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Miele Classic C1 vacuum cleaner review
9:00 am | July 13, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Home Small Appliances Vacuums | Tags: | Comments: Off

Miele Classic C1 Flex two-minute review

The Miele Classic C1 vacuum cleaner comes in three very similar and identically-priced options: a Junior version with a sectioned suction tube, a standard version with a telescopic tube and XXL handle, and a Flex version with a telescopic tube and  an extra long, flexible crevice nozzle for cleaning difficult-to-reach places. In this review I tested the Miele Classic C1 Flex vacuum cleaner.

Although the Miele Classic C1 Flex is very well engineered and comes with an enormous amount of suction power – 800 watts of it – one questions whether a corded cylinder vac of this nature still has a place in the 21st century, let alone among the best vacuum cleaners. Aside from having to keep plugging it into different power outlets around the home and the extra baggage of having a long suction hose that makes it tricky to carry, the most awkward facet of this vacuum cleaner is the static brush head that makes it very strenuous to push on anything other than smooth hard flooring.

Miele Classic C1 Flex and a cuddly toy

(Image credit: Future)

Budgetary concern may sound like a very valid reason for opting for a corded model like the Classic C1 Flex but when you bear in mind that today's marketplace is filled with many modern cordless alternatives from the likes of Shark, Samsung, Vax and Tineco that cost roughly the same while performing just as well on hard floor and even better on carpet, it starts to look like the Classic C1 Flex may have passed its sell-by date.

Miele Classic C1 Flex review: price & availability

  • Price: $349 / £199 /  AU pricing varies
  • Available in a few variants (C1, C1 Flex, C1 Junior) for the same price
  • Flex version only available in the UK

The pricing and options for the Classic C1 depend on where you live. In the UK, there are a few variants – the C1, C1 Flex, C1 Junior – all for the same price of £199. In the US, there's a Classic C1 for a list price of $349 or a C1 Turbo Team PowerLine for $469 (this one comes with an added 'Turbobrush' aimed at tackling pet hair specifically). In Australia the range isn't as clear-cut because it's not listed on the official Miele website, but there are various options available at third party retailers, at a range of prices.

In terms of value for money, it's acceptable but not amazing. There are plenty of competitors' options in a similar ballpark, which I think offer better performance. 

  • Value for money score: 3 out of 5

Miele Classic C1 Flex specs

Miele Classic C1 vacuum cleaner review: design

  • Excellent build quality
  • Easy to pull around
  • Disappointing multi-floor head

Ask any modern tech-savvy householder whether they would ever consider buying a corded vacuum cleaner and they will probably tell you that that ship has sailed. I would tend to agree given that I am now so fully invested in everything cordless, from my stick vacs and robot vac to every outdoor garden power tool I have in the shed, including the lawnmower. Let’s face it, a corded cylinder vac like the Miele Classic C1 Flex I have on review here could never match a cordless stick for outright convenience and the ability to quickly vacuum a room before guests arrive.

On the flip side, corded cylinder vacs are quite often cheaper to buy than their equivalently powered cordless brethren and they'll never run out of power, which means you could vacuum every floor of a country mansion and then do the gatehouse and the rest of the neighborhood while you’re at it. Try that with a cordless stick vac and see how far you get.

Miele Classic C1 Flex and accessories on a rug

(Image credit: Future)

When it comes to household items, Miele is unquestionably one of the most prestigious brands around, and this is due in no small part to the overall quality of everything the company’s design team turns its hands to. After all, German-made Miele products are known to last for years – decades even – and this is testament to both the quality of materials used and the way they’re put together.

Take the Classic C1 Flex. Miele doesn’t advertise the types of plastic used in its vacuum cleaner bodies, but take it from me, this model is tough enough to withstand a fall down the stairs. I know this because I accidentally pulled my test model down a short flight and the body survived unscathed, even after clouting the wall at the bottom.

However, I am also mindful that there are are couple of oddities with the Classic C1 Flex that I find disheartening given Miele’s generally impeccable design ethos. For instance, other Miele cylinder vacs I’ve reviewed or owned have always had a handy little hideaway area under the lid to store away the provided detail tools. By contrast, this one comes with a plastic tool holder that clips on to the base of the concertina hose.

The Miele Classic C1 Flex's cylinder

(Image credit: Future)

This not only looks incongruous but the tools have a tendency to fall off if snagged against furnishings when pulling the unit along. I have since resorted to removing the holder and storing the tools in a bag along with the other 1,001 detail tools I’ve gathered over the years. For the record, the Classic C1 Flex ships with a rectangular upholstery nozzle, a crevice nozzle, a dusting brush and, as the ‘Flex’ moniker suggests, a long flexible nozzle tool for cleaning in hard-to-reach places.

Another element I’m not at all keen on is the main brush head. This is a much more serious anomaly in my opinion because this sole item is key to how well the cleaner works and how easy it is to push and pull, especially when used on carpet. Where most modern vacs are equipped with an optimally-positioned motorized brush head that swallows most larger items while beating its bristles deep into carpet pile, the Miele Classic C1 Flex ships with an old-fashioned static head comprising a single layer of stiff bristles at the front and two flexible plastic strips just behind it.

Underside of the Miele Classic C1 Flex's floor head

(Image credit: Future)

I’ll tell you more about this floor head in the performance chapter but, in short, it is extremely grippy when used on carpet and very difficult to push without breaking into a sweat. Given that its stablemate, the Miele Complete C2 Cat & Dog, ships with an easier-to-push motorised head for just £40 more, it seems like a missed opportunity on Miele’s part to not to equip all of its corded vacs with a motorised floor head.

The Classic C1 Flex features six levels of suction power which are accessed via a dial on the rear. Each setting is illustrated with an icon – curtains, upholstery, rugs, energy-saving, carpet and hard floor – but you can ignore that and just go for the most suitable level of suction for the task in hand. You can also reduce suction power further by opening the vent on the handle, though this increases the vac’s volume from a standard 71dB in full-power mode to an unpleasant 84dB.

Since this is a mains-powered model, you get 5.5 meters of spring-loaded cable tucked away inside its rear housing and this amounts to an operating radius of around 9m. To release the cable you simply pull it out to your required length and it will lock itself automatically. When finished, give the cable a short tug to release the locking mechanism and it’ll scoot back into its housing with the speed of an angry snake. However, you’re advised to hold the main unit in position with your foot when pulling the cable on hard floors or the whole vac will roll towards you. This is because the spring mechanism itself is strong enough to counteract the vac’s three extremely smooth-rolling, multi-directional micro castors. It’s not ideal, I know, but virtually every self-retracting cylinder vac I’ve ever used has had this very same issue.

Mains cable housing on the Miele Classic C1 Flex

(Image credit: Future)

At 12lbs / 5.8kg, the Classic C1 Flex is light enough to carry from the under-stairs cupboard to its place of work and it can be stored either horizontally or vertically. Crucially, the floor head with ungainly hose attached can be clipped to the main unit in either orientation though it’s still a cumbersome package to transport from room to room.

One of the main highlights of all Miele cylinder vacs, including this one, is the way their stainless steel suction tubes can be lengthened or shortened by pulling on a sheath. It’s inarguably the most tactile element on this machine and a system I’d love to see on all vacs, including sticks.

Heading into the enclosed bin section, the Classic C1 Flex is fitted with a substantial 4.76qt / 4.5L microfibre HyClean GN dust bag and just behind it, Miele’s excellent AirClean filter which helps keep carpet dust smells to a minimum. As I explain in my Bagged vs Bagless article, I’m a big fan of bagged vacuum cleaners because they produce almost zero dust when emptying, are better at collecting fine dust particles like ash and they require very little filter maintenance. That’s true of the Classic C1 Flex. However, you only get one dust bag with this model and a set of four extra bags will set you back $22.99 / £13.99.

  • Design score: 2.5 out of 5

Miele Classic C1 vacuum cleaner review: performance

  • Excellent suction power
  • Too difficult to push on carpet
  • Dust-free emptying

I remember the days before cordless stick vacs took hold and you had to wrestle with a snake-like hose while pulling the main unit around behind you, which in turn was connected to a mains plug. It was a system of many foibles, including the cable getting snagged on furniture and the main unit turning turtle because you yanked it so hard out of frustration. You also had to keep unplugging it and plugging it back in every time you changed rooms.

Sorry to report, but this is one such model. However, the Miele Classic C1 Flex isn’t totally devoid of merit because it’s a sterling dust sucker on hard floors, even though it’s not great at collecting larger pieces of detritus like biscuit crumbs.

Power is something the Miele has in spades – all 800 watts of it. In fact, even in lower ‘carpet mode’, this vac’s limpet-like suction is strong enough to lift a rug off the floor. Which is why I say to ignore Miele’s power level guidance and just use the most suitable power level for the job in hand.

Miele Classic C1 Flex sucking flour and crushed biscuits off a wood floor

(Image credit: Future)

As per usual, my first hard floor test involved a good sprinkling of flour and crumbed biscuit with the main brush head set to ‘hard floor’ mode – i.e. with the front-mounted stiff bristle brush engaged. This brush is constructed like a castle battlement with nine small 5mm gaps positioned at regular intervals so larger items can slip through and up the suction tube.

Miele Classic C1 Flex sucking corn flakes off a wood floor

(Image credit: Future)

As anticipated, the floor head snowploughed most the flour and larger biscuit crumbs on the forward stroke so I simply lifted the rear of the head by a few centimeters and pulled it backwards. Everything vanished up the tube. I then tried it using a handful of Crunchy Nut corn flakes and, again as predicted, the head simply pushed everything ahead of it with no evidence of even a single flake making its way to the suction area. Again, I was able to collect every last flake when using the head in reverse and lifted at a short angle. No it’s not ideal, but that’s generally what happens when you don’t use a motorized head with a decent gap between the front of the head and the floor.

Miele Classic C1 Flex gripping a rug while trying to clean up flour

(Image credit: Future)

I then proceeded to perform the same test on a medium pile rug and had to reduce the suction to level three – two levels lower than the recommended setting – because the head was impossible to budge. Despite still being very stiff to push, the brush head made a surprisingly good fist of collecting most of the crumbs and all the flour, though I did have to perform a few back and forth sweeps to collect the cornflakes. I also tried the same test with the handle’s suction reduction vent open and this made it easier to push at the expense of a massive increase in volume – from 71dB to 84dB – that made it sound like a jet engine during take off.

As it stands, Miele’s universal floor head is perfectly useable on most hard floors bar, say, delicate polished concrete or premium wood. After all, it picked up all dust – right to the very edge – and most items smaller than an oat flake. However, I’m not convinced that this is the right type vac for carpets or rugs of any depth because it takes far too much effort to push. In fact, I can’t see anyone other than the very fittest managing to finish a single carpeted room without needing to have a little lie down. By comparison to most cordless stick vacs, this specific model’s brush head felt outdated and of another age.

On the plus side, the Miele has oodles of suction power for tasks like vacuuming down the side of sofa cushions, while its extra long and flexible suction tool is one of the very best for sucking up crumbs and crisps between car seats and the center console.

  • Performance score: 2.5 out of 5

Should you buy the Miele Classic C1 vacuum cleaner?

Buy it if...

You have a lot of hard flooring

The Classic C1 Flex is a decent performer on hard floors.

You have a lot of rooms to clean

This vac will vac till the cows come home.

You want reliability

Miele is renowned for the high quality of its products.

Don't buy it if…

Your home is mostly carpeted

The Classic C1 Flex’s static brush head is not suitable for carpet.

You don’t want to be tethered to a mains plug

You will need to keep plugging this vac in from room to room.

You don’t have much storage space

The hose and long suction tube make it ungainly to store.

How I tested the Miele Classic C1 vacuum cleaner

Having hauled all parts out of the box, I first tested this model on hard engineered wood flooring using a combination of fine flour and crumbed biscuits, a handful of raw porridge oats and some Crunchy Nut corn flakes. 

I then carried out the same test on a medium pile rug. I also gauged the amount of hassle it posed when using it, plugging it into various power outlets and carrying it upstairs and storing it away.

  • First reviewed: July 2024
Noblechairs Legend gaming chair review: almost flawless if it wasn’t for the inconsistent pricing
6:00 pm | July 7, 2024

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

Noblechairs Legend: Two-minute review

The Noblechairs Legend might just be the slickest gaming chair out there. Yes, it’s white, and yes it’s PU leather, but it’s nothing if not classy. From its ergonomic design to plush padding and silver accents the Noblechairs Legend White Edition is an outstanding premium option for anyone looking for a no-fuss gaming chair. This could have been ripped from a modern sports car, it looks that good.

There is one caveat to that though, and it all depends on where you pick one of these up. The pricing is a little haywire depending where you are in the world. Grab one of these in the UK and you’re looking at paying £400 including tax up front, jump over the Atlantic to the US however, and the price lands at $630, that’s a 25% price increase. 

It does lack some of the features of its competitors like SecretLab or AndaSeat. Speaking very specifically of the AndaSeat Kaiser 3 XL. By comparison to that chair, the Noblechairs Legend doesn’t bag you magnetic pillows or armrests, and it’s a little less plush, and a little more drab in some of its finer build elements. The overall material quality, particularly with its armrests is also somewhat underwhelming. But then it looks a lot classier, and as it’s a similar price to the Kaiser 3 XL, you can sort of let that slide.

Bump that price up by 25% though, as seen in the US, and it becomes a case of spending considerably more for far less. That’s particularly compounded by the fact that you can pick up a Kaiser 3 XL for just under $470. So the question is, is it one of the best gaming chairs out there? Well, it entirely depends on which part of the planet you’re sat. 

The Noblechairs Legend gaming chair on a wooden floor in front of a grey wall

(Image credit: Future/Zak Storey)

Noblechairs Legend: Price and availability

  • Pricing varies wildly between regions
  • Good value in UK
  • Special editions cost more

Buying from Noblechairs directly, the Legend will set you back a whopping $630 minimum (Amazon currently sells these for $680) before tax. That’s 25% higher than the UK pricing, and again that’s before tax. In that scenario, comparing it to something like the SecretLab Titan Evo, or AndaSeat Kaiser 3 XL which come in at $100 - $200 less, for arguably a far better spec, and similar design language, really puts a dent in the overall appeal of the Legend.

The Australian market is somewhat more reasonable, seeing only a 12.5% increase in overall cost, but we can forgive Noble here, given the distance these chairs have traveled to reach that point, but even so, that’s still a price increase.

Noblechairs Legend: Specs

The Noblechairs Legend gaming chair on a wooden floor in front of a grey wall

(Image credit: Future/Zak Storey)

Noblechairs Legend: Design and Features

  • Less ergonomic, more cushion
  • Super clean design
  • Looks fantastic in white

Noblechairs has been in the business of chairs for nearly a decade now. It arguably was one of the first brands to really cement itself in that custom PC gaming chair space, with products such as the Hero and Icon, in particular leading the charge. The Legend, however, is categorically quite different from those designs. It moves away from the 'gamer-y' bucket seats designed to hold in all of those extreme G-Forces you experience during your Helldivers 2 descents and looks to be a more refined office executive styling instead.

I’ve been testing gaming chairs like the Legend, since 2015, and have in fact been there since the very beginning, sitting in all manner of Noblechairs as well. The Legend, unlike a lot of those that came before it has redefined its overall style.

That said, it’s not perfect, and the gaming chair market has now become quite competitive with the likes of AndaSeat, SecretLab, Vertagear, and even the big brands such as Corsair, Razer, and Logitech getting in on the action too.

Anyway, let's get to the brass tacks here. What is the Noblechairs Legend like to use on the day-to-day? If I’m honest, it’s an absolute treat. For reference, I’ve had the Noblechairs Hero for around five years at this point. It’s stylish, classy, and plush, as you’d expect for a chair of that caliber, but the one thing that’s always put me off about it is the seat base. Namely, the fact that it’s seriously stiff and over time can become quite uncomfortable. 

The Noblechairs Legend gaming chair on a wooden floor in front of a grey wall

(Image credit: Future/Zak Storey)

Now, Noblechairs did say back in the day that this was an ergonomic consideration more so than a cost reduction, as stiffer bases typically meant your muscles wouldn’t atrophy quite as badly compared to a soft supportive cushion base, and there is evidence in the scientific literature to support that. However, it was a heavily criticized point at the time, and it seems the company has relented on that fact. The Legend in contrast is far more comfortable than my aging five-year-old Hero is. The seat base itself is slightly more rounded, more supportive by design, and plush as a result.

On top of that, you still get the usual array of gaming chair staples as well, including adjustable lumbar support, four-dimensional arm-rests, a five-wheel steel framed base, tilt, and recline adjustments, as well as some solid overall construction too (the stitching and branding are seriously top-tier).

Noble also sells the Legend in a number of colorways (admittedly not quite as many as Secretlab) including, Black, Dark Brown, Red/White/Black, and White (as shown here), alongside two special editions, (namely a Starfield variant, along with a Shure version as well). The latter two are a touch more expensive as a heads-up. If fake leather’s not your thing, you can opt to go for a cut-down fabric variant instead, which is slightly more affordable, you can read our full Noblechairs Legend TX review here.

The Noblechairs Legend gaming chair on a wooden floor in front of a grey wall

(Image credit: Future/Zak Storey)

Noblechairs Legend: Performance

  • Unboxing could be better
  • Build straight out of 2015
  • Needs more magnets

The construction process for the Noblechairs Legend, is, generally, pretty average, as is the packaging. It’s not out of this world, like the Andaseat Kaiser 4, (relatively speaking for a gaming chair), but you get all the components you need, and an easy-to-follow instruction manual.

Construction is generally a breeze, assembling the base and adding the castor wheels is easy enough, although it gets somewhat trickier when you get around to attaching the seat back to the base. There are no sliding brackets or anything to help align your chair here, you have to carefully line it up with the bracket hinges on the side of the base, hold it in place one-handed, thread the bolts through with the other, and secure them with the included allen screws (Noble, like pretty much all manufacturers, do provide you with everything you need to do this). In my model, one of the topmost bolts was a bit troublesome to install, and it did require a lot of back and forth loosening all the other bolts, and eventually using a larger Allen key to secure them in place, but, otherwise, it’s a fairly seamless process. 

The Noblechairs Legend gaming chair on a wooden floor in front of a grey wall

(Image credit: Future/Zak Storey)

The bracket covers aren’t magnetic like those found in Andaseat or Secretlab’s chairs, however, and there are no special screw cover caps here either. It’s all very basic. If you built this chair today, and one in 2016, the process, and features would be basically identical.

That said, once it’s built, the Legend looks and feels immaculate, the PU leather is surprisingly plush, and breathable, not too fine a grain, and there’s some serious comfort here overall, in fact, it may well be one of the most comfortable gaming chairs out there. If you’re thinking about the white version and have any form of household pet that sheds hair, be prepared for a fur-covered chair almost immediately, but a quick blow duster will clean that up sharpish.

Otherwise, over long periods the Legend is fantastically comfortable. The base is far superior to that of the similarly priced and styled Noblechairs Hero, and it really does look the part, even without all the mod-cons of some of its competitors. All-in-all, it’s an impeccably well-rounded chair, the only issue is of course those price discrepancies per region throwing a particularly large spanner into the works.

The Noblechairs Legend gaming chair caster being held in a hand

(Image credit: Future/Zak Storey)

Should I buy the Noblechairs Legend?

Buy it if...

You want a classy-looking office chair
The Noblechairs Legend has a fantastically clean design that looks just as good in a professional enterprise office as it does in a sophisticated gaming den. It’s comfortable too, and packs in a lot of ergonomic considerations that you’d expect for a chair at this price.

You live in the UK
Without a doubt, if you’re in the UK, and see this chair at £400 or less than that, it’s a fantastic deal. Ok, it doesn’t have some of the mod cons, but they just aren’t that important at this price point.

Don't buy it if...

You want all the mod cons
Without a doubt, the Noblechairs Legend’s overall build is starting to show its age. Aside from slightly tweaked cushioning and overall design shape changes, there’s little here that differentiates it from chairs launched seven years ago.

You live in the US
Similar to the above, the Legend is only available in the States for 25% more than what you’d find in the UK. This greatly impacts the value proposition it offers in the US at its standard pricing. As a result, it’s one to keep an eye out for during sales periods.

Also consider...

If you're not completely sold on the Noblechairs Legend, or just want to weigh up some more options then check out these other two chairs that we've reviewed as fine alternatives. 

Andaseat Kaiser 3 XL
Larger than life and designed for the taller human, the Kaiser 3 XL is brimming with all the mod-cons and packs in some serious comfort too. It’s not flawless, and there are a lot of similarities between it, and the Secretlab Titan Evo range, but it’s quite a bit cheaper, and well worth considering.

Here’s our full Andaseat Kaiser 3 XL review 

Razer Iskur
Razer may be a relatively new name in the world of gaming chairs, but that’s not stopped it from producing some top-quality seats. The Iskur is all about that robust lumbar support and lets you fine-tune it to the max. Add all of that juicy Razer styling and the Iskur XL is a surefire pick for any looking for a larger gaming chair.

Here’s our full Razer Iskur review 

How I tested the Noblechairs Legend

  • Tested in all seating positions
  • Cross leg approved
  • Sat on by multiple people

I spent two weeks with the Noblechairs Legend using it as my daily office chair. I’m a 5’8.5” human (174cm) and weigh 165lb / 75kg. I completely built the Legend in my home office on my own and tested it sitting in a number of different positions over the two week period. I used it in video calls and during long gaming sessions in an office varying in temperatures from 20 to 30 degrees Celsius. I also tried a number of different lumbar positions and pillow configurations as well, documenting the entire process.

Additionally, I got a number of friends and colleagues to sit and try the chair, giving me their feedback, people ranging from 5’5" to 6’2" (165 to 180cm)  and all manner of shapes and sizes in between, to get a good varied gauge on how it performs regardless of the person sat in it.

KitchenAid 3.5 cup / 830ml Mini Food Chopper review: a low-effort chopper for basic tasks
10:00 am | July 6, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Home Juicers & Blenders Small Appliances | Tags: , , | Comments: Off

KitchenAid Mini Food Chopper: two-minute review

The KitchenAid 3.5 cup Mini Food Chopper (it's called the Mini Food Chopper 830ml in the UK) is the smallest appliance in the KitchenAid food processing range. It’s a sensible purchase if you want to chop, mix, or puree small quantities, and don’t want a full-sized food processor taking up precious countertop or cupboard space. 

The KitchenAid 3.5 cup / 830ml Mini Food Chopper currently has a list price of $54.99 / £89 / AU$129. This is a little on the expensive side considering it only has one accessory and limited functions, especially as KitchenAid also sells a larger-capacity version, the Food Chopper KFC0516,which comes with an added accessory for only $64.99/ £109 / AU$139.

The 3.5 cup / 830ml Mini Food Chopper arrived ready-assembled, and after washing the work bowl, lid, and multipurpose blade, it was simple to put back together, as there are only four parts. As the name suggests, the bowl has a capacity of 3.5 cups / 830ml. The dimensions of the Mini Food Chopper are 6.9 x 5.6 x 8.7 inches / 178 x 143 x 222mm, and it weighs 2.6lbs /1.2 kg.

There are two speeds to choose from which are engaged by moving the lever on the base unit of the processor to the left to chop, or to the right to puree. One element of the design that may not be a concern for some, but which I wasn’t very fond of, is that there's only one button on the processor that operates the chop, puree, and pulse functions. You press and release the button multiple times to pulse, and press and hold it to chop or puree, using the lever to determine which function is performed.

There's a little drizzle basin in the clear plastic inner section of the lid, which works well when you want to drizzle in liquid slowly while the Mini Chopper is in operation. Another convenient design feature is the spout on the work bowl, which enables you to pour out the finished product or drain off excess liquid.

A close up of the KitchenAid Mini Food Chopper lid, showing the drizzle basin.

(Image credit: Future)

The Mini Chopper’s design stays true to the classic KitchenAid aesthetic. The majority of the processor’s body is colored, with a black plastic base section, and a silver KitchenAid band wrapped around. Onyx Black, Empire Red, and Contour Silver models are available in the US, UK, and Australia. There are more colors available – White, Almond Cream, Pistachio, Ice, Blue Velvet, Aqua Sky, and Matte Black – but the availability of these depends on your location. The power cable is on the short side, but due to the chopper's small size and lightweight it isn’t much hassle to move it closer to a plug socket.

The noise level when the Mini Chopper is chopping or pureeing is quite loud. Worse still is the pulse mode. When I chopped some almonds during testing the sound was almost deafening, so this may be one to avoid if you have particularly sensitive ears, or if you plan to chop hard ingredients such as nuts on a regular basis.

Thanks to the minimal number of parts, cleaning up is quick and easy. The work bowl, lid, and blade are easy to hand wash, and they’re top-rack dishwasher safe.

While its functions may be limited compared with larger models like the KitchenAid 7 cup / 1.7L Food Processor, the Mini Chopper does its job well. It was able to turn two slices of wholemeal bread into breadcrumbs in 10 seconds, and made quick work of chopping an onion too, with no oversized pieces remaining. The multipurpose blade had no problems with cutting up carrots and cucumbers either.

A close up of breadcrumbs in the work bowl of the KitchenAid Mini Food Chopper.

(Image credit: Future / Cesci Angell)

Chopping almonds was an unpleasant experience, however. The amount of noise the pulse function makes is already loud, but after adding a bunch of almonds and firing them around a small plastic container, I thoroughly regretted not wearing ear protection. After processing, the sizes of the almond pieces were inconsistent, and there was lots of dust in the bottom of the work bowl, plus a thin layer up the sides of the work bowl and inside the lid. Some dust had found its way inside the fitment ring of the blade as well. 

As per our testing protocols, I attempted to combine a pastry mixture. At one stage when mixing the flour, margarine, and water, the mixture stopped combining; after a while it began to mix again, but there was a layer of unmixed ingredients at the bottom. To be fair to KitchenAid, they don’t claim that the Mini Chopper can mix something as dense as pastry dough, so I couldn’t blame it for struggling a little.

The cost of the KitchenAid 3.5 cup / 830ml Mini Food Chopper in the UK and Australia is a little on the steep side. There are cheaper alternatives from other reputable brands; however, they tend to have a capacity of around 1.5-2.5 cups / 350ml-550ml, so you wouldn’t be able to process as much in one go. This chopper lives up to the standard I would expect from KitchenAid – the materials are high-quality, and it feels solid and dependable in use, but with the larger KitchenAid Food Chopper KFC0516 costing just a little more, perhaps you could be getting better value for money.

KitchenAid Mini Food Chopper: price & availability

  • List price: $54.99 / £89 / AU$129
  • Currently available in the US, UK, and Australia

The KitchenAid 3.5 cup / 830ml Mini Food Chopper retails at $54.99 / £89 / AU$129. Curiously, the price of the US model is just over half the cost of the equivalent UK and Australian models – this might simply be due to the fact that KitchenAid is a US brand.

Although it's a good-quality appliance and chops ingredients well, the price tag is a little steep considering its limited capabilities. This is especially apparent when you compare it to its sibling, the KitchenAid Food Chopper KFC0516, which only costs $64.99/ £109 / AU$139, and has a larger capacity and additional features.

The Mini Food Chopper is available to purchase in the US, UK, and Australia now. Five color options are available in the UK and Australia, while in the US you can choose from nine colors. I’ll go into the colors available in more detail in the design and features section.

  • Value for money score: 3 out of 5

KitchenAid Mini Food Chopper specs

KitchenAid Mini Food Chopper: design & features

  • Compact and lightweight
  • Single button and lever controls
  • Useful spout and drizzle basin

I found that it could be a bit fiddly to mount the work bowl on to the base and put the lid on at times, due to the twist-to-lock mechanism, and on occasion the lid would go past where it’s supposed to stop. To be honest, I prefer the one-click system of some of their larger models, such as the KitchenAid 7 cup / 1.7L Food Processor. At this size and price point, however, you can’t expect everything.

At 6.9 x 5.6 x 8.7 inches / 178 x 143 x 222mm, the Mini Food Chopper is compact enough to leave on the countertop without it being obstructive, and small enough to stash away in a cupboard. It weighs just 2.6lbs /1.2kg, so it's easy to lift and move around. The design is simple, but efficient enough. The base unit has a lever that moves from left to right to go into chop or puree mode, and the single button protrudes out from the lid and sits at the top of the work bowl handle.

A close up of the work bowl and lid of the KitchenAid Mini Food Chopper, showing the spout and drizzle basin.

(Image credit: Future)

One small downside for me is that to chop or puree you need to hold the button down continuously. With this small capacity, I doubt there’s much I’d end up processing that would take long, but I prefer a one-press system over a press-and-hold. The Mini Food Chopper is capable of pulsing too, to use pulse it’s a case of repeatedly pressing and releasing the button until you have the desired result. The two different speed settings and the pulse function mean that it’s possible to chop, mix, or puree ingredients with one small appliance.

The outer edge of the lid is black plastic, with a clear circular middle section that has a built-in drizzle basin. The purpose of the drizzle basin is to allow you to fill it with a liquid, such as oil, so it can slowly incorporate with the ingredients in the work bowl as you continue to process them. Another simple but useful feature is the spout on the work bowl. This allows you to easily pour out what you’ve processed, or remove liquid from the contents of the work bowl.

A close up of the base of the KitchenAid Mini Food Chopper in gloss Onyx Black, showing the control lever.

(Image credit: Future)

There’s no doubt that this Mini Food Chopper is a KitchenAid. There are some attractive color options available, although most of the jazziest colors are only available in the US. Three colors are available whether you’re in the US, UK, or Australia: Onyx Black, Empire Red, and Contour Silver. The other color options are White, Almond Cream, Pistachio, Ice, Blue Velvet, Aqua Sky, and Matte Black, but availability will depend on your region.

I hand-washed the work bowl, lid, and blade multiple times between ingredients while testing, and all of the parts were easy to clean, and they can be placed in the top rack of a dishwasher.

  • Design & features score: 4 out of 5

KitchenAid Mini Food Chopper: performance

  • Processes quickly
  • Made breadcrumbs in seconds
  • Chopping nuts is unpleasant

The KitchenAid Mini Food Chopper’s capabilities may be limited, but what it can do it does well, and fast. It swiftly processed two slices of wholemeal bread, taking only 10 seconds to create fine breadcrumbs. It happily chopped through carrot, cucumber, and onion, producing fairly consistently sized pieces. 

A close up view of chopped onion pieces inside the KitchenAid Mini Food Chopper work bowl.

(Image credit: Future / Cesci Angell)

The Mini Food Chopper could also chop up almonds, but I must admit this was a rather unpleasant experience. I found that the chop and puree settings sounded loud compared to other KitchenAid food processors I’ve tested, but the pulse mode was louder still, and I was very much unprepared for the near-deafening sound of pulsing the almonds. I’d suggest avoiding chopping up hard ingredients like this, or if you have to, wear some ear protection. This may sound like overkill, but as someone who has tinnitus, my ears were still ringing over a week later. You have been warned. 

To make matters worse, the resulting consistency of the chopped almonds was disappointing. The pieces of almond were inconsistent, ranging in size from large pieces down to dust. This dust also crept up inside the fitment ring of the multipurpose blade, which meant that almond dust got everywhere when I removed the blade as it caught me off guard.

A close up view of chopped almonds inside the work bowl of the KitchenAid Mini Food Chopper.

(Image credit: Future / Cesci Angell)

When testing food processors, we use them to perform a variety of tasks, one of which is combining a pastry mixture. This isn’t something that KitchenAid claims the Mini Food Chopper can do, but I thought I’d give it a go. This is not an appliance for pastry-making, but given that fact it didn’t do terribly. At one point, it stopped combining the flour, margarine, and water, as everything stuck to the sides of the work bowl; it began to mix again after a while, but there was a layer of ingredients left at the bottom. It did okay though, all things considered – the motor showed no signs of struggleing, and there were no signs of it overheating, so despite the less-than-perfect results.

If you like the sound of the KitchenAid 3.5 cup / 830ml Mini Food Chopper but would like a slightly bigger capacity, or a bit more versatility, then the 5-cup / 1.19-litre KitchenAid Mini Food Chopper KFC0516 may be more up your street.

  • Performance score: 4 out of 5

Should I buy the KitchenAid Mini Food Chopper?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

KitchenAid Mini Food Chopper: also consider

How I tested the KitchenAid Mini Food Chopper

  • I assessed the setup and performance
  • I processed a variety of ingredients
  • I checked how easy it was to clean

To put the KitchenAid 3.5 cup / 830ml Mini Food Chopper through its paces, I used the chopping blade and different speed settings to chop carrot, cucumber, onion, and almonds. I also used it to process bread to make breadcrumbs and combine flour, margarine, and water to make pastry. These are the same tests we run for all food processors, making it easy to see how different models compare. 

I tested how easy it was to clean the processor parts by hand-washing, and using the dishwasher to establish how well you can clean the parts with either method. 

Read more about how we test

First reviewed June 2024

Samsung Q80D TV review: great QLED pictures at an attainable price
9:41 pm | July 3, 2024

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

Samsung Q80D TV: Two-minute review

The Samsung Q80D is a reasonably priced TV that inevitably loses the company’s most cutting-edge tech but still has more to offer than most other mid-range TVs in its class. That’s good news because, although Samsung’s various 8K, Quantum Dot OLED and Mini LED TVs for 2024 are undoubtedly impressive and rank among the best TVs, their lofty prices make them merely the stuff of dreams for many households. 

The well-built bodywork on the Samsung Q80D plays host to a contrast-friendly VA LCD panel illuminated by LEDs placed directly behind the screen and controlled by Samsung’s powerful Neo Quantum 4 Gen 2 processor driving an impressive local dimming system. This engine also delivers exemplary 4K upscaling and contributes to much richer colours and far greater sharpness and detail than you might reasonably expect with a mid-range TV.

The Q80D’s audio, meanwhile, actually outperforms some of Samsung’s more premium TV options, while smart features are provided by the content-heavy (including a dedicated Gaming Hub) Tizen OS platform. 

Pictures need a little attention to get the best from the Q80D, but that best is well worth the effort for gamers as well as movie and TV fans.

Samsung Q80D remote controls on table

The Samsung Q80D's SolarCell (top) and regular (bottom) remote controls (Image credit: Future)

Samsung Q80D TV review: Price and release date

  • Release date: February 2024 
  • QE50Q80D: £1,099 / $999 (around AU$1,500)
  • QE55Q80D: £1,399 / $1,199 (around AU$1,800)
  • QE65Q80D: £1,799 / $1,599 (around AU$2,400)
  • QE75Q80D: £2,499 / $2,199 (around AU$3,300)
  • QE85Q80D: £2,999 / $3,299 (around AU$5,00)

The 55-inch Samsung Q80D I tested launched in June 2024 in multiple territories around the world. In the UK it’s already been discounted for £1,199 at the time of writing, and its price has dropped $100 in the US for an asking price of $1,099. The Q80D range, which is available in 50 to 80-inch screen sizes, is not currently being shown as available or coming soon for the Australian market.

The UK and US prices both confirm the Q80D as sitting at the top of the relatively basic half of Samsung’s 2024 TV range. By which I mean that it’s the most premium Samsung TV you can buy this year before you get into the much higher prices demanded by Samsung’s top-tier TV technologies. This positioning potentially makes it a great option for anyone wanting to get (hopefully) plenty of Samsung’s trademark LCD picture quality for much less money than those premium technologies require.

Samsung Q80D TV review: Specs

Samsung Q80D TV review: Benchmark results

Samsung Q80D rear panel ports

The Q80D's side-mounted connections include four HDMI 2.1 ports (Image credit: Future)

Samsung Q80D TV review: Features

  • 4K FALD VA LCD TV
  • HDR10, HLG and HDR10+ support
  • Full gaming features across all HDMIs

The Q80D’s position in Samsung’s range means that it gets a 4K resolution rather than an 8K one, uses regular-sized LED lights rather than mini LEDs, and isn’t a Quantum Dot OLED. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t still have anything to get excited about, though.

For starters, it deploys its regular LEDs within a FALD (full array with local dimming) lighting system. This means the LEDs are placed directly behind the screen rather than around its edges, and are divided into what I counted to be 100 (10x10) separately controllable zones. The idea behind this being to enhance the TV’s contrast by allowing different parts of the picture to receive different amounts of light at any given moment depending on the ever-changing needs of the picture.

There are TVs out there these days with far more than 100 dimming zones. Experience has shown, though, that while a high dimming zone count is a good starting point, ultimately it’s not so much how many zones you have as what you do with them that counts.

The Q80D’s panel is a VA rather than IPS type, meaning its pictures may lose a bit of contrast when viewed from an angle but should deliver much better contrast when viewed head-on. Those expectations I will naturally be checking up on in the course of this review.

Driving the Q80D’s lighting engine, 4K upscaling, colour management, motion processing, noise reduction and all the other picture features the TV boasts is the second generation of Samsung’s Neo Quantum 4 processor. This, impressively, is the same processor that’s used on Samsung’s flagship 4K mini LED TVs for 2024, the Samsung QN95D range.

As you might guess from the use of Quantum in the Q80D’s processor name, the set’s colours are created by Quantum Dots. Quantum Dots handle high brightness better than traditional RGB filters, enabling TVs to achieve the bigger colour volumes needed to do justice to HDR footage.

Talking of HDR, the Q80D can handle the HDR10, HLG and premium HDR10+ formats, the latter of which adds extra scene-by-scene metadata to the feed to help TVs produce more accurate and dynamic results. Samsung continues, though, not to support the Dolby Vision premium HDR format; anything encoded in Dolby Vision will drop down to its generic HDR10 ‘layer’ (minus Dolby Vision’s extra scene-by-scene data).

As you would expect of even a mid-range Samsung TV these days, the Q80D is equipped with all the tools necessary to have it professionally calibrated. You can even have a go at this yourself thanks to the TV’s Smart Calibration system, which can perform a surprisingly effective auto calibration with no other external kit required than a recent and sufficiently high-quality mobile phone.

The Q80D carries an excellent roster of connections for a mid-range TV, including, most importantly, four HDMI ports able to handle the latest gaming features. (I’ll come back to this in the dedicated gaming section.) One of the HDMIs is also equipped with eARC functionality, to pass lossless Dolby Atmos audio tracks to soundbars and AVRs, while elsewhere there are two USB ports, an Ethernet port, an RF port, a digital optical audio output, and the now ubiquitous Bluetooth (including headphones) and Wi-Fi support.

  • Features Score: 4.5/5

Samsung Q80D showing landscape image

The Samsung Q80D's picture can lose some contrast and color saturation when viewed from off-center seats (Image credit: Future)

Samsung Q80D TV review: Picture quality

  • Great black levels and contrast
  • Vibrant colours
  • Sharp 4K and HD pictures

The Samsung QE55Q80D immediately addressed my biggest pre-testing concern about its picture quality by delivering an outstanding contrast performance, combining more brightness with deeper, more natural, and more consistent black levels than any other LCD TV I can think of in its class.

The brightness strikes you in two ways. First, the brightest bits of HDR images have a real intensity to them – and for the most part, this intensity doesn’t come at the expense of subtle toning and details in those extreme areas. Second, the screen retains markedly more intensity with bright HDR images that flood the whole screen than most other mid-range TVs. In fact, while more expensive OLED TVs can look more intense still with small light peaks, especially when those peaks appear against dark backdrops, not even the brightest current OLED can get as bright with a full-screen HDR light show as the Q80D.

Measurements confirmed out-of-the-box peak brightness of just over 1,000 nits using 10% and 25% HDR windows – though thanks to the way the local dimming system works, the highest measurements on the 10% window were achieved in Movie and Filmmaker modes, while with the 25% window the highest measurements came with the Standard and (rather over-aggressive) Dynamic picture presets.

On a 100% HDR window, the 55-inch Q80D peaked at just under 700 nits in Standard and Dynamic mode, or around 600 nits in the Movie and Filmmaker Mode presets.

Samsung’s more advanced LCD TVs can, of course, get significantly brighter still than the Q80D. By general mid-range LCD TV standards, though, 1,000 nits is a very good effort. Especially when allied with those inky black levels I mentioned.

Dark scenes really do look fantastically convincing for the most part. The lack of any substantive blue, green or grey wash over areas of the picture that should be black is an awesome find at this level of the TV market. The amount of shadow detail the set reveals, especially in its Movie and Filmmaker Mode presets, is also excellent for such a contrast-rich FALD TV.

Even better, the local dimming system that’s largely responsible for this black level depth works its magic while throwing up impressively few backlight blooming or clouding issues. Even where something like a torch or streetlight shines out against a night sky there’s only the faintest hint of extraneous light leaching into the surrounding darkness.

If you’re watching an HDR film with black borders above and below it in a very dark room you can occasionally see a faint patch of greyness creep into the borders where a particularly bright part of the image appears right up against them. Even in these quite extreme circumstances, though, these slight ‘blooms’ are very faint for such a punchy mid-range TV.

The Q80D also proves actually more subtle than its brighter Samsung LCD siblings in a couple of areas – at least in its agreeably eye-catching Standard preset. You’re much less likely to see the TV sharply adjust its general brightness level during abrupt cuts between dark and bright shots, and bright highlights of mostly dark images don’t tend to dim down as much to prevent blooming artefacts.

I’m not saying the Q80D is totally immune to either of these occasional and short-lived backlight adjustment inconsistencies, but they’re certainly both less common and less aggressively obvious than they have been on some previous Samsung TVs I’ve reviewed.

Samsung Q80D showing cartoonish abstract image

(Image credit: Future)

Samsung TVs have long tended to thrive on 4K diets, and so it proves again with the Q80D. Native 4K sources look truly pin sharp – breathtakingly so with the best quality sources. Classic 4K showcase minutiae like the weave in clothing, facial pores, individual strands of hair, individual blades of grass in a meadow or grains of sand on a beach are all starkly obvious. As is the enhanced sense of depth associated with a high-resolution screen being able to deliver a more defined draw distance.

All of this is being delivered on a 55-inch screen, remember – hardly the biggest showcase for 4K’s charms by today’s standards. But the difference all those pixels make is plain as day. The Neo Quantum 4 Gen 2 processor proves so good at upconverting HD sources into 4K, too, that the Q80D’s 4K talents remain clear even when you’re not watching a true 4K source.

The Q80D’s colour performance is also (predictably at this point) very good by mid-range TV standards after a touch of tweaking - though it does also give us one of the TV’s main out of the box weaknesses.

At first glance, all seems well. Tones in all modes (though especially the daft Dynamic and very watchable Standard presets) enjoy bold saturations that aren’t in the least bit thinned out by the screen’s high brightness, while the more accurate Movie and Filmmaker Mode settings tone things down for a more balanced, ‘accurate’ look without, still, looking in the least bit thin or muted.

Fine blends are handled without striping, coarseness or blockiness, too, helping colours play their part in creating the image’s three-dimensional feel.

The issue that you gradually start to notice is a slightly artificial pinkish tone creeping into skin tones and some really bright parts of HDR pictures. This is particularly noticeable in the Dynamic and Standard presets, but it’s also slightly present with the more accurate Movie and even Filmmaker Modes.

Our SDR Colour Checker tests using Portrait Displays’ Calman software, C6 meter and G1 pattern generator confirmed this colour issue to some extent, as while the set registered an excellent overall Delta Error 2000 (Delta-E) figure of under three, the consistently largest colour errors came with tones most likely to be found with skin tones and peak whites. Fortunately, running the Q80D’s Smart Calibration feature can improve this problem, as can nudging the TV’s Tint control a couple of points towards green.

Another smallish sign of the Q80D’s mid-range rather than premium Samsung nature is the way the backlight blooming that the set handles so well when viewing it head-on can become quite a bit more noticeable if you have to watch the TV from more than 30 degrees or so off-axis.

Samsung’s default motion processing options for its Standard picture mode also deliver their usual heavy handed mix with 24p services of overly aggressive smoothing and messy processing side effects. So you’ll need to head into the Picture Clarity settings and either turn all motion processing off or, if you find the resulting judder too jarring, establish a Custom mode with blur and judder reduction both set below halfway (I’ll leave it to you to choose the exact settings according to your tastes).

The crucial thing about the Q80D’s main flaws, though, is that all of them, even the colour one, can be avoided or at least improved with a little manual intervention.

  • Picture quality score: 4.5/5

Samsung Q80D corner detail

The Q80D's substantial bodywork helps with its sonics (Image credit: Future)

Samsung Q80D TV review: Sound quality

  • Large soundstage
  • Good Dolby Atmos staging
  • Plenty of well-placed detailing

Experience suggests that the Q80D’s substantial bodywork relative to some of Samsung’s slimmest TV options could be helpful to the set’s sonics. And so, happily, it proves.

Two strengths in particular jump out. First, there’s hardly any of the buzzing, phutting or drop-out distortions when handling bass that I’ve experienced with some Samsung models. And that’s despite bass reaching quite deep and being more readily involved in the audio presentation than it is with many mid-range TVs.

Also strong by mid-range TV standards is the scale of the Q80D’s soundstage. With Dolby Atmos sources in particular, sound mix elements that aren’t directly connected to the onscreen action, such as the score or ambient effects, appear well beyond the TV’s left and right sides without starting to sound thin or incoherent. This draws you into the action and leaves the more central areas of the sound stage with more room to handle more specific sound elements such as dialogue and separate object sound details.

Dialogue appears decently rounded without losing clarity, and the speakers are subtle enough to bring out even the smallest, most quiet effects. High trebles typically don’t sound gratingly harsh, either, and the ‘Lite’ version of Samsung’s Object Tracking Sound system does a decent job of making effects seem as if they’re appearing from the right part of the screen.

The Q80D doesn’t get as loud as some home cinema fans might wish, and the OTS system doesn’t deliver effects as accurately as the more premium versions of the technology you get on Samsung’s high-end TVs, especially when it comes to voices. Overall, though, the Q80D is one of the best-sounding TVs in Samsung’s 2024 range, and a strong general competitor to other examples of the best TVs for sound.

  • Sound quality score: 4.5/5

Samsung Q80D close up of pedestal stand

Samsung's aluminum pedestal stand for the Q80D (Image credit: Future)

Samsung Q80D TV review: Design

  • Centrally attached pedestal desktop stand
  • Not one of Samsung’s super-thin designs
  • Impressive build quality

Despite not boasting the ultra-thin, futuristic looks of the ‘Infinity’ design applied to Samsung’s high-end TVs, the Q80D still makes an attractive addition to your living space. The silver metallic finish of both its plate-style desktop stand and screen frame/edges looks striking, and is elevated by some impressive build quality by mid-range TV standards.

Neither the frame nor the set’s rear panel are spectacularly thin by modern TV build standards. But that’s not to say the frame doesn’t still look and feel premium, and given that we all spend our lives looking at the front of our TVs rather than the back, I’d rather a FALD TV like the Q80D be given the room for its light system to work properly rather than potentially hurting image quality by trying to make the rear super-thin.

It’s worth pointing out, too, that there are channels on the Q80D’s rear to help keep your cables tidy, and that you can call up photos, videos or even artwork onto the set’s screen rather than having to be left with a big black rectangle in your room when you’re not actually watching TV.

  • Design score: 4/5

Samsung Q80D Tizen smart TV interface

The Q80D's Tizen smart TV interface (Image credit: Future)

Samsung Q80D TV review: Smart TV and menus

  • Tizen OS carries lots of content
  • No Freeview Play in the UK
  • Excellent Gaming Hub feature

The Q80D’s smart features are provided by the brand’s own Tizen OS (also sometimes known as ‘Eden’). This system has undergone extensive changes over the past few years, in particular shifting from a compact interface super-imposed over whatever you’re watching to a full-screen OS.

I still find aspects of the full-screen OS a little daunting in their presentation, and illogical in their navigation. The latest version sported by the Q80D continues to refine things in the right direction, though – especially when it comes to deciding what sort of content is relevant to you (based on analysis of your viewing habits) to highlight on its home screen.

A generally high content level is provided on the Tizen OS, including all the video streaming apps most viewers will ever need. The only exception is that there’s no support for the UK’s Freeview Play system, which brings together all the UK’s main terrestrial broadcaster catch-up apps.

You can control the Q80D to an impressively deep level using just voice commands if you’re okay with talking to your TV, and, finally, there are a couple of great resources for gamers with the Gaming Hub and Game Bar, which I’ll cover in more detail in the next section.

  • Smart TV & menus score: 4.5/5

Samsung Q80D Gaming hub interface

The Samsung Gaming Hub interface lets you easily access connected consoles and cloud-based gaming services (Image credit: Future)

Samsung Q80D TV review: Gaming

  • 4K 120Hz and VRR support
  • All four HDMIs support all gaming features
  • Gaming Hub and Game Bar menu

Along with being a fine TV, the Q80D is an outstanding gaming monitor. For starters, all four of its HDMI ports can handle 4K 120Hz signals delivered by PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles and premium PC graphics cards – the set doesn’t limit you to just two 4K 120Hz HDMIs like many rival TVs do.

All the HDMIs also support variable refresh rates (including the AMD FreeSync Premium format) and auto game mode switching, and when running in its Game mode input lag drops to an outstandingly low 9.8ms.

The Gaming Hub I mentioned in the previous section is a dedicated screen in the Tizen OS that brings together all your gaming sources, from streamed platforms like NVidia GeForce to connected consoles and PCs. The Game Bar, meanwhile, is an onscreen menu you can call up when gaming that provides at-a-glance details about the graphics feed and quick access to specific gaming features. These include mini-map magnification, a super-imposed crosshair, the option to sacrifice a little response time in return for smoother panning in low frame rate games, and the ability to raise the brightness of just the dark parts of a game to make it easier to spot enemies.

  • Gaming score: 5/5

Samsung Q80D rear shot

The substantial Samsung Q80D seen from the rear (Image credit: Future)

Samsung Q80D TV review: Value

  • Samsung’s cheapest non-mini-LED or OLED TV
  • Impressive gaming features for its money
  • Picture and sound quality both above par for a mid-range TV

In many ways, the Q80D feels like a premium Samsung TV from three or four years ago – which is actually a pretty big compliment. Its FALD LCD display delivers much better all-around pictures than we usually find in the mid-range TV world, and they’re backed up by more than respectable sonics too.

It also ticks more feature boxes than I might have expected of a mid-range  TV in terms of its core panel technologies, gaming support and its expansive and unusually intelligent smart TV system.

  • Value score: 4.5/5 

Samsung Q80D showing abstract image onscreen

One of many abstract images available in the Samsung Q80D's Ambient mode (Image credit: Future)

Should I buy the Samsung Q80D TV?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if…

Also consider...

Samsung QN900D showing test pattern

(Image credit: Future)

How I tested the Samsung Q80D TV

  • Tested over 12 days
  • Tested with 4K Blu-rays, multiple streaming platforms and resolutions, Freeview HD broadcasts, and HD Blu-rays
  • Reviewed in both dark and light dedicated test room conditions, and a regular (corner position) living room set up

As a mid-range TV, my starting point with the 55-inch Samsung Q80D was trying to home in on some of the basic qualities of its panel. So I measured its brightness using an HDR window test from the Spears & Munsil Ultra HD Benchmark 4K Blu-ray disc measured with a professional light meter, and also fed the screen various real-world scenes, such as the early party in the mansion sequence in Babylon on 4K Blu-ray, that feature lots of bright highlights against dark backgrounds. This gave me a feel for how good the set’s backlight controls and viewing angles are.

I also used a test screen featuring a small white square tracking around the outsides of the image to count the number of dimming zones the 55-inch Q80D carries.

From here on in, for the ‘test results’ part of my analysis I used Portrait Displays’ Calman Ultimate software, together with the same company’s C6 light meter and G1 pattern generator. 

For regular viewing tests, I watched all sorts of content, from HD SDR broadcasts via a Sky Q box to HD SDR streams, 4K SDR streams and 4K HDR streams from a selection of the main streaming platforms.

For more consistently dependable results, I also watched several 4K Blu-ray films that I regularly use for TV testing, such as Babylon, Pan, It Chapter One, and Blade Runner 2049. I also watched these sources in a variety of room conditions, from a blacked-out test room to a sun-drenched living room.

Gaming was tested using both a PS5 and an Xbox Series X, with a Leo Bodnar input lag meter used to measure input lag.

You can read an in-depth overview of how we test TVs at TechRadar at that link.

Nutribullet Magic Bullet Portable Blender​ review
10:00 am |

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Home Small Appliances | Tags: , , , | Comments: Off

Nutribullet Magic Bullet Portable Blender: two-minute review

Product info

This model has slightly different names and product codes in different territories:

US: Magic Bullet Portable Blender MBPB50100
UK: Nutribullet Portable Blender​ NBPBCONFIG
AU: NutriBullet Portable Blender

For this review, I tested the UK version. There may be minor differences between different countries' models.

The Nutribullet Magic Bullet Portable Blender (known as just the Nutribullet Portable Blender in the UK and Australia) is a compact and convenient blender if you want or need to make drinks on the go. It weighs just 1.5lbs / 710g and measures 10.7 x 3.2 x 3.7" / 27.2 x 8 x 9.5cm, which means it fits easily inside a backpack or gym bag. It has a 0.5qt / 475ml cup, which comes with a leak-proof flip and sip lid and carry handle. 

The blender is compatible with any USB-C charger, and ships with a USB-C cable as standard. Nutribullet claims you can get around 15 cycles per charge of the Portable Blender but I averaged between 18-20 and a single charge lasted me almost two weeks. 

Despite its smaller size and lower, 100-watt power compared with other Nutribullet models, as well as the majority of best blenders on the market, the Portable Blender makes smoothies and drinks with speed and ease. It only offers a 60-second blending cycle which, in my experience, is more than adequate for most drink preparations but feels a little restrictive if you're looking to blend tougher ingredients or make more complex recipes. 

Speaking of complex recipes, while the blender’s performance with smoothies was impressive, it struggled with making hummus. It also failed to crush ice evenly. What's more, trying to clean the blender after attempting to make the hummus was tricky. The blade is fixed into the base and you can't wash it under a tap or similar because the base also houses all the electronics. The only way to clean it is to run a cleaning cycle, but then you're using up the already limited battery life. Thankfully, you can remove the cup and lid and put them both on the top-drawer of the dishwasher so at least that's something.

Banana, blueberries and kale in the Nutribullet Magic Bullet portable blender

(Image credit: Future)

Aesthetically, the Portable Blender comes in a great range of vibrant colors: black, light blue, magenta, navy blue, purple and white. I love this variety, but the plastic build of the blender does look a little cheap. 

In summary, the Nutribullet Magic Bullet Portable Blender is ideal for people needing a quick, portable, and efficient way to make smoothies on the go, or for people with limited kitchen space. I wouldn't recommend it if you're looking for more heavy-duty blending or complex recipes, but it excels in its intended use case. Read on for my full Nutribullet Portable Blender review.

Nutribullet Magic Bullet Portable Blender review: price & availability

  • Available in the US, UK and Australia
  • List price: $39.99 / £39.99 / A$79.95

If you hadn't guessed from its relatively low-power, 100-watt motor and its equally low $39.99 / £39.99 / A$79.95 price, the Nutribullet Magic Bullet Portable Blender – known as just the Nutribullet Portable Blender in the UK – is cheap and cheerful. It's the latest entry-level model in a range that also includes:

Nutribullet still sells its portable GO blender but it appears to have been discontinued because stocks are low and the blender is no longer available across a majority of retailers. 

Aside from the extra power you get the further up the range you go, little separates the blenders themselves. They all look and work in a similar way. The 600 Series has a 0.75qt / 700ml tall cup, and a 0.56qt / 550ml short cup; the Pro 900 comes with a tall, and 1qt / 909ml oversized cup. The 1200 Pro+ and Ultra both ship with two cups – 0.75qt / 700ml, and 0.94qt / 900ml. By comparison, the Magic Bullet Portable Blender's cup holds 0.5qt / 475ml. 

While it lacks the power of its siblings, the Nutribullet Magic Bullet Portable Blender does come in the widest range of colors of any Nutribullet blender, past and present. This includes: black, light blue, magenta, navy blue, purple and white. What's more, the whole blender is portable, not just the cup, and it comes with a carry handle and charging. This vastly adds to its appeal and versatility. 

The closest like-for-like portable blender to the Nutribullet is the Ninja Blast. It launched in 2023, costs $59.99 / £49.99 / AU$99.99 and comes with the same sippy cup lid, carry handle and battery-powered, portable design. It’s available in Denim Blue, Black, Cranberry, Forest Green, Passion Fruit and White colors. The biggest differences between the two are that the Ninja model is a lot less powerful – 14.4-watts vs the Nutribullet's 100-watts – and it comes with a 30-second cycle, versus Nutribullet's 60-second one. The cup is larger on the Ninja, at 0.56qt / 550ml however you can only fill to the maximum 0.5qt / 475ml line, which gives the two blenders the same capacity. 

Nutribullet suggests you replace the extractor blades on all of its blenders every six months. These cost around $15 / £10 / AU$20 but even with this additional price factored in, the Magic Bullet Personal Blender is still great value for money.      

  • Value for money score: 5 out of 5

Nutribullet Portable Blender review: design

  • Simple press-to-blend design  
  • Wide range of brightly colored finishes
  • Carry handle and USB-C charging point
  • Dishwasher safe BPA-free cup 

Until the launch of its Magic Bullet Portable Blender, the majority of personal blenders in the Nutribullet range looked largely the same. They all have a slightly industrial aesthetic, usually consisting of a silver and black finish. Their bases have curved edges, and you attach the cups upside down. In almost stark comparison, the Portable Blender looks more like a Bluetooth speaker or water bottle, than a blender. Its tall and thin, measuring 10.7 x 3.2 x 3.7" / 27.2 x 8 x 9.5cm, and is made of plastic. It weighs 1.5lb / 710g. 

The blender is designed to be used and stored as a single appliance. It has a compact motor base with a power button and USB-C charging port on the front. The blade assembly sits on top of this detachable base. The power button is fitted with an LED status light that indicates when the blender is running, when it's fully charged and when it's running low on battery. Nutribullet promises around 15 blending cycles per battery charge and the Portable Blender only offers a single, 60-second cycle. It automatically stops blending after the 60 seconds are up. 

The base of the Nutribullet Magic Bullet portable blender showing its power button and USB-C port

(Image credit: Future)

The cylindrical, 0.5qt / 475ml cup screws into the base, and has a leakproof flip and sip lid with a carry handle at the top. This lip is secured into place using a locking latch, and removed via a release button. 

I reviewed the navy blue model and the color is vibrant and eye-catching, if slightly childish. This blender certainly doesn't have the premium aesthetic of Nutribullet's champagne-colored or metallic models. It looks as you'd expect, given its cheap price. The plastic is easy to clean, though, and it's incredibly easy to store in a cupboard or carry in a bag.  

While the blender ships with a USB-C cable, it's only 1.6ft / 0.5m long and doesn't have a plug. This makes the cable easy to pack or store, but means you will need a spare plug to use it. Fortunately, because USB-C is increasingly the standard for appliances and gadgets, you can charge the Portable Blender with any of your existing chargers.

On the wider Nutribullet range, the blade is fitted inside a lid that attaches to the cup before screwing into the base. This makes it easy to remove and clean. Due to the fact the blade is built into the Magic Bullet Portable Blender's base, and this base contains all of the electrics, it's a pain to wash. You can, of course, run a blending cycle using soapy water but as every cycle drains the battery slightly, this isn't an ideal design. At least the cup and lip are detachable and dishwasher-safe, although you do need to make sure they're on the top shelf of your dishwasher to avoid damage. 

  • Design score: 4 out of 5

Nutribullet Magic Bullet Portable Blender review: performance

  • Great for smoothies, poor for everything else
  • Only offers a 60-second blending cycle
  • Fantastic portability 

I always use the same methodology and recipes when testing blenders. That way I can make like-for-like comparisons between the various models I review. These tests include making a kale and blueberry smoothie, making hummus and crushing ice cubes. It became immediately clear, however, that the Magic Bullet Portable Blender is simply not built for this range of tests. 

The hummus barely blended. The ingredients were flung to the edges of the cup and I had to repeatedly stop the cycle to push them back down towards the blades. Even then, it never fully blended the chickpeas or garlic and I had to abandon the whole thing.

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Chick peas and garlic in the Nutribullet Magic Bullet portable blender for making hummus

Chickpeas and garlic in the Nutribullet Magic Bullet portable blender for making hummus (Image credit: Future)
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Poorly-made hummus in the Nutribullet Magic Bullet portable blender

Poorly-made hummus in the Nutribullet Magic Bullet portable blender (Image credit: Future)

If I'd persevered with multiple cycles, the results may have improved but Nutribullet doesn't advise using the blender for more than 60 seconds. (It also warns about not using hot ingredients in the blender, too). What's more, the thick hummus clung to the inside of the blender and because you can't put the blades in the wash, it took a while to get it properly clean.  

The blender's performance during the ice test was better, but not brilliant. There were still a few lumps of ice left in the bottom of the blender, and the ice that was crushed wasn't uniform in size of texture. 

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Ice cubes in the Nutribullet Magic Bullet portable blender

Ice cubes in the Nutribullet Magic Bullet portable blender (Image credit: Future)
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Result of using the Nutribullet Magic Bullet portable blender to crush ice cubes

Result of using the Nutribullet Magic Bullet portable blender to crush ice cubes (Image credit: Future)

Finally, the smoothie was the best performing test. During the blender's 60-second cycle, it created a smooth and thick drink that tasted great. There were flecks of kale and blueberry skin left in the liquid, but they were so small you couldn't taste them and they didn't interfere with the texture. 

It feels a little unfair to judge such a low-power, affordable blender on tasks that are designed for more complex machines. It's clear – given its marketing and design –that the Portable Blender is for drinks and drinks only. And this was where the blender came into its own. Making drinks and smoothies is likely how the majority of people shopping for a portable blender will use it. 

The limited, 60-second blending time is a little restrictive but is more than adequate for making smoothies and drinks. It makes the blender incredibly easy to use, too. I like the fact you get a warning, in the form of an LED indicator, when the battery is running low and in my experience, you still get two to three additional blending cycles even when this light comes on. 

Banana, blueberries and kale in the Nutribullet Magic Bullet portable blender

(Image credit: Future)

Speaking of blending cycles, the promises made by Nutribullet regarding ~15 cycles per charge sell the blender a little short. I got an average of 18 cycles per charge during my review period, although a frustrating number of those were cleaning cycles. It also only takes around an hour and a half to get the blender back to full charge again. 

The Nutribullet Portable Blender is almost whisper-quiet, running at an average of just 65dB when making a smoothie. It did soar to 106dB when I first added the ice during the ice crush test but it almost immediately dropped back to a level in which I could have a conversation with my partner easily.

Given its price, the Portable Blender performed as I'd expected. It didn't blow me away, and it's not ideal for anything other than smoothies and drinks but it does do what you need it to do. And it does that very well. I've used it to make my protein shakes at the gym, and to make smoothies for a quick breakfast and I'm willing to lose some power and versatility for its increased portability and lower price. 

  • Performance score: 3.5 out of 5

Nutribullet Magic Bullet Portable Blender review: comparison table

Keen on the Nutribullet brand, but not sure which model is right for your needs? Here's a quick run-down of the differences between them...

Should I buy the Nutribullet Magic Bullet Portable Blender?

There's a lot going for the Magic Bullet Portable Blender. If you're looking for a blender you can take to the gym for protein shakes, or for making smoothies on the go, I can barely fault it. It's an excellent choice in terms of convenience, and for space-saving. Its also quick and simple to use and comes with a budget-friendly price, adding to its appeal. 

However, it does have some limitations. Its lower power means it may struggle with tougher ingredients, and its smaller cup size may not meet the needs of people who want to blend larger quantities. The short blending cycle can be restrictive, and the plastic construction, while lightweight, lacks the premium feel of other blenders. 

Additionally, the blender is primarily designed for making drinks and smoothies, so it may not be versatile enough for more complex recipes or food preparation tasks. If you need a portable and affordable blender for simple tasks, the Magic Bullet Portable Blender will be a great choice. If you require a more powerful and versatile appliance, you might want to consider investing in a higher-end model.

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Should I buy the Nutribullet Magic Bullet Portable Blender?

For the duration of the review period, the NutriBullet Portable blender replaced my favorite Braun TriForce blender. I used the portable blender to make a range of smoothies, hummus, and crushed ice as well as making protein shakes for going to the gym. It was a great substitute for the shop-bought shakes and drinks I buy throughout the week and I was able to use it to make protein shakes on the go, and quick smoothies for breakfast. For these smoothies I experimented with green, fibrous veg as well as soft fruit to see how well the blender’s single setting handled each. 

Garmin Vivoactive 5 review: Health and fitness tracking finds a perfect balance
6:14 pm | July 2, 2024

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

Garmin Vivoactive 5: One-minute review

This Garmin Vivoactive 5 review has found this latest sports and health tracking wearable a contender among the best running watches, placing it against the Garmin Venu 3 and even punching up at some of the Forerunner options. The Vivoactive 5 is cheaper than many a Forerunner, but still offers a stunning AMOLED display and over 30 sports tracking options, plus sleep and stress tracking, to name a few health options.

All that places the Vivoactive 5 as an excellent watch for those with an active lifestyle, who might not be power users or marathon runners. It's certainly vying for a spot as one of the best fitness trackers, and thanks to notification functionalities, its pebble-style design and of course that rich display, it even starts to make a play as an Apple Watch competitor.

While this model doesn't feature solar charging and sits at a very slim 11mm thin, making it smaller than the Vivoactive 4, it actually offers a more efficient 11-day top-end battery life. Slimmer and longer-lasting? A great sign for a sequel, especially when you consider the Vivoactive 5 retains a lot of the top-end fitness tracking, GPS-powered workout stuff that makes the best Garmin watches great.

You might also find the older models in the range suit your needs just fine (and will save you money too, compared to picking up a brand new model), so a look at our guide to Garmin Vivoactive 3 vs Garmin Vivoactive 4 might help you choose.

Garmin Vivoactive 5: Specifications

Garmin Vivoactive 5: Price and availability

Garmin Vivoactive 5

(Image credit: Future)
  • £259.99 in the UK
  • $300 in the US
  • AU$499 in Australia

The Garmin Vivoactive 5 was launched on September 20, 2023 with availability to buy beginning in December, worldwide.

It was priced at $300 (£259.99 in the UK, and AU$499 in Australia) at launch, but can now be snapped up for around $249, at time of publishing. That’s a little less than the Garmin Forerunner 645 Music, and loads less than a Fenix 7 or Garmin Forerunner 965.

The Vivoactive 5 is a decent way to get Garmin watch tracking without costing you too much. If you want a more affordable alternative, you could opt for the Vivoactive 4.

  • Value score: 4/5

Garmin Vivoactive 5: Design and screen

Garmin Vivoactive 5

(Image credit: Future)
  • Dimensions of 42.2 x 42.2 x 11.1 mm
  • 5ATM water resistance
  • 1.2-inch AMOLED display
  • Gorilla Glass 3 screen protection

The Garmin Vivoactive 5 hasn't changed much in form since a few models back but that is largely thanks to it being a very efficient and effective design that just works. You have a slimmer body than ever now at just over 11mm and it comes in a single 42mm size.

The screen is protected by Gorilla Glass 3, meaning you won't need to worry too much about scratches, despite that slightly raised glass finish – which looks great but leaves it more exposed to damage.

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Garmin Vivoactive 5

(Image credit: Future)
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Garmin Vivoactive 5

(Image credit: Future)
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Garmin Vivoactive 5

(Image credit: Future)
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Garmin Vivoactive 5

(Image credit: Future)

The Vivoactive 5 is a little smaller, as well as slimmer, than its 45mm predecessor. But with that stunning high-res screen and longer battery life, it's a welcome change. The small watch itself combined with a silicone band makes for a barely noticeable wrist partner, which is great for sleep tracking and wearing overnight as well as all-day wear. While a Forerunner might feel a little more premium compared to the lighter finish here, with more plastic buttons, the trade-off for lighter watch which is less noticeable on your wrist is perhaps worth it.

Thanks to that 5ATM water resistance, you don't even need to take the watch off in the shower and can use it for swim tracking, in pool or sea as needed.

The Garmin Vivoactive 5 has a 1.2-inch AMOLED screen, upgrading the previous MIP display. This is a really bright and colorful display, which means clarity in direct sunlight as well as in use underwater. Crucially, this display is also more efficient, meaning it actually saves battery compared to the MIP display while looking better than ever.

The resolution is high, so you can read a lot of text on that small screen with ease. The colorful finish makes details clear and brighter, while also giving Garmin the chance to enhance its layout. The new layout makes it easier to read notifications without having to reach for your phone than a lot of other Garmin watches, even the ultra-premium ones.

You will likely be able to use this fuctionality for more features in future, like Ring doorbell alerts. To be clear, you'll need the Venu 3 for that right now, but a Garmin software update is all it could take to get the Venu 3's Ring doorbell interaction on the Vivoactive 5 in future, thanks to that do-it-all display.

  • Design score: 4/5

Garmin Vivoactive 5

(Image credit: Future)

Garmin Vivoactive 5: Features

Two Garmin Vivoactive 5 watches on a pink background

(Image credit: Garmin)
  • Attractive and clear layout
  • Useful shortcuts
  • Two hardware buttons

The Vivoactive range only has two buttons, unlike the Forerunners or Fenix, which have five. This means touchscreen is the main interaction point and that works very well, with minimal smudges and marks on that resistant glass.

Touch a button to start or stop a workout, while the other can be used to track laps or workout segments. It's simple but works well, with the touchscreen during exercise reserved largely for flicking between data screens.

You have access to over 30 sports tracking options from the get-go, plus this uses the Garmin Connect IQ store for even more health and smart app options available from third-party developers. Although it's worth noting these can be a bit flakey at times, you can't judge the Vivoactive 5 as a unit on the merits of third-party app developers. Besides, I think it's quite charming, like using the internet in the nineties.

Long-press the buttons for shortcut access to useful features like watch controls or clocks and settings. These can be edited too so you do feel in quick control without much menu diving needed.

  • Features score: 4/5

Garmin Vivoactive 5: Performance

A woman working out in a gym with a ball

(Image credit: Garmin)

As previously mentioned, the Garmin Vivoactive 5 offers over 30 exercises to track, all with clear data screens that you can edit as you need. From the basics like running, cycling and swimming, to slightly more esoteric activities like golf, yoga and SUP – this has more than enough for most needs.

What makes the metrics really useful, aside from accurate GPS and HR monitoring, is the data on health. Pulse OX looks at your oxygen levels and Respiration monitors breathing rate which is helpful in periods of rest, sleep or during yoga. Body Battery is a tried-and-true Garmin Watch metric used to offer a window into how hard you're pushing yourself. That said, there is no Performance Condition or Training Readiness Score here, which is a shame, but you can still use Body Battery to get a good idea of when to rest and push.

Garmin Vivoactive 5

(Image credit: Future)

It's worth noting that this is a very impressive sleeper entry into the best golf watch ring. You can even connect to club sensors for super-rich data metrics in addition to the wealth of health tracking options on offer here.

The lack of Training Load is a shame, as this metric places your exercise into context and really helps when training hard, so you can see when to push yourself and what type of exercise will benefit your training – aerobic versus anaerobic, for example. Also having a number of hours to rest is a helpful figure to work with – and lets you feel you've earned a rest. This is all sadly lacking in the cheaper Vivoactive range, and available on more premium Garmin watches.

The GPS acquisition is definitely slower than on the Forerunners. That said, after an initial connection in a location taking over a minute, it was faster during subsequent tests at under 30 seconds. Accuracy was high once out and training, with HR and GPS both performing comparably to the Forerunner 965 when tested side-by-side. The Vivoactive 5 features the same Elevate V4 heart rate sensor, also on the 965, it would have been nice to see the more advanced V5 found on the Venu 3. Still, these omissions help keep the cost down, eliminating barriers to entry.

The screen offers lots of data options while training and thanks to the clarity of the AMOLED screens, these are genuinely useful, flitting between them all by using the touchscreen. However, the swimming workout profile locks the touchscreen down to avoid water-based touchscreen inaccuracies. On that subject, swimming lengths were measured very accurately, even when I changed between stroke types every few lengths.

For the price point, the fact this features an SpO2 oxygen saturation monitor is impressive. This is able to track two sets of data at once, using green and red lights, making it a lot more data-rich and accurate in other extrapolated metrics than lower-end watches.

Garmin Vivoactive 5

(Image credit: Future)

There is a lack of altimeter and metrics to count the number of floors climbed which isn't a deal breaker, although that floors climbed alert is missed when you lose it as a daily measure of active movements.

Sleep data is helpful with REM, deep sleep and light sleep stages, along with pulse oximeter and breathing data for that night. All of that adds up to a competitive offering that gives lots of insight into sleep each morning. I enjoyed the Morning Report which showed changes if I had a poor night's sleep, had drank alcohol or was feeling under the weather.

Having music onboard the watch is a real appeal, as it means going out for exercise without your phone as you connect Bluetooth headphones directly to the watch.

While you can store music onboard, realistically most people will prefer to use Spotify or Deezer and simply save playlists offline on the device. You need a paid subscription to the streaming service in question for these features and the controls aren't great, but it does work and is welcome at this price point.

The Vivoactive 5 initially lacked Garmin Pay in the UK, but that has now rolled out so you can tap to pay and truly explore phone-free.

Notifications from your phone apps work well, with WhatsApp allowing you to read messages as you go without the phone being opened. The options are minimal so it's not an Apple Watch competitor in that way, but is useful enough to stop you reaching for your phone as much.

Apps offer some useful information on your wrist like the weather or sunset times or useful surf data. It's all basic but can be genuinely useful.

Garmin Vivoactive 5

(Image credit: Future)

The Garmin Vivoactive 5's layout is modular, like other Garmins, so you can arrange to sort your most-used training profiles to the top of the menu, making getting started easy. But it can get cluttered with automatic recommendations, so it's best to put some time into tidying every now and then to make sure it's running at maximum efficiency.

Garmin says the Vivoactive 5 gets you 11 days on a charge, or six hours of GPS tracking with music or 18 hours without. In real world use that worked out to about a working week's worth of use with several GPS-tracked sessions, without music. That means going away for a weekend, with plenty of training, should mean you won't need to charge the watch until the middle of the following week. That's exactly what you want at this price point.

This is not the best Garmin for battery, by a long shot, but it does the job more than well enough while remaining extremely compact.

The charger uses a proprietary charger, which fits most Garmin devices and plugs into a USB-C port for a full charge in about an hour.

  • Performance score: 4/5
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Garmin Vivoactive 5

(Image credit: Future)
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Garmin Vivoactive 5

(Image credit: Future)
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Garmin Vivoactive 5

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Garmin Vivoactive 5

(Image credit: Future)
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Garmin Vivoactive 5

(Image credit: Future)
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Garmin Vivoactive 5

(Image credit: Future)

Garmin Vivoactive 5: Scorecard

Garmin Vivoactive 5: Should I buy?

Buy it if...

You want a bit of everything

The Garmin Vivoactive 5 is great for an all round measure of health, fitness and lifestyle. This gives more than enough data to keep you healthy without overcomplicating things.

You're on a budget

The Garmin Vivoactive 5 is really affordable when you take into consideration how much you get for your money here, including that stunning AMOLED display.

Don't buy it if...

You have sports specific goals

If you want to drill into data to make sports progress using metrics then the Forerunner or Fenix series might serve you better, especially with Training Readiness features.

You want longer battery life

This does offer a powerful battery performance but there are far longer life options, some using solar, if that's your need.

Garmin Vivoactive 5: How we tested

Our reviewer wore the Garmin Vivoactive 5 as his primary smartwatch for over two weeks, and it accompanied him on some trips as well as during regular workouts. It was paired to a iPhone 15 Pro Max for the majority of the testing.

The tracking results were compared to historical results from the Garmin Forerunner 965 and Wahoo Tickr, as well as the built-in step counter on the smartphone to assess accuracy.

Garmin Vivoactive 5: Also consider

Garmin Vivoactive 5 just one of many considerations for you? Here's a trio of suggestions to look into:

Polar Vantage V2

A great multi-sport option perfect for runners. It doesn't hold music, but it can offer very sophisticated metrics and boasts an advanced suite of running features.

Read our full Polar Vantage V2 review

Garmin Forerunner 265

The more entry-level, cheaper Forerunner in Garmin's stable offers a great package of its key running features, plus one of it holds music. A great alternative for serious runners.

Read our full Garmin Forerunner 265 review

First reviewed: June 2024

JBL Quantum Stream Studio review: versatile and stylish
7:00 pm | June 30, 2024

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

JBL Quantum Stream Studio: one-minute review

JBL may not be a brand best known for its microphones and streaming kit, but they are a hardy brand with an excellent reputation. The brand’s Quantum Stream Studio is one of its first stabs at a premium streaming microphone for you to shout into, and by and large, it’s a solid option that’s well-priced and specced. It looks great with an entirely integrated design and thoughtful touches such as an integrated mute button, on-board gain control with LED lights for gain and monitoring volume, and a choice of four polar patterns.

Elsewhere, the Quantum Stream Studio performs well with a clear, well-rounded pickup with both a fair bit of low-end and excellent clarity. Those four polar patterns make it versatile too, as it can be used for single-person recording, as well as in one-on-one interviews, or when recording in a group. Not many other microphones for streaming and gaming offer this function in 2024, so it’s a welcome addition to JBL’s option.

However, the Quantum Studio has a couple of shortcomings compared to more established options, such as its sub-par noise rejection. The software here, while functional, is also on the basic side, sticking with options also found physically on the microphone’s control panel, such as gain control and choice of polar pattern.

JBL Quantum Stream Studio microphone on a desk in front of a monitor

(Image credit: Future/Reece Bithrey)

JBL Quantum Stream Studio: Price and availability

  • $149.99 / £129.99 / AU$199.95
  • Available in the US, UK and Australia
  • Solid value for money

In the context of premium mics for content creators, streamers, and that kind of audience, the price tag of the JBL Quantum Stream Studio is decent and offers robust value. Against some of our favorite streaming microphones, JBL’s option retails for slightly more than the Blue Yeti in the USA, but identically in the UK, while also being comparable to options from audio giants Audio Technica and its AT2020 USB-X with its $149 / £116 price tag.

With this in mind, the Quantum Stream Studio is also much more affordable than premium choices such as the SteelSeries Alias, which goes for $179.99 / £179.99. In Australia, JBL’s mic becomes even better value than SteelSeries’ option, given its price is half - it’s AU$199.95 against the Alias’ AU$399. Across the board, the Quantum Stream Studio represents solid value for money with its feature set.

JBL Quantum Stream Studio: Specs

JBL Quantum Stream Studio microphone on a desk in front of a monitor

(Image credit: Future/Reece Bithrey)

JBL Quantum Stream Studio: Design and features

  • Sleek, cylindrical chassis
  • Intuitive controls
  • Simple connectivity and lighting

Compared to some of the more avant-garde designs seen more recently with microphones such as the SteelSeries Alias, the JBL Quantum Stream Studio sticks to something more conventional. Its main body is cylindrical, with a tall stature that carries presence when plonked on a desk, while there is a mute button on top and convenient controls on the front fascia.

The pop filter on the Quantum Stream Studio is integrated, meaning there aren’t any unsightly protrusions here, keeping JBL’s microphone looking clean. The chassis here is almost entirely metal too, exuding a high-quality finish that matches the price tag.

Elsewhere, JBL’s mic also comes with a small stand, which echoes the marvelous quality found elsewhere. It carries plenty of heft and keeps the Quantum Stream Studio in place well, although allows for some movement out of the box. This can be alleviated by tightening the dials on each side, as well as on the base. The underside of the stand also provides a strip of non-slip rubber to prevent the Quantum Stream Studio from sliding around unnecessarily on a desk. It worked well both on a desk and on my mousepad in testing.

The controls on the Quantum Stream Studio are wonderfully simple to use and easy to access, being contained on the front panel or on the top and bottom sides of the cylinder. The front panel is home to a dial, giving you quick access to gain control or monitoring volume if you’ve got headphones plugged into the mic’s 3.5mm jack on the back. You can also choose between a balance of the two by clicking the dial-in until it reveals a half-and-half pattern. The dial also has a small LED which can be used to monitor levels without trawling through software, which is nifty.

JBL Quantum Stream Studio - a close up of the dial

(Image credit: Future/Reece Bithrey)

Also contained on the front panel are four white LED lights at the bottom which allow you to pick between the different polar patterns that the Quantum Stream Studio has, much like the Blue Yeti can do. These are accessed with a button on the bottom side of the mic, marked with a P. Click it in, and it’ll change the pattern with ease.

On the top of the Quantum Stream Studio’s chassis is a big mic mute panel, which operates as more of a pad than a button. Press on the mic mute icon, and the LED on the top changes from green to red, giving you a convenient visual indication that no one can hear you. You do have to be quite precise with your finger placement to ensure the microphone mutes, as pressing anywhere but directly on the mic mute icon does nothing.

The back side is home to a USB-C port for connectivity, as well as that 3.5mm jack for monitoring. Interestingly, the Quantum Stream Studio itself doesn’t have a thread mount for putting elsewhere other than the desktop mount. However, the base of the desktop mount unscrews for putting into a standard boom arm mount. Nifty.

JBL Quantum Stream Studio - a close up of the rear and ports

(Image credit: Future/Reece Bithrey)

JBL Quantum Stream Studio: Performance

  • Clear, full-bodied pickup
  • Versatile with four pickup patterns
  • Basic software configuration

Out of the box, the Quantum Stream Studio offers reasonably solid pickup with decent clarity and body. The default cardioid pickup pattern is best suited for vocals and instruments and provides good comms in both chatting with friends over Discord, in-game chats on Counter-Strike 2, and when testing in Audacity for recording my own dulcet tones.

The initial thesis with the cardioid pickup pattern is that with it picking up noise solely from the front, it should reject noise from the back and sides. However, at least in this pattern, the noises of my custom mechanical keyboard a few inches away from the back of the microphone were picked up. The distinct lack of any form of noise cancellation or rejection is a shame, especially when other premium streaming microphones offer much better performance in this particular area.

The other polar patterns are less useful for individual recording, but they are useful if you’ve got multiple people involved to huddle around one microphone. The omnidirectional pattern means the Quantum Stream Studio will pick up sound from all directions, making it ideal for podcast recording with a singular microphone. It essentially opens up the soundstage, and isn’t the best for single-person recording, picking up a lot more background noise.

The underside of the JBL Quantum Stream Studio microphone

(Image credit: Future/Reece Bithrey)

There's also a bidirectional pattern, where the microphone captures inputs from the front and back - ideal for one-on-one interviewing. This option did a solid job of isolating noise elsewhere than the front and back in testing. The final pickup mode is arguably the most interesting, as the Quantum Stream Studio has a stereo mode, which can be used for recording instruments or if you’ve got two people on the same side of the microphone. 

The mic’s software comes in the form of the Windows-only JBL Quantum Engine, which installs automatically when you first plug the Quantum Stream Studio in. As opposed to offering a plethora of customization with its own mixer, as SteelSeries’ GG does, the  Quantum Stream Studio’s software is a bit more basic. 

Quantum Engine allows for on-the-fly adjustment of the levels of gain and monitoring, as well as allowing you to choose the polar pattern. You can also customize the color of the lighting for the mic’s built-in level indicator which shows around the volume wheel on the front so you know you can be heard without being too loud. Otherwise, that’s pretty much it, apart from a cool graphic of the mic’s outline itself which rotates around in the bottom right corner.

JBL Quantum Stream Studio sitting on a desk next to a patterned mouse mat

(Image credit: Future/Reece Bithrey)

Should I buy the JBL Quantum Stream Studio?

Buy it if...

You want the flexibility of multiple pickup patterns
Not many microphones offer the convenience of multiple pickup patterns these days, and the feature has almost gone out of fashion. If you want a mic that offers it in 2024, the Quantum Stream Studio is an excellent one. 

You want a mic that’s simple to use
The Quantum Stream Studio is one of the simplest mics to use in its price range, with it requiring no assembly or poking around online for software installation, and will be up and running shortly after being plugged it in. 

Don't buy it if...

You want more advanced software
JBL’s option lacks more advanced and granular control within its software, which is a shame if you’re looking to really adjust every minute detail or option. If you’re after more in the way of configuration, you’ll want to look elsewhere. 

You want class-leading noise cancellation
In all of its four pickup patterns, the Quantum Stream Studio lets in a fair amount of background noise which is a consideration for those looking for quality sound isolation and rejection. 

Also consider...

If you’re still not sold on the JBL Quantum Stream Studio, here’s how it stacks up against two similar options.

Blue Yeti
If the JBL Quantum Stream Studio isn’t for you, then the Blue Yeti makes sense. It’s a veteran of the mic world, and our current top ranker with its four polar patterns, sublime pickup and versatile colour choices. You may not get RGB, and it is only a single mic setup internally, but the Blue Yeti is excellent

For more information, check out our full Blue Yeti review. 

HyperX DuoCast
The HyperX DuoCast is also a solid alternative to JBL’s mic, netting a position as the best USB mic we’ve tested for the purpose of podcasting. This is not only because of its excellent pickup across both its cardioid and omnidirectional pickup patterns, but also because it comes with a shock mount and boom arm adapter included, meaning you’re ready to go right out of the box. While the software can be a bit finicky, the DuoCast is an excellent plug and play option for podcasters.

For more information, check out our full HyperX DuoCast review

How I tested the JBL Quantum Stream Studio

I used the JBL Quantum Stream Studio as my main microphone for two weeks. I tested it with both Audacity for test recordings, as well as when chatting with friends over Discord and in games such as Counter-Strike 2 for in-game chats. I also made sure to install the additional software to best test its functionality on Windows.

Read more about how we test

First reviewed June 2024.

KitchenAid 7 cup / 1.7L Food Processor review: convenient but costly
11:00 am |

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Home Juicers & Blenders Small Appliances | Tags: , , , | Comments: Off

KitchenAid 7-cup Food Processor: two-minute review

Product info

This model has slightly different names and product codes in different territories:

US: KitchenAid 7 Cup Food Processor KFP0718
UK: KitchenAid Food Processor 1.7L 5KFP0719
AU: KitchenAid 7 Cup Food Processor KFP0719

The products with 719 in their codes have extra accessories, specifically a thick-slice disc, and a plastic dough blade. For this review, I tested the UK model. There may be minor differences between different countries' models.

The KitchenAid 7 cup Food Processor (known as the KitchenAid Food Processor 1.7L in the UK) is compact, thoughtfully designed and has proven to be a great time saver when meal prepping.

Something to mention straight off the bat is that the UK and Australian models have a couple more accessories than the US model, which is reflected in the price. At the time of writing, the 7 cup / 1.7L Food Processor is on sale for $84.99 / £143.65 / AU$219, while the list price is $99.99 / £169 / AU$299. The US model KFP0718 is essentially the same as the UK and Australian KFP0719 models, with all models coming with a multipurpose stainless steel blade and a reversible slicing and shredding disc, but only the UK and Australian models coming with a thick-slice disc and a plastic dough blade. For this review, I tested the UK version of the KitchenAid Food Processor 1.7L.

A matte black KitchenAid 7 cup food processor is pictured against a pink background. It is sitting on a grey stone-effect surface on which also sites the reversible slicing and grating disc on the left, with the plastic dough hook positioned just in front, and to the right, the thick slice disc that is only available with the KFP0719 configuration.

(Image credit: Future)

Setting up the KitchenAid 7 cup / 1.7L Food Processor was straightforward. All of the accessories were neatly stored inside the work bowl, which is a convenient feature, saving you from cupboard-diving each time you want to process something. And the accessories fit into place with ease: there are markers on the top of the disc and the drive shaft to ensure you place it in the correct position for either processing or storing. 

The 7 cup / 1.7L Food Processor is available in a range of colors that will fit in with most kitchen decors. It doesn’t take up unnecessary space, measuring 9.7 x 7.7 x 15.4 inches / 245 x 195 x 390mm and weighing just 6.6lb / 3kg. The work bowl easily clicked into place every time thanks to its convenient twist-free design, and although I had the occasional issue putting enough pressure on the lid to get the latch to shut, the lift-out design of the hinge made it simple to remove. One downside with the design, however, is that the work bowl handle can only be positioned on the right-hand side, which could prove inconvenient for some users. 

A closeup of the KitchenAid 7 cup food processor feed tube, showing that a larger-diameter cucumber is too large to fit inside.

(Image credit: Future / Cesci Angell)

Using the two feed tubes and pushers was easy, but the bigger feed tube still isn’t big enough for larger-diameter fruit and veg, so if you want large, neat circles of sliced cucumber, you may be out of luck. If you get into the habit of buying slimmer cucumbers though, you’ll probably be fine. 

There are two speed settings labeled 1 and 2 on the easy-to-press buttons, with one being low speed, and two being high. There is also a Pulse button. Speed one and two aren’t overly noisy, but the noise level was uncomfortably loud when using the Pulse function, especially when chopping almonds.

Everything but the base unit is top-rack dishwasher-safe, which proved to be a great time saver. These parts were easy to hand wash too, although removing pastry from tight areas proved difficult. At the end of the testing, I put the work bowl, lid, and accessories in the dishwasher. Everything came out fine, although the work bowl did show some water marks.

A closeup of the KitchenAid 7 cup food processor food bowl with breadcrumbs inside.

(Image credit: Future / Cesci Angell)

The performance of the KitchenAid 7 cup / 1.7L Food Processor was adequate. For my tests, I used it to slice or chop carrots, onion and cucumber, as well as whizzing bread into breadcrumbs, finely chopping almonds and combining the ingredients for pastry. It managed all these tasks quickly and with no trouble. 

However, the consistency of the processed foods wasn’t the best. There is only one grade of shredding, which seems to be somewhere between fine and medium. For example, the processed carrot looked somewhat unappealing; it certainly wouldn’t have fared well if subjected to a Rate My Plate jury. A fair amount of carrot also ended up inside the lid, which wasn’t ideal. When chopping the almonds the results were inconsistent, with pieces that ranged in size from large to dust. There were also occasions where ingredients such as breadcrumbs, almond dust, and pastry mixture migrated inside the fitment ring of the chopping blade, which proved tricky to remove when hand washing.

A closeup of shredded carrot inside the clear work bowl of the KitchenAid 7 cup food processor.

(Image credit: Future)

Overall, there are a few issues with the KitchenAid 7 cup / 1.7L Food Processor, like that smaller feed tube and the uneven shredding, which may mean it doesn't quite stand up against the best food processors on the market. However, if you want something that is compact for the capacity available, has convenient accessory storage, and has a no-twist design, then this is a food processor to consider. The consistency of the processed food may not be Instagramable, but it’s the taste that counts, right?

KitchenAid 7 Cup Food Processor: price & availability

  • List price: $99.99 / £169 / AU$299
  • Often available for cheaper
  • Currently available in the US, UK, and Australia

The KitchenAid 7 cup / 1.7L Food Processor is currently on sale at $84.99 / £143.65 / AU$219, (usually $99.99 / £169 / AU$299). If you’re querying why the US model is cheaper than the UK and Australian models, it is because it comes with fewer accessories. I will elaborate further on the accessories in the Design and features section below. 

The 7 cup / 1.7L Food Processor isn’t the cheapest. There are similar products on offer from our pick of the best food processors. These include the Cuisinart Easy Prep Pro FP8 food processor, which is slightly lower in price and comes with two reversible shredding and slicing discs, plus a small bowl add-on to use when the large work bowl feels excessive for the task. Or, you could spend just a little extra for more versatility with the Ninja 3-in-1 Food Processor with Auto-IQ, which is currently on sale for $179.99 / £169. The KitchenAid 7 cup / 1.7L Food Processor has some innovative design features and performed adequately during testing though, so it’s still worth considering.

The KitchenAid 7 cup / 1.7L Food Processor is available now, on the US, UK, and Australian KitchenAid websites as well as various third party retailers.

  • Value for money score: 3.5 out of 5

KitchenAid 7 Cup Food Processor specs

KitchenAid 7 Cup Food Processor: design & features

  • Feed tube could be larger
  • Fixed handle position
  • Different accessories per region

Setting up the food processor was quick and easy. All the parts and accessories were stored inside the work bowl, so it was a simple case of removing them, before washing them along with the work bowl, lid, and food pushers. After this step was completed, I had to place the drive adapter on the drive pin in the center of the work bowl. Installing the different cutting accessories was also a straightforward process, which I was thankful for, as it avoided any unnecessary delays when I was working through lots of different types of food.

The food processor doesn’t take up a load of unnecessary worktop space, the cable length is adequate at 35 inch / 90 cm, and the work bowl easily attaches to the base (a useful design feature that I much prefer to the twist-to-secure designs that are often used with some other food processors). Additionally, the lid catch is easy to unclip, and once the lid is in an upright position, the hinge design means that you can easily lift it off. 

On replacing the lid, slotting it into the hinge side was no issue, although sometimes I needed to put a fair amount of pressure on the lid to get the latch to close again.

A closeup of the KitchenAid 7 cup processor food bowl and lid clearly showing the feed tube, and the handle placement.

(Image credit: Future)

Due to the way the work bowl sits on the base, the handle placement is somewhat limiting, as it can only be on the right-hand side. This was frustrating enough for me, as I like to hold the handle in my left hand while using a utensil to get the ingredients out with my right – but it could really make this product less accessible for people who aren’t able to use their right hand.

KitchenAid is known for having some enticing color options. In the 7 cup / 1.7L Food Processor’s case though, the color range is somewhat basic, with glossy-finished Onyx Black, and Empire Red available in the UK, US, and Australia, plus additional color variants including Contour Silver, Almond Cream, White, and Matte Black, depending on your region.

There is a 2-in-1 feed tube on the top of the work bowl lid, with a two-piece plastic food pusher. Together, they can be used to push in wider ingredients, or the inside section of the pusher can be removed to enable you to accurately feed in slimmer food items such as celery. Unfortunately, the bigger feed tube was not wide enough for a larger-diameter cucumber, so it needed to be cut down. Therefore if you want neat, round slices of cucumber this may not be the processor you’re looking for.

A closeup of the control buttons on the front of the KitchenAid 7 cup food processor.

(Image credit: Future)

There are three operational buttons on the front of the 7 cup / 1.7L Food Processor’s base: setting one (lower speed), setting two (higher speed), and a pulse mode. You don’t need to worry about getting tired fingers with the two speed settings, as you don’t need to hold the button down for the processor to operate. It takes one press to set them off, and a second press or a press on the O/Pulse button to stop the processing.

There are two design features that I found particularly useful. Firstly, the lid, work bowl, and accessories are all dishwasher-safe when washed on the top rack. 

I also hand-washed all of these components repeatedly in-between ingredients during testing. All parts were easy to clean and dry; however, I did find that small amounts of the ingredients would easily end up inside the fitment ring of the multipurpose blade, so I had to pay particular attention to this area. 

Secondly, the accessories can easily be stored inside the work bowl when the food processor isn’t in use, saving cupboard space and preventing you from wasting time trying to find the desired accessory.

Three of the KitchenAid 7 cup processor accessories, the plastic dough blade, reversible slicing and shredding disc, and the thick slice disc.

(Image credit: Future)

The 7 cup / 1.7L Food Processor doesn’t come with as many accessories as larger models such as the KitchenAid1319, but it is perfectly adequate for day-to-day food prep. Please note that some accessories are not included with the KFP0718 model, which is sold in the US. This model comes with a multipurpose stainless steel blade and a reversible slicing and shredding disc. The KFP0719 models, sold in the UK and Australia, include these accessories, along with a thick-slice disc and a plastic dough blade.

  • Design & features score: 4.5 out of 5

KitchenAid 7 Cup Food Processor: performance

  • Shredded and chopped effortlessly
  • Some waste carrot from shredding
  • Consistency of processed food varied

The KitchenAid 7 cup / 1.7L Food Processor performed well during testing. I tested its ability to slice, chop, mix, and grate a variety of foods. I used the shredding side of the reversible slicing and shredding disc to grate some carrots, running it on speed setting two as per the user manual. While it managed the job in a matter of seconds, the result was finer than I would have liked – some other models, such as the KitchenAid 13 cup / 3.1L Food Processor, have dedicated grating discs with fine and coarse options that give a more desirable result. Due to how fine the shredding was, the results were a little on the wet side, and a lot of carrot shot into the lid during processing.

The underneath of the reversible shredding and slicing disc with a small amount of carrot on it, the lid of the KitchenAid 7 cup food processor is visible in the background, with grated carrot around the inside edge.

(Image credit: Future / Cesci Angell)

Next I used the slicing side of the reversible slicing and shredding disc to slice a cucumber on speed setting one. Because the diameter of the cucumber was too large even for the larger feed tube, I had to manually cut a slice off of the side of it to enable it to be fed into the processor. The machine sliced the cucumber quickly, with next-to-no remnants left on the disc or in the lid. The slices were fairly even, although some were slightly wedge-shaped, thicker at the rind, and thinner where the cucumber was sliced down to fit.

A close up of sliced cucumber inside the KitchenAid 7 cup food processor work bowl.

(Image credit: Future / Cesci Angell)

I used the multipurpose stainless steel blade to chop onions, almonds, and to make breadcrumbs from slightly stale wholemeal bread. The onions and almonds were chopped using speed setting one. The food processor had no issues chopping up a large onion that I’d cut into quarters: it quickly chopped it into fine pieces and while the pieces weren’t that even, none of them were overly large. When I pulsed the almonds for 10 seconds, the result was again pretty uneven, with larger pieces, smaller pieces, and a fair amount of almond dust. Upon removing the accessories, I found that some of this dust had made its way inside the plastic cutting blade ring. 

A close up of the unevenly chopped almonds in the KitchenAid 7 cup processor work bowl.

(Image credit: Future / Cesci Angell)

When making the breadcrumbs, I used speed setting two to blitz two slices of bread. In just 45 seconds the processor had turned them into fine breadcrumbs with an even consistency, and no bread was left under the blades.

I also used the multipurpose stainless steel blade, using the lowest speed setting to combine flour, margarine, and water for pastry. At first, the ingredients didn’t mix evenly – a layer of flour remained at the bottom and didn’t begin to mix in until water was added and the mixture started to form a proper dough. Apart from that detail, the processor combined the pastry ingredients easily, it didn’t rock about on the work surface, or overheat, both of which can happen with food processors that don’t have strong enough motors for pastry making.

A close up of the inside of the multipurpose blade which has a coating of pastry around the inside of the ring.

(Image credit: Future)

While conducting the tests, I found that settings one and two were not overly loud; however, the pulse mode may make your ears ache if you need to use it for a long period of time. At no point during testing did I encounter issues with ingredients getting stuck under the blade or disc inside of the work bowl – I did however find that ingredients would end up on the inside of the fitment ring of the multipurpose stainless steel blade that sits on the drive adapter. This was particularly evident when chopping the almonds, and combining the pastry ingredients. There was a layer of pastry mixture coating the inside of the blade's plastic ring, which was tricky to clean out.

  • Performance score: 3.5 out of 5

Should I buy the KitchenAid 7 Cup Food Processor?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

KitchenAid 7 Cup Food Processor review: also consider

How I tested the KitchenAid 7 Cup Food Processor

  • I assessed the setup and performance
  • I ran our usual series of chopping, grating, and combining tests
  • I checked how easy it was to clean

I spent time getting the KitchenAid 7 cup / 1.7L Food Processor setup, read the instruction manual, and assessed the design and accessories.

To put the KitchenAid 7 cup / 1.7L Food Processor through its paces, I used the chopping blade and reversible slicing/shredding disc to shred carrot, slice cucumber, chop onion, and almonds. I also used it to process bread to make breadcrumbs and combine flour, margarine, and water to make pastry. These are the same tests we run for all food processors, making it easy to see how different models compare. 

I tested how easy it was to clean the processor parts by hand-washing, and using the dishwasher to establish how well you can clean the parts with either method.

Microsoft Surface Laptop 7 review: makes me believe in the Surface series again
10:27 pm | June 26, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Computing Gadgets Laptops Windows Laptops | Tags: , , , | Comments: Off

Microsoft Surface Laptop 7: Two-minute review

It's no secret that I'm not fond of the Microsoft Surface Laptop series, so even with the Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite chip and all the new Copilot+ AI bells and whistles attached to the Microsoft Surface Laptop 7, I wasn't expecting much of an upgrade. But to my surprise, it's quickly turning into one of the best Windows laptops and best laptops of the year thanks to a sleek design, solid battery life, and excellent performance.

One of the most consistent aspects of the Surface Laptop series is its design. The chassis is always sleek and lightweight yet sturdy, there's a nice variety of colors to choose from, and the keyboard feels snappy and responsive while typing. Thankfully, the Laptop 7 doesn't change on that front but instead embraces its positives while focusing its efforts on enacting improvements it actually needs.

black laptop on white table

(Image credit: Future)

The Microsoft Surface Laptop 7 boasts a 13.8-inch (2304x1536) HDR-supported display with a high refresh rate of 120Hz - especially high for a non-gaming laptop. It weighs less than three pounds, ensuring its super portability - an absolute gem for any office worker or student who needs to transport it around between home and work offices or to and from school. I wish it also featured an OLED screen option but omitting it keeps the cost down, so it makes sense.

Its keyboard is also just as snappy and responsive as you'd expect, though the touchpad has minimal response issues that need to be rectified by adjusting the sensitivity settings. The webcam is the standard 1080p fare, nothing too shabby, but it lacks a physical shutter which for its price point is an oversight worth mentioning.

Port selection isn't the worst, as it comes with two USB Type-C ports, a USB Type-A port, and a combo port. But it's certainly not well-balanced either, with it missing several important ports like ethernet, SD card reader, and an HDMI. Even worse, Microsoft still insists on that abysmal Surface Laptop connect charging port, which only serves to take up space that could have been given to literally anything else.

It has a solid sound quality as well, with instruments sounding clear and distinct from each other. Bass isn't too shabby as well, which is always surprising when it comes to a non-Ultrabook or gaming laptop.

black laptop on white table

(Image credit: Future)

Another defining feature of the Microsoft Surface Laptop 7 is its AI Copilot+ integration, including the Copilot key that Windows AI laptop keyboards are now outfitted with. As of now, however, the Copilot key simply doesn't work and there's no way to reprogram the key to make it work either.

Microsoft Surface Laptop 7: Benchmarks

Here's how the Microsoft Surface Laptop 7 performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

3DMark: Steel Nomad Light: 2,018; Fire Strike: 5,792; Time Spy: 1,893; Wild Life Unlimited: 25,590
Cinebench R23 Multi-core: 8,275 points
GeekBench 6.3: 2,809 (single-core); 14,426 (multi-core)
PCMark 10 (Home Test): 5,495 points
25GB File Copy: 24.05
HandBrake: 5:02
CrossMark: Overall: 1,406; Productivity: 1,323; Creativity: 1,534; Responsiveness: 1,297
Web Surfing (Battery Informant): 15:44:32
Battery Life (TechRadar movie test)
: 10 hours, 10 minutes
Sid Meier's Civilization VI: Gathering Storm (1080p, Ultra): 21 fps; (1080p, Low): 21 fps

The Copilot feature does work and quite well I might add. I tested out the Copilot chatbot on all three levels - creative, balanced, and precise - and it performed quite well on all three. The answers, ranging from basic math to a mock interview to an outline for a novel, were well thought out and well sourced. You can also enable various plug-ins for more types of conversations or to help with shopping for a variety of products.

I also tried out two other features included in Microsoft Paint called Cocreator and Image Creator, both powered by AI model DALL-E. The former transforms your own drawing into an AI-generated picture, and you can choose between several styles as well as the level of 'creativity' (aka how much of the finished product is from you versus the AI). Unfortunately, Image Creator uses a credit system, in which you're awarded 50 credits when you sign up for the service and each image generation costs one credit, so you'd need to pay for additional images after you run out of credits.

black laptop on white table

(Image credit: Future)

There was one feature that I couldn't test out, the infamous Windows 11 AI Recall. Set to launch alongside Windows AI PCs, it was kicked back to the Windows Insider Program when its numerous security issues came to light. 

Basically, Recall takes screenshots every few seconds, building up a library of images you can search via AI. But the issue is that the Recall database, which contains all the data from those screenshots and the history of your PC usage, is stored in plain text (in an SQLite database).

This makes it light work for hackers to obtain highly sensitive information like finances, passwords, work data, and more. So as of right now, Recall is not available for me to test out, and until Microsoft works out the safety issues it shouldn't be.

The Microsoft Surface Laptop 7's benchmark results are quite impressive, especially compared to its competition. Even without a GPU, the CPU does an incredible job of maintaining a high level of performance no matter which and how many tasks you're currently balancing. These benchmarks prove that the Laptop 7 can handle productivity work, conference calls, streaming, and more.

Image 1 of 2

black laptop on white table

(Image credit: Future)
Image 2 of 2

black laptop on white table

(Image credit: Future)

The Microsoft Surface Laptop 7 I tested featured a Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite CPU and boy does it make all the difference. A common denominator between the past Surface Laptops is their poor performance, as they juggle a massive amount of tasks behind the scenes that result in major slow down, freezes, and even the aptly named 'Blue Screen of Death.'

But the Laptop 7's Qualcomm chip rounds out and fills in the numerous issues. It starts up and runs quickly, it's responsive when it comes to loading video websites as well as AI tools, and programs run as smoothly as they can. The latter is especially important as one of the biggest drawbacks was constant crashing when certain large programs booted up, including benchmarks like PCMark 10. But since I've been using it, there have been no performance hiccups in the slightest - in fact, I genuinely enjoyed my time with this laptop and would jump at the chance to make it my official work machine.

black laptop on white table

(Image credit: Future)

The battery life has also been rejuvenated, with an absolutely incredible 15 hours of off-AC power when it comes to regular use and just over ten hours with the TechRadar movie test. It's rare to find a laptop with that kind of lasting power outside of MacBooks these days, and coming from a Windows laptop it's even more unbelievable.

Another improvement is the ventilation system, as I never experienced any overheating even when the Laptop 7 had been running for several hours without break. Better vents also lead to better performance and less risk of crashes, going hand in hand with its superior battery life.

Microsoft Surface Laptop 7: Price & availability

  • How much does it cost? starting price is $999.99 / £1,049.99 / AU$1,899
  • When is it available? Available now
  • Where can you get it? Available in the US, UK, and Australia

The starting price for the Microsoft Surface Laptop 7 13.8-inch model is $999.99 / £1,049.99 / AU$1,899, netting you a Qualcomm Snapdragon X Plus processor with 16GB RAM and 256GB SSD storage. The 15-inch model starts at $1,299.99 and comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite processor, 16GB RAM, and 256GB SSD.

It's cheaper than the entry-level M3 MacBook Air 13-inch and matches the starting price of the M3 MacBook Air 15-inch, while the highest configuration roughly matches the price of the highest configuration of the MacBook Air.

Microsoft Surface Laptop 7: Specs

The Microsoft Surface Laptop 7 13.8-inch model starts with a Qualcomm Snapdragon X Plus processor with 16GB RAM and 256GB SSD storage. The 15-inch model starts out with a Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite processor, 16GB RAM, and 256GB SSD.

Should you buy the Microsoft Surface Laptop 7?

black laptop on white table

(Image credit: Future)

Buy the Microsoft Surface Laptop 7 if...

You want solid productivity performance
This laptop can handle plenty of productivity work including video calls, documents, web surfing, and more while never sacrificing performance on any level.

You’re on a budget
This laptop is quite affordable, beating out other laptops with similar or worse performance and specs. If you're on a budget, this is an excellent choice.

Don't buy it if...

Microsoft Surface Laptop 7: Also consider

If my Microsoft Surface Laptop 7 review has you considering other options, here are two more laptops to consider...

How I tested the Microsoft Surface Laptop 7?

  • I tested the Microsoft Surface Laptop 7 for a week
  • I tested it using productivity and creative applications
  • I stress-tested the battery using the TechRadar movie test

First, I tested the general weight and portability of the Microsoft Surface Laptop 7 by carrying it around in a laptop bag. After I set it up, I ran several benchmarks to thoroughly test out the new Qualcomm processor. Finally, I used a variety of programs and applications to test out both battery life and general performance during work-like conditions.

The Microsoft Surface Laptop 7 is meant to be a portable laptop with a thin and light chassis. I had to spend a good amount of testing not only on performance issues but also looking for any ventilation issues. I also tested out battery life to see how long it could last off AC power.

I've tested plenty of gaming PCs and laptops, making me more than qualified to understand benchmark test results and how to properly stress test machines to see how well they perform as a work machine.

Read more about how we test

First reviewed June 2024

Gigabyte Aorus FO32U2P: a fast, well-featured but expensive 4K QD-OLED gaming monitor
4:10 am |

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

Gigabyte Aorus FO32U2P: Two-minute review

The 32-inch Aorus FO32U2P “Tactical” gaming monitor has a fast, 4K third-gen Samsung QD-OLED panel, some nifty design elements and is the first I’ve tested that has DisplayPort 2.1 connectivity. It’s in a crowded market, so how competitive and compelling will it be?

First up, it’s worth noting that there’s very little benefit to having DP 2.1 right now. Only AMD’s top-end workstation cards currently support it and there’s likely little real-world visual difference compared to DP 1.4 anyway. Still, it may be attractive to those seeking future-proofing.

The monitor is easy to assemble thanks to its three-piece-one-screw stand design. The panel itself is incredibly thin and all core electronics are isolated in a box at the back where it attaches to the stand. It's generally quasi-aggressive in terms of styling and includes an RGB strip at the rear – although you’ll likely never see it. A cool, rainbow-iridescent logo catches the light at the base, but all other design elements are geometric in nature.

While early QD-OLED panels struggled to display text without turning it spidery, this was practically banished when second-gen screens appeared and now there’s no problem at all. It uses the same anti-reflective coating we've seen on previous QD-OLEDs and this does a fine job of eliminating the black-mirror effect when viewing dark content – unless you have a bright light source behind you. The main downside of the coating is that it can slightly wash out OLED’s inherent true-black performance but it’s really not by much and I, for one, am OK with the trade-off.

The on-screen display (OSD) is operated by a small joystick button at the base that provides low-lag access to numerous standard display options, plus OLED care settings and game-boosting functionality – the latter includes on-screen crosshairs and contrast-equalization that stops enemies jumping out of shadows and bright lights. 

The numerous anti-burn-in features still highlight the QD-OLED technology’s potential flaw (for use as computer monitors) – static images like toolbars risk burning into the screen if you regularly use them for work. Fortunately there’s a three-year anti-burn-in warranty to provide peace of mind.

A ‘tactical’ switch next to the joystick button can be programmed to do things like drop the screen size to 24 inches for competitive FPS players and also to activate, change or deactivate the crosshair.

As for gaming performance, the fast pixel response time marries with the fast 240Hz refresh rate to produce impressive ghost-free motion performance. It’s not as blur-free as 360Hz or pro-grade TN (twisted nematic) technology panels, but only some pro FPS players might grumble.

Multimedia performance is impressive, especially when Windows HDR is activated. Bright lights shine out of the screen and details are retained in dark shadows. Both colorful and monochromatic gradients are impressively smooth and designers will like that it supports 99% of the difficult DCI-P3 color gamut.

There are two 5W speakers that get loud but don’t provide much in the way of bass-heavy punch, but it's still handy to have them for casual video watching.

Powered-off Gigabyte Aorus FO32U2P monitor on a desk

(Image credit: Future)

Gigabyte Aorus FO32U2P: Price and availability

  • $1,299 / AU$2,199; UK price TBC
  • Available in US and Australia, UK availability TBC

This is far from a cheap monitor and it’s difficult to find outside of Asian markets right now. There are plenty of high-performing gaming monitors that rival many of the specs here, but the combination of QD-OLED, a UHD resolution, a 240Hz refresh rate and DisplayPort 2.1 really bumps the price up. Rivals with similar specifications (though without DP 2.1) can be found from MSI and Asus, but their availability and price also varies from region to region.

  • Value score: 3 / 5

Gigabyte Aorus FO32U2P: Specs

Gigabyte Aorus FO32U2P: Design and features

  • Easy to build
  • Packed with future-proof features
  • Some features not totally necessary right now

The Aorus FO32U2P has a very thin screen that’s mounted to a two-foot stand and has only minor decorative elements when compared to some bling-laden gaming beasts. It’s simple to fit together using the screen’s clip and a single finger screw (at the base) and, after construction, you’re left with a smart-looking gaming monitor that’s got a discreet (nay, hidden) RGB strip on the back and some ‘aggressive’ geometric lines.

The stand affords plenty of adjustments: there’s +20° to -5° of tilt, +20° to -20° of swivel, 90° of clockwise pivot and a generous 130mm of height adjustment.

There’s also one of the most impressive complements of ports I’ve come across on a monitor, even though some are so new (and expensive) that I’m questioning the value of their inclusion in the current market. 

Cable management and branding on the Gigabyte Aorus FO32U2P monitor

(Image credit: Future)

Indeed, if the 48Gbps bandwidth of HDMI 2.1 has felt constrictive for you(!), the Aorus FO32U2P supports DisplayPort 2.1 UHBR20 connectivity that goes up to 80Gbps for a potentially completely uncompressed 240Hz UHD image. For most people this will be a bit like Spinal Tap going up to 11, as the existing image is excellent and looks far from compressed. Still, when compatible consumer graphics cards appear, image quality might suddenly improve – to some extent – and I might be eating my words. That’s hard to imagine on a 32-inch screen, though I’d expect it to be more apparent on massive 4K and 8K TVs.

Right now DP 2.1 UHBR20 only works on Radeon Pro (workstation) graphics cards anyway. Also be aware that the supplied DP cable is relatively short, so might not reach if your PC isn’t on your desk.

A joystick button provides access to the OSD where the usual preset display settings (plus HDR additions when turned on) live, along with the option to activate FreeSync Premium Pro. 

There’s Picture-in-Picture and Picture-by-Picture that can be made use of via the two HDMI 2.1 ports, a USB-C port (with 65W PD charging) and the two main DisplayPorts (one is miniDP). There’s also a DisplayPort out for daisy chaining. Note too, there are dual 3.5mm audio jacks that will please/annoy those with (in)compatible headsets. 

A Game Assist menu enables you to display a timer and the monitor refresh rate. There are also various styles of onscreen crosshairs (great for CoD Hardcore) and an Eagle Eye (sniper) mode that zooms in on a moveable area of the screen so you can cheat get better headshots. To be frank, if you can succeed using such a distracting feature, then good for you. 

Gigabyte Aorus FO32U2P gaming monitor rear profile

(Image credit: Future)

You can also activate a Dashboard that provides an on-screen system status (CPU, GPU and frame rate) list. 

A Resolution Switch mode transforms the display into a virtual 24-inch screen – gimmicky but potentially attractive to e-sports players who require a smaller screen with a more eye-friendly field of view.

An OLED Care menu monitors how long you’ve been using the screen and provides numerous burn-in tools like Pixel Clean, Static Control, Pixel Shift and (zoned) screen dimming. While burn-in on QD-OLED panels is still a heated issue, Gigabyte offers a three-year burn-in warranty for peace of mind.

A Tactical Button next to the joystick can be configured to instantly drop the resolution, activate the crosshair, enable an OLE-care cleaning cycle or mute the speakers.

Ultimately, it’s a good-looking and very well-specced monitor with few missing features and additional future-proofed, high-bandwidth connections.

  • Design and features score: 5 / 5

The ports on the underside of the Gigabyte Aorus FO32U2P gaming monitor

(Image credit: Future)

Gigabyte Aorus FO32U2P: Performance

  • Vibrant colors
  • Impressively fast in use
  • Built-in speakers are good but not great

The Aorus FO32U2P’s colors are as vibrant as I’d expect from a QD-OLED screen and both monochromatic and colorful transitions are smooth when Windows HDR is turned on. 

Contrast is excellent, with details remaining visible in bright and dark areas alike. The 250 nit SDR brightness might seem low but it's uniform and well suited to gaming and day-to-day use. HDR brightness can hit 1000 nits on 3% of the screen – enough that all but larger highlights really pop. You can also butcher it with Aorus’ Black Equalizer 2.0 settings to stop enemies hiding in shadows and jumping out of the sun.

The 240Hz refresh rate marries well with the super-quick 0.03ms (stated) pixel response time. You can get faster screens but only super-fussy pro e-sports players might grumble at the minuscule blur on show.

Gigabyte Aorus FO32U2P gaming monitor on a desk beside a laptop

(Image credit: Future)

Another potentially contentious issue with monitors using this third-gen Samsung QD-OLED panel is that it’s not quite true black. An anti-reflective coating does a very impressive job of banishing reflections (even in dark scenes) and despite this being a great trade-off, some multimedia purists might hate having ever-so-slightly washed-out blacks. 

A less contentious issue concerns the QD-OLED’s spidery text problems from its early days. It was almost perfectly fixed on second-gen panels and I didn’t have any issues on this third-gen display.

The twin 5W speakers get loud and offer a bit of punch. However, there’s not much bass to speak of and fidelity suffers in the mid-range when at high volume. Still, I like having them as sometimes you want to watch a quick video without dealing with headphones.

  • Performance score: 5 / 5

Gigabyte Aorus FO32U2P gaming monitor in its packaging

(Image credit: Future)

Gigabyte Aorus FO32U2P: Score card

Should I buy the Gigabyte Aorus FO32U2P?

Buy it if...

You want an uncompromising gaming monitor

Having a 240Hz refresh rate on a UHD-resolution QD-OLED panel ticks my three core features of a dream monitor, and this Aorus has them all.

You want DisplayPort 2.1

There are few actual benefits to having this technology but, if you’ve been hanging out for huge video bandwidth, then this is the first monitor to provide it.

Don't buy it if...

Money is an issue

It’s a very expensive display and you can get non QD-OLED variants that have similar headline specs for much less money.

Thoughts of QD-OLED burn-in gives you anxiety

There are many anti-burn-in technologies in the Aorus FO32U2P (plus a three-year warranty), but you’ll be thinking about it a lot – especially if you’re planning on working with a fixed Windows Taskbar on a day-to-day basis.

Also consider

Gigabyte Aorus FO32U2

The non-P version of this monitor doesn’t have DisplayPort 2.1 (or DP daisy chaining) and its USB-C port isn’t as powerful (18-Watt PD), but this can save you some money. However availability is not great in all regions.

Gigabyte M32UC

Gigabyte’s non-QD-OLED 4K gaming monitor packs in the features and still manages to offer a 144Hz refresh rate. It also costs one-third of the price!

Read our full Gigabyte M32UC review

How I tested the Gigabyte Aorus FO32U2P

The packaging for the Gigabyte Aorus FO32U2P gaming monitor

(Image credit: Future)

For the review, I tested the Aorus FO32U2P over the course of a month by using it as my work-from-home monitor, which I also use for gaming. That means I regularly use all Microsoft and Google Office applications, Adobe photo and video editing applications, social media and YouTube.

In order to test the overall image quality I focus on real-world tests and a few technical tests. For multimedia performance I use UHD video clips (HDR where possible) on YouTube to establish color vibrancy and accuracy, smoothness (and noisiness) of chromatic and monochromatic gradients, plus contrast range and true-black performance.

For speed and gaming performance I predominantly focus upon CoD MWIII and PCars 2 for fast-and-frantic motion smoothness. I also look at the TestUFO technical motion test.

For physical attributes I check reflectivity of the screen and speed/intuitiveness/features of the OSD.

I’ve been reviewing computers, peripherals and components for over 20 years for multiple titles in the UK, Australia and internationally.

Read more about how we test

[First reviewed June 2024]

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