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Honor 200 Pro review: a portrait powerhouse
5:30 pm | June 12, 2024

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

Honor 200 Pro: Two-minute review

Honor’s 'number-series' phones have a reputation for delivering flagship-level specs at mid-range prices. We saw this in 2023 with the impressive Honor 90, and the Honor 70 before that. However, while the range has, in the past, included Pro variants in China, they’ve never made their way to Europe, until now.

The Honor 200 Pro is a different class of device to last year’s Honor 90. Rather than targeting the upper mid-range market, it’s aimed at the lower-tier of flagship devices. Think the Samsung Galaxy S24, rather than A55. At this level, you need top-notch cameras, blazing-fast performance and cutting-edge features to compete, and thankfully, the Honor 200 Pro delivers on all fronts.

Honor 200 Pro

(Image credit: Future / Luke Baker)

The most exciting feature is, surprisingly, a new set of portrait filters developed with the world-famous Studio Harcourt. Yes, they’re just filters, but the results speak for themselves. You can take some truly stunning portraits with this phone.

Elsewhere, the device is solid on across the board. The phone's Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 chipset allows for smooth and snappy daily operations and a great gaming experience, the mammoth 5,200mAh battery keeps things ticking over for a long time, and its charging is among the fastest in its class, either wired or wirelessly.

The competition is fierce, though, and devices like the Samsung Galaxy S24 and Google Pixel 8 are sure to be more appealing to some buyers. In either case, you get more advanced AI features and a longer window of support, but you’ll miss out on the impressive battery life and portrait prowess of the Honor 200 Pro. Whether it’s right for you depends on your priorities.

Honor 200 Pro review: Price and availability

  • Costs £699.99 in the UK
  • Released May 2024 – China only, June, 2024 – internationally
  • No availability in US and Australia

The Honor 200 Pro launched alongside its non-Pro sibling, the Honor 200, in China on May 31, 2024. Then, less than a month later, both devices made their global debut in Paris on June 12. Both phones are now available to pre-order in Europe, but as usual, there’s no US or Australian launch on the cards.

The Honor 200 Pro costs £699.99 in the UK and comes in one storage configuration: 512GB with 12GB RAM. For context, the comparable Samsung Galaxy S24 starts at $799 / £799 / AU$1,399, so £699.99 is a reasonable price for the Honor 200 Pro.

  • Value score: 5 / 5

Honor 200 Pro review: Specs

Honor 200 Pro review: Design

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Honor 200 Pro

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Honor 200 Pro

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  • Velvety-feeling matte glass back
  • Casa Milá-inspired camera surround
  • IP65 dust and water resistant

The Honor 200 Pro stands out from the crowd with its unique elongated circular camera surround. Apparently, this design is inspired by the shape of Barcelona’s Casa Milá, but it also looks a bit like an airplane window, or a turret from Portal.

I found the notch a little off-putting at first, but it has grown on me somewhat, and it definitely helps to differentiate this model from the sea of circular and square-shaped camera bumps. The silver bezel surrounding the camera glass looks super-premium, too.

Elsewhere, things are a little more traditional. The phone has curved edges on the front and rear that make it feel slim and comfortable in the hand, and there’s a high-gloss metal frame around the edges.

The rear is made from glass and it has a velvety-feeling matte texture, similar to recent Vivo flagships like the X100 Pro. It feels lovely and is completely immune to fingerprints, but it’s slippery, so you’ll need to be very careful if you use it without a case. Thankfully, a transparent TPU number is included in the box, so you can keep it protected easily.

The Honor 200 Pro is available in three colors: Moonlight White, Black and Ocean Cyan. I have the white version in for testing, which has a marble-like pattern across the rear, and it reminds me of a fancy kitchen countertop. The black version has a more understated uniform finish, for those that prefer a more professional look. Meanwhile, the cyan model is the loudest; it has a dual-texture rear with a sweeping S-shaped curve down the back. 

  • Design score: 4 / 5

Honor 200 Pro review: Display

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Honor 200 Pro

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Honor 200 Pro

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Honor 200 Pro

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  • 6.78-inch quad-curved 120Hz OLED display
  • 3840Hz PWM dimming
  • 4000 nits peak brightness

The Honor 200 Pro has a bright, vivid display that’s curved on all sides, and an adaptive refresh rate that can dynamically shift between 60Hz and 120Hz, depending on what you’re viewing. It’s not quite as impressive as an LTPO panel, which can go all the way down to 1Hz, but it still means you can expect longer battery life without sacrificing smooth scrolling and high-refresh-rate gaming.

Usually, I prefer flat displays, but the Honor Magic 6 Pro won me over with its relatively tight curves – effectively delivering the best of both worlds. I was hoping for more of the same here, but that’s unfortunately not the case. The Honor 200 Pro has a more typical curved display.

Some people are sure to love it, and it definitely helps to make the device feel slim in the hand and pocket, but it’s more prone to accidental touches than I’d like. 

Elsewhere, I have zero complaints. The panel is sharp and high-resolution, the color rendition looks fantastic, and it’s more than bright enough to compete with the springtime sunshine. There are plenty of eye health features included here, too.

The display can deliver an astonishing PWM dimming rate of 3840Hz, besting some of the priciest flagships on the market. The Samsung S24 Ultra only supports 480Hz PWM dimming, for example. If you’re not familiar, this tech essentially ensures low flicker at all brightness levels, to reduce eye strain for those who are sensitive to such things.

  • Display score: 4 / 5

Honor 200 Pro review: Cameras

Honor 200 Pro

(Image credit: Future / Luke Baker)
  • 50MP main (f/1.9)
  • 50MP 2.5x telephoto (f/2.4)
  • 12MP ultra-wide macro (f/2.2)

Honor describes the 200 Pro as “the portrait master”, so clearly it believes in the phone’s photographic capabilities. And indeed, this phone packs some serious hardware to support that claim.

Around the back, you’ll find a 50MP main camera with a 1/1.3-inch sensor and OIS, a 50MP 2.5x telephoto with OIS and a 12MP ultra-wide with macro focusing capabilities. On the front, there’s a pill-shaped cutout housing a 50MP wide-angle selfie camera.

As usual, the main camera delivers the most impressive results, especially in low light, where the larger sensor comes into play. The camera app gives you a 2x button for digitally cropping in with this camera, and there’s almost no loss of quality when the lighting is sufficient.

The 2.5x telephoto is very impressive, too. Personally, I would have liked a longer focal length, but this 70mm-ish equivalent is still very useful. You can get good results pushing it to about 5x or so before the image starts to break down, but if you go above 10x with the digital zoom, prepare for disappointment.

The ultra-wide is decent, but with a 16mm equivalent field of view, it’s not quite as wide as some of the competition. It does have autofocus, though, and it can focus extremely close for some unique macro shots. It’s lower resolution than the other sensors, but it still captures a good amount of detail. It’s not great in low light, but that’s usually the case with ultra-wides.

The selfie camera has an ample 50MP resolution and a wide FOV that makes it suitable for group shots. Of course, you can also digitally crop into a more typical focal length. It doesn't seem to have autofocus, which is a bit disappointing, so you’ll need to ensure that you’re standing in the sweet spot for the best results.

The most impressive thing about this camera isn’t the hardware, though, it's a new portrait mode developed in collaboration with legendary Parisian portrait studio Studio Harcourt. And yes, it is essentially just a couple of filters, but they’re really, really good ones.

Harcourt Classic aims to recreate the studio’s signature black and white headshots, and the results can be stunning. It’s most effective with portraits – that’s what the feature is designed for, after all – but I got great results with animals, too.

Harcourt Color is a similar effect, but in color, as the name suggests. It creates images with a lovely warm color palette. Both modes add an artificial bokeh effect, and they seem to accentuate lens flares from light sources, too. Honor’s edge detection is second to none, and I was really impressed with how well it managed to cut out wisps of hair and other difficult scenes.

Finally, there’s a Harcourt Vibrant, and I found this a little less impressive. It processes color similarly to the normal camera modes, and it loses some of that vintage allure that the other modes provide. Still, it might be useful to have if you prefer a poppy vibrant shot.

I was a little disappointed to learn that these effects only work on the main and telephoto rear cameras, so you can’t use them for snapping selfies. I’d love to see support for that added, but maybe this selfie camera didn’t quite get the Harcourt stamp of approval.

When it comes to video shooting, the Honor 200 Pro supports capture at up to 4K 60fps on the main and telephoto cameras, while the ultra-wide and selfie camera max out at 4K 30fps. The resulting videos have great stabilization, and as usual, Honor’s software has tons of features packed in, including full manual controls.

  • Cameras score: 4 / 5

Honor 200 Pro camera samples

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Honor 200 Pro camera samples

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Honor 200 Pro camera samples

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Honor 200 Pro camera samples

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Honor 200 Pro camera samples

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Honor 200 Pro camera samples

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Honor 200 Pro camera samples

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Honor 200 Pro camera samples

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Honor 200 Pro camera samples

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Honor 200 Pro camera samples

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Honor 200 Pro camera samples

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Honor 200 Pro camera samples

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Honor 200 Pro camera samples

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Honor 200 Pro review: Performance

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Honor 200 Pro

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Honor 200 Pro

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Honor 200 Pro

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  • Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 chipset
  • 12GB RAM and 512GB storage

The Honor 200 Pro is powered by the new Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 chipset, which is supposed to bring some of the flagship Gen 3 experience to more affordable price points. In day-to-day use, I’d say it achieves that goal; the phone feels snappy and apps open quickly with no stuttering or hesitation.

In benchmarks, the difference becomes more apparent. The Honor 200 Pro finds itself lagging behind last year’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2-powered phones in graphical performance, and occasionally beating them in computational workloads. So, it’s not quite top-of-the-line, but it’s still a more capable gaming machine than the Exynos-powered Galaxy S24 or Pixel 8, for example.

I had no issues playing graphically demanding games like Wuthering Waves at maximum settings, so in the real world, the 8s Gen 3 provides more than enough horsepower for most people. The phone does heat up a bit when you give it such a demanding workload, but it always remained comfortable to hold. Honor’s new super-sized vapor chamber is clearly working as it should.

  • Performance score: 4 / 5

Honor 200 Pro review: Software

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Honor 200 Pro

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Honor 200 Pro

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Honor 200 Pro

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  • Magic OS 8.0, based on Android 14

The Honor 200 Pro runs Magic OS 8.0, a heavily customized skin that’s built on top of Android 14. This is the same software that we tested on the Honor Magic 6 Pro, and it’s a pretty significant departure from the stock Android experience.

Honor takes some inspiration from Apple for Magic OS. The notification shade and quick settings menu are separated, the app drawer is disabled by default, and there’s even a Dynamic Island-like feature that Honor calls Magic Capsule.

If you’re used to a more traditional Android experience, Magic OS will take some getting used to. On the flip side, if you’re coming from an iPhone, you might have an easier time. As an Android user, I found it jarring at first, but it has grown on me. I especially like the Magic Capsule, as it gives me quick access to my media controls and timers no matter which app I have running in the foreground. 

Another great feature is Honor’s Magic Portal. This allows you to drag text or images to the side of your display, and a selection of recommended apps will pop up. Then you can quickly share or search for your selection in the relevant app. I love being able to drag an address into Google Maps for speedy directions, and it’s a really fast way to reverse image search, too.

It’s not all perfect, though. There’s a little bit of bloatware to clean up when you first set up the phone (mostly just Honor’s own apps), and the Magic Capsule had a couple of hiccups during my use. Again, nothing horrific, but it wouldn’t let me tap the media controls at some points, and then it randomly started working again. I am using pre-release software, mind, so in all likelihood, these issues will be ironed out.

  • Software score: 3 / 5

Honor 200 Pro review: Battery

Honor 200 Pro

(Image credit: Future / Luke Baker)
  • 5,200mAh silicon-carbon battery
  • 100W wired charging
  • 66W wireless charging

The Honor 200 Pro uses the same cutting-edge battery tech as the Honor Magic 6 Pro to squeeze a 5,200mAh battery pack into a very svelte shell. This means it’ll easily get you through a day of very heavy use, a day and a half poses no issue, and you might even get two days out of a charge if you use it sparingly.

What’s more, the Honor 200 Pro charges up very quickly with the included 100W wall adapter. By my count, it took just 50 minutes to go from completely dead to fully charged. Half an hour on the charger will get you up to around 70%.

It also boasts the same lightning-fast 66W wireless charging speed as the pricier Magic 6 Pro. You’ll need Honor’s SuperCharge stand to get the full power output, but I happen to own one, and it’s impressively quick. It’s well worth the investment to be able just to slap your phone down and have it fully topped up in about an hour.

  • Battery score: 4 / 5

Should you buy the Honor 200 Pro?

Buy it if...

You want a more affordable version of the Magic 6 Pro
There are plenty of similarities between this phone and Honor’s flagship Magic 6 Pro. If you like the look of that device, but it doesn’t fit your budget, then this is a great alternative.

You love taking portrait shots
The Studio Harcourt-inspired portrait modes are some of the most impressive I’ve ever seen. If you take lots of portraits, you’re sure to love this phone.

You want a slim phone with great battery life
The Honor 200 Pro has a slim chassis and its curved edges make it feel even slimmer. Despite that, it packs one of the biggest batteries in its class and can go a long time in between charges.

Don't buy it if...

You’re an avid selfie snapper
While the rest of the cameras impressed, I found the selfie camera underwhelming. There’s no autofocus and you can’t use the awesome Harcourt filters, either.

You love stock Android
Honor’s MagicOS 8.0 is a big change from stock Android, and some users are sure to find it overwhelming.

Honor 200 Pro review: Also consider

The Honor 200 Pro delivers impressive specifications and features at a competitive price point, but the competition has plenty to offer, too.

Samsung Galaxy S24
Samsung’s most affordable flagship is a more compact option that doesn’t compromise on specs and quality. If you’re keen on generative AI features, it offers a lot more in that department.

How I tested the Honor 200 Pro

  • Review test period: Two weeks
  • Testing included: everyday use including web browsing, social media, photography, video calling, gaming, streaming video, music playback
  • Tools used: Geekbench 6, 3DMark, GFXBench, native Android stats, Honor 100W charger and wireless SuperCharge stand

I popped my SIM card into the Honor 200 Pro and lived with it as my main device for around two weeks before reaching any conclusions. I used it exactly as I would use any other phone, taking tons of pictures, gaming, messaging, working, streaming video and navigating with Google Maps.

I also compared the experience of playing graphically demanding games like Wuthering Waves, Genshin Impact and PUBG Mobile to my experiences with other Android flagships like the Honor Magic 6 Pro, Vivo X100 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra. In addition, I ran several benchmarks on the handset including 3DMark, GFXbench and Geekbench.

Battery performance was assessed based on my real-world usage and charging times were measured using the included 100W wall adapter and cable. I also tested the wireless charging capabilities with Honor’s Wireless 100W SuperCharge stand. 

Read more about how we test

First reviewed June 2024

Braun TriForce / PowerBlend 9 blender review
11:41 am | June 10, 2024

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

Braun TriForce Power Blender: two-minute review

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

US: Braun TriForce Power Blender JB9040BK
UK: Braun PowerBlend 9 jug blender JB9040
AU: Braun PowerBlend 9 Jug blender JB9042

We tested the UK version. Be aware there may be minor differences between different countries' models.

The Braun TriForce Power Blender (known as the Braun PowerBlend 9 in the UK and Australia) brings all the benefits of the best blenders with a few extras, such as a hot Soup mode and Chop function, thrown in. It's a highly customizable appliance, offering 18 preset blending options – six presets with three texture settings for each – plus 10 manual speeds, a Pulse feature and Clean mode. It comes with 2-liter triangular Tritan jug, a fixed blade and tamper.

The TriForce Power Blender is the flagship model in Braun's countertop jug blender range. Its unique triangular, 2-liter jug sets it apart from other blenders I’ve used. Not just in terms of design, but also because this shape makes sure food rarely gets stuck to the sides. Everything is pulled towards the blades and blended quickly – up to four times faster than rival models, according to Braun. 

It offers a wide range of intuitive presets – Smoothie, Soup, Chop, Ice Crush, Frozen Dessert, and Spread – making it super easy to not only make a selection of drinks, dips, butters, desserts at the touch of a button, but to get your ideal consistency time and again. During my tests, it produced an almost perfect smoothie in seconds, despite some tiny flecks of kale; its Spread setting is brilliant for making hummus because it cycles through blending and pulsing; and its Ice Crush feature worked as expected. The ice wasn't as powdery as on other blenders I've tried, but it wasn't far off. 

Braun TriForce Power Blender on a kitchen counter

(Image credit: Future)

Elsewhere, you can easily set or change the consistency of anything you make by cycling through the different textures – Smooth, Medium and Coarse – and the manual speeds are varied enough to bring an extra level of precision. The hot soup function is also a pleasant surprise. It turned cubes of vegetables and stock into warm, tasty, comforting soup in less than six minutes. Minimal hassle, minimal mess. 

Speaking of mess, the TriForce Power Blender's Clean mode works really well, which is a welcome feature considering you can't remove the blades to clean underneath them. You can also put the jug safely in the dishwasher. 

Despite its wide array of features, the TriForce is surprisingly compact, fitting neatly under my cabinets and light enough to move around and store easily. It measures 16.9 x 7.9 x 7.9" / ‎43 x 20 x 20 cm (H x W x D) and weighs 10.1lbs / 4.6kg. The anti-slip feet and tidy cord storage are thoughtful touches that make it practical and safe for everyday use. 

Ice cubes in the Braun TriForce Power Blender

(Image credit: Future)

This blender can get loud, especially at higher speeds, reaching as high as 105db. This is equivalent to having a car horn blasting in your kitchen, which can be uncomfortable at times. But since it blends so quickly, at least it’s a short-lived racket.

In sort, if you're looking for a high-performance blender that can do it all and a little more, and are happy to invest a bit more to get it, the Braun TriForce Power Blender is a great choice. It's a powerful, intuitive addition to your kitchen and while it's far from cheap, it is at least good value, specially if you can get it for one of the many discounts being offered regularly from third-party retailers. That's the short version – read on for my full Braun TriForce / PowerBlend review.

Braun TriForce Power Blender review: price & availability

  • List price: $249.95 / £199.99 / AU$299
  • Available in US, UK and Australia

There are three Braun countertop blenders – the $99.95 entry-level Braun PureMix Power Blender (JB7200), the standard $249.95 Braun TriForce Power Blender (JB9040BK) and the $299.95 TriForce Power Blender with Smoothie2Go accessory (JB9040BK). This accessory turns the jug blender into a personal blender for an extra $50. I reviewed the standard TriForce model. 

As 2-liter jug blenders go, the TriForce is one of the more expensive models on the market. Few countertop blenders exceed the $200 mark with the exception of those from high-end brands such as Vitamix and Smeg with the $649 Vitamix A3300 Ascent Series, or the $429.95 Smeg Professional Blender. The closest Braun rival, in terms of size and features is the Ninja HB150C/HB152 Foodi Heat-iQ Blender and this sells for $198. It's slightly smaller, but has more automated settings.  

In the US, you can buy the TriForce Power Blender from Braun directly, or via a number of third-party resellers including Walmart, Amazon and Target. At the time of writing, the TriForce Power Blender was being sold across these third-party sites for as much as $70 less than its RRP. In fact, only Braun was selling it for its full price. 

In the UK, and Australia, the appliance is known as the Braun PowerBlend 9 and you can buy it directly from Braun, as well as Amazon, Debenhams and AO in the UK. In Australia, you can buy it from Braun, Harvey Norman and Appliances Online. Again, few sites in the UK and Australia regularly sell the PowerBlend 9 for its RRP and some regularly sell it for ~£100/AU$150 less. 

The Braun TriForce Power Blender is a powerful appliance with a wide range of features that elevate it beyond a simple jug blender. From a hot soup function to a food processor-style chopping feature.  As a result, it has a price to match. There are cheaper blenders that perform well against the Braun, but there are also more expensive models that don't live up to its performance. So, while $249.95 seems a little high, it is decent value and you get some of the benefits of multiple appliances for the price of one. Plus, with a number of sites regularly dropping the price, you could get a really good deal. 

  • Value for money score: 4 out of 5

Braun TriForce Power Blender specifications

Braun TriForce Power Blender review: design & features

  • 1600w motor, 2 liter BPA-Free Tritan jug
  • 10 manual blending speeds + 6 presets, 3 textures, Pulse and Clean
  • Triangular jug with fixed blades

The first thing I noticed about the Braun TriForce Power Blender is its triangular, 2-liter jug. Most jug blenders have circular or boxy jugs yet Braun has deliberately designed its jug in a way that means food rarely gets stuck to the sides. This is because the sides bring the food closer to the blades, and thus it's constantly being pulled back towards the center due to the centrifugal force. Braun claims this guarantees "faster blended results in less time."  

The BPA-Free Tritan triangular jug then slides and locks into place on top of a rubber triangular base, while the jug's lid, complete with small, detachable cap, locks onto the base via two large clips on each side. 

Circular cap on the Braun TriForce Power Blender's lid

(Image credit: Future)

Below the jug is a touchscreen display and rotating dial. Along the display are each of the preset buttons – Smoothie, Soup, Chop, Ice Crush, Frozen Dessert, and Spread – and while I appreciate how self-explanatory they all are, I don't love the use of lowercase font throughout. It's a very minor, almost ridiculous complaint, but it makes the machine look less professional than its price would suggest.

Below these buttons are the Manual and Pulse buttons above the Clean button, on the right-hand side, and the Start/Stop button that doubles up as the control dial in the center. This dial can be used to set the manual speed, when Manual mode is selected, or used to switch between the blender's three iTexture settings: Smooth, Medium or Coarse.  

This mix of presets and textures takes the total possible number of automated settings to 18. This extends to 29 settings when you add in the 10 manual speeds and the Pulse function. This is a very impressive number and could feel overwhelming. However, by making every button and setting easy to use and identify, Braun has avoided over-complicating things. This intuitive design even encouraged me to experiment with different settings without fear of breaking it or something going drastically wrong. 

Controls on the Braun TriForce Power Blender

(Image credit: Future)

Despite its 2-liter jug and panel of impressive controls, the blender is surprisingly compact measuring 16.9 x 7.9 x 7.9" / ‎43 x 20 x 20cm (H x W x D). It should fit easily under most kitchen cupboards, even with the jug attached, and will sit neatly in a corner. 

It's a lightweight blender too. The base and jug together weigh 10.1lb / 4.6 kg and this makes it easy to move around your countertop, or if you want to store it in a drawer or cupboard. It then has anti-slip feet on the bottom of the base, and a 3ft / 1m cord. Such is its compact and portable nature, the blender was one of the few appliances I was able to leave out on my limited countertops when my kitchen was being remodeled.  

The use of black plastic and rubber follows suit with the majority of blenders on the market and while this means it will blend into most aesthetics, it's hardly groundbreaking. The only element that gives the TriForce Power Blender a touch of flair is the green light used to illuminate the Start-Stop button and speed dial. That's not to say it's ugly; rather if you want something with striking looks, this blender may not be for you.

It's also a shame that the blades aren't removable but, thanks to the built-in cleaning mode and the fact the jug is dishwasher-safe, this is another minor flaw that's easily remedied. 

  • Design score: 4.5 out of 5

Braun TriForce Power Blender review: performance

  • Almost faultless results across various blending tests
  • Blends quickly and effectively
  • Presets perform better than manual settings

For my first test of the Braun TriForce Power Blender, I made a kale, blueberry and banana smoothie with almond milk. I add all of the ingredients to the jug, pressed the Smoothie button, selected the Smooth texture, and pushed the Start button. In as little as 20 seconds, the drink looked smooth and well blended but I let the Smoothie setting run to its default time of one minute before pouring the drink. 

The resulting drink was almost velvety in texture. I could see tiny flecks of kale and blueberry skin when I looked at the drink, but they were so small I couldn't taste them. If you choose the Medium texture, the total blending time is 44 seconds, and for Coarse it's 42 seconds. I was impressed by how quickly the blender achieved these results, and in my experience it lives up to the brand's claim that it creates food "60% finer and four times faster" than other models. 

Making a kale, blueberry and banana smoothie in the Braun TriForce Power Blender

(Image credit: Future)

Next, I made hummus. I usually have to use a manual setting when making hummus on most blenders I review because they rarely have an appropriate, dedicated setting. On the Braun TriForce Power Blender I used the Spread setting, which the instruction manual says is designed for hummus, pesto and nut butters, and the blender ran for 2 minutes and 20 seconds cycling through a pattern of blending and pulsing. 

The resulting hummus was the perfect consistency. It was smooth but thick, making it ideal for dipping vegetable sticks into, while also coating the inside of my mouth with flavor. What's more, I didn't once have to stop the blender to scrape the mixture from the edges, or press it down using the tamper. 

Hummus made in the Braun TriForce Power Blender

(Image credit: Future)

Finally, I used the blender to make crushed ice using the Ice Crush setting. This setting causes the blender to operate in short bursts for 25 seconds to crush the ice to a powder. It worked well, in terms of quickly and effectively blending the ice cubes, but the result was less powdery than other blenders I've used. It was closer to the consistency of a sorbet. There is a very subtle distinction between the two, but whereas other blenders have turned the cubes to light powder, the Braun's crushed ice was more wet so stuck together in clumps. You can easily use it to make frozen drinks but I felt the texture was slightly off.

In addition to the above tests, I also wanted to put the TriForce Power Blender's Soup function to the test. The brand claims you can turn room-temperature ingredients into hot soup in almost six minutes. I tested this by adding chunks of cooked butternut squash, garlic, onion, carrot and a liter of vegetable stock to the blender. I pressed the Soup button, pushed Start and the blender began by chopping the ingredients, before blending and slowly heating them for five minutes and 45 seconds. The result was a slightly coarse, warm soup that lacked some of the depth of soup made on a stove, but was still tasty and comforting. 

Ice cubes in the Braun TriForce Power Blender

(Image credit: Future)

The only real downside to all of these pros is how loud the TriForce blender can be. On Speed 1 in Manual mode, it's relatively quiet, averaging 63dB.  It was easy to have a conversation with my partner or children while the blender was running at this speed. 

However, during my Smoothie and hummus tests, this sound jumped up to an average of 97db. This is equivalent to the sound of a motorcycle engine and feels uncomfortable in such a confined space like my kitchen. On Manual Mode, Speed 9, the average reading was 91db, and it jumped to an average of 105db when crushing the ice cubes. This is equivalent to a phone playing at full volume and just below the sound of a car horn. Any sounds over 85dB for extended periods can cause hearing problems. 

Thankfully, because the blender works so quickly and efficiently, these sounds run for less time than they do on other models so at least you don't have to be subjected to them for longer than necessary. 

Overall, the TriForce blender's performance is a little hit and miss but largely positive. I was worried, given its wide range of features, that it would be a Jack of all trades, master of none but this is far from the case. I also appreciate the different ways I can customise my drinks and food and this makes up for any of the blender's shortcomings in my opinion and experience. Mainly because if I want a different texture, or the presets don't work as I want, I have a range of ways to correct it and tweak it until they do. 

  • Performance score: 4.5 out of 5

Should I buy the Braun TriForce Power Blender?

Buy it if...

Don’t buy it if...

How I tested the Braun TriForce Power Blender

  • I used it to blend drinks, food and ice
  • I checked the noise level at different speeds
  • I assessed how easy it was to clean

I used the Braun TriForce Power Blender in my own home for four weeks, making smoothies, sauces, hummus, soup and crushed ice. 

I assessed how simple it was to set the blender up, how easy and intuitive it is to navigate the different presets and textures, how well it performed different tasks, its noise levels and how easy it was to clean. 

I’ve been reviewing home and kitchen appliances for more than 15 years and have a wealth of knowledge and experience to draw on when assessing how well a product such as a blender performs. 

Read more about how we test

First reviewed May 2024

Razer BlackShark V2 Pro for Console review: razes the bar
2:00 pm | June 9, 2024

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

Razer BlackShark V2 Pro for Console: one-minute review

The Razer BlackShark V2 Pro’s latest incarnation is the wireless gaming headset that does it all, improving on its predecessor in the most important areas, and can now make a claim to be among the best wireless gaming headsets.

The battery life is stated at 70 hours, and while we’ve been testing it that figure has held true. Razer’s also clearly proud of the revamped ‘hyperclear super wideband’ mic, and rightly so - it offers great clarity and body out of the box, and using the Synapse software you can push it to even higher fidelity levels. The sound quality might not be audiophile-grade, but it’s nice and neutral, and the comfort and finish really convey that this is a step up from the cheaper BlackShark V2.

It also works as a PS5 headset, Xbox Series X headset, Nintendo Switch headset, is compatible with mobile devices, and except for the slight inconvenience of not being able to use it over a wired 3.5mm connection on them, its strengths shine through on those platforms too.  

Since we started testing with it, we haven’t once felt the need to return to another headset.

The Razer BlackShark V2 Pro for Console gaming headset on a wooden surface

(Image credit: Future/Phil Iwaniuk)

Razer BlackShark V2 Pro for Console: Price and availability

  • List price: $199 / £199 / AU$349
  • Available in the UK, US, and AUS
  • UK pricing feels steep

Conversion rates don’t favor the British consumer here - the Blackshark V2 Pro for Console is a costlier acquisition on one side of the pond than the other since they’re both pitched at £199 / $199.

That makes this model more expensive than the previous version, and slightly pricier than Steelseries’ Arctis Nova 7x which retails for $179.99 / £174.99. It’s going up against competitors’ flagship headsets like Corsair’s Virtuoso range and Logitech’s G Pro X Wireless ($245 / £219). Happily, the build quality and features match up favorably against even these slightly pricier options. 

Razer BlackShark V2 Pro for Console: Specs

The Razer BlackShark V2 Pro for Console gaming headset on a wooden surface

(Image credit: Future/Phil Iwaniuk)

Razer BlackShark V2 Pro for Console: Design and features

  • Gorgeous stealthy aesthetic 
  • Great comfort
  • Handy detachable mic

Razer’s esports ties with the likes of Optic, Mouz, and Edward Gaming really show through in the ruthlessly functional design of the BlackShark headset range. Gone is the battery-sapping RGB and the feature bloat, and what’s left is an MMA fighter of a headset. Not an ounce of fat to be seen across its all-black earcups and headband, although when you look closely there are nods to its premium pricing - gloss finish Razer logos on the earcups, a gloss Razer imprint at the top of the headband, and some immaculate stitching between the pleather headband upper and the cushioned fabric lower sections. We love how this headset looks, and while that’s a totally subjective take, the visual and tactical upgrade from the cheaper BlackShark V2 to this model is not. It looks and feels more premium.

The inner headband and earcups are finished in breathable lightweight fabric, and while that has implications on both isolation and sound reproduction which we’ll cover in the performance section below, it’s the right call for comfort. If you’re looking for a pair of cans to combat the sweaty summer sessions, the BlackShark’s materials and relatively light clamping force ensure cooler temps and a floating-style fit that’s reminiscent of Arctis headsets and their ski goggle headbands.

Another welcome upgrade to its cheaper stablemates is the detachable mic. We always value the flexibility of using a headset with or without a mic, as it means we can take it on the road and enjoy Bluetooth connectivity as a smartphone headset without looking too conspicuous. 

We’ve put in some long shifts during our testing. Full race distances in F1 24; hours of Unreal Engine 5 reverie with Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2; hard-to-justify afternoons lost in Unreal Tournament ‘99; during all of them this headset felt airy but snugly attached, beautifully cushioned, and lightweight enough to simply forget we were wearing it.  

The Razer BlackShark V2 Pro for Console gaming headset on a wooden surface

(Image credit: Future/Phil Iwaniuk)

Razer BlackShark V2 Pro for Console: Performance

  • Strikingly clear mic audio
  • Less isolation than previous models
  • Still stronger on PC compared to console

Into the nitty-gritty, then. This being a performance-focused product range that wears its esports creds proudly, you have to hold the BlackShark V2 Pro for Console to the highest standards. Whether it meets those standards depends on your use case. 

As a PC gaming headset it benefits from Synapse’s easy profile tweaking and saving, and when also being used via USB-C - so we could keep playing while we charged - it’s hard to fault this headset. But since that’s kind of the point of a review, here’s one small gripe: the physical controls lack a chat mix dial as you’d find on a SteelSeries Arctis headset. 

You can adjust chat mix easily via Razer’s Synapse app, but to us that almost defeats the point - you could just as easily tweak the mix by adjusting the relative volumes of your game and your friends via the game audio sliders and Discord’s output sliders. Having a physical dial means you don’t have to, and that’s the only thing we felt was missing here during our time with this headset. 

Sound quality, however, is absolutely not lacking. The 50mm drivers aren’t tuned to produce a truly flat frequency response like an audiophile might prefer. But the frequency response curve is more neutral than you might expect from a gaming headset, and that gives it a great out-of-the-box body and clarity which you can dial in to meet your tastes with either the physical EQ profile switcher button on the righthand earcup’s rear, or via Synapse. Usually, we stuck with the ‘game’ EQ preset throughout, even when watching videos or listening to Spotify. 

The Razer BlackShark V2 Pro for Console gaming headset on a wooden surface

(Image credit: Future/Phil Iwaniuk)

Minor point here, but shoutout to Razer’s best-in-class audio cues when you power on, change an EQ preset, or mute the mic. Rather than cryptic bleeps or 2000s-grade text-to-speech, you hear a crystal clear voice telling you the settings you’re adjusting, and that really elevates the experience of using Razer headsets. 

Onto the mic: it really is audibly better than both the cheaper BlackShark V2 and the previous iteration of the BlackShark V2 Pro. You notice it most on sibilant consonant sounds - ‘S’ and ‘Z’, with the wideband mic capturing more of the high-end detail here to accompany what was already a beefy midrange in the mic’s previous version. 

On the product page you can hear a sample from the mic that sounds basically broadcast quality - in our experience you need to draft in Synapse and apply one of the presets to hit those lofty heights, but when you’re speaking via default mic settings on PC or console it’s still very clear and with enough midrange to stand proud of the game audio mix. 

The only black marks against the BlackShark, then, are that you can’t make use of Synapse’s functionality on consoles or play via a wired connection. How big a deal those are really depends on your use case - if you're looking for something premium to use first on PC and then with as a PS4 headset or Xbox One headset, for example, this might be easy to overlook. 

We use this headset across all our devices, primarily on PC. In this scenario, we can certainly live with those minor console issues, but if you’re buying this exclusively to use with a console it’s more significant. 

Should you buy the Razer BlackShark V2 Pro for Console?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Also consider...

If the Razer BlackShark V2 Pro doesn’t get a bite from you, there’s plenty more fish in the sea.

How I tested the Razer BlackShark V2 Pro for Console

  • 100+ hours of testing
  • Used with competitive games, cinematic experiences, and Discord chat
  • Battery life and recharge time measured

We donned the BlackShark V2 Pros for many hours of F1 24, Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2, and golden oldie Unreal Tournament 99, and it also accompanied us on our continuing, crippling, PUBG habit where team comms are crucial.

Read more about how we test

First reviewed May/June 2024

Shark FlexBreeze fan review: big, quiet and versatile
11:00 am |

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

Shark FlexBreeze Portable Fan two-minute review

I've been through my fair share of fans over the years, ranging from small desktop ones (shout out to my original Woolworths desk fan) to larger air circulators. And as excellent as some of those have been, few can match the versatility of the Shark FlexBreeze Portable Fan. If you want something that adapts to pretty much any situation, this could well be the best fan for you.

For this review I tested the UK version, but the SharkBreeze is also available in the US (there may be very minor differences, but it's essentially the same product). For avoidance of doubt, these are the names and product codes for the US and UK:

  • US: Shark FlexBreeze Fan With InstaCool Mist Attachment FA222
  • UK: Shark FlexBreeze Portable Fan FA220UK

Shark has built a name for itself as the brand behind some of the best vacuum cleaners on the market, and its sister company Ninja is well respected in the kitchen appliance space, particularly when it comes to the best air fryers. Shark isn't particularly known for its fans, though. The Shark FlexBreeze, nonetheless, is a classic SharkNinja product – that is, one that's especially clever and capable replacing a couple of different products in a top-class, well-engineered package.

This is largely because the FlexBreeze is a fan that can be used in as many different ways as you can think of, whether it's as a conventional pedestal fan or as a desktop fan with its fold-out legs. It also has a mister attachment for use outdoors with cooling water directly from an outdoor tap and can be corded or cordless and run for up to 24 hours away from the mains. This makes it an ideal fan for use virtually anywhere in your home, and it's a fan that's so good, that I've purchased two of them.

Shark FlexBreeze Portable Fan in a living room

(Image credit: Future)

There are five fan speeds on offer, and even at full blast the FlexBreeze is a quiet performer, while also being able to push air so you can feel it from up to 70 feet away. It is virtually silent on its lowest setting too, and worked a treat in a bedroom when I was trying to sleep. It's also UV and rain-resistant and has no trouble working outside, while the InstaCool mister attachment fires out two reasonably powerful jets of water that create a cooling mist.

The FlexBreeze is by no means a perfect fan, though. It lacks advanced features such as app control and more granular control for fan speeds, offering only five levels. Unlike other fans and air circulators, it also lacks any form of automatic vertical oscillation, although offers up to 55 degrees of manual tilt and 180 degrees of automatic oscillation horizontally. However, where the FlexBreeze really wins is on its quietness, versatility and ease of use – all of which will be expanded on below.

Shark FlexBreeze Portable Fan review: price & availability

  • List price: $199.99 / £199.99
  • Launch date: April 2024
  • Availability: UK/US

The Shark FlexBreeze is a premium fan, carrying an appropriately weighty £199.99 / $199.99 price tag, and comes in a single configuration – that's as a fan with cover, magnetic remote control and mister attachment, suitable for use as a pedestal fan and, with its integrated legs, as a tabletop fan. Interestingly, the fan carries different names in the UK and US, as is typical with SharkNinja products. In the UK, it's the Shark FlexBreeze Portable Fan, while in the US, it's the Shark FlexBreeze Fan with InstaCool Attachment.

With that higher price tag, it's pitted against top-class floor-based options such as the Meaco MeacoFan 1056P and the Dreo PolyFan 704S, although Shark's option is unique among its contemporaries. That's because it can operate both as a pedestal fan and as a table fan with integrated legs, without the need for a cable, and it can also be used outdoors, with its mister attachment if required. No other fan offers as much versatility as the FlexBreeze, making it an excellent-value purchase if you want a do-it-all fan that can work virtually anywhere.

Compared to more conventional table fans, it is quite chunky and heavy with a larger plastic fan head than others, making it a little unwieldy to place on smaller tables or surfaces. That said, the FlexBreeze's entirely plastic construction remains sturdy in all configurations, which, alongside its accessories and versatility, goes a long way towards justifying the price tag.

  • Value for money score: 4 out of 5

Shark FlexBreeze Portable Fan review: design

  • Entirely plastic construction
  • Works either as a pedestal fan or as a table fan
  • Comes with a mister attachment for use outdoors

The Shark FlexBreeze in its default configuration is akin to a typical pedestal fan, with a large fan head atop a skinnier stand with base at the bottom. Available only in black, it sets itself apart from the sea of white and silver fans out there, including the Meaco MeacoFan 1056P and Dreo Polyfan 704S, and sits well both in my front room and out in the garden. That being said, the entirely plastic construction would have benefitted from some metal accents and differing materials to help justify its premium price tag.

There is a small handle on the top of the fan head for easy maneuverability, while its 12.2lbs / 5.6kg weight makes it lighter than the competition, and simple to pick up and place wherever you need it to be. The 13.77 x 13.77" / 35 x 35cm base is quite large, although the FlexBreeze is still compact enough to fit in the corner of a small bedroom if needs be, while being able to move a substantial amount of air with its larger head.

The 37" / 94cm height thanks to the pedestal raises it up to a suitable level for use while sitting at a desk, on a sofa or for use in bed, while the fan head can also be angled up or down manually for more targeted airflow. There are up to 55 degrees of tilt here, and 180 degrees of oscillation. That being said, the FlexBreeze lacks the automatic vertical oscillation of other fans, although it can oscillate horizontally via the remote control.

Shark FlexBreeze Portable Fan detached from pedestal

(Image credit: Future)

The clever thing about the FlexBreeze is that the fan head can be detached from the pedestal with a small button on the back side of its shaft, revealing some small fold-out legs so that it can be used as a tabletop option. The plastic legs are sturdy enough, and do a good job of keeping the FlexBreeze stable. Combined with its handle, the small fold-out legs make this an especially portable fan for use all around the home.

The fan element contains three large blades in grey, offsetting the black colorway well, with a plastic grille that has a small Shark logo in its middle. It continues the black look found across the fan, and springs little surprises. The back of the fan head is home to a small magnetic panel with an indent for the FlexBreeze's simple remote control.

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Controls on the Shark FlexBreeze Portable Fan

(Image credit: Future)
Image 2 of 3

Remote control for the Shark FlexBreeze Portable Fan

(Image credit: Future)
Image 3 of 3

Remote control attached to the Shark FlexBreeze Portable Fan

(Image credit: Future)

If the remote control isn't your preferred control method, there is a small selection of dedicated controls on the fan head's top side for power, oscillation and speed. The fan speed is in five levels, indicated by a small bar on the top edge of the grille with five LED lights. Next to those lights is a battery indicator for the FlexBreeze when used cordlessly – depending on the level, it is either green, orange or red. When plugged in, it pulses white.

The FlexBreeze comes with no app control or smart features, although comes with a small cover for stowing away, and a mister attachment. This is known as InstaCool, and attaches magnetically on one end to the logo plate in the middle of the fan head, while the other attaches to a hose outlet. When turned on, it provides a cool mist of water directly from an outdoor tap, which is handy for the hot summer months when air on its own just won't do.

For the most part, the Shark FlexBreeze offers a well-considered and versatile design, with a sturdy plastic finish and convenient accessories. Some additional style accents wouldn't have gone amiss, but on the whole its solid finish helps to justify its price.

  • Design score: 4 out of 5

Shark FlexBreeze Portable Fan review: performance

The FlexBreeze performs excellently on its five different fan speeds, with even the lowest setting providing ample push to reach me across the other side of my living room, or indeed the patio outside. Its airflow is cold, and helped to cool me and the room down by a fair margin in a matter of moments.

Of course, the faster the fan goes, the more airflow there is, and at full tilt the FlexBreeze doesn't half cool down a room quickly. Shark claims that the FlexBreeze can make a room feel up to 10 degrees cooler, which is welcome for particularly stuffy days.

Close up of the Shark FlexBreeze Portable Fan's head

(Image credit: Future)

While the fan isn't silent on its most powerful setting, it remains whisper-quiet and isn't so overpowering that the noise will disturb any conversations or sound from a television. From the base level to its middle option, however, the FlexBreeze is virtually silent, and if you're a light sleeper this isn't a fan that's going to disturb your slumber. I had the fan on its pedestal level with my mattress, and its airflow wafted over me on the lowest setting, helping to cool both me and the room around me impeccably.

If you have a particularly large room or outdoor area, then the BreezeBlast mode (enabled when the fan is on its most powerful setting), which can drive its airflow up to 70 feet away, is going to be king, and worked a treat when placed at one end of my garden, with me sitting at the other. It may not be the biggest area and nowhere near 70 feet in length, but it works nonetheless.

The Shark FlexBreeze Portable Fan's InstaCool attachment in action

(Image credit: Future)

Speaking of outdoor use, it's also good to know that the FlexBreeze is both UV and rain-resistant, meaning you can use it come rain or shine, and being cordless also makes it an ideal companion on a warm day without a cable trailing from indoors. The InstaCool mister attachment worked a treat too, attaching to the fan head via magnets, and hooking up to my outdoor tap in a matter of moments. It pushes out two quite powerful jets of misted water, which did an excellent job of cooling me down on a particularly warm day.

It can be used either corded, with a small power brick and long cable, or cordless, which is handy for portability and putting the fan exactly where you want it. Battery life is solid too, with the FlexBreeze offering up to 24 hours of runtime away from the mains, giving you a literal day's worth of runtime. My testing matched up with Shark's figures, with it requiring a charge every two or three days when used on the base fan level without the need for oscillation. It can also be used while charging, too, so you aren't missing out on valuable time being cool.

The FlexBreeze isn't perfect, however, lacking the MeacoFan 1056P's sheer number of speed modes for instance, or customization of those fan speeds, such as a sleep mode and eco mode. These would have been pleasant to see on the FlexBreeze, although Shark's option wins in other ways.

  • Performance score: 4 out of 5

Should you buy the Shark FlexBreeze Portable Fan?

Buy it if…

Don't buy it if…

How I tested the Shark FlexBreeze Portable Fan

I used the Shark FlexBreeze for three weeks around my house, positioning it in various rooms including the master bedroom, office, living room and outdoors in the garden and patio.

I used it every day on all of its speeds and on particularly warm nights. When it was a pleasant day outside, I also used it outside with the InstaCool mister attachment for a blast of cool water. I also measured its battery life and used it both on its pedestal and as a desktop fan.

Read more about how we test

First reviewed June 2024.

De’Longhi Eletta Explore review: delicious hot and cold brews from one bean-to-cup machine
6:21 pm | June 5, 2024

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

De'Longhi Eletta Explore two-minute review

Throw your Starbucks loyalty card out of the window, because the De’Longhi Eletta Explore is here to completely shake up your coffee addiction, offering a gamut of both cold and hot drinks in one brilliant machine.

This is easily one of the best bean-to-cup coffee makers I’ve tested, pouring deliciously smooth and sweet espresso and cold brew coffee in record time with minimal maintenance. Of course, as with many bean-to-cup machines, it’s not going to be one for the fervent, ride-or-die coffee lovers; they're better off with one of the best espresso machines. It is, however, perfect for those of us who don’t need the ritual of coffee-making and just need the good stuff.

Relatively compact at 15.13 x 10.25 x 17.5" / 38.5 x 26 x 45cm (H x W x D), the De’Longhi Eletta Explore manages to pack in a lot of features and functionalities without eating up too much counter space — provided you’ve got fairly deep counters. It’s not a thing of beauty, but it’s not bad-looking, clad mostly in black and deeper grays, and it comes with a whole host of accessories; a travel mug, two milk carafes, an ice tray, a grounds scoop, a brush and a hot water nozzle. You name it, and it’s probably in the Eletta Explore box (provided it’s somewhat relevant to coffee-making, that is).

De’Longhi Eletta Explore on a kitchen counter

(Image credit: Future)

As ever, I was impressed by De’Longhi’s Bean Adapt and Latte Crema technology, which work in tandem to ensure drinks produced by the Eletta Explore are as close as possible to barista-made beverages. The Eletta Explore can also connect to De’Longhi’s Coffee Link App, meaning you can remotely control your machine and line up your orders from the sofa. But keep in mind that the machine runs its cleaning cycles before use, so you’ll have to get up to switch your mug for the container catching wastewater.

De’Longhi Eletta Explore review: price & availability

  • Price: $1,899.99 / £999.99 / AU$1,799.00
  • Available in US, UK and Australia

The price for the De’Longhi Eletta Explore varies wildly across the globe; in the UK, its list price is £999.99, though retailers seem to consistently sell it at least £100 cheaper at £899.99. In Australia, it’s priced around the same at AU$1,799, but in the US it’s horrifically more expensive at $1,899.99.

In the UK/AU, it’s definitely offering relatively good value for money; yes, it could still do with being cheaper, but there aren’t that many bean-to-cup machines as capable as the Eletta Explore, especially not when it comes to cold drinks. When it comes to the US, however, it’s inconceivable why it should be double the price.

The machine comes with all the accessories you should need: a travel mug, two milk carafes, an ice tray, a grounds scoop, a brush and a hot water nozzle. It also comes with a descaling kit and one water filter, which you’ll need to replace to keep the machine in good working order; these cost $9.95 / £11.99 / AU$19.95 and $19.95 / £15.99 / AU$29.95 respectively.

De’Longhi Eletta Explore specs

De’Longhi Eletta Explore review: design

  • Compact design
  • Touchscreen display
  • Hot and cold milk carafes

While the De’Longhi Eletta Explore takes up a decent chunk of kitchen counter space, it’s broadly speaking a compact and space-efficient machine provided you have deep enough counters and sufficient overhead. It measures 15.13 x 10.25 x 17.50" / 38.5 x 26 x 45cm, but you’ll also have to think about how you store its many accessories.

On top of the machine at the rear is the 10.6oz / 300g bean hopper and grounds hatch. These are not airtight, unlike the detachable bean hoppers included with the De’Longhi Rivelia I tested a few months ago, meaning you probably only ever want as much coffee in there as you intend to use in a given day to keep your beans and grounds fresh.

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Bean hopper and grinder adjustment on the De’Longhi Eletta Explore

(Image credit: Future)
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De’Longhi Eletta Explore with the water tank pulled out

(Image credit: Future)
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De’Longhi Eletta Explore's display showing its 'Mug to go' option

(Image credit: Future)

You can also change the grind size using a dial seated beneath the hopper lid — this is a slightly annoying design choice, especially if you like to fiddle with your settings and have lower cabinets. There are seven grind options for the conical burr grinder within the machine.

Moving towards the front of the machine, there’s a metal tray that is great for storing accessories or cups, and then at the very front are the controls. From left to right, there are touch controls for the machine’s different menus: ‘To-go mode’, cold beverages, hot beverages and your favorites menu. These controls surround the 3.5-inch (8.9cm) color touchscreen display in the middle of the console, which displays various instructions and status updates while your coffee brews.

De’Longhi Eletta Explore grinding beans for a flat white

(Image credit: Future)

Beneath the controls on the front of the screen are the spout, the accessory slot where you can click in the Hot and Cold LatteCrema Carafes or hot water nozzle, and the 60.9fl oz / 1.8L inbuilt water tank, which slides out of the machine. I love the design of this in principle; however, in practice, it can be really annoying. I found that the tank didn’t always quite align with its threads properly, meaning it would be slightly askew in the machine, especially if you fully remove the tank — so thankfully, De’Longhi has included an insert lid for the tank with a small hole for pouring in water. If, like me, you refill your coffee machine with filtered water from a jug, that’s no issue, but if you will be refilling from a faucet or otherwise affixed water source, you might find this process tedious.

At the base is the drip tray, which is just about fine for all cup sizes, barring some of the larger mugs I have in my collection. It gets better still when you lift the hatch here, which grants some extra height and allows you to fit full-size travel mugs — a really neat addition that’s perfect for early-morning commuters.

A hand holding the De’Longhi Eletta Explore's Cold LatteCrema Carafe

(Image credit: Future)

In addition to the machine itself, you get two LatteCrema milk carafes for hot and cold milk beverages. The reason these are split into two containers is that different nozzles are needed to foam milk with and without heat, which makes sense, but does create some frustrations in use. Plus, you can exclusively use semi-skimmed milk and plant-based milk with the Eletta Explore.

On top of each carafe is a dial that allows you to choose between min, mid and max froth, as well as the cleaning setting. These lids aren’t snugly fit to the carafes, so make sure you don’t make the same mistake I did in lifting them by the lid — unless you want to cry over spilt milk. The nozzles sit quite far forward on the carafe, meaning slimmer tall mugs can be a bit problematic, given the espresso spout is fairly far back.

  • Design score: 4 out of 5

De’Longhi Eletta Explore review: performance

  • Consistent and rich results
  • Impressive grinder
  • Easy to maintain

As with any bean-to-cup coffee machine, the quality of the beverages will never quite match those made by hand using a more sophisticated espresso machine, but I was nonetheless impressed by the De’Longhi Eletta Explore. Broadly speaking, its results were consistent and rich, although occasionally it spat out a very acidic espresso. This was usually only when I hit a not-so-sweet spot where I’d made a few coffees in close succession and the beans had been in the non-airtight hopper a little too long.

The rest of the time, the Eletta Explore made delicious, well-balanced espresso with a well-formed crema and plenty of body. Its cappuccinos had great microfoam with impressive staying power, and the lattes were delicious and creamy. All of the drinks came out at the perfect recommended drinking temperature, too.

De’Longhi Eletta Explore making an iced latte

(Image credit: Future)

Most impressive, however, was the cold coffee made by the Eletta Explore. From rich and creamy iced lattes to delicious cold cappuccinos with excellent foam — though it’s never quite as good as foam created by heating the milk. Even its cold brews that compress a slow brewing process into mere minutes came out deliciously, with only a hint of bitterness. The machine will tell you the perfect number of ice cubes to use from the supplied tray, which in my experience was the perfect amount every time.

The conical burr grinder inside the machine is fantastic, crushing beans to the perfect size for smooth and delicious coffee. I mostly kept the grind setting to five, but the Eletta Explore offers seven different settings from fine to coarse. It’s fairly loud (70dB) in use, but not the loudest I’ve tested.

Swapping between milk jugs is pretty annoying if, like me, you want to have different coffees throughout the day. It seems to be a workaround, as different nozzles are needed for different milk temperatures, but why couldn’t they just offer changeable nozzles?

De’Longhi Eletta Explore making a cup of espresso

(Image credit: Future)

I used the Coffee Link App and Bean Adapt technology with my Eletta Explore to ensure I was crafting the best possible coffee, inputting information about my coffee bean of choice to finesse the water temperature and intensity. The app and machine both boast a huge menu of espresso-based options, too, if you’re ever looking for inspiration.

Maintenance-wise, the machine is pretty easy to look after. It cleans itself automatically, but you’ll need to keep on top of the descaling and water filter to make sure it remains in good working order. The drip tray and grounds container are easy to remove, but the drip tray is a little fiddly to clean. The milk carafes are both dishwasher-safe, but relatively easy to clean by hand in the sink, too.

Should you buy the De’Longhi Eletta Explore?

Buy it if…

Don’t buy it if…

How I tested the De’Longhi Eletta Explore

I used the De'Longhi Eletta Explore as my main coffee machine for a month, testing its various settings and functions and drinking a lot of different coffees. I used both its cold and hot coffee technology to try almost every drink on its expansive menu - excluding those that are effectively just iterations on standard drinks.

In addition to coffee taste and quality tests, I also maintained the device per the manufacturer's instructions to see how easy it is to run over time. I also tested the De'Longhi coffee link app to see how easy it was to use and how successfully it can control the machine.

I've been testing home appliances for two years, in addition to my years of experience testing tech more generally, which informs my ratings and opinions on how well tech performs, how well it's designed and if it offers value for money. 

Read more about how we test

First reviewed June 2024

Vasco Translator V4 review
5:06 pm |

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

When I crammed the Vasco Translator V4 into the small pouch on the side of my rucksack a few days before the start of my holiday, I have to admit that I was quite skeptical as to whether I would actually ever need to use the gadget. The latest product from electronic manufacturer Vasco, I believed that this portable translator, which supports 108 languages, would simply pale in comparison to the translation capabilities of my far pricier iPhone 15 Plus.

After two weeks testing the device in the heart of Tokyo, however, I can report that it is a formidable device that is in many ways far superior to simply relying on your phone, and perhaps even better than some of the best translation software.

The Vasco Translator V4 being used to translate a store display.

(Image credit: Dashiell Wood / Future)

Vasco Translator V4: Two-minute review

So, what makes this translation device better? First, there’s the matter of the Vasco Translator V4’s more convenient form factor. It’s remarkably slim, with a candy bar shape that's easy to slot into even a cramped pocket. It has a slightly rubberised plastic back, which is pleasantly grippy and successfully endured being roughly tossed into various bags and even occasionally dropped throughout my trip.

On the left hand side of the device, there's a simple volume rocker while the right hand side features a power button and two speech recognition buttons which are used for voice translation. Each button denotes the language of one speaker, allowing you to intuitively switch between translating either to or from your desired language as you converse. In addition to plenty of chats with native Japanese speakers, I was also able to test the device’s translation capabilities in a handful of other languages.

Although far from a conclusive appraisal of all 76 languages that are currently supported by the voice translation, I found that it was quite fast and very accurate - with a few bilingual friends even remarking that the results were noticeably superior to both Google Translate and Apple's Translate app. Sure, the odd bit of nuance was inevitably lost here and there, but everything was good enough to have me navigating everyday interactions in shops and restaurants with ease.

The top of the device contains an array of microphones used for this purpose and I found that they did a good job of distinguishing voices from loud background noise like construction work or passing trains. The microphones are flanked by two small LED indicators that alternate between two colors to denote the current speaker which is a great touch. The bottom of the device features a USB-C port used for charging or attaching a pair of USB-C headphones. While a dedicated headphones jack would definitely be better, the ability to use some form of headphones is still welcome.

It’s not just good for voice translation, though, as the Vasco Translator V4 also offers fast photo translation. The 8-megapixel camera can be quite blurry and slow to focus, which makes it harder to use in motion, but I was still consistently impressed with the results. The translation of museum displays, signs, advertisement brochures, and restaurant menus was quick and, as far as I can tell, right on the money. Although the 5-inch touch-screen is quite small, you have the nifty ability to zoom into your translated text or even isolate it against an easy-to-read plain white background.

A close up shot of the Vasco Translator V4/

(Image credit: Future)

Elsewhere, the device supports text translation, though the tiny on-screen keyboard definitely hampers its capabilities in this regard. It also has a language learning tool, but this largely just boils down to basic electronic flashcards. There is also a group chat function, which lets you communicate with colleagues, friends or even family - provided that you can successfully convince them to download and set up the Vasco MultiTalk app on their phones.

It's a solid feature set, but the biggest selling point of the Vasco Translator V4 is comfortably its lifetime global cell coverage. Not having to scramble for a local SIM card the second you land is a welcome relief and it's hard to overstate the value proposition here. While most other pocket translators cost less up front, they then rely on some form of expensive recurring subscription fee. The Vasco Translator V4, in contrast, will simply work almost anywhere in the world at no additional cost.

Depending on the features or settings that you use, you’re also looking at roughly four days battery life with frequent use or about a week on standby mode - keeping you more focused on enjoying your trip than where to find the nearest power outlet.

It’s not a cheap device by any means, and those on a budget will certainly be able to make do with a comparably priced phone, but it’s a great gadget for those willing to spend a little more for a much smoother experience aboard.

A translated conversation on the Vasco Translator V4.

(Image credit: Future)

Vasco Translator V4: Price and availability

  • Priced at $389 / £389
  • Available now in the US and UK
  • Not readily available in Australia

The Vasco Translator V4 is available now from the Vasco Electronics website or third-party retailers like Amazon in the US and UK. At £389 / $389, it is pretty expensive up front, even compared to other similar devices. However, when you factor in the lifetime global cell coverage, which works in nearly 200 countries, the high cost of entry becomes a lot more palatable.

Although our sample was provided in the rather plain black colorway, the device is also available in grey, blue, red, and white.

Vasco Translator V4: Specs

Should you buy the Vasco Translator V4?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Also consider

Not keen on the Vasco Translator V4? These two cheaper alternatives should be on your radar.

How I tested the Vasco Translator V4

  • Used for a month
  • Tested abroad and at home
  • Tested with multiple languages

I used the Vasco Translator V4 for just over a month, which included a two week trip to Japan and some testing at home and in the office. Some of the languages I tested included Spanish, Japanese, Russian, Romanian, German, and Italian. During my time with the device, I endeavored to use every available feature in order to assess its performance and usefulness.

In order to test the efficacy of the translation, I compared my results to competing software like Google Translate and Apple's Translate app and considered the opinion of a handful of multi-lingual friends, colleagues, and family members.

Read more about how we test

First reviewed June 2024

Motorola unveils Edge (2024) for the US with SD 7s Gen 2, 6.6″ 144Hz OLED display
5:30 pm | June 4, 2024

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

Motorola launched several entry-level phones for the US market, today it brings out a mid-ranger – and it’s one we haven’t seen before. Long story short, a curved 144Hz OLED display, a Snapdragon 7s Gen 2 and a $550 price tag. Motorola Edge (2024) The Motorola Edge (2024) is similar to the international Edge 50 Fusion. However, it has better display and wireless charging above what the Fusion offers. Compared to the Edge (2023) from last year, it has a new chipset and a bigger battery. Motorola calls it an “endless edge” display – a 6.6” P-OLED panel that’s curved on...

Motorola unveils Edge (2024) for the US with SD 7s Gen 2, 6.6″ 144Hz OLED display
5:30 pm |

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

Motorola launched several entry-level phones for the US market, today it brings out a mid-ranger – and it’s one we haven’t seen before. Long story short, a curved 144Hz OLED display, a Snapdragon 7s Gen 2 and a $550 price tag. Motorola Edge (2024) The Motorola Edge (2024) is similar to the international Edge 50 Fusion. However, it has better display and wireless charging above what the Fusion offers. Compared to the Edge (2023) from last year, it has a new chipset and a bigger battery. Motorola calls it an “endless edge” display – a 6.6” P-OLED panel that’s curved on...

Antstream Arcade review: affordable arcade game streaming
2:15 pm |

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

Two-minute review

Antstream Arcade is a cloud gaming service geared entirely towards retro titles. It offers an extensive library of more than 1,300 games from across a wide variety of genres and many of the best retro games consoles including arcade classics like Pac-Man, Galaga, and Dig Dug. Unlike many modern retro collections that you can find on the Nintendo Switch or cheap retro handhelds, a lot of these iconic titles are available in their rare original arcade versions, which is a huge selling point for serious retro enthusiasts.

The vast majority of the games that I tested performed very well over cloud streaming, presumably due to their simplicity, and are perfect for the kind of pick-up-and-play sessions that cloud gaming services encourage. Being able to instantly boot up Antstream Arcade for a cheeky game of Space Invaders or Metal Slug X on almost any device is super convenient and a brilliant way to kill time. I did find, however, that more complex titles like the PlayStation version of Worms suffered from substantially longer loading times and so lost some of the appeal. 

While unlimited solo play is included with the premium subscription, you can spend and earn bonus gems in a range of optional challenges, online tournaments, and even a score-based player vs player duel mode. Trying to beat Pac-Man without eating any dots or having to survive five bosses from Gunbird 2 in as few lives as possible can be a refreshing diversion every now and again and is an interesting way to recontextualize these old games. 

The main menu of Antstream Arcade.

(Image credit: Antstream)

Unfortunately, the cumbersome UI detracts from the overall experience. It's an overwhelming mix of game cover art, multiple tabs, and huge banners that is functional enough to get you into the most popular titles without much hassle but makes navigating through the wider catalog a pain. There’s also the fact that a lot of the library’s titles are, to put it bluntly, not really worth your time. The likes of The Official Father Christmas or Operation Fireball are great inclusions for the sake of presentation but aren’t likely to become anyone’s new favorites.

Still, there are enough big hitters to justify the price of admission, and, considering the fact that simply no other cloud gaming service offers the breadth and variety of old titles that you can find here, it’s easy to recommend Antstream Arcade to those interested in retro gaming.

Launching a challenge in Antstream Arcade.

(Image credit: Antstream)

Price and availability

  • Free tier to access challenge modes
  • Upgrade to premium for $3.99 / roughly £3 per month 
  • Available on Xbox, PC, or mobile in the US and UK 

A basic version of Antstream Arcade can be accessed free of charge. It allows you to try a rotating selection of timed challenges and earn gems. These gems are then spent unlocking and playing other challenges. You can collect a small daily allowance of gems, with most challenges costing around 50 to unlock and 30 to play.

Although I found this tier to be very limited on the whole, offering just enough free gems to experience one or two titles each day, it does offer a taste of the service and should be enough to work out whether it’s for you. Some storefronts, such as the Epic Games Store, allow you to purchase additional gems if you’re running low. This starts at $0.99 / £0.99 for a pack of 60 - though the cost of these will begin to add up quickly so I would not recommend it.

Instead, you should consider upgrading to the premium membership for unlimited access to all of the service’s games for solo play, plus extra free gems for unlocking challenges. Though the exact price varies somewhat depending on your choice of platform, premium membership costs $3.99 / roughly £3 per month or $39.99 / roughly £30 per year on PC.

Those playing on Xbox also have the additional option to purchase a lifetime membership for $79.99 / £79.99. Although a little expensive up front, this is comfortably the best value choice for committed players as it effectively pays for itself if you intend to maintain a subscription for more than two years.

Features and interface

Antstream Arcade uses a grid-like interface, with rows of games grouped into multiple categories. There are recommended games, a list of games with challenges, recently added games, an assortment of multiplayer games, and so on. These all sit below a giant banner, which highlights any major new titles or upcoming online events. Some rows are also dedicated entirely to trending games or specific challenges, with various color-coded icons to denote difficulty and the time remaining to complete them. 

The cover art of most games displays a small colorful triangle labeled with its original platform, though those with challenges are adorned with a small pink rocket icon instead. It’s quite an overwhelming interface, with so much going on that it can be quite hard to navigate at first. The fact that many games have multiple icons, one denoting each available system, only exacerbates this issue and lends the entire UI a very jumbled look.

Searching for a game in Antstream Arcade.

(Image credit: Antstream)

Once you manage to find a game that you want to play, you can select it to open a small panel that displays some further information like the publisher and original launch date. From there, you can either jump straight into the game or quickly resume one of your four most recent sessions - which is especially convenient if you find yourself having to frequently swap between platforms or quickly exiting a game. You’re then shown a brief overview of the game’s controls before it begins.

While playing, you can access a basic menu that offers the ability to save, view the controls, change a handful of settings like the overall volume, or exit the session. It’s not particularly slick or exciting, but it is functional.

Elsewhere, you can collect a small handful of achievements (all largely based on completing challenges or playing a certain number of sessions) and level up your account - though doing this doesn't seem to accomplish much beyond giving you bragging rights. The option to see where other players fall in an online leaderboard is a neat addition, however, and acts as a neat way of translating arcade high scores to the modern age.

In addition to keyboard support while playing on PC, Antstream Arcade is compatible with a wide range of controllers such as the Xbox Wireless Controller and the GameSir Nova. You can also take advantage of dedicated touch controls while playing on mobile.

Playing a game with Antstream Arcade.

(Image credit: Antstream)

Game library

Antstream Arcade offers a pretty huge library featuring over 1,300 games. There are a lot of worthwhile arcade classics to play, but the bulk of the library is comprised of smaller titles that you likely won’t have heard of before. While I’m sure that there are some hidden gems to discover here, a lot of them seem like filler. Still, the volume of games on offer here is substantially more than most compilations (or even other cloud gaming services) which easily justifies the cost.

In terms of systems represented by the service, the vast majority of the games on offer are arcade or Commodore 64 titles. That said, there are plenty of Amiga games, lots of ZX Spectrum games, a handful of Sega Genesis / Mega Drive and Super Nintendo Entertainment System games, and a few Nintendo Entertainment System games. You can also find the odd titles from the original PlayStation, Game Boy, Amstrad, plus a few Atari systems. That’s an awful lot of variety and means that, no matter your choice of retro platform, there’s likely going to be at least a few titles that are of interest to you here.

Surprisingly, a few of the games are actually modern indie titles that were released for retro platforms which adds some pleasant variety to the overall package. The Castlevania-inspired action platformer Demons of Asteborg and the nightmarish space shooter Reshoot R are particular highlights in this regard. 

Playing Gunbird 2 in Anstream Arcade.

(Image credit: Antstream)

Should I use Antstream Arcade?

 Use it if…

 Don’t use it if…

How I tested Antstream Arcade

I tested Antstream Arcade for a few hours each week over the course of a month. In addition to testing the service on PC, where I used a Turtle Beach Recon Cloud Controller and my keyboard, I tried it out on mobile using a Samsung S23 Plus and a Razer Kishi Ultra mobile controller. During my time with the service, I endeavored to test a wide variety of games across a number of different systems in order to gain a good understanding of everything on offer. In addition to using a complimentary premium membership, I created a separate account in order to fully try out the service's free offering. 

Samsung Odyssey S32G80SD review: a supreme 4K gaming monitor
10:00 am |

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

Two-minute review

The Samsung Odyssey S32G80SD seems to want to be all things to all people. While it ticks pretty much every gaming box you’d expect a gaming monitor to tick (and then some), it also just so happens to be a stunning video display.

At the heart of its multifaceted talents is one of Samsung’s latest Quantum Dot OLED panels, here delivered in a flat 32-inch screen with a 16:9 aspect ratio. Samsung has managed to fit a full 4K resolution into this gaming monitor, backed up by support for a 240Hz refresh rate.

Where the S32G80SD really kicks up a gear, though, is with a trio of remarkable new features. First, a potent new screen filter enhances gaming immersion and contrast by somehow suppressing almost all reflections from your room. Second, pictures are driven by the same ultra-powerful processor deployed in Samsung’s flagship 8K TVs. Third, a new ultra-efficient cooling system has been built into the S32G80SD’s OLED screen to protect it more effectively than any other OLED monitor from potential heat damage.

Add to these ground-breaking features insanely precise and vibrant gaming images and a video performance that humbles many premium TVs, and the S32G80SD’s initially hefty-looking $1,499 / £1,099 price suddenly doesn’t look unreasonable at all. 

The Samsung S32G80SD viewed from a slight angle.

(Image credit: Future)

Price and availability

  • Price at $1,499 / £1,099.99
  • Available in the US and UK

The Samsung Odyssey S32G80SD is available from the first week of July, priced at $1,499 in the US in the US and £1,099.99 in the UK. That represents a serious hunk of change in a world where 32-inch HDR-capable monitors such as the recently tested Gigabyte GS32QC can be had for $250 / £250, but the S32G80SD does one heck of a job of justifying that cost.

It’s built around a premium Quantum Dot type of OLED panel for starters, with all the innate picture quality advantages that it brings. Around that screen, moreover, Samsung has built a gorgeous-looking chassis packed with premium processing and hardware features the like of which, in some cases, the monitor world hasn’t seen before. 

Specs

The corner of the Samsung S32G80SD.

(Image credit: Future)

Samsung Odyssey S32G80SD: Design

The S32G80SD looks and feels every inch a premium monitor. Build quality for the 32-inch, 16:9 flat screen is excellent, as a silvery metallic sheath wraps around from the outer edges of the bezel to cover the rear panel. This is replicated, too, over the handsome, heavy-duty hexagonal desktop foot. The rear panel is on-trend slim, but still finds room for some elegant arcs and curves, while the stand neck features a reflection-free corrugated black finish on its front edge and a cable tidy ‘ring’ on its rear.

Against such a subtle and refined design the appearance of a ring of colored LEDs around the stand attach point feels a bit garish at first. Thankfully you can turn this light show off if you wish - though actually, over time I grew to quite like the extra immersion it brings to gaming.

Impressively the S32G80SD’s screen attaches to the neck and the neck attaches to the stand simply by twisting them together until they click into place. There’s not a screw in sight. The screen can tilt, swivel, pivot, and slide up and down on the stand, and there’s support for VESA mounting if you want to move away from the provided stand. 

Connections are rather awkwardly positioned but impressively include two high bandwidth HDMI 2.1 ports as well as two USB-C ports, one USB-B port, and a DisplayPort (1.4). The S32G80SD ships with a small but ergonomic remote control that features a USB-C charge point on the bottom and, even better, a solar panel on its rear. 

The rear lighting of the Samsung S32G80SD.

(Image credit: Future)

Samsung Odyssey S32G80SD: Features

The Samsung Odyssey S32G80SD’s epic roster of features kicks off with its use of one of Samsung’s new Quantum Dot OLED type of screens, which are already renowned for their remarkable color and contrast properties. What’s more, using a 16:9 aspect ratio has allowed Samsung to squeeze in a native 4K/UHD pixel count of 3840x2160.

The screen sports arguably the most effective anti-reflection filter I’ve ever seen on a monitor. General ambient light and mildly reflective objects in your room are rejected pretty much completely, while even harsh direct lights positioned directly opposite the screen are dispersed to a degree where you barely notice them even when you’re wandering around the dark underground environments in Shadow Of The Tomb Raider. There’s no overstating how much this reflection suppression enhances your immersion in whatever you’re watching or playing.

Anyone concerned about OLED’s susceptibility to screen burn-in should be very interested indeed in the S32G80SD’s new Pulsating Heat Pipe cooling system. This condenses or evaporates coolant contained in tiny pipes that run behind the screen to control heat where necessary without any compromise to image brightness.

This potentially game-changing new OLED panel protection feature is joined by more traditional ones such as local dimming of logo/HUD elements, general ‘thermal modulation’ (brightness control), and a screen saver.

The gaming hub application of the Samsung S32G80SD.

(Image credit: Future)

The S32G80SD is powered by what has to surely be the most powerful processor in the gaming monitor world. Samsung has essentially ported in an optimized version of the Neo Quantum 8 AI Gen 3 processor used in Samsung’s latest, highly acclaimed flagship 8K TVs. This might sound like overkill for a 4K monitor, but it really does make sense to apply to a gaming monitor a processor able to handle vast amounts of pixels, motion, color, and multi-window management (including simultaneous playback of different external AV sources) in real-time backed up by a knowledge base derived from no less than 512 separate neural networks. 

The S32G80SD also carries the same Tizen operating system, with a few monitor-specific tweaks, used in Samsung’s latest gaming TVs. This means you get access to Samsung’s excellent Game Hub, which brings together your external game devices as well as streamed gaming services like Xbox Game Pass, NVidia GeForce Now, Boosteroid, and Utomic into one attractive and intelligently curated dedicated home screen. A ‘Daily+’ section of the Tizen interface also provides monitor-friendly features such as Easy PC setup, Remote PC support for PCs and Macs, Microsoft 365, and Samsung’s DeX system, while the home screen additionally gives you access to a great selection of video streaming apps. Netflix, Prime Video, YouTube, Disney+, and Apple TV, for instance, are all present and correct, as are many of the UK’s most popular terrestrial broadcaster catch-up platforms.

Almost every aspect of the S32G80SD’s features can be controlled by voice commands using either the Bixby or Alexa voice recognition systems, often giving you an excellent shortcut without having to delve into the on-screen menu system.

Alongside the relatively unusual and premium features detailed so far, of course, are plenty of other modern gaming staples. There’s support for 240Hz, for instance, as well as 120Hz with native 4K feeds meaning it is firmly positioned to offer a premium PS5 monitor or Xbox Series X monitor solution. Variable refresh rates are supported in the core HDMI and AMD Freesync (though not NVIDIA G-Sync) flavors, while Auto Low Latency Mode switching (ALLM) is provided so that the TV can switch into a video or gaming mode automatically depending on what sort of content you’re playing on your console or PC.

You can also call up a dedicated Game Bar menu while gaming to get game signal information and fast access to gaming assistants such as an onscreen crosshair, and a couple of motion enhancement levels if you want to reduce judder at the cost of a little screen response time, and the option to raise the brightness level of dark areas without impacting the rest of the picture. 

When it comes to HDR, finally, the S32G80SD supports the HDR10, HLG, and HDR10+ formats. There’s no support for the popular Dolby Vision system.

The Samsung Odyssey S32G80SD gaming monitor on a table with an Xbox Series X

(Image credit: Future/John Archer)

Samsung Odyssey S32G80SD: Performance

The Odyssey S32G80SD’s combination of a top-end OLED panel and ground-breaking new processing and features delivers images that are consistently jaw-dropping. And not just with games, either.

In fact, because it's so monumentally good with video compared with any other monitor I’ve seen, that’s where I’m going to start. With streamed video or external video sources, for starters, immaculately deep and clean black levels combine with pristine bright whites and rich colors without the slightest hint of compromise - even when the lightest and darkest parts of an HDR image are just a pixel apart.

Sharpness and detail are out of this world, as cramming a 4K pixel count into a 32-inch screen delivers a pixel pitch so small that high-quality 4K sources essentially just look like real life rather than something a screen is producing. The hugely powerful NQ8 AI Gen 3 processor delivers the most natural, detailed, and dense upscaling of sub-4K content I’ve ever seen on a monitor too. Please note, though, that while it’s fine with internal apps and connected video devices and consoles, the upscaling doesn’t work if the monitor is set to its PC mode.  

Colors are gorgeously rich (bolstered by the pure RGB architecture of the QD-OLED panel), but also full of nuance and balance. They enjoy totally natural video tones, too - something most other monitors find very difficult to achieve.

Viewing angles are pretty much infinite, while the ability of the NQ8 AI processor to show even small objects like tennis or cricket balls without them phasing in and out of the picture is like nothing I’ve seen before on a monitor.

You have to be a little careful with some of the S32G80SD’s video settings. I’d recommend avoiding the garish Dynamic preset, turning off the Auto Picture clarity mode, and choosing a custom setting with the Blur and Judder reduction elements set no higher than their level five. I’d also turn off Dynamic Tone Mapping, as it can cause some brightness instability with HDR sources. 

The rear ports of the Samsung S32G80SD.

(Image credit: Future)

Set up correctly, though, the S32G80SD’s video images are nothing short of a revelation.

While the S32G80SD’s video mastery might be its biggest surprise, though, it is also, of course, a joyously brilliant gaming display. The sense of detail with native 4K games like Ori And The Will Of The Wisp delivered from an Xbox Series X is out of this world, for starters. In fact, the extra sense of the beauty of Ori’s world I got when running the game in 4K 120Hz on such an incredibly precise monitor actually felt a bit emotional!

Contributing to this sense of absolute precision is the OLED panel’s ability to control the light output of every individual pixel, which yields a gorgeously refined but also at times remarkably dynamic and intense sense of contrast. The range of colors the S32G80SD can cover (I measured 100% of sRGB and a whopping 99.2% of the DCI-P3 gamut) with almost infinite tonal subtlety plays a part in the immaculate finish of high-quality gaming images too.

If you’ve got a gaming PC capable of running 240Hz smoothly, you’ll find the S32G80SD more than up to the job of doing full justice to it. Unfortunately, neither this nor an incredibly fast screen response time of 0.03ms Grey to Grey could stop me sucking at Fortnite on PC - but at least getting hammered looked nicer.

Call Of Duty Modern Warfare 3 on PS5 looked and played better than I’ve ever experienced before on a monitor, too, while the beguiling world of Baldur’s Gate 3 on console and PC became even more enticing and rich looking - especially with the Game Motion Plus tool called in to smooth away any slight judder.

Games streamed from the many services the S32G80SD’s Game Hub carries are all handled extremely slickly too, thanks to the monitor’s high-bandwidth Wi-Fi system and processing architecture expressly designed to minimize lag.

It’s tough to find anything negative to say about the S32G80SD’s image performance. The Dynamic Tone Mapping option set to on by default in the Standard video preset can cause some distracting brightness instability with video sources, and I guess the image isn’t spectacularly bright in HDR or SDR (319 nits and 190 nits respectively on a 10% measurement window) mode.  On the brightness point, though, the pinpoint precision of the OLED lighting, the reflection-free screen, a pretty high claimed typical brightness of 250 nits, and the impressive potential to hit nearly 1000 nits when showing small HDR highlights all add up to a typically quite rich and punchy HDR performance.

The S32G80SD partners its imperious pictures with a stereo 5W sound system. This is not, inevitably, in the same realm of brilliance as the picture quality is, but it does deliver game and film soundtracks with a decent sense of clarity and busyness, and without succumbing to distortion even at almost maximum volume. There isn’t much bass around, maximum volumes are limited and the sound lacks forward impact and impetus. But it’s perfectly acceptable, for the most part, for users who are likely to be sat quite close to the screen.

All in all, while not cheap by 32-inch monitor standards, the Samsung Odyssey S32G80SD does more than enough in the feature and, especially, image quality departments to justify its cost. While there are a couple of notable absentees in the form of Nvidia G-Sync and Dolby Vision support, the S32G80SD compensates for this with a raft of new unique cutting-edge performance enhancements and a remarkable ability to be a fantastic video screen as well as a brilliant and wonderfully immersive gaming monitor.

A picture of the Samsung Odyssey S32G80SD gaming monitor with a close up on its game menu while sitting on a table

(Image credit: Future/John Archer)

Should you buy the Samsung Odyssey S32G80SD?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

 Also Consider

Not sold on the Samsung Odyssey S32G80SD? Here are two good alternatives to consider. 

The rear of the Samsung S32G80SD.

(Image credit: Future)

How I tested the Samsung Odyssey S32G80SD

  • Tested over 12 days
  • Used for gaming, productivity, and media consumption
  • Tested with plenty of games

Over the course of the 12 days I spent with the Samsung S32G80SD before writing this review, it was liberally used not just as a desktop display and gaming monitor, but also, once I realized how good it was with video, as a screen for watching streamed video from the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

I’ve never spent anywhere near as much time watching video on a gaming monitor as I did with the S32G80SD, in fact. But then I’ve never previously come across a video that’s so brilliant at showing video.

This didn’t prevent me from getting many (many!) hours of both work and play out of the monitor too, though. Calman software was used to measure the screen’s color capabilities and accuracy, along with a Murideo signal generator and Minolta colorimeter.

Games that found themselves in regular rotation were Fortnite and Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 on a PC; Ori And The Will of The Wisp, Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and Baldur’s Gate 3 on Xbox Series X; and Fortnite and Elden Ring on PS5. 

Tests were done for video, desktop and gaming uses in both HDR and SDR modes. 

Read more about how we test

First reviewed June 2024

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