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Bluehost Web Hosting review
8:13 pm | December 24, 2021

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

One of the world's largest web hosting providers, Bluehost has almost two decades of experience in helping users build a quality home on the web.

Bluehost is now owned by Newfold Digital (previously Endurance International Group), the company also behind major hosting names like HostGator, iPage, and

Bluehost has a real depth of knowledge which goes way beyond most competitors. The company doesn't just know how to install WordPress and launch the dashboard, for instance. It has developers working on the platform full-time, and has been directly recommended by since 2005.

It's a mix which has earned Bluehost major success. Datanyze' Web Hosting Share report places the company in 6th place amongst business users. Only hosting giants such as GoDaddy, Amazon and Google scored higher. 

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What types of hosting does Bluehost offer? 

Bluehost offers low-cost shared hosting, ideal for first-timers and personal or small business sites. 

A wide range of WordPress hosting plans could work for anything from a simple personal blog, to a feature-packed business-critical site or a leading-edge web store.

Bluehost's dedicated and VPS hosting give you a far more powerful hosting environment, delivering the maximum possible speed for the most demanding projects.

The company also offers a very full range of add-on products and services: website design, domain registration, email hosting, premium support and more.

Next, we'll break down these various ranges, look at what they offer, and explore which hosting plans are best for different types of sites.

Bluehost shared hosting homepage screenshot

Bluehost offers quality WordPress plans with some powerful extras (Image credit: Bluehost)

Share hosting

Opt for a shared hosting plan and your website is stored on a server which also hosts many other accounts. This scheme saves money, because the cost of the server is shared between many users. But it also reduces performance, because the server's resources - the processor, the RAM, the network connection - are also shared by all the accounts.

Bluehost's shared range is priced from $2.95 a month on the annual plan ($9.99 on renewal). This supports a single site and a lower than average 10GB storage, but the feature list scores free domain, free SSL, free CDN (Content Delivery Network), automated WordPress installation, a bundled website builder, and 24/7 support via live chat and telephone.

Upgrading to the other shared plans adds resources to improve speeds, and throws in some valuable extras. The top Pro plan ($13.95 a month billed annually, $28.99 on renewal) includes 100GB storage, supports unlimited websites, adds automated backups, domain privacy and a dedicated IP.

Whatever you choose, Bluehost offers top quality management tools. A well-designed custom control panel organizes account and hosting features, Softaculous reliably installs WordPress in barely a minute, and cPanel helps create email accounts, organize files, work with domains and more.

These are capable products, easy to manage, faster than most (more on that later) and powerful enough to handle many personal and small business sites.

But the plans are also more expensive than some, once the introductory deals end. The cheapest plans don't offer backups, and there are potential extra costs elsewhere. A free domain sounds great, for instance, but Bluehost’s above-average annual renewal fees ($18.99 for .com, $27.99 for, vs. $13.98 and $9.98 at Namecheap, for instance) mean you may pay more over time.

If it's important to make savings, consider Hostinger. The company's Premium shared hosting plan is priced similarly to Bluehost's cheapest plans, at $2.99 a month on the annual plan, $11.99 on renewal. It can't quite match Bluehost for management tools (no cPanel, no Softaculous), although its own control panels are still better than most. But it scores in other areas, with weekly backups, 100GB storage and support for 100 websites, and our performance tests found Hostinger and Bluehost deliver very similar speeds.

WordPress on all platforms

Bluehost offers WordPress hosting on all platforms (Image credit: WordPress)

WordPress hosting

WordPress is the world's leading website creation platform. It's not difficult for home users to learn, yet is also powerful enough to build and run powerful business sites, huge web stores and more.

Bluehost's $2.75 a month shared hosting plan can automatically install WordPress, and is fine if you just want to find out how the platform works. But it doesn't have many specialist WordPress features, and you can get similar plans from other hosts for less.

Bluehost's WP Pro range (from $19.95 a month over three years) extends your WordPress possibilities with premium themes to give your site a facelift, a staging environment for safer testing of website changes, and automatic WordPress updates. 

Additional hosting features include unlimited storage, support for unlimited sites, malware detection and daily scheduled backups. 

Business-friendly extras include marketing tools, site traffic analytics and SEO guidance, while the best plans include PayPal integration and a high-speed search tool.

This is a nicely-judged mix of features, with plenty of appeal for the target small business audience. But if you're looking to save money, and don't need Bluehost's business tools, HostGator's managed WordPress tools include free migration, domain, backups and malware scanning, and are priced from $5.95 a month on the three-year plan ($9.95 on renewal.)

Elsewhere, IONOS scores for its array of WordPress plans. Casual users can have a surprisingly capable plan for $0.50 a month in year one ($8 on renewal); at the top of the range, the $120 Agency plan offers speedy VPS hosting for up to ten demanding business sites, and there are plenty of mid-range options in between.

VPS hosting homepage on Bluehost

(Image credit: Bluehost)

VPS hosting

VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting is a scheme where a physical server is divided up into individual server environments. There are far fewer accounts on a server than you'll see with shared hosting, and your VPS doesn't have to share its resources with other sites. That's a real performance plus, and while some shared hosting plans might struggle with 10,000 visitors a month, a good VPS can usually handle hundreds of thousands. 

Bluehost has three VPS plans. The simplest gives you 2 CPU cores, 2GB RAM, 30GB storage, 1TB bandwidth and a cPanel/WHM license for $19.99 a month over three years, $29.99 on renewal. At the top of the range, a 4 core, 8GB RAM, 120GB storage and 3TB bandwidth setup is priced at $59.99 a month over three years, $119.99 on renewal.

There's nothing wrong with these systems, and we found that they deliver decent performance for most small and mid-range sites. But three plans doesn’t give you a lot of choice. 

On CPU cores, for instance (a measure of processor power), some providers have VPS plans ranging from one to 24 or even 32 cores. Bluehost’s two to four core plans will work for some, but there’s no way it can begin to satisfy everyone (and there are no ways to reconfigure the plans to suit more demanding users, either.)

IONOS' VPS plans are mostly for experienced users who know what they're doing, but they’re built to address a far wider audience than Bluehost. Prices range from a very basic 1 core, 512MB server for $2 billed monthly, up to an 8 core, 24GB RAM setup from only $24 a month for the first six months, $45 on renewal. 

But if you're not sure what you want, check out Hostwinds. VPS plans range from $4.99 a month for a 1 core, 1GB setup, to $395.24 for a hugely powerful 16 core, 96GB system with the power to run almost everything. Windows hosting is available if you need it, and most plans have some customization options to help ensure they suit your needs.

Bluehost cPanel

A full-featured cPanel setup is stuffed with web management features (Image credit: Bluehost)

Dedicated hosting

Selecting a dedicated hosting package gets you the maximum resources and control: an entire web server, for your use only. No more sharing, no more unexpected slowdowns because another user's site is busy, just consistent high speeds, day and night.

Bluehost has a tiny range of only three dedicated hosting plans. They're very similar, too. 

The Starter plan features a 4 core, 2.3GHz CPU, 4GB RAM, 2x500GB storage and 5TB bandwidth/month server for $79.99 a month over three years ($119.99 on renewal). 

The high-end Premium plan has a 4 core, 3.3GHz CPU, 16GB RAM, 2x1TB storage and 15TB bandwidth/month setup for $119.99 a month over three years ($209.99 on renewal.)

These plans are fairly priced, and should provide decent performance for your latest high-powered, speed-critical web projects. But as with the VPS range, they only cover a very small part of the market, and there many other needs Bluehost doesn't address.

IONOS has budget dedicated servers for experienced users from under $50, for instance.

Liquid Web's dedicated range is all about features and power. Its cheapest dedicated server (from $169 a month) is more capable than Bluehost's best, and these go up to dual CPU, 32-core, 64GB RAM monsters that can handle the most demanding of web tasks.

Alternatively, consider InMotion Hosting. It's a little more expensive than Bluehost, but has more plans, managed and unmanaged options, flexible billing (1, 3, 6, 12 months) and more, just some of the reasons it's top of the list in our Best Dedicated Hosting guide.

Bluehost website builder dashboard

Bluehost website builder dashboard (Image credit: Bluehost)

Does Bluehost have a website builder?

Bluehost offers a low cost WordPress website builder, with plans covering everything from small personal blogs to medium-sized business sites and even some capable web stores.

The reasonably-priced starter plan ($2.95 a month in year one, $10.99 on renewal) includes 300+ templates, prebuilt designs for various industries and site types, and a drag-and-drop editor to easily add pictures, text, videos, forms and other blocks to your page.

The plan doesn't include backups, and adding them bumps up the price by $2.99 a month. But there's a bonus in support for hosting unlimited websites (many budget WordPress plans limit you to one).

Worthwhile business-friendly extras include contact forms, social media sharing, and social review integration (show Google, Yelp and other customer reviews of your business directly on the site). Expert-level editing options include CSS editing, a powerful way to customize the site and make it suit your precise needs.

A couple of higher plans include a web store and various e-commerce options, and are priced from $9.95 to $12.95 in year one, $14.99 to $24.95 on renewal.

Bluehost's website builder is probably overkill if you're just looking for an easy way to create a simple family site. But if you're building something for a business, or you'd like more configuration and editing options, it's an appealing choice. 

HostGator's Gator website builder is also worth considering for its ease of use, and the support for a tiny web store in even the cheapest plan. Alternatively, if it's power you're after, try Wix. It has more templates, more features, just more of everything, and you can try it for free, no credit card required.

WooCommerce online stores with Bluehost

(Image credit: Bluehost)

Can you build a web store with Bluehost?

The Bluehost website builder offers a simple and low-cost route to building a web store, as we've discussed above.

The company also has a couple of WooCommerce hosting plans with even more features. (WooCommerce is a powerful WordPress plugin which gives access to every ecommerce feature you're ever likely to need.)

The Standard plan gets you payment processing and unlimited products for a reasonable $12.95 a month in year one, $24.95 on renewal.

Bluehost's Premium plan is the highlight here. Spending $24.95 a month ($39.95 on renewal) adds more product listing options, allows customers to make reservations or appointments, adds support for selling subscriptions, automatically calculates sales tax by country, and more. There's also a 'Plugin Bundle', which Bluehost says 'includes access to over $200 in top WooCommerce plugins.'

If you're a Bluehost fan (or a current customer), its WooCommerce plans provide a capable way to build a quality web store. But otherwise, there's not much here to justify choosing these plans ahead of other provider's WooCommerce hosting.

Consider InMotion Hosting for a wider range of WooCommerce plans, with more features and performance-boosting tweaks. A2 Hosting goes further, with optimized Magento and OpenCart software. But as we mentioned above, if you're just learning the basics, HostGator's Gator website builder supports a 3-product web store from $3.84 a month.

Bluehost performance overview

(Image credit: K61)

How fast is Bluehost? 

Performance matters in web hosting, even for the cheapest of plans. A slow site, regularly down, could be worse than having no website at all.

We measure uptime by first creating a test WordPress site on a shared hosting plan, then using the monitoring service to access it every five minutes for 14 days and log what happens.

Bluehost managed a perfect 100% uptime. We expect that for a short test, but it doesn't always happen: four of our last 15 providers had some downtime during the monitoring period.

We check website performance by using GTmetrix to load a test WordPress page, then measure how long it takes to load the main content of a page (a figure known as Largest Contentful Paint, or LCP). A low LCP is good news, as it means your website appears snappier and more responsive to visitors.

Bluehost's LCP was only 0.603 seconds, earning it second place in our last 15 tests, and noticeably ahead of budget providers including (1.5 seconds) and iPage (1.6 seconds).

Occasional download speed tests are important, but they don't tell you how a server performs when it has several visitors accessing your site at the same time. To measure performance under load, we use k6 to unleash 20 users on our site simultaneously, and watch how it copes. Bluehost's were mid-range but acceptable, with our site handling an average 15 requests per seconds.

These results are positive, and put Bluehost towards the top of our shared hosting performance rankings. But keep in mind that we only ran tests on a single shared hosting plan; if you're looking at a VPS plan, dedicated hosting or anything else, you may see very different results.

Web account control panel on Bluehost

Web account control panel on Bluehost (Image credit: Bluehost)

How easy is Bluehost to use? 

Bluehost's account control panel is a good-looking web home which makes it simpler than most to get started on your site.

WordPress comes preinstalled, for instance, no need to do it yourself. Handy shortcuts to 'Customize your design' or 'Write your first blog post' allow you to immediately begin work on your site, even if you've never used WordPress before. Alternatively, if you're more experienced, you can access the regular WordPress dashboard with a click.

Clicking 'Advanced' on the Bluehost sidebar gives you access to cPanel. Whether you're looking to create email accounts, upload or manage files, work with databases or find out how your site traffic has been this month, there are tools to help here.

Although Bluehost installs WordPress by default, it's not your only option. CPanel also includes Softaculous, a top-notch automated installer which can set up forums, ecommerce website builders, social networking platforms, wikis and hundreds of other apps, usually with just a click or two.

Web hosting can be a complicated business, and even experts might struggle at times. But Bluehost's well-designed website and industry-standard tools score higher than most for both helping users find the features they need, and then providing all the functionality necessary to get the job done.

Bluehost support resources

Bluehost support resources (Image credit: Bluehost)

What is Bluehost's support like? 

Bluehost offers 24/7 support via its website, live chat and telephone. There's no ticket or email option, potentially a problem with ongoing issues as you may have to explain your problem all over again with every support session. (In one case, with a non-critical issue which was annoying but didn't affect our website, we've spent around six hours across seven support sessions, and it's still not been fixed.)

Bluehost's web knowledgebase has a huge range of detailed and helpful articles, neatly organized into sensibly-named categories: WordPress, Domains, Email, Control Panel and more.

The site doesn't always present these in the best order. Choose the WordPress category, for instance, and the first hit is the release notes for WordPress 5.0, which first appeared in 2018. That's not going to help anyone at all.

You can use keywords to search the database, though, which delivers marginally better results. But you'll find what you need, even if it does take a touch more scrolling and clicking than we'd like. And once you do, we found most articles do a great job of explaining their issues and pointing us to the best solutions.

Bluehost's live chat support seems well staffed; we've never waited more than a couple of minutes for an agent to appear, and usually it's much less.

The agents are friendly and helpful, and happy to stick with you for as long as it takes (we've had sessions of an hour or more.) They generally give very good advice for common issues, but that's not always the case with unusual problems. 

For example, when presenting agents with the issue ‘your dashboard has been displaying the same Setting Up Backups message for three weeks’, the agents focused entirely on workarounds for the issue (access backups from this menu instead) rather than addressing the root concern (an area of the dashboard isn’t working or useable.)

The lack of a ticket system can be a problem. On a couple of occasions, we had agents tell us they'd escalate the Setting Up Backups issue to admins to get it fixed. The issue wasn't fixed, but because there was no ticket, we had no quick way to follow up on the escalation promise and check what was going on. 

Bluehost's telephone support is also easy to use, and again, it connected us to an agent within a couple of minutes. He displayed more knowledge than the live chat team, did a better job of handling the Setting Up Backups question, and explaining to us how to perform a complex troubleshooting task.

Overall, Bluehost offers decent all-round support in most situations. We'd really, really, really like ticket support, but the current setup should help you solve most common problems without difficulty, and that's far better than we see with most of the competition.

Final verdict

The company’s tiny and not-very-configurable VPS and Dedicated plans mean Bluehost is less likely to work for the most demanding business users, but overall, Bluehost remains a quality provider who delivers faster, more reliable and better quality hosting than most of the competition.

Bluehost’s underpowered VPS and dedicated hosting plans mean it may not work for the largest and most demanding business-critical sites, but it excels everywhere else, with all the feature-packed shared, WordPress, website-building and ecommerce plans you need to build fast and reliable personal and small to medium business sites.

Bluehost FAQs

What payment types does Bluehost support?

Bluehost accepts payment via card only.

Does Bluehost offer refunds?

Buy a Bluehost hosting plan, or some add-on products and you're protected by a 30-day money-back guarantee. That's typical for the hosting world, although a few providers offer more: InMotion Hosting gives you 90 days, HostGator 45 days.

We noticed one or two minor issues. Bluehost doesn't offer refunds on SSL certificates, for instance; Hostinger does. But generally, this is a straightforward, catch-free guarantee which gives you exactly the protection you'd expect.

Bluehost's uptime graph

Bluehost's uptime (Image credit: Bluehost)

Does Bluehost have an uptime guarantee?

Bluehost doesn't quote any target uptime figure, or have any formal method of compensating you if your server is down for a lengthy period.

That's a little disappointing. Most providers quote uptime figures of at least 99.9%, some 99.99%, and say they'll give you credits if the service doesn't hit the mark.

These 'guarantees' don't always mean very much, though. The small print might say downtime doesn't count if it's due to 'unforeseeable circumstances', for instance, something which could be used to rule out almost anything.

Overall, we'd prefer a host to have an uptime guarantee, but if this doesn't happen, it's not a disaster. We'll look at our own and other measurements of uptime, instead, and in our experience Bluehost scores very well.

Where are Bluehost's data centers?

Bluehost has local data centers for its various regions - USA, India, China - but your site is automatically assigned to the nearest location when you sign up. Buy at and your website is hosted in Bluehost's USA data center, for instance; use and it's hosted in India.

For comparison, GoDaddy has data centers in North America, India, Singapore and Europe, and you're able to choose which data center to use for each hosting plan. That can be an advantage, as it gives you a better chance of hosting your website close to its main audience, improving download speeds.

Bluehost IP address

(Image credit: Bluehost)

What is my Bluehost IP address?

Finding your website server's IP address can be handy, especially if you need to point a domain hosted elsewhere to your website.

There's no single way to manage this on Bluehost - it depends on your product and control panel - but if your plan has access to cPanel, it only takes a moment.

Log into your Bluehost account dashboard (

Click Advanced in the left-hand sidebar.

Browse the General Information box on the right. The server IP address is displayed as 'Shared IP address.' (If you don't see a General Information box, look for and click a Server Information link).

Log into your Bluehost account screenshot

(Image credit: Bluehost)

What are Bluehost's nameservers?

Bluehost's nameservers are:

If you need more help, the support site has several useful articles on nameservers  and DNS 

Bluehost cancel and auto renewal page

(Image credit: Bluehost)

How do I cancel a Bluehost product?

Log into your Bluehost control panel (

Click the account icon top right (it'll have your initials in a circle) and select My Products.

Find the plan you'd like to cancel, click the More icon to its right (three dots in a vertical line) and select Renewal Options.

Choose Manual Renew and you won't be charged again. Your subscription will expire at the end of its term.

If you think there's a chance you might want to cancel a plan, make the decision as early as you can. Bluehost's auto-renewal scheme takes your money 15 days before the plan expires, so if you leave this to the last minute, there's a good chance you'll be too late.

Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 Chromebook review
6:05 pm | December 20, 2021

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

Two minute review

Spec Sheet

Here is the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 Chromebook configuration sent to TechRadar for review:
CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c Gen2 2.55GHz
Graphics: Qualcomm Adreno GPU
Screen: 13.3-inch 1920 x 1080p multitouch OLED, 400 nits
Storage: 128GB eMMC Flash storage
Ports: 2 x USB Type-C 3.2 Gen1, 1 x Pogo pin connector
Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.1
Camera (Front): 5MP RGB; (Rear) 8MP RGB w/ autofocus
Weight: 2.24lbs (1.02kg)
Size (W x H x D): 12.04 x 7.35 x 0.28 ins (305.86 x 186.74 x 7.23mm)
Battery: 42WHr w/ Rapid Charge

The Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 Chromebook remains one of the best laptops (and certainly the best Chromebook) you can buy, even now that it's three years old. It still offers a premium experience that many Chromebooks simply can't match - especially thanks to its gorgeous OLED display, which puts more expensive laptops to shame.

Because Chromebooks don't need as much power to run, they don't age as quickly as Windows 11 laptops, and that's especially true of the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 Chromebook, which launched with incredibly powerful specifications for a Chromebook, including 8GB of RAM, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c Gen2 chip and Wi-Fi 6 support. This made it a brilliant performer when it launched back in 2021, and that remains true today.

At 13.3-inches diagonally, the Duet 5 Chromebook's keyboard is much more like those found on Ultrabooks, which still don't have the most spacious keyboards, but are still much more accessible, and it has a much more comfortable keyboard that its predecessor, the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook.

At this size and with a 16:9 screen ratio, though, this is much more of a laptop that can operate as a tablet, as it is a bit unwieldy. This is in contrast to last year's 10.1-inch, 16:10 ratio model, which was a better tablet than a laptop, owing to the cramped keyboard.

The keys on the Duet 5 Chromebook keyboard aren't backlit, like its predecessor, and the keyboard itself is still pretty flimsy, also like its predecessor. 

The trackpad could also be better. Our fingers encountering enough friction to give us some uneven swiping and gesturing, but it's not bad enough that you can't get used to it and adjust the amount of pressure you're applying appropriately.

The other accessibility criticism we had of last year's Duet Chromebook – that the magnetic kickstand could be a pain to extend at times – still remains. 

A pullable tab or lanyard here could easily fix this deficiency, but it looks like we might have to wait until next year for a better design here (or, you can pick up Microsoft's Surface Adaptive Kit, which will work with any device, not just the Microsoft Surface Pro 8).

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Lenovo ThinkPad Duet 5 Chromebook

(Image credit: Future)
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Lenovo ThinkPad Duet 5 Chromebook

(Image credit: Future)
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Lenovo ThinkPad Duet 5 Chromebook

(Image credit: Future)
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Lenovo ThinkPad Duet 5 Chromebook

(Image credit: Future)
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Lenovo ThinkPad Duet 5 Chromebook

(Image credit: Future)

The magnetized backplate on Duet 5 Chromebook also has a small cutaway for a Lenovo Active Pen stylus to clip to the back, but the stylus isn't bundled with the device by default, and even when it is included it will cost extra.

Speaking of costs, one of the best things about last year's Duet Chromebook was its price. Starting at $279 / £279 / AU$424, the smaller Duet Chromebook was a fantastic value for the price.

This year's Duet 5 Chromebook is more expensive, starting at $429 ($499 as tested), and AU$799 in Australia. Unfortunately, the UK is in for a tough time as Duet 5 Chromebook starts at an eye-popping £899

We're hoping that this is only a temporary issue, and we've reached out to Lenovo for some context for the extraordinary price differential in the UK. We'll update this review if we hear back from the company. UK pricing aside, the increased price of the Duet 5 Chromebook isn't unexpected given its larger size and improve hardware.

In terms of improved hardware, we need to start with the display. Last year's Duet Chromebook was a 1,920 x 1,200 LCD IPS panel, which was outstanding for a 10.1-inch screen. 

The Duet 5 Chromebook is a step down in resolution to 1,920 x 1,080, but the panel is upgraded to OLED, making it exceptionally bright and vibrant. While both Duets are rated for 400 nits of brightness, the difference with an OLED display is simply incredible.

The OLED display alone more than justifies the increase in price, and the fact that it starts at only $429 in the US makes this a fantastic deal. Even when bumping up to the 8GB RAM configuration for $499, you still get a 13.3-inch 2-in-1 Chromebook with a 1080p OLED display for under $500, which is pretty much unheard of – and it's worth every penny.


Here is how the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 Chromebook performed in our suite of benchmark tests:
Kraken JavaScript: 1,845ms
Octane 2.0 JavaScript: 23,798
Jetstream 2: 83.4
Battery Life (TechRadar movie test): 16 hours 20 minutes

The display isn't the only thing that got an upgrade this year, with the Duet 5 Chromebook stepping up to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c Gen2 processor from the MediaTek P60T chip in last year's Duet Chromebook.

Both of these are high-efficiency ARM-based chips, so neither is going to pack the same kind of raw performance as an Intel Core i3 processor, which some of the beefier Chromebooks feature. 

The Snapdragon 7c Gen2 is still a huge improvement over the MediaTek P60T. The Snapdragon 7c Gen2 finished the Kraken JavaScript benchmark in 1,845ms, compared to the MediaTek P60T's time of 3,940ms. That's just better than twice as fast as last year's Duet Chromebook.

Still, the Snapdragon 7c Gen2 is lagging in terms of benchmarks vis a vis other Chromebooks, but it still felt reasonable snappy when we were actually using it. So unless you're really looking to directly compare the Duet 5 Chromebook against the Asus Chromebook Flip C536, Google Pixelbook, or the Acer Chromebook Spin 713, you're not likely to see any performance lag – though it will still be there.

Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 Chromebook

(Image credit: Future)

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Oura (Generation 3) review: An excellent, unobtrusive sleep tracker
7:06 pm | December 16, 2021

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

Two-minute review

The third-generation Oura ring might look like its predecessor, but inside there are some big upgrades that make it even better at tracking – and improving – your daily habits.

First, a little background: Oura is a smart ring, an emerging category but one Oura is top of. For now, at least. It's lined with sensors, which measure biometric data 24 hours a day, and uses it to help you strike the right balance of rest and activity. The fact that it’s a ring means you have to rely on its well-designed smartphone app when you want to check your stats, but also means that heart rate data is more accurate, as the blood vessels in your fingers are much closer to the surface than those in your wrist.

The latest Oura, released back in 2021, has a brand new optical heart rate sensor that now tracks data 24 hours a day meaning you can spot-check your pulse any time, and easily review changes over time. It also means the app has much more data to draw on when assessing your activity and recovery habits, making its guidance much more accurate and useful. It's our top choice for best sleep tracker, at least while we wait to see if the forthcoming Samsung Galaxy Ring can knock it off its perch, or perhaps an unannounced Oura Ring 4.

There’s a new SpO2 sensor, as well, which also benefits from being on your finger rather than your wrist, plus seven temperature sensors to track changes in skin temperature.

Oura (Third Generation) smart ring

(Image credit: Future)

The Oura app collects and analyzes all this data, but never gives you figures without context. No matter how far you drill down through the graphs and charts, there’s always a detailed explanation of how it was calculated, what it means, and what action you can take to improve your rest/activity balance. Your heart rate variability is lower than usual, which means you may be stressed – perhaps consider a relaxation session. You got to bed on time, but had less REM sleep than you should – consider cutting back on the caffeine.

Along with the latest ring, Oura has also introduced a subscription plan, which will give you access to extra tools and insights for a monthly fee. The ring comes with a six-month trial, and existing Oura users who decide to upgrade will get free lifetime membership.

Before you place your order though, you should know that some of the ring’s most interesting features have yet to launch. Automatic workout tracking, for example, isn’t yet available to Android users, and the ability to track your heart rate during exercise is scheduled to arrive in early 2022. Most of Oura’s member-only features are still in development too.

Oura (Third Generation) smart ring

(Image credit: Future)

Price and release date

  • Released November 2021
  • Same price as second-gen Oura ring
  • Optional membership subscription

The third-generation Oura was released on November 16 2021, and costs $299 (about £230 / AU$420). That’s the same as the starting price of the second-generation ring, but this time there’s no premium diamond-set version available. The ring can only be bought direct from Oura, but worldwide shipping is available.

The price of the ring includes a six-month Oura membership. Once that expires, you’ll need to pay $5.99 (about £4.50 / AU$8) per month to maintain your subscription if you want to keep access to premium features. If you’re upgrading from a second-gen Oura ring, you’ll get lifetime membership for free.

For comparison, Apple Fitness Plus costs $9.99 / £9.99 / AU$14.99 per month, and Fitbit Premium is $9.99 / £7.99 / AU$15.49. These both offer a lot more features than Oura’s membership plan, but they’re also much more established; the Oura subscription service has only just launched, and should receive lots of extra tools over the coming months and years.

Oura (Third Generation) smart ring

(Image credit: Future)


  • Clean, simple look
  • Choice of four finishes
  • Updated shape

From the outside, the Oura looks like a simple metal band, but look closer and you’ll see that it’s lined with sensors that sit against your finger.

Before you order your ring, Oura will send you a set of plastic blanks so you can find the best size for your hand, and get used to how it’ll feel to wear the device during everyday activities. Oura advised us that, unlike the second-gen model, the sensors in the new ring works best when worn on a finger rather than your thumb. Thankfully, it’s smooth and comfortable, which is important for a device that you’ll be wearing all day and all night.

Oura (Third Generation) smart ring

(Image credit: Future)

It comes in four colors (metallic silver, black, or gold, and a matt black finish called ‘stealth’), and is completely plain except for a small flat section that sits on top of your finger, and is reminiscent of a signet ring. This is a new feature for the third-gen ring, and gives its designers a tiny bit of extra space for its internal components. It’s no heavier than its predecessor though, and still weighs between four and six grams.

Its charger is a simple black plastic stand that connects to a USB cable, with a white LED that illuminates when the ring is connected.


  • Upgraded heart rate sensor
  • Seven temperature sensors
  • New SpO2 sensor

One of the biggest benefits of a smart ring over a watch is that the blood vessels in your fingers are closer to the skin than those in your wrist, which should result in more accurate heart rate measurements. It therefore makes sense that the biggest upgrade to the Oura 3 is a new optical heart rate sensor, which now measures your pulse 24 hours a day.

The second-gen Oura excelled at tracking your wellbeing while you sleep, but constantly measuring your heart rate during waking hours as well means that there’s much more data for the app to draw upon in order to assess your activity, wellbeing, and recovery.

Oura (Third Generation) smart ring

(Image credit: Future)

The new ring also has seven skin temperature sensors, which allow it to measure changes in your baseline temperature that could be caused by exercise, stress, or your menstrual cycle to predict your period more accurately than a simple calendar. Period prediction is currently in beta for iOS users, and should be rolling out for Android in the near future.

The final addition to the ring is an SpO2 sensor, which tracks blood oxygen saturation throughout the night. Like the heart rate sensor, this benefits from being against your finger due to the closer proximity of blood vessels to the skin’s surface, so its readings should be more accurate than those from a watch.


  • Long-term use gives more accurate results
  • Data clearly presented and explained
  • Workout tracking is a work in progress

First of all, it’s important to note that you’ll need to use the Oura ring for at least a couple of weeks in order to establish baseline habits – and the longer you use it, the more accurate and useful its reports will be.

Like its predecessors, the third-gen Oura is designed to help you strike the right balance of activity and rest, keeping moving enough to maintain and improve your fitness, while getting enough sleep and quiet time to recharge for the next day.

The ring connects to the Oura smartphone app (available for Android and iOS), and your biometric data is synced automatically throughout the day. All your stats are presented clearly in a nicely designed dashboard, and you can browse through more in-depth analysis by tapping on three categories: readiness, sleep, and activity.

Oura (Third Generation) smart ring

(Image credit: Future)

Each day, you’ll be given a readiness score based on how well you’ve managed to balance activity and rest, and how much energy you have for the day ahead. This is a feature that Fitbit has recently added to its own app, though only for Fitbit Premiums subscribers, and Oura’s score takes more metrics into account.

Like most fitness trackers and smartwatches, Oura also gives you a sleep score when you wake (presented as a percentage and a semicircular chart so you can quickly check it at a glance first thing). This takes into account not just how long you spent asleep, and in which sleep stages (light, deep, and REM), but also factors including your heart rate and bedtime schedule.

Finally, the dashboard will present you with an activity goal, which you should aim to complete before the end of the day. You’ll be told how many calories you should aim to burn through activity based on your age, gender and daily readiness, and the app will estiamte roughly how long you should spend walking to achieve this. More intense activities like running or cycling will fill the activity progress bar faster.

Over the first few days and weeks, Oura will build up a picture of your activity and sleeping habits, plus baselines for your temperature and heart rate. The app can then identify and interpret any deviations from these norms.

Oura (Third Generation) smart ring

(Image credit: Future)

Rather than simply presenting this as raw data, the Oura app processes it in various interesting ways that help you understand your daily habits. For example, delving into your heart rate data will allow you to see something called ‘restorative time’ – periods during the day when both your body and mind are recharging. This is calculated using not just your heart rate, but also the temperature of your hands; if your hands are relatively warm and your heart rate is low, it’s likely that you’re taking some time to relax.

In our tests, we were particularly impressed by the ring’s ability to differentiate between time spent in bed and time spent actually asleep; something many dedicated sleep trackers struggle with. We also appreciated its ability to detect naps. Many fitness trackers fail to tell the difference between a few minutes of rest during the day and a full night’s sleep, and award you a low score if you take a quick siesta in the afternoon. Oura identifies naps, prompts you to confirm them in the app, and integrates them into its analysis of your sleeping patterns. Naps will also be factored into your daily readiness score – and if you’re not sleeping well at night, you may be encouraged to avoid them later in the day.

We found that activity detection seemed to be the Oura ring’s weakest point. The new all-day heart rate tracking appeared to accurately reflect changes in exercise intensity, but we would sometimes receive notifications that we’d achieved our daily activity goal while doing something like cooking, or even brushing our hair.

Oura (Third Generation) smart ring

(Image credit: Future)

Oura rolled out automatic workout detection for iOS users in February 2021, but this feature doesn’t yet seem to have reached Android. The app will detect if you’ve completed some intense activity, and will count it towards your daily goal, but if you want to get specific you’ll need to enter the workout details yourself. To do that, tap the plus icon on the main dashboard and enter the time you began, the type of activity, and the duration. The app will then calculate the calorie burn and factor the exercise into your daily metrics.

Hopefully automatic workout detection will arrive on Android before long – and it should be quite refined when it does. Each time the iOS app identifies a workout, it will prompt the user to report back on whether or not it was accurate, helping to fine-tune the algorithm.

In early 2022, Oura is also planning to introduce a feature that will allow you to track your heart rate during workouts, and get insights into your exercise after you’ve finished. We’ve few details at the time of writing, but a preview of the tool shows a map of a running route, so the tool will presumably use your phone’s GPS chip to track your location.

Member benefits

  • Sleep sounds available in the app
  • Lots more content on the way

The Oura app received a major upgrade to coincide with the launch of the third-generation ring, and now contains several extra tools for paid-up members. Right now these are mostly sleep and relaxation aids, but the company promises that subscribers can look forward to “an ever-growing suite of features, insights, personalized recommendations, guided audio sessions, science-based educational content, and more.”

In short, it sounds very much like a new competitor to the likes of Fitbit Premium, Apple Fitness Plus, and the recently launched Amazon Halo Fitness service.

To get a taste of things to come, tap the menu button at the top left of the Oura app, and you’ll see a list of additional options including ‘Sleep sounds’. These are guided meditation sessions and relaxing stories to help you wind down before bed, or whenever you want to chill out. The selection is quite small at the time of writing, with three meditations and three stories, but each one is very nicely presented, and can be accompanied by a soothing background sound like white noise, waves, or rainfall. It’s a strong start, and we’re looking forward to seeing what else Oura adds over the coming months for subscribers.

First reviewed December 2021

Oura (Third Generation) smart ring

(Image credit: Future)

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Lightspeed POS review: Pros & Cons, Features, Ratings, Pricing and more
4:44 pm | December 15, 2021

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

View offers at Lightspeed here

Lightspeed is a Canadian point of sale (POS) and e-commerce software vendor. The company was founded in 2005 to provide POS systems to online and physical retailers and has grown rapidly since its launch. In 2014, it began providing payment solutions for the hospitality industry.

Lightspeed’s operations are divided into four main divisions; Retail, eCommerce, OnSite, and Restaurant. The company currently serves over 160,000 customers and processed tens of billions of dollars worth of transactions last year. It brought in over $600 million in net revenue in the same period. 

In 2021, Lightspeed changed its formal name from Lightspeed POS, Inc to Lightspeed Commerce Inc. This name change reflected its strategic shift from point-of-sale systems to broader online and brick-and-mortar commerce tools. The company is headquartered in Montreal, Canada. 

Competitor products include AirPOS, Shopify, EposNow and Square POS.

Read next 💡

Hike POS hardware with monitor, card reader and receipt printer

(Image credit: Hike)

Wondering what the best POS systems for small businesses, and best POS for retail are? 

We've written all about how to choose the right POS system for your business, and 9 inspiring ideas on how to use POS system customer data to help you get the most from your point of sale solution. 

Lightspeed's iPad and desktop solutions

Lightspeed's iPad and desktop solutions (Image Credit: Lightspeed)

Lightspeed POS: Plans and pricing

Lightspeed offers different pricing for its point-of-sale systems to physical retailers and restaurants. Besides, it’s unlike other systems where you pay one-time for the hardware. Lightspeed requires an ongoing monthly subscription if you want to use its POS system, and you’ll have access to the software as long as you renew your monthly subscription.

There are four plans both for retailers and restaurants:


Lean: $89 per month. This plan gives you access to the POS software and an integrated payments processing solution.

Standard: $149 per month. Everything in the Lean plan plus software tools for accounting and setting up an online store.

Advanced: $269 per month. Everything in the Standard plan plus advanced reporting & analytics tools and loyalty plans for customers.

Enterprise: Custom pricing (contact the sales team for a quote). You can get personalized consultation services, an assigned customer support staff, and negotiate your transaction fees.


Essentials: $69 per month. A customizable POS system, menu manager, floor plan manager, advanced reporting, integrated payments, and several other features that make running a restaurant easier.

Plus: $189 per month. Everything in the Essentials plan plus an online ordering system, order at pay and table system, contactless payments, cloud-based monitoring, and multi-location management.

Pro: $399 per month. Everything in the Plus plan plus raw API access to customize the payments experience.

Enterprise: Custom pricing (contact sales team). A personalized hardware and software system, unlimited consultation services, and a dedicated support team.

The fee for processing payments is a separate 2.6% + 10¢ for every successful card transaction.

Restaurant pricing

Lightspeed Restuarant pricing (Image Credit: Lightspeed)

Lightspeed POS: Features


Lightspeed does not have its own special hardware system, unlike many other POS vendors. You can use it with an iPad or buy POS hardware from Verifone; e285, P400, or 400m. You'll also need to buy other individual accessories such as a receipt printer, cash drawer, and barcode scanner. For convenience, Lightspeed offers a hardware kit that includes an iPad stand, kitchen printer, receipt printer, and cash drawer; you just need an existing iPad.

Using an iPad or off-the-shelf POS hardware saves significant costs, unlike many other POS providers that require you to buy or rent their specialized hardware that can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. You can even use hardware from different brands, while Lightspeed focuses on providing point-of-sale software.

Payments Processing

Lightspeed offers its own solution that enables you to receive payments from customers' cards. There’s no setup fee and the system is easy to set up. Once it’s up and running, you’re free to accept payments from all major debit and credit cards. The pricing is simple; 2.6% + 10¢ for every successful transaction.

Depending on your plan, you can get access to other tools that help you manage and report sales. For example, you can integrate the payment system with your accounting software to automatically record every sale instead of doing that manually. You can also monitor your sales reports in real time from any device (as long as you have the correct login details).

If you run a restaurant, you can set the POS system to split bills among groups and allow each individual to pay at different times. You can set the prices of items beforehand and just select the items that the customer chooses to automatically calculate the price. These extra features make Lightspeed an ideal POS solution for retailers and restaurants.

eCommerce Tools

Some pricing plans also give you access to Lightspeed’s tools for setting up an online store. You can create a professional online store, add inventory, and collect payments from customers with ease. You can even connect your website to social media platforms and other online marketplaces to get sales.

Lightspeed's POS software running on an iMac and iPad (Image Credit: Lightspeed)

Lightspeed's POS software running on an iMac and iPad (Image Credit: Lightspeed)

Lightspeed POS: Interface and use

Lightspeed offers a lot of good features, but one of the major complaints we observed is that the platform has a clunky interface. Truly, Lightspeed isn’t as user-friendly as many other POS software vendors, owing in part to having many features that you might find difficult to navigate. However, it’s not impossible to adapt and become used to the platform.    

Lightspeed order on an iPad (Image Credit: Lightspeed)

Lightspeed order on an iPad (Image Credit: Lightspeed)

Lightspeed POS: Support

Lightspeed offers customer support through email, telephone, and live chat. The company has different telephone support lines depending on the country you’re calling from. Email response is quick (under 24 hours) and so is live chat. Customers often praise Lightspeed for having stellar customer support.  

Lightspeed mobile card reader (Image Credit: Lightspeed)

Lightspeed mobile card reader (Image Credit: Lightspeed)

Lightspeed POS: The competition

Stripe and Clover are two popular competitors with Lightspeed’s POS system. Unlike Lightspeed, Stripe lets you purchase hardware one-time and you don’t pay any recurring subscription fees. Its transaction fees are slightly more expensive; 2.7% + 5 cents.

Clover requires a monthly subscription fee just like Lightspeed. But, you can get much lower transaction fees (2.4% + $0.10) depending on the plan you pick.

Lightspeed POS: Final verdict

Lightspeed is a good point-of-sale system that we’ll recommend to every retailer or hospitality business. It is easy to set up and makes accepting payments as easy as possible. However, beware of some slight drawbacks such as a clunky interface.    

Further reading

You may also like our articles on the best POS systems for restaurants and best POS for food trucks, or 9 inspiring ideas on how to use POS system customer data.

Shopify POS Review: Pros & Cons, Features, Ratings, Pricing and more
4:35 pm |

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

Shopify may need no introduction because it is the most popular e-commerce software vendor globally. The company was founded in 2006 by an entrepreneur named Tobias Lütke who struggled to build an online store for snowboarding equipment and set out to build his own e-commerce software to make it easier. Observing that the software was good, he switched his focus from building an online store to providing tools for retailers that needed to build one.

Shopify’s e-commerce software has enjoyed paralleled growth and garnered millions of customers across the globe. By 2016, the company had nearly $400 million in annual revenue, and that figure exploded to $4.6 billion by 2021 after the Covid pandemic spurred an online retail boom.

Shopify forayed into point-of-sale systems in 2017 by releasing a Bluetooth-enabled debit and credit card reader for brick-and-mortar stores. Since then, it has built more POS products and turned them into a major source of revenue. The company is based in Ottawa, Canada.

Read next

Shopify POS

Shopify's wide range of plans (Image Credit: Shopify) (Image credit: Shopify)

Shopify POS: Plans and pricing

Shopify offers two point-of-sale plans; Lite and Pro. Lite is included for every user who has an existing Shopify plan, while Pro costs $89 per month per location in addition to the cost of the Shopify plan. 

The three main Shopify plans you can choose from include;

Basic: $39 per month, or $29 per month billed annually. This plan gives you access to basic reports, 2 staff accounts, and up to 1,000 inventory locations.

Shopify: $105 per month, or $79 per month billed annually. This plan provides 5 staff accounts, professional reports, and up to 1,000 inventory locations.

Advanced: $399 per month, or $299 per month billed annually. This plan provides 5 staff accounts, professional reports, and up to 1,000 inventory locations. This plan includes 15 staff accounts, a custom report builder, and up to 1,000 inventory locations.

As for point-of-sale transaction fees, each plan comes with a different structure;

- Basic: 2.7% 

- Shopify: 2.5%

- Advanced: 2.4%

Note that Shopify lets you try each plan for just $1 per month for three months before paying the full price. 

To accept payments, you must buy a Shopify card reader or a full terminal known as POS Go (this cost is one-time and includes a 1-year warranty). POS Go costs $399 or $429 including a pouch for the device. The card reader costs $49 and an extra $39 if you want a dock.

Shopify POS features

Shopify delivers a fantastic user experience on its POS app (Image credit: Shopify POS)

Shopify POS: Features


The POS Go is an all-in-one terminal that includes a card reader and barcode scanner. You can use the scanner to automatically detect the price of an item and the card reader to receive the money from the customer. This device accepts tap, chip, and swipe payments. It has a 5.5-inch high-definition display and a long battery life to ensure you can use it for a whole business day after a full charge.

The smaller card reader lets you accept tap and chip payments from customers but not swipe. It connects wirelessly to a tablet or via Bluetooth to a mobile phone. It is compact and easy to handle, meaning it is suitable for businesses that operate on the go, e.g., farmer's markets.

Shopify Payments

Shopify offers a payments processing solution that lets you charge money to all major debit and credit cards. Your customers can insert their cards, tap them, or swipe them depending on the type of hardware you chose. There's also Tap to Pay, which lets you accept payments on your iPhone without any additional hardware. The pricing is transparent -- between 2.4% and 2.7% on each successful transaction -- with no hidden fees or setup fees.

Inventory Management

One of the major pain points that retailers face is managing their inventory; knowing which products are available at a given time and the prices for each of them. The good thing is that Shopify provides features to help.

You can take stock of each item and assign products to different locations and channels using Shopify's software. You can also perform accurate inventory counts with your barcode scanner after receiving goods. You can set the system to alert you if an item is running out of stock or to provide sale item suggestions. Likewise, you can get detailed reports to track your sales; what products are selling faster, what products aren’t selling, which products should be restocked, etc. 

Shopify POS interace and use

You can also purchase additional POS hardware if needed (Image credit: Shopify POS)

Shopify POS: Interface and use

One of Shopify’s main selling points is its intuitive and visually-appealing interface. Despite packing so many features, Shopify’s developers managed to design and build an app that’s easy to navigate. The interface is minimal, uncluttered, and looks appealing to both you and your customers. You’ll likely find it easy to set up Shopify’s point-of-sale system and use it routinely.    

Shopify's point of sale software ease of use is undoubtedly its greatest strength. 

Providing sufficient performance and user friendliness can be a difficult balancing act, but it’s one Shopify POS pulls off commendably. 

You get a free 14 day trial without having to hand over your company credit card details, so you can see just how easy it is to do business with. During the trial, you're offered a user dashboard with a friendly intro video giving you a guide to the POS platform. 

The dashboard is intuitive and allows you to handle basic tasks with locations, additional products, taxes, payments and set up systems. On the left hand column, you can view some of your key data such as orders, customers, discounts and any marketing activity. 

Shopify POS: Support

Shopify offers direct support through email, live chat, and telephone. You can contact the company’s support team at anytime and expect a quick response. There’s also an official Help Center where you can access articles and user guides on setting up and using Shopify’s POS system. Likewise, there’s an official forum to interact with other Shopify users and exchange solutions to each other’s problems. 


A business owner using Shopify POS to complete a transaction (Image Credit: Shopify)

Shopify POS: The competition

There’s no shortage of POS systems rivaling Shopify’s. Stripe and Clover are two popular competitors. Stripe has higher transaction fees but you don’t need to pay any recurring subscription fee after buying the hardware, unlike with Shopify. Clover has much more expensive hardware than Shopify but similar transaction fees. 

Other competitors include AirPOS, EposNow and Square POS.

Shopify POS: Final verdict

Shopify’s point-of-sale system is one of the best that we’ve seen so far. You’ll hardly find another POS system that is this intuitive and offers so many features. The main drawback is that Shopify is much more expensive than the competition; you’ll first need a Shopify susbcription then an extra $89 per month per location if you want all point-of-sale features. 

We've rated the best merchant services.

Kobo Libra 2 review
9:45 am |

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

Kobo Libra 2: Two-minute review

When it was announced back in October 2021, the Kobo Libra 2 didn't seem like much of an upgrade over the Libra H2O, at least on paper. However, what little changed made the ereader an absolute winner, particularly when it comes to value for money. And it remains so even after all this time and newer models having been released since.

In the time since its launch, Kobo has quietly increased the price of most of its current ereader models, but at launch the Libra 2 was almost the same price as the H2O – just $10 / £10 / AU$10 more in fact. However, the features the Libra 2 boasts still makes it worthwhile despite the price rise.

The Kobo Libra 2 uses the E Ink Carta 1200 screen that's still being used on newer models, 32GB internal storage, Bluetooth connectivity for listening to audiobooks via wireless headphones, and a USB-C charging port. That puts the Libra 2 in direct competition with Amazon’s 2021 edition of the Kindle Paperwhite, but the asymmetric design that allows you to use the Libra 2 single-handed just adds to its appeal.

Out of all those updates, the addition of audiobook support is arguably the headline feature. It’s taken Kobo a long time to catch up with Amazon in this regard, but Kobo fans can finally have their favorite titles read to them, as long as the audiobook has been purchased from the Kobo Store. Since the launch of the Libra 2, every other Kobo ereader has boasts Bluetooth support.

Additionally, Kobo has opened up its ebook and audiobook subscription service to more markets outside of Canada and select European countries but, at the time of writing, Kobo Plus has been made available in Australia and New Zealand, not in the US or the UK. Where available, you can sign up directly from the Libra 2’s home screen, giving you instant access to thousands of titles in digital or audio format.

Kobo has upped the internal storage capacity of its mainstream ereader, bumping it up from 8GB to a whopping 32GB (taking a leaf out of the Kobo Elipsa playbook). Another significant improvement over older ereaders is the replacement of the Micro-B charging port to a USB-C option, which has now become the norm across all ereaders. While that makes topping up the battery – which is a higher capacity compared to the Libra H2O – remarkably quick, it slows down dramatically after about 92%, which is our only complaint about the ereader.

There are some minor design changes to the Libra 2 as compared to its predecessor, but nothing to write home about. The thicker bezel has a cleaner look as the crease (found between the page-turn buttons and the screen) on the Libra H2O has been removed, and the new device is just a smidge bigger.

Despite the millimeter difference in size, the screen is still the same 7 inches of the Libra H2O, but is a touch more responsive because of the latest E Ink Carta technology. The difference in responsiveness between the older Libra and the new is minuscule, but if you’ve been using any other older Kobo, the Libra 2 is definitely worth the upgrade just in terms of performance and storage.

All the other Kobo perks are onboard, of course – a much wider file format support compared to the Kindles, a more streamlined user interface and, importantly, baked-in OverDrive and Pocket support.

Take all these individual ingredients, stir them into a single device and you’ve got the winning recipe for the best bang-for-buck ereader, despite the price hike. All we need now from Kobo is an ereader with a color display.

Audiobook player on the Kobo Libra 2

Audiobook support finally comes to Kobo ereaders (Image credit: TechRadar)

Kobo Libra 2 review: price and availability

  • Announced October 2021
  • Launch price of $179.99 / £159.99 / AU$279.99
  • Kobo Plus available in select markets

Kobo announced the global launch of the Libra 2 on October 6, 2021 for a price of $179.99 / £159.99 / AU$279.99. Since then, however, Kobo has upped the price tag to $189.99 / £169.99 / AU$299.99.

Despite the higher cost, the Kobo Libra 2 remains competitively priced, particularly when you take into account its storage capacity of 32GB. It's a lot cheaper than the 8GB Amazon Kindle Oasis’ $249.99 / £229.99 / AU$399 price tag, and even offers better value than the 2021 Kindle Paperwhite that will set you back $139.99 / £129.99 / AU$239 for 8GB of storage, a 6.8-inch display and no page-turn buttons. And it's priced well when compared to the 32GB Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition, but for $189 / £179 / AU$289, you are getting wireless charging on the premium Paperwhite model.

The Libra 2 is available to buy directly from the Kobo Store online or at major retailers worldwide.

The Libra 2 (and the Sage with it) debuted Kobo Plus, an ebook/audiobook subscription service to Australia and New Zealand for AU$13.99 / NZ$14.99 / CA$9.99. There’s no word yet on Kobo Plus availability in the US or UK, but it has been available in Canada since 2019 and The Netherlands, Belgium and Portugal since 2020.

Comic frames Kobo Libra 2 in landscape orientation

The Kobo Libra 2 lets you read horizontally (landscape orientation) or vertically (portrait orientation) (Image credit: TechRadar)

Kobo Libra 2 review: design and display

  • Minor design tweaks
  • E Ink Carta 1200 display
  • USB-C port

Amazon might have been the one to pioneer the asymmetric design now shared by several ereaders, but Kobo seems to have embraced it completely. Out of the eight ereaders in its current catalog (the Libra H2O is still available in some markets), four have the page-turn buttons that make single-hand use so easy – clearly Kobo means for that design to stay and we’re all for it.

That design, though, has undergone a slight refinement. In the Libra H2O, there was a crease clearly visible on the thicker bezel, which is no longer there on the Libra 2. Even the little recess between the two page-turn buttons on the Libra H2O is gone, instead giving the Libra 2 a slightly cleaner look despite the plastic chassis.

Speaking of bezels, the other three are oh-so-slightly bigger… by a millimeter or so. It’s hardly noticeable, but that means the Libra 2 has its own sleepcover range. It’s also marginally heavier than the Libra H2O, weighing 215g compared to 192g.

Kobo Libra 2 USB-C port

USC-B charging finally comes to Kobo (Image credit: TechRadar)

The charging indicator light – which also blinks when the device is being powered on – is now lower down the thicker bezel, sitting almost in a corner. And on the side of the thicker bezel, close to the indicator light, is the USB-C port. This replaces the Micro-B socket that was on the older Kobos and Kindles, and can be used for both charging the ereader and transferring files from a computer.

The rear is still textured, offering a very good grip, while the power button, which is still recessed but not as deeply as in the Libra H2O, is easier to press in the Libra 2 as compared to the older model.

Also still recessed is the screen on the Libra 2 as in the older ereader, not lying flush with the bezels as on the Kindle Oasis or the Kobo Sage.

The display is still 7 inches, but it’s the latest E Ink Carta 1200 screen that boasts a 20% increase in response time and 15% better contrast compared to the Carta HD display on the Libra H2O. In real-world use, that difference is marginal as compared to the older Libra model – likely because it uses the same 1GHz processor as the predecessor – but a significant improvement compared to the older models like the Kobo Forma or Kobo Clara HD. Screen resolution, however, remains at 300ppi, but the new screen tech adds a dark mode where white text appears on a black background.

Page-turn buttons on the Kobo Libra 2 and Libra H2O

The crease and recess between the page-turn buttons on the Libra H2O (right, in black) has been removed from the Libra 2 (left, in white) (Image credit: TechRadar)

The Libra 2 shares the patented ComfortLight Pro screen technology available on all Kobo ebook readers, comprising white and amber LEDs arranged along the bottom of the screen that project light evenly upwards. And ‘evenly’ is exactly how it works – there are no bright spots or shadow areas, not even a light gradient considering the frontlight is unidirectional.

As before, brightness can be adjusted on screen via a slider on the top menu bar or by sliding a finger along the display beside the thick bezel. There are no ambient light sensors aboard, but the ability to set the light temperature to change from cool to warm (or vice versa) depending on time of day is available – something that’s missing on the more expensive Kindle Oasis.

Black Kobo Libra H2O lying on top of white Libra 2

The Libra 2 (below) is just a teensy bit bigger than the Libra H2O (top) (Image credit: TechRadar)

Despite weeks of use of the white model of the Libra 2, we couldn’t see a single scuff mark or oily fingerprint. We’re unsure whether the black option holds up as well, but if the H2O was anything to go by, it would look just as clean unless your hands are particularly oily or sweaty.

The entire ereader can be submerged in a maximum of two meters of water for up to 60 minutes, thanks to its IPX8 certification. If you’ve got the skill to read underwater (an amazing skill indeed), you can easily do so in the pool – while the touchscreen won’t quite work because the water tends to interact with the display, the page-turn buttons will keep you going.

Comic frame on the Kobo Libra 2

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Kobo Libra 2 review: ebook and audiobook experience

  • Auto-rotates orientation
  • Easy Bluetooth setup
  • Sideloaded fonts supported

We’ve been massive fans of the Kobo experience here at TechRadar – the UX is clean and keeps on improving with each firmware release. The update that debuted with the Libra 2, however, moved the Wishlist tab from out of ‘Discover’ and nestled it under the ‘More’ tab on the home screen – we think it’s old spot under the Discover tab was better, but this is us just nitpicking, really, and it didn't take long to get used to it. 

It’s pretty hard to fault the reading experience of a Kobo, particularly one that can be oriented in either landscape or portrait mode, or locked into either orientation. No matter how you like to read, the text on screen rotates instantaneously. In similar fashion, page refreshes are clean and barely noticeable.

The screen renders copy in sharp lettering, with several font sizes to choose from. You can even change the font to any of the default options, or sideload your preferred ones without a hassle. 

Audiobook availability on the Kobo Libra 2

You can get audiobooks from the Kobo Store or, where available, from the Kobo Plus subscription service (Image credit: TechRadar)

It’s not just the font support that’s great here; file support has always been Kobo’s strong suit. 15 file formats are supported, including PDF, JPEG, GIF, TXT, HTML and the two comic fonts of CBZ and CBR.

While reading regular ebooks is an absolute pleasure on the Libra 2, comics can be a little difficult on the 7-inch screen. Depending on how the comic or graphic novel is laid out, some frames or speech bubbles can get cut off.

But no matter the file size, we never found the device to slow down, hang or lag.

If you’re a fan of dark modes on all your digital devices, then you’ll love the Libra 2. The Carta 1200 allows for a dark mode and you can set the tablet to display white on black by heading to the Reading Settings pane. This, however, only makes ebooks appear in inverted colors, not the home screen or the settings panes. Even the top menu options available by tapping on the screen will be in the usual black-on-white setup and not in dark mode.

It’s a similar situation with the auto-orientation as well – this works only for ebooks (in any format), but it does not change the orientation of the home screen, which is always in portrait mode. That’s really not much of an issue at all, but it’s well worth mentioning.

Audiobook stats on the Kobo Libra 2

Get audiobook stats while listening to your favorite titles (Image credit: TechRadar)

The latest screen tech hasn’t removed the issue of ‘ghosting’ though. This is where you can occasionally see a light image of the previous screen/page – particularly if there are pictures – overlaid on the current page. This is an issue with every E Ink screen we’ve seen and, to be honest, the overlay is so light, you’ll either get used to it really quickly (if you’ve never used an ereader before) or barely even notice it. 

When it comes to audiobooks, you can only listen to ones you’ve purchased from the Kobo Store. Some libraries might give you access to audiobooks, but if they’re in MP3 format, they won’t play on the Libra 2. This is the first time we’ve seen Kobo go against its claims about the openness of its ecosystem, but it’s also the first time the company has offered audiobook support, and we hope Kobo makes it more inclusive in future.

Pairing with Bluetooth headphones was remarkably easy for us – just like how you’d do it on a phone.

The controls available on the Libra 2 are the play/pause options and skipping 30 seconds back and forth. Like a chapter list on ebooks, there’s a track list as well, which corresponds to different chapters in the book, and you can select any of those if you wish to start in the middle. The audiobook control panel also gives you access to statistics on the titles you’ve listened to, including how long you’ve listened, how much is left and a graphical representation of the chapters.

Audiobooks continue to play if you put the screen to ‘sleep’ and you can use your headphones’ controls to play and pause too.

Dark mode on the Kobo Libra 2

The new E Ink screen allows for a dark mode on the Libra 2 (Image credit: TechRadar)

As with all Kobo ereaders, having OverDrive on the device means you’ll be able to borrow ebooks from a local library that supports the platform – all you need is a library card. This feature works in most countries that Kobo is officially available, unlike Kindles where borrowing library books is only for US customers.

For anyone who uses Pocket to save and read longform web articles offline can log into their account on the Libra 2 and use the tablet to read those articles. 

Kobo Libra 2 review: battery life

  • 1,500mAh capacity
  • Excellent battery life
  • Quicker charging than before... sort of

Another upgrade over the Libra H2O on the new model is the battery capacity – that’s been upped from 1,200mAh to a more generous 1,500mAh. On a single charge, we squeezed out an average of 54 hours of use, and that includes a mix of reading, listening and browsing the Kobo Store, plus with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi always on, screen brightness set at 15% at all times and pages set to refresh once per chapter. 

To put that number into perspective, that’s about seven weeks of use for anyone who reads about an hour a day. Even if you’re an avid reader and spend three or four hours a day reading and browsing the Kobo Store, you’ll still easily eke out three weeks or more, depending on how bright you like your screen to be and how often you've got page refreshes set up for (yes, that does consume battery). And that’s remarkable for an ereader.

Topping up the battery, however, is a different story – and a confusing one at that. In testing, we found the Libra 2 went from an almost empty battery to 92% in about 50 minutes (a significant improvement)... but then slowed way, way down. While 'trickle charging' a battery as it approaches its full state is theoretically a good thing for its health and lifespan, the sheer difference in speed was baffling: that last 8% often took up to an hour to complete.

Kobo Libra 2 battery indicator

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Another unexpected behavior is the battery percentage displayed on the device’s ‘sleep’ screen as soon as you plug in the charging cable – it shows you the percentage at the time you set up charging, then gets stuck there. It doesn’t update as the battery tops up and is rather misleading as it gives the impression that the Libra 2 isn’t charging at all. That’s exacerbated by the fact that the indicator light stops blinking a minute after the charging cable has been attached.

The only way to reliably know that the battery is being charged is to keep the screen on and tap on the battery icon. This brings up a box that displays the ‘estimated time remaining’. The timer ticks down to zero seconds at about the 92% mark, after which it just displays ‘charging from USB’ for the remaining 8% or thereabouts. So even the Libra 2 doesn’t seem sure whether its battery has topped up or not after a certain point.

We’re unsure whether this is a software glitch and fixable via a future firmware update, but these battery shenanigans don’t affect the performance of the Libra 2 in any way. You can continue using it while it’s charging, even listen to audiobooks. And, to be honest, even if you stop charging the ereader at 92%, there’s days, if not weeks, of battery life available for you to not really worry about it.

Should I buy the Kobo Libra 2?

Kobo Libra 2 in white on a table with books

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

[First reviewed December 2021]

Zoho Vault Review: Pros & Cons, Features, Ratings, Pricing and more
9:37 am | December 14, 2021

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

Zoho Vault is a business-focused password manager that fits into the wider ecosystem of Zoho products – a system that includes complete CRM platforms, collaboration apps, and high-end finance, HR, and IT management tools.

With that kind of pedigree, we’ve got high expectations for Zoho Vault, and the app’s list of features doesn’t disappoint. It’s got granular control for sharing and securing passwords across entire organizations, it integrates with popular apps like Gmail, Dropbox, and Microsoft 365, and it has every core feature you need for password security, making it one of the best business password managers.

Zoho Vault: Plans and pricing

Zoho Vault has four pricing plans, including a free tier and free 15-day trial of all the paid plans where you do not need to enter your card details. Zoho Vault Free is the only plan for personal use, with unlimited password storage and two-factor authentication (2FA). It can also generate strong passwords, supports mobile platforms, has browser extensions for major browsers, and integrates with the other Zoho apps.

The Standard plan costs an affordable $0.90 / £0.85 / AUD$1.50 user/month and includes all the features from the free plan. It adds secure password sharing between team members, centralized admin controls, cloud backup, and priority technical support. Even though this is on the lower end of the business plans, you can still do more advanced things like apply IP address restrictions.

Upgrading to the $4.50 / £4.50 / AUD$7 per user/month Professional plan adds user groups and password groups to easily perform batch actions like mass password changes. It also supports folder sharing, “Break the glass” for emergency access, and user access and activity reports. If you need command line interface, then this is where you’ll be at.

At the top tier is the Enterprise plan for $7.20 / £7 / AUD$10 per user/month which adds support for Active Directory, single sign-on (SSO) for cloud apps, and password event notifications. It also has help desk integration and support for custom branding.

The prices quoted are for those willing to pay annually, but click a tab on Zoho’s website and you can find pricing for rolling monthly subscriptions which cost a little bit more.

Zoho Vault account setup

(Image credit: Zoho)

Zoho Vault: Setup

Zoho Vault has mobile apps, but it’s a browser-based password manager at heart. Signing up takes seconds. You’re asked for a memorable master password or passphrase before getting access to your dashboard. Then you add your passwords, either manually or by importing them from another password manager.

Most of your employees will interact with Zoho Vault through the browser extension, and the majority of Zoho’s other products are best thought of as being accessible through the browser. The extension functions like a bare-bones version of the full Zoho Vault dashboard, and will automatically suggest passwords from Zoho Vault when it detects relevant sites. When they add a new password, Zoho Vault will ask whether to save it to the Vault. It also has a built-in password generator to make creating unique passwords a breeze. 

Zoho Vault: Interface and performance

If you need to share passwords between members of a team, Zoho Vault offers the granular control you need. Zoho Vault’s user management, permissions, and password policy features set it apart from personal password managers. You can easily make batch changes to passwords, which is ideal for allowing a team secure access.

Zoho Vault can integrate with third-party business apps like Gmail, Dropbox, Microsoft Active Directory, and Microsoft 365. Enterprise users can use Single Sign On (SSO) with cloud apps like Salesforce and Slack, and as Zoho Vault has an API, it’s possible to integrate it with any of your own apps.

Zoho Vault is packed with options and fine-grain controls, which is great for large businesses but overbearing for general users. For a team of 1–5 users, Zoho Vault will have far too many irrelevant features, but for large businesses that need secure password management across the workforce then Zoho Vault delivers in spades.

Zoho Vault gives the option to transfer passwords, such as when someone leaves an organization, or when they get transferred to another team. This allows business passwords to be transferred to a colleague or administrator and personal passwords to be exported. Admins can even recover passwords from users who have left on bad terms.

Speaking of passwords, Zoho Vault handles them with ease. It can generate unique, strong ones as needed for new sign-ups. Additionally, it can save these passwords, and the next time you visit that site, it can auto-login to allow people to get to work quickly.

Given that this password manager has the entire backing of Zoho, it should come as no surprise that compatibility should not be an issue. As well as mainstream browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and Safari, there are also Vivaldi and Brave extensions.

The mobile apps are clean and functional, but they’re not particularly exciting to look at. Nevertheless, users are unlikely to have to go into them too much as their main function is to provide a source for the smartphone to autofill.

Zoho is yet to reveal any plans to bring passkey compatibility to its Vault, while many other rival companies have been quick to act on the new passwordless signing method. With iOS and Android both making it easier for third parties to get involved on mobile devices in 2023, it’s a shame that a giant such as Zoho hasn’t been as quick to respond as others. 

Admittedly, the majority of its plans are business-focused, and businesses are more likely to be slow when it comes to passkey adoption due to potential compatibility issues.

Similarly, other (primarily consumer-facing) password managers have started to bundle in more services like VPNs. Zoho doesn’t even have a VPN in its catalog, so this is unlikely to happen anytime soon. With Internet safety in mind, it would be nice to see Zoho create a more rounded package.

Zoho Vault personalization

(Image credit: Zoho)

Zoho Vault: Security

With a system that uses a single master password, the security of that password is paramount. Only you know the Zoho Vault master password, and only an AES-256-encrypted version is stored on the Zoho servers. This is the same sort of protection you get with virtually any other password manager.

Zoho Vault uses a host-proof hosting model, which means it performs all encryption in your browser. An attacker can never see your passwords as they’re never sent in plain text. Every unique user has an RSA public/private key pair, so when you share a password across a team, it can only be decrypted by those with the correct authority.

Real-time audits help admins keep on top of their organization’s security situation, and you can also generate detailed reports to identify weak points and improve your security.Real-time audits help admins keep on top of their organization’s security situation, and you can also generate detailed reports to identify weak points and improve your security.

Zoho Vault: Support

Zoho Vault has one of the most impressive customer support sites we’ve seen, with extensive documentation on every aspect of the software. It includes comprehensive PDF guides, video demonstrations, FAQs, and webinars that range from basic introductions to the software to advanced functionality and best practice guides. We like how easy and painless it is to get a new team member up to speed on Zoho Vault by sending them the relevant PDFs.

Zoho Vault also has direct support options as well. This includes 24/7 email support via a direct email address, and a customer service support line in the US, Australia, India, and the UK. There is also the option of a support portal for messaging Zoho Vault to establish contact.

Zoho Vault: The competition

Though Zoho Vault’s free tier for personal use is fine, free personal password managers like LastPass are more straightforward and streamlined if you don’t need to share passwords between users, and more suitable for novice and intermediate users. Proton Pass is also a free service (though there is a paid version), and that has some credible security credentials.

For families or small teams of 5–10 members, 1Password is a valid alternative to Zoho Vault. Priced around the same as Zoho Vault, it includes secure document storage. However, as your team gets larger, Zoho Vault’s user management controls become more useful. 

If you’re specifically after a business password manager, there are plenty of alternatives to consider depending on what you regard as being important. Look out for Bitwarden, which has some impressive features including the ability to opt for self-hosting your passwords in a location you know and trust.

Zoho Vault: Final verdict

Zoho Vault has excellent security, fine control over users and passwords, and superb third-party integrations. It’s also inexpensive, and customer support is one of the best we’ve seen in a password manager service

We don’t particularly recommend it for personal use as most of the features are geared towards teams, making the interface somewhat complex, but it could be well suited to sole traders who straddle the boundary. Equally, it’s an outstanding password manager for organizations and businesses.

We've listed the best password recovery software.

RoboForm Review: Pros & Cons, Features, Ratings, Pricing and more
1:25 am |

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

RoboForm was initially devised as a password manager for businesses, but the product has expanded and now caters to organizations and individuals.

It’s undoubtedly got a broad enough feature set to handle every conceivable situation. Security comes from strong, familiar, and trusted encryption protocols, it has secure sharing options, and it pairs an excellent password generator with support for many platforms.

After we’ve gone hands-on with RoboForm, head over to our list of the best password managers and best business password managers to see if you should opt for an alternative.

Roboform: Plans and pricing

RoboForm’s pricing model for businesses changes depending on how many users require access. All subscriptions provide access to the same features and software. The price per user starts at $39.95 / £35 / AUD$60 per year, so bear in mind that the cost will add up if you buy for a larger organization. For companies that are able to predict their futures, they can sign up for three-year and five-year plans, but with relatively small discounts of 15% and 25% respectively, that might be too much risk for some. You can usually save up to 20% for paying annually with other services, without having to commit to half a decade.

Individual customers can take their pick from a free tier which includes compromised password monitoring, but they’re limited on the number of devices they can have signed in and there’s no local access option for those times where you need to save credentials without Internet access.

The Everywhere plan adds web access, which the free tier does without, as well as access on all devices, local access, password sharing, and better support. It costs $23.88 / £20 / AUD$35 annually, or $47.75 / £45 / AUD$80 per year if you want those same features for up to five users on the Family plan.

Roboform: Setup

RoboForm offers various software options, meaning business leaders can ensure compatibility across their organization.

In addition to applications for macOS, Windows, iOS, and Android, RoboForm also offers software options for Linux users. Web extensions for all major browsers platforms also mean you can integrate RoboForm right into your web experience, so whether you’re using Chrome, Edge, Firefox, you will be covered.

Users can easily access the applications via their device’s app store or the RoboForm website. Both apps are highly rated on their respective stores, with the iOS app getting 4.7 out of 5 stars, and the Android version almost as high at 4.5 out of 5 stars. Once downloaded, the app is easy to get up and running, but users must create an account before accessing any of the app’s features. The app and its data are protected by lots of authentication methods – including PIN numbers, master passwords, or biometrics.

Roboform login

(Image credit: Roboform)

Roboform: Interface and performance

RoboForm includes features such as a password generator for creating strong and unique passwords of sufficient length and complexity, one-click login, cross-platform password syncing, and offline access. It can also auto-fill data fields for time savings on sites that need long web forms completed. As of January 2023, the company also added the much-anticipated 2FA generator into the experience so there’s no need for users to rely on third-party apps to generate codes.

We also love RoboForm’s integration of folders, enabling users to organize passwords in whatever way is most useful to them. For example, businesses can easily create separate folders for work-related passwords and personal passwords. This is ideal for businesses that want to enable seamless password management for their organization, and it’s even more appealing to SMBs and sole traders who want to balance work and life without having to manage two subscriptions.

Password sharing is another powerful feature of RoboForm. This feature enables users to securely share encrypted passwords or credentials with other RoboForm users within your organization – ideal if you want to reduce the risk of sensitive information being exposed outside of your company. It’s also possible for RoboForm to grant emergency access to other users in case anything bad happens to an employee.

The RoboForm app isn’t the most glamorous password manager application, but it performs strongly and it’s easy to navigate its range of features. While it lacks some of the polish that other desktop clients have, it’s by no means bad and actually looks a lot better than some other options.

We tested the RoboForm app on Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android, and were impressed by the speed of syncing. Although we had to conduct a manual sync, it took less than three seconds for data uploaded on the mobile app to appear on our desktop device. You can also enable automatic syncing.

Another strength of RoboForm is the high degree of account control. Users can make loads of customizations to security protocols and account settings when using the desktop or mobile apps. These advanced controls are one of the reasons RoboForm is one of our favorite password management solutions for businesses.

It’s worth mentioning that, like some of its rivals, this is purely a password manager. Other companies tend to bundle in some additional functionalities, or they offer more services as a company, which makes RoboForm look a little bit expensive in comparison. For example, there’s no VPN service so you’ll either have to pay extra for one of those or go for a password manager that has one.

Given the clear intention of targeting personal customers, it’s a shame that RoboForm has not yet disclosed any plans to add passkey compatibility. The passwordless login method is an emerging technology that has so far been fairly slow to take off, and it’s expected to take even longer before businesses want to get on board, but many consumer-oriented password managers either already support passkeys or will do in the near future, so if that’s more your thing, then for now at least, you’re out of luck with RoboForm.

Roboform password management

(Image credit: Roboform)

Roboform: Security

As with any password management solution, a top-notch security framework is integral. Luckily, RoboForm doesn’t disappoint. As a standard, all data stored on RoboForm’s platform is encrypted end-to-end with AES 256-bit encryption. Two-factor authentication is also available for all businesses, and further enhances data security, and third-party authentication apps are supported.

RoboForm also provides advanced administrator controls such as enforced minimum master password standards and periodic password changes.

Businesses can also make use of public-private key cryptography, which allows business administrators to share encrypted passwords and credentials with employees without them ever having to see the actual password. This feature alone makes RoboForm one of the best password management solutions for businesses

Moreover, there’s an entire page on the company’s site dedicated to exposing the security measures and features, which is a major green flag for us. Companies that are open about how they operate inspire confidence, and subject themselves to more scrutiny. 

Roboform: Support

There is free support available to all via the Help Center and Manual. Here, topics get organized into categories such as Security, Web Access, and Emergency Access, and each has a list of articles to guide users through the issue.

RoboForm provides superior customer support for its subscribers and business customers. IT administrators or employees can contact the RoboForm team either via their online support system or by phone during business hours, 9AM to 5 PM EST. There are also several online learning and training resources available.

Roboform: The competition

Although RoboForm is close to best in class, it still faces competition from some of its competitors. LastPass, often considered the top provider, offers advanced administrator controls and centralized account management comparable to RoboForm’s platform.

RoboForm is also one of the most expensive password management platforms. Small and medium-sized businesses might therefore want to consider less expensive options such as RememBear, Sticky Password, NordPass or Dashlane.

If security is of great important to you, you may want to consider the recently launched Proton Pass, or if you want to take it a step further, Bitwarden users can opt for self-hosting to keep their data in a location they know and trust, even behind a firewall or proxy, which is a really exciting option that isn’t typically seen in password management, and beyond.

Roboform: Final verdict

RoboForm is a business-oriented password manager that all businesses would do well to consider for their organization. Although more expensive than many of its rivals, RoboForm offers advanced features that make it arguably one of the best password managers available.

Centralized administrator control, password sharing, and emergency access all make RoboForm particularly well suited to businesses and ensure a seamless experience across your organization. RoboForm’s security framework is also close to best-in-class, so businesses can be confident that their passwords and credentials are secure and inaccessible, even to RoboForm. We recommend RoboForm highly to individuals and companies looking for a password management solution.

On the other hand, with a selection of reasonably priced personal plans, it’s also a product you could choose for home use, and though there are cheaper options, it’s still a very capable password manager.

We've listed the best password recovery software.

Malwarebytes Antivirus solutions review
2:14 am | December 12, 2021

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Comments: Off
Please note

This is our round-up review of all malware protection software offered by Malwarebytes for 2023. Here you will find a breakdown of all three offerings. These include:

(a) Malwarebytes Free, a top-notch malware removal tool

(b) Malwarebytes Premium, its antivirus solution that helps protect your computer from threats once they are removed, and

(c) Malwayrebtyes Premium + Privacy. The gives you the same protections found in lower-tiered software but is bundled with Malwarebyte’s VPN for additional privacy and s security while online.

Malwarebytes has been the top malware removal tool for close to 20 years. It is really thorough at finding existing threats on your devices and removing them. It has uninstall protections so malware can't remove the program while it cleans, and most threats can't block you from accessing the Malwarebytes website and downloading the program to use.

It's fairly new to the antivirus software scene, but that doesn't necessarily make Malwarebytes ineffective at protecting against future threats. It has a few advanced features that are handy to have and options that include some additional privacy tools, too,

Malwarebytes Free is the basic offering. it is the malware removal tool we highly recommend for infections already on your machine. It doesn't do much more than that, but there are advantages to having it on your computer and mobile devices.

The first paid program offered by this company is Malwarebytes Premium. It includes the malware removal tool found in the free version but adds antivirus protections, including malicious URL blocking and real-time protection reports. You get the option of protecting a single device, or five depending on the package you choose.

For a little more money, you can download Malwarebytes Premium + Privacy. The only difference between this and the Premium package is unlimited access to a VPN. A virtual private network (VPN) shield's your online movements so they can't be tracked or traced back to you.

How well does Malwarebytes protect against potential online threats coming through? We tested and evaluated it, compared it to other antivirus software, and checked out its features to see how it works. We looked at other independent antivirus test labs to see what they discovered and compared them to our own data. Keep reading our in-depth review to learn if Malwarebytes is right for you.

Malwarebytes Premium antivirus dashboard on a Windows desktop

(Image credit: Malwarebytes)

Plans and pricing

Obviously, it doesn’t cost anything to use Malwarebytes Free, but you're left open to attacks if you stop there. That's because it's limited to only malware removal. Malwarebytes Free is perfect for grabbing threats that are already running rampant on your machine. You need to download the program on each device that needs cleaning, and there isn’t a way to connect them under one account.

Malwarebytes Premium starts at $45/yr for a single device, though for $35 more you can protect 5 total devices. You can still use the malware removal tools since these are included with the subscription, but you also have access to Malwarebyte’s Brute Force and Uninstall protections. Both of these are helpful in ensuring the antivirus, and its malware tools, remain on your device instead of being deleted by malware.

Malwarebytes Premium + Privacy is the other paid subscription option. It comes in at $60/yr for a single device or $100 to protect 5 devices. The biggest difference between the two paid subscriptions is Malwarebytes Premium + Privacy gives you unlimited access to its VPN.

Compare Malwarebytes Subscriptions

Malwarebytes Free

If you find your computer is running slower, apps are opening or closing on their own, or you’re having a hard time navigating to the pages you want, you’re probably infected with malware. If you haven’t been using an antivirus program, chances are you’ll have a hard time downloading one to clean up the threats. This is because most malware is designed to redirect you away from other websites.

If you are fortunate enough to get an antivirus program installed, often it misses current malware infections. Your best bet is to use Malwarebytes Free. This is a malware removal tool and not antivirus software. It uses uninstall protections to both get the download onto your device and prevent threats from blocking you from using it. What’s more, very few threats can hide from Malwarebytes. It’s that good at finding and removing malware.

When you first install Malwarebytes, you’re given a limited trial of its paid program, Malwarebytes Premium. This lets you take advantage of real-time security, including ransomware protection, Security Advisor to give you points on how to better protect your entire device, and Play Mode which redirects resources from the security suite to your computer as you play games or watch movies online.

Malwarebytes is compatible with Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS devices. You have to download the program on each one, and there isn’t a way to connect them through a single account., It's possible to set the program to conduct a scan of your phone or computer every few days. Or, you can manually run scans when you’re ready. If you forget, Malwarebytes will give you a little popup message to remind you how long it’s been since your last malware scan.

Malwarebytes Android App

(Image credit: Malwarebytes)

Mobile apps

The free Android app, like its desktop cousin, removes existing malware but can't prevent new infections. 

There's a small bonus in a Privacy Audit, which shows you which apps can monitor your calls, track your location or exploit other permissions you might not realize you've given away. That's not worth a lot - you can find other apps to do the same, for free - but we're happy to see it here. And with a Play Store rating of 4.5, it looks like most users are happy, too.

Malwarebytes free iOS offering is simpler, with just a couple of functions: ad blocking for Safari, and automatic filtering of fraudulent texts.

Malwarebytes is supposed to be about malware protection, of course, and recent Windows testing shows it's far less effective at this than most of the top competition.

Final verdict

Malwarebytes Free isn't a great antivirus tool, but it could be helpful in a few situations. Use Windows Defender's real-time protection, for instance (a fair choice as it outperforms some commercial apps), then run a daily Malwarebytes scan to catch everything else. You won't have the protection you'll get from the best suites, but you'll be safe from most threats, and this setup won't cost you a penny.

Malwarebytes Premium

Malwarebytes Premium computer scan view window

(Image credit: Malwarebytes)

One of the best perks of using Malwarebytes Premium is you get the best malware removal tools, plus real-time antivirus protection to keep your system clean. This includes security against hackers and ransomware. The Brute Force protection starts up when it suspects someone is attempting to guess your login information.

Malwarebytes Premium includes URL monitoring to keep you away from fake websites or those that are known to harbor malware files or phishing schemes. You also have some customization options with Malwarebytes Premium. These include setting up specific scans to run during the best times for you.

While it’s a great idea to combine malware removal and antivirus together, does it really work? We tested Malwarebytes and compared it to other antivirus software. Other test labs have done the same. Here’s what we found.

Malwarebytes Premium general tools configuration view

(Image credit: Malwarebytes)


To start with, Malwarebytes hasn’t allowed third-party test labs like AV-Comparatives and AV-Test to evaluate its software until recently, and it only allows its Windows version to be tested, so there isn't any data on how it protects on Mac. It hasn’t been consistently tested, either. 

Malwarebytes was most recently tested by AV-Test in April 2023 but was missing from AV-Comparatives’ March and April 2023 test results. However, there is enough history, including results within the last year, to get a clear picture of how well Malwarebytes does.

In short, it’s not the best. On average it blocks a good number of threats, but its overall score from both test labs places it just below average for overall protection. We tested Malwarebytes too and came away with similar results.

Malwarebytes hasn’t allowed third-party test labs like AV-Comparatives and AV-Test to evaluate its software until recently, and it only allows its Windows version to be tested, so there isn't any data on how it protects on Mac.

Part of this shortfall is that Malwarebytes doesn't tap into the same threat databases as other antivirus software, though they are open for it to do so. Instead, it relies on user feedback from clients using the program to gather information on the threats and create its own database.

When a user encounters new threats, Malwarebytes take note once it is identified and neutralized, updated its database, and sends out a report to other users so that their program will recognize the threat, too.

Our first test involved apps we designed to simulate malware that exploits common Windows tools to create processes, download malicious files, and generally behave in a suspect way. Malwarebytes ignored the behavior and allowed the files to download. It blocked them all on launch, or when they were ready to open, keeping us safe.

Malwarebytes test results from AV-Tests

(Image credit: AV-Tests)

That's a good end result, but others are more cautious. For example, Trend Micro spotted our test app's dodgy-looking actions and closed their processes before they could download anything. Bitdefender also detected some of the behavior and stopped the potential threats in their tracks before having a chance to download. In both of these cases, if anything was missed, malicious files were still spotted either during the download process or shortly afterward and removed before the malware could start working. 

As a second, more high-stakes test, we pitted Malwarebytes against a simple ransomware simulator of our own creation. As the engine wouldn't have seen this before, we would see if its behavior monitoring alone could detect the threat.

The results weren't good, with Malwarebytes doing nothing at all as our simulator encrypted thousands of test documents.

Other vendors score much higher on this test. Trend Micro and Bitdefender not only spotted our simulator by its actions alone, but they also killed the process and recovered the handful of lost files, ensuring we didn't lose a byte of data.

We normally don't treat failing this test as a major black mark, because our test is a single sample, not even real malware, and it's unsafe to draw big conclusions from so little data.

In this case, though, it does broadly match what the labs are saying: Malwarebytes simply doesn't deliver the protection you'll get from the best vendors, and that has to be a concern.

Scan Threat Detection

(Image credit: Malwarebytes)


When it comes to being user-friendly, Malwarebytes is good in this area. It runs in the background and protects you immediately, with everything turned on and ready to go the moment it is installed.

When you need to run an on-demand scan, that's as easy as double-clicking the Malwarebytes icon, hitting the Scan button then waiting for the results. It's all very straightforward, and even the least technical of newbies will feel at home right away.

Malwarebytes' main Scan feature quickly checks memory, startup items, and key areas of your file system. It made sensible choices on our test system, examining enough areas to be useful, but not so many that we were kept waiting for results, and completed in a speedy 7 minutes 25 seconds. (If you're in a real hurry, a Quick Scan checked RAM and startup objects in as little as 5 seconds on our review system.)

Malwarebytes security logs

(Image credit: Malwarebytes)

Scan times overall proved reasonable, with Malwarebytes checking our 50GB of test data in 25:18 minutes for the first scan, and 21:18 for the second. That's similar to many other vendors, although some speed up later scans by only checking new and changed files (Bitdefender took 50 minutes for scan #1, for instance, but dropped to 50 seconds by scan #2.)

There is a Custom Scan that lets you choose items you'd like checked, including specific files and folders, and gives you a little control over how they work (whether it should scan inside archives, and what to do with potentially unwanted programs, for instance.) It's a welcome touch, although doesn't begin to match the high level of control you'll see with more geek-friendly products from Avast, Avira, and others.

You're able to scan files, folders, or drives from the right-click Explorer menu. Unfortunately, the Windows client can't handle simultaneous on-demand scans, so try this when it's running a regular scan and you'll be told you must wait. This isn't a critical issue - Malwarebytes' engine still picks up threats as they appear, even if another scan is running - but it's a hassle that you don't get with the best antivirus.

Extra features

Website Blocked

(Image credit: Malwarebytes)

If you're hoping for a pile of bonus features - or any extras at all - then you're out of luck. There's no specialist banking protection here, no password manager, none of the items you might get with some packages. This focus on the fundamentals does at least keep Malwarebytes easy to use, though, and if you don't need that kind of extra, you might appreciate its simplicity and lack of clutter.

Final verdict

Malwarebytes Premium is a likeable security app which will make your PC a little safer, but it's not the full antivirus replacement claimed on the website. Grab a copy of the free version, maybe, but run it alongside another antivirus app to ensure your safety.

Malwarebytes Premium + Privacy

Malwarebytes Premium and Privacy

(Image credit: Malwarebytes)

Malwarebytes Premium + Privacy is, well, the name tells you everything: it's the commercial Malwarebytes Premium plus the company's VPN product, Malwarebytes Privacy.

Privacy uses Malwarebytes' own apps (Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS are supported), but these connect to Mullvad's network underneath. That's fine with us; it's a solid VPN with excellent speeds and a strong focus on privacy.

The network looks a little small with 400+ servers in 30+ countries. They're well spread, though, with thirteen locations in the US alone, so there's a good chance you'll have a server near you.

The apps are basic in the extreme, but there are technical pluses underneath. Malwarebytes Privacy connects via the fast and secure WireGuard protocol, for instance, and its apps include a kill switch to protect you if the connection drops.


(Image credit: Malwarebytes)

Scan times overall proved reasonable, with Malwarebytes checking our 50GB of test executables in 25:18 minutes for the first scan, 21:18 for the second. That's similar to many other vendors, although some speed up later scans by only checking new and changed files (Bitdefender Home Premium took 50 minutes for scan #1, for instance, but dropped to 50 seconds by scan #2.)

Malwarebytes Privacy

Malwarebytes Privacy has a simple but familiar interface. The dashboard displays your current location; you can choose another from a simple text list, then connect and disconnect with a click. Easy.

Desktop notifications tell you when you're protected and when you're not, and the dashboard updates to display your new IP, and highlight its location on a world map.

Switching servers is convenient as there's no need to close the active connection, first. Just choose a new location from the list and the app reconnects.

Privacy Settings

(Image credit: Malwarebytes)

The app is missing several common features. There's no Favorites system to group your most commonly used locations. No ping or load figures to help you choose the best servers. You can't switch protocols, either: it's strictly WireGuard-only.

Look a little further, though, and you'll find plenty of useful technical touches. The app can automatically connect when you access insecure networks, for instance. A kill switch protects your identity by blocking internet access if the VPN drops. Support for split tunneling enables controlling which apps use the VPN and which don't, and a flexible multi-hop system can route your traffic through two VPN servers to extract privacy. We were impressed, briefly, until we spotted another big omission.

Security Report

(Image credit: Malwarebytes)

Extra features

If you're hoping for a pile of bonus features - or any extras at all - then you're out of luck. There's no specialist banking protection here, no password manager, none of the items you might get with some packages. This focus on the fundamentals does at least keep Malwarebytes easy to use, though, and if you don't need that kind of extra, you might appreciate its simplicity and lack of clutter.


(Image credit: AV Comparatives )


Malwarebytes has never been the best performer in conventional lab tests.

AV-Comparatives' July-October Real-World Protection test saw Malwarebytes placed 13th out of 17 contenders with a protection score of 99.6%. 

AV-Test was even less impressed, awarding Malwarebytes 5.5/6 for protection in its October 2021 Windows Home User test. That placed it 19th out of 21 apps: only K7 Security and eScan scored lower.

Malwarebytes hasn't submitted its software to SE-Labs consumer tests for a while. It does appear in the Q1 2021 Consumer Report, though, where it came last out of 15 with a Total Protection rating of 91% (Sophos, AVG, ESET and even Microsoft Defender scored 100%.)

That's not great. Okay, it's terrible. To try to verify this, maybe get some more detail, we put Malwarebytes through a few tests of our own.

The first involved test apps which exploited common Windows tools to create processes, download malicious files and generally behave in a suspect way. Malwarebytes ignored the behavior and, initially, the files. It blocked them all on launch, though, keeping us safe.

That's a good end-result, but others are more cautious. Top performer Trend Micro spotted our test app's dodgy-looking actions, and close their processes before they could download anything. Kaspersky and Bitdefender detected some of the behavior, and if they missed anything, spotted the malicious files when they were downloaded (no waiting for them to be executed.)

As a second, more high-stakes test, we pitted Malwarebytes against a simple ransomware simulator of our own creation. As the engine wouldn't have seen this before, we would see if its behavior monitoring alone could detect the threat.

The results weren't good, with Malwarebytes doing nothing at all as our simulator encrypted thousands of test documents.

Other vendors score much higher on this test. Trend Micro, Kaspersky and Bitdefender not only spotted our simulator by its actions alone, they also killed the process and recovered the handful of lost files, ensuring we didn't lose a byte of data.

We normally don't treat failing this test as a major black mark, because our test is a single sample, not even real malware, and it's unsafe to draw big conclusions from so little data.

In this case, though, it does broadly match what the labs are saying: Malwarebytes simply doesn't deliver the protection you'll get from the best vendors, and that has to be a concern.

Final verdict

Malwarebytes Premium is a likeable security app which will make your PC a little safer, but it's not the full antivirus replacement claimed on the website. Grab a copy of the free version (evaluated below), maybe, but run it alongside another antivirus app to ensure your safety.

Malwarebytes Premium + Privacy

Malwarebytes Premium and Privacy

(Image credit: Malwarebytes)

Malwarebytes Premium + Privacy is, well, the name tells you everything: it's the commercial Malwarebytes Premium plus the company's VPN product, Malwarebytes Privacy.

Privacy uses Malwarebytes' own apps (Windows, Mac, Android and iOS are supported), but these connect to Mullvad's network underneath. That's fine with us; it's a solid VPN with excellent speeds and a strong focus on privacy.

The network looks a little small at 400+ servers in 30+ countries. They're well spread, though, with thirteen locations in the US alone, so there's a good chance you'll have a server near you.

The apps are basic in the extreme, but there are technical pluses underneath. Malwarebytes Privacy connects via the fast and secure WireGuard protocol, for instance, and its apps include a kill switch to protect you if the connection drops.

Pricing isn't bad at $100 to protect five devices and antivirus and VPN for a year - Mullvad charges $70+ for its VPN alone - but other top suites give you many more features.

Norton 360 Deluxe, for instance, includes antivirus, a VPN, parental controls, Dark Web monitoring, a password manager, webcam protection, hosted backup with 50GB of cloud storage, and more, and a five device license costs $35 in year one, $105 on renewal. If you're looking for than just antivirus and a VPN, that looks a significantly better deal.


(Image credit: Malwarebytes)

Malwarebytes Privacy

Malwarebytes Privacy has a simple but familiar interface. The dashboard displays your current location; you can choose another from a simple text list, then connect and disconnect with a click. Easy.

Desktop notifications tell you when you're protected and when you're not, and the dashboard updates to display your new IP, and highlight its location on a world map.

Switching servers is convenient as there's no need to close the active connection, first. Just choose a new location from the list and the app reconnects.

Privacy Settings

(Image credit: Malwarebytes)

The app is missing several common features. There's no Favorites system to group your most commonly used locations. No ping or load figures to help you choose the best servers. You can't switch protocols, either: it's strictly WireGuard-only.

Look a little further, though, and you'll find plenty of useful technical touches. The app can automatically connect when you access insecure networks, for instance. A kill switch protects your identity by blocking internet access if the VPN drops. Support for split tunneling enables controlling which apps use the VPN and which don't, and a flexible multihop system can route your traffic through two VPN servers for extract privacy. We were impressed, briefly, until we spotted another big omission.

VPN Speed

(Image credit: Malwarebytes)


While most VPN apps try to connect to your nearest server by default, Malwarebytes Privacy doesn't have an 'Automatic' or 'Fastest' option. It seems to choose Sweden as a default, wherever you are, leaving you to choose your preferred location manually. 

Connection times were reasonable, at around 5 seconds. And the WireGuard protocol is made for excellent performance, with UK download speeds reaching 780Mbps. We've seen faster - Surfshark reached 960Mbps in recent testing.

The core VPN engine scored well in some areas. If you're connected to location A and switch to location B, for instance, most VPN apps close the first connection, leaving you unprotected until they establish the new one. Malwarebytes Privacy seems to use a temporary kill switch, blocking internet traffic for just those few unprotected seconds until the VPN is restored. Smart.

Kill Switch Issues

(Image credit: Malwarebytes)

Unfortunately, the actual kill switch was less useful. We sometimes found that when the kill switch was on, the app couldn't connect: it blocked our internet access so thoroughly, it couldn't even get online itself. Not so smart.

The bad news continued with our final unblocking tests, too, with Privacy failing to get us into BBC iPlayer, US Netflix, Amazon, or Disney+.

We've also highlighted the best antivirus

Shark Style iQ hair dryer review
2:00 pm | December 10, 2021

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

• Original review date: December 2021
• Replaced by Shark's new 3-in-1 SpeedStyle in the US, but widely available
• Launch price: £229.99 / $229.99
• Official price now: £199.99 / $179.99

Updated: February 2024. The Shark Style iQ / HyperAir hair dryer is still widely available and is actually a little more affordable than it used to be, bucking the trend many manufacturers have followed in line with inflation. It's got a sister product now, too, the Shark 3-in-1 SpeedStyle, which we're presently in the process of reviewing. In the US, the SpeedStyle seems to have fully replaced the HyperAir on Shark's website, but it's available from third-party retailers like Walmart and Amazon, still. In the UK, it's retailing as usual. The rest of this review remains as previously published.

One-minute review

Shark is a brand well known for making some of the best vacuum cleaners around. Often mentioned as a rival to floor-cleaning stalwart Dyson, it’s no surprise that the brand has followed its competitor into the hair-care market. 

The Shark Style iQ, which is known as the Shark HyperAir in the US, is the brand’s first hair dryer, but while Dyson opted to design its hair dryer from the ground up, Shark’s model follows the traditional design with which we’re all familiar. However, the Style iQ comes with smarts such as the ability to automatically adjust the air flow and temperature, based on the attachment you’ve connected, to suit the type of style you’re trying to create.  

The Shark Style iQ hair dryer features three temperature settings, three speed levels, and a cool-shot function. The 1600W hair-care appliance ships with two attachments. The first is a concentrator nozzle with an adjustable opening, suitable for a gentle all-over quick-dry; or, when narrowed, it can be used to create a smooth, sleek style. The second is a diffuser, whose extendable prongs ensure the roots, as well as the ends of curly hair, can be dried evenly, reducing the risk of heat damage. 

At £229.99 / $229.99, the Shark Style iQ is more expensive than many hair dryers on the market, but it still manages to undercut the Dyson supersonic. It’s ideal for those who want to create an array of hairstyles without worrying about which settings they should be using. It will also suit those with curly hair who wish to limit heat damage.  

The back view of the Shark Style iQ hair dryer

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Shark style iQ hair dryer price and availability

  •  List price: £229.99 / $229.99 

The Shark Style iQ, or the Shark HyperAir iQ in the US, will set you back £229.99 / $229.99. It’s available directly through Shark, as well as from retailers including John Lewis in the UK. 

In the UK, the Shark Style iQ comes bundled with a concentrator nozzle and a diffuser, while in the US the diffuser is replaced by a styling brush attachment. An additional bundle in the US also includes the diffuser, a tool for creating soft waves, plus hair clips and a non-slip mat for $249.95. 

There are also Shark promo codes around, so see if the latest arrivals apply to this.

The Shark Style iQ hair dryer with its attachements

(Image credit: TechRadar)


  • Three temperature and speed settings
  • Ships with two attachments
  • Compact and lightweight

The Shark Style iQ looks as you’d expect a hair dryer to, although the barrel is slightly shorter than on some models we’ve tested, such as the Panasonic EH-NA67. It’s a compact hair-care appliance, measuring 25 x 7.5 x 12cm  /  9.8 x 3 x 4.7 inches (h x w x d) and weighing 500g / 1.1lb. 

The UK model comes in a stylish black and rose gold finish, while in the US the hair dryer has a muted gold tone. As mentioned, in the UK the hair dryer comes bundled with a concentrator nozzle and a diffuser, while in the US the package comprises a styling brush attachment in place of the diffuser. 

The hair dryer offers 1600W of power with three temperature settings and three options for the speed of air flow, which are controlled using the buttons on the back of the barrel. The power button is located on the back of the handle, while on the front of the handle is a cool-shot button that delivers a blast of cold air to set your style. 

Those who don’t have a mirror conveniently located next to a power outlet will still be able to dry their hair easily, thanks to the Style iQ’s 2.5m / 8.2ft power cord.

The front of the Shark Style iQ hair dryer's barrel

(Image credit: TechRadar)


  • Fast drying times
  • Automatically adjusting heat and speed settings
  • Fiddly to clean

The Shark Style iQ certainly lives up to its claims of being super-quick to dry hair. On the fastest setting, it took 3 minutes and 56 seconds to get our damp, below-shoulder-length fine hair to completely dry. When used on the lowest temperature settings, this increased only to 5 minutes and 8 seconds, making it among the faster hair dryers we’ve tested. 

On all settings, hair was left looking shiny and smooth, with very few fly-away strands. Overall, the Shark Style iQ was comfortable to hold in both the left and right hand (we switched hands, depending upon the side of the head being styled).

We were impressed that when the concentrator nozzle or diffuser were attached to the hair dryer, the temperature and speed settings were adjusted automatically to the optimum level to use that tool. We also found the sliders on the attachments – used to extend the prongs on the diffuser and widen or narrow the concentrator nozzle – moved smoothly. 

In terms of noise, the Shark Style iQ registered 76dB on our decibel meter on the fastest settings. This puts it middle-of-the-range when it comes to noisy hair-care appliances, and is equivalent to the sound emitted by a vacuum cleaner. Since the hair dryer is likely to be on for only a few minutes at a time, it's acceptable.

However, we were disappointed that the hair dryer lacks a removable filter, which makes it fiddly to keep free of both dust and lint. 

The attachements that ship with the Shark Style iQ hair dryer

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Should I buy the Shark Style iQ hair dryer?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

First reviewed: November 2021

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