is 1.9mm versus the Red’s 2mm. Meanwhile, the White Box beats out both with a pre-travel of 1.8mm, a total travel of 3.6mm, and an operational force of 45gf.

The one I tested was the Kailh Blue, which offers clicky feedback versus the more subdued feedback of the linear Red ones. The keyboard also features 6+N key rollover, full keys anti-ghosting, and a keystroke lifespan of over 50+ million clicks.

The keycaps are a bit narrow, which could give both thicker-fingered and differently-abled users some trouble, but the keycaps feel natural to use once you’ve adjusted to them. I will say that even as someone who greatly enjoys loud, clicky keys, it can be a bit annoying to hear these particularly loud ones going off during an intense gaming session. If you’re a frequent gamer, you’d be better off investing in the Red switches instead.

The RGB lighting is bright, flashy, and can be customized in a variety of ways including color and style, though you need to go online and download the MSI Center Microsoft Store app to do so first. This normally wouldn’t be too much trouble but the app is rather buggy and can be a chore to install due to weird errors that crop up during the installation process.

There’s also another issue concerning the lighting. The default RGB setting features an extremely intense strobing effect to the point of eye strain. I don’t suffer from any medical conditions that make me vulnerable to flashing lights, but if a buyer did and connected the keyboard to their PC, it could possibly have serious consequences. It would have made far more sense to have the default setting be a solid and less intense color instead, especially since you need to install the MSI Center to change settings if you want a different effect.

MSI GK50 Elite TKL: Price & availability

a black mechanical gaming keyboard

(Image credit: Future)
  • How much does it cost? $64.99 for the Red and Blue switches, $74.99 for the Box White switches (around £53 / AU$101 and £61 / AU$117)
  • When is it available? Available September 26, 2023
  • Where can you get it? Available in the US

The MSI GK50 Elite TKL will currently be available in the US for $64.99 for the Red and Blue switches and $74.99 for the Box White switches (around £53 / AU$101 and £61 / AU$117). The price difference between the Box White versus the other switches makes sense considering that the Box White is superior when it comes to pre-travel distance, total travel, and operating force.

The keyboard is launching in the US on September 26, 2023, for major retailers including MSI’s official site and Amazon, though currently there’s no release date or official pricing for the UK, Australia, or other countries besides Taiwan.

MSI GK50 Elite TKL: Specs

Should you buy the MSI GK50 Elite TKL?

Buy it if...

You want a good-quality mechanical keyboard
It's a solid-quality mechanical keyboard that's lightweight and well-built, with nice responsive switches and solid features.

You need a more budget-minded mechanical keyboard
This is a mechanical gaming keyboard that proves that you can have a good quality one without spending over $100.

Don't buy it if...

You want a fully customizable keyboard
Unfortunately you can't program the keys or switch out the switches, which might deter some mechanical keyboard fanatics.

You want better software
The MSI software is pretty bad, oddly buggy and has tons of installation issues to get past.

MSI GK50 Elite TKL: Also consider

How I tested the MSI GK50 Elite TKL

  • I spent about a week testing this keyboard
  • I tested it both for productivity work and gaming
  • I used it extensively in a home office environment

I tested the MSI GK50 Elite TKL keyboard in a home office environment, seeing how well it functioned in both productivity work and gaming. I also carried it around in various bags to test its portability.

The MSI GK50 Elite TKL is a mechanical keyboard that's meant for extensive use over a period of years. I made sure to quality-test it to see if it held up to those standards, as well as to see how easy it is to pull the keycaps off and how easy it is to reprogram the RGB lighting.

I've tested a wide range of keyboards including mechanical ones, and understand how to properly rate and test them out to ensure that they reach a certain level of quality.

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

Read more about how we test

First reviewed September 2023

Logitech G Yeti GX review: a master at minimizing artefacts
10:05 am | September 19, 2023

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

Logitech G Yeti GX: Two-minute review

When Logitech told us it was going to release a new addition, the Logitech G Yeti GX,  to the Yeti lineup, rounding it out to four models, expectations were understandably high. 

After all, the original Yeti has sort of become a household name in the USB mic sphere. People don’t necessarily declare it to be the absolute best USB mic in the market, but it's definitely secured its place near the top for its audio quality, build, and design. And it set a standard that all Yeti mics that follow it have to live up to. 

The Logitech G Yeti GX takes a different approach, however. Whereas the Yeti looms over most of the other USB mics I’ve tested with its big and tall design with multiple pickup patterns, this new model is small and short and only supercardioid. And, just to make it clear to potential buyers that it’s meant for gaming and streaming rather than for podcasts, vlogs, and music production, it throws in RGB lighting for good measure.

Logitech G Yeti GX on the author's desk

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

That design choice is well-executed, though. The Logitech G Yeti GX is still an elegant-looking mic, with its beautiful capsule form, soft matte finish, solid build, and premium-feeling pop filter. Though it can be mounted on a boom arm – an adapter is included in the box for this purpose – it comes with a very stable desktop stand and has great articulation and robust build quality. It even has a dial to easily adjust the mic’s position and lock it in.

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Logitech G Yeti GX on the author's deskr

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)
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Logitech G Yeti GX on the author's deskr

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

There aren’t many physical controls on the mic itself, just a mic gain dial with a light indicator and a mute button, but for what it’s made for, you really don’t need anything else. And to connect it to your PC or laptop, there's a USB-C port at the bottom. And that’s about it.

Be mindful when using that manual gain control dial, as this mic has a lot of gain, and you don't want it turned up all the way up. Between 30-50% volume should be good enough when you’re recording or talking to your teammates in-game. Luckily, it has a smart audio lock, a pro-quality audio-processing technology that holds mic gain level to prevent clipping and distortion. But more on that later.

As I mentioned, there is a light indicator, which is helpful. It tells you when the mic gain level is too high (it flashes red) and when the smart audio lock is on (it turns cyan). 

Logitech G Yeti GX on the author's desk

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Those who aren’t big fans of RGB lighting – yes, they exist – need not be appalled. The RGB lighting is tastefully done here, cupping the bottom of the mic and radiating a soft yet still bright glow that’s not at all obnoxious. There are 13 lighting zones, each of which is customizable via the Logitech G Hub app, where there are several lighting animations to choose from and the option to adjust brightness. If you’re too lazy to use the app, the mic itself gives you five effects on the fly.

Now, one might assume, due to its size and gaming aesthetic, that the Logitech G Yeti GX isn’t a USB mic to be taken seriously. But it’s actually pretty impressive, even if, admittedly, there’s room for improvement in terms of sound quality. 

Logitech G Yeti GX on the author's desk

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

It’s important to note that this is a supercardioid dynamic mic. That means it’s a cardioid mic with a tighter field of view – which should, in theory, make it better at side rejection – and a front address (it captures audio at the top). Now, dynamic mics are better at capturing sound that's directly in front of them, while condenser mics have a wider stage of sound and tend to sound better due to their fuller frequency range.

Keeping that in mind, it’s not surprising that the Yeti GX delivers audio quality that is a little cheap-sounding. I found that there wasn't much dimensionality to my voice – in my test recordings, it’s a tiny bit compressed, like it's about to distort. Having said that, it sounds more than good enough if you’re live streaming your gameplay or communicating with your teammates during an online gaming sesh – you will come through clearly and audibly.

Again, there’s a lot of gain here, so sticking at 30% to 50% volume or toggling the Smart Audio Lock is wise. Turn it up all the way and your audio will sound harsh with distorted mid-highs. To be fair, the audio will still sound clear, just not pleasant to the ears. I highly recommend utilizing that Smart Audio Lock feature. It works like a charm, and you can actually hear it gradually adjusting as needed. 

Logitech G Yeti GX on the author's deskr

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

On the upside, it’s very good at handling sibilance and plosives. It also has no proximity effect, which means you can speak right up on it, and you'll sound the same as when you're a foot and a half away. 

It’s also amazingly good at rejecting vibrations and background noise. I tapped on its stand until my fingers were raw, and none of those taps registered. If I’m button-mashing on a keyboard while talking, you’ll still hear the clicky noises, but they’re very muted, even though the keyboard is only a few inches away.

So, honestly, I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re creating a podcast or YouTube videos that require a more professional-sounding mic. However, the Logitech G Yeti GX delivers a level of sound quality that’s great for gaming and game streaming, and it comes with the necessary features for those, which is really the whole point.

Logitech G Yeti GX: Price & availability

  • How much does it cost? $149.99 (about £120, AU$230)
  • When is it available? Available now
  • Where can you get it? Available in the US, UK, and Australia

You will be paying a hefty price for such a small USB mic, however. At $149.99 (about £120, AU$230), the Logitech G Yeti GX is almost as expensive as the Yeti X, the pro-level model in the Yeti line, and about the same as the fantastic-sounding Elgato Wave:3, which managed to secure our coveted five-star rating.

If you’re looking for something less pricey, the HyperX Duocast is a more affordable option that delivers a sound quality that’s fantastic for podcasting. Just remember that both the Wave:3 and the Duocast are condenser mics, and neither is supercardioid. 

  • Value: 3.5 / 5

Logitech G Yeti GX: Specs

Should you buy the Logitech G Yeti GX?

Logitech G Yeti GX on the author's desk

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Buy it if...

You stream your games
If you're an online gamer or you live-stream your games, this is a great USB mic to consider.

You want beautiful RGB lighting
Its radiant RGB lighting is elegantly executed so that it looks good and isn't obnoxious.

Don't buy it if...

You want the best value for your money
For something that doesn't have the absolute best sound quality, this is actually pretty expensive.

You need pro-level sound quality
You'll come through clear and audible, but there's not a lot of dimensionality to your voice.

Logitech G Yeti GX: Also consider

How I tested the Logitech G Yeti GX

  • Tested the USB mic for a few days
  • Used it for recording, on calls, and during gaming
  • Made sure to test its special features and employed my usual mic-testing process

Using the Logitech G Yeti GX for a couple of days on video calls, while gaming, and in recordings, I played close attention to sound quality and any artefacts it might have picked up. I also made sure to test its control, light indicators, and the accompanying software to see how easy it is to use, especially for beginners. 

During testing, I spoke from the front, as well as from the back, from the sides, and from different distances. I also checked how it handled things like vibrations and background noise by tapping on the surface it was on and on its stand and making noises in the background during recordings.

I’ve been testing devices like computing peripherals for years. Mics are a newer thing for me, having only started testing them last year, but my experience with audio devices like gaming headsets, headphones, and speakers made it easy for me to understand USB microphones and what matters most to users during testing.

Read more about how we test

First reviewed [Month Year]

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

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

Editor's Note

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

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

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

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

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

SteelSeries Arena 9: Price and availability

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

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

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

  •  Value: 4 / 5

SteelSeries Arena 9 at a gaming desk setup

(Image credit: Future / James Holland)

SteelSeries Arena 9: Design

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

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

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

SteelSeries Arena 9

(Image credit: Future / James Holland)

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

SteelSeries Arena 9

(Image credit: Future / James Holland)

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

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

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

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

  • Design: 4.5 / 5 

SteelSeries Arena 9

(Image credit: Future / James Holland)

SteelSeries Arena 9: Performance

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

 

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

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

SteelSeries Arena 9

(Image credit: Future / James Holland)

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

SteelSeries Arena 9

(Image credit: Future / James Holland)

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

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

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

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

  •  Performance: 4.8 / 5

Should I buy the SteelSeries Arena 9?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Also consider

SteelSeries Arena 9: Report card

  • First reviewed August 2022

How we test

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

Read more about how we test

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