Gadget news
Weekly deals: the best smartphone deals from the US, Canada, the UK, and India
6:17 pm | March 19, 2023

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

We check back on old deals we’ve listed and sometimes we find that the price has gone up – in some cases, it’s just a temporary discount that has expired, in others the price fluctuates with demand (and available supply). However, some phones – like flagships – have nowhere to go but down. This is especially true for older flagships. Use the links below to jump to your region: USA Canada The UK India USA The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra has an impressive camera, but the Galaxy S22 Ultra from last year still holds its own – and it’s cheaper. $300 cheaper, to be...

Meta’s paid verification service is now live for Facebook and Instagram users in the US
5:53 am | March 18, 2023

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

Meta's Twitter-inspired paid verification service initially went live in Australia and New Zealand, and starting today it's also available to Facebook and Instagram users in the US. The service costs $11.99 per month if you sign up on the web, or $14.99 through a mobile app store. The former option only allows you to get a blue checkmark for Facebook, while the latter bundles Instagram too. Aside from the badge, the service gets you "proactive impersonation protection" as well as direct access to customer support, exclusive stickers, and 100 Stars per month on Facebook to show support for...

HP Dragonfly Pro review: a pricey productivity laptop that could have been greater
4:01 pm | March 16, 2023

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

HP Dragonfly Pro: Two-minute review

HP has been pushing to reach the freelancer and gig-worker market with its new line of productivity laptops, including the HP Dragonfly Pro. This laptop boasts plenty of features that make it appealing to those who rely on their laptop for their career including superior battery life, a thin and light form factor, a powerful CPU for fast performance, and a handy single-press key that connects you with a customer service agent when something goes wrong.

And when these features do work, they work incredibly well. For instance, the battery life will carry you past a full workday easily and takes about an hour to fully charge. Its lightweight and thin body makes it easy to carry around in most laptop bag sizes, and productivity work is a breeze. The camera is also solid, with plenty of webcam features like an auto frame that keeps your face centered, automatic color adjustment, noise removal, and the auto color that lets you choose a color space preset. All for the betterment of your video conference calls. 

The HP Dragonfly Pro also has an excellent backlit keyboard with nice wide keys for easy typing and a touchpad that’s very responsive. The touchscreen is sensitive and intuitive to your touch, making for a great alternative way to use your machine – though I imagine most freelancers don’t have that much of a use for it since the idea is to have a more practical laptop. So, even if the port selection is pretty bad, with a whopping three USB Type-C ports and nothing else – hardly suitable for a freelancer who needs this as their main machine, there’s still a lot here to benefit its target market.

This laptop is part of a collaboration between HP and AMD, with the machine outfitted with an AMD Ryzen 7 GPU that makes productivity performance as speedy and efficient as possible. It also has a feature called AMD platform management framework (PMF), which adjusts current performance levels based on usage. It not only makes for a fast and responsive laptop but ensures that your battery life isn’t drained too quickly. The main issue I’ve found with the battery is that when it’s in sleep mode and placed in a bag, the temperature quickly rises, most likely due to the PMF system that regulates it being thrown off.

Of course, the most talked about feature is the enhanced 24/7 support, which can be accessed with a click of a designated key. It offers a wide range of options that include speaking with a live agent directly, and after a certain amount of time of free trial, you can opt to pay for a subscription that continues access to this service. For those who can afford it on top of the price tag for the laptop itself, it’s a great service that eliminates confusing phone menus and online sites, putting you in touch with a live agent immediately.

It’s set to be available in the US, and only in the US. Though the price tags on these machines are a bit hefty, with the 16GB model at $1,399 (around £1,160 / AU$2,110) and the 32GB model costing $1,549 (around £1,285 / AU$2,335). That might be considered an investment for a freelancer, but many can’t afford such prices. 

This leads to my next point, that despite my liking this laptop quite a bit, it’s difficult to recommend. That’s not based on my own personal experience but more on issues cropping up with other review laptops. For instance, our sister site Tom’s Guide had numerous problems with overheating and the battery not fully charging. There was also an issue that affected us all, which was the customer care feature not working properly, requiring us to be sent out new test machines. The fact that the three biggest features of this laptop are not working consistently across the board is a huge problem, one that HP will need to fix and soon.

HP Dragonfly Pro: Price & availability

a black laptop opened

(Image credit: Future)
  • Starting at $1,399 (around £1,160 / around AU$2,110)
  • Available now in the US

The HP Dragonfly Pro will run you $1,399 (around £1,160 / AU$2,110) for the 16GB RAM model, while the 32GB model will cost you $1,549 (around £1,285 / AU$2,335). The problem with the pricing is that it’s approaching Ultrabook pricing without having the premium features or weighing less. 

Adding on to this is the 24/7 live customer service, which is free for a year and then is subscription only. Once that kicks in, it adds yet another cost to the laptop. Consider that the target audience for this laptop is freelancers who live on fixed incomes and most likely can’t afford this.

In terms of availability, the only region that will currently have access to the Dragonfly Pro is the US, with the UK and Australia metaphorically left out in the cold. And I confirmed with an HP representative that no information on any future release outside the US is known right now. So if you live anywhere else in the world, you’ll have to shell up extra money to possibly import this particular laptop.

  • Price score: 2 / 5

HP Dragonfly Pro: Specs

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(Image credit: Future)

The specs for the HP Dragonfly Pro review unit sent to me are as follows: an AMD Ryzen 7 7736U CPU, AMD Radeon Integrated graphics, 16GB RAM, and 512GB of storage.

There’s another model that features the same CPU but with upgraded RAM and storage, 32GB and 1TB respectively. The lower model is still quite powerful, with fast performance and plenty of space to save all your projects and more.

  • Specs score: 5 / 5

HP Dragonfly Pro: Design

closeup of a a white laptop keyboard

(Image credit: Future)
  • Beautiful design
  • Lightweight and thin form factor
  • Great display and keyboard

Visual aesthetics is where this laptop stands out. Though some could claim that the HP Dragonfly Pro is ripping off Apple’s MacBook Air right down to the clamshell chassis and packaging, the end result is that you still have a beautiful and lightweight form factor that’s easy to carry around and fit into most bags. That’s not to mention that the Ceramic White color really stands out compared to the very safe and boring Sparkling Black version.

The display is a gorgeous full HD HDR touchscreen with a crisp and clean picture quality that’s ensured to make any image pop. The keyboard has a lovely backlight you can toggle off and on with a shortcut key, and illuminates the keyboard well even in darkness. There are three keys that function as handy shortcuts for tasks like customizing audio and video quality, bringing up the 24/7 chat feature, and adjusting webcam settings plus a freely programmable shortcut key.

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The touchpad is said to feature haptic feedback, though I personally don’t feel the difference between this and another similarly responsive pad. What I do feel is the noticeable texture of the keyboard and touchpad – a kind of almost roughness to it that’s refreshing compared to the normally smooth finish of most other laptops.

It has a solid HD webcam that already boasts a clear picture quality with good lighting and a wealth of options with the MyHP application enhancing your image quality even further. Better yet, it can be summoned with a click of a key, which is even more convenient. And the speaker audio is clear and reaches solid volumes without sacrificing much in quality, thanks to the Bang & Olufsen speakers on each side of the keyboard.

Easily the most disappointing part of the design is the port selection, which consists of three USB Type-C ports, and that’s it. There’s no Type-A, ethernet cable, SD slot, or even an audio jack. Though Type-C ports are undeniably useful, it’s beyond disappointing to have such a non-existent variety, especially for freelancers who may need them in the first place.

  • Design score: 4 / 5

HP Dragonfly Pro: Performance

a black laptop opened

(Image credit: Future)
  • Handles productivity tasks effortlessly
  • Can even play some games
  • The PMF feature works well
HP Dragonfly Pro: Benchmarks

Here's how the HP Dragonfly Pro performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

3DMark: Night Raid: 25,127; Fire Strike: 6,788; Time Spy: 2,643
Cinebench R23 Multi-core: 12,296 points
GeekBench 5: 1,488 (single-core); 9,029 (multi-core)
PCMark 10 (Home Test): 6,042 points
Battery Life (TechRadar movie test): 9 hours, 14 minutes
Civilization VI (1080p, Ultra): 52 fps; (1080p, Low): 48 fps

Thanks to the specially developed CPU jointly worked on by HP and AMD, the HP Dragonfly Pro is a speedster. It eats any productivity task you give it for breakfast. And it can just as easily juggle all those tasks plus a conference call with ease. The PMF feature lets the laptop adjust its performance based on the AMD platform management framework (PMF). This tech uses metrics like skin temperature, acoustics, and other sensor data to determine the current workload and how to then adjust the performance levels to best suit it. 

This results in some impressive workload balance, which not only keeps the laptop nice and cool (also thanks to the ventilation system that dissipates heat efficiently) but also preserves battery power. However, there is an issue I noticed, which is that when the laptop is in sleep mode and is placed in an enclosed space like a bag, it generates a lot of heat and drains the battery life. Most likely this is an issue with the PMF not being able to regulate without human contact. 

The first review unit also needed to be replaced with another due to the MyHP 24/7 help center service not working as intended. Even though these are early production units, I worry that these could be widespread issues affecting even consumer devices.

On the upside, not only is it able to juggle productivity tasks extremely well, it also can handle low-end and even some mid-range games like Octopath Traveler II or Civilization VI with little issue. And no matter what I’m running on this machine, there hasn’t been any stuttering whatsoever

  • Performance score: 4 / 5

HP Dragonfly Pro: Battery

closeup of battery display

(Image credit: Future)
  • Excellent, long-lasting battery life
  • Charges fast

Though HP promised us up to a 16-hour battery, actual testing proves that to be false. However, the battery life is still quite excellent, lasting a little over nine hours during our movie test and longer than that with normal usage. With a single charge, you have a laptop that will last you the entire work day as well as the commute home, and on top of that, it fully charges in about an hour.

Unfortunately, while the machines I tested had fully functional batteries, there are some test units that will not fully charge no matter how long it remains on AC power. This could spell a serious problem for consumers if it turns out to be widespread. I also personally spotted a battery issue, in which the battery drains rapidly if the laptop is kept on sleep mode while in an enclosed space like a bag. It’s minor but could end up requiring a user to recharge their laptop if it drains too much on a commute unless you turn off your laptop beforehand.

  • Battery score: 3 / 5

Should you buy the HP Dragonfly Pro?

Buy it if...

You need a highly portable machine
This laptop is extremely lightweight and portable, with a 14-inch screen and weighing in at just over three and a half pounds. And because it’s thin, it fits into most large bags without taking up much room.

You need a long-lasting battery
The battery on this laptop lasts over nine hours and charges in just one hour, meaning that you most likely won’t need to charge more than once a day if using this as a work laptop. 

Don't buy it if...

You’re on a budget
Though this is a high-quality laptop that’s tailor-made for freelancers and other gig workers who need a reliable machine, it also comes at a steep price, which might make it inaccessible to many of these same workers. 

HP Dragonfly Pro: Also consider

If the HP Dragonfly Pro has you considering other options, here are two more laptops to consider...

How I tested the HP Dragonfly Pro?

  • I tested the HP Dragonfly Pro for about a week
  • I tested it using a variety of productivity applications
  • I stress-tested the battery using the TechRadar movie test

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

The HP Dragonfly Pro 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 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 March 2023

Apple iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max now available refurbished from its US online store
3:58 am | March 15, 2023

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

Back in January, Apple started selling some iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone 13 Pro Max models in refurbished form in Europe, and today the highest-end of the bunch are finally in stock in the US as well. If you're looking for an iPhone 13 Pro or iPhone 13 Pro Max, you can go refurbished and save not insignificant amounts of cash. The former is available with 256GB of storage for $849, which is $150 less than what it sold for when it was offered new. If you go up to 512GB of storage you need to shell out $1,019, which is $180 less than what you'd pay for it back when it was...

Weekly deals: the best smartphone deals from the UK, Germany, India and the US
10:01 pm | March 12, 2023

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

Finding the best deals is a game of patience – pre-order promos and sales events like Black Friday lean heavily on advertising, but sometimes it’s better to wait things out. This week we found a lot of discounts on current devices that are just coming off the pre-order buzz. Use the links below to skip to your country: The UK Germany India USA UK Samsung is running a “boost” promo deal in the UK for the Galaxy S23 series. When trading in an old phone for the S23 or S23+, you can get a guaranteed £200 in Samsung Credit using the S23BOOST code. If you don’t...

Lenovo Legion Pro 7i review: this powerful desktop replacement lets us down in one key area
3:00 pm |

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Lenovo Legion Pro 7i: Two-minute review

As the next-gen GPUs are upon us, there are plenty of gaming laptops releasing this year that are already taking advantage of the powerful mobile cards. The Lenovo Legion Pro 7i is one of them, outfitted with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 GPU, a 13th-gen Intel Core i9-13900KF, 32 GB DDR5-5600MHz RAM, and 1 TB SSD M.2 2280 PCIe Gen4 TLC storage. This is an absolute beast of a gaming laptop, made to be a desktop replacement with its extremely high specs and gaming performance.

Design-wise, this is a visually below-average laptop. It comes in black, the most overused color in the market, and thick and bulky, which is par for the course for most desktop replacements. Due to the large screen size and thickness to accommodate the RTX 4080 inside, it’s pretty heavy to lug around as well. 

There is a slight cool factor in the way the chassis is cute, lending it a sci-fi aesthetic that saves it from being downright ugly. However, its build quality is pretty high not to mention eco-friendly, with a metal chassis made of 50% recycled aluminum on the bottom cover and 30% post-consumer recycled polymers on the top cover.

There’s a healthy port selection: four USB-A 3.2 ports, one USB-C port, one Thunderbolt 4 port, one HDMI 2.1, one RJ45 ethernet, one power input, one electronic e-shutter switch, and one 3.5mm audio jack. What stands out, in particular, is the amount of USB Type-A ports this laptop has, which is a rarity nowadays. And the sheer variation means that you’ll always have a port for whatever need you may have.

Sound quality is quite solid as well, with large speakers on the sides of the laptop. The webcam is 1080p as well, also a rarity in laptops nowadays. The keyboard has some gorgeous and customizable RGB lighting, with nice wide keys for easy typing and a num lock pad for extra convenience. The trackpad is also large and nicely sensitive.

Not only does the 16-inch Quad HD display give you some impressive screen real estate of over 90%, but it also has an incredible refresh rate of 240Hz and an unreal screen brightness of 500 nits. 

Paired with excellent specs and performance, this is a true gaming machine that’s ready to go right out of the box. The customizing software is easy to use and especially good for adjusting fan speed and overclocking, though I noticed that when I actually tried to overclock, the GPU was throttled and the framerate dipped tremendously for some reason.

Lenovo Legion Pro 7i: Price & availability

black gaming laptop with rgb lit keyboard

(Image credit: Future)
  • Starting at $2,299.99 (around £2,085 / AU$2,800)
  • Available now in the US, UK, and Australia

Pricing for the Lenovo Legion 7i Pro is a bit high as expected of a hardcore gaming machine. Its starting price is $2,299.99 (around £2,085 / AU$2,800), which is steep but not bad considering that it’s still packing an RTX 4070 GPU and a 13th-gen Intel Core i9-13900HX CPU. The review model I received is a bit pricey at $2,749.99 (£3,499.99 including VAT / AU$4,759), but this version comes with a 13th-gen Intel Core i9-13900KF CPU and an RTX 4080 GPU.

Availability is excellent as well, as you can purchase this laptop in the US, UK, and Australia with little difficulty. However, only the more expensive models are available in UK and Australia, with only the US having a lower-end one with the 4070.

  • Price score: 4.5 / 5

Lenovo Legion Pro 7i: Specs

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(Image credit: Future)

The specs for the Lenovo Legion Pro 7i review unit sent to me are as follows:  Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 GPU, a 13th-gen Intel Core i9-13900KF, 32 GB DDR5-5600MHz RAM, and 1 TB SSD M.2 2280 PCIe Gen4 TLC storage.

The lowest possible specs for the Lenovo Legion 7i Pro are available in the US and feature a 13th-gen Intel Core i9-13900HX CPU, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 GPU, 16GB DDR5 RAM, and 1TB SSD storage. Interestingly enough, the base model in the UK has 512GB of storage but with all other specs matching the review model that I received. 

My review model featured a 13th-gen Intel Core i9-13900KF CPU, Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 12GB GDDR6 GPU, 32GB DDR5 RAM, and 1TB NVMe M.2 PCIe SSD storage. This bad boy is enough to run pretty much any game well above 100fps but if you want an even more impressive rig, the most powerful model has a 13-gen Intel Core i9-13900KF CPU, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 24GB GDDR6X GPU, 32GB DDR5 RAM, and 1TB NVMe M.2 PCIe SSD. In all three regions, you can’t upgrade past 1TB of storage, which is a little disappointing, but at least that’s enough to last you quite a while until you need to invest in external storage.

You can only upgrade your laptop in the UK and Australia, with the US having pre-set models instead. This wouldn’t be such an issue except for the fact that US models tend to sell out quickly, meaning if you can’t get your hands on a beefier laptop, you’ll either have to settle for a slightly weaker one or wait for a restocking. Despite that, there’s a nice amount of variety all around, with even the lowest model having impressive components.

  • Specs score: 5 / 5

Lenovo Legion Pro 7i: Design

closeup of rgb lit keyboard

(Image credit: Future)
  • Excellent port selection
  • Not very attractive
  • Solid build but ugly

If you’re looking for a gorgeous laptop that’s guaranteed to stop traffic, the Lenovo Legion 7i Pro is not for you. It prizes performance over looks, which shows in spades. The laptop is all black, the most common and boring of any laptop color, with nary a highlight or contrasting color to liven it up. 

It does have a cool sci-fi aesthetic going on that saves it from being truly hideous, and the chassis itself is built sturdy enough to withstand some punishment. The best part is that it’s made of 50% recycled aluminum on the bottom cover and 30% post-consumer recycled polymers on the top cover.

Its port selection is extremely healthy: it has four USB-A 3.2 ports, one USB-C port, one Thunderbolt 4 port, one HDMI 2.1, one RJ45 ethernet, one power input, one electronic e-shutter switch, and one 3.5mm audio jack. This is easily one of the best selections I’ve ever seen on a laptop, gaming or otherwise. And this laptop having four USB Type-A ports alongside two Type-C ports is an absolute boon.

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The size and weight are somewhat doable with the right bag to carry it in, but between the 16-inch display and it weighing over six pounds, it’s very difficult to lug around. Unless you really need to transport it, this laptop is best at its duty of being a stationary desktop replacement.

One benefit of the larger size is the full-sized keyboard, a feature I can always appreciate. Not only does it have larger keys that make typo-free typing a breeze, but it also has a numlock pad. And the touchpad, while nothing particularly special, is a great size and sensitive. Speaker quality is also high. Whether playing games or complex orchestrated pieces, the sound is sharp and can reach a loud volume while sacrificing very little clarity. 

I wish the webcam quality was a little better, though being 1080p does improve image quality quite a bit as long as you have solid lighting. Anything less will result in a graining image, especially since there’s no real way to adjust the lighting and image quality on the laptop itself. There's also a handy switch on the side that controls the shutter, but it's not a physical one which is bad for security.

  • Design score: 4 / 5

Lenovo Legion Pro 7i: Performance

black gaming laptop with cyberpunk running

(Image credit: Future)
  • Gaming performance is incredible
  • Blows away all benchmark tests
  • Do not try to overclock it
Lenovo Legion Pro 7i: Benchmarks

Here's how the Lenovo Legion Pro 7i performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

3DMark: Night Raid: 70,196; Fire Strike: 29,766; Time Spy: 18,366; Port Royal: 11,897
Cinebench R23 Multi-core: 29,766 points
GeekBench 5: 2,028 (single-core); 20,580 (multi-core)
PCMark 10 (Home Test): 8,247 points
Battery Life (TechRadar movie test): 2 hours, 30 minutes
Total War: Warhammer III (1080p, Ultra): 133 fps; (1080p, Low): 324 fps
Cyberpunk 2077 (1080p, Ultra): 123 fps; (1080p, Low): 87 fps
Dirt 5 (1080p, Ultra): 83 fps; (1080p, Low): 209 fps

Performance-wise, the Lenovo Legion 7i Pro really does earn its desktop replacement designation. It blows away pretty much every benchmark test, getting scores much higher than gaming laptops released last year that still use 3000-series GPUs and 12th-gen CPUs. While the GPU scores have reached ludicrous numbers, the CPU test scores should be higher than they are. 

But that could be due to throttling, thanks to the powerful graphics cards. Something similar happened to the Alienware Aurora R15 gaming PC, but it remains to be seen how other gaming machines will score in that regard. But it’s no cause for concern, as it performed productivity tasks quickly and efficiently, making it a solid work machine as well.

In terms of gameplay performance, this throttling has very little impact on it as framerates continue to exceed expectations. For instance, on Ultra with all graphical settings maxed out, Cyberpunk 2077 maintains an excellent 87fps. When you enable DLSS 3, that number shoots up to 137fps on average. Dirt 5 also maintains a great 81-83fps on Ultra settings and Total War: Warhammer III is at around 133fps on Ultra Run. 

Other titles like Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered run butter smooth on the laptop. With maxed-out graphical settings and ray tracing on, there’s no noticeable stuttering or slowdown, even during web-swinging or hectic action scenes. It doesn't hurt that the refresh rate is a ludicrous 240Hz, which ensures that latency issues are a literal non-issue.

There is a problem I noticed with ventilation. Despite having three large vents located on the sides and back of the laptop, there’s still an overheating problem. Nothing drastic enough to burn your lap or affect gameplay, but it does get very warm after being on for a long while. However, this is easily fixed by adjusting the fan settings through the excellent Lenovo software. 

That same software can let you adjust overclocking as well. However, I highly recommend that you don’t bother with it. First, games run perfectly well without doing so, and second, if you do overclock framerate drops dramatically. In Cyberpunk 2077, for instance, it dipped from 87 to 27, and even with DLSS 3 enabled the framerate refused to rise over 30. But as long as you don’t bother overclocking, you’ll have no performance issues whatsoever.

  • Performance score: 5 / 5

Lenovo Legion Pro 7i: Battery

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(Image credit: Future)
  • Horrible battery life
  • Fast charge time

Like any other desktop replacement gaming laptop, the Lenovo Legion 7i Pro has an awful battery life. This is by far the worst battery life I’ve seen on a gaming laptop, lasting barely over two hours. This is clearly made to be plugged into an outlet and never let off AC power, because even under basic use, the battery will die in no time.

The good thing is that said battery doesn’t drain much if you’re carrying it around, so at least you can expect to have plenty of time to get it to a charger. It also charges very quickly - as in full battery charge within 30 minutes.

  • Battery score: 1 / 5

Should you buy the Lenovo Legion Pro 7i?

Buy it if...

You want a desktop replacement gaming laptop
This is the ultimate in desktop replacement, a gaming laptop that has one of the most powerful GPUs on the market and delivers in performance.

You want a powerful gaming machine
The performance on this machine is beyond outstanding, able to play any PC game on its highest settings and maintain incredibly high frame rates.

Don't buy it if...

You're on a budget
Even the lowest configurations here are expensive, and the highest configurations approach the very premium mark.

Lenovo Legion Pro 7i: Also consider

If the Lenovo Legion Pro 7i has you considering other options, here are two more gaming PCs to consider...

How I tested the Lenovo Legion Pro 7i?

  • I tested the Lenovo Legion 7i Pro for about a week
  • I tested PC games at both low and high settings
  • I used a variety of benchmarks as well as general gameplay to test performance

First, I tested the general weight and portability of the Lenovo Legion 7i Pro by carrying it around in a laptop bag. After I set it up, I ran several benchmarks to test out both the processor and graphics card, as well as in-game gameplay performance. Finally, I stress-tested using titles like Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered and Cyberpunk 2077 in various settings to see both overall performance and ventilation quality.

The Lenovo Legion 7i Pro is a dedicated desktop replacement gaming laptop, which meant the brunt of my testing revolved around checking game performance and 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 work during both casual and intense gaming sessions.

Read more about how we test

First reviewed March 2023

Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello Espresso Machine review: it’s near perfection
6:05 pm | March 7, 2023

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

Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello: One-minute review

The Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello espresso machine isn’t a typical espresso machine that most people use in their homes, and you’ll know that as soon as you take it out of the box. There are no buttons here to push, no dials for programming settings. This, my friends, is a next-level espresso machine, not quite an industrial-grade one you expect to see at coffee shops but more elevated than that automatic one you’ve got at home.

Most of the things you do on it are manual. Want your shot of espresso? You have to operate a lever and know when to stop the pour. Want frothy milk? You have to get used to turning a knob all the way then quickly shutting it down before your froth spills over. So, I can’t really blame anyone if they took one look at the Diletta Bello and ran the other way.

But, while many of the best espresso machines make it easier for users these days, I found that there is a steep learning curve with this particular machine, although it took me less than a day to see its appeal (and learn its ways). As a coffee enthusiast, I do appreciate a smooth cup of thoughtfully-crafted coffee that greets you every day like it’s a lazy Sunday morning – even on days when it feels like I do not have the time. 

I also appreciate the meditative process it takes to make one on this machine. It takes focus away from the necessity of brewing coffee – contrary to the best coffee makers being items of convenience – and shifts it back to the craft by slowing you down a little.

And, here’s the thing: as intimidating as the Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello looks, it’s also incredibly accessible and easy for neophyte espresso machine users to use. Experienced or not, I would recommend it to most people… or at least those who are willing to pay the price.

Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello review: Price & availability

  • List price: $1,699
  • Unavailable outside the US

Despite being handcrafted in Milan, Italy, the Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello is only available for purchase on the Seattle Coffee Gear website to US customers. That’s because the company only currently ships to the US (all 50 states) – which is understandable considering that the machine comes packaged in a thick and sizable protective case similar to what photography and filmmaking gear come in.

To get one yourself, you do have to pay a hefty price of $1,699 for the kit that includes baskets and portafilters. Considering there are pricier espresso machines for consumers, I’d consider this one a higher mid-range entry – although it also doesn’t come with its own bean grinder, which means you’ll have to spend more if you don’t own one already.

The specs of our Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello review unit

  • Price: $1,699
  • Type of coffee maker: Manual espresso machine
  • Skill level: Intermediate
  • Programming: None
  • Brew time: 30 sec
  • Boiler volume: 1.8L
  • Reservoir size: 3L
  • Material: Stainless Steel
  • Dimensions: 11 x 17.75 x 14.5 inches
  • Value: 4 / 5

Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello review: Design

  • Manual controls
  • Elegant minimalist design
  • Pretty big so it takes up space

As I mentioned above, the Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello is devoid of any buttons, taking an all-manual approach to brewing and steaming. So, if you’re hoping to just press buttons and let the machine do all the work for you, you definitely won’t be getting what you want. Not that you should let that affect your decision about getting this machine, however, as the manual controls just look deceptively complicated.

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Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello testing images

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)
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Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello testing images

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)
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Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello testing images

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

In actuality, things are pretty simple here. You turn the power switch on, wait a few minutes until it reaches the desired operating pressure, which you can check using the decently sized pressure gauge, twist your grounds-filled portafilter in place, lift the brew level to brew and pour, and lower it back down to stop. Really the only thing that’s different here is that instead of a button, you operate a lever.

Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello testing images

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Steaming milk is similar in that instead of pressing a button, you’re turning a knob all the way to the left to steam and foam then turning it all the way to the right to close. This is the trickier part here, as you do have to find the right speed when you’re turning the knob. It took me about three days to kind of get comfortable with using it, but that’s only because I was being too careful. As soon as I got used to it, operating it felt like second nature.

Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello testing images

To steam milk you'll need to turn a knob all the way to the left, and to make foam it'll need to be turned to the right (Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

There is a hot water dispenser on the other side of the brew group that looks very similar to the steam wand in look and operation, except it actually dispenses hot water instead of heating up what’s in your cup. There is also a cup warmer on top next to the water tank opening. Both are pretty neat additions to an already impressive machine. Sadly, however, you have to invest in a stand-alone coffee bean grinder, as it doesn’t come with one.

Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello testing images

The Diletta Bello also comes with a retro-esque design (Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Just like its old-school approach to its controls, the Diletta Bello also comes with a retro-esque design, as if SCG took inspiration from vintage espresso machines and modernized it. That, I think, allows it to look elegant and nostalgic yet minimalist at the same time, especially if you go for the white colorway (it also comes in black and stainless steel). 

Unfortunately, just like other old espresso machines, it also takes up a bit of space at 11 x 17.75 x 14.5 inches and is considerably heavy. So, you better make sure that you’ve got plenty of counterspace, lest risk cluttering your kitchen or losing precious countertop space.

  • Design: 4.5 / 5

Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello review: Performance

  • Takes 13 minutes to warm up
  • Smooth brews
  • Steam wand takes practice to use

The biggest downside to the Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello is that it’s not for fast brewing. It takes 13 minutes to warm up – meaning getting the pressure gauge needle up between 1 and 1.5  – though in my experience, it delivers stronger and richer brews better after the indicator light on the top right turns green. This means that you have to get into the habit of turning it on first thing in the morning, before you shower and go about your morning routine. 

However, here‘s the thing I’ve noticed from using the Diletta Bello for three weeks: it’s only the warm-up that takes time. Once you get the process down to a T, from brewing to steaming and foaming your milk, it actually doesn’t take that much longer than making a cup from a concentrate (if you were to also heat up your milk in the microwave then foam it using a frother). 

It’s also less tedious than using a french press, which is much more annoying to clean. And, the fact that it’s got a 3L water tank means that you only need to refill every five to seven days, depending on how much coffee you’re consuming.

Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello testing images

The 3L water tank needs a refill every 5 - 7 days (Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

It also makes much smoother cups of coffee. I typically use a french press and concentrated coffee as they’re much more convenient for me, but I could really tell the difference between those and a cup made from the espresso shots I get from Diletta Bello. The shots also come out piping hot so I make sure to pour every single one into a bigger cup as quickly as possible. Otherwise, the shot glass tends to get too hot to handle bare-handed.

Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello testing images

Making a smooth espresso shot (Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

The steam wand does take practice and patience to use. It doesn’t function like a stand alone frother, which typically just whips the milk. There is a trick to it – I’d explain it here but you’re better off watching YouTube video tutorials – and you definitely have to practice to get it right. Also, different types of milk froth differently. I prefer oat milk, which tends to froth thinner, so I had to practice a lot and try different techniques for days to get this part down to a science. 

Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello testing images

Using the steam wand takes practice (Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

The thing I had trouble really getting used to here is the fact it takes several turns to get the steam knob fully open and the wand itself can get pretty loud, which can be intimidating. Also you have to be quick enough to close the knob so that the foam doesn’t spill over, but not too quick that you're stunting your foam. 

using the steam wand takes practice on the Diletta Bello Espresso Machine

(Image credit: Future / Michelle Rae Uy)

Once I got the hang of it, however, it felt like second nature. So, do not be discouraged if you haven’t used a steam wand before and are just not getting cafe-worthy foam out of your milk on your first few days. Just have lots of patience and maybe stock up on milk. Plus, it’s a fun challenge to do before you can progress over to making coffee foam art.

The Diletta Bello may be minimalist, but it does come with two extra yet very handy features – a hot water wand that dispenses hot water for your tea and other hot drinks, and a cup warmer on top so you can warm up your cup while you’re making a fresh brew. Both are useful and work incredibly well, as with everything else on the machine.

  • Performance: 5 / 5

Should I buy the Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Also consider

If you would like an espresso machine but prefer a machine which is not a staff pick by the SCG team (as all the above), here a couple of options to consider.

How I tested the Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello

  • Tested daily over a two-week period
  • Used both single and double portafilters
  • Experimented with steam wand and tested hot water wand

The great thing about testing espresso makers is that we get to enjoy premium espresso shots and coffee drinks every single day without needing to spend money. And, so I did, using the Seattle Coffee Gear Diletta Bello first thing every morning and topping my energy off in the early afternoon. I did that every day for a little over two weeks. It must have been the most delicious testing process I've ever done.

Testing the steam wand was even more fun. As I'm used to frothers, which are much easier to use, mastering milk foam took a few days and lots of practice. I used both oat and 2% fat milk as well.

Naturally, I also tested the hot water wand and the cup warmer as well as noting how long it took for the machine warm up, brew a shot, and finish its water reservoir tank.

Read more about how we test

  • First reviewed February 2023
Alienware Aurora R15 review: this next-gen gaming experience comes with a hefty price tag
9:21 pm | March 4, 2023

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

Alienware Aurora R15: Two-minute review

The Alienware Aurora R15 is the latest refresh in the Aurora line of PCs, coming after the Alienware Aurora R13. The latter was a performance monster, so much so that the weak CPU cooler couldn’t keep up and caused massive overheating issues. Thankfully, that’s not the case with the R15.

Alienware is Dell’s premium brand of gaming PCs and laptops, and for good reason too. Not only do the gaming machines have some of the most unique and visually appealing designs and color palettes out there, but they’re also some of the best performing with the highest quality of specs out there. 

The Alienware Aurora R15 is no exception to this golden rule, and it has received substantial upgrades. Notably, the cooling and ventilation system has had a massive overhaul. It now features 240mm liquid cooling that’s upgradable to 240mm Cryo-tech liquid cooling, five 120mm fans, a hexagonal side-venting for better airflow, and voltage regulator heatsinks on the motherboard for better cooling. 

Long story short, I haven’t experienced a single issue with overheating or even just regular heating. The PC could be running Cyberpunk 2077 for three hours, and it wil still maintain an excellent internal temperature.

Its other specs are quite impressive — even the lowest priced one at $1,399.99 (around £1,175 / AU$2,085) has a respectable 13th-gen Intel Core i5 13400F, Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050, 8GB of DDR5 RAM, and 256GB of SSD. The one I received for review is the most powerful version, which is priced at a whopping $4,499.99 / £4,799.00 including VAT (around AU$6,700) and features a 13th-gen Intel Core i9-13900KF, Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090, 32GB of DDR5 RAM, and 1TB NVMe M.2 PCIe SSD (boot) along with 1TB 7200RPM SATA 6Gb/s (storage). 

And while the pricing is outrageous, it matches the premium quality of both the absolutely stunning side glass chassis and the components themselves. The PC comes in two colors: Dark Side of the Moon and Lunar Light, which are both equally gorgeous and solely depends on your aesthetic preference. 

Thanks to its specs, it is a bit on the heavy side, but it is surprisingly tame compared to other slightly larger PCs. It also has an impressive port selection that fits any possible need you may have for this PC. And thankfully the front batch of ports is not on the top of the PC, so less of a chance of getting dust in them.

Alienware Aurora R15: Price & availability

Alienware Aurora R15 on a table

(Image credit: Future)
  • Starting at $1,399.99 (around £1,175 / AU$2,085)
  • Available now in the US and UK

Dell’s Alienware line has always been premium in both price and quality, and the Alienware Aurora R15 is no exception, as most configurations are quite expensive. However, Dell does offer one that, at the time of this writing, is a solid deal at $1,399.99 (around £1,175 / AU$2,085) - at least for those in the US. The UK only has the two most expensive configurations available, and Australia has none at all.

The unit I received for review is the most expensive model you can purchase, costing at the time of this writing $4,499.99 (£4,799.00 including VAT / around AU$6,700). This version comes with top-tier specs including a 13ᵗʰ Gen Intel Core i9-13900KF processor and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 graphics card.

  • Price score: 4.5 / 5

Alienware Aurora R15: Specs

Alienware Aurora R15 on a table

(Image credit: Future)

The specs for the Alienware Aurora R15 review unit sent to me is as follows: 13th-gen Intel Core i9-13900KF processor, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 24GB GDDR6X graphics card, 32GB of DDR5 RAM, and 1TB NVMe M.2 PCIe SSD storage. As you can tell, this is the highest possible configuration that you can get for this unit, and it chews up and spits out any PC game on the highest settings.

If you’re in the US, you can also purchase a much cheaper model with a solid configuration, though you’ll probably have to upgrade the RAM and storage space. This model comes with a 13th Gen Intel Core i5 13400F processor, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 graphics card, 8GB of DDR5 RAM, and 256GB SSD storage.

There are also several other models in the US to choose from, with my personal favorite for those who want to have a powerful gaming machine without breaking the bank too much. This configuration comes with a 13th-gen Intel Core i7 13700F processor, an AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT graphics card (which is nearly comparable to the RTX 3070), 16GB of DDR5 RAM, and 512GB SSD storage, and it’ll set you back $2,249.99 (around £1,883 / AU$3,344). 

  • Specs score: 5 / 5

Alienware Aurora R15: Design

Alienware Aurora R15 on a table

(Image credit: Future)
  • Striking design with a daring oval-shaped chassis
  • Nice port selection
  • Extensive cooling

One of the most prominent features of nearly any Alienware device is how striking and downright stunning each PC and laptop design is. The Alienware Aurora R15 continues this trend with a daring oval-shaped chassis complemented by both a glass side and one of two gorgeous color palettes to choose from. 

The oval chassis not only creates a stark contrast to the more mainstream box look but also helps to shave off pounds from the overall unit. While it’s still a bit heavy, it’s more than possible for a single person to lift on their own, which I tested out by moving it around my apartment.

Alienware Aurora R15 on a table

(Image credit: Future)

The overall port selection is quite excellent, with several USB Type-A and Type-C ports available for use in both the front and back. However, I do wish more Type-C ports were placed in the front, at least two of them versus only one since having to use the three in the back can be a bit annoying. 

There are tons of other ports like a headset port, audio/microphone port, optical S/PDIF port, coaxial S/PDIF port, ethernet port, several HDMI ports, center/rear/side surround ports, an external antenna port, and line-in/out ports. There are also two slots for security: a Kensington security-cable slot and a padlock slot. There’s a port for pretty much any need you could possibly have.

A huge shoutout to the massively improved ventilation system on this PC. As I mentioned before, the previous R13 model has significant overheating issues due to the weak CPU heatsink. But this time around, Dell has gone above and beyond in its efforts to prevent this with 240mm liquid cooling that’s upgradable to 240mm Cryo-tech liquid cooling, five 120mm fans, a hexagonal side-venting for better airflow, and voltage regulator heatsinks on the motherboard for better cooling. 

While it seems a little over the top, if you’re purchasing the model with an RTX 4090 graphics card, you need the extra cooling since a not-less-than-zero percentage of those cards like to catch on fire when overheated.

  • Design score: 5 / 5

Alienware Aurora R15: Performance

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Alienware Aurora R15 on a table

(Image credit: Future)
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Alienware Aurora R15 on a table

(Image credit: Future)
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Alienware Aurora R15 on a table

(Image credit: Future)
  • Performance beyond incredible
  • Ventilation keeps PC cool at maxed-out settings
Alienware Aurora R15: Benchmarks

Here's how the Alienware Aurora R15 performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

3DMark: Night Raid: 92,439; Fire Strike: 44,258; Time Spy: 30,392; Port Royal: 25,124
Cinebench R23 Multi-core: 35,033 points
GeekBench 5: 2,176 (single-core); 22,813 (multi-core)
PCMark 10 (Home Test): 9,609 points
Total War: Warhammer III (1080p, Ultra): 201 fps; (1080p, Low): 488 fps
Cyberpunk 2077 (1080p, Ultra): 154 fps; (1080p, Low): 155 fps
Dirt 5 (1080p, Ultra): 183 fps; (1080p, Low): 254 fps

The performance of the Alienware Aurora R15 is beyond incredible, blowing any gaming PC outfitted with previous-generation hardware out of the water with ease. I compared the R15 with another desktop PC I recently reviewed, the Acer Predator Orion 7000, to see how current-gen components would fair in benchmarks, and the differences in performance are like night and day.

Keep in mind that the Orion 7000 is no slouch, outfitted with a 12th-gen Intel Core i7 processor and an RTX 3080 graphics card. But for instance, when running the Cyberpunk 2077 benchmark on both PCs on Ultra settings, the Orion 7000 averaged at a great 63FRS while the R15 ran at 154FPS, nearly twice the framerates (this was without DLSS turned on). Comparing Dirt 5, the former averaged at 82FPS and the latter managed 183FPS, over 100 points difference.

Deciding to push things a little further, I tested out both Cyberpunk 2077 and Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered, the latter of which is a technical marvel on PC, to some excellent results. I completely maxed out graphics settings on Cyberpunk and set the framerate requirement to about 240, then ran the benchmark with and without DLSS. The latter managed to stay at a consistent 27FPS, while the former immediately shot up to and stayed at an average of 59FPS. 

Meanwhile, maxing out Spider-Man’s graphics with DLSS on and setting the framerate requirement to about 160FPS, I tested out web-swinging through the metropolis and combat on the hardest difficulty with tons of civilians and gun-wielding bad guys around. The former scenario saw the framerate stay above 100FPS, and in the latter, I never saw the framerate dip before 150FPS. It was staggering how incredible the graphics and performance were while running butter smooth all the while.

And the best part was that ventilation made for an experience that kept the PC running nice and cool. It seems that Dell took to heart the missteps of the R13 and created a cooling system that could fully support the power of its components.

  • Performance score: 5 / 5

Should you buy the Alienware Aurora R15?

Buy it if...

You want a beautiful gaming PC
Between the gorgeous oval chassis that comes in two colors and the side glass panel that lights up to showcase the components, this is a showstopping PC.

You want a powerful gaming machine
The performance on this machine is beyond outstanding, able to play any PC game on its highest settings and maintain incredibly high framerates.

You need top-notch ventilation
Learning from its past mistakes, this PC has several fans, liquid cooling, and improved vents around the chassis to ensure it never overheats, even during intense sessions.

Don't buy it if...

You're on a budget
While the cheapest option is nice to see, it's still not a budget machine and the highest configurations are eye-watering in cost.

Alienware Aurora R15: Also consider

If the Alienware Aurora R15 has you considering other options, here are two more gaming PCs to consider...

How I tested the Alienware Aurora R15

  • I tested the Alienware Aurora R15 for about a week
  • I tested PC games at both low and high settings
  • I used a variety of benchmarks as well as general gameplay to test performance

First, I tested the general weight of the Alienware Aurora R15 by lifting it up and around my apartment. After I set it up, I ran several benchmarks to test out both the processor and graphics card, as well as in-game gameplay performance. Finally, I stress-tested out titles like Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered and Cyberpunk 2077 in various settings to see both overall performance and ventilation quality.

The Alienware Aurora R15 is specially made as a gaming PC, which meant the brunt of my testing revolved around checking game performance and looking for any ventilation issues.

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 work during both casual and intense gaming sessions.

Read more about how we test

First reviewed March 2023

Dreametech L10s Ultra review: a robot vacuum powerhouse
6:18 pm |

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

Two-minute review

Launched in the latter half of 2022, on paper the Dreametech L10s Ultra appears to offer everything one could hope for in a robot vacuum. Automatic emptying, smooth navigation, tailored cleans with AI, powerful suction, remote supervision, voice commands and more; it sounds very impressive indeed.

Established in 2015, Dreame Technology's vision has been to "enhance the living quality of global users". With a focus on high-end cleaning appliances such as the best robot vacuums, cordless stick vacuums and wet and dry vacuums, the company joined the Xiaomi Ecological chain in 2017 to become the leading enterprise of smart household cleaning appliances.

With "innovation" the key focus over the next five years, the Dreametech launched the Dreametech L10s Ultra at the tail end of 2022 to set "a new standard for hands-free, smart home vacuuming and mopping".

I've been using this robot vacuum and mop in my three-bed home for a couple of months now. It's been busy roaming across the ground floor, where the surfaces comprise a combination of wooden and tiled flooring, plus short and deep-pile rugs, with plenty of obstacles around which to navigate. It's proved fantastic at removing daily dust and crumbs from the deep-pile rugs, and lightly mopping the tiled kitchen floor. However, spillages on the tiled floor, or larger debris such as cereal, has been more of a problem, with the latter often deposited elsewhere in the room during a clean. As such, I wouldn't say it's up there with the very best vacuum cleaners.

In my opinion, the Dreametech L10s Ultra's ability to self-empty and self-clean is by far its best feature. Aside from topping up the water tank and emptying the dust bin, this vac requires very little maintenance. Besides, Dreametech makes life easy for you by delivering notifications to your phone via the Dreamhome app, when such maintenance tasks need to be done.

Controlling the robot vacuum via the app is fairly seamless. On its first outing it accurately maps your home. I like that you can schedule and customize cleans, as well as set cleaning zones so, for example, you're sweeping and / or mopping only the areas that need it. The onboard camera and mic is also useful for pet owners to check in or soothe their furry friends, or to discover the Dreametech L10s Ultra's progress during a clean.

The vacuum arrives in a big, heavy box – and the dock itself is fairly large, too. As such, I positioned the dock in one location throughout the duration of the review. It looks crisp in white but this premium look, along with the premium features, come at a cost. With a list price of $1,299.99 / £1,099.99, the Dreametech L10s Ultras isn't cheap – but this is the price you pay for a totally automated cleaning.

Keep reading to learn more about how this robot vacuum cleaner performed through our time with it, to help you decide if it's the one for you.

Dreametech L10s Ultra review: Price and availability

  • List price: $1,299.99 / £1,099.99
  • Available in the US, UK and Europe

The Dreametech L10s Ultra is available to buy in the US, UK and most of Europe. 

Available to buy direct from the Dreametech website, it can also be picked up from resellers such as Amazon US and Amazon UK for the eye-watering sum of $1,299.99 / £1,099.99, making it the most expensive robot vacuum we've reviewed so far on TechRadar. The closest rival robot vacuum at this price point is the iRobot Roomba Combo J7 Plus at $1,099.99 / £999 / AU$2,199. The biggest difference between these two models is that the Combo J7 Plus doesn't come with self-clean functionality.

So, the Dreametech L10s Ultra offers complete automation – and, yes, it's an investment, but I feel those with the budget will appreciate that this robot vacuum takes care of daily floor cleaning without them having to be involved in the process at all.

Value: 3.5/5

Dreametech DreameBot L10s Ultra review: Specs

The Dreametech L10s Ultra comes with a robot vacuum and base station.

Dreametech L10s Ultra review: Design

  • Large upright base station
  • Slim robot vacuum
  • Good attention to detail

The Dreametech L10s Ultra arrived in a very large and heavy box. Rather than the result of the size of the robot vacuum itself, the sizable packaging was more down to the large upright base station also contained within.

At least set up was minimal. As far as the base station was concerned, it was simply a matter of filling the water tank to the Max line, inserting said water tank and waste water tank plus cleaning fluid into the unit, then I was good to go. The process was similar for the robot vacuum.

Like many robot vacuums I've tested, the side brushes here clipped on to the unit and the two mop pads (since the Dreametech L10s Ultra is a hybrid robot vac) secured to the underside of the unit. 

It's also on the underside that you'll find the robot vac's brushbar – except the one here doesn't have any bristles. The rubber "brush" is capable of removing dust, hair and other debris from the floors throughout your home. According to Dreame, it should last for 6 - 12 months; with replacements available for $22.99 from the Dreametech website. In fact, you can even pick up a complete accessories kit for the L10s Ultra from Dreamtech's site, which includes a roller brush, two side brushes, two filters, six mop pads and two dust bags.

On the top of the robot vacuum sit three buttons, which will send the robot vacuum back to base and power it on / off. There are also three buttons around the top of the base tanks that through which you can initiate emptying, mop pad washing and mop pad drying.

buttons on top of the L10s ultra

Buttons on top of the robot vacuum (Image credit: Future)

Both the robot vacuum and upright base sport a gloss white finish with silver highlights. While it looks pretty swish when it's first set up, it's a magnet for attracting dust. It's nothing that a good microfiber cloth can't tackle, however.

Design: 5/5

Dreametech L10s Ultra review: Performance

  • AI-powered navigation
  • Auto-empties and self-cleans
  • Great at dust and small debris pick-up; not so great on anything larger
  • Connects with Amazon Alexa, Siri and Google Home

Take in the Dreametech L10s Ultra's specs, and on first site I was quite overwhelmed by its capabilities – in a good way. Dreametech has set out to deliver complete automation, something that I've yet to come across.

Offering the ability to schedule cleans through the app (more on this later), or to send the robot vacuum out on demand, I found that I could genuinely just set and forget about the L10s Ultra – which I named Kevin – as it embarked on its round of daily vacuum cleaning duties.

Many a robot vacuum cleaner will require you to initiate a mapping of your home before the unit sets out on its first clean. This wasn't the case with Kevin. Having charged the unit, and engaged a quick warm up by spinning the mop pads and brushes, Kevin went straight out on its maiden voyage to map and clean the ground floor of my home. I could hear the 5,300Pa of suction power kick in as the robot vacuum roamed from room to room, and the change in suction as it transitioned from a rug to hard flooring. I could also see the mop pads burst into action across hard floors, and lift up as the Dreametech L10s Ultra detected the edge of the rugs. 

As a little test, I scattered flour and red sauce across the tiled flooring in my kitchen. I set the kitchen as a cleaning zone, so that only that area would be cleaned, and changed the dampness of the mop pad to "wet" – thinking it would be the best setting to clean away the sauce. 

Kevin had no issue finding the kitchen. I could see the AI working once there to detect the particular spots that were splattered with sauce or covered by flour.

dreambot l10 ultra on hard floor mopping flour and sauce

The robot vacuum didn't especially like mopping flour or sauce on a tiled floor (Image credit: Future)

However, once cleaning was apparently complete, there remained sauce smeared across the tiles, and clumps of flour in areas which had originally been free of any flour in the first place. On top of that, the robot vacuum itself was super dirty. It's safe to say that water and flour do not mix well, and that this robot vac doesn't perform as well to clear up such spillages on hard floors.

During the time I've been reviewing The L10s Ultra, I've also noticed that suction is too strong for rag rugs – they end up bunching up and becoming trapped. Uneven floors are also a problem, since neither the mop pads nor brush adjust to make sufficient contact with the ground from different heights. Large debris, too, was often picked up but then later deposited elsewhere on the floor.

The most success I've had while using this robot vacuum is for cleaning deep-pile rugs, mopping light dust from hard floors, and for cleaning under furniture – with dust, hair and light debris lifted with ease.

dreamboth l10 utra under furniture

It was great cleaning under furniture (Image credit: Future)

It is possible to control the Dreametech L10s Ultra using your voice, by connecting to Amazon Alexa, Siri and Google Home. Personally, I found this the ultimate in luxury. Uttering the words "Alexa, start vacuuming" would see Kevin trundle off to clean. However, more often than not, I'd use the app on my phone. Since the robot vacuum would often chew on a rag rug or become stuck on a transition strip between the kitchen and hallway, it was useful to get a view of what was going on through the camera in the app from wherever I was at the time.

The Dreametech L10s Ultra self-empties and self-cleans at a frequency that suits you – more on this shortly. Delivering up to 60 days' cleaning, you'll just need to replace the bag in the dock after this time. Other maintenance includes keeping the water tank topped up for mopping, ensuring there's sufficient cleaning fluid, and that the dirty water tank is emptied when you're notified. The docking station will also benefit from a wipe-down every now and then, to avoid any unpleasant odors – and, although the bristleless brush bar didn't get in a tangle with hair, the side brush did have a few strands wrapped around it, which will need freeing every so often.

dirty water tank of the dreamtech l10s ultra

Dirty water tank and clean water tank in the base unit (Image credit: Future)

The one thing that did take me somewhat by surprise is the level of noise the Dreametech L10s Ultra makes. Measuring in at 52 - 65dB during self-cleaning, 63dB when mopping, 70dB when vacuuming, and 87dB when it self-emptied, the noise of the latter is equivalent to that of a food blender in operation, or a noisy restaurant. In addition, the unit must draw out a lot of power to self-empty because it tripped the fuse each time it did this after a clean in my house, until I moved it to another plug. Note if the robot vac doesn't self empty it's become a little clogged so do ensure that it does empty itself, or be prepared to empty it yourself by hand.

Dreametech L10s Ultra review: App

  • Easy to install
  • Set up scheduled cleaning and cleaning zones
  • Access real-time camera, microphone and speaker

On the inside of the docking station's lid, you'll find the installation instructions with a QR code to scan in order for the Dreamehome app to be downloaded. And just like the physical unit, there are minimal things to set up in the app, too.

Nevertheless, I found the app pretty essential. Compatible with iOS and Android, with no difference between the versions, as far as I know, it's through the app that you can tailor cleaning to suit your home and schedule. From the first time the Dreametech L10s Ultra mapped out the ground floor level of my home, I was able to adjust the water and suction level plus tweak settings so it was more customized to the cleaning routines.

dreamehome app settings

In Settings of the Dreamehome app you can adjust the water and suction level of the robot vacuum (Image credit: Future)

Navigating around the app will take some getting used to. In fact, look at the first page and you might feel there isn't much functionality available beyond activating the real-time camera, starting a clean or begin recharging. Click on the three black dots in the top-right corner, however, and from there you can share the device, rename it or delete it.

Sweep back over to the image of the Dreametech L10s Ultra, and click on it to view the map of your floor plan. Running across the top of the map you'll see the cleaning area in meter-squared, runtime and battery life. To the right is access to the cleaning modes, self-cleaning settings and the real-time camera. In Cleaning mode, you can choose between sweeping, mopping or vacuuming, while also being able to adjust the suction settings and dampness of the mop pad. You can even adjust the cleaning sequence – the order of cleaning – by selecting the various rooms and sliding them  to reorder them to your preference. This did prove a little tricky, because my room 5 was half way off the screen, but a little patience will get you there in the end.

adjusting the cleaning sequence in the dreamehome app

Tweaking the cleaning sequence is a useful thing to do in the app (Image credit: Future)

Toggle to Self-Cleaning and here you can select the frequency at which the Dreametech L10s Ultra returns to the dock for a self-clean. The default is set by area of 20m2, plus the mop-pad drying times and auto-empty frequency. I didn't play around with this too much because the ground floor of my home wasn't so big that the robot vac would become so mucky that it required more frequent cleaning.

The feature that offers the most engagement with the Dreametech L10s Ultra is the real-time camera. Enter your passcode – which you set during the setup phase – and you can check-in on your robot vacuum during a clean (although you'll have to pause cleaning) and while it is in situ on the dock. This feature proved super-useful when I was away from home and I wanted to check on the progress of a clean. It was equally helpful when I wanted to speak with (or spook) whoever was in the room at the same time as the robot. This could be ideal for pet owners, too, who want to check in on their furry friends. 

Note that you can also remote control the robot vac when it's in standby, and take a 20-second video clip or photograph, which is stored in the app's gallery.

camera view on the l10s ultra

Real-time camera view (Image credit: Future)

From the app you can also view cleaning history, set scheduled cleanups, tweak the carpet cleaning settings, see the accessory use, and so much more. 

Of the settings noted, I found the scheduled clean up and accessory usage most useful. I set a daily scheduled clean of my kitchen floor, but you can choose which ever time or frequency or room/s you want to clean. 

Unfortunately, the app doesn't deliver prompts for when a mop pad needs replacing, for example, or the filter needs a clean.

Aside from the device settings, the app's "Me" section covers essential areas of  language, region, messages, help and about. From here you can also learn how to hook up the Dreametech L10s Ultra to Amazon Alexa, Google Home or Siri. For each of these options it's best to go into the voice control apps and follow the in-app instructions.

I connected the robot vacuum to Amazon Alexa, which shows as "linked" in the Dreamehome app.

App: 5/5

Dreametech L10s Ultra review: Battery life

  • Run-time of up to 210 minutes
  • Automatically returns to base when needs to charge

Before first use, the Dreametech L10s Ultra will need to be charged. In my experience, this initial charge took approximately five hours.

The robot vacuum is stated to offer a run-time of up to 210 minutes – this is when vacuuming in Quiet mode only; you can expect 160 minutes when vacuuming and mopping in Quiet mode. I was unable to test the accuracy in both instances because the Dreametech L10s Ultra was returning to base following each clean, which lasted for no longer than 30 minutes across the 375sq ft ground floor of my home.

When the robot vacuum returned to base it emptied the bin, self-cleaned and recharged. You can check the battery status in the app, and opt to start a recharge from there too.

Battery: 5/5

dreametech dreambot l10s ultra charging

Robot vacuum is docked and charging (Image credit: Future)

Should you buy the Dreametech L10s Ultra?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Dreametech L10s Ultra review: Also consider

If a robot vacuum isn't for you, why not consider a cordless vacuum? There's no automation, but you retain freedom from cables.

How I tested the Dreametech L10s Ultra

  • I've been using it in my home for a couple of months
  • It's been tested on low-pile and deep-pile rugs, and hard flooring
  • I controlled it using the app or Amazon Alexa

I've had the Dreametech L10s Ultra set up in my home for a couple of months. Positioned in my second reception room, I tucked it beside a storage unit, out of the way. My second reception room is on the ground floor, with easy access to the kitchen and main reception room.

The ground floor of my home is covered in a combination of surfaces, including tiles, hard flooring and rugs. I found that during testing the Dreametech L10s Ultra performed best on deep-pile rugs and flooring that didn't require scrubbing. These cleans were controlled predominately via the app, but I also connected the robot vac to Amazon Alexa to issue voice commands.

I've reviewed a number of robot vacuum cleaners, and this model certainly arrives with the most features and intelligence I've seen to date. I'd have preferred for it not to be so loud when emptying, and do a better job of cleaning more stubborn messes.

Read more about how we test

First reviewed February 2023

Bissell SpinWave R5 review: a solid two-in-one option
5:59 pm | March 3, 2023

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

The Bissell SpinWave R5 does a lot of things well. It vacuums up debris and mops hard floors exactly as one would hope. It offers plenty of control through its app including disengaging the mop functionality for certain zones and setting schedules for regular cleanings. And, it has plenty of battery life to get the job done.

So, if you’re in the market for one of the best robot vacuums, you could certainly do worse. As Bissell is a known name in the game having been around since the 1880s, the company knows a thing or two about cleaning. And, the SpinWave R5 is proof that that the company knows what it’s doing.

That said, it has some quirks that keep it from besting the competition. Of course, some of the best two-in-one models go for twice the price as the R5 so it deserves a little slack. It won’t have self-emptying functionality, for instance.

Also, like most robot vacuums, it’s good enough to keep the daily build-up of dirt and debris at bay but is not quite at the level to replace regular deep cleaning. It can certainly handle most surfaces but struggles with thicker rugs, door frames, and other obstacles making this tough for scheduled cleanings when you’re not home. For that, you’ll also want one of the best vacuum cleaners on hand. 

Yet, if you have a lot of space that needs to be cleaned, especially with pets around, and want to keep from having to break out the handheld vacuum every other day, the Bissell SpinWave R5 will do a great job. 

Bissell SpinWave R5 review price & availability

  •  List price: $549.99 / about £455.19 /AU$799 
  •  Available in the US and Australia 
  •  Not available in the UK 

First, those in the UK won’t be able to purchase the Bissell SpinWave R5 without an enterprising family member of a vast smuggling operation in either the US or Australia (or are willing to pay high shipping costs).  Actually, that's not quite true. If you're keen on getting your hands on the Bissell SpinWave R5 and you're in the UK, you don't actually have to set up a smuggling operation. You can get your hands on it through third party resellers on Amazon, though at an inflated price of £636.39.

For the rest of us, the Bissell SpinWave R5 offers decent value for its 2-in-1 functionality with a standard price tag of $549.99 / about £455.19 /AU$799. Not only is it available on the Bissell site but is carried at most major resellers such as Amazon and Best Buy in the US, and Appliances Online in Australia. Since it goes for the same price everywhere, you can pick your favorite retailer and not have to worry about price matching.

It’s far from the most expensive as you can find plenty that will cost double, such as the highly rated iRobot Roomba Combo J7 Plus. And, if you go much lower in price range, like the Eufy RoboVac 11S which goes for $219.99 / £189.99 / AU$229, you miss out on that mop functionality as well as app control. A better comparison might be the Eufy RoboVac G30 Hybrid, which at $369.99 / £369.99 is almost $200 / £100 cheaper. Of course, its app can’t save the layout of your home like the Bissell, an important feature if you want to schedule cleaning a certain part of your home when you’re not around. 

  • Price: 4/5

The specs of our Bissell SpinWave R5 review unit

  •  Recommended uses: Dry, Wet 
  •  Battery life: 110 minutes (wet), 180 minutes (dry) 
  •  Battery type: Rechargeable 
  •  Accessories: Dry dustbin, dry/wet dustbin, sample size cleaning solution 
  •  Weight: 6.83lbs (3.10kg) 

Bissell SpinWave R5 review design

  •  Clean, minimalist look 
  •  Comes with two dustbins, one of which is for mopping 
  •  Charging station is small 

The Bissell SpinWave R5 doesn’t break any trends aesthetically, though it does come in white with mint green accents as opposed to the usual black that most robot vacuums come with. It has a bumper that covers its front half to safely navigate with, as well as a protrusion on top that I can only assume is for its 360-degree LiDAR system. Besides a power switch on the side, the vacuum itself only has two buttons situated on top of the unit, one to start or pause cleaning and one to dock.

Like most robot vacuums, the R5 has a side brush and brush roll to vacuum up debris. The mop function is not equipped on the body, instead attached to one of the two dustbins it comes with. The bin with the mopping functionality has two mop pads attached as well as a reservoir to pour in the water / cleaning solution mixture while the other skips all that when you just want to do basic vacuuming.

Bissell SpinWave R5 with dustbins

Bissell SpinWave R5 with dustbins (Image credit: Future)

The charging station is composed of two pieces: a base for the R5 to sit on when not in use and the charging bay itself. There’s a little cable management here as you can orient the direction of the power cable that plugs in underneath for a cleaner look. Since there’s no self-emptying functionality built-in, the charging station is relatively small. If it weren’t for the base, this part of the R5’s setup would be fairly discreet.

  • Design: 4.5/5

Bissell SpinWave R5 review performance

  •  Not as set-and-forget as one might assume 
  •  Vacuums and mops very well 
  • Surprisingly quiet operation

As a robot vacuum, the Bissell SpinWave R5 is not going to get all the corners or do the kind of on-the-fly judgment on what to clean or go around that a person with a vacuum can. It will get stuck on thick rugs or bundles of cables as well as things with thin parts like a cat toy. And, that all makes running the vacuum on a schedule tough if you have pets that tend to bring out and leave their toys around or if you use said thick carpet in your bathroom. This means that there’s a certain amount of prep required to get the most out of this robot vacuum. I found the R5 stuck on both the rug as well as cables more than once. It even got stuck on the raised door frame for my apartment’s sliding door.

While that’s a bit disappointing as that could result in you coming home to a stuck vacuum and a partially dirty floor, that’s one of those things that robot vacuum manufacturers presume to have solved but haven’t really. That said, it does a great job cleaning otherwise. Obviously, larger debris won’t be picked up but it does a great job of picking up dust, tracked kitty litter and those finer particles that pet owners tend to battle to keep their spaces clean. 

It also picks up hair pretty well. Not only is there a cat roaming around but I have a roommate with long hair. Yet, after running the SpinWave R5, the floors are pristine though some hair does inevitably get stuck around the brush roll (though this hasn't affected performance).

The mop function is particularly well-implemented as it not only vacuums in the front and mops in the back (that way, loose debris is picked up before the mopping begins) but the water / cleaning solution mixture used dries quickly, not to mention can be used on multiple surfaces and is safe around pets.

And, while the vacuum does struggle with thicker rugs, it can handle more typical carpet and rug surfaces. It will also stop its mop function as it traverses such surfaces and then continue once it’s back on a hard surface.

A quick note regarding spot cleaning. Spot cleaning is one of the most important functions since sometimes you just want to clean up a mess and not the whole house. There’s no way to access spot cleaning on the app and it’s not clear how to use spot cleaning when looking at the R5. However, a quick look in the manual will show that you just have to press the play button on the vacuum twice to use.

No matter how you run the Bissell SpinWave R5, it is surprisingly quiet as it maxes out at just 60dB when in use. While certainly not silent, it's not distracting in the same way as a typical vacuum and is much quieter than other robot vacuums I've used, particularly budget and mid-priced Roomba models.

  • Performance: 4/5

Bissell SpinWave R5 side

Bissell SpinWave R5 side view (Image credit: Future)

Bissell SpinWave R5 review app

  •  Pairing the app and vacuum may take more than one attempt 
  •  Creating zones takes a little extra effort 
  •  Has lots of functionality like scheduling and seeing required maintenance 

The SpinWave R5’s app, Bissell Connect, comes with a bit of a learning curve but does unlock quite a bit of functionality. Installing and pairing with the vacuum is straightforward as you can scan a QR code underneath the unit. I did have to go scan and go through the process a few times for the app to recognize and connect with the vacuum.

Once connected, using the app is fairly intuitive as there are tabs for different functions along the top of the app. The landing page and first tab is where most of the action is. You’ll see your space mapped out, even on opening the app for the first time as well as  battery life, the mode it’s in, among other things. At the bottom are a number of buttons to control it such as starting it, docking it, and targeting specific zones. 

The learning curve for the app revolves around those targeted zones. When you press the button to select zones, a new page appears with a map of your space where you can create zones. Unfortunately, you’re limited to drawing and rotating boxes so it can take a little finessing to set up zones, especially if you have an unorthodox floor plan. Luckily, once you’ve drawn your zones, you can determine whether they get vacuumed, vacuumed and mopped or are off limits.

cleaning zones and modes in the Bissell app

Setting targeted cleaning zones is a learning curve (Image credit: Future)

While I won’t spend much time on the other tabs as they’re straight forward and much easier to navigate, the app includes a tab for scheduling cleanings, one to see your cleaning history, as well as a maintenance tab that shows the various parts of the vacuum and their level of functionality. For instance, my side brush is currently at 90%. If it gets too low, there’s a link right below the percentage that will take me to the Bissell page where I can order a replacement part.

  • App: 4.5/5

scheduling and maintenance in the bissell spinwave app

Schule cleans, view cleaning history and check up on the maintenance of the SpinWave R5 in the app (Image credit: Future)

Bissell SpinWave R5 battery life

  •  More than enough battery life 
  •  Surprisingly efficient on higher cleaning modes 
  •  Automatically returns to charging base 

As far as battery life goes, the Bissell SpinWave R5 has a purported 110 minutes of vacuuming and mopping time or 180 minutes of just vacuuming time (when on the low setting). While I have tested this vacuum quite a bit, it has managed to vacuum and mop the 800 square feet available to it and return to its docking station long before its max run-time. 

Even after 45 minutes of vacuuming and mopping, its charge went down maybe 30%. Even running it on its medium setting didn’t do much to drain the battery life faster. In essence, not only does the SpinWave R5 validate Bissell’s battery life claims, it can exceed them if just a little bit. When running it on low for half an hour, its battery loses barely any charge. On top of that, this robot vacuum will return to the charging base on its own when finished so you won’t have to worry about charging it back up between use.

  • Battery: 5/5

Bissell SpinWave R5 docked

Bissell SpinWave R5 docked (Image credit: Future)

Should you buy the Bissell SpinWave R5?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Bissell SpinWave R5 review: also consider

If you know you want a hybrid robot vacuum but aren't convinced that the Bissell is for you, here are a couple more top options to consider.

How I tested the Bissell SpinWave R5

  • Used both dry and wet modes regularly
  • Tested all features of the app including setting different cleaning zones

To test the Bissell SpinWave R5, I not only used it for general cleanings in both dry and wet modes but I used it manually as well as via the app over a two week period to get a good sense of what it’s capable of. I watched it work its magic and sometimes lack thereof on different surfaces and obstacles including hardwood floors, rugs of various thickness, and door frames as well as cat toys and cables. When testing with the app, I made sure to use it for general cleaning as well as using it for only certain areas as well as making certain areas off limits.

Read more about how we test

First reviewed February 2023

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