While it may sound like a dream come true, AIWriter does have some drawbacks that could be a deal breaker. Don’t count on the tool to fully automate your content creation, but it can speed up the process. Read on to find out its advantages and disadvantages.
Plans and pricing
We love free trials, especially ones that do not require you to give out your credit card details. With that said, AIWriter ticks all of these boxes, and with the 7-day free trial, it also offers three different pricing plans.
The Basic plan is affordable at $29 per month, making it one of the cheaper options in the AI writing niche. For all plans, if you opt for an annual subscription, you get 2 months free. The Standard plan costs $59 per month, and the Power plan $375 per month.
All three plans basically have the same offer, of the text generator, a bland SEO editor, (Sub) Topic discoverer, API, and integration for WordPress publishing. The major difference in the plans revolves around the number of users and articles the platform can create for you. The Basic plan can create up to 40 articles per month for 1 user, the Standard offers 150 articles for 1 user and the Power plan up to 1000 articles for up to 10 users.
While it may seem pricy, the Power plan offers the best buy option if you’re churning out a lot of articles per month.
Perhaps the best option AIWriter offers is the (Sub) Topic discoverer that analyzes what other content creators have written about a certain topic. The platform then creates unique topics for you to help you offer a new perspective on a topic.
For firms looking to “freshen up” old content, text rewording is another useful feature of AIWriter. Once you upload your content, you can have the platform spin out new SEO-optimized content, but make sure to double-check it, as accuracy can sometimes be off.
Speaking of SEO optimization, the SEO text editor that it offers is bland at times, but overall can be helpful when you’re looking to create SEO-optimized content.
Unfortunately, during our 7-day free test, the platform tended to be quite slow, taking anywhere between 5 to 8 minutes to create a text of 500 words. It wouldn’t be that bad if the generated content was 100% accurate and would not need editing from the user.
Interface and in use
There is not much to report on AIWriter’s interface, as it looks pretty bland for our taste. The main workspace is clutter-free, and if you’re looking to create new content, all you need to do is type in the topic and click on “Write article.”
The board on the left-hand side of the screen contains all of the navigation options, but opening them up will present you with the same drab UI seen on the home screen.
Aesthetics aside, the UI is user-friendly and is geared towards those new in the AI writing assistant niche.
The platform offers a Tutorial Videos section, which, at the time of writing, had only eight videos in its library. That pretty much sums up the learning curve of the tool, whose goal of simplicity and ease of use is reflected in the amount of support it offers.
Furthermore, the FAQ is pretty basic, covering some of the questions that can be inferred simply by using the platform and others that are just one Google search away.
Regardless, the support is passable at best, with email communication being the best bet if you have questions for the team behind AIWriter.
In terms of usage, it is so simple that you will probably not need any support at all.
There is little to no information on the security of the platform. While the web-hosted platform supports HTTPS protocol, the safest bet is for users to ensure that their connection is secure.
We’ve given the platform our standard test of writing a simple topic. The goal was to cover “Artificial intelligence helps writers be more succinct” utilizing its Research & Write option. It took its time to write the article (roughly 5 minutes), and the results were passable.
The paragraphs seemed like separate units, not connected to each other, almost as if each was part of a separate text. However, the fact that you get citations can help you delve deeper into the topic and adjust the output you get.
Jasper is one of the main competitors to AIWriter, offering content creation for websites, Google ads, and Blogs. It is a level above in terms of the design and content quality, but it comes at a higher price point, despite offering per-word pricing.
Writesonic also competes in the same sphere but offers much more than AIWriter. It has a complex platform compared to AIWriter and if you’re looking to churn out more content, could be cheaper if opting for higher-tiered plans.
AIWriter is a bland AI writing assistant that focuses on simplicity of use. Its pricing point makes it a more affordable option than its competition, but there are free options in the market that give it a “run for its money.”
The content that it creates is passable; however, be mindful that you will have to do some heavy editing if you want to use the content it offers you.
The Wacaco Minipresso NS2, along with the rest of the Wacaco portable espresso machine range, sees to the needs of an underserved market. Every camper, wayfarer, nomadic remote worker, and business traveler will know the pain of not being able to enjoy their favorite home brew when they're out and about. They also know all too well that it can be a bit of a chore trying to find a remotely decent coffee shop that isn't Starbucks.
And for them, this portable espresso maker is a terrific solution. It's small enough to fit in a backpack pocket, is easy to operate, and doesn't require a power outlet or batteries to function – just your hand and a little upper body strength.
However, as well as being one of many such portable coffee makers available, the fact that it uses only Nespresso Original capsules and compatibles will certainly limit its appeal. And since it still requires that you boil water separately, plus it's hand-operated (you have to pump it several times to make your espresso with crema on top), it's can prove bothersome to use when you're out and just want to keep things as simple as possible.
On its side is the fact that it's an affordable option, so if you don't mind owning different makes and models of the best coffee makers for different situations, this could be your go-to when you're on holiday or on a business trip. That is, if you enjoy Nespresso's coffee blends.
However, those who aren't a fan of capsule-drawn espresso or coffee drinks, might be better opting for an alternative portable solution.
Wacaco Minipresso NS2: Price and availability
How much does it cost? $59 (£49, AU$89)
Where is it available? Available now
Where can you get it? Available in the US and UK
At $59 (£49 / AU$89), the Wacaco Minipresso NS2 offers good value for a coffee maker that delivers an espresso topped with a decent frothy crema while you're on the go. Just bear in mind that it doesn't come with any water-heating capabilities, so you'll still need access to an electric kettle, a stove or a microwave oven to heat water to use it.
Neither does that price include a starter set of espresso capsules; you'll have to buy them separately. The cost of Nespresso capsules start at $0.75.
The NS2 is a little more expensive than its predecessor, the Wacaco Minipresso NS, which comes in at $54 (£46 / AU$79). However, that extra money buys you a coffee maker with a higher water capacity, higher pressure, and a lighter weight.
It's available to be bought direct from Wacaco or from resellers such as Amazon US and Amazon UK. We expect the Wacaco Minipresso NS2 to be available to buy in Australia sometime soon since it's predecessor is, but we can't be to sure when this will be.
Value: 4 / 5
The specifications of our Wacaco Minipresso NS2 review unit
Capacity: 80ml / 2.7oz
Max pressure: 18 bar / 261psi
Compatibility: Nespresso Original capsules and most compatibles
Dimensions: 70 x 129 x 60mm / 2.75 x 5.07 x 2.36in (h x l x w)
Weight: 290g / 0.64lb
Wacaco Minipresso NS2: Design
Portable, pocket-size design
Easy to use, easy to carry
Partially made of wheat-base polymers
Wacaco designed the Minipresso NS2 to be more compact than its predecessor, shaving 46mm off its height while impressively expanding its water tank for additional capacity. This model also includes a drip tray, which will be welcome if, like us, you despise coffee drips on the counter.
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If you haven't used a Minipresso machine before, know that this isn't a complicated contraption. It's a container with a water tank, accessed from the top, into which you pour the hot water. Slot a coffee capsule into the chamber at the other end. You use the piston to pump the water from the tank through the coffee capsule; the resulting espresso will pour through the portafilter head.
Similar to other Minipresso models, the Wacaco Minipresso NS2's parts all fit together. This includes the mini cup into which you'll pour and drink the espresso from, a drip tray and the cleaning brush – the last two are small enough to store in the water tank when it isn't in use.
Just be sure to remove the drip tray when you attempt to make coffee. We made the common mistake of keeping the tray in the tank whilst trying to pump out espresso; the pressure it creates prevents liquid from coming out. The lack of instructions with our pre-production unit and the fact that the NS model didn't have a drip tray meant that we weren't aware of its inclusion nor use and therefore assumed it should remain in the tank.
That issue aside, the Minipresso NS2 is wonderfully portable, with even the piston twisting back inside so that it's stowed away when not in use. Plus, the coffee maker comes with a carry pouch, which will be particularly handy for any backpackers out in the wilderness who don't have space inside their bag. Simply pop the NS2 in its pouch and secure the pouch to one of your backpack's straps.
Finally, for those who may have noticed that the Wacaco Minipresso NS2's body looks different from the previous gen model, this is because it's partially made of wheat-base polymers, making this model it a bit more eco-friendly than the Wacaco Minipresso NS.
Design: 5 / 5
Wacaco Minipresso NS2: Performance
No water-heating capabilities
Only for Nespresso Original and compatible capsules
You might need to pump with two hands
The Wacaco Minipresso NS2 is 100% hand-operated, which means that in order to brew that espresso, you'll be putting your hands and arms to work. Not that it's difficult, mind you; but you might not relish the thought of waking in your tent the morning after a six-hour hike to be pumping a machine for your coffee.
Personally, since you're already having to heat up water separately, we'd rather just use a mini percolator or a moka pot (which will see you carry just a small Ziplock bag of ground beans instead of individual capsules that take up space), concentrated coffee, or coffee tea bags instead. Those alternatives require less effort generate less waste.
Bear in mind that the Wacaco Minipresso NS2 only accepts Nespresso Original capsules and compatibles. It's very likely that any third-party reusable pods won't fit in the NS2's compartment.
However, while a percolator or a Moka pot is designed to make espresso, the other two alternatives aren't. Percolators also don't typically produce the right pressure – although a few do come with a cremator to make crema, which a lot of people like in their espresso.
In its favour, the Wacaco Minipresso NS2 boasts 18-bar pressure and can deliver espresso with a nice crema on top. And for those concerned about the environmental impact, note that brands such as Nespresso and Dualit do offer their own recycling pod scheme.
It takes about three to five pumps before the espresso starts to squirt out and a few more to fill that mini cup. Those with bigger hands will be able to get away with using the Minipresso NS2 one-handed; those with regular-sized or mini mitts will want to use it two-handed, or else risk missing the cup and making a mess – as we did. Operating it with two hands just gives you a bit more control.
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If you do love the taste of Nespresso capsule coffee, you'll love the end result. The espresso that comes out is perfectly "brewed," and while the crema on top isn't the thickest, it's nice and creamy. You also have the added benefit of enjoying the different flavors that Nespresso has to offer, including cocoa truffle, vanilla eclair, and caramel crème brûlée.
Performance: 3.5 / 5
Should I buy the Wacaco Minipresso NS2?
Buy it if...
Don't buy it if...
If you would prefer a larger pod coffee machine that'll sit on your kitchen counter-top, here are a couple of options to consider.
How I tested the Wacaco Minipresso NS2
Tested it for a couple of weeks
Tested it at home, on the road, and in the outdoors
Used Nespresso Original capsules for testing
The Wacaco Minipresso NS2 isn't the kind of coffee "machine" you'd have to test for a long time, being a straightforward pumping device that don't really need (and have) a lot of features. However, it is a kind of unique one that might take some getting used to in order for users to appreciate. So, I spent a couple of weeks testing it, which I spent experimenting with different pumping techniques and just making it a part of my daily routine in general.
Since it is focused on portability, I not only used it at home but while going on quick weekend road trips, hikes, and a camping trip as well. I wanted to know, since it's not exactly one- or two-step process making coffee with it, if it's actually as convenient as it claims when you don't have access to such things as an electric kettle and a faucet.
I've been a product tester and reviewer for years, and have tested the original version of the Wacao portable coffee machine when it came out. I also travel, hike, and go on camping trips a lot, which makes me the perfect market for it.
The Tempur-Adapt mattress is Tempur-Pedic's mid-range model, albeit it's still quite pricey relative to many of the best mattresses on the market. (It has a starting MSRP of $1,699 for a twin.) After three weeks of sleeping on a twin-sized Tempur-Adapt, here's what I (and my 5-person testing panel) discovered about this popular memory foam mattress...
My fellow testers and I are habitual back sleepers, but all of us felt the most comfortable lying on our backs. In this position, we experienced the "legendary pressure relief" Tempur-Pedic promises, along with all-over support that kept us well-aligned. It was a similar experience when we slept on our stomachs, but side sleeping was a mixed bag. I found it too firm along my shoulders, while another side sleeper said it was too soft along her hips.
Motion isolation is incredible. Tempur Material absorbs almost every movement with ease so couples will benefit from it. Edge support is sufficient — there was some noticeable give when we sat along the edges but none of us feared falling off the bed. Unfortunately, temperature regulation is where the Tempur-Adapt faltered. Despite measures to make my sleeping environment as pleasant as possible, I woke up warm or downright sweaty while sleeping on the Tempur-Adapt mattress.
White-glove delivery is standard, which will be a welcome perk for anyone who can't maneuver their mattress solo. The Tempur-Adapt arrives flat, ready to sleep on as soon as it's placed on your bed frame. Mattress removal is also included if you need it. Since I had no way to dispose of my previous mattress, I took advantage of this convenience.
Keep scrolling to learn more about how the Tempur-Adapt fared when it came to pressure relief, motion isolation, edge support, and temperature regulation — following TechRadar's mattress testing methodology. There are also general considerations regarding cost and value, plus ease of set-up.
Tempur-Adapt mattress review: price
Tempur-Pedic's mid-range model
Save up to $300 during rare Tempur-Pedic sales
Short trial and warranty, but in-home delivery is included
The Tempur-Adapt mattress is second only to the entry-level Tempur-Cloud bed-in-a-box in terms of pricing. The MSRP for a Tempur-Adapt is $1,669 for a twin and $2,199 for a queen. It's worth noting that these are lower ticket prices than we've recently seen from Tempur-Pedic — the retail price for a twin was previously $1,949 while a queen was $2,749.
Below is the official 2023 pricing for the Tempur-Adapt Mattress:
Twin MSRP: $1,699
Twin XL MSRP: $1,699
Full MSRP: $2,049
Queen MSRP: $2,199
King MSRP: $2,899
Split King MSRP: $3,398
Cal king MSRP: $2,899
Split Cal king MSRP: $3,398
Despite its mid-range status in the Tempur-Pedic mattress lineup, the Tempur-Adapt is still among the priciest memory foam mattresses on the market. Tempur-Pedic mattress sales only run during major holidays. In fact, we saw $300 off the Tempur-Adapt during Tempur-Pedic's Presidents' Day sale. That's one of the more substantial savings we've seen as Tempur-Pedic usually takes $100 to $200 off.
However, Tempur-Pedic mattresses are sold at a number of third-party retailers like Amazon, Raymour & Flanigan and Mattress Firm. You can browse their respective mattress sales for possible savings outside of shopping events, although these stores generally follow Tempur-Pedic's pricing conventions at the time. (Also, we'd recommend buying straight from the manufacturer for easier aftercare.)
For the amount of money you pay, Tempur-Pedic doesn't offer much in terms of its trial and warranty periods at 90 days and 10 years, respectively. (Plus, it costs $175 to return it.) On the other hand, in-home delivery and mattress setup are included, which is a perk most brands don't include for free, if at all.
Tempur-Adapt mattress review: specs
Tempur-Adapt mattress review: materials and design
An 11-inch mattress with three layers
Cover has a cool-to-the-touch feeling
Tempur Material adapts to your weight and temperature
The 11-inch Tempur-Adapt mattress contains three layers — an 8-inch polyfoam base layer, a 1.5-inch support layer of dense Original Tempur Material in the middle, and a 1.5-inch comfort layer of softer TEMPUR-ES Material on top. Together, these layers are designed to provide adequate pressure relief, support, and response time. A hybrid upgrade is available, which adds a layer of individually-wrapped coils for more bounce.
Tempur Material features an open-cell construction to help disperse heat, along with a knit cover made from specialized yarn that gives it a cool-to-the-touch feeling. These work in tandem to regulate temperature and prevent overheating.
The cover is spot-clean only so you'll want to invest in the best mattress protector to safeguard it from spills, bed bugs, and other unpleasantries. Note that Tempur-Pedic recommends using its own-brand mattress protector to enhance the contouring properties of the Tempur Material.
Design score: 4.5 out of 5
Tempur-Adapt mattress review: comfort
Rated 7.5 out of 10 on the firmness scale
Exceptional for back sleepers
Won't suit all side sleepers
For three weeks, I (an average-sized side/stomach sleeper) slept on a twin Tempur-Pedic Tempur-Adapt mattress — but since comfort is subjective, I recruited a panel of five individuals to provide their perspectives by napping on it for at least 15 minutes. My group included men and women of varying heights, weights, and sleep preferences.
The Tempur-Adapt mattress comes in one firmness, which we collectively rate a 7.5 out of 10 on the firmness scale. Although one person in our group said it was soft (especially along her hips while side sleeping), the majority of us found it close to Tempur-Pedic's self-assessment of medium.
It took me a couple of weeks to break in the Tempur-Adapt when sleeping on my side. (It was particularly firm around my shoulders.) However, I liked resting on my stomach since the mattress gently cradled my hips level while keeping them level with the rest of my body.
However, my testing group and I agree that the Tempur-Adapt is most comfortable for back sleeping. All of us felt immediate pressure relief in our backs, and regardless of our stature our body weight was evenly distributed so we were well supported. (Interestingly enough, nobody in our group is a natural back sleeper.)
I had just completed mySaatva Loom & Leaf mattress review so I was used to sleeping on a slightly softer mattress. The Tempur-Adapt felt a touch too firm for me at first, but I gradually eased into it. Meanwhile, most of my fellow testers usually sleep on a firm mattress at home and found it plusher than they're used to but still comfortable.
I tested the Tempur-Adapt's "legendary pressure relief" by placing a 56lb kettlebell in the middle of the mattress to simulate someone sinking into it. The weight compressed the mattress by around 2.5 inches, and it took 20 seconds for the Tempur Material to snap back into place.
What did we human testers think? We liked the responsiveness and soft hug of the top TEMPUR-ES layer, especially those of us who experience regular aches and pains. As someone who's dealt with a recent lower back injury, I appreciated how the Tempur Material relieved pressure from my hips and lumbar.
Final verdict? The Tempur-Pedic Tempur-Adapt mattress provides the best pressure relief and all-around support for back sleepers. Stomach sleepers should also get on with it, but if you favor your side you might not find that keen balance of comfort and support. Check out any of the best mattresses for side sleepers instead.
Comfort score: 4 out of 5
Tempur-Adapt mattress review: temperature regulation
Sleeps hot, despite its cool-to-the-touch cover
Specialty bedding could help improve this
I'm prone to overheating at night yet can't help cocooning myself in covers. Thus, I was excited to put the Tempur-Adapt through its paces here, given the Tempur Material's response to temperature and the cool-to-the-touch surface.
Despite wearing lightweight pajamas and using cotton-polyester bed linens, I woke up warm to sweaty most mornings. I even transitioned from a mid-weight comforter to a lightweight crocheted blanket and still couldn't cool off.
There are a couple of things to note here. First. Tempur-Pedic says its Tempur Material could lead to an increase in blood circulation, which could result in needing fewer covers. (That didn't make a difference to me, unfortunately.)
Second, Tempur-Pedic warns that mattress protectors may impede the Tempur Material from doing its thing, which is why the brand recommends using a Tempur-Pedic mattress protector. My polyester mattress protector is quite thin but it possibly affected how well the Tempur-Adapt could regulate temperature.
Still, I was not expecting this level of discomfort, especially for a premium mattress with a cooling cover.
Temperature regulation score: 2 out of 5
Tempur-Adapt mattress review: motion isolation
Tempur-Material absorbs nearly every movement
An excellent choice for co-sleeping
The Tempur-Adapt may have failed the temperature regulation segment of the review, but it passed its motion isolation tests with flying colors.
A twin bed is meant to comfortably accommodate one person so to measure motion isolation I dropped a 10lb weight next to an empty wine glass from six inches high and varying distances away. This is meant to simulate a partner's movements as they shift positions or get in and out of bed.
When I dropped the weight 25 inches away, the wine glass remained firmly in place. I counted one jiggle when I performed the same test from 12 inches away. When I released the weight from four inches away, the wine glass briefly wobbled back and forth before returning to its original position.
What does this mean? If you share a bed with a fidgety co-sleeper or someone who has a different schedule than you do, you'll barely notice a thing because the Tempur-Adapt absorbs nearly every movement. Plus, plenty of happy couples have left glowing reviews praising its low motion transfer.
Motion isolation score: 4.5 of 5
Tempur-Adapt mattress review: edge support
Provides adequate edge support
Top cover bunches up a bit
No danger of falling off
Regardless of whether you sleep on a twin or a king, edge support is a key feature to consider. Not only do strong edges prevent sagging, but they can aid sleepers with mobility issues who need to sit before getting in or out of bed. (Not to mention, it lessens the fear of possibly rolling overboard while you sleep.)
I placed my 56lb kettlebell along the Tempur-Adapt's edges along the middle perimeter and at the bottom. The weight compressed the mattress two inches at either edge. It did create a slight bulge in the top layer, but the edges returned to form once I removed the kettlebell.
My fellow testers and I also sat on the center edge plus along the corners. Some of us felt more sinkage than others, but none of us felt like we were in danger of falling off. We didn't experience any issues with getting up from the mattress, either.
Based on these assessments, the Tempur-Adapt mattress has average edge support. However, like standard foam, Tempur Material has a lot of give to it so this is to be expected. Hybrid mattresses are generally a better option if you need exceptional edge support since they combine foam with reinforced coils. (The Tempur-Adapt is available as a hybrid, as well.)
Edge support score: 3.5 out of 5
Tempur-Adapt mattress review: setup
Arrives flat, and delivered right to your room of choice
Mattress removal is also included free of charge
No obvious off-gassing smell
There was little I had to do to set up the Tempur-Adapt mattress. Since it arrives flat, Tempur-Pedic includes free in-home delivery straight into your room of choice. All I had to do was confirm a delivery date and time.
About a week after my initial contact with a local logistics company, a couple of crew members placed a fully-formed Tempur-Adapt mattress on my platform bed. I could have slept on it right away if I wanted to but since my delivery was nice and early at 9 am on a Monday morning, I opted to wait anyway.
The complimentary white glove delivery is a nice perk if you live alone, are recovering from an injury, or sleep on a larger bed. (Depending on the size, the Tempur-Adapt weighs between 44lbs and 96lbs.)
Optional mattress removal is also available. I took advantage of this service since I had no way to dispose of my previous mattress. Note that you'll have to include this in your delivery notes when you make your appointment.
I didn't detect an obvious off-gassing smell from the Tempur-Adapt mattress. Tempur-Pedic uses CertiPUR-US-certified foams low in the volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions that could make your new mattress stink. (Avoiding the whole process of unfurling a vacuum-sealed foam bed may have aided in an odorless experience, too.)
Setup score: 5 out of 5
Tempur-Adapt mattress review: customer reviews
4.5 out of 5-star rating on Tempur-Pedic's site
Praised for its contouring properties and pain relief
Many complain about overheating
To supplement my experience and that of my testing panel, I combed through hundreds of user reviews to provide an even greater perspective of how well this mattress performs. The Tempur-Adapt Medium mattress has a 4.5-star rating out of 5 from nearly 1,000 reviews on Tempur-Pedic's website as of March 2023.
Those who like the Tempur-Adapt mattress say that it's helped alleviate issues like snoring and back pain. Plus, many sleepers praise its contouring properties and low motion transfer. On the other hand, some reviewers say it sleeps too hot, while several side sleepers claim it's too firm. You can filter reviews by keyword and star rating so you can find exactly what you'd like to know about this mattress.
The Tempur-Adapt mattress is sold at a selection of third-party sellers, with an average rating of at least 4 stars. However, most of those reviews appear to be sourced from Tempur-Pedic's website, so it's best to just look there.
Should you buy the Tempur-Adapt mattress?
I recommend the Tempur-Pedic Tempur-Adapt mattress for back sleepers who are seeking exceptional pressure relief and all-over support. Despite not being natural back sleepers ourselves, my testing panel and I felt the most comfortable resting in this position, followed by sleeping prone (on our stomachs). Side sleepers, on the other hand, may not get on as well with it. Although I gradually settled into the Tempur-Adapt after a couple of weeks, side sleeping wasn't the most comfortable for me on this mattress.
Co-sleepers who want a mattress that absorbs nearly every movement should also be satisfied with the Tempur-Adapt based on my testing plus the glowing reviews from content couples. Hot sleepers, meanwhile, will want to avoid sinking money into this mattress unless they're willing to pay extra for Tempur-approved bedding. (Personally, I don't know how much of a difference this would make so go for a dedicated cooling mattress instead.)
The most important thing I took from my testing is that brand reputation alone should not dictate your mattress purchase. My expectations were admittedly quite high due to it being a premium mattress from a renowned company. Despite my issues with it, I still believe it's a well-made mattress that'll perfectly suit a certain type of sleeper. It's quite an investment, though, so try to take advantage of the rare Tempur-Pedic sale when you can.
Tempur-Pedic Tempur-Breeze Mattress If you want to enjoy the cradling comfort of Tempur Material without overheating, you'll want the Tempur-Breeze, which sleeps between 3 and 8 degrees cooler, depending on the version you choose. It's loaded with cooling tech such as Tempur-CM Material (which cycles out heat and humidity) and a layer of PureCool+ Phase Change Material. The downside: it's Tempur-Pedic's priciest mattress.View Deal
Saatva Loom & Leaf Mattress This memory foam mattress is comparable to the Tempur-Adapt in price and construction. Notable here is a gel-infused foam lumbar crown, a boon for anyone with lower back pain. Motion isolation is also excellent, but it does tend to sleep warm. White glove delivery is included, as are a one-year trial and a lifetime warranty — arguably making it a better value than the Tempur-Adapt. Read our Saatva Loom & Leaf reviewView Deal
Helix Midnight Mattress Side sleepers, this is made just for you. Despite being a hybrid, the Helix Midnight has a plusher feel than the Tempur-Adapt and provides exceptional pressure relief along the shoulders and hips. It also has impressive temperature regulation and very good motion isolation, but edge support could be better. Read our Helix Midnight reviewView Deal
How I tested the Tempur-Adapt mattress
I slept on a twin Tempur-Pedic Tempur-Adapt Medium mattress for three weeks between January and February 2023. Although it's officially winter in my part of the world at this time, overnight temperatures ranged from below-freezing to unseasonably mild. I used cotton-polyester linens and alternated between a mid-weight polyester comforter and a lightweight crocheted blanket.
In addition to my own experience, I asked a 5-person panel to sleep on the Tempur-Adapt mattress in multiple positions for at least 15 minutes and sit on the edges. Participants ranged in height and weight, with our smallest tester being 5ft4in and 125lbs, and our biggest tester being 6ft and 190lbs.
To objectively evaluate the Tempur-Adapt's firmness, edge support, and motion isolation, I performed standardized tests to gauge these features beyond my preferences and potential biases.
The WiZ Mobile Portable Light is from a global brand that's perhaps less well known than the likes of Philips Hue. Founded in 2017, WiZ joined Signify – one of the world's leaders in lighting – in 2019. The brand is an IoT platform for smart lighting and solutions, offering customers the option to connect their lighting for greater comfort and ease.
I've been using the WiZ Mobile Portable Light in my first and second reception room for a few weeks now. The fact that it's portable has meant I've enjoyed moving it around to other areas of my home, although it's mainly been sat on a book shelf or a table to serve a more functional purpose when I'm at my computer or watching the television.
I used the touch panel, app and Alexa to control it, with the most useful function in my experience being the Automations functionality in the app. I set schedules to suit my routine, and also to have some fun. That said, I welcomed being able to control the light via the touch panel, because the majority of smart lights only offer control through an app.
Measuring 10.6 x 6.4 x 6.4in / 27 x 16.5 x 16.5cm (h x l x w) and with the design i incorporating a handle, the light was easy enough to carry around. However, its white coloring did see it stand out somewhat among the other items on my book shelf or table; availability in a softer color to better suit my decor would have been welcome.
Currently priced at $89.99/£79.99/$AU109.95, it's widely available in the US, UK and Australia through popular resellers such as Amazon and Best Buy.
With so many light color options at your disposal, offering multiple ways to connect, plus a handle to easily move it, the WiZ Mobile Portable Light appears to be a very smart light indeed. Read on to find out how we got on with it during testing.
Wiz Mobile Portable Light review: price & availability
Note that the product name varies slightly from one reseller site to another. On the WiZ website, and through Best Buy, it's the Mobile Portable Light. On Amazon it's listed as the WiZ Mobile Colour Portable Smart LED Table Lamp, while at John Lewis & Partners it's the WiZ True Portable Type G Table Lamp.
One of the more affordable smart lights on the market compared to brands such as Philips Hue, it's the only portable light in the WiZ product range.
WiZ Mobile Portable Light review: specifications
WiZ Mobile Portable Light review: Design
Multiple ways to control it
In its off state, the WiZ Mobile Portable Light looks like a chunk of white plastic. Measuring in at 10.6 x 6.4 x 6.4 inches / 27 x 16.5 x 16.5cm (h x l x w), it isn't huge, but it won't go unnoticed on a shelf. As such, it would have been nice to have a way to color coordinate it with the surrounding decor, since it isn't the most discrete.
The handle positioned on the top the light makes it easy to move around the home, inside or out, and there's a removable power cable that can be used to power or recharge the batteries after use.
The fact that it can be untethered from the cable, and its 0.65kg weight, means the WiZ smart light is super portable. Note that it isn't weatherproof, but there's nothing to stop you from taking it into the garden on a dry, pleasant evening to light up an outdoor living space. The rechargeable batteries will last for a good few hours – and it will take a similar amount of time to replenish them.
Turn it on, and the WiZ smart light is transformed from a hunk of white plastic to a beautiful glowing luminaire that will happily fill a space.
The touch panel offers a degree of control, with more through the WiZ app or via Alexa, Siri and / or Google Assistant (more on this later). Located at the top of the light, you can use the panel to turn the light on and off, to switch between the different light modes on offer, and to swipe for dimming frequencies. My favorite light mode was the one that changed color, and I preferred to have it pretty dim for a more calming effect.
Underneath the light is an on / off switch that can be used during set up, and for those who aren't so confident using the control panel.
Design score: 4.5/5
WiZ Mobile Portable Light review: Performance
Creates a lovely light show
Easy to use
I've been using the WiZ Mobile Portable Light in my living room and dining room, either as a portable smart light or plugged into the mains. Both these rooms are approximately 12m2, and the WiZ light was capable of pretty much filling the spaces with a spectrum of color. The light's brightness, color mode and switching it on / off could all be done via the touch panel, whereas the app offers more functionality (more on this shortly).
On the unit itself, there are three preset light modes you can choose from: Warm Light, Cool White and Multi. My favorite is Multi, dimmed down using the slider.
I found it handy that the WiZ light includes an on / off button on the unit itself, providing a quick way to turn off the lights. The majority of smart lights, including the Philips Hue Gradient Signe, rely on the app for complete control, which means that if you're not someone who's glued to your phone, you'll have to locate it just to turn off a light.
Connect the WiZ Mobile Portable Light to Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, and you can use the rather intuitive app for control. WiZ's version doesn't feel as refined as the Philips Hue app, which also offers a greater number of color options, but you can do most of the things including setting up Automations, adding other compatible devices and more. You'll also get access to an abundance of static, dynamic and custom colors. The found Automations the most useful feature, since I could schedule the light to turn on without lifting a finger.
I also set up the light to work with Alexa to benefit from voice control. It overrode any automations I had set in the WiZ app during testing, but the reality is that you'll see for yourself when the light is on and / or know when you have an Automation set, so you wouldn't be using voice commands. Regardless, the WiZ smart light was responsive to my voice commands, with which I could turn the light on / off, change its color and adjust the brightness.
In terms of general maintenance, there's very little required. The WiZ light might need a dust with a microfiber cloth, and the batteries will require a recharge when using the unit as a portable light. The battery will last up to 10 hours in bedtime mode, and you can charge it using the supplied adapter that also powers the light. The WiZ Mobile Portable Light comes with a 2-year warranty.
Performance score: 4.5/5
WiZ Mobile Portable Light review: App
Turns light on / off
Switch between light categories
It's through the app that you'll get the most from the WiZ Mobile Portable Light. In fact, you can build on your existing smart light collection through the app, integrating it into your daily routine.
On-screen instructions offer guidance on how to connect to the app, plus an online agent will help you through any issues. I tried and failed multiple times to connect the light to the app; the first because I downloaded an older version of the app. You Note that you need to download WiZ v2, not WiZ Connected.
You'll need to have the light switched on, Bluetooth enabled and be within Wi-Fi 2.4GHz range. Bluetooth will detect the light in the first instance then it will connect to your Wi-Fi.
If / when you see the instruction to turn off the light during manual pairing, do so once with the switch on the base and give it a few seconds before bailing. It was only after a phone call with a support agent that I finally managed to get the light to work – although, as it happens, it's nothing that a bit of patience, and the obligatory turning the device off and on again, won't sort.
When your device is found, you know you're "in". At this point you'll still be Bluetooth pairing, but follow the on-screen instructions and you'll soon be asked to enter your Wi-Fi details. Make sure you're on 2.4GHz and close to the light so the Wi-Fi, WiZ Mobile Portable Light and your smartphone can all talk to each other.
From here, you can continue setup via the app. I first changed the name to "big bulb"(it is essentially a big bulb), after which I set up a room, assigned the light to said room, and had a play with the colors on offer.
Select "Library", and you can browse through Static light, Dynamic light and Scenes. Scenes is more of a bank of your favorite Static and Dynamic lights, which will be particularly useful if you have a lot of lights in the app and / or a lot of automations that you want to access quickly. I counted 10 Static light options and 23 Dynamic light options, which isn't as many as those on offer through the Philips Hue app, but still a generous number. You can also opt for Custom colors if you're feeling arty – I was content with the mix of colors already available.
As I've already mentioned, one of the most useful functions available through the app is Automations. I set two schedules during testing: mid-morning (11:15) and down time (18:00). I selected my preferred start and end times, and the days that I wanted to repeat the automation. I selected the light that I wanted to use in the automation – "big bulb" – and I could also choose the desired light mode. For mid-morning I opted for Forest, and for down time I went for Sunset. Both of these colour modes were from the Dynamic light category and were a blend of hues; Forest, a mix of yellows and greens, while Sunset is a mix of orange, yellow and pink/purple tones.
In the Automation section of the app you can also activate Circadian rhythm, which delivers the most suitable lighting throughout the day based on wake and sleep times. You can also create your own rhythm, which is tailored to you. Of course, the WiZ light will need to be on all day for you to benefit from this functionality.
Something new coming to WiZ Mobile Portable Light and other compatible smart lights for April 2023 is SpaceSense. This innovative technology uses the Wi-Fi connection of the light to determine movement. It can be used to automate the smart lights based on motion without the need for motion sensors. For this feature to work you will need 2 or more WiZ products which is something to bare in mind before trying it out.
App score: 4.5
WiZ Mobile Portable Light review: Connecting to Alexa
Relatively easy to connect
Can be used to control the light by voice command
Dynamic light not available
If you want hands-free control of the WiZ Mobile Portable Light then it can be connected to Alexa, and Siri and Google Assistant. Since I had recently figured out how to set up your Amazon Echo Dot (5th Gen), it would have been rude not to give it a go.
You'll see that there's a list of available integrations in the WiZ app, but this is more for reference. You'll need to actually use the dedicated app of each integration, so I headed to the Alexa app to "Add Device".
WiZ is a brand of light recognized. A slight twist in the Alexa integration is that you'll need to enable the WiZ Smart Home Skill. I'd say this is similar to a plug-in adaptation that will make it possible to control the light by voice.
You'll also need to grab a code from the WiZ app to drop into a box for activation. This is a 6-digital PIN.
By following the on-screen instructions, and assuming that setup goes smoothly, it will take just a few minutes to connect the WiZ Mobile Portable Light to Alexa. With commands such as "Alexa, turn on big bulb" or "Alexa, dim big bulb", I didn't need to have my phone on me at all times, or be close to the light, in order to control it, although I did of course need to be within raised-voice distance of an Alexa-equipped device.
Using Alexa to change the WiZ smart light's color was great fun. Using the command "Alexa, turn big bulb blue" – and ta-dah, it turned blue. Turning the light pink wasn't so easy, though, ending up with a wishy-washy, non-descript neutral tone. Alexa also can not replicate the Dynamic light category in the WiZ app, overriding any automations that I had set.
Wiz Mobile Portable Light review: should I buy it?
Buy it if...
Don't buy it if...
WiZ Mobile Portable Light review: Also consider
If you'd like to further connect your home, here are a couple more products that you may find helpful...
How I tested the WiZ Mobile Portable Light
I used the WiZ Mobile Portable Light for a few weeks
I connected it to the app and Alexa
I set Automations to suit my daily routine
I enjoyed using the WiZ Mobile Portable Light for a few weeks while I had it in for review, and since it followed my review of the Philips Hue Gradient Signe, I was able to closely compare the two.
Since the WiZ is smart light, it offered the ability to connect to an app and use voice commands including Amazon Alexa for control. It took several attempts to successful connect to the app, but this was mainly down to user error – although I do feel that the on-screen instructions could have been clearer about the number of times I needed to switch the light on and off to trigger a reaction. Once I'd finally connected the light to the app, I set Automations (the main perk of the app control) that would fit my daily routine.
Whilst I've only been reviewing smart lights since joining TechRadar in June 2022, I've been reviewing appliances for about three years, so am well versed in the features to put through their paces. With more than 10 years as a product writer across appliances and smart homes, I hope that my experience can help you make an informed decision about your next (possible) purchase.
Seldom are mid-range phones as memorable as their flagship counterparts, but Samsung's Galaxy A series – and its A5X devices in particular – are often notable entrants into the mid-range market each year; unquestionably serving as some of the best Samsung phones money can buy.
They've seen a lot of success in past generations, with both the Galaxy A50 and Galaxy A51 being among the best-selling phones in the world, in their respective launch years; making the arrival of this newest entry for 2023 – the Samsung Galaxy A54 5G – all the more significant.
A few days shy of a year on from the introduction of the Galaxy A53, Samsung showcased both the Galaxy A34 5G and Galaxy A54 5G alongside one another, hoping to rejuvenate the company's presence in the mid-range phone market by once again offering trickle-down premium features and long battery life in a stylish package that costs around half as much as the flagships they take inspiration from. As the numbering suggests, it's the A54 that's the fuller-featured off these two latest A-series entrants; with a more premium build, more competent cameras and more power at its disposal.
Compared to its predecessor, the A54 has a marginally smaller 6.4-inch Full HD+ Super AMOLED display, which now peaks at 1,000nits (that's 200 more than the A53). You'll find Gorilla Glass 5 on the front and back, and the IP67-certified design embraces the floating camera aesthetics first introduced on the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and subsequently adopted by the company's current flagship Galaxy S23 series, from the start of the year.
Just a few weeks prior to the A54's debut, Samsung announced a successor to the silicon that powered 2022's Galaxy A53 – the Exynos 1380. This just so happens to be the chip that keeps the A54 ticking over, paired with 8GB of RAM in most markets (although there is also a 6GB RAM variant in some regions), alongside either 128GB or 256GB of storage, bolstered by increasingly-novel microSD expandability, up to 1TB.
Samsung's also proud to shout about the phone's 5,000mAh battery (that's larger than both the S23's and S23 Plus' batteries), which the company promises delivers up to two-day longevity, twinned with support for 25W fast-charging – just like the standard Samsung Galaxy S23.
While most numbers go up between generations, when looking at the A54's camera compared to its predecessor, the digits actually drop, but in this instance that could be a good thing. Rather than a 64MP lead snapper, the A54's camera array is fronted by a new 50MP sensor with larger pixels, improved autofocus and OIS (optical image stabilization), paired with a 12MP ultrawide, a 5MP dedicated macro camera and a 32MP front-facing punch-hole camera.
On the software side of things, Samsung has pulled the impressive commitment it's made with its flagship-class Galaxy S and Z phones down to the A54 too, meaning this mid-ranger – which arrives on One UI 5.1 atop Android 13 – enjoys the same four years of OS updates and five years of security updates; granting the A54 a far longer lifespan than the majority of its equivalent rivals, from a software standpoint.
The Galaxy A54 was announced on March 15, with a progressive rollout across European markets, starting with France. Pre-orders in the UK kicked off on the same day, with an on-sale date of April 25, while in the US pre-orders start March 30, with and on-sale date of April 6. In Australia, the A54 is available from March 31.
US and Australian customers will find the starting price of the A54 unchanged from its predecessor, at $449.99 and AU$699 respectively, however, in UK customers can expect a £50 price hike compared to the A53; taking the starting price from £399 to £449 for an 8GB RAM / 128GB Galaxy A54.
Hands-on Samsung Galaxy A54 review: Price and availability
Pre-orders kicked off from launch day (March 15) in markets across Europe, with an on-sale date in the UK of April 25 and a pre-order bonus of a free pair of Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 earphones.
While a pre-order date still isn't confirmed for Australia, the A54 goes on sale on March 31, with the option of a free Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 (40mm) available to claim on purchases made between March 31 and April 13. Samsung Australia is also offering a bonus year of Samsung Care Plus Lite on purchases made before June 30.
In the US, pre-orders run from March 30, with an on-sale date of April 6 and a trade-in offer of up to $250 on select devices, as well as a discount on a pair of Galaxy Buds Live, for $49.99.
Hands-on Samsung Galaxy A54 review: Specs
There are a number of obvious tweaks and refinements that Samsung has exacted on the A54 between generations, including a fractionally smaller and brighter screen, a new camera system that – among other things – drops its predecessor's depth sensor, plus there's a choice of punchier, more eye-catching colorways.
Hands-on Samsung Galaxy A54 review: Design
Gorilla Glass 5 front and back
Smaller but heavier than Galaxy A53
The Galaxy S22 Ultra enjoyed a design language all its own last year, while the contour-cut camera aesthetics originally introduced on the Galaxy S21 series persisted across most of the company's other 2022 smartphones. However, this year – as with the Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus – the Galaxy A54 now shares in the more contemporary floating camera design first seen on last year's Ultra.
While the A53's raised camera module was pretty tasteful (I preferred it to the full contour-cut look of the S22 and S22 Plus), the revised look of the A54 is even cleaner; even if it is at the expense of some individuality compared to market rivals. To counter this, this year's model comes in a range of more punchy colors; namely Awesome Lime and Awesome Violet, while Awesome Graphite and Awesome White are a little more modest.
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After seeing the A54 side by side with its launch sibling, the A34, I was a little envious of the latter's more exciting pearlescent finish, which adds rainbow hues across the back of the phone when held against the light; it's markedly more eye-catching compared to the flat colors behind the Gorilla Glass 5 on the A54 line, which only catch fingerprints and smudges under the same conditions.
With its smaller display, the A54 is fractionally thicker than its predecessor but perhaps more noticeable is the difference in weight. By gaining 13 grams between generations, the A54 finds itself over the 200-gram threshold (at 202 grams) where a handset's weight starts to feel noticeable in the hand, especially for its screen size. Even so, it's comfortable to hold and construction feels solid (even if the plastic frame looks to be on the chunky side, proportionally), bolstered by IP67-certified dust and water resistance, for added peace of mind.
On the surface, the A54 features a similar display to its predecessor, however, Samsung has made small but meaningful upgrades that deliver a better overall viewing experience.
Moving from a 20:9 to a 19.5:9 aspect ratio means the A54 has a Full HD+ display that's 0.1-inches smaller than its predecessor, at 6.4-inches. Usually, a smaller screen at the same resolution would suggest a sharper image between generations, but as it's the aspect ratio that's brought about this size difference, image sharpness remains consistent.
What Samsung calls an 'Infinity-O display' is actually just in reference to the punch-hole front-facing camera at the top-center of the screen, while a relative thick bezel (which gets wider along its bottom edge) sits between the phone's frame and the pixels of the display. The Super AMOLED panel at play delivers great contrast and vibrant colors, this year folding in the company's Vision Booster tech, for more accurate viewing against a range of different ambient lighting conditions.
Speaking of lighting, the A54 also boasts a 200-nit bump to peak brightness, which now tops out at 1,000-nits, meaning the outdoor display visibility should be even better compared to the A53 and its predecessors by quite a stretch.
There's the ability to lock the phone at 60Hz to conserve power or enable adaptive mode, so the phone can scale up to 120Hz or down, as needed (it also has a 240Hz touch response rate).
Blue light filtration – branded on the A54 as Eye Comfort Shield in the phone's Quick Settings – has also been almost halved (12.5% down to 6.5%, according to independent certification from SGS) compared to the A53's screen, for less disruptive viewing in low light or late at night. Meanwhile, a wealth of controls let you tweak color profiles (the phone is set to 'Vivid' out the box), as well as color temperature and you even have the option of tweaking independent RGB sliders.
Hands-on Samsung Galaxy A54 review: Software
Runs Android 13 on top of One UI 5.1 out the box
4 years OS updates + 5 years security updates
For existing Samsung Galaxy users, the One UI 5.1 experience atop Android 13 should feel immediately familiar; squircle icons, Samsung apps sitting in parallel with Google apps – such as the Galaxy Store and Play Store – along with a few handy extras, like the ever-present Edge Panels, which can be swiped out to offer access to favourite apps and contacts, and even pairs of apps for instant split-screen multitasking, easily.
The A54 does give you the option of which additional Samsung apps you want to install during setup, so that apps like the Samsung Browser and Samsung Calculator aren't compulsory inclusions, but there are unquestionably a few additional pre-loaded third-party offerings that could be considered bloatware which need to be removed manually once setup is complete.
Coming from a Pixel or Motorola, or even iOS, there's a definite learning curve that centers around getting to know One UI's specific visual language, but once you've mastered that, the experience is enjoyable to use, full-featured and, as such, pretty powerful.
One small but welcome enhancement on the A54 is an improved haptic feedback system, which more closely mirrors the premium haptic experience you'd find on flagships like the Galaxy S23, OnePlus 11 and Xiaomi 13 Pro; serving up precise vibrations for everything from unlocking the phone to zooming in when using the camera.
The biggest win for the A54's software experience has to be its support, with Samsung matching the commitment it's made with its flagship phones by promising users four years of OS updates and five years of security updates, expanding the phone's lifespan far beyond many rivals around the same price point.
Hands-on Samsung Galaxy A54 review: Cameras
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50MP f/1.8 main camera w/ OIS
12MP ultrawide + 5MP macro camera
32MP f/2.2 front-facing camera
One fewer camera sensors than Galaxy A53
The camera has always been a big focus for Samsung's Galaxy A5X devices and the new lead 50MP f/1.8 sensor on the A54 looks like a nice step-up compared to the 64MP sensor leading its predecessor's camera system.
Despite a slight drop in resolution, the move to a larger 1/1.56-inch (up from 1/1.7-inch) sensor, with larger 1µm pixels (up from 0.8µm) and improved range of motion from the OIS (optical image stabilization) system (1.5-degrees of motion up from 0.95), should all result in greatly improved image capture, particularly in low light.
Samsung's ongoing commitment to tight integration with social apps like Snapchat persists on the A54, letting you get better quality results when grabbing shots with Snap filters and the like, through the camera's dedicated 'Fun' shooting mode.
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The Fun photo mode integrates Snapchat filters into the native camera app.
Interestingly, the move to a main sensor with all-focus pixels might be the reason behind the loss of the fourth depth sensor, found on the back of last year's Galaxy A53, while a 12MP ultrawide and a 5MP dedicated macro sensor persist, along with a 32MP front-facer.
Samsung promises greatly improved VDIS (video digital image stabilization) when shooting with the A54 and capable editing tools like Photo Remaster and Object Removal after capture.
Hands-on Samsung Galaxy A54 review: Performance and audio
New 5nm Exynos 1380 SoC
Up to 8GB RAM w/ RAM Plus up to 8GB
Up to 256GB storage + microSD up to 1TB
Just weeks before the Galaxy A54's debut, Samsung Semiconductor pulled the wraps off the Exynos 1380 – a mobile SoC (system on chip) operating as the successor to the Exynos 1280, which happened to power 2022's Galaxy A53.
It was actually the 1380's announcement that served as one of the last big indicators that the Galaxy A54 was about to launch and, sure enough, the phone arrived packing this new silicon. Built on a similar 5nm process to the 1280 but with the promise of improved power and efficiency, better graphical performance (great for gaming) and a denser NPU (neural processing unit), equipped to better handle AI-based tasks like image processing more efficiently.
In most markets – including the UK – the A54 comes paired with 8GB RAM (LPDDR4X), however, there's a 6GB RAM model in some regions too. Regardless, the A54 enjoys One UI's RAM Plus feature, which let's you use a portion of the phone's storage as additional memory to allow more apps to remain open simultaneously and to speed up app load times as desired.
Speaking of storage, the A54 comes with either 128GB or 256GB of space, paired with what's become something of a novelty – even in the mid-range market – microSD expandability up to 1TB.
Connectivity includes 5G, WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.3 (up from Bluetooth 5.1 on the Galaxy A53) and an eSIM (meaning dual-SIM functionality is possible). The phone's earpiece and down-firing speaker work in tandem to create a stereo pair when you don't want to use headphones too.
Hands-on Samsung Galaxy A54 review: Battery life
25W wired fast charging
No power adapter in-box
Just as with the company's flagship phones, Samsung chose to omit the power adapter from the box of the Galaxy A53 and that practice continues with the A54, which comes boxed with a USB-C cable, SIM tool and paperwork, but no charger.
If you do want to power the A54 back up, however, it's rated to match the Galaxy S23's 25W fast charging speeds, which Samsung promises means a full charge in 82 minutes or less.
Perhaps the most notable claim, though, is that the hardware at play paired with a generous 5,000mAh battery, mean the Galaxy A54 is designed to last up to two days on a single charge in general use – a claim I'm keen to put to the test and will do soon, so don't forget to check back.
The best routers that support the latest Wi-Fi 6E technology are still relatively expensive, but that does mean that the current generation of Wi-Fi 6 routers is coming down in price, with models such as Asus’ new RT-AX59U Extendable router being one of the most affordable that I've seen so far.
You’re not going to get top-of-the-range performance from a router that comes in at around $150, but the Asus RT-AX59U provides good mid-range performance at a very competitive price. And, like all of the latest Asus routers, it is now described as an ‘extendable’ router – meaning that it can be used with any other Asus router that supports the company’s AiMesh technology to create a more extensive mesh network in the future.
Most Wi-Fi 6 routers are festooned with antennae that are designed to improve the reach of the Wi-Fi signal, but the Asus RT-AX59U has an unusually svelte design, consisting of a slim, upright tower that takes up very little space. It stands just 200mm 131mm wide and only 37.5mm thick and weighs a mere 460g, so you can easily sit it on any convenient shelf when connecting it to your existing broadband modem or router.
Despite that slimline design, the RT-AX59U manages to squeeze in five internal antennae to help transmit the Wi-Fi signal far and wide. The router’s compact and lightweight design also means that you can easily fix it to a wall if you want - the higher the better to help the signal reach as far as possible - and there’s a wall-mount kit included in the box as well.
The Asus RT-AX59U is a good mid-range router that offers dual-band Wi-Fi 6 - using the 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz frequency bands - with a top speed of 4.2Gbps (although, strictly speaking, it’s 4.177Gbps). And, as mentioned, it also supports Asus’ AiMesh technology, which allows it to work with other Asus routers as part of a wider mesh networking system if you need to upgrade your network in the future.
The router also includes four Gigabit Ethernet interfaces as well - one of which is used to connect it to your existing broadband modem or router, while the other three provide wired networking for devices such as a games console or smart TV that may work better with a wired connection. There are also two USB ports, which will allow you to connect USB storage devices that you can share on your network - although it’s odd that only one of these uses USB 3.2, while the other opts for the aging USB 2.0.
Asus’ Router app makes it easy to get started, as you can simply use the app to scan a QR code on the base of the router and automatically connect to the router’s new network. You’re then prompted to create a new name and password for the network, and I was pleased to see that the app also asks if you want to merge the two 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz frequency bands to create a single network, or if you prefer to create two separate networks instead.
The app has plenty of other useful features too, including a QoS option - quality of service - that allows you to prioritise specific tasks, such as gaming, so that they get maximum performance. And, unlike many of its rivals, Asus provides free parental controls, with content filters that can protect children by blocking unsuitable online material (whereas some companies require an additional monthly subscription for parental controls).
My only complaint is that I was unable to find a proper manual on Asus’ website, which might be useful for more advanced users who want greater fine control over their network settings.
Asus RT-AX59U: Benchmark
Ookla Speed Test - 2.4GHz (download/upload) Within 5ft, no obstructions: 150/150Mbps
Within 30ft, three partition walls: 150/150Mbps
Ookla Speed Test - 5.0GHz (download/upload) Within 5ft, no obstructions: 150/150Mbps
Within 30ft, three partition walls: 150/150Mbps
20GB Steam download - 2.4GHz Within 5ft, no obstructions: 19MB/s
Within 30ft, three partition walls: 19MB/s
20GB Steam 20GB download - 5.0GHz Within 5ft, no obstructions: 19MB/s
Within 30ft, three partition walls: 19MB/s
You’re not going to get top-of-the-range speed from a low-cost router such as this, but the Asus RT-AX59U proves more than capable of handling anything that our 150Mbps office broadband can throw at it. As I expected, devices in the same room as the RT-AX59U don’t show any major speed improvements, recording 150Mbps on the Ookla speed test and 19MB/s for Steam downloads on both the 2.4GHz and 5.0Ghz bands.
The real test is our back office at the rear of the building, where I normally rely on PowerLine adaptors to provide a wired connection, as our normal Wi-Fi router can’t quite get a reliable signal into that room. And the RT-AX59U didn’t falter as I wandered along the corridor to the back office with our laptop, and maintained top speeds of 150Mbps for Ookla and 19MB/s for Steam on both frequency bands.
Dedicated gamers might prefer a more expensive tri-band router that would allow them to devote one of the frequency bands to their gaming rig. But the RT-AX59U will provide a good, affordable upgrade for web browsing, streaming video and other forms of online entertainment.
Asus RT-AX59U: Price & availability
How much does it cost? £124.99 (approximately US$150/AU$225)
When is it available? Available now
Where can you get it? Available in the US, UK, and Australia
The Asus RT-AX59U has only recently been launched, and it can’t be bought directly from Asus in the US or Australia, so customers in those regions will need to shop around to buy online. However, Asus’ website in the UK lists the RT-AX59U at a very competitive £124.99 (approximately US$150/AU$225).
It’s about the same price as the Linksys Hydra 6, but the Hydra 6 isn’t as fast, offering 3.0Gbps compared to 4.2Gbps for the RT-AX59U. Alternatively, if you want something even faster, then Asus’ TUF Gaming router steps up to 5.4Gbps but is quite a bit more expensive at $199.99 / £170 / AU$369.
That combination of strong performance and competitive price makes the Asus RT-AX59U a good all-around upgrade for anyone that’s still plodding away with an ageing Wi-Fi 5 router.
Value: 5 / 5
Asus RT-AX59U: Specs
Should you buy the Asus RT-AX59U?
Buy it if...
You need a Wi-Fi upgrade
If your old Wi-Fi 5 router is struggling to cope then the RT-AX59U is a really good upgrade and introduction to Wi-Fi 6.
You’re on a budget The latest Wi-Fi 6E routers are still very expensive, but the RT-AX59U provides good Wi-Fi 6 performance at a bargain price.
Don't buy it if...
You’re a serious gamer The RT-AX59U is fast enough for gaming, but its dual-band networking can easily get congested. A tri-band router will be a better option for competitive gaming.
You have lots of bedrooms The compact design of the RT-AX59U is ideal for smaller homes, but larger homes with lots of bedrooms might need a more powerful router or mesh networking system.
Asus RT-AX59U: Also consider
How I tested the Asus RT-AX59U
Tested it for 3-4 days
Used it as our main office router
Used the Ookla Speed Test app
I set up the RT-AX59U and used it as our main office router, full-time for 3-4 days. For general wi-fi performance, I used the Ookla Speed Test app. I also tested real-world download speed by downloading large game files from Steam.
We pride ourselves on our independence and our rigorous review-testing process, offering up long-term attention to the products we review and making sure our reviews are updated and maintained - regardless of when a device was released, if you can still buy it, it's on our radar.
Dell's OptiPlex 7400 All-in-one is an all-around powerhouse that shoehorns the power of a tower into a monitor's form factor. Many people think that All-in-ones can only handle lighter workloads, but thanks to the 12th Gen Intel core processors, the OptiPlex 7400 is a true workhorse capable enough for power users.
Unboxing the All-in-One was incredibly simple. We merely opened the box, pulled the OptiPlex 7400 AIO out, attached the base, plugged the disc drive base into the back of the unit, and then plugged in the power supply.
Dell's OptiPlex 7400 All-in-One is a handy all-in-one computer with great ports and impressive power.
Screen: 23.8-inch FHD 1920 x 1080, 60Hz
CPU: 12th Generation i3 - 12th Generation i9
Graphics: Intel® UHD Graphics 730 with 12th Generation Intel® CoreTM i3-12100, i3-12300, and i5-12400 processors
- USB Type-C® port with USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 capability
- USB 3.2 Gen 1 port with PowerShare
- Universal audio port
- RJ-45 Ethernet port
- (2) USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports
- (2) USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports with Smart Power On
- Line-out audio port
- DisplayPort++ 1.4a/HDCP 2.3 port
- HDMI-IN - HDMI 1.4a port
- HDMI-OUT - HDMI 2.0 port
Dimensions: 13.54 x 21.26 x 2.07 in / 344.00 x 540.20 x 52.60 mm
Weight: 13.62 lbs. / 6.18 Kg (minimum) - without stand 15.06 lbs. / 6.83 Kg (maximum) - without stand
While all-in-ones have their place, the most obvious benefit is not needing separate units for the monitor and the computer itself. Better yet, this computer has a camera built into the top of the display that retracts when not in use and, when needed, can be popped out (albeit manually). All in all, this all-in-one is ready to go out of the box. Thanks to its touch screen, we only needed to plug in a keyboard and mouse if we wanted to. Eventually, we added a keyboard for ease of typing and a mouse for a more traditional feel, but being able to operate the OptiPlex 7400 without peripherals was quite an interesting experience.
Another noteworthy feature of this computer is the disc drive built into the base. This does not come with all Dell OptiPlex 7400 AIO models, but ours did. For those needing a DVD+/-RW drive, having one integrated within the base of your all-in-one is incredibly handy.
Lastly, even with the stand that has the built-in disc drive, we immediately noticed how adjustable the monitor stand was. Looking at what else is available from Dell, other stand options feature a wider range of motion, yet we could still get the monitor to a comfortable position that allowed for touch, mouse, and keyboard input.
Design and Build Quality
All around, the OptiPlex 7400 is quite sturdy and sleek, thanks to its aluminum chassis. It has built-in speakers that have decent sound quality for a computer. On the back, the all-in-one has a large range of I/O ports, including DisplayPort, HDMI, USB-A, USB-C, and Thunderbolt.
We appreciated the location of them too on this all-in-one. The ports in the back were high enough on the computer that when we had it tilted down, we weren't worried about needing to adjust for the cables sticking out of the back.
Using this AIO for the last few weeks, we quickly realized just how well it caters to its target market. It is a wonderful option for business computers where space is at a premium in your workplace. The OptiPlex 7400 takes up the same space as an average monitor but being all-inclusive, there’s no need for extra space to store a separate tower unit. Furthermore, the stand can be removed entirely, presenting a VESA mounting bracket so it can be attached to a vast array of stands, arms, and brackets, thus occupying even less space.
The 10-point touchscreen is responsive and easy to use, making a keyboard and mouse redundant for some workflows. The touchscreen has a 23.8-inch anti-glare and anti-smudge coating and up to a 4K resolution. If the screen is rotated to portrait orientation, the computer recognizes that it has been turned and automatically matches the display to the proper direction.
Turning to the audio, the built-in speakers are better than your average monitor speakers.
However, they are nothing mind-blowing. They will be more than satisfactory if used in an office setting for quick videos, quiet music, video calls, or notification dings, but nothing more.
This all-in-one has a wide range of ports on the back and left side. There are multiple video outputs, several USB ports - including USB-C - and an ethernet port. Since this is an all-in-one, this computer also has an HDMI-IN, allowing the computer to become a display for a separate client.
Throughout our time using this all-in-one, we noticed it ran relatively quietly and stayed cool, even during benchmark testing. Though that is not to say it is designed to take on the most intensive tasks. It fared well in our tests; however, if you are looking for an incredibly powerful workstation, this is not your computer. But it is an excellent option if you need something for an office, meeting space or the like.
Lenovo’s Legion line of gaming laptops has been putting out bangers for years. Back in 2021, we reviewed the previous model of this laptop - the RTX 2060-equipped Lenovo Legion 5i - and were generally impressed by the solid performance and fair pricing. More recently, we awarded the Legion 5 Pro a rare 5-star review, again citing its excellent gaming capabilities and sensible price tag.
We’re pleased to report that having spent some time with the most recent 2022 model of the Lenovo Legion 5i, it remains able to trade blows with the best gaming laptops and packs a punch despite its humble appearance.
The model we tested came with an Intel Core i7-12700H CPU and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 graphics card, which puts it pretty squarely in the mid-range space as far as gaming laptops go. There’s a variety of other models with different processors and GPUs, all of which look to offer a comparable price-to-performance ratio to our review unit.
Although this model of the Lenovo Legion 5i (2022) comes with a 1440p display, the RTX 3060 inside it is arguably more of a 1080p card. You can squeeze some extra frames out of it at 1440p using Nvidia’s nifty DLSS tech, however, so the pairing isn’t entirely foolish. There are models of the Legion 5i (and the AMD Ryzen-powered Legion 5) that use a 1080p display instead, but we think opting for the higher resolution is worth it here since the display on our review model is actually excellent for the asking price.
On top of generally solid performance and specs, the Lenovo Legion 5i is also just a very nice piece of hardware. It might sound like a silly thing to fixate on, but all of the best laptops have an appealing physical design, and the Legion 5i is no exception; a sleek metallic grey finish with a backlit keyboard and a robust hinge.
Lenovo hasn’t skimped on the features here either, with a solid selection of physical ports and the latest Wi-Fi 6E capabilities. The DDR5 memory is a great added bonus (especially since a lot of more affordable gaming laptops are still rocking DDR4, and it’s not a mandatory upgrade for the 12th-gen Intel CPU), and we were surprised to see not just regular USB-C ports but also a Thunderbolt 4 port.
It’s a bit on the heavy side, and the battery life is unsurprisingly garbage, two pitfalls that almost every gaming laptop trips into. Ultimately though, this isn’t a laptop for on-the-go gaming; it’s a desktop replacement system, and it does that just fantastically.
Lenovo Legion 5i (2022) review: Price and availability
Starts at $1,099.99 / £1,293.49 / AU$2,349
UK version tested costs £1,800
Massive variety of configurations
The Lenovo Legion 5i starts at $1,099.99 in the US, which gets you essentially the same system as the one we’ve reviewed here, but with a 1080p display and an RTX 3050 Ti instead of an RTX 3060. For our money, the 1080p RTX 3060 model available in the US is a massively better value since it’s only marginally more expensive at $1,229.99.
The highest-spec model - which packs double the RAM and an RTX 3070 Ti GPU - costs $2,499.99 - not quite as much bang for your buck, in our opinion. There are also the Legion 5i Pro models and Legion 5 models of both (which use AMD Ryzen CPUs; note the lack of ‘i’ denoting ‘Intel’). The cheapest Legion 5 available costs $1,049.99, but we wouldn’t recommend getting the bottom-dollar model.
Our review model is a UK unit that costs £1,500 (AU$3,169), which doesn’t quite hold up to the US pricing but is still decent considering the 1440p screen and i7 processor (the cheaper models in the US use a Core i5-12500H). It looks like this exact model isn’t available in the US; if you want a higher resolution, it means opting for a slightly bigger screen. We ran our tests in 1080p, though, so the performance stats found below will be useful for both British and American readers.
Overall, it’s not going to touch the best cheap laptops out there if you’re looking for a super-budget device, but it does offer a strong level of performance and a wide feature set for the asking price. It’s also worth noting that Lenovo has regular flash sales on its own online store, and many of its gaming laptops come with a free 3-month trial of PC Game Pass, further adding to the value.
Price score: 4.5/5
Lenovo Legion 5i (2022) review: Specs
The Lenovo Legion 5i comes in a wide range of configurations, with the CPU and GPU being the primary varying factor. It can come with an Intel Core i5 or i7 processor and a variety of Nvidia RTX 3000 GPUs, from the 3050 up to the 3070 Ti. RAM and SSD capacity also vary between models; you can see the version we received below, along with the highest-spec and lowest-spec configurations.
Lenovo Legion 5i (2022) review: Design
Robust, well-designed chassis
Relatively thin, but heavy
Ports are mostly on the rear edge
Lenovo hasn’t made any huge changes to the physical design of the Legion laptop line for a little while, but that’s fine by us. This Legion 5i is a good-looking laptop with a relatively minimalist style, a far cry from the gaudy RGB-laden products that typically populate the gaming laptop section of your local tech hardware store.
The exterior is mostly brushed metal, which gives the chassis a solid, durable feel that should hold up to bumps and drops. It’s also thinner than many gaming laptops in its power and price class, making it a bit more portable, but this is somewhat counteracted by the metal construction resulting in increased overall weight. It’s not the heaviest gaming laptop we’ve reviewed, but at two and a half kilos for a 15-inch model, it’s certainly not lightweight.
While there are some USB ports and a headphone jack on the sides of the laptop, most of the physical ports are situated along the back edge. This will be a matter of personal taste; we’re divided here on the TechRadar team as to whether these rear ports are actually more convenient. Some gaming laptops position literally all the ports on the rear edge, which can make plugging in a USB mouse or flash drive inconvenient, so it’s good to see that at least some of the ports are more accessible here.
The keyboard isn’t doing anything particularly revolutionary here, but it’s comfortable to use and the slightly curved shape of the keycaps means that your fingers easily find each key when you’re typing. Lenovo has done a good job of packing in a full-scale keyboard with a numpad here. Nothing feels cramped, and the arrow keys jut out slightly from the keyboard’s outline to avoid compacting the up and down buttons (as many laptops do).
The touchpad is perfectly fine but isn’t likely to see much use since this is a gaming laptop, and anyone using it for extended periods is almost certainly going to connect a gaming mouse. The same goes for the twin stereo speakers, which are functional but decidedly unimpressive. Know that you’re going to want a proper gaming headset - though again, this is a criticism we could level at the majority of gaming laptops.
Design score: 4/5
Lenovo Legion 5i (2022) review: Features
Wi-Fi 6E and Thunderbolt 4 support
Legion software suite is just okay
The Lenovo Legion 5i’s display is a pretty straightforward 1440p panel, which offers a snappy 165Hz refresh rate for esports gaming and generally pretty excellent color reproduction. We do wish the blacks were a little deeper, but considering the price point here, we couldn’t reasonably expect visual perfection. Some cheaper versions are available with a 1080p display instead (specific model availability varies a lot between regions, though).
Above the display is a 720p webcam and mic array, which feel like a bit of an afterthought but are a welcome inclusion nonetheless for anyone who might want to use this laptop for video calls. We were pleased to see a physical kill switch for the camera on the side of the laptop, so you can disable it when you’re not using it. Don’t expect to use it for streaming, though, since we’d say 1080p is really the minimum for that.
All models of the Legion 5i (including the entry-level configurations) use Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.1. The former has been around for a while in more premium gaming laptops, so it’s good to see that it’s now becoming the norm - replacing the slower Wi-Fi 6 standard - in more budget-friendly devices too.
There’s also Thunderbolt 4 support, specifically for one of the USB-C ports on the laptop's right-hand side. It can’t be used for input power delivery so you won’t be able to charge the laptop with this port, but the speed of Thunderbolt 4 will no doubt be a boon for users who intend to take advantage of the USB-C ports.
Lastly, we need to discuss the preinstalled software that comes with the Legion 5i. Lenovo Vantage is a relatively straightforward utility software for monitoring and tweaking your system performance; it’s nothing groundbreaking, but it does the job well enough. There’s also the Legion AI Engine, which uses deep learning to intelligently redirect power between the CPU and GPU to optimize performance.
Legion Arena, on the other hand, is pointless. It’s a ‘shared launcher’ tool that allows you to launch games from different apps (like Steam, Epic, or GoG) all in one convenient place. Every gaming laptop seems to have a version of this now, and it’s broadly useless. What’s wrong with desktop shortcuts?
Lenovo Legion 5i (2022) review: Performance
1080p is ideal; 1440p is an option for most games
12th-gen Intel i7 CPU works hard
Gets a little warm when gaming
Here's how the Lenovo Legion 5i (2022) performed in our suite of benchmark tests:
3DMark Night Raid: 52,681; Fire Strike: 20,792; Time Spy: 9,753 Cinebench R20 multi-core: 7,313 GeekBench 5: 1,768 (single-core); 12,904 (multi-core)
PCMark 10 (Modern Office): 8,062 PCMark 10 (Battery life test): 3 hours and 32 minutes TechRadar Battery Life Test: 3 hours and 59 minutes Total War: Warhammer III (1080p, Ultra): 66 fps; (1080p, Low): 175 fps Cyberpunk 2077 (1080p, Ultra): 70 fps; (1080p, Low): 113 fps Dirt 5 (1080p, Ultra): 75 fps; (1080p, Low): 159 fps
Considering the price point, the overall performance of the Lenovo Legion 5i (2022) is incredible. Sure, that RTX 3060 isn’t going to blow you away with 4K gaming delights, but it provides excellent framerates at 1080p in all the best PC games. You can comfortably play Cyberpunk 2077 at maxed-out settings in FHD without your fps dropping below 60.
It’s definitely competent enough to make full use of the 1440p display in our review model, too - provided you dial back the graphical settings a bit. You can also use DLSS to boost the framerate at higher resolutions. We don’t feature these in our benchmarking tests since they’re not running natively, but you should be aware that it’s an option!
The Intel Core i7-12700H at the heart of this Legion laptop is fantastic; the upgraded performance/efficiency split core architecture of Intel’s 12th-generation processors produces amazing multicore performance, meaning that the Legion 5i sings in CPU-intensive games such as real-time strategy titles. DDR5 memory support is also a nice bonus here; Lenovo could’ve easily stuck with cheaper DDR4 instead.
CPU performance outside of games is great too, with decent results in the Cinebench R20 and GeekBench 5 multicore tests. The midrange GPU means that this isn’t going to be the perfect machine for high-end workloads like video editing or 3D animation, but it should be able to handle some casual creative work - something that is in increasing demand among younger users.
The twin fans that comprise the Legion 5i’s cooling solution aren’t too noisy - a rare sight among gaming laptops these days, which frequently sound like they’re about to blast off Team Rocket-style - but the laptop’s metal casing does get a bit warm on the underside during extended use.
It’s nothing too egregious (we’ve reviewed laptops that could double as space heaters) but it’s too hot to actually put it on your lap while you’re gaming. If you’re planning on using this laptop for long gaming sessions, you might want to invest in one of the best laptop cooling pads - or just get a hardback book to prop up the back edge and give the fans underneath some breathing room.
Performance score: 4.5/5
Lenovo Legion 5i review: Battery life
Maxes out at four hours
Significantly less for actual gaming use
Supports fast charging
We could fill this entire section in basically every gaming laptop review with a single sentence reading ‘look, it’s a gaming laptop; the battery life is bad’. But we won’t, because we’re professional journalists (and our editorial overlords would shout at us).
This wasn’t a shock. With any modern gaming laptop you’re going to spend most of your time near a wall outlet, and the overall battery life isn’t terrible, so we can’t count it too much against the Legion 5i. On the bright side, it charges very fast indeed, topping the battery up by as much as 80% in just half an hour.
Battery life: 3.5/5
Should you buy the Lenovo Legion 5i (2022)?
Buy it if...
You want bang for your buck
While there are certainly cheaper laptops out there, the Lenovo Legion 5i (2022) offers a perfectly sound price-to-performance proposition with affordable entry-level configurations.
You need lots of ports
The Legion 5i has basically every physical connection you could want from a gaming laptop, including Thunderbolt 4, HDMI, and an Ethernet port to ensure your internet connection remains speedy and stable.
You like esports games
The 165Hz screen is great for twitchy esports shooters like CS:GO and Valorant, where high refresh rates are king, and the RTX 3060 GPU should be able to easily handle running those games at buttery-smooth framerates.
Don't buy it if...
You’re a streamer Anyone hunting for a gaming laptop to stream on Twitch with should probably be looking at some slightly higher-end hardware; the 720p camera and RTX 3060 on offer here aren’t quite going to cut it.
You don’t want to wear a headset While most gamers will be perfectly happy with donning a pair of cans to play, some prefer speaker audio - and in this area, the Legion 5i underdelivers. If you want to be playing music, movies, or game audio out loud, you may be better served elsewhere.
You want ultra portability The Lenovo Legion 5i (2022) is actually fairly thin and compact for a gaming laptop, but its all-metal construction makes it quite heavy overall, and it’s still a 15-inch laptop so it won’t fit in smaller bags.
Lenovo Legion 5i (2022) review: Also consider
If our Lenovo Legion 5i (2022) review has you considering other options, here are two more laptops to consider...
How I tested the Lenovo Legion 5i (2022)
I used the laptop for everyday work for two weeks
I played games on it for just under eight hours in total
I dropped it on my kitchen floor
Anyone who knows me won't be shocked to hear that I've reviewed dozens upon dozens of gaming laptops, and at this point, my testing process is quite refined. I spent close to eight hours just playing games such as Destiny 2 and Cyberpunk 2077 on the Lenovo Legion 5i (2022) - outside of work hours, to be clear - as well as using it for general tasks during the day.
I specifically used it to write the majority of this review (along with some other articles) in order to get a good feel of the keyboard quality, and specifically used it without a mouse for the majority of my non-gaming time with it - something I would never normally do, but it's useful for gauging the performance of the trackpad.
I also, upon first unboxing the Legion 5i, managed to drop it directly onto the wooden floor of my kitchen. This was not an intentional piece of durability testing, but the laptop was mercifully undamaged, allowing me to remark on its robust chassis. While years of testing laptops may have attuned me to their strengths and flaws, it has not made me any less of a klutz.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1 is the cheapest entry into the Arctis line, providing an accessible way in the world of dedicated headsets. Armed with a 3.5mm jack for connectivity, you can use this model on various devices, such as your PS5 or Nintendo Switch, or Xbox Series X.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1 gains extra points because you can use it on any device with a headphone jack, such as one of the best Android phones. It’s a viable, if dull option, for a starter setup. It does just enough to be considered one of the best wired gaming headsets.
Price and availability
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1 is currently available for $59.99 / £49.99 / AU$139, which makes it one of the best budget gaming headsets on the market. It was released in August 2022 and essentially replaces the older SteelSeries Arctis 3 from 2019. You’ve got the choice of either white or black, though you’ll see the black variant discounted more often.
Design and Features
Nothing stands out about the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1. You’ve got a sturdy ski-band head strap, as you’ll find with some of the SteelSeries’ other models, coupled with some memory foam earcups. What I most appreciate about the design above all is the lightweight nature of the headset, as it clocks in at just 236g grams, making it one of the lighter headsets I’ve had sat on my head for some time.
You’ll find the standard suite of on-cup controls with the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1, including a volume rocker and a mute mic button placed sensibly behind your head for easy access. The microphone is cleverly hidden in the main body of the right cup and sits flush with rounded edges. It’s a neat touch, as it can be pulled out, ready for use, and retracted when you don’t need it. It also means that there’s no risk of losing it as you may with a detachable mic, nor do you have to put up with its presence at all times.
The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1 is rocking the same 40mm custom Neodymium audio drivers that you’ll find in higher-end offerings, such as the SteelSeries Arctis 7P+ Wireless. It’s great SteelSeries didn’t cheap out with smaller or weaker audio drivers here. As expected from a vastly cheaper headset, the frequency range and sensitivity aren’t as good as with the flagship models; you’re looking at 20–22,000 Hz and 93 dB, which is serviceable for a broad soundscape but will miss the more nuanced details.
Considering the price tag, I was impressed by what the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1 was able to crank out both as a gaming headset and as a pair of wired headphones. For the asking price of $59.99 / £49.99 / AU$139, you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck here, as this model sounds better than it has any right to be.
I wasn’t exactly blown away by the sound reproduction when playing Dead Space on PS5, but every key beat was present. I could accurately hear Isaac Clarke’s heavy footsteps, slamming doors behind me, and the screech of undead nasties bursting out of the vents. It’s a similar story with EA UFC 4, the headset captures everything from checked leg kicks to knockout strikes with suitable weight, despite feeling a little flat and muddy at times when the audience piped up.
Listening to music with the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1 is a pleasant experience, but it doesn’t really wow either. I put the 3.5mm jack-enabled headset through its paces with Party Cannon’s Partied in Half EP and Pharmacist’s Flourishing Extremities On Unspoiled Mental Grounds album. Surprisingly, there’s enough bass presence and accuracy on the low end to convey the weight needed with minimal fuzziness. Listening on my Sony Xperia 1 II, softer genres of music sound better, such as Aqua Regia by Sleep Token and Fight by Me and That Man. The SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1 is no replacement for the best headphones, but they aren’t a write-off.
Where I felt most let down by the SteelSeries Arctis 1 was with the microphone itself. While the quality is passable, it’s the connectivity method where this model suffers. Because you can only plug in with a 3.5mm jack through the DualSense or Xbox Wireless Controller, you don’t come through as crystal clear as with USB. A dedicated splitter, featuring both a microphone and headphone jack, is provided for use on PC, and I found it to be a little middling when hooked up to my Razer Blade 15.
As much as the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1 achieves as a budget product, I can’t help but think you’re better served by spending a little more and going for the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 3 instead. At $99 / £85 / AU$199 (roughly $40 / £35 / $AU60 more), you’re getting a far more capable gaming headset that sounds much better, and benefits from microphone monitoring and USB-A and USB-C connectivity. Still, if you’re in a tight spot and after something cheap and cheerful, the Nova 1 could be the right holdover.
Should you buy the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1 headset?
Buy it if…
You’re working with a tight budget
While the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1 isn’t exceptional, it’s certainly decent enough for the asking price of $59.99 / £49.99 / AU$139 from a build and sound quality point of view.
You need an extra pair of headphones
The 3.5mm jack on the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1 means you can also use them as dedicated headphones on a compatible smartphone or gaming laptop. They sound good enough to be considered a good spare if you need something sturdy to chuck into your bag.
Don't buy it if...
You want fuss-free connectivity
There’s no getting around the inelegant solution of the headphone and microphone splitter cable included here. With headsets like this, USB is the way to go, making this outdated choice a little hard to understand.
You want microphone monitoring
If you’d like to hear yourself through the chaos of gameplay, then the SteelSeries Arctis Nova 1 isn’t for you. You’re better off spending a little extra money and opting for the Nova 3 instead.
Time played: 11 hours (completed) Difficulty: Standard Platform: PS5
I remember the original Resident Evil 4 as an action-packed, mutant-fuelled, guns-blazing, epic quest to infiltrate a Spanish cult and rescue the President’s daughter. It’s only now I look back on it that I realize it may not have been as slick and cool as I had once thought.
This is where the remake swoops in like special agent Ada Wong on a zipline to save the day. Coming in to patch the narrative holes, fix the questionable voice acting, and give the battles and monsters a much-needed face-lift. It turns out that 18 years on, Resident Evil 4 needed a remake more than I thought.
Resident Evil 4 price and release date
What is it? A remake of 2005’s Resident Evil 4
Release date: March 24, 2023
Price: $59.99 / £49.99 / AUS$79
What can I play it on? PC, PlayStation, Xbox
It’s been a long time since I felt like an actual threat in a Resident Evil game and not just like some poor bystander whose luck had run out. While I immensely enjoyed Resident Evil 7 Biohazardin all its horrors, being hunted at every turn was welcomely terrifying but draining. So when I got to jump into the depths of the Los Illuminados cult armed to the teeth and with all the combat knowledge to go with it, I couldn’t have been happier.
The quick action combos, multiple weapons, and melee choices in Resident Evil 4 give you immense freedom in combat. You can’t become complacent, either; as you progress on your mission, the cultists develop different skills that demand new tactics.
The villagers are chaotically vicious but relatively low-skilled in their pursuit, while the monks opt for a more methodical approach using shields, armor, and crossbows to back you into a corner. Finally, the miners take the best bits of both, opting for chaotic rage and utilizing shields and projectiles.
One of the more dangerous sequences was my siege on the castle. While shielding Ashley, I was tasked with navigating the crowds of mutated monks armed with bludgeoning weapons, shields, and, scarily enough, catapults that launched flaming boulders. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to parry those. Luckily, I enjoyed every encounter I had with the cult members; I liked the variations and found the fights a good way to show off new weapons and skills.
Many of the bigger fights also stood out to me. Despite the difficulty of monsters like the xenomorph-esque Verdugo and the blind but vicious Garrador, the experience was memorable in all the right ways. The Verdugo’s design immediately captivated me; it’s horrific, and I wouldn’t want to face up against it in real life, but getting to fight this monstrous beast was thrilling. The deformed alien-like creature was smart, swift, and powerful; every move you made had to be pinpoint accurate otherwise, you’d end up impaled on its scorpion-like tail.
Then there was the Garrador. Trapped in a small chamber, there’s nowhere to hide. Every time you fire a shot or accidentally knock a hanging chain, Garrador will pinpoint your location and charge full pace at you like a blade-covered bull. This was a fight of strategy as much as firepower; there’s nothing quite like feeling strong and smart while beating up your enemies.
Even the stealth was thrilling and smooth. I never once found myself caught out on an invisible ledge that prevented me from dishing out an assassination or circling my target desperately trying to find the stealth kill prompt. Every time I died in combat, it was always my fault. There was never a glitchy NPC that attacked me during one of my finishing kills or a crazily overpowered boss that I had to cheat my way through. While it may be hard at first, Resident Evil 4 has a strict code of conduct, and as long as you see it through and play by the rules, it won’t stab you in the back.
A style and substance two for one deal
Apart from the epic fights, I felt as if this remake excelled at cleaning up the narrative of the original. This time around, I felt like the cult leader Saddler and his right-hand man Lord Salazar were frightening and intimidating. It was nice not to put a face to the ultimate bad guy straightaway; it made meeting Saddler in the flesh for the first time far more memorable.
I also warmed to Ashley more this time around. I’m not a fan of escort missions, but this felt less like protecting a helpless kitten and more like having a useful and intelligent partner that could be helpful in sticky situations.
Gone are the shrill screams every time she jumps from a tall-ish ledge; instead, she shows guts in the face of danger. One of my favorite moments with Ashley had to be her stint as a crane operator as she used a wrecking ball to break through a concrete wall. While at the time, I was busy fighting hordes of violent miners, it was nice not to worry about our escape route as she had this covered.
One for the wish list
Among the ridiculous explosions, evil corporations, and slightly confusing lore Resident Evil's job has always been to make the player feel connected to the story. While Village did a great job at creating a sympathetic character with realistic connections to its wider narrative, the Resident Evil 4 remake is the most invested I've ever been in this series.
I'm happy to say that Resident Evil 4 joins Capcom’s ever-growing list of brilliant remakes. More than simply improved graphics, the team has smoothed down the original’s rough edges, making its story, combat, and boss fights land better than they ever did before. If this is what is possible in a remake, then I can't wait to see what Capcom does next.