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BenQ X300G review: a budget 4K projector for gaming and movies
4:00 pm | May 4, 2024

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

BenQ X300G 4K projector: one-minute review

If you love to sit back and enjoy movies but also like to lean in and get sweaty with the latest competitive games, the BenQ X300G could be just the projector for you. This short-throw model combines impressive capabilities in a compact package that rivals Xgimi’s Horizon Pro and Horizon Ultra

The BenQ X300G manages decent color from its LED light source, and puts on a strong show with bright, 4K visuals. But it can also dial up the speed, switching to a 1080p/240Hz mode for fast, responsive gaming. We’ve seen this trick in action on the BenQ X3100i, and it’s a real treat for gamers. 

Between its cinematic capabilities and gaming prowess, the BenQ X300G has a lot to offer. There’s room for improvement — the limited ports and so-so audio come to mind — but at $1,799, this projector puts up a respectable value, especially with its ability to play dual roles, something that not all the best 4K projectors can do. 

BenQ X300G 4K projector review: price and release date

  • Release date: December 2023
  • MSRP: $1,799 (around £1,400 / AU$2,720)

The BenQ X300G is a fairly new model in BenQ’s lineup. With an original price of $1,799 (around £1,400 / AU$2,720), the projector hasn’t yet seen any discounts, though its price is reasonable for a 4K model. 

BenQ X300G projector on table

Focus and keystone adjustments on the X300G can be made automatically, making setup quick (Image credit: Future)

BenQ X300G 4K projector review: Specs

BenQ X300G projector top surface controls

The projector has basic control buttons located on its top surface (Image credit: Future)

BenQ X300G 4K projector review: design and features

  • Compact and flexible design
  • Built-in speakers and streaming stick
  • Rare DisplayPort over USB-C support

The BenQ X300G takes up less than a cubic foot and has roughly cube-like dimensions. Inside that small footprint, it packs a 2,000-lumen DLP projection system, 2.1-channel speakers, an internal streaming dongle, and the necessary hardware for optical zoom. 

It’s an impressive package and not an unsightly one. Like many of BenQ’s recent designs, the BenQ X300G has a mostly white, plastic chassis complemented by a glossy black face with orange accents. In this case, those accents also extend to little LED fins that protrude from the projector’s back edges. That orange glow calls to mind heat – not a good thing for a projector – though the BenQ X300G deals with that well. Its internal fans do emit a light buzzing noise, but the sound is easily drowned out by its speakers. 

The whole unit sits on rubber feet for grip. The front foot is especially wide and built around a hinge for propping the front of the projector up to adjust its projection angle, though the feet don’t offer any horizontal tilt adjustment if the projector is set on an uneven surface. There is also a threaded hole for mounting onto a tripod or ceiling mount. 

The BenQ X300G includes a few ports on its side and uses an external brick for power. There’s an HDMI 2.0 port with eARC, a USB-C port with DisplayPort support — a rarity among projectors – and a USB 2.0 port. I found it regrettable to see neither a 3.5mm audio jack nor an optical audio output. The rear of the BenQ X300G hides a small compartment that hides BenQ’s included streaming stick. This has a built-in mini HDMI cable and micro USB cable for charging, and this fairly unusual design offers limited options for swapping the dongle out for a different unit such as a Roku or Amazon Fire TV streaming stick down the line. 

A large remote control operates both the included dongle and the projector. This has similarities to typical Android TV remotes but also quite a few shortcuts to projector settings. Backlighting provides helpful visibility in the dark, and activates after a button has been pressed. In addition to the remote, a set of controls is on top of the unit. Manual adjustments are made electronically, including focus, zoom, and keystone. Focus and keystone adjustments can also be made automatically, making setup quite quick.

The streaming stick BenQ includes is a first-party model running Android TV OS 11, which is a little behind the times now, though at least it saw a recent February 2024 security patch. The dongle still provides quick and easy access to the best streaming services like Disney Plus, Max, Netflix, and Prime Video. While Hulu also loaded onto the system without issue, I couldn’t successfully use it as all clicks on the Sign In button failed to register. 

  • Design and features score: 3/5

BenQ X300G projector showing Super Mario movie

The BenQ X300G is designed for gaming, but it also does a good job of displaying movies (Image credit: Future)

BenQ X300G 4K projector review: picture and sound quality

  • Short throw provides big picture in smaller rooms
  • Good image with movies and games
  • Average sound quality

The BenQ X300G is a capable little projector that’s ready to beam a big and bright picture without much fuss. It’s plenty bright for a dim room and excels in the dark, where it can readily produce a gorgeous, large image. In fact, you’ll likely have a hard time getting anything less than a huge picture due to the projector’s short throw. 

This projector is better suited for small rooms or coffee table installations. During setup, I already had a 77-inch diagonal image at a little under 4 feet from the screen. The projector’s optical zoom can shrink that down a bit, but if you place the projector at the back of a room, you’ll be sacrificing image quality quickly as it relies on digital zoom to shrink images down beyond the optical zoom range.

Once positioned, the BenQ X300G is a strong projector. Color rendition isn’t the best I’ve seen – BenQ rates it for 84% coverage of the DCI-P3 color gamut – with that crown going to triple-laser models like the Hisense PX2 Pro and LG Cinebeam HU915QE, but it’s not far off. The Na’vi looked plenty blue when I watched Avatar: The Way of Water, and the colorful world of Final Fantasy VII: Remake Intergrade was presented quite well throughout my testing. 

A main perk of the BenQ X300G is its flexibility. It can provide a cinematic image with 4K HDR movies and shows at 24 or 60Hz, but also dial up the speed by dropping to 1080p at 240Hz for gaming. The projector’s DLP chip not only provides a high refresh rate but a stunning pixel response time that’s virtually free of ghosting. If competitive gaming is your speed, the BenQ X300G can keep up. 

Speed is a critical advantage for the BenQ X300G, as it has competition from other models like the JMGO N1 Ultra and Hisense C1. Both models come in at similar prices and use triple-laser light sources to provide 4K visuals with far more stunning color, but they lack the option to ramp up to 240Hz in game mode. 

The BenQ X300G speakers complement the imagery. While not amazing, they do a decent job, pumping out plenty of sound in the small rooms this projector is ideal for. They’ll fall flat unless you’re sitting close in larger rooms, and the sound is grating at high volumes. But at middle volume, they sound clear and full. 

  • Picture quality score: 4/5

BenQ X300G projector rear panel ports

Ports include HDMI with ARC, USB type-C, and USB type-A (Image credit: Future)

BenQ X300G 4K projector review: value

  • Has major competition at $1,799
  • Powerful for the price

The BenQ X300G is a strong all-around option. Cinema-focused projectors like the Hisense C1 can do better for the same price but lack the gaming capabilities that set the X300G apart. The BenQ X300G does a great job with both, upping its value for anyone who wants that flexibility. It does cut some corners on the hardware front, so it that’s a concern, the BenQ X3100i offers extra hardware adjustments and image upgrades, but costs $600 more. 

  • Value score: 4/5

BenQ X300G projector remote control

The BenQ's large remote control has a backlit keypad (Image credit: Future)

Should I buy the BenQ X300G 4K projector?

Buy it if...

Don’t buy it if… 

Also consider...

BenQ X3100i
The BenQ X3100i has the same gaming features as the X300G but provides a higher level of visual quality. It also has useful hardware for setup, but comes at a considerable uptick in price. 

Here's our full BenQ X3100i review

BenQ X300G projector showing Avatar 2

(Image credit: Future)

How I tested the BenQ X300G 4K projector

  • Tested at home in multiple, real-world viewing conditions
  • Viewed with a variety of media and formats
  • I have tested numerous projectors and displays over the last half-decade

I tested the BenQ X300G at home, in real-world conditions. This saw it challenged by ambient light coming in from numerous windows, in-room lighting, and ambient noise that the projector’s speaker system had to overcome. The projector was tested on both a bare, white wall and an Akia Screens CineWhite screen and was presented with streamed HDR and non-HDR content and console gameplay. 

My testing evaluates the projector’s performance and takes into consideration its price and competition from other models.

I have been testing projectors since 2021 and displays for even longer. 

First reviewed: May 2024

LG CineBeam Q review: a portable 4K projector with style
2:00 pm | April 28, 2024

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

LG CineBeam Q: Two-minute review

The LG CineBeam Q is an ultra-compact portable projector that, like Samsung's super-popular Freestyle, features the same streaming platform found in the company’s TVs – in this case, WebOS. At $1,299 /  £1,299 / AU$2,499, it’s pricier than Samsung's portable projector, but brings the benefits of 4K resolution and an RGB laser light engine for enhanced brighness and color. Picture quality is surprisingly good for such a tiny projector, and it can beam images large enough to light up the side of a garage, though the lack of a battery power option makes it best suited for indoor use.

The LG CineBeam Q stands out from the best portable projectors thanks to its 4K resolution in particular. Most are cheap HD-resolution models with a built-in rechargeable battery that run Android TV and can be used indoors or outdoors – even the great Samsung The Freestyle 2nd Gen, an ultra-compact projector that offers both portability and a superior streaming and gaming platform in an innovative design, is HD. The best 4K projectors have always been pricey, bulky and meant for indoor use – a different proposition. The LG changes this.

With an all-aluminum case and carrying handle, the LG CineBeam Q’s retro-industrial design makes it look good even when turned off. When turned on, an auto screen adjustment feature with autofocus allows for quick setup, and there are plenty of manual adjustments to dial in picture geometry and focus. Beyond that, the projector’s 22-point white balance adjustment duplicates the picture calibration controls found on LG’s OLED TVs, though its Filmmaker Mode picture mode also provides a high level of accuracy at its default settings.

WebOS offers most popular streaming apps such as Netflix and Disney Plus, though Hulu and Max are missing. Both AirPlay 2 and Android Screen Share allow for wireless streaming from a phone or tablet, and there are also USB type-C and HDMI inputs for connecting external sources such as one of the best 4K Blu-ray players or a games console.

While most portable projectors provide built-in speakers out of necessity, audio is an afterthought on the LG CineBeam Q, which produces tinny, anemic sound from its 3-watt mono speaker. Fortunately, it supports Bluetooth pairing with Dual Audio Output, allowing for wireless audio streaming to multiple Bluetooth speakers and headphones, or a soundbar.

LG Cinebeam Q projector WebOS interface

The LG Cinebeam Q projector's WebOS smart TV interface. (Image credit: Future)

LG CineBeam Q 4K projector review: Price and availability

  • Release date: April 2024
  • MSRP: $1,299 / £1,299 / AU$2,499

LG’s CineBeam Q sells for $1,299 /  £1,299 / AU$2,499, which is significantly higher than the Samsung The Freestyle 2nd Gen, another stylish portable projector. 

The LG is a 4K resolution model, however, and that feature alone justifies its higher price bracket – most 4K projectors cost a lot more than this!

LG CineBeam Q 4K projector review: Specs

LG Cinebeam Q projector held with carrying handle

The CineBeam Q's rotating metal stand allows for a range of placement options and also serves as a carrying handle. (Image credit: Future)

LG CineBeam Q 4K projector review: Design and features

  • Stylish design and sturdy build quality
  • RGB laser light engine
  • LG WebOS streaming platform

The LG CineBeam Q is about as cool-looking as portable projectors get. LG appears to have designed it to be a conversation piece as much as a projector, with the LG CineBeam Q’s compact aluminum case and 360-degree rotating aluminum stand giving it an appealing, Braun-like industrial style.

At 5.3 x 3.1 x 5.3 inches (H x W x D) and 3.3 pounds, the LG CineBeam Q is easy to tote from room to room (the rotating stand does double-duty as a carrying handle), though with no built-in rechargeable battery (or accessory battery pack) you’ll need to carry its external power brick along with it to plug in. LG includes an IR remote control, though it’s a regular version and not the “Magic Remote” kind that comes with LG TVs where you can just point at what you want on-screen.

The LG CineBeam Q uses an RGB laser light engine combined with a DLP chip to produce images with up to 500 ANSI lumens specified brightness. An auto screen adjustment feature with autofocus can be used to make images look rectangular and crisp without effort when pointing it at a wall or screen, and there’s also manual digital keystone correction with 4, 9, or 15-point warping options.

LG’s WebOS platform is used for streaming on the CineBeam Q, with Disney Plus, Prime Video, Netflix, Apple TV Plus, and YouTube all present. Strangely, there’s no Hulu or Max, which are popular streaming apps that I use regularly. The projector supports both AirPlay 2 and Android Screen Share, however, which lets you stream from apps on your phone to the projector, or you can connect an external source to its HDMI or USB type-C input.

The LG CineBeam Q has a built-in 3-watt speaker, though it doesn’t sound good and can’t play loud. A better option is to use the Bluetooth pairing with Dual Audio Output feature, which lets you simultaneously connect up to two Bluetooth devices like a speaker, headphones, or soundbar.

  • Design and features score: 4.5/5

LG Cinebeam Q projector showing butterfly image on screen

The Cinebeam Q has highly accurate color in Filmmaker Mode (Image credit: Future)

LG CineBeam Q 4K projector review: Picture Quality

  • Stylish design and sturdy build quality
  • RGB laser light engine
  • LG WebOS streaming platform

I went into this review with pretty low picture quality expectations for the LG CineBeam Q, and ended up pleasantly surprised by how good images looked. The main benefit the LG has over other ultra-compact portable projectors is 4K resolution with HDR10 and HLG high dynamic range support. That factor made a big difference in its picture, especially when watching movies, which is something I did on a 92-inch, 1.1 gain Stewart Filmscreen Cima matte white projection screen.

The LG CineBeam Q’s brightness was another surprise. Peak brightness measured on a white 10% window pattern was 60 nits in Filmmaker HDR Mode. Although that’s half the peak brightness you’d get from a more conventional home theater projector such as the BenQ v5000i, it’s very good for a portable model. The LG’s measured contrast ratio was 500:1, which is a typical result for a portable DLP projector.

Color performance was excellent, with the CineBeam Q’s grayscale and color Delta-E (the margin of error between the test pattern source and what’s shown on-screen) both averaging under our target level of 3 in Filmmaker Mode. Coverage of the UHDA-P3 colors gamut was also excellent at 98.7%, while BT.2020 coverage was an equally impressive 95%.

Input lag in Game Optimizer mode was 56ms, which is typical for projectors that aren’t specifically designed for gaming.

Watching reference 4K Blu-rays on the LG CineBeam Q, dark scenes in the James Bond film No Time to Die showed good contrast, and scenes with camera pans or fast motion looked solid and judder-free. Dark scenes in Dune were equally satisfying, though shadow detail wasn’t as good as what you can expect from the best larger 4K projectors. In both cases, the LG’s accurate color rendition made skin tones look completely natural, and brighter colors such as red, and orange, and yellow looked rich and clean.

  •  Picture quality score: 4.5 / 5

LG Cinebeam Q projector remote control

LG's included remote control is a basic version and not the "Magic Remote" type that comes with its TVs. (Image credit: Future)

LG CineBeam Q 4K projector review: Value

  • Less expensive than other 4K portables
  • Better picture than other ultra-compact projectors
  • Superior design for a portable projector

At $1,299 /  £1,299 / AU$2,499, the LG CineBeam Q is pricier than regular HD portable projectors such as Samsung’s The Freestyle 2nd Gen, but less expensive than other 4K portables such as the Anker Nebula Cosmos Laser 4K. And while its overall picture quality is very good, brightness is limited, and there’s no battery power option for true portability.

The LG CineBeam Q scores value points for having an all-metal exterior as opposed to the cheap plastic casings used for most portable projectors. If you’re looking for a portable projector with a classy design that you can leave out in your living room when not in use, the LG is one of the few worth consideration. If that’s not the case, you can easily find cheaper models, though they’ll have a less attractive design and a less impressive picture.

  • Value score: 4 / 5

LG Cinebeam Q projector on table with power supply

With no built-in battery, the CineBeam Q relies on an external power brick for power (Image credit: Future)

Should you buy the LG CineBeam Q 4K projector?

Buy it if...

Don’t buy it if… 

Also consider...

Anker Nebula Cosmos Laser 4K
This powerful portable has a laser-based light engine with a whopping 2,400 lumens brightness, though it costs significantly more than the LG. It also has an appealing design, though there’s no built-in battery for easy outdoor use. See our full Anker Nebula Cosmos Laser 4K review.

LG Cinebeam Q projector

(Image credit: Future)

How I tested the LG CineBeam Q

  • Tested at home, in a room with controlled light where I always test projectors
  • Measurements were made using Calman color calibration software
  • A 1.1 gain Stewart Filmscreen Cima matte white projection screen was used for evaluation and measurements

When I test projectors, my first step is to use it for casual viewing to assess the out-of-box picture presets. The next step is to select the most accurate-looking preset (typically labeled Filmmaker, Movie or Cinema) and measure the white balance (grayscale), gamma, and color point accuracy using Portrait Displays’ Calman color calibration software. The resulting measurements provide Delta-E values (the margin of error between the test pattern source and what’s shown on-screen) for each category, and allow for an assessment of the projector’s s overall accuracy.

Along with those tests, I make measurements of peak light output (recorded in nits) for both standard high-definition and 4K high dynamic range using a 10% white window pattern. Coverage of DCI-P3 and BT.2020 color space is also measured, with the results providing a sense of how faithfully the projector can render the extended color range in ultra high-definition sources. The final measurements are contrast ratio, which is the ratio of the brightest white to the darkest black that the projector can display, and input lag, which is measured using a Leo Bodnar 4K HDMI input lag tester.

The LG CinemaBeam provides a full range of adjustments to calibrate its picture, although its Filmmaker mode preset is accurate enough that most people will find it to be perfectly adequate. For my evaluation I calibrated the LG’s picture and relied on both reference 4K Blu-ray discs and streaming via AirPlay 2 to test its performance in the Filmmaker and Standard preset picture modes.

My projector testing experience spans almost three decades, going back to the early three-gun CRT models.

First reviewed: April, 2024

BenQ X3100i review: a potent 4K projector for gaming and movies
10:14 pm | April 9, 2024

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

BenQ X3100i 4K projector: one-minute review

The BenQ X3100i is the company’s latest top-of-the-line gaming projector and boasts a 4K DLP chip that can switch to 1080p to deliver a highly responsive 240Hz refresh rate. Between that and its bright 4LED light source, this $2,399  (around £1,900 / AU$3,690) projector has plenty to distinguish it among the best 4K projectors.

It all comes packed into a somewhat stylish, albeit plastic cube that is at least trendier than the many office space-esque projectors on the market. With plenty of setup options and optical adjustments, the X3100I is a powerful projection system with an edge over some of its more fashionably built competitors.

The X3100i won’t be the best option for folks who prioritize watching TV and movies, but it does a great job at that task. And given its gaming chops, it’s an easy choice for gamers who also want a home theater projector.

BenQ X3100i 4K projector review: price and release date

  •  Release date: November 2023  
  • MSRP:  $2,399 (around £1,900 / AU$3,690)

The BenQ X3100i is available now for $2,399 (around £1,900 / AU$3,690). It’s still a very recent model, so it hasn’t seen major price shifts or deals during sales events.

BenQ X3100i on table facing front

The BenQ X3100i is large for a portable projector but can be easily moved from room to room (Image credit: Future)

BenQ X3100i 4K projector review: Specs

BenQ X3100i close up of manual controls

Manual controls let you dial in focus, zoom, and vertical lens shift (Image credit: Future)

BenQ X3100i 4K projector review: design and features

  • Good, but not stunning looks
  • Flexible optical adjustments
  • Potent speakers

The BenQ X3100i is a modestly sized cube of a projector, with almost square dimensions. BenQ adds a touch of style by using an interesting pattern of cutouts for venting plus a dark finish on the front that’s accented in orange. That said, it’s virtually identical to the earlier BenQ X3000i and X1300i. It’s hard to ignore that the projector’s chassis is made from plastic — similar to any office projector — but the X3100i’s design flourishes give it a bit more visual appeal than models from Epson or Optoma.

For some projectors, a more stylish design has meant fewer optical controls, but BenQ hasn’t omitted them. It has a physical dial to vertically shift the lens, plus optical zoom and focus control rings. Digital adjustments are becoming commonplace on projectors, but these sacrifice actual picture resolution, which is why the BenQ X3100i’s optical adjustments are a great addition. It does have digital keystone adjustments, but since these add latency, hardcore gamers had best avoid them.

BenQ’s setup features don’t stop there. The projector has two adjustable feet up front to help angle it just right. Cleverly, it includes attachable feet and a rubber bumper should you want to set the projector upside down someplace like a high shelf. Since there’s a vertical offset to the lens, high placements require the X3100i to be upside-down, and these design features let you do that without having to opt for ceiling mounting. 

BenQ includes a fairly basic remote for easy navigation of the projector's menus and the menus of an attached streaming stick. The side panel controls are handy if you can’t find your remote and want to make adjustments in a pinch, but they’re cheap-feeling and not very responsive.

The included streaming stick is a basic Android TV dongle that tucks into a compartment inside the projector with a built-in HDMI port and a micro USB power connector. Annoyingly, It doesn’t come pre-installed, forcing you to unscrew the projector’s top cover to insert it.

The battery compartment of the included remote control is also difficult to get into. BenQ stretched the cover across almost the remote’s whole length, and it's tricky to grasp it.

In addition to the internal HDMI port, the BenQ X3100i includes two more HDMI ports on the rear, including one that supports eARC. There are also 3.5mm analog and optical digital audio outputs, so your connection options are well covered. The projector’s built-in speakers are surprisingly potent and they provided impactful sound before maxing out in my 200-square-foot room.

  • Design and features score: 3.5/5

BenQ X3100i showing Avatar 2 on screen

The BenQ's focus is on gaming performance, but it also does a great job displaying movies (Image credit: Future)

BenQ X3100i 4K projector review: picture and sound quality

  • Bright 4K picture
  • Flexible and responsive gaming options
  • Somewhat finicky HDR

The BenQ X3100i’s compact size hides mighty capabilities. A 4LED light source pipes out a rated 3,300 ANSI Lumens, working with a single DLP chip to produce a bright, crisp, and colorful 4K image. Movies and TV look awesome with this projector, especially when viewed on a 100-inch or larger screen. 

If you want to make the most of it, you’ll want to pair the BenQ X3100i with a different streaming stick such as the Roku Streaming Stick Plus or Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max. The included one didn’t seem to deliver HDR, and a third-party option was also inconsistent when displaying movies and shows with HDR, taking a lot of fussing around to get the projector’s settings right. 

All the same, the BenQ X3100i is up to the task of providing a killer image. It may not deliver the same rich color as triple-laser projectors like the Hisense PX2 Pro, which shoots for full coverage of the huge Rec. 2020 color space, but its color is still impressive. (BenQ's specifications cite 100% UHDA-P3 color space coverage.)

Gaming performance is a key aspect of the BenQ X3100i, which can run 4K at 60Hz or 1080p at 240Hz. With that option, if I wanted luscious visuals, I could select 4K, and then if getting sweaty in Overwatch 2, flip over to 240Hz mode. The projector’s DLP chip is incredibly responsive. Whipping around the battlefield and snapping at different targets was a breeze, and it was made all the better by the fact that targets can be downright huge with a large projected image.

Regardless of what picture mode I used (save the unsightly Bright setting), the BenQ maintained a relatively consistent noise level, with fans whirring quietly and never ramping up madly to disrupt my experience.

  • Picture quality score: 4/5

BenQ X3100i 4K projector review: value

  • $2,399 is premium territory
  • Respectable capabilities for the price

The BenQ X3100i may not be a class leader in any category, but it’s a flexible option that finds ways to give you more for your money and is a respectable projector for home theaters and gaming dens alike. Its $2,399 price tag may put it at odds with other projectors that can game or entertain equally well, but few can do both at the level BenQ achieves here.

  • Value score: 4.5/5

BenQ X3100i hidden compartment for streaming stick

The hidden compartment that holds the included Android TV streaming dongle (Image credit: Future)

Should I buy the BenQ X3100i 4K projector?

BenQ X3100i Android TV interface

The X3100i's Android TV smart interface provides popular streaming apps including Netflix (Image credit: Future)

Buy it if...

Don’t buy it if… 

Also consider...

Hisense PX2 Pro
Ultra short throw projectors like the Hisense PX2 Pro are a great option if you want a big image from a setup that takes up minimal space. It's not the same gaming powerhouse as the BenQ X3100i, but it does look great with both games and movies. Here's our full Hisense PX2 Pro review.

BenQ X3100i showing first person shooter game onscreen

(Image credit: Future)

How I tested the BenQ X3100i 4K projector

  • Tested at home in multiple, real-world viewing conditions
  • Viewed with a variety of media and formats
  • I have tested numerous projectors and displays over the last half-decade

I tested the BenQ X3100i at home, in real-world conditions. This saw it challenged by ambient light coming in from numerous windows, in-room lighting, and ambient noise that the projector and its speaker system had to overcome. The projector was tested both on a bare, white wall and with an Akia Screens CineWhite screen and was presented with streamed HDR and non-HDR content, as well as PC gameplay. 

My testing evaluates the projector’s performance with respect to its price and competition from other models that I and my colleagues at TechRadar have tested.

I have been testing projectors since 2021 and displays for even longer. 

First reviewed: April 2024

Cloverlane Hybrid Mattress review
5:00 pm | March 24, 2024

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

Cloverlane Mattress: two-minute review

The Cloverlane Mattress debuted in late 2023 as Resident Sleep's new luxury label. (Resident is the company behind Nectar and DreamCloud – two of the best mattress brands around.) It's available as a hybrid or all-foam bed and comes with three firmness levels: Plush Soft, Luxury Firm, or Firm). 

For one month, I slept on a twin Cloverlane Hybrid Mattress in Plush Soft, which is deemed the best level of firmness for pressure relief. In addition to my experience, I asked four volunteers to nap on it as well and conducted a series of objective tests. My full Cloverlane Mattress review is below but if you're short on time, here's the abridged version...

Cloverlane Mattress in reviewer's bedroom

(Image credit: Future)

The Cloverlane either has a bed of 8-inch wrapped coils surrounded by dense foam (hybrid) or a 9-inch foam core (memory foam). The core of the Cloverlane Mattress influences its level of firmness. Both versions of the Cloverlane Mattress have multiple foam layers, a latex lumbar support strip, and a polyester-blend cover.

My fellow testers and I found the Plush Soft Cloverlane Hybrid most suitable for side sleeping, but it has a firmer-than-advertised feel. You'll need to give it at least a month before you start to feel more settled into it – and even then, it may still feel firm. Fortunately, you get 365 nights to break this mattress in.

The Cloverlane's lumbar support system – a half-inch thick strip of latex and specialized quilting in the center of the bed – kept me from waking up with stiffness in my lower back. There's all-over pressure relief with the Plush Soft Cloverlane Hybrid, which increases the more you sleep on it.

My drop tests showed that the Cloverlane Hybrid has above-average motion isolation. That result is likely to be even better with the Cloverlane Memory Foam Mattress. However, the hybrid should sleep cooler than the foam version since it has springs to increase airflow along with the breathable cover and 16 brass air vents. (I didn't overheat with my Cloverlane Hybrid at all.)

Cloverlane Mattress

(Image credit: Resident)

Edge support, however, was hit-or-miss on my twin test unit. I found the Cloverlane Hybrid supportive enough to keep me from rolling off the bed when I rolled too close to the edges, but some of my testers didn't feel as steady when sitting along the middle perimeter. This could be a different story on larger versions of the bed, but I believe sturdy edges should be a feature of any mattress, regardless of size.

Does the Cloverlane Hybrid do enough to overtake the Saatva Classic as TechRadar's #1 mattress? I don't think so. The Cloverlane is a comfortable bed but it's not meticulously hand-crafted like the Saatva. (The Cloverlane still comes in a box, despite arriving flat.)  The polyester-blend cover doesn't feel as luxe as the organic cotton cover that kept our reviewer comfortably cool in our Saatva Classic mattress review.

The Cloverlane Mattress is always on sale for up to $700 off – a queen-size goes for $1,499 in either hybrid or memory foam. (This is interesting to point out because hybrid mattresses generally cost more than their foam-only counterparts.) It comes with White Glove Delivery plus optional mattress disposal, a one-year risk-free trial, and a lifetime warranty.

Cloverlane Mattress review: Design & materials

  • Available as a 15-inch hybrid or all-foam mattress
  • Support coils affect the Cloverlane's firmness level
  • More utilitarian than luxurious but still well-made

The Cloverlane comes in one height (15 inches), two builds (hybrid and memory foam), and three firmness levels (Plush Soft, Luxury Firm, and Firm). The Plush Soft Cloverlane Hybrid is what's being reviewed here.  

The bottom half of the mattress either has 8-inch wrapped coils surrounded by a dense foam wall for edge support or a 9-inch foam core instead. The core of the mattress influences the level of firmness. On top are 2.5 inches of transitional support foam plus 2 inches of gel-infused memory foam. In between those layers is a half-inch thick strip of latex that runs across the center of the mattress for lumbar support.

The Cloverlane Mattress has a Euro-top: 1.75 inches of plush foam wrapped in a blend of polyester, cotton, and polyethylene. Specialty quilting in the middle third complements the latex lumbar layer.

All of the foams in the Cloverlane Mattress are CertiPUR-US certified, meaning they've been tested for harmful chemicals and the VOC (volatile organic compound) emissions that result in off-gassing odors. (I didn't detect any obvious smell from my Cloverlane Hybrid mattress.) It's unclear whether the Cloverlane Mattresses have fiberglass.

The poly-blend cover isn't uncomfortable, but compared to a luxury mattress with a tufted organic cotton cover (Saatva Classic) or a soft cashmere-blend cover (DreamCloud), the Cloverlane appears less shiny. However, the side-carry handles are a convenient touch, and the 16 brass air vents are a good way to boost airflow.

  • Design score: 4 out of 5

Cloverlane Mattress review: Price & value for money

  • Has been on sale for up to $700 off from the time it launched
  • An upper mid-range mattress, a queen sells for $1,499
  • White Glove Delivery and a risk-free one-year trial

The Cloverlane Mattress has been on sale for up to $700 off from the time it launched late last year. Like most Resident brands, you can ignore the MSRPs. A queen Cloverlane mattress sells for $1,499, which is right on the border between TechRadar's upper mid-range and premium pricing brackets. Prices are the same for the all-foam version of the Cloverlane.

Here is the official sale pricing for the Cloverlane Mattress, at time of writing:

  • Twin MSRP: $1,199 (usually on sale for $699)
  • Twin XL MSRP: $1,499 (usually on sale for $999)
  • Full MSRP: $1,999 (usually on sale for $1,399)
  • Queen MSRP: $2,199 (usually on sale for $1,499)
  • King MSRP: $2,699 (usually on sale for $1,999)
  • California king MSRP: $2,699 (usually on sale for $1,999)

Add-ons include a specialty cooling cover with extra heat-wicking fibers for $199 and a discounted bedding bundle with down pillows, percale sheets, and a mattress pad from $199 (up to a $696 value).

Compared to the Saatva Classic, you're paying about $200 to $400 less, depending on the type of Saatva mattress sale running at the moment. That's not a significant differential. Cloverlane and Saatva both offer a one-year trial, a lifetime warranty, and free White Glove Delivery with optional mattress removal. (Saatva also adds foundation removal.)  Cloverlane offers free returns, while Saatva charges a $99 fee.

Among the broader luxury mattress market, Cloverlane's extras make it an excellent value for money. Side-by-side with the Saatva Classic, however, the difference is negligible. If you have the money to spare, I'd recommend just going for the luxe, handcrafted Saatva and its free mattress and foundation removal. Otherwise, the Cloverlane is a sound choice if you want to spend a few hundred dollars less.

  • Value for money score: 4.5 out of 5

Cloverlane Mattress review: Comfort & support

  • Expect a firmer-than-advertised feel at first
  • However, the mattress starts to soften after a month
  • Endorsed by the American Chiropractic Association for back pain

The Cloverlane Mattress comes in three firmness levels (based on a 10-point firmness scale):

  • Plush Soft (4): Side sleepers, lightweight sleepers, maximum pressure relief
  • Luxury Firm (5-7): Couples, back/combi sleepers, sleepers with back pain
  • Firm (8): Stomach sleepers, heavyweight sleepers, subtle pressure relief

For the first half of my month-long testing period, my Plush Soft Cloverlane Hybrid Mattress felt decidedly firm. I double-checked the mattress tag and my order details to make sure I knew what I was sleeping on. However, by the fourth and final week, I noticed more give around my shoulders and hips. It still wasn't supremely plush – and I definitely wouldn't rate it a 4 out of 10 on the firmness scale – but it's slightly softer than when I first laid on it. 

I'm not the only one who noticed this, either. One of my lightweight volunteers tried my Plush Soft Cloverlane Hybrid Mattress twice. During her initial trial in week two, she rated it a 10 out of 10 on the firmness scale, but when she tried it again during week four, she knocked that down to a 9 and said she felt more settled. You'll need to make the most of your year-long trial because the Cloverlane may take quite a while to fully break in.

Cloverlane Mattress in reviewer's bedroom

(Image credit: Future)

But is the Cloverlane Mattress comfortable otherwise? My fellow testers and I think so. I rate the Plush Soft Hybrid I tested the best for side sleeping for its pressure relief from the top foam layers. I was also comfortable stomach sleeping, particularly during the first couple of weeks when it was much firmer. If you strictly sleep on your stomach, though, choose the Cloverlane Firm.

Most of the back sleepers in my group liked the Plush Soft Cloverlane Hybrid Mattress but you'll want to go for the Luxury Firm version for the best balance of support and relief. One of my older back sleepers with arthritis, who tried my Plush Soft Cloverlane Hybrid during week three, said she would have liked more lumbar support.

Cloverlane Mattress in reviewer's bedroom

(Image credit: Future)

To objectively test the Cloverlane Hybrid's pressure relief, I placed a 50lb weight at the center of the mattress, where it sank about three inches. That seems on-brand for a Plush Soft hybrid mattress. Moving the weight towards the bottom half of the mattress yielded a similar level of sinkage. 

Is the Cloverlane a good mattress for back pain? After transitioning from the Saatva RX – which is one of the best mattresses for back pain I've ever slept on – I think the Cloverlane's latex lumbar strip and specialty quilting do a good job of picking up where the Saatva left off for me. I didn't wake up with any stiffness or pain in my lower lumbar at any point during testing. By the way – the Cloverlane Hybrid is endorsed by the American Chiropractic Association.

Cloverlane Mattress review: performance

  • Will keep most sleepers at a comfortable temperature
  • Absorbs most movement well – good for couples
  • Edge support is a mixed bag

For one month, I slept on a slept on a twin Cloverlane Hybrid mattress in Plush Soft and asked four adult volunteers of varying body types and sleep preferences to nap on it for at least 15 minutes to help provide a broader perspective. I also tested its temperature regulation, motion isolation, and edge support. Here's what I found...

Temperature regulation

I tested the Cloverlane Hybrid between December 2023 and January 2024, so I endured plenty of frigid nights. Of course, I kept the heat running (around 72 degrees F) and layered up with a polyester blanket and a mid-weight polyester comforter atop my 100% cotton sheets.

Cloverlane Mattress in reviewer's bedroom

(Image credit: Future)

The Cloverlane Hybrid did a good job of maintaining temperature-neutral sleep throughout the month I slept on it. I wouldn't say it's profoundly cooling but I'm willing to bet it's more breathable than the all-foam Cloverlane Mattress. (It's a hybrid, after all.) If you deal with regular night sweats, you can add a specialty cover with extra heat-wicking material for $199 more.

Still, the Cloverlane Mattress is built with breathability in mind. In addition to the aforementioned cover, there are 16 hand-installed brass vents along the base to boost airflow. (The vents are on the hybrid and memory foam versions.) It may not have the same effect as a dedicated cooling mattress but for most people, the Cloverlane Mattress should be comfortable enough.

  • Temperature regulation score: 4 out of 5

Motion isolation

To test the motion isolation of my twin-size Cloverlane Hybrid, I performed a drop test with an empty wine glass and a 10lb weight. I dropped the weight from six inches above the surface from three distances to simulate three levels of motion transfer. In addition to that, I also noticed how quickly the weight settled.

When I dropped the weight from four inches away, the glass fell over. I repeated this drop for insurance and the glass didn't drop but it did wobble quite a bit. These results suggest that it's perhaps not the best choice for couples with a restless partner.

Fortunately, the empty glass remained steady when I dropped the weight from 12 and 25 inches away. This means you're unlikely to be disturbed if your partner gets in or out of bed. Meanwhile, the 10lb weight settled into the surface after a few short bounces, indicating good absorption of movement. 

The all-foam version of the Cloverlane likely performs even better here, but the Cloverlane Hybrid has a nice bouncy rhythm while maintaining a low level of motion transfer. Either way, I think the Cloverlane Mattress will allow most couples to sleep uninterrupted.

  • Motion isolation score: 4 out of 5

Edge support

To test the edge support of my Plush Soft Cloverlane Hybrid mattress, I placed a 50lb weight on the middle perimeter, where it sank about three inches. It was the same result when I put the weight at the very foot of the bed. That's the same level of sinkage I measured at the center of the bed – which is usually a good thing, but that's quite a deep drop for the edges.

Cloverlane Mattress in reviewer's bedroom

(Image credit: Future)

Among my fellow testers, opinions were mixed. Along the middle, my lighter and taller volunteers said they were comfortable but the shorter sleepers in my group felt unsteady. (Everyone felt at ease sitting at the foot of the bed.) Meanwhile, I tend to roll toward the edge when I sleep, but the Cloverlane's edges kept me from falling overboard.

Of course, I can only speak for a twin-sized Plush Soft Cloverlane Hybrid. There's a possibility larger, firmer versions perform better here. There currently aren't any reviews that mention the Cloverlane's edge support. But if you want a mattress that's known for strong edges on even the smallest bed sizes, read my Awara Natural Hybrid mattress review, which I also tested in a twin.

  • Edge support score: 3.5 out of 5

Cloverlane Mattress review: Customer service

  • Arrives flat but still comes in a box
  • Includes White Glove Delivery and mattress removal
  • One-year trial with free returns

The Cloverlane Mattress arrives flat via free White Glove Delivery. The most I had to do was schedule a delivery time, which was not the smoothest experience. However, your mileage may vary here as you'll be dealing with a local logistics company. Fortunately, the day of the delivery went off without a hitch as the delivery crew arrived right on time. The whole process took less than 10 minutes, and that even included the free mattress removal. 

Interestingly, my Cloverlane Hybrid arrived flat but still came in a box. The two delivery drivers removed my mattress from a giant brown box from the back of their truck before taking it into my home. I peeked at the mattress tag, which says it was manufactured in August 2024. I received my mattress in December 2024, about four months later. Despite that, my Cloverlane Hybrid Mattress didn't have an obvious off-gassing smell, and it was ready to sleep on right away. It's not your typical bed-in-a-box. 

The Cloverlane comes with a one-year warranty, with free returns if you're not happy with it. There's also a lifetime warranty, which includes a free replacement with a factory defect for the first 10 years you own the mattress. Beyond that, you'll just have to pay a $50 transportation fee each way for repairs.

  • Customer service score: 4.5 out of 5

Cloverlane Mattress review: Specs

Should you buy the Cloverlane Mattress?

Buy it if...

You have a bad back: Between the free in-room delivery and the specialized lumbar support, the Cloverlane should relieve many sleepers with back pain. I didn't wake up with stiffness in my lower back throughout my month of sleeping on the Cloverlane Hybrid. The American Chiropractic Association gives it its seal of approval.

You want to customize your comfort: The Cloverlane is available as a hybrid (reviewed here) or all-foam mattress in three firmness levels. There's no price difference between the two types of builds, either, which is rare. (Hybrids are usually more expensive than foam beds.)

You want a bed that's easy to move: The side carry handles will make rotating your mattress much less of a challenge. They're also handy if you move house often or like to rearrange your space regularly.

Don't buy it if...

You can afford a Saatva: The Saatva Classic boasts better craftsmanship and a more sumptuous appearance than the Cloverlane Mattress. If you have enough for Saatva, make that your choice. It's only about $200 to $400 more than either version of the Cloverlane Mattress. Plus, Saatva offers free mattress and foundation removal.

You don't want a bed with a long break-in period: My Plush Soft Cloverlane Hybrid was definitely firm at first, and one month later I'd downgrade it to a medium-firm. You'll need to be patient and allow yourself time to fully break this mattress in. Fortunately, Cloverlane gives you a year to do that.

You'd rather buy a mattress without fiberglass: Cloverlane doesn't make it clear if it uses fiberglass in its mattresses. If you're sensitive to fiberglass or simply don't want to sleep on a bed that has it, check out our vetted list of the best fiberglass-free mattresses.

Cloverlane Mattress review: Also consider

The DreamCloud Mattress
This is the most affordable luxury mattress out there, with a queen going for as low as $665 in recent DreamCloud mattress sales. You'll lose out on the free White Glove Delivery but you'll still get a one-year trial, a lifetime warranty, and free shipping and returns. It comes in one medium-firm comfort level that's comfortable for back sleeping. Motion isolation is ace, as well.
Read more: DreamCloud mattress review

Helix Dusk Luxe Mattress
If you want a softer mattress with a shorter break-in period than the Cloverlane, check out the Helix Dusk Luxe. It has a medium comfort level that our reviewer says gives it "a cloud-like feel and lots of support" for back and front sleepers. (Side sleepers may fare better with the deep pressure relief of the Helix Midnight Luxe.) A queen normally sells for $1,780 after 20% off. It comes with a 15-year warranty and a 100-night trial.
Read more: Helix Dusk Luxe mattress review

Saatva Classic Mattress
The Saatva Classic is Cloverlane's main rival. This handcrafted mattress comes in three firmness levels and two heights. You won't find much foam but there are two layers of wrapped coils, an organic cotton Euro pillow-top, and a dedicated lumbar zone (which includes a strip of memory foam). If you have the money for it, buy the Saatva since there's not that huge of a price difference – but if you want a bed with better motion isolation and more foam, consider the Cloverlane.
Read more: Saatva Classic mattress review

How I tested the Cloverlane Mattress

I slept on a twin Cloverlane Hybrid mattress in Plush Firm every night for one month between December 2023 and January 2024. My review is a combination of real-world experience and objective tests.

In addition to my perspective as a 5-foot-4, 145lb side/stomach sleeper with a lower back issue, I asked four adult volunteers to nap on the Cloverlane for at least 15 minutes in their usual positions. Our testers ranged in size from 5ft 4 and 125lbs to 6ft and 185lbs, and one of them deals with arthritis. 

It's another cold winter here, so I'll sometimes add a polyester blanket to my regular setup: a mid-weight polyester blend comforter and 100% cotton sheets. My bedroom temperature is usually around 72 degrees F.

  • First reviewed: February 2024
Samsung The Freestyle 2nd Gen review: the best portable projector gets even better
2:00 pm | February 25, 2024

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

Samsung The Freestyle 2nd Gen: one-minute review

Samsung’s first The Freestyle projector created quite the buzz with its compact, cylindrical form and superior streaming capabilities compared to other portable projectors. Notably, it featured the same Tizen smart TV interface found in the company’s TVs, which let viewers easily stream from a wide range of apps while also allowing for voice control via Samsung’s Bixby or Amazon Alexa voice assistants. Beyond that, the original The Freestyle could beam images as large as 100 inches, and it provided auto focus and keystone adjustments to quickly align pictures on any surface you pointed it at. We liked it so much when we tested it, that it rocketed to the top of our list of the best portable projectors.

The Freestyle 2nd Gen doesn’t stray too far from the original, but does get a key update with Samsung’s Gaming Hub, a section of the smart interface that houses a range of cloud-based gaming services such as Xbox, Nvidia GeForce Now, Utomik, and more. This new feature lets you pair the projector with wireless gaming controllers and play premium games without having to connect a physical console – something the Freestyle 2nd Gen’s single micro-HDMI connection doesn’t make easy anyway.

Samsung offers a range of accessories to pair with its portable, including a rechargeable battery base that will give you around 3 hours of playback time and an adaptor to plug it into a standard ceiling light socket for power. While most users won’t need to have images beamed down from the ceiling onto a table or floor, having that capability is just one of the things that makes the Freestyle 2nd Gen a more flexible and fun option than typical projectors.

The Freestyle 2nd Gen’s LED light source provides only limited brightness, which means you’ll get the best picture when viewing in a dim room, or at nighttime if viewing outdoors. Even in those conditions, the projector’s picture lacks the detail and punchy contrast you can expect from the best 4K projectors, making it more of a convenient means to project a big image than a high-quality one. But the Freestyle Gen 2’s compact design and excellent feature set still make it a great portable projector, one that will easily fit in your backpack.

Samsung The Freestyle 2nd Gen Review: price and release date

  • Release date: August 2023
  • MSRP: $799 / £649

Samsung’s The Freestyle 2nd Gen sells for $799 /  £649. At this writing it is not currently available in Australia, and availability appear to be limited in the UK. The $799 list price is somewhat high compared to other 1080p HD-res compact portable projectors, though it does offer some unique features not found in the competition such as Samsung’s Gaming Hub. 

The Freestyle 2nd Gen gets regular discounts during holiday sales events, where it sells for around $599. That price makes Samsung’s portable projector a much better value than at its $799 list price, so sales are worth seeking out and waiting for.

Samsung The Freestyle 2nd Gen Gaming Hub interface

The new Samsung Gaming Hub interface (Image credit: Future)

Samsung The Freestyle 2nd Gen Review: Specs

Samsung The Freestyle 2nd Gen on table with battery base

Samsung's optional battery base accessory provides around 3 hours of power before needing a recharge (Image credit: Future)

Samsung The Freestyle 2nd Gen Review: design and features

  • Compact and lightweight design
  • Tizen smart TV interface for streaming
  • Samsung Gaming hub for cloud-based gaming

The Freestyle 2nd Gen sports the same white cylinder form factor as its predecessor. At just 1.8 pounds, it’s easy to tote around the house and is compact enough to easily stash in a backpack. An included cradle stand rotates 180 degrees and can be tilted 90 degrees, giving you plenty of flexibility as to where you beam images, ceilings included. 

Samsung includes a SolarCell remote control that doesn’t require batteries (as the name suggests, it draws energy from available light sources, as well as from your home’s wireless network) and the projector can also be controlled via Samsung’s Bixby or Amazon Alexa voice commands. Such commands can be executed by pressing and holding the Mic button on the remote, but the projector also has built-in far-field mics for hands-free voice control.

The single-chip DLP projector uses an LED light source that Samsung specs for 30,000 hours of use. Auto focus and keystone adjustments let you position the projector even at extreme angles from the wall or other surface you’re projecting on and The Freestyle 2nd Gen’s image will automatically align itself to a 16:9 aspect ratio. Those adjustments can also be carried out manually (and in many cases you'll want to tweak the keystone and focus settings), and there’s the option to shrink the image to a smaller size without physically moving the projector.

Samsung offers a range of accessories to use with The Freestyle 2nd Gen. A socket adaptor lets you plug the projector into a light socket, and is mainly intended for projecting from the ceiling onto a floor or table. There’s also a battery base, which provides several hours of charge and lets you use the projector indoors or out without having to connect to power. A carrying case is another accessory and one that will protect The Freestyle 2nd Gen if you’re bringing it outdoors or to another location.

The Freestyle 2nd Gen is all about streaming and features the same Tizen smart interface found in the company’s TVs. This provides pretty much any streaming app you could want and also has Samsung’s Gaming Hub onboard for cloud-based gaming from services such as Xbox, Nvidia GeForce Now, Utomik, and others. The projector uses the somewhat dated Wi-Fi 5 standard for streaming, although I didn’t have any issues during my time with it.

As a streaming-centric projector, connections on The Freestyle 2nd Gen are limited to micro-HDMI. No HDMI-to-micro-HDMI cables or adaptors are included, so, like me, you’ll probably need to order one online to be able to plug in an external gaming console, Blu-ray player, or other HDMI source. The micro-HDMI connection supports HDMI-ARC, which allows you to connect it to a soundbar or other audio system. Another option is Bluetooth, with dual Bluetooth supported for both wireless input and output connections, and there’s also wireless app casting from iPhones and Android phones.

Samsung calls The Freestyle 2nd Gen’s built-in 5-watt audio system “360 Degree” sound, and during my use, it did provide surprisingly spacious sound, although with unsurprisingly limited bass. The projector can also do double-duty as a wireless speaker for streaming music via AirPlay or Bluetooth, boosting its already impressive features list.

  • Design and features score: 4.5/5

Samsung The Freestyle 2nd Gen beaming picture at screen

With The Freestyle 2nd Gen, you'll get the best picture quality results when viewing  in a dark room (Image credit: Future)

Samsung The Freestyle 2nd Gen review: picture quality

  • Limited brightness
  • Relatively accurate Movie picture mode
  • Plentiful picture adjustments

Lower-cost LED-based portable projectors typically don’t put out a very bright image, and having seen The Freestyle 2nd Gen in action before starting this review, I knew I would have to temper my expectations. With the picture blown up to maximum size on a 100-inch screen, it was noticeably dim, even when viewed in a completely dark room. Using an ambient light rejecting screen with 0.8 gain, I measured a mere 7.3 nits in Dynamic mode on a 10 percent white window test pattern, and 6.6 nits in Movie mode. By way of comparison, a standard home theater projector such as the BenQ v5000i ultra short throw model I recently tested can deliver 125 nits under the same circumstances.

Image brightness got a boost when I positioned the projector for a smaller picture (there is no zoom lens, though images can be digitally scaled to a smaller size), though it still seemed relatively dim. Picture contrast was decent, with blacks in images showing a good degree of depth, though shadows lacked detail, appearing as more of a dark gray mass.

Colors were most accurate in the Movie picture mode. With that selected, I measured color Delta-E (the margin of error between the test pattern source and what’s shown on-screen) at 5, and the grayscale Delta-E at 14.1. They were notably less so in the Standard and Dynamic modes, but even so, I preferred Standard because it provided a slight brightness advantage over Movie. Watching Asteroid City streamed on Amazon Prime, the film’s hyped-up color scheme came through with all its garishness intact, though there was also a softness to the picture, which was being downscaled to the projector’s native 1080p format.

The projector supports HDR10+, HDR10, and HLG high dynamic range, but I didn’t see much of a picture quality difference when viewing in HDR from standard HD format – something the above peak brightness measurements, which were taken with the projector displaying in HDR backs up. As for other measurements, Samsung’s projector managed 88.5% P3 color space and 68.9% BT.2020 color space coverage, and input lag was 62ms with Game mode active. That last number is a relatively high one compared to what you’ll see from the best gaming TVs, as well as certain projectors such as the BenQ v5000i, though I didn’t have any issues when playing Xbox games in Samsung Gaming Hub.

  • Picture quality score: 3.5/5

Samsung The Freestyle 2nd Gen inputs section

Side-panel connections include one HDMI with eARC and a USB-C port for power (Image credit: Future)

Samsung The Freestyle 2nd Gen Review: value

  • Pricier than portable competition
  • Frequently gets discounts
  • Enhanced value for gamers

At its $799 / £649 list price, the Freestyle 2nd Gen sits in an awkward spot value-wise. It costs twice as much as other portable 1080p LED projectors with similar brightness specs such as the Anker Nebula Solar Portable. And spending around $1,000 more will get you a 4K model with a significantly brighter laser light engine such as the Anker Nebula Cosmos Laser 4K.

If you find the Freestyle 2nd Gen selling at a discounted price, while still not cheap, it’s value gets a boost. The main advantages Samsung’s projector holds over similar models are its highly flexible setup options, easy portability, and superior smart interface for streaming and gaming. If limited brightness won’t be a big factor in your buying decision, there’s plenty to recommend the Freestyle 2nd Gen.

  • Value score: 3.5/5

Samsung The Freestyle 2nd Gen remote control held in hand

The projector's remote features a built-in mic for voice commands (Image credit: Future)

Should I buy the Samsung The Freestyle 2nd Gen?

Samsung The Freestyle 2nd Gen close up of lens and controls

(Image credit: Future)

Buy it if...

Don’t buy it if… 

Also consider...

Anker Nebula Cosmos Laser 4K
This powerful portable has a laser-based light engine with a whopping 2,400 lumens brightness, though it costs more than twice what you’ll pay for the Samsung. It also has a stunning design, though there’s no built-in battery for easy outdoor use.

Read our full Anker Nebula Cosmos Laser 4K review

Samsung The Freestyle 2nd Gen smart interface

(Image credit: Future)

How I tested the Samsung The Freestyle 2nd Gen

  • I spent about 5 hours in total measuring and evaluating
  • Measurements were made using Calman color calibration software
  • Used with an Elite Screens Kestrel Tab-Tension 2 CLR 3 projection screen

When I test a projector, my first step is to spend a few days using it for casual viewing for break-in and to assess the out-of-box picture presets. The next step is to select the most accurate-looking preset (typically labeled Filmmaker, Movie or Cinema) and measure the white balance (grayscale), gamma, and color point accuracy using Portrait Displays’ Calman color calibration software. The resulting measurements provide Delta-E values (the margin of error between the test pattern source and what’s shown on-screen) for each category, and they allow for an assessment of the TV’s overall accuracy.

Along with those tests, I make measurements of peak light output (recorded in nits) for both standard high-definition and 4K high dynamic range using a 10% white window pattern. Coverage of DCI-P3 and BT.2020 color space is also measured, with the results providing a sense of how faithfully the projector can render the extended color range in ultra high-definition sources.

Unlike many portable projectors, the Samsung The Freestyle 2nd Gen provides a full range of adjustments to calibrate its picture. And while most users aren’t likely to bother using these, it’s nice to know they exist. Knowing that Samsung’s portable will almost exclusively be used for casual viewing, I bypassed a calibration and relied on both streaming reference 4K Blu-ray discs to test its performance in the Movie, Standard, and Dynamic preset picture modes

My projector testing experience spans almost three decades, going back to the early three-gun CRT models.

First reviewed: February, 2024

Purple NewDay mattress review: Purple Grid magic, on a budget
5:00 pm | February 4, 2024

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

Purple NewDay mattress mattress review: two-minute review

The Purple NewDay mattress is the brand's most affordable mattress, and delivers comfort and support that more than justifies its upper mid-range price tag. I tested a queen-sized Purple NewDay mattress for three weeks, and as someone who loves a super-supportive mattress, I thoroughly enjoyed sleeping on it. I'd rate it a 7.5 out of 10 on the firmness scale, or medium- firm, and would enthusiastically recommend it to back and stomach sleepers.

A lot of the positive features of this mattress can be attributed to the GelFlex Grid. This layer of GelFlex polymer appears in all of Purple's mattresses, and assists not only with comfort but also temperature regulation and motion isolation capabilities. I've tested a number of mattresses, and this was the first one that made me cold at night, which makes it the ideal buy for hot sleepers. Through motion isolation tests, it was clear that the Purple NewDay absorbs movements very efficiently, too.

The outlines of the grid can be felt through the cover, which gives this mattress an unusual feel, but I didn't find it bothersome in any way. Compared to the original model (which you can read about in detail in our Purple Original Mattress review) you're losing a layer of comfort foam, which does mean this mattress has a lower- than-usual profile, at just eight inches thick.

That shallower design does mean that when I sat near the perimeter of the mattress, I sank to the bedframe. It could also could also have potential drawbacks for those with larger bodies. If either of those things are issues for you, you'll need to stump up for one of the thicker Purple models.

Read on to see the results of my testing and my nightly experience sleeping on the Purple NewDay mattress.

Purple NewDay mattress review: design

  • Eight-inch tall mattress with GelFlex polymer grid layer
  • Base foam layer and foam perimeter to bolster edge support
  • Breathable cover, can be removed but spot-clean only

The Purple NewDay mattress is constructed in the US with hypoallergenic and non-toxic materials that are CertiPUR-US and Clean Air GOLD certified. It's the cheapest and simplest adult mattress in the brand's range – it stands just eight inches tall, which is thin (most mattresses we recommend are a minimum of 10 inches). The other thing to note is that there's a relatively limited range of sizes: just twin, full, queen and king. 

The design starts with a breathable cover that can be removed, but not machine-washed. It's suitable for spot-cleaning with mild detergent only, so you'll likely want to add one of the best mattress protectors

exploded diagram showing internal layers of Purple NewDay mattress

(Image credit: Purple)

The next layer is perhaps the most interesting – a two-inch GelFlex grid. Purple patented this bouncy gridded layer made of GelFlex polymer, and it appears in all of the brand's mattresses. The open structure of the Grid means this layer won't hold on to body heat, keeping you cool at night. The outlines of the grid can be felt through the top cover. Running around the perimeter of the Grid is a foam border, designed to bolster the edge support. 

The last layer is a 6-inch base layer made of polyurethane foam, which maintains the mattress' structural integrity while also providing some support to the GelFlex grid.

Inside the NewDay (left) compared to the Purple Original (center) and Purple Plus (left)

(Left to right) Inside the NewDay, compared to the Purple Original and Purple Plus (Image credit: Purple)

The NewDay is the cheapest of three Essential mattresses at Purple, sitting beneath the Purple Original and Purple Plus. All have a similar design, but as you move up the range, the mattresses get thicker and extra foam layers are added. If you want something more decadent, Purple also has a couple of pricier, fancier ranges: the Restore Hybrid Collection and the Rejuvenate Luxe Collection.

  • Design score: 4 out of 5

Purple NewDay mattress review: Price & value for money

  • Purple's cheapest mattress
  • Upper-mid range at MSRP, sometimes discounted into mid-range
  • Delivers comfort and quality above its price point

The Purple NewDay mattress is the brand's most affordable mattress. Even so, it's an upper mid-range mattress on the wider market, so don't mistake it as a budget mattress by any means. Here are the prices for each size:

  • Twin size: MSRP $695 (sometimes discounted to ~$495)
  • Full size: MSRP $1,199 (sometimes discounted to ~$799)
  • Queen size: MSRP $1,299 (sometimes discounted to ~$999)
  • King size: MSRP $1,599 (sometimes discounted to ~$1,349)

This isn't one of those brands that runs perpetual sales, but if you time it right you can snag a discount – Purple mattress sales run semi-regularly, and can knock up to $400 off, although the discounts tend to vary by size. 

Good times to shop include the Presidents' Day mattress sales in February, the Memorial Day mattress sales in May, the 4th of July mattress sales, the Labor Day mattress sales in September, and of course the Black Friday mattress deals in late November. 

As simple as the design is, I was impressed with the quality of the materials, the feel of the mattress, and how it held up to testing. I think you get what you pay for, if not more, for a decent price when you buy the Purple NewDay.

However, if you're not fixed on the Purple brand's unique feel, then there are plenty of other options in this price bracket, many of which are thicker, with more complex designs and more generous extras. 

  • Value for money score: 4 out of 5

Purple NewDay mattress review: comfort & support

  • Medium-firm sleep surface keeps your body elevated
  • Back and stomach sleepers provided significant support
  • Softens somewhat in the first three weeks

Despite Purple labeling it as 'firm', I think the Purple NewDay mattress is best described as medium-firm and supportive. I'd rate it about a 7.5 out of 10 on the firmness scale, with 10 being rock-solid. Upon first touching the mattress, I was surprised that I could feel the faint outlines of the GelFlex Grid. I could even feel it when lying on the mattress. It did not bother me as I slept.  

The Purple NewDay is a springy mattress that supported my body completely, almost to the point that I felt like I was floating on top of the mattress. Although the NewDay has a medium-firm feel, it is not a hard mattress, and softly contours around my body in a soothing way.

Weight resting on Purple NewDay mattress

(Image credit: Future)

A 15lb dumbbell only sunk half an inch when I placed it in the center. When I removed the weight, the mattress sprung back immediately – don't expect the sink-in feel you'll get with many of the best memory foam mattresses

The Purple NewDay is best suited to back and stomach sleepers. I am 5'5" and 170lbs, and I couldn't sleep on my side the first week that I tested the mattress as my hips didn't sink enough to allow my spine to be aligned (for this reason, the best mattresses for side sleepers tend to be medium or medium-firm). However, over the next two weeks, the mattress softened enough that I could at least fall asleep on my side, though I usually awoke on my back.

Member of testing panel lying on her stomach on Purple NewDay mattress

(Image credit: Future)

A friend who is about 5' 2" and weighs 100lbs also slept on the mattress. She settled onto her back and fell asleep immediately, not waking once in the middle of the night. She also felt the GelFlex Grid and judged the firmness level to be a 7 out of 10. Interestingly, she found sleeping on her side felt equally as comfortable as sleeping on her back. 

Member of testing panel lying on her side on Purple NewDay mattress

(Image credit: Future)

While I believe that the mattress will support some people with larger bodies, I'm inclined to say that because it's only eight inches thick that there might be some who will not find it thick enough to support them completely. See my feedback in the customer reviews section to understand what I mean. 

Purple NewDay mattress review: performance

  • Superb cooling properties that might make you cold
  • Edge support is good but could be better if the mattress was taller
  • Motion isolation exceeds most on the market

To ensure buyers have a full idea of what the Purple NewDay mattress has to offer, I made sure to assess the mattress' temperature regulation, motion isolation capabilities, and the edge support. In addition to running multiple objective tests, I used my own experience sleeping on the mattress, and a friend's feedback, to offer an in-depth overview of what you can expect. Keep reading to learn more about how I got on.

Temperature regulation

I wasn't expecting this mattress to be as cool to the touch as it was. I tested the Purple NewDay in the middle of winter and some nights were so cold that I added more blankets atop the comforter and sheets. I never once got hot. 

Reviewer's hand resting on Purple NewDay mattress

(Image credit: Future)

In fact, the mattress was so cool, I felt it through the sheets, the mattress protector, and my clothes (which were often thick hoodies and sweatpants). This is the only mattress I've tested that has made me cold, and that's likely due to the GelFlex Grid which dissipated my body heat superbly. I'd rate it amongst the best cooling mattresses around.

  • Temperature regulation score: 5 out of 5

Motion isolation

I tested the motion isolation of the Purple NewDay mattress by placing an empty wine glass in the center of the bed. No matter if I dropped a 15lb dumbbell four, 10, or 25 inches away, the wine glass never tipped over. It only wobbled slightly. 

Purple NewDay mattress with weight and wine glass in center

(Image credit: Future)

I also had a friend help with testing by having her get in and out of bed and moving from her stomach to her back. I couldn't feel her move at all. The NewDay will do a fantastic job at isolating motion, no matter how much your partner moves as you sleep.

  • Motion isolation score: 5 out of 5

Edge support

I assumed that the Purple NewDay mattress would have fantastic edge support because the edges are reinforced with support foam. At first, this seemed to be true, – when I placed a 15lb dumbbell along the perimeter, it only sank half an inch. (On most mattresses, it sinks an inch.) However, when I sat on the edges or the end of the mattress, I sank to the bed frame.

Purple NewDay mattress with weight resting on edge

(Image credit: Future)

If the mattress had been thicker – say 10 to 12 inches rather than eight inches tall – that probably would not have happened. Did it make getting in and out of bed more difficult? No. Do I fear slipping off the bed when sleeping? Not at all. But does it knock my opinion of the edge support from perfect to 'good?' Unfortunately, yes.

  • Edge support score: 4 out of 5

Purple NewDay mattress review: customer experience

  • Mattress delivered vacuum-packed, rolled and in a reusable plastic bag
  • Free delivery; no white glove delivery option for this Purple mattress
  • 100-night trial with free returns

All the mattresses I've tested have arrived rolled and vacuum-packed in a cardboard box. The Purple NewDay mattress, however, came in a purple plastic bag with handles. It was raining the day the mattress arrived, so I was glad the mattress wasn't in a cardboard box, as it might have soaked through. I reused the shipping bag by storing my Christmas tree, which I'd just taken down, in the bag.

There are instructions inside the purple bag that inform you exactly which side of the package to place to the right of the foot of your bed, so that when you pull out the mattress, it'll be in the correct position to unfurl. The instructions said to use the provided cutting tool to remove the plastic wrap around the mattress, but my package lacked one.

Use the arrow icons to scroll through the unpacking photos.

Image 1 of 6

Purple NewDay mattress, vacuum-packed and rolled in a reusable plastic bag

The mattress arrived in a reusable plastic bag with handles (Image credit: Future)
Image 2 of 6

Purple NewDay mattress instructions plus two free sleep masks

I received two free eye masks (Image credit: Future)
Image 3 of 6

Purple NewDay mattress unboxing instructions

Purple provides clear unpacking instructions (Image credit: Future)
Image 4 of 6

Purple NewDay mattress vacuum-packed and rolled

The vacuum-packed mattress on my frame, ready to release from its wrappings (Image credit: Future)
Image 5 of 6

Purple NewDay mattress unrolled on the bed frame

The NewDay unrolled but still vacuum-sealed (Image credit: Future)
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Corner of the Purple NewDay mattress as it starts to expand

How the NewDay looked when first released from its wrappings (Image credit: Future)

The mattress unfurled without any off-gassing smells. It took about five hours for the mattress to fully expand and fill out the cover at the corners of the bed, but I was still able to sleep on the mattress on the first night after delivery. 

Buyers receive a 100-night free trial and free returns, as long as they sleep on it for 21 days. A typical 10-year warranty comes with the mattress, too. I should add that shipping is free, however, white glove delivery is not available for this particular Purple mattress.

  • Customer service score: 4 out of 5

Purple NewDay mattress specs

Purple NewDay mattress review: Other reviews

  • 3.8 out of 5-star rating from over 40 reviews (January 2024)
  • Praise for comfort and support
  • Complaints that it's too firm and not thick enough

The Purple NewDay mattress has 40 reviews and a 3.8 out of 5-star rating (at the time of writing this review, January 2024). All 40 reviews are in relation to the Purple NewDay mattress and can be searched through by keyword and star rating. Even more impressive, they can be filtered by categories like 'Best For', 'Preferred Sleep Style', 'Body Type', and 'Size'.

All the reviewers agree – whether they praise or dislike the mattress – that the Purple NewDay is a firm mattress. Most people found the firmness level comfortable and supportive, although there were some who prefer a softer mattress than this one.

Member of testing panel sat on Purple NewDay mattress

(Image credit: Future)

Most people wrote general comments about how much they enjoyed the NewDay and slept better on it than their previous mattresses. Some reviewers were specific in their praise, particularly in how cool the mattress was and its motion isolation capabilities.

There were a few complaints that the mattress was not thick enough by people with larger bodies. For instance, someone that weighed over 300lbs mentioned that their body touched the bed frame when they laid on the mattress. That said, when I compared the reviews of people with larger body sizes, I discovered that the reviews were pretty evenly split in terms of those who liked and disliked the mattress. Generally, if you weigh over 250lbs, you might want to consider investing in a specialist model – we have plenty of recommendations in our guide to the best mattresses for bigger bodies.

Should you buy the Purple NewDay mattress?

Buy it if...

✅ You like to sleep on your back or stomach: This medium-firm mattress will support your hips and lower back no matter if you lie face up or down.

You easily get hot at night: The Purple NewDay is not only cool to the touch, but it regulated my temperature even when I wore sweats to bed under three blankets, one comforter, and microfiber sheets.

You don't want anyone to disturb your sleep at night: The Purple NewDay exceeds most mattresses in terms of motion isolation capabilities. Trust me when I say that you're going to enjoy uninterrupted sleep despite your fidgety partner.

Don't buy it if...

❌ You like a softer mattress: Among the Purple Essential Collection of mattresses, the Purple NewDay mattress is the firmest. If you want a soft, cloud-like mattress – for example, if you're a side sleeper and/or light in body weight – this might not be the best choice for you. 

You prefer taller mattresses: At only eight inches tall, the Purple NewDay mattress is a thin mattress. If you don't like sinking to the bed frame when you sit on the edge, go for the 11-inch-tall Purple Plus Mattress.

You usually sleep on your side: Although this mattress did soften over the course of my testing, it wasn't soft enough to make sleeping on my side the most comfortable.

How I tested the Purple NewDay mattress

For three weeks in December and January, I tested a queen-sized Purple NewDay mattress. At the beginning of the testing period, temperatures were in the high 60s and the low 30s Fahrenheit, but by the end, it had gotten much cooler with temperatures between 20- and 55-degrees Fahrenheit. Some nights it was lower than that. Microfiber sheets and a lightweight comforter covered the bed, though on particularly cold nights, I added a few more blankets. My best friend also slept on the mattress one night, so I considered her feedback, on top of my own, and the standardized tests I ran to assess all of the mattress' features including motion isolation, comfort, and edge support.

Read more about how we test

  • First reviewed: January 2024
Epson EpiqVision Ultra LS650: big brightness from a compact projector
10:00 pm | February 1, 2024

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

Epson EpiqVision Ultra LS650: one-minute review

The Epson EpiqVision Ultra LS650 is a recent mid-range entrant on the ultra short throw projector scene, and it strikes a reasonable balance of performance and features. Its key strength is the brightness delivered by its laser light source combined with Epson’s 3LCD technology. Even when viewing in a bright room, the Epson LS650 is able to provide clear visuals for all sorts of content, making it a more viable option than many other examples of the best ultra short throw projectors for those who don’t have an easy way to dim their viewing space. The potent built-in speaker system is also a good match for the large image the projector can produce. 

There’s a regrettable lack of HDMI ports, with just two, and that limitation is further compounded by an unreliable – verging on faulty – Android TV system for streaming that will more or less require you to use an external video source for most viewing. But for simple home theaters, the Epson EpiqVision Ultra LS650 is mostly up to the task, and the brightness it provides for the price will make it a reasonable choice for many people.

Epson EpiqVision Ultra LS650 review: price and release date

  • Release date: November 2023
  • MSRP: $2,799 (around £2,195 / AU$4,165)

The Epson EpiqVision Ultra LS650 is available now for $2,799 (around £2,195 / AU$4,165), though Its price had previously seen discounts to as low as $2,499 during the 2023 holiday selling season. 

Epson LS650 Android TV interface on screen

Navigating streaming apps using the Epson LS650's Android TV system is painfully slow, making an external streaming stick a must-have option (Image credit: Future)

Epson EpiqVision Ultra LS650 review: Specs

Epson LS650 cllose up showing built-in speakers

The Epson LS650 has powerful built-in speakers for a compact projector (Image credit: Future)

Epson EpiqVision Ultra LS650 review: design and features

  • Sluggish, almost useless Android TV system
  • Good speakers in a convenient, if bland, design
  • Just two HDMI ports can be limiting

The Epson EpiqVision Ultra LS650 is the smaller sibling to the Epson LS800 I tested last year, and in many ways it behaves as such. It’s smaller and lighter, and boasts lower brightness. Fortunately it’s still very bright, and it has powerful speakers that can easily pass muster in a 200-square-foot room. The design is a bit less elegant than the LS800’s, though, with the LS650 looking more like a piece of utilitarian technology. Both black and white color options are available.

Despite its reduced width compared to its big brother, the Epson LS650 has a deep design that may require extra space on a media stand. Even then, with the projector’s 0.26:1 throw ratio, the LS650 may need to sit around a foot out from your wall or screen to deliver the large image it’s best suited to. Wherever you set it, getting it into focus is quick and easy with a dial along the right side of the chassis. There’s a cover for that dial, too, so once it’s in position you can keep it protected from accidental adjustments.

The rear of the projector has only two HDMI 2.0 ports, with one also serving up eARC for connections to an audio system. If you plan to use eARC, it leaves you with just one free port, and that may mean a lot of juggling of connections if you have game consoles, streaming sticks, or any other media sources. Optical digital is an alternative for audio output, but it doesn’t serve up all the audio quality advantages of HDMI eARC. 

While the Epson LS650 uses Android TV for streaming and navigating system menus, it should only be relied on for the latter. There’s generally a delay after startup before the system is responsive, and navigating streaming apps is painfully slow. From there, I found that it invariably runs into an issue where the video begins to sputter terribly and occasionally freeze entirely. The issue was basically non-stop until playback stops, and there’s no quick out as the system’s responsiveness takes a dive in this scenario. Plan on pairing this projector with a separate streaming stick.

  • Design and features score: 3/5

Epson LS650 showing Avatar 2 on screen

The Epson LS650 puts out a bright image with good contrast, though its colors lack some vibrancy (Image credit: Future)

Epson EpiqVision Ultra LS650 review: picture quality

  • Brightness is a match for well-lit rooms
  • Color could use improvement

Like the LS800, the Epson LS650 is exceptionally bright. It may not be as bright as the higher-tier model, but it’s much brighter than a lot of its ultra short throw projector competition. This gives it a considerable leg up when it comes to viewing in rooms with overhead lights or with daylight spilling in through the windows. Darker content doesn’t hold up as well to the daylight, but bright cartoons and sitcoms display wonderfully even in a bright room thanks to the Epson LS650’s powerful laser light source.

The Expanse is a show that basks in the darkness. There are a great many scenes that not only take place in the black of space but the show also has a moody aesthetic that casts a lot of images in darker tones. Thanks to the Epson LS650’s high brightness, even those dark scenes benefitted from high contrast that made them easy to watch without needing to completely black out my room.

The Epson LS650’s brightness does come with a cost, though. It may beat many of the triple-laser competitors it goes up against in terms of light output, but its color is not as rich as on some triple-laser DLP systems like the Hisense PX2-Pro. Plenty of content doesn’t feel left behind, such as sitcoms and non-HDR shows and movies, but when it comes to 4K content with HDR that takes advantage of wider color gamuts, the LS650 simply doesn’t reach as far to render vibrant colors. A prime example was Avatar: The Way of Water’s Na’vi, which came through with just a little less poignancy than on the Hisense PX2-Pro.

Another cost to the brightness is fan noise. The Epson LS650 is plenty bright even without maxing out, but when pushing the brightness above about 80%, the projector kicks its fans into high gear, with an accompanying whiney sound. Short of watching shows with consistent, booming music, you’re going to hear the fans running with the projector at max brightness.

Ultimately, the Epson LS650 delivers a good visual presentation, but it falls short of being excellent. A number of controls are provided to adjust the image, though the settings aren’t quite as convenient as many others, especially with only a small handful of presets. For instance, there’s no specific Game picture mode, so it can take a bit of time and guesswork to adjust settings such that input latency is minimized. There’s also no Filmmaker Mode – a disappointing omission for movie buffs – though the Cinema preset is mainly free of processing that would add artificial-looking enhancement to the image. 

  • Picture quality score: 4/5

Epson LS650 rear panel ports

With just two HDMI 2.0 inputs, one with eARC, the Epson L650 comes up short on ports (Image credit: Future)

Epson EpiqVision Ultra LS650 review: value

  • Price is good for projector this bright
  • Squares up reasonably against competition

For its $2,799 price, the Epson EpiqVision Ultra LS650 is offering a good value. Thanks to its high brightness and respectable picture quality, it manages to serve as an alternative to bigger-screen 80- to 100-inch TVs, many of which command a price premium above the LS650. The limited HDMI ports and bad Android TV implementation hurt the LS650’s value a bit here by making the system less flexible and convenient, but it’s still a strong option.

  • Value score: 3.5/5

Epson LS650 remote control

The Epson LS650's remote control (Image credit: Future)

Should I buy the Epson EpiqVision Ultra LS650?

Epson L650 top surface showing laser light engine

(Image credit: Future)

Buy it if...

Don’t buy it if… 

Also consider...

Epson LS800
The Epson LS800 uses a 3LCD laser light source to beam a stunningly bright 4,000 lumens image and it also has good built-in sound. It costs more than the Epson LS650, but it provides three HDMI ports to the LS650's two and its image is even brighter than what you get with the smaller Epson.

Here's our full Epson LS800 review

Epson LS650 focus dial

The LS650's handy focus dial (Image credit: Future)

How I tested the Epson EpiqVision Ultra LS650

  • Tested at home in multiple, real-world viewing conditions
  • Presented the display with a variety of media and formats
  • I have tested numerous projectors and displays over the last half-decade

I tested the Epson EpiqVision Ultra LS650 at home, in real-world conditions. This saw it faced with ambient light coming in from numerous windows, in-room lighting, as well as ambient noise that the projector’s speaker system had to overcome. The projector was tested both on a bare, white wall and with an Akia Screens CineWhite screen. It was presented with streamed content, HDR and non-HDR, and console gameplay. 

My testing evaluates the projector’s performance with respect to its price and competition from other models I and colleagues at TechRadar have tested.

I have been testing projectors since 2021 and displays for even longer. 

First reviewed: January 2024

BenQ v5000i: a great ultra short throw projector for movies and gaming
2:00 pm | January 28, 2024

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

BenQ v5000i: two-minute review

BenQ is well known among projector enthusiasts for its short throw gaming and long throw home theater models. One category it’s been slower to embrace is ultra short throw projection, with only one model, the single-laser v7050i, appearing in 2022, where I got some hands on time with it when I tested 14 projectors in a single day.

The v7050i has since been joined by the v5000i, the subject of this review. Like many of the best ultra short throw projectors, the new v5000i uses an RGB triple-laser light engine, which lets it achieve near-full coverage of both P3 and BT.2020 color space. In classic BenQ fashion, it’s also gaming-friendly, with impressively low input lag for a projector, along with Auto Low Latency Mode and 4K 120Hz input support on its HDMI 2.1 input.

BenQ’s design for the v5000i is understated yet sleek, with a black and gray case that’s a good match for home theater setups. With a specified 2,500 lumens output, it’s not the brightest UST on the block, though it matches many other models in its price range when it comes to peak brightness. Streaming is carried out using an included Android TV dongle, one that provides a wider than usual array of apps for the Android TV platform, including Netflix.

There’s also a wider than usual array of picture adjustments on tap here, including an 11-step advanced color temperature tuning menu. That turned out to be a good, and necessary, thing since the v5000i’s out-of-box picture required a fair amount of adjustment to look good, even when the normally accurate Filmmaker Mode was selected. HDR support includes HDR10+ and HLG, but not Dolby Vision as found on some other UST projectors from Hisense and others.

Compared to other UST models, BenQ’s asking price is relatively high, especially considering that it doesn’t ship with an included ambient light-rejecting screen. But once set up and adjusted, I found the v5000i to be a pleasure to use for both movie-watching and gaming, and its built-in speakers were also reasonably powerful. So depending on how you use the v5000i – and in what type of viewing environment you set it up in – its relative value could increase.

BenQ v5000i review: price and release date

  • Release date: June 2023
  • MSRP: $3,499

The BenQ v5000i sells for $3,499 (about £2,780, AU$5,320) for the projector itself without a screen. That price is higher than other well-regarded standalone DLP ultra short throw models such as the Hisense PX-2 Pro, but on par with the Epson EpiQVision Ultra LS800, a 3LCD model with a much higher brightness spec than the v5000i.

BenQ v5000i projector on stand with screen in background

The v5000i manages a passably bright picture for daytime viewing, though it's greatly improved with lights dimmed (Image credit: Future)

BenQ v5000i review: Specs

BenQ v5000i projector close up on stand

A dark gray mesh conceals the projector's 40-watt built-in speakers (Image credit: Future)

BenQ v5000i review: design and features

  • Understated yet stylish design
  • 4K 120Hz input and low latency support for gaming
  • Android TV with Netflix app

The v5000i has a stylish design that will fit in well with a range of environments. Unlike many other ultra short throw models which come with a white casing, the v5000i has a black exterior with a dark gray mesh grille up front to conceal the built-in speakers and a faux-leather top surface. This dark, understated look is perfect for light-controlled home theaters where it’s preferable to keep visual focus on the screen itself.

There’s no sliding top cover for the projector’s optics, which means you’ll need to be vigilant about removing dust or pet hair. Installation is managed using the four sturdy adjustable feet on the bottom surface, along with built-in adjustable measuring rods which are used to determine the setup distance between the projector’s rear and the wall or screen.

BenQ’s remote control is larger than the ones that typically ship with projectors and has a fully backlit keypad for easy use in dark rooms. Controls are provided for direct access to inputs and picture presets, including a dedicated one for Filmmaker Mode, and there are also dedicated buttons for the projector’s motorized keystone and focus adjustments.

The v5000i has a number of notable picture enhancing features, including support for HDR10+, HDR10, and HLG high dynamic range and a Local Contrast Enhancer algorithm that divides the picture into 1,000 zones that each get independent gamma adjustments. An HDMI 2.1 port supports 4K 120Hz input from gaming consoles and there’s also Auto Low Latency Mode for gaming. BenQ specs input lag for 4K 60Hz sources at 17.9ms, and I measured it at 18ms during testing using a Bodnar 4K input lag meter. There’s also support for 3D display, with glasses sold as an optional extra.

Connections on the projector’s rear panel include two HDMI 2.0 ports (one with eARC) and one HDMI 2.1 port. There are also two powered USB type-A ports, IR and RS-232 control ports, an optical digital audio output, and a 3.5mm audio output for connecting a pair of powered speakers.

BenQ includes an Android TV dongle that slips into an internal chamber in the projector for streaming. Although I didn’t use it during my testing, preferring to stick with my Apple TV 4K instead, it provides many popular streaming apps including Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus, and Netflix. Both AirPlay and Chromecast built-in are supported for casting programs from phones or tablets, and you can use Google Assistant for voice searches with the remote’s built-in mic.

The projector’s built-in speakers are fairly powerful for an ultra short throw projector, with 5 watts each going to the left and right midrange/tweeters and 15 watts each to the two woofers. During my testing, the projector’s audio output was sufficient to fill a 2,500 cubic foot room and the sound had a full quality with a decent amount of bass.

  • Design and features score: 4.5/5

BenQ v5000i projector used for Xbox gaming

The v5000i's low, 18ms input lag in Game mode and 4K 120Hz input support make it a great gaming projector (Image credit: Future)

BenQ v5000i review: picture quality

  • Good contrast and brightness
  • Wide color space coverage
  • Inaccurate Filmmaker Mode

I used an Elite Screens Kestrel Tab-Tension 2 CLR 3 projection screen (0.8 gain) with the BenQ v5000i for all viewing and measurements.

BenQ’s settings for aligning the image with any screen you pair it with include an auto screen fit feature that detects your screen’s borders and adjusts the picture size accordingly. There’s also auto keystone, but the more useful adjustment is an 8-point corner fit. Using this, I was able to make fine tweaks to geometry that brought the picture into perfect alignment with the screen, and making those adjustments wasn’t time-consuming at all .

The v5000i offers a greater range of picture setup options than typically found on ultra short throw projectors. One key feature is 11-step advanced color temperature tuning, which is an adjustment that’s normally limited to TVs, but is also available in LG’s projectors such as the LG HU85LA CineBeam. Beyond that, it has a color management system (though I didn’t find this to be effective) plus a Cinemaster menu with adjustments for Local Contrast Enhancer, Color and Flesh Tone, and 4K pixel and motion enhancement. 

The v5000i can beam a sufficiently bright image for daytime viewing in its Bright picture mode. With this selected, I measured peak brightness on a 10% window pattern at 125 nits. In HDR10 mode, the projector measured 97 nits on a 10% window pattern, a greater than 25% brightness dip from Bright mode that could also be seen on regular images. Black measured 0.095 nits in the same mode, resulting in a contrast ratio of 1,021:1.

Measurements made with Portrait Displays' Calman color calibration software In Filmmaker Mode showed the the v5000i’s coverage of DCI-P3 (the color space used for mastering 4K movies and digital cinema releases) to be 98.8%, and BT.2020 to be 97.3%. Grayscale Delta E values averaged 10.7 (we typically look for these to average below 3), and color point Delta E values 3.2. These were disappointing results for Filmmaker Mode, which typically provides the most accurate color of any TV or projector’s picture presets. Fortunately, the v5000i’s 11-point advanced color temperature tuning menu made it easy to calibrate the grayscale for an average Delta E below 2.0.

I mainly used the v5000i for playing games with an Xbox Series X console before starting any serious picture quality evaluation, and its crisp 4K picture and low 18ms input lag (in Game mode) made games look and feel fantastic. Playing games on a 100-inch screen is something I can strongly recommend!

Moving on to movies, I watched a 4K Blu-ray of Alien, and the v5000i’s handling of the disc’s HDR10+ picture nicely fleshed out details lurking in the shadows of the alien spaceship as the crew explored it. The flashlights on their helmets also stood in stark contrast to the dark background, giving the picture a strong sense of depth.

No Time to Die is one of my regular TV test discs, and the v5000i did a good job of displaying both the daytime and nighttime scenes. Skin tones and colors looked a bit too reddish and warmed-up in Filmmaker Mode, though they were fine when viewed in the calibrated User picture mode that I created. In a panning shot across a craggy mountain, BenQ’s projector maintained a good detail level, showing only minimal motion blur and judder even without having to make any adjustments to its Motion Enhancement setting.

I picked up Oppenheimer on 4K Blu-ray specifically for this v5000i review, and Christopher Nolan’s IMAX epic looks as good as you’d expect it to on disc. The projector’s strong rendering of blacks made the regular switch between the disc’s 2.20:1 and 1.78:1 images seamless, and there was a high level of detail in virtually every shot. Oppenheimer’s black and white images also looked great on my 100-inch screen, the gray hues coming across in a pure manner with no visible color tinting. 

  • Picture quality score: 4.5/5

BenQ v5000i projector rear panel ports

Rear-panel inputs include one HDMI 2.1 and two HDMI 2.0 inputs, one with eARC (Image credit: Future)

BenQ v5000i review: value

  • Pricier than similar UST competition
  • No bundled screen
  • Enhanced value for gamers

At $3,499 (about £2,780, AU$5,320), the BenQ v5000i is fairly pricey compared to its UST competition. For the same price, you can buy the Epson EpiQVision Ultra LS800, a significantly brighter model that will perform better than the BenQ in a well-lit viewing environment. And for $500 less, you can buy the Hisense PX2-Pro, another three-laser DLP model with a similar brightness spec to the v5000i plus Dolby Vision HDR support.

The v5000i’s value will basically come down to how you plan to use it. If you’re into gaming, its detailed 4K picture and low input lag in Game mode will make it a superior option to most other UST projectors. And if you’re a movie fan, once the picture has been properly calibrated you can expect impressive overall video performance with rich color and good contrast. In both cases, you won’t feel shortchanged by the BenQ v5000i.

  • Value score: 3.5/5

BenQ v5000i projector remote control in reviewer's hand

BenQ's sizeable remote features a fully backlit keypad and built-in mic for Google Assistant voice commands (Image credit: Future)

Should I buy the BenQ v5000i?

BenQ v5000i projector close up of optics

(Image credit: Future)

Buy it if...

Don’t buy it if… 

Also consider...

Epson LS800
The Epson LS800 uses a 3LCD laser light source to beam a stunningly bright 4,000 lumens image. This makes it a great option for daytime sports viewing and it also has good built-in sound. 

Read our full Epson LS800 review

BenQ v5000i projector showing Apple TV interface

(Image credit: Future)

How I tested the BenQ v5000i

  • I spent about 15 hours in total measuring and evaluating
  • Measurements were made using Calman color calibration software
  • A full calibration was made before proceeding with subjective tests
  • Used with an Elite Screens Kestrel Tab-Tension 2 CLR 3 projection screen

When I test projectors, my first step is to spend a few days using it for casual viewing for break-in and to assess the out-of-box picture presets. The next step is to select the most accurate-looking preset (typically labeled Filmmaker, Movie or Cinema) and measure the white balance (grayscale), gamma, and color point accuracy using Portrait Displays’ Calman color calibration software. The resulting measurements provide Delta-E values (the margin of error between the test pattern source and what’s shown on-screen) for each category, and they allow for an assessment of the projector's overall accuracy.

Along with those tests, I make measurements of peak light output (recorded in nits) for both standard high-definition and 4K high dynamic range using a 10% white window pattern. Coverage of DCI-P3 and BT.2020 color space is also measured, with the results providing a sense of how faithfully the projector can render the extended color range in ultra high-definition sources.

For the BenQ v5000i, I used the Calman ISF workflow, along with the TV’s advanced picture menu settings, to calibrate the image for best accuracy with SDR and HDR sources. Once done, I watched a range of reference scenes on 4K Blu-ray discs that I’ve gathered after years of TV and projector testing to assess the TV’s performance, as well as new Dolby Vision-encoded material streamed from sources like Netflix, Apple TV Plus, and Max.

My projector testing experience spans almost three decades, going all the way back to early three-gun CRT models.

First reviewed: January, 2024

Saatva RX mattress review: Soothe your sore back in total opulence
12:37 pm | December 17, 2023

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

Saatva RX mattress: Two-minute review

My first thought when I saw the Saatva RX mattress was, "Wow, this sounds like a mattress made just for me!" Well, people like me, anyway. This luxury innerspring hybrid is designed for sleepers who have chronic back or joint issues. I have mild scoliosis and for the last several years I've struggled with recurring lower back pain. In other words: I fit well within the RX's target demographic.

Saatva produces what's regarded as the best mattress in the country, the Saatva Classic. The Saatva RX is very similar in construction to the Classic, but uses more materials and therefore comes at a much higher cost. A queen retails for $3,295, which is a lot to spend for a mattress, even one as luxe and comfy as this one claims to be. Is it worth the cost? I slept on a Saatva RX mattress for one month to find out

The Saatva RX is 15 inches tall and packed with 8-inch coils, 2-inch foam modules, 1-inch micro-coils, two three-quarter-inch layers of high-density foam, and a thin strip of gel-infused memory foam across the middle. Like all of its mattresses, Saatva handcrafts the RX to order and delivers it flat via complimentary white glove delivery.

Within the first week of sleeping on the Saatva RX, I noticed that I was no longer waking up with stiffness in my lower back – a carryover from a less accommodating mattress. Whether I slept on my side or front, I was well supported. That said, most of my fellow testers and I were most comfortable resting on our backs. The Saatva RX nicely redistributed our weight in this position.

Saatva calls the RX 'supportive plush;' I call it 'medium-firm.' Either way, it may not be comfortable enough for lightweight side sleepers with back or joint pain. One of my smallest testers, who also deals with chronic pain, felt pressure buildup in her hips when on her side (yet she was fine on her back).

The firmer caliper coils that surround the Saatva RX yield exceptional edge support, and the mattress will sleep cool enough for most people thanks to its organic cotton cover, cooling foam, and a dual layer of springs. There's plenty of bounce, but its motion isolation won't be enough to dampen moderate to strong movement.

Is this Saatva's best mattress for back pain? I think so – but you can't control the feel of the RX. The Saatva Loom & Leaf mattress comes in two levels of firmness while the Saatva Classic mattress includes three choices, along with two height profiles. If you want a more customized approach, go with either of those (cheaper) options.

That $3,295 MSRP for a queen may make your eyes water, but Saatva is a frequent participant in year-long mattress sales, so you'll always be able to save money. You'll get a 365-night trial and a lifetime warranty, along with free white glove delivery and mattress removal. If money is no object when it comes to soothing your nightly aches and pains, go for the Saatva RX. You'll get a lot in return for your investment.

Saatva RX mattress review: Design & materials

  • A 15-inch hybrid with high density foam and two layers of coils 
  • Specialized lower back crown for pain relief
  • Fiberglass-free and handcrafted in the USA

The 15-inch Saatva RX is designed to provide relief from the discomfort of chronic conditions and serious injuries. At its core is a series of 8-inch, triple-tempered recycled steel coils set on a non-woven base layer. Firmer caliper spring coils line the perimeter for stable edges, making it easier to push off when you're getting in or out of bed. Each coil is topped with a 2-inch module of open-cell foam infused with graphite and phase-change material for contouring and cooling.

Following that are two layers of three-quarter-inch high-density foam, separated by a layer of 1-inch micro-coils. This combo offers pressure relief, enhanced support, and adaptability to all of your movements. A 1-inch strip of gel-infused memory foam races across the center for lower back relief, and is complemented by specialized quilting in the RX's organic cotton cover, which is treated with a botanical antimicrobial agent for hygienic sleep, though not removable.

Saatva RX layers

(Image credit: Saatva)

This structurally sound mattress prioritizes safe, sleep-friendly materials. It's handcrafted in the USA using CertiPUR-US certified foams free from harmful chemicals and high levels of VOC (volatile organic compound) emissions. The Saatva RX is also a fiberglass-free mattress, instead using plant-based thistle pulp as a flame retardant.

  • Design score: 5 out of 5

Saatva RX mattress review: Price & value for money

  • Saatva's second-most expensive mattress
  • Regularly discounted, up to $400 off 
  • Comes with a 1-year trial, forever warranty, white-glove delivery

The Saatva RX is a premium-priced mattress in the wider market; a queen retails for $3,295 while a twin goes for $1,995. The RX is Saatva's most expensive model behind the adjustable Solaire.

Here are the official MSRPs for the Saatva RX mattress:

  • Twin MSRP: $1,995 
  • Twin XL MSRP: $2,195
  • Full MSRP: $2,695
  • Queen MSRP: $3,295
  • King MSRP: $3,795
  • California king MSRP: $3,795
  • Split king MSRP: $4,390

However, it's very unlikely you'll ever need to pay full price – there's almost always a Saatva mattress sale on. The best times to shop are during major shopping events, during which we'll often have a semi-exclusive link for $400 off. Definitely keep an eye out during the Presidents' Day mattress sales in February, the Memorial Day mattress sales in May, the 4th of July mattress sales, the Labor Day mattress sales in September, and of course the Black Friday mattress deals (these traditionally deliver the cheapest prices of the year). 

Are there good mattresses for back pain you can find for less than the Saatva RX? Absolutely. Just take a look at the Saatva Classic mattress. It's still a premium mattress, but much closer to the upper-mid border than the RX is, and offers a broader range of customizable features, along with targeted back support. If you'd rather have more control over the feel of your bed, this is the way for you to go.

Saatva RX closeup

(Image credit: Future / Alison Barretta)

You not only get 365 nights to try the Saatva RX at home, but you also get a warranty for life – those are industry-best amenities, especially compared to luxury rivals Tempur-Pedic and Stearns & Foster. Free white glove delivery is standard and optional mattress removal is included. 

Not to mention – the Saatva RX is a gorgeous luxury mattress. But it's more than just its good looks. It's specially designed for sleepers who want relief from their back pain. If money is no object and you want a hotel-quality mattress that'll ease your aches in the process, the RX is worth the investment.

  • Value for money score: 4 out of 5

Saatva RX mattress review: Comfort & support

  • A 'supportive plush' (or medium-firm) mattress
  • Most of the pressure relief is situated in the middle
  • May be too firm for smaller side sleepers with pain

Saatva classifies the RX as 'supportive plush' – which you could perhaps argue is another way of saying 'medium-firm.' However you phrase it, my fellow testers and I rate it a 7.5 out of 10 on the firmness scale, although several of us found it a hair firmer (closer to an 8). 

To objectively measure the Saatva RX's pressure relief, I dropped a 50lb weight in the center of the mattress (where the lumbar crown is) and it sank 3.5 inches. I also wanted to observe any differences in pressure relief outside of the targeted lumbar zone. Placing the weight at the lower third of the bed showed a more shallow drop (2.5"). That's still quite plush but a subtler hug than what you'll find in the middle.

Saatva RX review, testing the pressure relief using a 50lb weight

(Image credit: Future / Alison Barretta)

According to Saatva, side, back, and combination sleepers will find the RX most comfortable – and my experience corroborates this. I'm a side/front sleeper, and I was comfortable no matter how I lay. I had sufficient support with just enough pressure relief in my knees, lower back, and shoulders. The responsive surface made it easy to switch positions, and the coils were nice and quiet.

Although I'm not a habitual back sleeper, I found the Saatva RX most comfortable in this position. My fellow testers agree. Our weight was well-distributed and we felt the tension in our joints just melt away. One of my testers likened it to lying on a pool float.

Mattress tester sleeps on the Saatva RX

(Image credit: Future / Alison Barretta)

Several of us deal with the conditions that the RX targets. I have mild scoliosis and recurring lower back pain and was no longer waking up with stiffness. Another tester who's roughly the same size as me has arthritis and marveled at the RX's pressure relief. However, one of the smallest testers, who has RSD and several herniated discs, felt better resting on her back than her preferred side, as the latter resulted in mild hip pain.

Firmness and comfort are subjective. That said, the Saatva is a lofty mattress that skews a little firmer. If you're a smaller side sleeper seeking relief from back pain, consider taking a look at my Saatva Loom & Leaf mattress review for a memory foam bed with two levels of sink-in comfort.

Saatva RX mattress review: Performance

  • Motion isolation is lacking – this is one bouncy bed
  • Will keep most sleepers cool at night
  • Sturdy edges, particularly along the middle

I slept on a twin Saatva RX for one month. Naturally, I can only speak from my own experience as a 5-foot-4, 145lb side/front sleeper with mild scoliosis and lower back pain, so I asked six other adults to nap on it for at least 15 minutes. Though this is still quite a small sample size, my group consists of diverse body types and sleep preferences, and several participants struggle with regular aches and pains.

In addition to my personal experiences regarding overall comfort, I also ran several objective tests to measure its motion isolation and edge support. Here's what I found out...

Temperature regulation

A lot of the Saatva RX's materials focus on maintaining a reasonable sleeping temperature. Two layers of coils aid airflow, while the foam modules are infused with graphite and phase-change material to help wick away heat. The cover is made from organic cotton, a breathable fiber.

I'm prone to occasional overheating, and at the time I tested the Saatva RX (October 2023), there were still a few warm evenings interspersed with more season-appropriate temperatures. Either way, I didn't break a sweat or feel the need to kick off my covers and comforter. 

For sleepers with back pain, temperature regulation is crucial as you risk torquing your back the more you toss and turn in a futile attempt to cool off. The Saatva RX isn't quite on the level of the best cooling mattresses but it comes really close. It'll be comfortable enough for most sleepers who don't have excessive night sweats.

  • Temperature regulation score: 4.5 out of 5

Motion isolation

One of the first things I noticed about the Saatva RX was its bounciness. This was fine for me, a solo sleeper who switches positions at night, but I wondered how it could potentially affect couples or families who share a bed.

I have a twin, so the best way for me to test the Saatva RX's level of motion isolation was to place an empty wine glass at the center of the bed and drop a 10lb weight from six inches above the surface.

I dropped the weight from four, 12, and 25 inches away from the base of the glass. From four inches away, the empty glass toppled over – twice. (I ran a re-test to be sure.) The glass remained more upright when I dropped it 12 and 25 inches away but still noticeably wobbled. What really struck me was how much the weight bounced before it settled after every drop.

Would I recommend the Saatva RX for couples, based on these results? Not if one or either of you are light sleepers who wake up the moment you feel even the slightest movement. Memory foam mattresses are often your best bet if you want something to effectively isolate motion. Read my Tempur-Pedic Tempur-Adapt mattress review for one such example.

There is one potential workaround – the Saatva RX comes in split king and split California king. This will separate the overall sleep surface so each person essentially has their own bed without being apart.

  • Motion isolation score: 3 out of 5

Edge support

The Saatva RX has firmer caliper coils along the perimeter. This reinforces the edges so you can sit on them comfortably without fear of falling over. It'll prevent the mattress from sagging prematurely, as well.

Saatva RX edge support test using a 50lb weight

(Image credit: Future / Alison Barretta)

In my objective edge support test, I put a 50lb weight in the middle perimeter and it sank roughly three inches. (However, this was a bit tricky to measure as the outer material bunched up considerably.) The most important thing was that it didn't exceed the amount of pressure relief I observed at the exact center of the mattress.

But what are the edges of the Saatva RX like to sit on? Overall, my fellow testers found the middle perimeter comfortable, with just enough sinkage and plenty of support. I often sit at the edge of my bed before waking up and with the RX, I didn't feel like I'd topple over. Plus, whenever I rolled toward the edges as I slept, I didn't suddenly wake up in fear.

If you have mobility issues that require you to sit at the edge of the bed to get up or down, you'll have loads of support with the Saatva RX. The one potential issue here could be its height – at 15", this could be difficult for shorter sleepers to maneuver. Unlike the Saatva Classic, the RX doesn't come in multiple height levels.

  • Edge support score: 4 out of 5

Saatva RX mattress review: Customer service

  • Free in-home delivery to a room of your choice
  • Optional mattress removal is also included

The Saatva RX is one heavy mattress. Saatva doesn't disclose any exact weights but trust me when I say it's one solid bed. Fortunately, I didn't have to deal with setting it up as it arrived flat courtesy of free white glove delivery. All I had to do was schedule a time for a local logistics company to come to my house and clear a path for the delivery crew.

It took less than five minutes for a two-person crew to drop a twin Saatva mattress onto my platform bed and haul away my previous mattress. (Yes, mattress removal is included if you need it, but you'll have to let Saatva know ahead of time that you'd like to request this service.) I didn't have to wait for the mattress to inflate, nor did I detect any obvious off-gassing. Per the tag on my test unit, it was manufactured in September 2023 – all of Saatva's mattresses are handmade to order in the USA.

Saatva RX set up on a platform bed

(Image credit: Future / Alison Barretta)

Once the mattress is in your home, you get 365 nights to test it out. If you don't get on with it, you can return it for a full refund, minus a $99 returns fee. Otherwise, your purchase will be backed by a lifetime warranty, though you'll need to pay for a percentage of any replacement costs starting in year three. (Repairs on your original mattress will remain free outside of a $149 processing fee starting in year three.)

Saatva arguably offers the best assortment of extras in the industry. It's not very often we see free in-home delivery bundled with a 1-year sleep trial and a lifetime warranty. Luxury beds tend to be stingy with their trial and warranty periods, while bed-in-a-box brands seldom offer white glove service (and if they do, it costs extra).

  • Customer service score: 4.5 out of 5

Saatva RX mattress review: Specs

Saatva RX mattress review: Other reviews

As of November 2023, the Saatva RX has fewer than 30 reviews and a 4.8 out of 5-star rating at Saatva.com. The lone 2-star review is related to a delivery issue, but most sleepers with aches and pains absolutely enjoy sleeping on this mattress. 

Considering the RX just came out in summer 2023, it'll be a while before the reviews begin to accumulate. 

Should you buy the Saatva RX mattress?

Buy it if...

Your back always hurts: Saatva sought to create a mattress that's the perfect blend of support and comfort for sleepers with chronic or serious back pain. The RX eliminated the stiffness in my lower back that developed after I spent weeks on a less comfortable bed.

You're willing to splurge for a luxe hotel-style bed: The Saatva RX wouldn't seem out of place in a ritzy 5-star suite. This is likely the closest you'll get to achieving that luxury feel at home, outside of ordering an actual hotel mattress that comes with less attractive amenities.

You're a combi sleeper: The responsive surface of the Saatva RX made it comfortable for me to shift from my side to my stomach during the night. Though it has two layers of springs, I didn't hear a single squeak.

Don't buy it if...

You're a shorter, lighter side sleeper: The Saatva RX may be too firm for lightweight side sleepers with back pain to get truly comfortable. Plus, at 15 inches tall, it could make getting in or out of bed more of a challenge for shorter people with mobility issues.

Every movement your partner makes wakes you up: If you're on the brink of sleep divorce, the Saatva RX won't do much to mend those fences. Look for a mattress with better motion isolation, namely one made exclusively of foam.

You want some control over the feel of the mattress: The Saatva RX comes in one firmness level, which I already noted may be off-putting for smaller side sleepers. The Saatva Classic has a similar build but comes in three firmness levels and two height profiles – all for hundreds of dollars less than the RX.

Saatva RX mattress review: Also consider

Tempur-Pedic Tempur-Adapt Mattress
Tempur Material is known for its outstanding pressure relief, and heralded by sleepers with back pain. The Tempur-Adapt is among the most affordable Tempur beds out there – it's comfortably supportive and boasts excellent motion isolation. However, it does trap heat easily. Though it's less than the RX outright, Tempur-Pedic's extras are comparatively underwhelming (90-night trial, 10-year warranty.)
Read more: Tempur-Pedic Tempur-Adapt mattress reviewView Deal

Helix Midnight Mattress
For smaller side sleepers, the medium feel of the Helix Midnight may be more welcoming. This hybrid is roughly a third of the cost of the Saatva RX and boasts exceptional pressure relief. It's also a more manageable height (12 inches). On the flip side, edge support is weak, and unless you're a dedicated side sleeper you might have a harder time getting comfortable.
Read more: Helix Midnight mattress reviewView Deal

Saatva Classic Mattress
The Saatva Classic and Saatva RX have similar builds, including dual layers of coils and targeted lower back support. If you can't quite justify the extravagant cost of Saatva's top-of-the-line innerspring, the Classic is an excellent alternative at hundreds of dollars less. You'll still get all of Saatva's industry-leading perks and also have the ability to make the mattress as tall or firm as you like it. (You can't customize the RX at all.)
Read more: Saatva Classic mattress reviewView Deal

How I tested the Saatva RX mattress

As someone with mild scoliosis and recurring lower back pain, I was especially intrigued to try the Saatva RX, a mattress made for individuals with issues similar to mine. Throughout October 2023, I slept on a twin Saatva RX every night and also performed a series of tests to objectively test its pressure relief, edge support, and level of motion transfer.

I'm the type of sleeper who can't sleep without being covered up, regardless of the temperature. I slept with cotton sheets and a mid-weight polyester blend comforter, and kept my bedroom temperature around 71 degrees F.

To add to my experience, I also asked six adult volunteers to nap on the Saatva RX for at least 15 minutes in their usual positions, then sit on the edges as they got in and out of bed. Our testers ranged in size from 5ft 4 and 125lbs to 6ft and 185lbs, and several of them deal with chronic pain in their everyday lives. 

  • First reviewed: October 2023
Awara Natural Hybrid Mattress review: sustainable slumber at a fantastic value
10:54 am | November 5, 2023

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

Awara mattress review: Two-minute review

The Awara Natural Hybrid mattress is something of an anomaly among latex beds due to its affordable price. Most of today's best organic mattresses are expensive, but the Awara consistently sits in the mid-range price bracket – a queen size goes for less than $950 during regular sales. But does this affordable natural mattress have a glaring compromise in quality? Quite the contrary – it's an impressively durable bed.

In January 2022, I slept on a twin Awara mattress and assembled a panel of five diverse testers to help me assess its features. Our collective verdict? The Awara ranks among the best mattresses for those who favor a firmer sleeping surface with gentle pressure relief. My full review is below but if the Internet has spoilt your attention span, here's the two-minute version...

Awara mattress on a twin platform bed

(Image credit: Future / Alison Barretta)

The Awara is a mattress in a box constructed of 8-inch springs, two inches of Rainforest Alliance-certified Dunlop latex, and a blend of organic cotton and New Zealand wool on top. Setup is seamless – and four side handles make moving the mattress a much less taxing task. The Awara boasts a number of highly-regarded third-party environmental and safety certifications to add to its eco-friendly cred. 

When I first lay on the Awara, I was shocked by its firmer surface, but its latex comfort layer immediately molded to the shape of my body for ample support and just enough pressure relief – no matter if I rested on my side, stomach, or back. Everyone in my testing panel found it comfortable but side sleepers who crave more cushioning, as well as sleepers under 130lbs, may find it too unyielding (the best mattresses for side sleepers tend to be on the softer side, with plenty of contouring). 

Good news if you're prone to overheating at night (like me): the Awara is one well-ventilated mattress. It's not a specialty cooling mattress, but latex, cotton, and wool are some of the most breathable materials on the planet. The individually wrapped coils help keep the air flowing, too. 

Edge support is excellent so you can sprawl out or sit on the sides or corners without fear of falling off the bed. However, Awara's one area of weakness is motion isolation. The buoyant latex and springy coils make for a bouncy, responsive bed. Couples will be more inclined to feel each other's movements, which could lead to frequent and unpleasant nightly wakeups. On the other hand, solo sleepers who switch positions during the night will love it.

The amenities are impressive. Awara includes a one-year sleep trial plus a forever warranty with purchase. Returns are also free, and the brand will help you donate it to charity or responsibly dispose it. Among current Black Friday mattress deals, Awara's is already one of the best out there, yielding historical price lows after up to $765 off. Given the effects of inflation over the last several years, this is a rare thing to witness now.

Awara mattress review: Materials & design

  • A 10-inch hybrid mattress with three layers
  • Uses Rainforest Alliance-certified Dunlop latex
  • Includes four side handles for easy moving

There are three primary layers that make up the Awara Natural Hybrid mattress: a sturdy base of 8-inch individually wrapped coils, a 2-inch comfort layer of Rainforest Alliance-certified Dunlop latex, and a soft cover that's a blend of organic cotton and New Zealand wool. Combined, these layers offer a responsive and breathable sleep surface, with gentle contouring to ease your joints. Latex is often used in organic mattresses as a natural alternative to synthetic foams (see how the two compare in our memory foam versus latex mattress explainer). Bonus: latex is hypoallergenic so it's also great for sleepers with asthma or airborne allergies.

Setup is simple – just remove it from the box, unroll it on your bedframe, and remove the plastic (a process made easier thanks to the included credit card-sized cutter). Everything is structurally kept in place via a shift-resistant bottom cover. Four reinforced side handles will make the mattress much easier to move, which will be useful if you move house often.

Awara's commitment to producing an eco-friendly bed is highlighted by its array of environmental certifications, which include the aforementioned Rainforest Alliance, Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX, UL GREENGUARD Gold, and the Forest Stewardship Council. These standards ensure that the Awara's materials are sustainably sourced, low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and free from toxic chemicals. The Awara is also a fiberglass-free mattress; it uses a chemical-free flame retardant.

  • Design score: 4.5 out of 5

Awara mattress review: Price & value for money

  • Never sold at MSRP, sits in the mid-range price bracket
  • One of the cheapest and best value natural mattresses around
  • Full year's trial and forever warranty are very generous

Like many bed brands, Awara runs a perpetual discount; you'll never have to pay full MSRP. Based on the regular discounted price, the Awara Natural Hybrid sits in the mid-range price bracket, with a queen size costing around $999. That makes it one of the cheapest natural mattresses around, and excellent value for money.

Deals on the Awara don't tend to fluctuate as regularly as they do with other sleep brands, but if it is going to unveil an especially good price, it'll be for the Black Friday mattress deals in November. 

Awara is the natural mattress brand within the Resident Home umbrella, which also includes mattress heavyweights Nectar and DreamCloud. As such, you'll get basically the same, ultra-generous package of extras, including a full year's trial period and forever warranty. All of Resident's brands shine when it comes to value for money.

Awara mattress review: Comfort & support

  • A firm (8 out of 10) mattress with subtle contouring
  • Offers ample support and comfort for most sleepers
  • Side sleepers and petite individuals may want a plusher bed

In addition to myself – a 5-foot-4, 140lb side/stomach sleeper with back pain – I also asked five other adults to sleep on the Awara mattress. We have diverse body types and sleep preferences, which afforded me a broader look at how well this organic hybrid mattress performs.

Awara calls its mattress 'luxury firm,' or a 7 out of 10 on the firmness scale – but my group collectively rated it an 8 out of 10.  While some of us initially found it a bit too unyielding, we appreciated how quickly the Dunlop latex subtly contoured our bodies, offering just enough pressure relief without significant sinkage. 

Mattress tester lying on her side on the Awara mattress

(Image credit: Future / Alison Barretta)

My lone back-sleeping participant said he felt like he was floating on top of the mattress yet adequately supported. Meanwhile, the side sleepers in my panel (myself included) were comfortable on the Awara – despite its firmer-than-average surface, all of us felt just enough give along our shoulders and hips. Even the pregnant side sleeper in my group liked how the Awara gently cradled her belly.

As the only combi sleeper among all the testers, shifting from my side to my stomach was effortless thanks to the responsiveness of the Awara's Dunlop latex and springs. Plus, when resting on my front I didn't feel my pelvis dip below the rest of my body, helping me avoid my nagging lower back pain.

Pressure relief test using a 50lb weight on the Awara mattress

(Image credit: Future / Alison Barretta)

To further test the Awara's pressure relief, I placed a 50lb weight at the center of the mattress. This created a minimal dip (about an inch), and the bed quickly returned to form once I removed the weight. This assessment aligns with the minimal sinkage we human testers experienced.

While everyone in my testing group found the Awara's comfort to their liking, side sleepers who prefer a plusher feel and smaller-framed people who weigh under 130lbs might think it's too firm. For them, a memory foam mattress (or a memory foam hybrid) may be a better fit. 

  • Comfort score: 4.5 out of 5

Awara mattress review: Performance

  • Excellent temperature regulation – good for hot sleepers
  • Too much motion transfer so not ideal for couples
  • Edges are sturdy for sitting and sprawling

I slept on a twin Awara Natural Hybrid Mattress for one month, during which I tested it in all key areas of performance according to TechRadar's mattress methodology. Here's how it fared...

 Temperature regulation

I slept on the Awara mattress in the wintertime, so the real test here was to see how well it could regulate my body temperature upon cranking the heat and layering the fabrics. (I'm also prone to overheating at night, regardless of the season.)

Between latex's natural ability to draw away heat and the airflow created by the layer of coils, I didn't break a sweat once and remained perfectly cozy, even on the coldest nights. The organic cotton and New Zealand wool cover was not only lusciously soft, but it did a stellar job of wicking away moisture, too.

The Awara may not be a proper cooling mattress, but given the breathability of its materials, I think it's a sound choice for sleepers who don't want night sweats or hot flashes to keep them up at night. 

  • Temperature regulation score: 4 out of 5

Motion isolation

The Awara is a remarkably bouncy, responsive mattress. This appeals to me as a solo sleeper who switches positions at night. However, anyone who shares a bed with their partner, kids, and/or pets will feel less enthused. 

To gauge the Awara's motion isolation on my twin-size bed, I conducted a drop test using an empty wine glass and a 10lb weight. Mimicking the actions of a restless partner or a lively pet, I simulated three common bed disturbances: tossing and turning, getting in and out of bed, and jumping on the bed. I dropped the weight from 4, 8, and 12 inches above the bed to represent each scenario, respectively, and measured the effect roughly 25 inches away from the wine glass.

Awara mattress drop test for motion isolation with a 10lb weight and empty wine glass

(Image credit: Future / Alison Barretta)

The wine glass didn't topple too much but I did notice the surface dip slightly beneath the glass. More telling was the weight itself, which bounced several times before settling into the mattress. Given the natural buoyancy of latex, these results didn't surprise me.

Thus, the Awara isn't the best choice if you don't want to be disturbed by your partner's movements – whether they fidget a lot in their sleep or operate on a different schedule than you do. For an organic mattress with superb motion transfer properties, read TechRadar's Avocado Green mattress review.

  • Motion isolation score: 3 out of 5

Edge support

Sturdy edges are essential for any mattress, regardless of size. Whether you tend to roll towards the edges in your sleep or sit on the side prior to getting up out of bed, you don't want to feel as if you'll topple overboard. 

Unfortunately, some brands skimp on edge support, especially for solo sleeper beds. However, this isn't the case with the Awara. My testers and I experienced solid support whether we sat on the corners or the sides. Although the mattress did obviously compress under our weight, we never felt unstable or at risk of sliding off.

I also placed a 50lb weight along the middle perimeter, measuring about an inch of sinkage – the same amount I observed when I placed the weight at the dead center of the mattress. Ideally, the edges shouldn't dip lower than the middle, so the Awara gets a passing grade in this area.

The Awara ranks among the best mattresses I've tested for robust edge support. It's proof that stable edges are possible for even the smallest of beds.

  • Edge support score: 4.5 out of 5

Should you buy the Awara mattress

Buy it if…

✅ You're a fan of firm beds: The Awara's firm surface will appeal to to front and back sleepers – and even side sleepers who eschew overly plush beds will find it comfortably supportive.

✅ You use every inch of your mattress: The Awara's sturdy sides and corners will sufficiently accommodate those who like to sprawl out or need a stable edge to sit on. If you're prone to rolling toward the edge in your sleep, don't worry about falling overboard.

✅ You care about saving the planet (and your money): Organic mattresses often command a higher cost but the Awara's mid-range price makes eco-friendly sleep much more accessible. Add in a year-long sleep trial and a lifetime warranty and you have an tremendous value.

Don't buy it if…

❌ You share a bed: The Awara's bouncy, responsive surface is great for solo sleepers who toss and turn at night – but this could be bothersome for couples or anyone who shares a bed with a lively pet.

❌ You like the sink-in sensation of memory foam: Sleepers seeking the deep embrace of memory foam won't find it here. The Awara's latex comfort layer imparts a firmer touch with limited contouring. TechRadar's best memory foam mattress guide provides a range of alternatives at different price points, but in the #1 spot you'll find the Nectar memory foam mattress

❌ You weigh under 130lbs: Firmness is a matter of personal preference but if you're a smaller-framed individual who weighs under 130lbs, the Awara's firmness and limited give might be too rigid for your liking. Our organic mattress guide has models in a range of firmness profiles, including some that fall into the 'plush' category, like the WinkBeds EcoCloud hybrid

A tired tabby sleeps at the foot of the Awara mattress

(Image credit: Future / Alison Barretta)

How I tested the Awara mattress

I slept on a twin Awara Natural Hybrid mattress for four weeks in January 2022. Since I tested this mattress during the winter, I cranked my central heating system while layering my pajamas. I dressed the mattress in either 100% cotton or cotton/polyester bed sheets, with a mid-weight polyester comforter on top.

In addition to myself – a 5-foot04, 140lb side/stomach sleeper – I asked five other adults to nap on the Awara mattress for at least 15 minutes in their preferred positions. These testers ranged in size from 5-foot-4 and 126lbs to 6-foot and 215lbs – and one participant was even seven months pregnant at the time.

To supplement my real world experience, I also conducted several standardized tests to objectively gauge the Awara's performance. I used a 50lb weight to evaluate pressure relief and edge support, and a 10lb weight plus an empty wine glass to observe the motion isolation.

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