Gadget news
Samsung Galaxy S24 series’ major camera update reaches the US
1:49 pm | February 24, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Mobile phones news | Tags: | Comments: Off

The Samsung Galaxy S24 series' major camera update, released in South Korea last week and recently in Europe, is now rolling out in the US, albeit for carrier-locked units only. The update has firmware version S92x1UEU1AXB7 and requires a download of about 680MB. It comes with the February 2024 Android security patch, and you can check the changelog below for more details about it. Brighter Backlight Shots: Say goodbye to washed-out photos! High-pixel mode now shines with better balance in bright scenes. Sharper Text Zooms (Galaxy S24 Ultra only): Get closer than ever with...

Samsung Galaxy S24 series’ major camera update reaches the US
1:49 pm |

Author: admin | Category: Mobile phones news | Tags: | Comments: Off

The Samsung Galaxy S24 series' major camera update, released in South Korea last week and recently in Europe, is now rolling out in the US, albeit for carrier-locked units only. The update has firmware version S92x1UEU1AXB7 and requires a download of about 680MB. It comes with the February 2024 Android security patch, and you can check the changelog below for more details about it. Brighter Backlight Shots: Say goodbye to washed-out photos! High-pixel mode now shines with better balance in bright scenes. Sharper Text Zooms (Galaxy S24 Ultra only): Get closer than ever with...

Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro pre-order start date for the US revealed
7:47 am | February 23, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Mobile phones news | Tags: | Comments: Off

Asus made the ROG Phone 8 and ROG Phone 8 Pro official last month, but so far the company hasn't announced availability details for the US. However, one of our enterprising readers reached out to Mobile Advance, an official Asus selling partner for the US, and inquired about the launch time frame. Surprisingly or not, a Mobile Advance rep was quick to reveal the dates. As you can see from the screenshot below, courtesy of our reader, pre-orders for the ROG Phone 8 Pro in the US are currently set to start on February 29. The phone will then be shipped at some point between March 11...

Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro pre-order start date for the US revealed
7:47 am |

Author: admin | Category: Mobile phones news | Tags: | Comments: Off

Asus made the ROG Phone 8 and ROG Phone 8 Pro official last month, but so far the company hasn't announced availability details for the US. However, one of our enterprising readers reached out to Mobile Advance, an official Asus selling partner for the US, and inquired about the launch time frame. Surprisingly or not, a Mobile Advance rep was quick to reveal the dates. As you can see from the screenshot below, courtesy of our reader, pre-orders for the ROG Phone 8 Pro in the US are currently set to start on February 29. The phone will then be shipped at some point between March 11...

Amazon Fire HD 10 (2023) review: only smouldering
4:32 pm | February 15, 2024

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

Amazon Fire HD 10 (2023): two-minute review

The budget tablet world that the Amazon Fire HD 10 (2023) enters is a much different one than its predecessor, the Fire HD 10 (2021) did. Not only has every tech company and its mother began pumping out low-cost Android tablets, but even Amazon has created its own bigger-body rival in the form of the Amazon Fire Max 11.

The Amazon Fire HD 10 is the newest entry in Amazon’s line of low-cost entertainment slates, each of which gets refreshed biannually. The Fire 7 is the budget option, the Fire HD 8 is the Goldilocks model and the Fire HD 10 was the big-screen behemoth – but the Max 11 steals its thunder now.

This is still a tablet you may well consider. It has a large display, perfect for watching movies on journeys, and it’s inextricably linked to Amazon’s ecosystem: you can read Kindle books, stream from Amazon Music, watch movies and shows from Prime Video, review novels on Goodreads, stream from FreeVee and more. Rival apps are available too, including Spotify and Netflix, making this an all-around entertainment beast.

Amazon’s tablets remain some of the most popular non-iPad slates on the market, and it’s because they’re cheap and cheery. That doesn’t mean they’re not full of little annoyances, though.

By being tied to Amazon’s ecosystem, it means this slate is hard to properly use if you don’t have a Prime account. Plus, unless you pay more, the user interface will be chock-full of adverts, which can be incredibly annoying.

The Amazon Fire HD 10 (2023) on a colored background.

(Image credit: Future)

While Amazon has long sold accessories for its Fire tablets, it’s making more of a push for them with the Fire HD 10, offering various bundles with its new stylus, keyboard case or kid-friendly cases. We didn’t test the slate alongside any of these accessories, but they’re options that make it a better rival for all the new Android tablets cluttering up the market now.

So what place is there for the new Fire HD 10? Uh – not much, but that’s its own fault.

When designing its new tablet, Amazon must have heard the term ‘iterative update’ and confused this derogatory dismissal with a goal. The 2023 model is basically the same as its predecessor; while its front camera is higher-res, it’s slightly faster and slightly lighter, that’s not a huge amount in the grand scheme of things. 

While the Fire HD 10’s lower price than its Max 11 counterpart ensures that it still has a price in Amazon’s line-up, we can’t help but advise cost-savvy buyers to try and find the 2021 model of Fire HD 10 and save a penny or two. And if price isn’t an issue, just go to the Max 11.

Amazon Fire HD 10 (2023) review: price and availability

The Amazon Fire HD 10 (2023) on a colored background.

(Image credit: Future)
  • Went on sale October 2023 in US and UK
  • Base price is $139.99 / £149.99 (roughly AU$220)
  • For more storage and ad-free navigation, costs $194.99 / £189.99 (around AU$280)

The newest Amazon Fire HD 10 went on sale in October 2023, and unlike its predecessor, it wasn’t accompanied by a Plus sibling. The Fire Max 11, released in May 2023, was just the same.

The Fire HD 10 (2023) costs $139.99 / £149.99 (roughly AU$220, though we couldn’t see the slate on sale in Australia yet). That’s for the most affordable configuration, with 32GB storage and ads on the lock screen.

If you pay $40 / £30 (around AU$60), you can bump the storage up to 64GB, and $15 / £10 (around AU$20) will remove the ads from the lock screen. For both, you’re paying a grand total of $194.99 / £189.99 (around AU$280). 

Once you’ve bought the tablet, you better keep your credit card handy, because there are plenty of extras that you may need to shell out for. Not only is an Amazon Prime subscription handy ($14.99 / £8.99  per month, $139 / £95 per year) but there’s the Stylus Pen ($34.99 / £34.99), Bluetooth Keyboard Case ($49.99 / £52.99) and standing protective cover ($39.99 / £42.99) that you can splash out on should you wish. None are strictly necessary, but will just help you protect your tablet more or use it to its fullest extent.

Amazon isn’t alone in charging you an arm and a leg for tablet accessories, with Apple’s versions costing much more, but many of the Fire’s rival tablets do come with extras included. Samsung tablets have an S Pen in the box, for example.

  • Value score: 3.5/5

Amazon Fire HD 10 (2023) review: specs

The Amazon Fire HD 10 (2023) specs list will be familiar to anyone who's glanced at the facts and figures on a previous Fire slate. Here's how it's looking:

Amazon Fire HD 10 (2023) review: design

The Amazon Fire HD 10 (2023) on a colored background.

(Image credit: Future)
  • Big protected plastic hunk
  • Lighter and slightly smaller than previous model
  • Comes in black, blue or lilac

The Amazon Fire HD 10 follows all previous Amazon tablets in being a large plastic box – and that’s not an insult. This is a utilitarian design made from a durable material, and more so than many other slates it’s ready to survive being dropped, being sat on and being left in the bottom of very-full bags.

Weighing in at 433.6g, the tablet is 30g lighter than its predecessor, though you’d need scales to notice such a difference. There’s no such dramatic size shift in the dimensions either, as at 246 x 164.8 x 8.6mm, it’s only 1 x 1.2 x 0.6 mm smaller than the 2021 model. 

The front of the tablet boasts a front-facing camera along one of the longer bezels, like many modern-day tablets (slates of yore often put them 90-degrees around, resembling smartphones so the camera would be at the top when held portrait, but this is awkward for video calls). 

Around one edge of the slate you’ve got a USB-C port for charging, a 3.5mm audio jack so you can plug in headphones instead of relying on wireless, and the power button to wake the device or send it back into its slumber. All the important buttons and holes are on the same edge, leaving the rest clear.

Amazon is offering the tablet in three color options: black (as our test unit is), lilac or blue. The accessories you can buy generally match these colors, though Amazon sometimes sells themed accessories too.

If you’re considering buying the Amazon Fire HD 10, bear in mind that it’s a fairly big tablet, and the Fire HD 8 and Fire 7 are smaller. They’ll fit in bags easier, and the latter can even slip into pockets – though the FIre HD 10 is far from the giant slates that Apple and Samsung make.

  • Design score: 3.5/5

Amazon Fire HD 10 (2023) review: display

The Amazon Fire HD 10 (2023) on a colored background.

(Image credit: Future)
  • 10.1-inch 16:10 1920 x 1200 display
  • Fine for its apps but nothing stellar
  • Third-biggest of four tabs in Amazon range

There’s an easy way to remember the screen sizes for Amazon tablets: the company literally puts it in the name (basically, at least). The tablet’s display is 10 inches (well, 10.1 inches) across diagonally, which is 2 inches bigger than the HD 8, 3 inches bigger than the Fire 7 and 1 inch smaller than the Max 11.

The pixel count is 1920 x 1200, or FHD. That’s the same resolution as the vast majority of videos you’ll get from streaming services like Netflix, Disney Plus, Prime Video – totally fit for purpose.

Don’t expect stellar viewing experiences: it’s a little dim, only has a 60Hz refresh rate and lacks vibrancy in the colors. But if you just want an affordable screen to entertain kids, or for you to read Kindle books on, it’ll do just fine.

  • Display score: 2.5/5

Amazon Fire HD 10 (2023) review: software

The Amazon Fire HD 10 (2023) on a colored background.

(Image credit: Future)
  • Fire OS 8 is based on Android 11
  • Software is full of Amazon apps and features
  • Some uninstallable apps

Like all Amazon tablets, the Fire HD 10 comes on Amazon’s home-brewed software, called Fire OS 8, which is a distant cousin of Android 11 (that is to say, it’s based on it). Fire OS definitely doesn’t feel like Android, though.

The entire user interface of Fire tablets revolves around entertainment. The home screen has widgets for discovering new movies and TV shows on Prime Video or Freevee, books to read on the Kindle store, extra streaming services and games you might want to download. By default, you’ll have most of Amazon’s subscription service apps installed like Amazon Music, Audible and Goodreads. From the home screen, swiping right takes you to a list of recommended games, books and film/TV, while swiping left takes you to your entire library of things installed or available to you based on your subscriptions.

That is to say, this isn’t a tablet designed for people who need a creative or business tool. It’s for entertainment, specifically of the moving picture or word variety (though there are several audio apps too).

It’s also a tablet designed for people with active Amazon Prime subscriptions. Prime Video, Amazon Music and Amazon Shopping are three of its most prominent apps, while Kindle, Freevee, Audible and more all require Amazon accounts (but not Prime). If you’re not on Prime, you’re going to find that a limiting factor in enjoying the slate.

The Amazon Fire HD 10 (2023) on a colored background.

(Image credit: Future)

Credit where credit’s due, Amazon does allow its competition onto the slate. Netflix, Disney Plus and a few free streaming services are there if Prime Video and Freevee aren’t cutting it, and Spotify is there for everyone who can’t be bothered to try out Amazon Music.

If you are in the Amazon ecosystem, the Fire tablet has a few extras that will help you. Not only is Alexa the only smart assistant, with the Google Assistant having been dumped on Android’s journey to Fire OS, but there’s a handy button always on-screen (on the navigation bar), that brings up your Device Dashboard.

The Device Dashboard basically lists all your Alexa-enabled gadgets, so you can control them from one place. Smart bulbs, appliances, plugs, blink cameras and so on – all can be at your whim from this one place.

Compared to most other Android forks, Fire OS offers little in the way of customization options, with a few alternative wallpapers but none of the style perks that newer builds of Android offer. You also can’t remove most of Amazon’s apps, even the likes of ‘Amazon Kids’, which there’s not much need for if you’re not a child. 

It’s hard to avoid accusing Amazon of adding its own bloatware to the Fire HD 10 when you’re not given a choice of whether you keep it or not; instead, it’ll stay blocking up your home screen.

It's here that we've got to mention that, if you don't add on ad removal when you buy the tablet, you'll be shown annoying ads every time you open up the slate's lock screen. These can be very bright and distracting, especially the ones that include videos that can play when you try to unlock the device.

  • Software score: 2/5

Amazon Fire HD 10 (2023) review: performance

  • Low-end Mediatek MT8186A with 3GB RAM
  • A 5MP front-facing camera and another 5MP snapper on the back
  • Offers 32/64GB storage, expandable up to 1TB with microSD

The Amazon Fire HD 10 (2023) on a colored background.

(Image credit: Future)

While you can get a few ‘high-end’ mobile games on the Amazon Fire HD 10, it’s not exactly a gaming powerhouse, and you shouldn’t buy it if you’re looking for such a device.

Amazon has put the Mediatek MT8186A chipset in the slate, a low-end system-on-a-chip that it’s been using versions of in tablets for years now (I tested the Fire HD 8 (2020) years ago and it had basically the same chip). It’s paired with 3GB RAM.

The slate doesn’t feel particularly fast, either to navigate or when booting up or using apps. It doesn’t necessarily feel as sluggish as some of Amazon’s older slates, but the tablet works best for tasks that don’t need much processor power like reading books on the Kindle app or watching TV shows.

At least you can load up lots of data onto the tablet. While its basic configuration comes with either 32GB or 64GB memory, depending on what you pay for, you can use a microSD card to expand the storage up to 1TB. Just as a word of money-saving advice: 1TB microSD cards generally cost three-figure prices, and 500GB ones aren’t much cheaper, so if you only think you’ll need 64GB space it’s a lot cheaper to just buy the tablet with more storage rather than rely on microSD cards. 

One of the headline upgrades the Fire HD 10 (2023) over its chip is an upgraded front camera resolution, from 2MP to 5MP on the new slate. That means that selfies you take will be a little higher-quality, and depending on your network connection, you might appear a little higher-res on video calls too. 

On the back, the same 5MP camera remains. For both of these snappers, they’re fine for basic like scanning documents, taking picture of notes to remember them and so on, but you’re not exactly getting DSLR-rivalling photography chops.

In terms of audio, you’ve got a few options. The slate supports Bluetooth 5.3 LE, the low-energy equivalent of the current top standard of Bluetooth connection, and so it’ll work well with wireless headphones and speakers. There’s also a 3.5mm headphone jack, so you can stick to wired audio if you prefer.

  • Performance score: 2.5/5

Amazon Fire HD 10 (2023) review: battery life

The Amazon Fire HD 10 (2023) on a colored background.

(Image credit: Future)
  • 13-hour battery life
  • Lasting power varies by task
  • USB-C charging takes four hours

The estimate Amazon gives for the Fire HD 10 is “up to 13 hours”, and in our testing we’d say that this rough guess is okay, but there’s a lot of nuance. That’s because the battery life varies a lot by what you’re doing.

If you’re playing a video game or streaming lots of TV, you won’t hit that 13 hour mark – I’d guess you’d probably get at least 10 hours, and maybe more, but those processes are more intensive than some others. However, if you’re just browsing your emails or reading a Kindle book, I’d say that you could possibly exceed that 13-hour mark.

In our Future Labs rundown test, the Fire HD 10 managed 12 hours and 39 minutes before giving up the ghost, which generally tracks with my real-world use of the tablets. 

Either way, that’s a pretty decent battery life that squeaks past the average staying power of an entry-level iPad.

Charging is done using a USB-C cable (the industry standard that you likely use for your smartphone, headphones, laptop etc.). It takes up to 4 hours to power the device fully.

  • Battery score: 3.5/5

Should you buy the Amazon Fire HD 10 (2023)?

Buy it if...

You need something portable
The Amazon Fire HD 10 is lightweight and slender, making it great for on-the-go entertainment, with its battery life and software focus only helping.

You're buying for a child
There's lots of entertainment for a kid to like on the Fire HD 10, with special kids apps and services plus a suitably kid-proof design. While Amazon does sell tabs designed for youngsters, they cost more and are actually just its regular slates with protective cases.

You're already an Amazon user
Whether you're a Prime customer who makes the most of Prime Video, Amazon Music, Kindle Reads and more, or someone with an Alexa-enabled home set-up, the Fire HD 10 will let you make the most of these.

Don't buy it if...

You're looking for a business or creative device
Many people buy tablets for work, or for creative endeavors like sketching or editing. Amazon's tablets are best for entertainment fans, though, and you'd best be looking elsewhere if you want more than that.

You don't need a big display
The main difference between Amazon's tablets is the screen size. If you don't think you need a full 10.1 inches (say, if you can just hold the device a little closer to your eyes so it looks bigger), you can save a fair bit of cash by buying the Fire 7 or Fire HD 8.

Amazon Fire HD 10 (2023) review: Also consider

If you just need a new tablet and aren't selective about which, here are some rivals you might want to consider:

How I tested the Amazon Fire HD 10 (2023)

  • Review test period = 2 week
  • Testing included = streaming movies and TV, checking emails, listening to music, reading Kindle books, playing games

Amazon's limited ecosystem means that not many benchmarking or testing apps can be installed onto the tablet, but I've used many devices from the company before so know what to look for in them.

The review period for this tablet was two weeks, though I continued to use the device as I wrote the review itself. While I like to try writing tablet reviews on the tablet itself, that can be more hassle than it's worth on Fire slates.

Instead I used the device as you're supposed to: I watched movies and TV shows on Prime Video, Freevee, Disney Plus and Plex, I made further attempts to whittle down my Kindle library, I played some of the games that the device suggests, and I streamed music using wired and wireless options. 

I've been testing tech for TechRadar for just about five years now, so I've got a lot of experience reviewing things like slates, smartphones and ereaders to work out whether they're worth buying. As mentioned I've used lots of Amazon's tablets as well as competing devices, so know the market well.

Read more about how we test

First reviewed January 2024

The Nothing Phone (2a) won’t be coming to the US, some specs confirmed
12:02 am | February 14, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Mobile phones news | Tags: | Comments: Off

In an official statement from Nothing, the company clarified that the upcoming midranger, Nothing Phone (2a), won't be coming to the US. At least not to regular consumers, similarly to the Nothing Phone (1). But at least the latter was available for purchase as part of a wider beta program. Now, Nothing plans to release the Phone (2a) only to certain developers working on the recently announced Glyph Developer Kit. This means that you won't be able to buy it from Amazon, Best Buy, etc. In case you are outside of the US and you are excited about the March 5 release, the tipster...

The Nothing Phone (2a) won’t be coming to the US, some specs confirmed
12:02 am |

Author: admin | Category: Mobile phones news | Tags: | Comments: Off

In an official statement from Nothing, the company clarified that the upcoming midranger, Nothing Phone (2a), won't be coming to the US. At least not to regular consumers, similarly to the Nothing Phone (1). But at least the latter was available for purchase as part of a wider beta program. Now, Nothing plans to release the Phone (2a) only to certain developers working on the recently announced Glyph Developer Kit. This means that you won't be able to buy it from Amazon, Best Buy, etc. In case you are outside of the US and you are excited about the March 5 release, the tipster...

Shark SpeedStyle RapidGloss Finisher & High-Velocity Dryer review: hair drying made easy
2:21 am | February 12, 2024

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

Shark SpeedStyle RapidGloss Finisher & High-Velocity Dryer: One-minute review

It might be a mouthful of a name but the SpeedStyle RapidGloss Finisher & High-Velocity Dryer (hereon referred to as the SpeedStyle) has been designed to dry hair with less time and effort. Coming with a selection of five attachments, you can even reduce the amount of frizz in your hair while styling, resulting in glossier looks.

Its high performance is backed by the Shark SpeedStyle’s ability to automatically adjust the heat and airflow settings when switching between attachments, recycling this feature from the Shark Style iQ. You can still manually adjust the settings to your liking though, as the hair dryer sports two convenient buttons for airflow and temperature, allowing you to gain complete control over your styling needs.

The hardware that allows these intelligent features to function, along with a 1700W motor, are packed into a stylish and compact design, though it does mean the Shark SpeedStyle tips the scales towards the heavier end when compared to some of the best hair dryers. Despite the extra weight, it’s still small enough to neatly pack away into luggage, making it a good travel companion if your flight’s weight allowance allows for it.

Adding to the weight are five attachments that come with the SpeedStyle, and each one performs a specific task when drying and styling hair. They all use a simple rotating lock mechanism to connect to the hair dryer, and are cool-touch zones that don’t retain as much heat so you can touch them safely when swapping them. However, I found that those cool-touch zones would often still retain heat and I’d need to wait a moment or blast some cool air through them before I could touch them.

Depending on your location, you can find different Shark SpeedStyle bundles at various price points. The one I tested for this review comes with all the bells and whistles and is a hefty investment, which gets a little difficult to justify when you consider that the brand has a more versatile hair styling tool in the Shark FlexStyle Air Styling & Hair Drying System for around the same price.

Shark SpeedStyle hairdryer being held in front of mirror

The Shark SpeedStyle comes with five different attachments and a carry bag in its most expensive bundle. (Image credit: Future / Petra Player)

Shark SpeedStyle RapidGloss Finisher & High-Velocity Dryer review: price & availability

  • Initially released in the US in August 2023
  • Available now in the US, UK and Australia
  • List price for full bundle: $259 / £249.99 / AU$559.99

Released initially in the US back in August 2023, the Shark SpeedStyle is available in all major markets in different bundles, although these options will vary depending on where you live. You can purchase the SpeedStyle directly from its maker or through various retailers, including on Amazon in the US, UK and Australia, and other regional sellers who typically stock Shark products.

The full package with five different attachments and a handy travel pouch will set you back $259 / £249.99 / AU$559.99 at full price, and is the only available bundle in Australia at the time of publication. In the US, you can select two of your own attachments with a regular list price of $179, or buy bundles with three pre-selected attachments for various hair types, including curly and wavy hair, for $199. The UK also has the pre-selected bundles for £199.

This price isn’t as extreme as the Dyson Supersonic – the British brand’s popular hair dryer is available from $429 / £329.99 / AU$649. Though, in Australia you can find the Supersonic for AU$549 with five different attachments in an exclusive bundle, making it a slightly more affordable option than the SpeedStyle at full price.

While it might be possible to justify the SpeedStyle’s price in comparison to Dyson, I find its cost a little confusing compared to the Shark FlexStyle. Admittedly the latter is more of a styling tool, but it can still be used as a hair dryer and comes with five attachments costing $299 / £299 / AU$499. It’s a more versatile appliance as it can transform between a hair dryer and a styling wand, plus, it’s lighter too. It might be a bit more expensive in the US and UK, but in Australia especially, the FlexStyle sits at a more affordable price – so you do the math.

• Value score: 3.5/5

Shark SpeedStyle RapidGloss Finisher & High-Velocity Dryer review: specs

Shark SpeedStyle and Shark FlexStyle compared

The Shark SpeedStyle is larger than the FlexStyle, especially when the latter is in hair dryer mode. (Image credit: Future / Petra Player)

Shark SpeedStyle RapidGloss Finisher & High-Velocity Dryer review: design & features

  • Slim design with a decent heft
  • Intelligent sensor for automatic adjustments
  • Four heat settings, including a cool-shot button, and three for airflow

Shark has designed a sleek and compact hair dryer, although the FlexStyle is a touch smaller when folded into its dryer mode. Compared to other brands, though, the SpeedStyle is slim. Also aiding in giving it a modern look is an unique off-white and rose-gold color scheme.

Even with its attachments, the SpeedStyle is small enough to slip into a travel bag – its most expensive bundle even comes with a neat carry case for this purpose. However, it will tip the scales in luggage as the SpeedStyle is heavier than some of its competitors, weighing in at 750g before any attachment. In comparison, the FlexStyle is only 700g, while the Dyson Supersonic and T3 AirLuxe are also both lighter at 650g and 707g respectively. On the flipside, the GHD Helios weighs 780g, so there are still heavier hair dryers than the SpeedStyle.

Its main barrel is a simple cylinder that’s uniform from end to end, Similar to what Dyson did with the Supersonic hair dryer. The Shark SpeedStyle, however, is thinner and slightly longer than its competitor, which is both a good and a bad thing.

I personally found the handle uncomfortable to grip, occasionally causing cramps if I’ve held it for too long while using it as a styler. In comparison, I found the wider handle design of the FlexStyle more comfortable when I reviewed it for sister site Tom’s Guide. That said, the slimmer design might suit smaller hands, which is complimented by a well-thought out button placement for a shot of cool air that’s easy to reach and press when needed.

Shark SpeedStyle hairdryer showing the button placement

There's a button for both heat and air flow settings just above the on/off switch on the handle of the Shark SpeedStyle. These buttons are low enough that they won't accidentally be bumped while styling. (Image credit: Future / Petra Player)

The other buttons are also well situated – the power switch is at the base of the handle but nowhere you would accidentally turn the dryer off, while the heat and airflow controls sit just above the power button and light up to indicate the setting you’re currently using. You likely won’t have to use the latter two buttons as the SpeedStyle inherits the auto-adjustments from the much older Shark Style iQ hair dryer. You can still manually make adjustments if you need to, although I found letting the SpeedStyle do its thing can save a little time.

Fitting attachments is a simple clip-in-and-lock mechanism, and these include a diffuser for drying curly hair, a Touchup brush for natural-looking blowouts, a round one for straightening, a styling concentrator that lets you focus on sections of hair, and a RapidGloss Finisher to add a glossy and smooth finish to your hairdo.

Shark SpeedStyle hairdryer on table with filter removed

The Shark SpeedStyle's filter can be removed from the back of the hair dryer for easy cleaning with a simple twist. (Image credit: Future / Petra Player)

Like a lot of other hair dryers out there, the SpeedStyle boasts a removable filter, which is a major improvement over the Shark Style Qi – keeping it clean will prolong the life of the product by preventing overheating. Given that the SpeedStyle can hit temperatures of up to 100ºC, you’ll want to clean it regularly to avoid any ongoing issues, especially if you use it every day.

While I didn’t have issues with overheating during my testing of the SpeedStyle, which included everyday use over a full week, I found that its barrel and attachments retained heat for quite some time and I had to wait a few minutes before I was able to touch them to switch attachments. And this is despite the fact that Shark has included cool-touch zones on the dryer and the attachments.

• Design & features score: 4/5

Shark SpeedStyle on table surrounded by attachments and hair brushes

Each attachment included with the Shark SpeedStyle has a specific purpose, allowing it to dry and style multiple different hair types. (Image credit: Future / Petra Player)

Shark SpeedStyle RapidGloss Finisher & High-Velocity Dryer review: performance

  • Fast drying times
  • Good for different hair types
  • Requires a small learning curve for some attachments

Don’t be fooled by its compact size – the Shark SpeedStyle has some speedy dry times. Its 1,700W motor allows it to hit 100ºC / 212ºF, and I found I could dry my thick shoulder-length hair in three and a half minutes without any attachments at the highest settings. Brushing and styling my hair with the round brush attachment while also drying, however, took approximately 15 minutes for a simple and neat hairdo. While this is still quite fast, it doesn’t quite compete with the Dyson Supersonic or the GHD Helios – our reviewers found that the Supersonic can dry hair in a little over 2 minutes without attachments and the GHD Helios could do so in just over a minute.

What I really appreciate is that, even at its highest setting, the SpeedStyle doesn’t get very loud, hitting 85dB when on the maximum settings, but sitting comfortably between 76dB-80dB when on the lower settings, as recorded on the Decibel X app I used to measure sound for this review. Importantly, there’s no annoying high-pitched tone that I found with the Shark FlexStyle and that a colleague experienced with the Shark Cordless Detect Pro with Auto-empty System vacuum cleaner that was also reviewed on sister site Tom’s Guide.

My hair isn’t curly, so I didn’t use the diffuser very much but, for my needs, I found the Touchup brush the most useful. It can swivel to different angles while moving around your head, and uses the second heat setting to reduce heat damage. I found both brush attachments – the Touchup and round – capable of untangling knots easily, something my hair is prone to due to previous damage from bleaching, thanks to the combination of long, short and bunched bristles on both brushes.

Shark SpeedStyle hairdryer being held in hand with RapidGloss Finisher attachement

The RapidGloss Finisher attachment has a slight learning curve, but can be used for sleek and glossy styles with less frizz thanks to its metallic plating. (Image credit: Future / Petra Player)

I found that the RapidGloss Finisher – the SpeedStyle’s headline attachment – can take a bit of getting used to. It’s designed to smooth flyaways and leave a glossy finish by pulling locks of hair along a metal roller, but I couldn’t get it to work right the first few times I tried it. It took a few tries before I was able to smoothen my hair and achieve a glossier result than what my usual styling method yields. To get the best results from the RapidGloss Finisher, though, you need to use the highest heat setting along with the strongest airflow, so it can get uncomfortably hot on the scalp.

The styling concentrator also works well, but it’s a staple attachment for most hair dryers and not unique to the Shark Speedstyle.

I’m quite impressed with the cool-shot button – it kicks in real quick with an almost instantaneous temperature change even if the dryer is set at its hottest. I found that I could even use the cool-shot function to deal with the heat retention issue on the attachments, saving me a little bit of time.

• Performance score: 4/5

Shark SpeedStyle hairdryer behind held in hand with diffuser attachment

The Shark SpeedStyle comes with a diffuser attachment to help keep natural hairstyles while drying. (Image credit: Future / Petra Player)

Should I buy the Shark SpeedStyle RapidGloss Finisher & High-Velocity Dryer?

Buy it if…

Don’t buy it if…

Also consider

If you’re not sold on the Shark SpeedStyle, here’s how it compares to three other hair dryers.

How I tested the Shark SpeedStyle RapidGloss Finisher & High-Velocity Dryer

  • Used all attachments for different styles
  • Tested on thick, shoulder-length hair
  • Testing was done during summer months in Sydney, Australia

To put the Shark SpeedStyle to the test, I used it every time I washed my hair over a period of eight weeks. My testing included a week when I used it every single day. To put it through its paces, I swapped between the SpeedStyle’s attachments each time, using a paddle brush and comb to achieve different styles and results. 

I even went on holiday with it, leading me to the conclusion that it’s a good travel size despite being slightly weighty. I used it late at night in my hotel room and was relieved to not get any noise complaints.

Read more about how we test

[First reviewed February 2024]

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Pre-orders are done and the OnePlus 12 series is now available. The flagship OnePlus 12 is available with a free storage upgrade, meaning that $800 buys you 16GB of RAM and 512GB storage. Try getting that out of Samsung or Google. A quick overview of this Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 powered phone shows a 6.82” QHD+ display, a 120Hz LTPO panel with 10-bit colors. There’s also a 50MP main, 64MP 3x tele and 48MP ultra wide cameras with Hasselblad calibration. OnePlus brought back wireless charging (50W) to complement the wired charging (80W) for the 5,400mAh battery (30 minutes to full for the wired...

Apple Vision Pro review: The spatial computing revolution is here, and I love it
7:17 pm | February 7, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Computing Gadgets Software Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality | Tags: , | Comments: Off

Apple Vision Pro: Two-minute review

Apple has spent almost a decade developing the Vision Pro, and it shows. Everything about it is spectacular, from the exquisite design to brilliant visuals that blend the real with the fantastical, to the versatility that puts other mixed-reality headsets to shame.

The fact that, even after all that work, there are still limitations is frustrating. Sure, I want a sub-1lb/500g headset that somehow integrates the battery; and, of course, I want it to cost $500. The state of the art, even Apple’s bleeding-edge form of it, isn’t there yet. None of that, however, makes me think less of the Vision Pro. It's a stunning achievement in industrial design and technology that translates the inscrutable worlds of AR, VR, and mixed reality into an experience that pretty much anyone can understand and enjoy.

Using your gaze and gestures (finger taps, long pinch, pull) to control a computer is the intuitive technology control you didn’t know you were missing – the millimeter precision is more like what you’d expect from a seasoned OS, not the brand new Vision Pro platform, visionOS, Apple introduced nine months ago. Apple got this right on the first try, and it could become as second-nature as tapping, pinching, and swiping on an iPhone or iPad is today.

Apple Vision Pro Review

(Image credit: Future)

As a new computing platform, the Vision Pro is rich with features and possibilities. The fact that it does so many things so well, and that they work and make sense, is a testament to Apple’s efforts. I’ve been marveling at the attention to detail, and at how a bleeding-edge, V1 product can feel so finished and complete. Apple has created a headset that I’m itching to wear almost every day, and if I did nothing but work in it the Vision Pro would transform my life. I’ve long dreamed of having a 150-inch or larger workspace, but I couldn’t imagine how it would be practical or, more importantly, viewable. With the Vision Pro, I get an almost unlimited desktop that makes me want to never return to the confined space of my laptop.

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Apple Vision Pro Review

Encounter dinosaurs remains one of the most eye-popping Vision Pro experiences… (Image credit: Future)
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Apple Vision Pro Review

…especially when this virtual butterfly lands on your finger (Image credit: Future)

I’ve rarely tested a technology that has moved me in the way the Vision Pro does. Spatial videos are so achingly real that they instantly trigger an emotion that a flat image might not. Being up close with otherworldly or prehistoric creatures that seem to almost see me is at once jarring and thrilling. To pull this off, you need more than great apps, software, developers, and artists; you need a cohesive system that brings it all to life. The Vision Pro does it time and again, with 23 million pixels of imagery, spatial audio that travels the distance from band-bound speakers directly to your ears, and eye-tracking that knows your gaze better than you do.

There are frustrations and missteps, too.

Apple Vision Pro Review

Apple Vision Pro with the Solo Knit Band (Image credit: Future)

I struggled to find the best fit, and while I can now wear the Vision Pro for hours, my face reminds me afterwards that it’s not built for this. I've struggled on occasion to find a fit that doesn’t cause me some niggling discomfort (although the more immersed I get, the less I feel anything).

I don’t mind the external battery, but it feels not quite up to the task when you want to watch a 3D movie and power seems to drain at double speed. Thank goodness the battery can be plugged in for continued use.

Apple Vision Pro Review

You won't go anywhere without that battery pack (Image credit: Future)

While I think the outside-in pass-through technology that marries the real and computer-generated worlds is among the best I’ve seen, Apple’s attempts to keep you connected to people in front of you and through, say, FaceTime calls, need work. Personas are just this side of creepy, and EyeSight, which shows a video of your eyes to those around you on the exterior screen, looks a bit scary. Then there's the price, which is overwhelming, and will be an instant turnoff for many. I wonder, though, if they might feel differently after their first experience – I’d argue that they will decide they want a Vision Pro, and the only question will be how they can afford it.

Apple Vision Pro Review

(Image credit: Future)

Apple Vision Pro: Price and availability

  • Expensive
  • Price does not include lens inserts
  • No yet available outside the US

Apple announced its Vision Pro headset on June 5, 2023, at WWDC 2023. It's available now in the US, and costs $3,499 for the 256GB model. Preorders opened on January 19, and the headset began shipping on February 2. Availability and pricing for other markets is yet to be confirmed, but Apple says that will follow in 2025.

Value score: 4

Apple Vision Pro: What's in the box

Everything that's inside the Apple Vision Pro box

Here's what you'll find when you unbox your Vision Pro (Image credit: Future)

So what do you get for your $3,499 (Apple sent me the 1TB version, which starts at $3,899 – you can opt for a $3,699 512GB headset)? Essentially, in the box is everything you need to put on and start using the Vision Pro. In order of importance:

  • There’s the Vision Pro system
  • A battery with attached cable
  • USB-C charge cable and 30W adapter
  • The Solo Knit Band
  • A Dual Loop Band
  • Two Light Seals Cushions
  • A fabric cover
  • A polishing cloth

The only thing that's not included, and which you might need, as I did, are the Zeiss prescription lens inserts. These will run you $99 for reading-glass lenses, and $149 for full prescription lenses, which is what I need. The Vision Pro might be unusable for those with particular sight issues – Apple can let you know upfront if that's likely to be the case.

It all arrives in a large white box that has all the hallmarks of containing a high-end Apple product.

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Apple Vision Pro carrying case

The optional case costs $199 but I thick its worth it (Image credit: Future)
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Apple Vision Pro carrying case

(Image credit: Future)
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Apple Vision Pro carrying case

(Image credit: Future)

You can buy an optional carrying case for $199, and, considering that you just dropped almost $3,500, I think it’s money well spent, although some might argue that Apple should include the case with the expensive headset. Apple sent me the case; it's compact, and has storage space for everything I mentioned above, and I think the hard-shell, soft-surface body will do wonders to protect your expensive new toy.

Apple Vision Pro: Specs

The headgear is, in some ways typical goggle size: it's roughly six inches wide by almost four inches deep from the edge of the Light Seal to the front of the glass, and almost four inches tall. 

Perhaps the most important spec of all, though, is the weight. Depending on which bands you use, the Vision Pro clocks in at 1.3 to 1.4lbs, or 600 to 650g. The external battery, which I kept either in my pocket, on the table, or on the couch next to me (later I got a nice $49.95 Belkin Case, so I could attach it to my belt), weighs just over three-quarters of a pound, or around 350g. Thank goodness Apple opted to not integrate the battery in its first mixed-reality headset.

Apple Vision Pro: Performance

  • Powerful, proven M2 chip
  • R1 appears to take the visual load
  • Never a lag
  • Could do with more base storage

Apple’s Vision Pro works as well as it does not only because of the design and remarkably intuitive interface. As always, it’s what’s inside that really counts.

At its heart is the  M2 chip, a second-generation piece of Apple silicon, featuring an 8-core CPU and a 10-core GPU that powers, for instance, the most recent MacBook Air (MacBook Pros now have M3 chips). In my experience, this is a powerful chip that’s well qualified to handle the demands of virtual and augmented reality.

However, the M2 has the support of a new piece of Apple silicon, the R1 chip, which appears to be primarily in charge of managing those 4K screens, and maintaining a 12-millisecond image update so that what you see is clear and butter-smooth.

The Vision Pro’s dual 4K micro-OLED displays with 23 million pixels are also industry-leading. My experience with the headset is that I get crystal-clear imagery wherever I look, and at whatever size I make the screens.

Apple Vision Pro Review

The Vision Pro's audio comes through a pair of audio pods which are hidden under that white rubber (Image credit: Future)

Apple has placed the stereo audio pod headphones on the stiff white rubber stems that feed into the Vision Pro frame, but they provide excellent spatial audio that’s arguably as good as anything you might get with in-ear buds. If you place an app on your virtual left, the audio will come from that space. At one point, I took a screen that was playing video and slowly dragged it from one side of my space to the other, and the audio tracked perfectly from my left side to the middle and then to the right. There’s also a six-microphone array that does a good job of picking up “Siri” commands. I love summoning Siri because, in the Vision Pro, the digital assistant is embodied as a small floating glass orb.

Apple Vision Pro bottom edge cameras

The Vision Pro's bottom-edge cameras (Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)

There are numerous cameras arrayed on the outside and inside of the Vision Pro. The two on the front handle the stereoscopic imagery that you can see and capture in photos and videos that you’ll play back later, and sometimes cry over.

The Vision Pro supports Wi-Fi 6 (though oddly not Wi-Fi 7, which in a few years will be ubiquitous) and Bluetooth 5.3, the latter of which allowed me to easily connect the Vision Pro to an Xbox controller, Magic Keyboard, and Magic Trackpad. 

Apple Vision Pro virtual keyboard

The Vision Pro is best for a quick message or short sentences; typing anything of length on it is virtually impossible (Image credit: Future)

The Vision Pro also displays a virtual keyboard that you can poke at in space. This can be resized and positioned to your liking, but the lack of physical and tactile feedback makes it difficult, at best, to use. What’s worse is that because you may not be looking at the keyboard when you type, the gaze control system can’t really help you with accuracy. To be fair, I’m a terrible typist and do often look at the keyboard when touch-typing. Ultimately, if I want to type within visionOS while wearing the headset, I find that using the Magic Keyboard Apple sent me is best (they also sent a Magic Mouse that can work across both visionOS and my connected MacBook Pro’s virtual display).

Apple provided me with a 1TB Vision Pro test unit, which retails for $3,899. The base model, which costs $3,499, starts with just 256GB of storage. Apple pitches the Vision Pro as the first “spatial computer,” which makes me wonder why it didn’t start with at least a half-terabyte of storage as standard.

Performance score: 4.5

Apple Vision Pro: Design

  • Exquisite materials and build
  • Good looks hide impressive specs
  • Not that light
  • External battery

I know people joke about the Vision Pro looking like a pair of hyped-up snow goggles. Maybe so, but I’d argue there’s not one false note in this design. Apple, as it often does, chose the best material, with a particular focus on weight. So, it’s a mix of an aluminum body, magnesium, carbon fiber, and woven fabric. It’s virtually all curved, with a gleaming glass front that protects the screen marrying almost seamlessly with the body.

There’s a lot of technology packed into the Vision Pro, but Apple has made some effort to hide it. There are cameras behind the glass, and a set of them along the bottom edge that watch your face and hands. The AudioPod speakers that deliver near-perfect spatial audio are hidden behind stiff, white rubber.

Along one side of the top edge is a familiar piece of technology: the Digital Crown. When I first saw this, I wondered why Apple would pull an idea from Apple Watch and slap it on its newest device. But Apple considers the Vision Pro to be a wearable, so there’s some logical continuity here. Plus, the Digital Crown turns out to be one incredibly useful and important piece of Vision Pro technology.

The 'Top Button' on the top left side, which is mostly used for Spatial Photos and Video, gets far less use.

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(Image credit: Future)

There are some large vents on the top of the frame, and a grille on the bottom, and these seem to work together to draw air in and flow it up and away from your face. The Vision Pro does get warm, but never so much so that it’s uncomfortable.

The Vision Pro and the Light Shield both curve to meet your face, but the crucial bit that makes this design work is the foamy Light Seal cushion. This rests on and follows the contours of your face, and it’s about as comfortable as such a thing should be, though on occasion during my testing time I've wondered if it should be either thicker or denser.

Apple Vision Pro Review

Once I settled on the Dual Loop Band, I found my Vision Pro comfort zone. (Image credit: Future)

Attaching this spatial computer to your head requires a band, or a pair of bands. The default Solo Knit Band is wide, and can be adjusted via a dial to make it tighter or looser. It’s never offered enough support for me, though.

It’s worth pausing here to remind you that the Vision Pro weighs 1.3lbs. That’s not particularly heavy in itself, but a typical set of eyeglasses might weigh 0.08lbs, and now imagine attaching a pound of ground beef to your head. This experience is far more enjoyable, but it needs support. In contrast to the Solo Knit Band, the Dual Loop Band supports the headset on the back of your head and across the top of it, and I bet most people will prefer it over the more attractive Solo Knit version.

Design score 4.5

Apple Vision Pro: Setup

I would not call any part of the Vision Pro setup process complicated or off-putting. There are several steps to go through, but mostly these are to customize the experience. As for assembling it, there’s the matter of which band you choose for comfort, and fitting the right Light Seal (the thinner one is standard, the thicker one is for glasses-wearers who have those Zeiss inserts). You also need to attach the battery cable, which snaps into the right side (if the headset’s glass is facing you) and locks on with a twist – there’s no chance of it popping off. The cable is long enough for you to drop the somewhat hefty battery into your pocket.

The bands snap on and off metal lugs using small orange pull tabs; I usually put the lens cover on, so that I can tip the Vision Pro on its face while I swap bands. Aside from the colorful screen behind the glass, which is just black when the device is off, that orange is the only bit of color pop on the headset.

If you ordered Zeiss prescription lenses, as I did, you’ll have to put them in before using the headset. They, like most other pieces on the Vision Pro (for instance the Light Seal and its cushion) attach magnetically. They’re also labeled, so you won’t get confused about which lens goes on which side. The box comes with a QR code that you’ll use to register the lenses with the headset.

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Apple Vision Pro Review

(Image credit: Future)
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Apple Vision Pro Review

(Image credit: Future)

There’s also a QR code moment when you want to sync your Vision Pro with your phone and iCloud account. None of this takes long, or is even remotely confusing.

The rest of the setup occurs mostly with the headset on. Apple fans will appreciate the startup, which includes a floating Apple logo and then the iconic 'Hello' spelled out in 3D scripted letters floating in your real-world space. It’s just a hint of what’s to come.

One of the keys to the Vision Pro’s technical excellence is its ability to track your gaze (along with the dual 4K micro-OLED screens inside the headset are cameras pointed directly at your eyes). So, the setup begins with pressing the crown to get the pupillary distance – that is, the distance between your pupils – right. The screens mechanically shift position to match your pupils.

Apple Vision Pro Review

Looking at and selecting these dots is an important step in the setup process (Image credit: Future)

Next, to ensure that the Vision Pro fully understands where you’re looking, you go through a series of vision calibration tests, during which a circle of dots appears and you look at each one, and pinch your index finger and thumb together. You do this three times in three different environmental light settings. I’d already tried this five times over the last seven months of demos, so I'd gotten quite good at it.

The system also needs to calibrate for your hands. This process consists of holding them up in front of the Vision Pro. You’ll see a faint glow around the outside edges of your digits, and then you flip your hands over and do it again.

While the system may occasionally ask you to reset the pupillary distance by holding down the Digital Crown, you won’t have to perform any other part of the setup again. For Guest Mode, if you want to let someone else to try the headset, they’ll go through the vision and hand calibration, but the results will not be used by the Vision Pro when their session ends.

As I've said, I found this setup simple, and quite effective in that from that point on the system has seemed to know me every time I've donned the Vision Pro, and it worked as well as the time before. The only step I need to follow now to get started is logging in with a PIN. You can also log on with an iris scan (OpticID) but, while I successfully registered my iris, I could never unlock the Vision Pro with my eyes. I've asked Apple about this issue and will update this review with its reply.

Apple Vision Pro: Software and Interface

  • Excellent intuitive OS
  • A true 'think-do' interface
  • Spatial computing turns the world into an unlimited digital space

You start on the home screen, or Home View, which can be summoned with one press of the Digital Crown. This screen will look somewhat familiar to most Apple fans: there's a grid of preinstalled app icons, many of which match what you’ll find on your iPad or iPhone (Notes, Safari, Photos, Podcasts, Calendar, Mail, Files, etc), horizontally arrayed and floating in your real-world environment. You can use the pinch-and-wave gesture to move through multiple screens of apps. This is where the apps you install will live – you can download many more from the App Store, which now has more than 600 visionOS apps. There’s also access to 'Compatible Apps' folder, which collected all the iOS and iPadOS apps I installed on Vision Pro. Apple claims that roughly a million iOS and iPadOS apps already work with Vision Pro, even if they were not designed for visionOS and the Vision Pro. It's not hard, though, to find ones, like most Google apps, that don't.

Compatibility is a mixed bag. Sometimes it works perfectly, other times less so. NBA2K got stuck on setup screens and wouldn’t let me access the game. In the case of Paramount Plus, which is not officially designed to work on the headset, it played, but I couldn't expand the live video to a full window. Apps that have not been custom-built for visionOS were the ones most likely to crash.

The Vision Pro defaults to a full pass-through mode, although that’s a misnomer; you’re never looking directly at your surroundings. Instead, the cameras on the front deliver a clear video feed of your surroundings to your eyes. It’s the best way to marry virtual information with reality, and it's very effective.

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Apple Vision Pro Review

The Home View (Image credit: Future)
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Environments (Image credit: Future)
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Home View on 50 percent immersed envrionment (Image credit: Future)
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App Store (Image credit: Future)
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Arcade (Image credit: Future)
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Immersion and audio controls. both accessed by spinning the Digital Crown. (Image credit: Future)

The Vision Pro is constantly keeping track of your gaze, and your hands and fingers, so as long as your hands are in view of the cameras you can control anything you see simply by looking and pinching. The headset will not register gestures made behind your head, or if you drop your hands down to your side; I usually have my hands in my lap, or raise them in front of my chest to pinch, drag, and zoom. To telegraph my intentions, I simply look at something and then pinch to, for instance, open an app.

Once an app is open, you can move it about the room by grabbing a thin white bar at the bottom of the app’s screen. This isn’t hard to do; you just look at it, pinch to grab, and move it. You can also use this gesture to pull the app window closer or move it further away. On the bottom right corner is a curved bar that you can use to resize from, say, a big-screen TV size to a wall-size app. Inside an app you can look at, for instance, a photo in the Photo app, and use both hands with a pinch gesture to zoom in and out.

Apple Vision Pro Review

My work, entertainment, information, and creativity space is all around me (Image credit: Future)

While working and playing in apps, you can have them superimposed onto your real world, or select one of Apple’s Environments to change your surroundings. There’s Yosemite, Mount Hood, Joshua Tree, Haleakalā, Hawaii, and even the Moon, and each one is a 360-degree, 'live,' immersive experience, complete with spatial sounds. Once you've chosen an Environment, you can twist the Digital Crown to turn the immersion up or down (this is also how you raise and lower the volume – you just look at the Volume icon instead of the Environments one). Up means the real world increasingly fades, and you’re surrounded 360 degrees by, for instance, the dusty surface of the Moon. Your hands don’t disappear, but they’re not resting on your knees, and instead appear to be floating above the moon’s surface.

Apple Vision Pro Review

You can see my EyeSight here. That's not a pass-through; you're looking at screens displaying a video feed of my eyes from inside the headset (Image credit: Future)

While the Vision Pro can drop you into virtual reality, it’s smart enough to keep you connected to the outside world. When my wife started to speak to me during one immersive session, I could see her gradually appearing in front of me as we talked. On her side, she sees a video feed of my eyes on the front of the headset. Apple called this EyeSight, and it’s a hit-or-miss affair.

EyeSight shows a video recreation of your eyes based on what the camera sees inside the headset. The color is blue and purplish, and it can look, well, weird. My wife never liked it, but I noticed that she got used to talking to me while I was wearing the headset.

Software and interface score: 5

Apple Vision Pro: The Experience

  • There's nothing quite like using a Vision Pro
  • It can be hard to convey the experience to people on the outside
  • Your work life will change, too

If you can get your fit right (this can take some trial and error) there's nothing quite like the experience of using the Vision Pro. Even when I wasn’t wearing the headset, I found myself thinking about wearing and using it.

It's an able virtual-reality and mixed-reality machine, and I have much more to share there, but its ability to integrate my real-world work environment has been transformative for me.

I’ve spent many hours now working in the Vision Pro. To do so, you use the Control Center, which you access by glancing up until you see a green arrow and pinching to open, to launch the Mac Virtual display. In my case this showed me my MacBook Pro as an option, so I selected this and my desktop appeared before me as a huge 55-inch display. I could expand that to, say, 150 inches (or more), and then pull it close to me – this is the endless desktop I’ve always dreamed of, and none of this would work if every window, app, and bit of text weren’t crystal clear.

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Apple Vision Pro Review

That little arrow at the top is to access the Control Center (Image credit: Future)
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The Control Center has many of the typical Apple controls you'd expect (Airplane Mode, Bluetooth, etc). It also adds Mac Virtual Display and Screen Mirroring. (Image credit: Future)
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Choose your system (Image credit: Future)
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Apple Vision Pro Review

One click and the big screen will appear (Image credit: Future)

Just because I had my work desktop in front of me didn’t mean I lost out on the rest of the Vision Pro experience. On my right, I had Messages open (when a new message arrives, a green message icon floats in front of my face), and, on my left, I had my Photos. Sometimes, I would AirDrop an image (often a Vision Pro screen-grab that I'd captured by saying “Siri, grab a screenshot”) from the Vision Pro to my desktop, and then edit it in Photoshop on my giant virtual display.

You can place apps anywhere you want around you, and not just in one space. Vision Pro understands your space, even different rooms in your home.

One day I wanted to try JigSpace, an app that lets you manipulate and pull apart giant 3D objects like a race car. I wanted ample space to work, so I walked over to my den. The Vision Pro’s pass-through capabilities are good enough that I was never worried about navigating around my home, though I did need to sometimes look down to see what was near my feet. I would not recommend wearing your Vision Pro while walking in the street, where you need to pay attention to curbs and other obstacles.

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Apple Vision Pro Review

JigSpace let me put a jet engine in my den… (Image credit: Future)
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Apple Vision Pro Review

…and take it apart by looking and parts and grabbing them with my hands (Image credit: Future)

Once in the den, I opened JigSpace and started pulling apart a jet engine – whatever part I looked at, I could grab and drop somewhere around the room. Then I went back to work.

Hours later I was writing about JigSpace, but wanted to double-check something in the interface. I couldn’t find the app, so on a hunch, I got up and walked back into the den – and there was the app, where I’d left it hours before. What we have here with spatial computing and the Vision Pro is, maybe for the first time, the concept of space-aware computing. I could, perhaps, leave apps all over my house and the Vision Pro would remember where they were. To bring all open apps back into my local view, I just needed to hold down on the Digital Crown.

Experience score: 5

See more

Apple Vision Pro: Entertainment

  • An immersive entertainment experience
  • Spatial audio support is strong with or without AirPod Pros
  • Games designed for Vision Pro are often inspired
  • Compatible games don't always work as expected

I've tried watching movies on other virtual reality headsets, and it just never clicked. The Meta Quest Pro is an excellent device, but I still find it too uncomfortable to wear for more than 20 minutes at a time. There is, however, something special about watching a movie in the Apple Vision Pro, especially if you add in the AirPods Pro 2 (which include support for spatial audio and, thanks to their new H2 chip – also inside the Vision Pro – add support for lossless audio with ultra-low latency).

What makes it work so well isn’t only the near-perfect 3D fidelity (Disney Plus has a particularly excellent library of 3D films, including the trippy Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness), but also the way in which you can immerse yourself in the theater experience with various Environments. The Disney Plus app provides some of my favorites: there’s an Avengers space, a Monsters Inc. Factory, and the Disney Theater, which is probably my top pick overall.

Apple Vision Pro Review

Inside the virtual Disney Theater (Image credit: Future)

When the lights come down, and you’re staring at a giant 70mm or even IMAX-class virtual screen inside a darkened theater, you can almost smell the popcorn. There’s virtually no light leakage to break the illusion, and I had no trouble losing myself in the experience of watching a two-hour movie. One thing I did notice, though, is that 3D movies can chew through battery life. If you plan on watching, say, the three-hour and 26-minute Killers of the Flower Moon (an Apple production, by the way) you’ll want to plug in the battery using the included cable and charge adapter. They’ll provide all the pass-through power you need.

As I write this, YouTube and, more problematically, Netflix, are playing a wait-and-see game with the new platform. That’s a shame. I’d love to binge the next Squid Game inside the Vision Pro.

Marketing for the Vision Pro often shows people sitting down while using it, but, while I've spent most of my time seated, I have played games while standing. Synthriders is a Vision Pro-ready game that has elements of Beat Saber in it; your hands are orbs, and there are music-beat-based orbs flying at you that you must bounce back or ride the waves of with your hands. I played this while standing, and between waving my arms and ducking glass trapezoids flying at my head, it was quite a workout.

Apple Vision Pro playing Synthrider

Apple Vision Pro playing Synthrider (Image credit: Future)

Entertainment score: 4.5

Apple Vision Pro: Spatial Photography

Apple Vision Pro Review

(Image credit: Future)
  • Vision Pro is a strong spatial photography machine
  • An excellent spatial imagery partner for your iPhone 15 Pro
  • The spatial photography and videography playback effect is often moving

I love how Apple always manages to cook up new terms for existing technology that somehow manage to capture the imagination of regular people. 

Stereophotography is well over a century old, and many boomers and GenXers first experienced it in the 1970s with View-Master toys. The effect was okay, though not remotely immersive. With the Vision Pro, Apple has introduced the concept of spatial photography, a 21st-century upgrade of 3D photography and videography that puts 3D image capture in the hands of, or rather on the head of, everyone. It even extended the concept by building spatial video capture into the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max.

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Apple Vision Pro Review

(Image credit: Future)
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Apple Vision Pro Review

(Image credit: Future)
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Apple Vision Pro Review

Flat 2D screens cannot do spatial imagery justice. (Image credit: Future)

In some of my earlier Vision Pro demos, I played back spatial video that I'd captured on my iPhone 15 Pro Max on the Vision Pro. This was no View-Master experience: I could view the videos in a floating window, which put them at a certain remove, or use a pinch-and-expand gesture with both my hands to almost enter the video. The edges fade away, so the spatial video looks like it’s floating in a cloud.

The Vision Pro can capture both still and video spatial imagery. To capture, you use the dedicated button on the top-left side of the visor. A single press brings up the option to shoot photos or videos, and after you select one you press the button again to capture a single photo or start recording spatial video (you press it again to end the video capture). I did this with photos of my hand, and then a photoshoot with my son. Every time I view spatial imagery I have an immediate and automatic emotional reaction; when I replayed the spatial content it was like my son was standing before me, complete with his pained expression.

I must hand it to Apple, it doesn’t just invent new terms, it reinvents the experience.

Spatial photography score: 5

Apple Vision Pro: Communication and Personas

  • Personas can look strange, but they're more useful than you think
  • Communicating through iMessage and FaceTime is trouble-free

During setup, the Vision Pro will guide you to create a Persona, a 3D rendering of your head that you can use in FaceTime and other video calls. To build mine, I followed the instructions, removed the headset, and then pointed the display at my face. It captured me looking up, down, left, and right, as well as making a few facial expressions. All of this information enabled the spatial cameras to create a 3D map of my face.

Apple Vision Pro Review

(Image credit: Future)

When I put the Vision Pro back on, I could see my new Persona, which automatically started mimicking my facial expressions (the cameras inside and the ones pointed down at my face and hands capture my live expression). I added semi-translucent glasses to my Persona, and I was done and ready for a FaceTime call with my wife. She hated it. Even though I think my Persona is one of the better ones out there, I can’t deny the uncanny valley look of it.

Apple Vision Pro Review

Chatting with my colleague Ray Wong's Persona via FaceTime (Image credit: Future)

Later, I conducted a call with a colleague who was also testing the Vision Pro. We both remarked on the limitations of our Personas, but throughout our 20-minute conversation those concerns faded away, and I forgot that we weren’t looking at either our real faces or our real hands. I’m still convinced that Apple can do better here, but then that’s why Personas are still in beta. By the time you finally decide to buy a Vision Pro (or some version of it), I expect Personas to be much more realistic and palatable.

Communication and Personas score: 4

Apple Vision Pro: Final thoughts

The Apple Vision Pro is expensive, but I’m not sure I can argue that it’s too expensive for what it does. Someone asked me if I would buy it. I now know that if I could afford it, the answer would be an enthusiastic yes.

There has never been a wearable quite like the Vision Pro, let alone a mixed-reality headset like it. It’s a true 'think-do' platform. It’s powerful, but also inviting. It’s fun to use, but also completely ready for work. It might make you look like a bug, but there’s also beauty in its design.

Apple Vision Pro Review

I know, it's looks weird on the outside, but it's incredible on the inside (Image credit: Future)

I wish it were lighter, but still, I can forget I’m wearing it and give myself over to the experience of work, play, or entertainment in a dark, virtual theater.

I love working in the Vision Pro, but I'm aware that if you spend hours working in it, it’s unlikely that you’ll want to keep the headset on at the end of the day. Over time, Vision Pro enthusiasts will likely achieve a balance between work and play, though I’m convinced that the tug of this one-of-a-kind technology will remain strong.

The Apple Vision Pro instantly goes to the top of our list of the best virtual reality headsets. It may not be a best-seller yet, but those who have one will talk about it endlessly, and they may even let you try it. I suggest you take that opportunity if offered, or at least get yourself to an Apple Store for a demo.

There has never been anything quite like the Vision Pro. It's my favorite mixed-reality headset ever, and I’m certain that it has reinvigorated the AR/VR market while also creating something completely new. Spatial computing is a thing. Better get used to it.

Apple Vision Pro Review

Apple Vision Pro (Image credit: Future)

Should you buy the Apple Vision Pro?

Buy it if... 

Don’t buy it if… 

Also consider

How we test

For my Apple Vision Pro review, I spent almost a week, and as many hours each day as I could, wearing and using the mixed-reality headset. 

I watched movies, played games, communicated with friends and co-workers, streamed live TV, moved apps around my home, and did a lot of work on my giant MacBook Pro virtual display.

Read more about how we test

  • First reviewed February 2024
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