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Samsung QN800D review: an impressive 8K TV that proves they still have a place in the world
6:30 pm | June 13, 2024

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

Samsung QN800D review: Two minute review

The Samsung QN800D is the entry-level set in the company’s 8K Neo QLED range, offering  8K resolution at a slightly more affordable price than the flagship Samsung QN900D. It’s still a pricey TV, however, with the 65-inch model I tested currently selling for $3,499 / £3,499 / AU$4,799 – a higher price than most premium 4K TVs. 

Samsung makes some of the best TVs and consistently flies the 8K flag as other brands move away from the technology. Based on the performance of the QN800D, it may be justified to fly that flag. 

The QN800D’s picture quality is nothing short of impressive, mainly due to the exceptional 8K AI upscaling and Real Depth Enhancer Pro features of the TV’s NQ8 AI Gen2 Processor. These add incredible depth and refined detail to any textures, and the picture also has rich contrast and impressive black levels for a mini-LED TV. There is some minor backlight blooming and reflections can occur in harsh lighting conditions, but those are the only drawbacks of an otherwise phenomenal picture. 

Gaming features are plentiful with the QN800D, with its four HDMI 2.1 ports kitted out with all the bells and whistles we look for in the best gaming TVs. The QN800D supports 4K up to 165Hz,8K up to 60Hz, VRR including AMD FreeSync Premium Pro and comes with Samsung’s useful Gaming Hub. Gaming performance is excellent, feeling smooth and seamless even in the most intense of FPS games, and with the TV’s 8K AI upscaling, graphically beautiful as well. 

Sound quality is an area where the QN800D stumbles compared to the rest of its performance. A 4.2.2-channel speaker array provides exceptional tracking of on-screen action and dialogue is crisp and clear, but the QN800D’s lean bass means it can’t compete with some of the best TVs for sound such as the Sony A80L and Panasonic MZ2000. As such, it will be worth pairing the QN800D with one of the best soundbars to compliment its picture quality. 

The QN800D uses Samsung’s ‘Infinity One’ design for a sleek, slim appearance with a near bezel-less look that allows the impeccable picture to be the star of the show. It also comes with Samsung’s One Connect Box to house all external source connections, making the QN800D perfect for wall mounting. It does come with a premium metal stand, but be warned, it can be a little fiddly to fit on. 

There’s no getting around the fact that the QN800D is a premium-priced TV, with many flagship 4K models, including some of the best OLED TVs, selling for significantly less while still offering many of the same great features. There’s also a lack of 8K media to make full use of the QN800D’s high resolution. But the QN800D’s impressive 8K upscaling breathes extra life into every source it’s given, especially 4K movies with HDR. If you can stretch your budget for it you won’t be let down. I may have been skeptical about 8K TVs before, but the QN800D has made me a believer. 

Samsung QN800D with Star Wars The Force Awakens on screen

Star Wars: The Force Awakens shows the QN800D's bold colors and highlights.  (Image credit: Future)

Samsung QN800D review: Prices & release date

  • Release date: April 2024  
  • 65-inch: $3,499 / £3,499 / AU$4,799 
  • 75-inch: $4,499 / £4,499 / AU$6,499 
  • 85-inch: $5,999 / £6,999 / AU$8.999 

The Samsung QN800D is the entry-level 8K Neo QLED model for 2024 and sits below the flagship Samsung QN900D. It is available in 65-, 75- and 85-inch sizes and was released in April 2024. 

Since its release, we have seen some offers and reductions on the QN800D in its various sizes. The 65-inch model I tested has seen roughly $200 off, with as much as £500 off in the UK for the 85-inch model, though it still carries a high price tag across the board. 

Samsung QN800D review: Specs

Samsung QN800D review: Benchmark results

Samsung QN800D slim one connect box

The Slim One Connect Box handles all external connections to keep things tidy.  (Image credit: Future)

Samsung QN800D review: Features

  • NQ8 AI Gen2 Processor with 8K AI Upscaling Pro
  • 4.2.2-channel speaker array
  • One Connect Box    

The Samsung QN800D uses the  NQ8 AI Gen2 Processor, which boasts features such as 8K AI Upscaling Pro to upscale 4K images with up to 84% of the resolution of native 8K (according to Samsung). It also has Real Depth Enhancer Pro and Adaptive Picture, both of which use AI technology to analyze the picture and the surrounding environment to enhance images. The QN800D can display native 8K video, but there are no broadcast or home video 8K options outside of YouTube. 

Like all Samsung TVs, the QN800D supports the HDR10+, HDR10 and HLG HDR formats, but not Dolby Vision. 

For gaming, the QN800D is equipped with four HDMI 2.1 ports that support up to 165Hz refresh rate at 4K, 60Hz at 8K, VRR (including AMD FreeSync Premium Pro), ALLM and HGiG. It also features Samsung’s Gaming Hub that locates everything gaming-related in one handy location, including cloud-based gaming apps from Xbox, Luna, Nvidia GeForce Now and more. 

The QN800D comes with the One Connect Box Slim, which houses all connections and links to the TV with a One Connect cable. This design keeps cables tidy, especially for wall-mount installations. Along with its four HDMI 2.1 ports, connections include optical digital audio out, an ATSC 3.0 tuner (US-only) and aerial and satellite connections for the UK, and three USB ports including USB-C. 

For audio, the QN800D has a built-in 4.2.2 channel speaker array with 70W of power and support for Dolby Atmos. It also supports AI features such as Adaptive Sound Pro and Active Voice Amplifier Pro, which analyze the scene and viewing environment to optimize sound. The QN800D supports Q Symphony, which combines the TV’s audio output with compatible Samsung soundbars when connected. 

The QN800D uses Samsung’s own Tizen smart TV platform, which appears largely unchanged for 2024 except for a new ‘recommended for you’ section that recommends movies and TV shows based on your past viewing. There is also a new 'Recent' window that lets you easily jump back into a movie or TV show you were recently watching. 

  • Features score: 5 / 5

Samsung QN800D with gemstone on screen

The Samsung QN800D's 8K upscaling results in some incredible picture detail.  (Image credit: Future)

Samsung QN800D review: Picture quality

  • Exceptional picture detail  
  • Effective 8K upscaling
  • Minor reflections and backlight blooming   

With he 65-inch QN800D’s picture presets in their default settings, peak brightness measured 1,045 nits measured on a 10% HDR window in Standard mode, and 1,126 nits in Filmmaker Mode. 

Those results don't match up to the flagship Samsung QN900D, which clocked in at 1,979 nits on a 10% window in Filmmaker Mode when we tested it. It also isn’t as bright as the Samsung S95D QD-OLED, which gave a result of 1,868 nits peak brightness in Standard mode. But the QN800D did have excellent full-screen brightness results, measuring 626 and 528 nits in Standard and Filmmaker Mode respectively, and such high full-screen brightness makes it ideal for daytime viewing and sports. 

When tested in our lab in varying lighting conditions, including harsh overhead lights, there were some mirror-like reflections on the QN800D’s screen, but they weren’t too distracting, and brighter images weren't an issue at all. 

After cycling through picture presets, Filmmaker Mode was the most accurate. Standard will suit people looking for a brighter image, although textures don’t look as natural in that mode as in Filmmaker. 

Upscaling on the QN800D is incredibly effective. Starting with broadcast TV viewing, in both standard (SD) and high-definition (HD), images looked crisp and clean. Even SD TV shows didn’t have the common fuzzy texture issue that regular LED TVs suffer from. 

Moving onto a 4K stream of Star Wars: The Last Jedi on Disney Plus, the characters’ facial features were incredibly detailed, with Real Depth Enhancer Pro adding even greater refinement for a lifelike appearance. The throne room fight scene features lots of red tones and the QN800D displayed them in a bold, vibrant fashion, with lightsabers in particular taking on a shimmering brightness. When I measured the BT.2020 and UHDA-P3 color gamut coverage using Portrait Displays’ Calman software, it gave results of 69% and 94% respectively. Those numbers were lower than expected, but didn’t take away from the QN800D’s impressive color rendition. 

Demo footage from the Spears & Munsil UHD Benchmark 4K Blu-ray disc revealed all the QN800D’s strengths. The outstanding level of detail demonstrated itself once again, with forest landscapes and sunsets on sea horizons looking incredibly realistic and animals appearing true to life. The 8K upscaling added an extra layer to these images that I’d seen so many times on 4K sets but importantly didn’t over-sharpen the textures for a fake-looking style. 

Close-up studio images with fully black backgrounds demonstrated the QN800D’s superb contrast and black levels, with the bright objects well-balanced against the dark backgrounds. Some backlight blooming was visible, but it was minor. Scenes of a Ferris wheel and city skyscape at night also showcased the QN800D’s excellent local dimming, revealing only the slightest hint of backlight blooming once again. 

Moving onto a 4K Blu-ray of The Batman, the QN800D displayed deep blacks and excellent shadow detail. In a scene where Batman walks down a gloomy hallway lit only by bright wall lamps, the QN800D kept the gloomy, grainy tone of the film while maintaining superb backlight control for spectacular contrast with only minor blooming. Once again, detail was impeccable with a close-up shot of Batman showing stubble I hadn’t noticed before on a 4K screen. 

Motion handling on the QN800D was effective. Viewing the opening test flight sequence in Top Gun: Maverick, the long, panning shot that follows the Darkstar jet showed minimal judder even with motion controls turned off, although motion smoothing controls can be adjusted if you wish.  

I decided to test the QN800D’s intelligence mode settings (its Adaptive Picture) which adjust brightness and color based on lighting conditions. In Optimized mode, I found that textures in Top Gun: Maverick were too sharp, taking away their natural look. An Eye Comfort mode adapts the color temperature based on the scene (cooler for bright, warmer for dark) to reduce eye strain, but unfortunately, this once again made textures too sharp. Thankfully these settings are switched off by default, allowing the more effective AI features to do their work. 

Despite some backlight blooming and occasional screen reflections, the QN800D has an impressive picture overall, with outstanding detail, incredible 8K upscaling and spectacular color and contrast. 

  • Picture quality score: 5 / 5

Samsung QN800D rear drivers

Part of the Samsung QN800D's 4.2.2 channel speaker configuration.  (Image credit: Future)

Samsung QN800D review: Sound quality

  • 4.2.2 channel speaker configuration 
  • OTS+ (Object Tracking Sound Plus)  
  • AI Adaptive Sound Pro 

The QN800D has a 70W, 4.2.2 channel speaker system that supports Dolby Atmos. I found dialog to be clear across all sources, whether it was broadcast TV news or action-filled movie sequences. The TV’s Object Tracking Sound Plus feature is incredibly effective, with the sound closely following the action on screen. During the batmobile chase in The Batman, each screeching tire, explosion or crunch was naturally placed, and in Top Gun: Maverick, jets soaring in all directions were easy to follow. 

Bass on the QN800D was solid enough, though it sounded thinner than the surround effects and dialog. Compared with other sets, there were only two sound presets: Standard and Amplify. Amplify provided the most accurate sound profile and was the mode I used for testing. In some instances, Atmos reproduction wasn’t the most effective, with the rain in the batmobile chase scene from The Batman being barely noticeable. In Top Gun: Maverick, however, there was a sense of spaciousness during any flight sequences.  

The QN800D’s Adaptive Sound mode was more trebly and surround-focused, sacrificing the already lean bass. Adaptive Voice Pro as expected prioritized speech above all else and although effective in some scenarios, it wasn’t the best for movies. 

Sound on the QN800D will be perfectly fine for most and is impressive in some areas, but this TV could benefit from one of the best Dolby Atmos soundbars to complement its fantastic picture quality. 

  • Sound quality score: 4 / 5

Samsung QN800D stand

The Samsung QN800D's stand feels premium but might be tricky to install for some people.  (Image credit: Future)

Samsung QN800D review: Design

  • Slim One Connect Box  
  • Infinity slim design  
  • Fiddly stand installation 

The QN800D has a premium ‘Infinity One’ design, with a solid, silver, metal frame and a trim bezel that allows the picture to become the main focus without any borders. It also measures a razor-thin 0.7 inches (17.2mm) without its stand. 

An external One Connect Box houses all inputs, with a single cable connecting to the QN800D. It's a good design that keeps cables from sources tidy and is especially useful for people looking to wall-mount.

The QN800D also comes with a weighty, black metal stand that feels suitably sturdy and gives the TV a floating appearance when viewed front on. However, it’s worth noting that the stand was very fiddly to install, with me and a colleague needing to hold the stand in place while trying to line up and tighten the screws. Make sure you have another person with you when installing this TV. 

Samsung’s SolarCell remote draws power from surrounding light and can also be charged using USB-C, making it significantly more eco-friendly than remotes with disposable batteries. Although on the minimal side, with settings, volume and app shortcut buttons for Netflix, Disney Plus and Prime Video making up the majority of buttons, it should suit most people. 

  • Design score: 4.5 / 5

Samsung QN800D with Tizen home page on screen

Tizen's 2024 version focuses on customization and personalization.  (Image credit: Future)

Samsung QN800D review: Smart TV & menus

  • Tizen smart TV platform
  • Different portals for Gaming, Daily and more   
  • Customization options 

The QN800D uses Samsung’s Tizen system as a smart TV platform. Although its overall design remains largely unchanged from 2023, there have been updates for 2024. 

The home menu is now split into three categories: For You, which bases recommendations on apps and viewing history; Live, showing live TV; and Apps, which displays your installed apps. Navigation is easy enough across any of these menus, but For You is likely to be the most used. 

There are also several ‘portals’ that can be accessed, with each housing a different category. Daily+ aims to be a day-to-day portal, encompassing apps such as Samsung Health, workout tracking and a video calling app. There is also Ambient, for displaying artworks and images, and Gaming Hub for everything gaming. 

There are plenty of picture settings to play with for those who like to tweak and experiment and these are all easily accessible, allowing for high levels of customization. A fair amount of sound settings are provided as well, but as stated above, Standard and Amplify are the only sound presets. 

  • Smart TV & menus score: 4 / 5

Samsung QN800D with Battlefield V on screen

Gaming features and performance are incredibly strong on the Samsung QN800D.  (Image credit: Future)

Samsung QN800D review: Gaming

  • Four HDMI 2.1 ports
  • Gaming Hub  
  • Low 9.8ms input lag   

The QN800D is equipped with all the gaming features you would need, including 4K 165Hz and 8K 60Hz refresh rate, VRR with AMD FreeSync Premium Pro, and ALLM across all four HDMI 2.1 ports. The Gaming Hub portal houses everything gaming in one handy location, including links to popular live Twitch streams and cloud-based gaming apps including Xbox, Luna, Nvidia GeForce Now and more. 

With Battlefield V on Xbox Series X, the gameplay felt incredibly smooth and free of any screen judder or tearing, and switching between targets in a vast landscape on a desert mission was seamless and easy. This is probably due in part to the QN800D’s ultra-low input lag, which I measured at 9.8ms using the Leo Bodnar HDMI 4K input lag tester – a number that rivals many of the best 120Hz TVs. 

Graphically, the QN800D is extremely impressive. Using the same phenomenal 8K upscaling it does for movies, every detail in Battlefield V was amplified – the large desert landscapes took on a realistic look and the intricate details of the various weapons were more pronounced. The QN800D added depth to every aspect of the game, and I could adjust its game-related settings on the fly to enhance things even further by calling up the onscreen game menu. 

  • Gaming score: 5 / 5

Samsung SolarCell Remote

The Samsung SolarCell remote is a more eco-friendly approach to remote controls.  (Image credit: Future)

Samsung QN800D review: Value

  • Very pricey compared to 4K models 
  • Unique 8K features 
  • Limited 8K content  

With the QN800D being an 8K TV (even a mid-range one by 8K standards) it unfortunately carries a high price tag. For the 65-inch model I tested, you’ll pay $3,499 / £3,499 / AU$4,799. To put that in perspective, you can buy the Samsung QN90D (Samsung’s upper mid-range 4K Neo QLED), which has many  of the same gaming and smart features as the QN800D, in a 65-inch size for $2,699 / £2,399 / AU$3,995. 

The QN800D does offer unique features compared to 4K models, most notably the 8K AI upscaling and the NQ8 Gen2 AI Processor. However, there are no real 8K sources outside of YouTube to make use of the QN800D’s native 8K display But if you can stretch your budget to make use of the 8K upscaling and processing chops the QN800D provides, I’d recommend it. Just keep in mind that you can buy a mid-range 4K OLED TV such as Samsung’s own S90C and one of the best Dolby Atmos soundbars for a good deal less.

  • Value score: 3.5 / 5

Samsung QN800D with reptile on screen

The Samsung QN800D shows off its spectacular contrast and image detail.  (Image credit: Future)

Should I buy the Samsung QN800D?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Also consider...

Samsung QN800D with testing equipment attached

(Image credit: Future)

How I tested the Samsung QN800D

  • Tested in lab with varying light conditions
  • Tested using a variety of SDR and HDR sources
  • Measurements made using Portrait Displays' Calman software

I tested the Samsung QN800D in our lab, which allows me to view in conditions including harsh overhead lighting, dimmed lighting, and pitch black to test a TV's handling of reflections and the effectiveness of its backlight. 

After an initial run-in period with some casual viewing to determine the most accurate picture mode, I then tested the QN800D using standard and high-definition broadcast TV, 4K Blu-ray, and 4K streaming apps such as Disney Plus and Prime Video, using reference scenes from TV shows and movies that I regularly use fo testing.

To test the QN800D's picture, I looked at contrast, color, brightness, backlight control, and motion. I also evaluated its sound quality, checking for object placement, speech clarity, bass levels and virtual surround sound delivery. 

For objective testing, I used specialized equipment including a test pattern generator, colorimeter and Portrait Displays' Calman calibration software. I tested the QN800D (like all TVs) for SDR and HDR brightness, grayscale and color accuracy, and color gamut coverage. 

For gaming performance, I used an Xbox Series X to test gaming features, graphics and overall quality. I also measured the QN800D's input lag using the Leo Bodnar HDMI 4K Input lag tester. 

For a more detailed breakdown, check how we test TVs at TechRadar at the link. 

LG QNED90T/LG QNED91T review: a feature-rich TV that suffers from mini-LED’s biggest flaw
9:00 pm | June 2, 2024

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

LG QNED90T/LG QNED91T review: Two minute review

The LG QNED91T, the company's flagship 4K model in its mini-LED ‘QNED’ range, is a TV with mixed performance. It’s stacked with smart and gaming features that will keep many people happy, but the picture and sound quality are inconsistent, succeeding in some areas, but failing in other crucial ones. It’s worth noting that in the US, this TV is called the LG QNED90 and comes with a pair of feet instead of a central pedestal stand.

Priced at $1,799 / £1,699 / AU$2,995 for the 65-inch version I tested, this is roughly in the same category as many other mini-LED sets of this size, meaning the QNED91T has plenty of competition. 

Picture quality is the most inconsistent aspect of the QNED91T. It has fantastic picture detail and colors that stand out in brighter scenes, but poor backlight control results in blooming issues that are especially visible in darker scenes. Off-center viewing also results in faded contrast and even more obvious backlight blooming. Unfortunately, this keeps the QNED91T from fulfilling its true potential, falling short of some of the best TVs such as the Samsung QN90C, another mini-LED model. 

Audio quality on the QNED91T is again mixed, with meaty bass and clear dialogue having to coexist with average virtual surround sound performance and an uneven sound balance. The TV’s AI Sound Pro mode can improve the balance but sacrifices bass performance in turn. Some may find the QNED91T’s built-in sound adequate, but most would benefit from adding one of the best soundbars

Design-wise, LG took a simple approach with the QNED91T, favoring functionality over looks. Its bulky weight makes it feel reassuringly solid but adds a more old-school appearance. That’s not necessarily bad, but it’s something for those who place design high up in their list of requirements to bear in mind. 

LG’s smart webOS smartTV platform continues to be one of the best. The version on the QNED91T, webOS 24, presents a sleek home menu with plenty of opportunities for customization and organization, and it’s both visually appealing and user-friendly. Not much has changed since last year’s webOS 23. There are new features such as an AI Chatbot and customizable profiles, though the latter feature is currently only available in the US. 

The QNED91T is a great performer when it comes to gaming, and has all the gaming bells and whistles you could need. Gameplay is smooth and responsive in any situation. But the QNED91T is sadly held back from greatness by the same picture issues that plague it with movies and, despite valiant effort, won't find itself amongst the best 120Hz TVs

Although it has some great features, the QNED91T's picture quality issues are hard to overlook. It thrives in some settings, but ultimately there’s too much inconsistency for the QNED91T to rank among the best TVs. 

LG QNED91T with satellite on screen

The LG QNED91T has excellent picture detail. (Image credit: Future)

LG QNED90T/LG QNED91T review: Prices & release date

  • Released May 2024 
  • 65-inch: $1,799 / £1,699 / AU$2,995 
  • 75-inch: $2,399 / £2,499 / AU$3,995 
  • 86-inch: $3,299 / £3,799 / AU$5,445  

The LG QNED91T (QNED90 2024 series in the US) is LG’s flagship 4K mini-LED model for 2024, with the LG QNED99 8K TV serving as the overall flagship. Available from May 2024, the LG QNED91T comes in three sizes: 65-, 75- and 86-inch. The LG QNED91T’s pricing puts it in competition with mini-LED TVs such as the Sony X95L (its 2023 flagship) and the Hisense U9N (its 2024 flagship). 

We’ve already seen price drops as much as 20% on the QNED91T across multiple sites. Whether these discounts are permanent or will disappear remains to be seen.

LG QNED90T/LG QNED91T review: Specs

LG QNED90T/LG QNED91T review: Benchmark results

LG QNED91T connections panel

The LG QNED91T's connection panel, with four HDMI 2.1 ports (Image credit: Future)

LG QNED90T/LG QNED91T review: Features

  • Built-in with LG’s a8 AI Processor 4K 
  • Mini-LED backlight with LG’s NanoCell layer 
  • Dolby Vision support 

Serving as the flagship QNED, which combines a mini-LED backlight with LG’s quantum dot NanoCell technology, the LG QNED91T aims to deliver bold brightness and color while maintaining good contrast – something it does with mixed results. 

The QNED91T features LG’s a8 AI Processor, the same found in other 2024 models including the LG B4 and LG QNED87/85, that aims to emulate the performance of last year’s LG C3, particularly in terms of brightness – which it achieves. 

The a8 AI Processor enables features for AI Picture Pro, including AI Super Upscaling and Dynamic Tone Mapping, and AI Sound Pro, including Virtual Surround and AI Clear Sound. It’s also responsible for AI Picture Wizard, which helps you create your preferred picture settings. This is done by choosing your favorite images from a group of different types such as bright landscape, sunset, nighttime and more, which Ai Picture Wizard uses to create your personalized setting. 

For HDR, the QNED91T supports Dolby Vision, HDR10 and HLG formats, but not HDR10+. 

The QNED91T is well stocked with gaming features, with four HDMI 2.1 ports supporting 4K 120Hz, VRR including AMD Freesync, and ALLM and HGiG support. It also features LG’s Game Optimizer, which activates the optimum settings for gaming and allows customization of gaming settings on the fly such as black level, genre and more. 

Audio is provided by a 2.2 speaker system totaling 40W of power with support for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. While it's not the most mind-blowing of speaker configurations, it provides sufficient punch and there are several preset sound modes including AI Sound Pro. 

The QNED91T comes with the latest iteration of LG’s smart TV platform, webOS 24. While there haven’t been any major changes, the home page has been redesigned. It still has Quick Cards, which enable you to organize apps into categories such as Music, Sports, Games and more. It also supports all major apps including Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus as well as Freeview Play and its apps in the UK such as BBC iPlayer and ITVX.  

New features in webOS 24 include an AI Chatbot assistant and the ability to create up to 10 profiles that store each user’s settings and personalized TV and movie recommendations. LG has also committed to five years’ worth of updates on select TVs, including the QNED91T, meaning the latest iteration of webOS will appear via a firmware update for the next five years. 

  • Feautres score: 4.5 / 5

LG QNED91T with hot spring on screen

The LG QNED91T's colors and textures are highlights, though picture quality is inconsistent. (Image credit: Future)

LG QNED90T/LG QNED91T review: Picture quality

  • Excellent detail and bold colors 
  • Backlight blooming issues  
  • Limited viewing angle  

The LG QNED91T faces much competition in the mini-LED TV category from the likes of Samsung, Sony, TCL and Hisense, with the latter two providing more budget-friendly options. Sadly, it falls short of some of its major rivals. 

Mini-LED TVs tend to excel at brightness and the QNED91T on the surface has a bright picture, particularly when displaying HDR images. When I measured it on a 10% HDR white window, the results were 1,274 nits and 1,132 nits in Standard and Filmmaker Mode respectively. It also yielded 671 and 601 nits respectively in those modes when I measured a 100% full-screen HDR white window. Those are good numbers overall, but they fail to match the likes of the Samsung QN90C, Sony X95L and Hisense U8K

After some casual viewing with both HD and 4K HDR sources and cycling through the various picture presets, I established that the most accurate picture mode was Filmmaker Mode, although Standard and Cinema are two alternatives that deliver a brighter image. 

First starting with broadcast TV, the QNED91T did an effective job of upscaling, but lower-resolution pictures still had a comparatively fuzzy appearance. HD broadcast TV had cleaner textures overall with good contrast and color, and when viewed in Standard mode, a brighter look as well. 

Moving onto 4K HDR movies with Filmmaker Mode’s default settings active, the QNED91T demonstrated excellent image detail in faces and clothing when watching Top Gun: Maverick. This impressive detail carried over to demo footage on the Spears & Munsil UHD Benchmark Blu-ray. Rocky landscapes and forests had refined edges and a good sense of depth. Studio shots of owls and lizards again showed realistic detail, with feathers and scales having a 3D-like quality. 

The QNED91T also excelled when it came to color. Viewing the throne room lightsaber sequence in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, streamed through Disney Plus, the vibrant reds carried plenty of vivid punch and never looked overblown. Lightsabers took on a bold, glossy sheen that showcased the QNED91T’s HDR highlights. Turning back to Spears & Munsil, green trees and blue skies popped off the screen. 

When measuring the QNED91T’s UHDA-P3 and BT.2020 color gamut coverage using Portrait Displays’ Calman calibration software, the QNED91T yielded 96%  and 72.2% respectively. Those are both good results so it’s no surprise colors in 4K HDR programs looked good. Color accuracy Delta E values averaged out to 1.1 (we typically look for below 3) in Filmmaker Mode, which is an outstanding result. 

When viewing both the opening Darkstar flight sequence in Top Gun: Maverick and the Batmobile chase sequence in The Batman, the QNED91T demonstrated excellent motion handling, even in Filmmaker Mode with all motion settings turned off. Quick panning shots and long left-to-right sequences showed little to no sign of judder or stutter and motion was incredibly smooth. 

The Batman is also where the QNED91T started to show weaknesses in the picture department. Black levels were decent in some cases and contrast was rich enough, but when viewing dark scenes such as the first crime scene investigation, backlight blooming was very apparent. Lights in the darkened hallway had a clouding effect that changed the deep, black shadows to a dark gray. 

Changing the Local Dimming,  set to Low by default, to High in the TV’s Brightness settings reduced some backlight blooming issues. But this also resulted in some black crush, with objects in dark scenes such as the bat symbol on Batman’s chest in The Batman starting to disappear. Even then, some backlight blooming was still present. 

An issue that some mini-LED TVs suffer from is poor viewing angles, although models such as the Samsung QN90C and Sony X95L have features to improve this. Unfortunately, viewing angles were an issue with the LG QNED91T. When viewed off-axis, backlight blooming, particularly in dark scenes, became apparent, with large, blocky squares of the backlight shining through at extreme angles. Contrast and color saturation also faded when the TV was viewed from off-center seats. 

Finally, although I didn’t expect the LG to beat the Samsung S95D’s OLED Glare Free screen or the anti-reflection features of its more premium mini-LED sets, I expected the QNED91T to handle reflections better than it did. Under harsh lighting conditions in our testing lab, mirror-like reflections were an issue, which made darker scenes very difficult to see. And with the overhead lights dimmed, other light sources in the room were still reflected on the TV’s screen. 

  • Picture quality score: 3.5 / 5

LG QNED91T with butterfly on screen

The LG QNED91T suffers from reflections, even when displaying bright HDR images.  (Image credit: Future)

LG QNED90T/LG QNED91T review: Sound quality

  • Decent bass levels 
  • Clear dialogue  
  • Average virtual surround sound 

With a 40W, 2.2 speaker configuration and Dolby Atmos/DTS support, the QNED91T has perfectly adequate built-in audio, though it lacks the sound prowess of rivals such as the Sony X95L. The QNED91T’s speakers may suit some, but generally one of the best soundbars would be an improvement. 

I found Cinema with its warmer profile to be the best sound preset. The QNED91T displayed strong dialogue clarity across most movies and TV shows I watched, from broadcast TV to intense action movie sequences. During the chaotic Batmobile chase in The Batman, speech came through clearly despite loud background noise and a driving score. 

Bass was another highlight, aided by the Cinema sound preset’s warm profile and the QNED91T’s deeper design. Even with the QNED91T’s relatively average power, the rumble of the Batmobile from The Batman and jets in Top Gun: Maverick had plenty of heft and weight. 

Despite Dolby Atmos support, I found the QNED91t’s effects processing to be average. Some effects were present, such as screeching wheels in the Batmobile chase in the Batman but the pounding rain was missing altogether. And in Top Gun: Maverick, background effects from within the cockpit were lost behind the rumble of the engines. 

With AI Sound Pro active, the overall volume and surround sound effects were heightened, but I found dialogue to be on the harsher side and bass reduced. While some may prefer this brightening of the mix, I preferred the Cinema sound preset. 

  • Sound quality score: 3.5 / 5

LG QNED90T/LG QNED91T review: Design

LG QNED91T Stand

The LG QNED91T comes with reassuringly solid stand in the UK. (Image credit: Future)
  • Solid, central stand (on model tested in UK) 
  • Chunkier than other TVs 
  • Somewhat old-school, basic look 

The QNED91T has somewhat of an old-school design, with a deeper-than-average body and matte gray appearance on the back that harks back to older LCD models. It isn’t the deepest TV on the market (look at the Panasonic MZ2000 for that) but it's still surprisingly chunky. The bezel is trim, however, giving the picture nearly the full scale of the screen. 

With a central, metal stand (on the 65-inch version I tested in the UK), the QNED91T feels reassuringly solid and sturdy. However, it’s worth noting that this is a weighty TV at around 35 kg with the stand attached. In the US, the QNED90 comes with support feet and while I can’t comment on their appearance, the TV itself weighs in at 69.2 lbs with its feet attached. 

Connections are housed in a rear panel and feature four HDMI 2.1 and three USB ports, optical digital audio, and an RF for broadcast and satellite TV. The QNED91 also has  Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capabilities as expected. 

Like most LG TVs, the QNED91T comes with LG’s Magic Remote. This has a central wheel and arrows for scrolling and navigation, or its pointer can be used instead. It also has a built-in mic for voice control and quick access options for apps including Netflix and Prime Video. 

  • Design score: 4 / 5

webOS 24 home page on LG QNED91T

webOS 24 has a tidier home screen menu and is still incredibly user-friendly.  (Image credit: Future)

LG QNED90T/LG QNED91T review: Smart TV & menus

  • LG’s webOS 24 smart TV platform
  • Quick Cards for app organization
  • Home menu trimmed down from previous generation     

The QNED91T features webOS 24, the latest iteration of LG’s smart TV platform. The home menu has been trimmed down and tidied compared to previous versions, with a smaller top banner allowing more space for apps and tailored recommendations. All in all, it’s a welcome redesign. 

Carrying over last year’s Quick Cards, which lets apps be organized by category such as Music and Office, there is the introduction of a more refined Sports card and an an Accessibility feature. The Sports card features the useful My Team function that allows you to receive live updates, scores and recommended videos based on your chosen team from sports such as baseball, basketball, soccer, American football and more. Accessibility includes the AI Chatbot, which can be used to diagnose and solve technical issues such as ‘The screen is too dark’ or ‘The volume is too low’. I found it effective enough, brightening the screen when asked, but it did seem on the basic side. 

LG's webOS 24 continues to be amongst the best smart TV platforms for settings and menus, with the Quick Menu providing an easy way to change important settings such as picture and sound modes without having to navigate away from the screen. There are also plenty of advanced adjustments for those who like to play with picture and sound settings. 

  •  Smart TV & menus: 4.5 / 5 

LG QNED91T with Battlefield V on screen

Gaming performance on the LG QNED91T is good, but games suffer the same picture quality issues as movies. (Image credit: Future)

LG QNED90T/LG QNED91T review: Gaming

  • Four HDMI 2.1 ports
  • LG Game Optimizer 
  • Picture still affected by backlight blooming  

The QNED91T has a good stock of gaming features across its four HDMI 2.1 ports, including 4K 120Hz, VRR with AMD FreeSync support, ALLM and HGiG. LG’s Game Optimizer also provides the best settings for gaming and allows adjustment on the go using an easy to access and navigate menu. 

Playing Battlefield V on Xbox Series X felt smooth and responsive on the QNED91T. When in graphically intense battle sequences or when quickly scoping across landscapes to spot enemies, I saw no signs of tearing, stuttering or judder. Setting the game genre to FPS on the Game Optimizer enhanced this further by smoothing out quick camera cuts. 

When I measured the QNED91T’s input lag using the Leo Bodnar 4K HDMI input lag tester, it gave a result of 15ms at 4K 60Hz. Although still an acceptable result, that’s higher than what you typically find on the best gaming TVs

For graphics, the QNED91T excelled and suffered in the same areas as it did with movies. Colors in brighter sequences were still vibrant and punchy, and textures were clear on every part of the weapon and surrounding environment. But backlight blooming was still an issue, and that meant night missions in Battlefield V took on a gray rather than a black tone, and lamps within a stealth mission had a halo around them that bled into the night sky overhead.  

  • Gaming score: 4 / 5

LG magic remote 2024

The LG QNED91T as always comes with LG's Magic Remote. (Image credit: Future)

LG QNED90T/LG QNED91T review: Value

  • Competitive mini-LED market 
  • Good range of smart features 
  • Inconsistent picture affects value  

The QNED91T is priced at $1,799 / £1,699 / AU$2,995 for the 65-inch version I tested, though there are price reductions available (up to 20% off in some cases). At that price, there is plenty of new TV competition in 2024 such as the 65-inch Hisense U8N, which is priced at $1,499 / £1,799 / AU$2,795 (although we’ve seen it as low as $1,099 in the US). And there’s also the Samsung QN90D, though it's priced at a much more premium $2,699 / £2,699 / AU$3,995 for the 65-inch model.

Despite a good list of smart and gaming features, it’s tough to overlook that the QNED91T’s picture is similar to a budget TV due to its backlight blooming and viewing angle issues. It’s also tough to overlook that 2023 TVs such as the Hisense U8K and Sony X95L offer better performance and are available for less. 

  • Value score: 3 / 5

LG QNED91T with ferries wheel on screen

The LG QNED91T's backlight blooming is more visible when the picture is viewed from an angle. (Image credit: Future)

Should you buy the LG QNED90T/91T?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Also consider...

LG QNED91T with calman and testing equipment

The LG QNED91T with testing equipment, including Portrait Displays' Calman calibration software to record measurements.  (Image credit: Future)

How I tested the LG QNED90T/LG QNED91T

  • Tested using SDR and HDR sources
  • Tested in a lab with varying lighting conditions
  • Measurements taken using Portrait Displays' Calman Calibration software

After some initial causal viewing, I determined the LG's Filmmaker Mode picture preset was the most accurate. I used this for my subjective testing and for measurements using specialized equipment.

For subjective testing, I viewed both lower-resolution and high-definition broadcast TV, and HDR sources such as 4K Blu-ray. I used reference scenes from several movies to test for black levels, contrast, color, motion and more. I also used these same reference scenes to test the QNED91T's built-in audio performance.

To test gaming performance, I used an Xbox Series X and used Battlefield V, looking for smoothness of gameplay while analyzing graphics quality. I also used a Leo Bodnar 4K HDMI Input Lag Tester to test the QNED91T's input lag. 

For objective testing I used specialized equipment including a test pattern generator, colorimeter and Portrait Displays' Calman calibration software to record the results. I tested SDR and HDR brightness levels, color and grayscale accuracy and color gamut coverage.

For a more detailed breakdown, check out our guide on how we test TVs at TechRadar

LG S95TR soundbar review: Dolby Atmos immersion done right
2:00 pm | May 26, 2024

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

LG S95TR Soundbar: Two minute review

LG S95TR in living room

The LG S95TR soundbar system fresh out of the box (Image credit: Future)

I’ll cut to the chase: The LG S95TR is a fantastic soundbar system. In fact, it might be among the best soundbars available right now. And that’s without considering its first-party feature set when paired with certain LG TVs – something I’ll touch on but won’t dive into too deeply.

Overall, there’s very little to dislike about the LG S95TR. Just about everything that keeps it from being perfect, besides its high price, is due to how basic the LED display is or the fact that some features require opening the app. Having to reach for the phone to turn on “Night Time” mode is a bit of an inconvenience, especially when that setting could have been made available on the remote, for instance.

However, the positives here far outweigh the cons. Even though this is a 9.1.5-channel system, for example, setup and even calibration were about as streamlined as it can get when multiple units are involved. And the feature set is about as deep as one could expect from a system competing with the best Dolby Atmos soundbars. None of that matters if the sound quality isn’t there, but the LG S95TR delivers in that regard as well with its immersive, engrossing, and engaging audio.

In the grand scheme of things, the LG S95TR’s $1,499 / AU$1,699 (about £1,200) price is actually not bad when compared to the competition. And if you were to buy a separate Dolby Atmos speaker system with one of the best AV receivers, you would spend even more. So, despite the high asking price, the S95TR’s cost does seem reasonable when you put it in perspective.

Whether the LG S95TR is for you will depend on your needs. If you’re working with a small room or setup, this system is probably too much for you. You might be happy with something that only costs a couple hundred dollars. However, if you want to match the convenience of a soundbar system with the immersive performance of a true home theater speaker setup, you can’t go wrong here.

LG S95TR in living room

The LG S95TR's front panel LED display provides insufficient visual feedback, forcing you to rely on the app for settings and adjustments (Image credit: Future)

LG S95TR Soundbar review: Price & release date

  • Released in March 2024 (US and Australia)
  • $1,499.99 / AU$1,699.01 (about £1,200)

As part of LG’s 2024 AV lineup, the LG S95TR is fairly new. It isn’t even available yet in the UK, where the previous generation, the S95QR, is still on offer for £1,699. However, those in the US and Australia can get it right away as of May 2024 for $1,499.99 / AU$1,699.01 (about £1,200).

Considering that the LG S95TR is a 9.1.5-channel system, its price tag is not as exorbitant as it might seem. After all, a regular home theater audio setup can get much more expensive when you take into account the need for at least five quality speakers, a subwoofer, and an AV receiver. And, that’s even before accounting for the upward-firing Dolby Atmos speakers (the “5” in 9.1.5).

LG S95TR Soundbar review: Specs

LG S95TR in living room

Dual HDMI 2.1 ports with 4K 120Hz support are provided on the soundbar (Image credit: Future)

LG S95TR Soundbar review: Features

  • Some features meant specifically for LG TVs
  • Wi-Fi streaming and voice assistant support
  • AI Room Calibration is a revelation

Let’s first discuss the LG S95TR features that owners of the LG B4, LG C4, and LG G4 Series OLED TVs may enjoy. These include WOW Orchestra (uses the TV’s built-in speakers in conjunction with the soundbar system for an even fuller sound), WOW Interface (lets you use one remote for both the TV and soundbar, with setup available on the TV), and WOWCAST (lets you pair the soundbar with the LG TV wirelessly). I didn’t have access to an LG TV during my review and could not dig into those features. But even so, I found the LG S95TR soundbar still very feature-filled.

For instance, even if you can’t take advantage of WOWCAST, the rear speakers and subwoofer still pair wirelessly to the soundbar. So, outside of the power cables, the only wire you’ll see is the HDMI or optical cable connecting the soundbar to the TV.

The LG S95TR is also plenty room-filling without WOW Orchestra. Not only do you get full surround sound, but five upward firing speakers that work with both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X soundtracks. It should also be noted that you can listen to stereo content as if it’s in surround sound. That’s not to say that the soundbar’s processing will remix the music so that a saxophone (if you listen to music with a saxophone) only comes from the back left speaker, but, you will get an immersive sound presentation.

Some other critical features include Wi-Fi streaming so you can play music from your favorite streaming service without having to use a lower-quality Bluetooth connection (though you can do that as well). You can also use Alexa or Google Assistant for voice control. 

My favorite feature, however, is LG’s Advanced AI Room Calibration. Speaker placement is critical for getting good sound, and a feature that can adjust how sound is projected based on speaker placement is key, especially when one of your rear speakers is literally sitting on an old chest. It’s a quick process as well that is available through the app.

My neighbor’s favorite feature, though they don’t know it, is the Night Time mode, also only available in the app. This feature makes everything sound a bit flatter as the audio gets compressed to keep sound peaks from getting too loud. It’s a useful feature for when you’re worried about waking someone up when watching a movie late at night.

  • Features score: 5 / 5

LG S95TR rear speakers on floor in living room

The LG S95TR's rear-channel speakers feature up-firing drivers for immersive Dolby Atmos sound (Image credit: Future)

LG S95TR Soundbar review: Performance

  • Clear sound, even at low volume
  • Very good Dolby Atmos immersion
  • Slightly forward mid-range response

With 810 watts of power, the LG S95TR has more than enough volume on tap. Loudness doesn’t necessarily equal good sound, but thankfully the LG S95TR sounds very good.

When testing, I watched movies and shows including Everything, Everywhere, All At Once, Shogūn, and Psych, and listened to plenty of music. Also during testing, I used different audio modes including the AI mode from the room calibration feature.

When watching Everything, Everywhere, All At Once, the LG S95TR was in Cinema mode. Not only did I feel the rumble from the subwoofer every time there was some low-end information, but it came through clearly (some cheaper soundbar subs often produce a flabby bass response). And the same held even when I lowered the volume.

In fact, I did a lot of listening on this soundbar at a lower volume. Why? Because at lower volumes, TV audio is often uneven and tinny with some sound getting swallowed up. But the LG S95TR soundbar reproduced everything in a way that I could have the volume just above audible and still make out every sound and nuance.

The system’s surround and Dolby Atmos capabilities are very robust. Shogūn has a lot of dialogue inside traditional Japanese homes overlooking gardens. Watching it, I at first wasn’t sure if I was hearing anything, but when I put my ears to the rear speakers, I realized that there actually was a lot going on because I heard the ambient sounds of a garden and pond. The ambient sound also had a sense of dimension thanks to the upward-firing Atmos drivers in the rear speakers.

Night Time mode was effective in that if flattened the sound (it’s compressing the audio after all) but in a way that made everything still very audible. I had no issues hearing anything even with the feature on and the volume low. Compared to similar modes on TVs when using the TV’s built-in speakers, the S95TR’s Night Time mode was superior.

Lastly, the LG S95TR’s stereo up-mixing is a treat when listening to music. You still get a stereo image, but all of the speaker drivers on the soundbar and rear speakers are engaged. It’s not as detailed as what you would hear with audiophile speakers, but unless you’re deep down that rabbit hole, you’ll be very happy. As far as its overall frequency response, LG’s soundbar has a slightly forward mid-range, and it’s a profile that lends itself better to audio from movies, TV shows, and games.

  • Performance score: 5 / 5

LG S95TR subwoofer on floor in living room

LG's wireless subwoofer adds real low-end rumble to soundtracks (Image credit: Future)

LG S95TR Soundbar review: Design

  • Discreet and mostly wireless design
  • LED indicators don’t provide enough information
  • Many features and controls require app

 The LG S95TR soundbar’s looks aren’t going to wow anyone. It looks like a basic matte black soundbar with a subwoofer and two slightly strange-looking wedge-shaped rear speakers, all with some extra upward-facing grilles (well, except the sub). But even though it doesn’t have the mid-century chic of a Bang & Olufsen soundbar, which would cost almost twice the price, it fits in discreetly enough – something helped out by the wireless subwoofer and rear speakers.

However, any complaints I have about the LG S95TR will be in this section. Three LED indicator lights near the right side of the soundbar take the place of an LED display. You’ll see a red light when you power down, some green lights when adjusting the volume, and three blinking white lights when trying to pair with a Bluetooth source. Considering how many features are on hand here, there just isn’t enough information on the soundbar that's visible at a glance.

The remote, for instance, has a button to toggle through different sound modes such as Cinema, Music,Game, etc. But not only do you not know which mode you’re on, but you don’t know which one you’re switching to just by looking at the soundbar or remote, and the same goes for the volume level. 

The only way to get that information is to download, pair, and open LG’s control app – my second bone of contention. The app itself is perfectly fine. However, some features, such as Night Time mode are only available in the app, when they could have had their own button on the included remote control. Overall, these are far from dealbreakers, but they still are little annoyances.

As far as ports go, the selection is pretty minimal, with two HDMI ports (one with eARC), a USB port, and an optical digital input. The HDMI ports at least support 4K 120Hz and HDR10 passthrough, something PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X gamers will appreciate.

  • Design score: 4 / 5

LG S95TR packaging on chair

LG's packaging for the S95TR is mercifully free of styrofoam, using mostly recyclable paper and cardboard (Image credit: Future)

LG S95TR Soundbar review: Setup & usability

  • System is well packaged
  • Setup is quick and easy
  • App is intuitive to use

The LG S95TR is a soundbar system and not just an all-in-one soundbar, so getting it out of the box is somewhat overwhelming. The box is big, but that’s partially because of how well-packaged everything is. I also appreciate that LG didn’t use styrofoam for its packaging.

Once everything is unboxed, you need to scope out where to place the rear speakers and plug in the various speakers in the order specified in the manual. Interestingly, when I first plugged everything in, the soundbar announced via a voice prompt that the rear speakers were on the wrong sides. Plugging everything in took five or ten minutes, which is quite convenient compared to a standard home theater system.

With everything set up, using the system is very easy. With the soundbar connected to the HDMI ARC port, I could use my TV’s remote to control volume. The app is also very easy and intuitive from adjusting volume, switching modes and sources, to setting up the various features. You can even manually adjust sound settings per speaker, which is a nice touch.

  • Setup & usability score: 5 / 5

LG S95TR on table top surface shown

Three up-firing Atmos drivers are located on the LG S95TR's top surface, with the center driver also helping to elevate dialogue to screen-level (Image credit: Future)

LG S95TR Soundbar review: Value

  • Pricey
  • Reasonable compared to high-end competition
  • Stiff competition from Samsung and JBL

Although the LG S95TR is pretty expensive, this is a 9.1.5-channel system, so you’re getting much more than just a soundbar. If you want detailed sound with some dimension but don’t care about a true surround sound experience, you can get a standalone soundbar and save money. Even the Bose Smart Ultra Soundbar, which is still relatively pricey at £899 / $899 / AU$1499, will set you back much less (and take up less space). 

Of course, if you want the rumble of a subwoofer and real surround sound – basically, the home theater experience – you’re going to have to spend more. For instance, the flagship Samsung HW-Q990D, a 11.1.4-channel soundbar system, retails for even more than the LG at $1,799 / £1,699 / AU$1,995.

Or consider the JBL Bar 1300X with its rechargeable rear speakers. At $1,699 / £1,299 / around AU$2,570, it also costs just a little more than the LG system but doesn’t have 4K 120Hz HDMI passthrough for gaming.

  • Value score: 4 / 5

Should I buy the LG S95TR Soundbar?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

LG S95TR Soundbar review: Also consider

How I tested the LG S95TR Soundbar

LG S95TR on table with subwoofer on floor

(Image credit: Future)
  • I used the LG S95TR Soundbar for a few weeks
  • Tested with both TV, movies, and music

I used the LG S95TR Soundbar regularly for a few weeks with TV, movies, and music. I compared it to just my TV’s speakers alone, listened to the different sound modes, and tested the various features.

As expressed in the review, this is a powerful, immersive system that delivers a true home theater experience in a convenient soundbar package.

I’ve tested a lot of tech gear over the years from laptops to keyboards and speakers, and use my expertise to give an honest, fair, and informed opinion on any product I test.

Read more about how we test

  • First reviewed: May 2024
Android 14 for TV adds picture-in-picture mode and reduces power consumption
2:07 pm | May 16, 2024

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

Google I/O brings a new version of the Android TV OS, which is based on Android 14. Just like the new Wear OS 5 (which is also based on Android 14), there is a focus on reduced power consumption. But the most interesting feature for users is support for picture-in-picture mode. This enables a form of multitasking with one app running in full screen and one in a small window. This will enable several use cases: ticker: live sports scores or stock tickers smart home: showing connected doorbells or baby monitors communication: running video or voice calls while watching TV ...

Apple issues apology statement over new iPad Pro ad, will not air it on TV
9:53 am | May 10, 2024

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

Apple makes some of the most memorable video ads but it got a lot of bad rep for its latest iPad Pro ad. The video shows a plethora of creative tools and instruments being crushed by a hydraulic press with an iPad Pro emerging at the end. The ad caused backlash on social media which led Apple issue an official statement response. Creativity is in our DNA at Apple, and it’s incredibly important to us to design products that empower creatives all over the world. Our goal is to always celebrate the myriad of ways users express themselves and bring their ideas to life through iPad. We missed...

Samsung Q990D review: the best Dolby Atmos soundbar, and now perfect for PS5 and Xbox Series X, too
8:00 pm | May 4, 2024

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

Samsung HW-Q990D review: Two minute review

The Samsung HW-Q990D follows in the footsteps of one of the best soundbars in recent years, the Samsung HW-Q990C, but adds gaming features including 4K 120Hz and VRR pass-through, along with a more refined and controlled sound profile. 

Filled to the brim with features, the Q990D offers plenty of settings for those who like to experiment. AI enhancements including Adaptive Sound and SpaceFit allow the Q990D to analyze sources and the viewing environment to create the best possible experience. Alongside these, the new gaming features enable users to get the most from their PS5 or Xbox Series X. And for those with a Samsung TV, there’s also Q-Symphony and a wireless Dolby Atmos option.

Carrying 22 speakers across four units, with an 11.1.4 channel configuration, the Q990D confirms Samsung's continued domination of the soundbar market, especially when it comes to immersive Dolby Atmos sound. But, it’s not just immersive sound where it succeeds, as bass levels are punchy yet refined and trebles and mids can breathe easy over the bass.  The Q990D also serves as an excellent music streaming option whether over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, with its wide soundstage giving every aspect of a song the space it needs.

Although on the bulkier side, the Q990D feels every bit its premium price thanks to its solid build quality, and it has a sleek, modern look. The main soundbar’s size may be an issue for some and its front LED display is not the most user-friendly, but for many, it will beat the mess of cables you get with a wired home theater setup.

With a variety of control options including a supplied remote and the Samsung SmartThings app, the Q990D is easy to use and tailor settings to how you like. Initial setup is a breeze, making it simple to get great sound. 

The Q990D may be a premium soundbar, and there are cheaper options such as last year’s Samsung Q990C and this year’s Samsung HW-Q930D, but neither of those carries the full range of features or the performance found in the Q990D. Although pricey, it delivers the best Dolby Atmos soundbar experience you can get today. 

Samsung HW-Q990D soundbar, subwoofer and rear speakers

The Samsung HW-Q990D comprises a soundbar, subwoofer and two surrounds, with 11.1.4 channels across 22 speakers. (Image credit: Future)

Samsung HW-Q990D review: Price & release date

  • Release date - March 2024 
  • Price - $1,799 / £1,699 / AU$1,995 

The Samsung HW-Q990D is Samsung’s flagship Dolby Atmos soundbar for 2024. Released at $1,799 / £1,699 / AU$1,995, the Q990D is a premium soundbar package.

For context, that’s roughly $400 more than the JBL Bar 1300X, an older soundbar that includes wireless rear speakers and a powerful subwoofer, but is roughly $500 more than the most widely available Sonos home theater package, which features the Sonos Arc, Sonos Sub (Gen 3) and a pair of Sonos Era 100s as rears.

Samsung HW-Q990D review: Specs

Samsung HW-Q990D in front of the Samsung S95D

The Samsung HW-Q990D (connected to the Samsung S95D TV) now has gaming features including 120Hz and VRR. (Image credit: Future)

Samsung HW-Q990D review: Features

  • 11.1.4 speaker channels 
  • HDMI 2.1 with 4K 120Hz support  
  • Wireless Dolby Atmos  

The Samsung Q990D has many of  the same features as its impressive predecessor, the Samsung HW-Q990C, including 11.1.4 speaker channels and 22 speakers spread across the four units (soundbar, subwoofer and two rear speakers).

One new feature is HDMI 2.1 ports for gaming, with both HDMI inputs supporting 4K120Hz and VRR. Both HDMI ports also pass through HDR10+ and Dolby Vision HDR formats.

Supported sound formats include Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, Dolby 5.1, Dolby Digital Plus and Dolby TrueHD. 

The Q990D is stacked with sound-enhancing features including Adaptive Sound, which analyzes what you’re watching and intelligently adjusts audio levels; SpaceFit Sound Pro, which analyzes your environment and tunes the Q990D’s audio output for the space; and Game Mode Pro, which tailors directional sound to optimal levels when gaming.

Wi-Fi streaming on the Q990D supports hi-res audio formats including ALAC, FLAC and WAV and also Dolby Atmos music tracks found on streaming services such as Apple Music and Tidal. Speaking of streaming, there is also Spotify and Tidal Connect support. 

There are some Samsung-exclusive enhancements alongside these features (meaning they only work with compatible Samsung TVs). The first is Q-Symphony, where the Q990D works with the speakers of a Samsung TV to boost sound even further. The next is wireless Dolby Atmos, where a Samsung TV can stream Dolby Atmos soundtracks - albeit a compressed version - to the Q990D.

Last is Tap Sound, where you tap your Samsung smartphone on the Q990D and it starts playing the music you’re streaming. 

Control options include a hardware remote control and the Samsung SmartThings app. With the app, you can make EQ adjustments, activate voice and bass enhancement, and select Night Mode, which adjusts the sound to a suitable level for late-night viewing or listening. The app also isn’t just for the Q990D, but can control any compatible Samsung product.

  • Features score: 5 / 5

Samsung HW-Q990D main bar

The Samsung HW-Q990D main soundbar  (Image credit: Future)

Samsung HW-Q990D review: Performance

  • Exceptional immersive sound
  • Powerful, yet detailed audio 
  • Impressive gaming performance 

For years, Samsung’s flagship soundbars have continually impressed, serving as a pinnacle of what a soundbar-based home theater audio system is capable of, and the Q990D continues this trend. 

With 22 speakers across the four units, including four height channels, in an 11.1.4 channel configuration, the Q990D creates an outstanding immersive experience, with expert reproduction of Dolby Atmos and DTS:X soundtracks and real surround sound.

Watching Star Wars: A New Hope on Disney Plus, the final attack and ensuing space battle involving the Death Star was every bit as cinematic as it should be. As X-Wings and Tie Fighters shot across the screen from every angle, the direction of the soaring engines glided across the speakers impeccably and John Williams’ iconic score in the rear speakers kept the tension high without drowning out other effects. Dialogue was crisp and clear, cutting through the densely packed mix of engines, lasers and music. Watching this, I truly felt like I was in the cockpit, as the iconic screech of the Tie Fighter passed over my head. 

Although immersive sound is where the Q990D succeeded the most,  bass levels from the weighty subwoofer also impressed. The rumble of the Batmobile’s engine in The Batman during the Penguin car chase sounded meaty with plenty of low-end punch. On previous Q990 generations, the bass could get carried away on occasion, but the Q990D’s bass feels more nuanced and controlled - dynamic but without overwhelming the rest of the mix.

Even when watching movies with a stereo soundtrack such as The Amazing Spider-Man on DVD, the Q990D boosted the sound through upmixing and gave more oomph to every fight sequence and web swing through NYC. 

Other parts of the audio mix are well-balanced on the Q990D. High notes come across without being too shrill whilst mids sit comfortably where they should in the mix, with everything combining to create a full, detailed sound. 

Although it’s not as impressive with music as with movies, the Q990D is still a triumph. When I streamed tracks from Tidal and Spotify in uncompressed hi-res and compressed formats respectively, the Q990D did a good job of balancing instruments and handled every genre well. Listening to Tears for Fears’ Everybody Wants To Rule The World, the bass and drums sounded punchy, and the trebles of the synths and guitars sliced through evenly.

Listening to Dolby Atmos music tracks via Tidal, the Q990D again showed its prowess. Thelonius Monk’s Monk’s Dream (Take 8) spread out across the Q990D’s speakers, with every instrument given equal room to breathe - from the twinkling piano to the bright sax and the warm bass notes. 

Sometimes the mix would sound forced on these Dolby Atmos tracks, with some instruments pushing a little too hard. But the Q990D generally continued to shine and even tracks streamed over lower quality Bluetooth sounded good. 

The Q990D was connected to a Samsung S95D TV during my testing, with Samsung-centric features such as Q Symphony available. And while this did provide an extra layer to the sound, adding a greater sense of space and power, the Q990D gave a great cinematic experience without it. 

As for gaming performance, when playing Battlefield V with an Xbox Series X, gaming was smooth, as switching between targets felt easy and the action suitably pacy. 

The most surprising element of the Q990D’s gaming performance was the low 9.2ms input lag time, meaning its HDMI pass-through didn’t add any latency. For those needing 4K 120Hz, VRR and low input lag for their console, the Q990D can provide. 

  • Performance score: 5 / 5

Samsung HW-Q990D front display

The Samsung HW-Q990D's front display isn't the easiest to read... (Image credit: Future)

Samsung HW-Q990D review: Design

  • Solid, premium design 
  • Front display isn’t easiest to read
  • Slightly wider than a 55-inch TV  

The Q990D comprises four units: a soundbar, subwoofer and two rear speakers. The subwoofer is sizable and hefty, but its wireless connection allows it to be placed anywhere in the room (as long as there’s a mains socket nearby to plug in for power). The rear speakers, meanwhile, have a compact yet sleek design. 

The soundbar itself measures 1309.0 x 595.0 x 277.0 mm, making it slightly longer than a 55-inch TV (which roughly measures 1200mm). At 595mm, it isn’t the tallest soundbar, but could still cut off the bottom of a lot of TVs. The soundbar is also weighty, although that demonstrates its premium quality. 

The soundbar and rear speakers sport a gray/navy matte finish that gives them a minimalist, modern appearance. A mesh grille on the soundbar’s front makes it quite difficult to see what input you’re using and other information provided on the front panel LED display, however.

  • Design score: 4 / 5

Samsung HW-Q990D supplied remote

The Samsung HW-Q990D can be controlled with the above supplied remote, the Samsung SmartThings app or your TV remote via HDMI-CEC. (Image credit: Future)

Samsung HW-Q990D review: Setup & usability

  • HDMI eARC connection to TV
  • Wireless connection between units  
  • Remote or SmartThings app for control  

With four separate, wireless units, setting up the Q990D seems like it would be daunting, but the Q990D makes setup almost effortless. Once all units are plugged in and the soundbar is connected to the TV by HDMI eARC, the subwoofer and rear speakers connect by simply pressing a button on the back and you’re ready to go.

You can either use the supplied remote or the Samsung SmartThings app for control, with adjustments for boosting voice, bass and more. The Q990D can also be controlled via the TV remote using HDMI-CEC. Finally, there are control buttons and an LED display on top of the soundbar. 

For those looking to optimize audio based on their room’s layout, there is also the SpaceFit Pro calibration system, which can be performed during initial setup or on the fly using the SmartThings app. 

  • Setup & usability score: 4.5 / 5

Samsung HW-Q990D soundbar

The Samsung HW-Q990D is pricey, but you get an entire Atmos experience across four units. (Image credit: Future)

Samsung HW-Q990D review: Value

  • Premium price 
  • Best home theater soundbar option
  • Samsung Q990C still available   

Priced at $1,799 / £1,699 / AU$1,995, the Q990D is a premium soundbar. And although its features and excellent all-around performance justify the price, it is no doubt going to push some people’s budgets.

The Samsung HW-Q990C, the Q990D’s predecessor, is still available and sells at a reduced price that’s only going to fall further - I’ve seen it selling for roughly $400 / £600 cheaper than the Q990D. It does miss out on the Q990D’s gaming features, but if they’re not relevant to you, the Q990C is fine. Another option is the Samsung HW-Q930D, the step-down model from the Q990D which comes with fewer channels and features. 

Still, in terms of features and performance, the Q990D offers a Dolby Atmos home theater experience no other soundbar can offer. To beat it, you’d need to look at full AV setups that don’t allow for the same tidy installation or ease of use.

  • Value score: 4 / 5

Should I buy the Samsung HW-Q990D?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Samsung HW-Q990D review: Also consider

How I tested the Samsung HW-Q990D

Samsung HW-Q990D in front of TV

(Image credit: Future)
  • Connected to the Samsung S95D 
  • Tested with variety of sources 
  • Both surround sound and stereo sound tested

To test the Samsung HW-Q990D soundbar, I connected it to the Samsung S95D - the flagship 2024 OLED TV from Samsung. The majority of testing was done with Q-Symphony and any other Samsung-centric features turned off to see how the Q990D would fare if connected to sets from other brands. 

After some run-in time, I selected reference scenes from both streaming and 4K Blu-ray to test spatial sound, mainly Dolby Atmos. I then used lower-resolution sources such as DVD to test the Q990D on its handling of non-surround movie audio. I analyzed the Q990D's spatial sound but also bass, trebles, mids, and dialogue clarity. 

After this, I streamed music through both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to test the Q990D's music playback quality. I played hi-res audio and Atmos music tracks from Tidal and lossy quality tracks via Bluetooth from Spotify. 

Read more about how we test

  • First reviewed: May 2024
Amazon Fire TV 32-inch 2-series TV review: a small TV that gives great value, but struggles elsewhere
12:01 am | March 26, 2024

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

The 32-inch Amazon Fire TV 2-series is the entry level series in Amazon Fire TV range, below the Amazon Fire TV 4-series and Amazon Fire TV Omni QLED. It comes with a 720p panel and is priced at $199 / £249 / around AU$305. It is also available in a 40-inch size with a 1080p Full HD panel.

The Amazon 2-series has plenty to live up to following the Amazon Omni QLED, one of the best TVs of 2023, and our budget TV of the year at the TechRadar Choice Awards. Unfortunately, the Amazon 2-series doesn’t quite have the same wow factor as its more premium counterpart and faces tough competition in the best 32-inch TV category, although it does provide a very budget-friendly option for those needing a small screen. 

The picture quality on the Amazon 32-inch 2-series is a mixed bag. Starting with lower-resolution and HD broadcast TV, textures were detailed enough and the Amazon 2-series did a good job of upscaling. For daytime TV programming, the picture was decent. 

Moving onto 4K HDR sources, the first movie I watched was Star Wars: The Last Jedi on a Disney Plus stream to test color and overall HDR performance (the Amazon 2-series has HDR10 compatibility). During the throne room fight scene, With its Film Dark picture mode active, the Amazon 2-series did a good job of displaying the vibrant reds without making them look too overblown. Lightsabers also showed plenty of the expected shine. Testing the Amazon 2-series’ color gamut coverage, DCI-P3 (the color space used to master 4K movies and digital cinema releases) was 74.3% and BT.2020 was 54.1%. Although these results are expected for a budget TV, they aren’t as good as what we measured on the LG 32LQ6300, arguably the best 32-inch TV available.

Amazon 32-inch 2-series with Star Wars the last jedi on screen

The Amazon Fire TV 32-inch 2-series has an inconsistent picture, but colors can be good as shown by Star Wars: The Last Jedi. (Image credit: Future)

Using The Batman on standard Blu-ray to test black levels and shadows, the TV’s regular LED panel showed its limitations as any black areas on the screen took on a gray tone and there were instances of backlight clouding. Contrast was mixed, with a good balance between blacks and highlights in the subway fight scene, but less impressive performance in other scenes. 

Measuring the grayscale of the Amazon 2-series, it gave a result of 3.5 (we typically look for a result below 3). This isn’t the worst result we’ve seen (it’s the same as the LG 32LQ6300) but it explains some of the 2-series’ black level and skin tone accuracy limitations. Measuring the Amazon 2-series’ peak brightness on a 10% window yielded a result of 260 nits and 237 nits in Standard and Film Dark mode, respectively, which are similar numbers to other 32-inch TVs we’ve tested. 

Moving onto Top Gun: Maverick, the Amazon 2-series did a credible job of handling fast motion and panning shots, although there was some blur and judder present and there weren’t any motion adjustments in the TV's picture settings menu to compensate for it. In bright daylight sequences, the characters' skin tones looked oversaturated and unnatural. Changing the picture mode to Natural helped by preventing textures from appearing too sharp, but also sacrificed picture clarity and color accuracy. 

Amazon Fire TV 32-inch 2-series with Fire TV home screen

The Amazon Fire TV 32-inch 2-series uses Fire TV, a smart TV platform with pros and cons.  (Image credit: Future)

The Amazon 2-series fared better than expected in terms of audio quality. There isn’t much to distinguish between the various sound modes such as Standard and Music, though Entertainment proved the best option. With this active, dialogue was clear and the sound surprisingly well-balanced for a budget set. Watching The Batman and Top Gun: Maverick, the 2-series did an adequate job conveying the bassy rumble from the engines of the Batmobile and fighter jets, respectively – much more so than the tinny speakers of the Hisense 32A5K. If you’re using this as a main TV, I’d suggest you invest in one of the best soundbars, but as a secondary TV its sound should suffice.

The 2-series uses Amazon Fire TV as its smart TV platform. This offers access to plenty of apps and customization features, but also displays arguably too many recommendations on its home menu. Navigation also felt occasionally slow and clunky on the 2-series, with long pauses and stutters while loading different pages and apps. There are settings to adjust both picture and audio, but as stated above some important ones are missing such as motion settings.

The 2-series resembles other 32-inch budget TVs, with a functional design that's not uninspired - especially compared to the likes of the Hisense A5K. During setup, installing the feet showed its cheaper design, again even compared to the similarly priced LG LQ6300. The 2-series does, however, come with the Amazon Fire TV Alexa remote – a welcome accessory. 

Amazon 32-inch 2-series with battlefield V on screen

The Amazon Fire TV 32-inch 2-series (pictured with Battlefield V on screen) has average gaming performance that handles motion adequately. (Image credit: Future)

Gaming performance on the Amazon 2-series should be acceptable to bedroom gamers tight on space. There are no real gaming features ( expected at this price) but playing Battlefield V on Xbox Series X was smooth enough, though with occasional choppy frame rates. Switching between targets and scanning the environment was also fairly well handled. 

You see a lot of similarly priced sets with similar features in the 32-inch TV category, and with its 720p as opposed to 1080p resolution, the 2-series lies at a disadvantage. Better options exist at its $199 / £249 price, with the LG 32LQ6300 regularly priced in the UK at £199. However, we have seen the 2-series as low as $119 in the US, and for that low price it is tough to argue against. 

Amazon Alex TV remote

The Amazon Fire TV 32-inch 2-series comes with the Amazon Alexa remote.  (Image credit: Future)

Amazon Fire TV 32-inch 2 series review: Prices & release date

  • Release date: 2023 
  • Prices from $199  /£249 / around $305 for the 32-inch 
  • Prices from $249 / £299 / around $350 for the 40-inch  

The cheapest and smallest entry in Amazon’s 2023 Fire TV lineup, the Amazon 2-series is priced around $199 / £249 / around $305 for the 32-inch and $249 / £299 / around $350 for the 40-inch. Both models are regularly on sale, with the 32-inch TV we tested dropping as low as $119 in the US and £149 in the UK. 

Amazon Fire TV 32-inch 2 series review: Specs

Should you buy the Amazon Fire TV 32-inch 2-series?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Also consider...

Amazon 32-inch 2-series with testing equipment

(Image credit: Future)

How I tested the Amazon Fire TV 32-inch 2-series

  • Tested in lab room with different lighting conditions
  • Tested through a variety of sources - both SDR and HDR
  • Measurements taken using Portrait Displays' Calman calibration software

I tested the various picture and sound modes of the Amazon 2-series using a mixture of broadcast, lower-resolution TV, and HDR sources, streaming through apps such as Disney Plus and Blu-ray. I also used a Panasonic DP-UB820 4K Blu-ray player to play standard Blu-rays.

When it comes to how we test TVs at TechRadar, following subjective testing looking at picture quality, gaming, audio and more, we move on to objective tests using a colorimeter and test pattern generator (for our tests I use the Murideo Six 8K Metal), with the results recorded by Portrait Displays' Calman claibration software

To test for brightness, we measure across a variety of different-sized white window patterns in both SDR and HDR using Standard and the most accurate picture mode (in this case Film Dark) to get an indication of peak brightness and how well the TV will cope with reflections. We then record the Delta-E values (which demonstrates the margin of error between the test pattern and what is displayed) for color accuracy, grayscale and gamma using Calman. Lastly, we measure DCI-P3 and BT.2020 color space coverage, along with input lag in Game mode.

Audio Pro C20 review: a wireless speaker that offers even more, and sounds even better
1:30 pm | March 9, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Audio Computers Gadgets Hi-Fi Speakers | Tags: | Comments: Off

Audio Pro C20: Two minute review

The Audio Pro C20 has a lot of connectivity options. As anyone familiar with the category of best wireless speakers knows, a box of drivers that's able to harness your home's Wi-Fi network can offer superior sound to that afforded by a Bluetooth connection, whether music is accessed via Google Cast, Apple's AirPlay, 'connected' services such as Tidal Connect (which actually lets you stream losslessly in 24-bit hi-res, where AirPlay taps out at 16-bit CD quality) or a dedicated multi-room app such as the Audio Pro Control app. And the Audio Pro C20 offers all of this. 

But just quickly, let's explain why Audio Pro's latest wireless speaker is worth your time from a technical perspective. First off, pinging music over Bluetooth from phone to speaker incurs compression. Wi-Fi's higher bandwidth means you can listen in (very) high resolution, up to 24-bit/192kHz. Now, a Wi-Fi enabled speaker accesses your chosen tunes from the internet (or local drive connected to it) rather than from your phone itself – and if you walk into another room or take a call, as long as you stay within range of your Wi-Fi router, the music keeps playing.

Why explain this in the intro to a product review? Because Audio Pro gets it. The Swedish company's been in the game for 40 years and the firm gets that we want more than one open gate leading to our music. Also, we now have plenty of kit we'd like to physically connect our shiny new speaker to, if possible (and thank you very much in advance). So, on top of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth streaming, Audio Pro has added to the sizeable C20 a compelling array of ports on the back: an RCA in (for turntables with an RIAA amp), a phono MM in (for moving-magnet cartridge decks without a phono stage), an RCA sub out (if you wanted to connect a dedicated subwoofer to it), a Toslink Optical in (for CD players or budget soundbars, say) and the arguably the biggest draw of the lot – an HDMI ARC in, so it can go straight into your TV and challenge some of the best soundbars. So long as it'll fit beneath it without obscuring the screen, that is. 

Audio Pro C20 on a table, with a mug of coffee and a smartphone beside it

The grille attaches easily with magnets and offers clean lines, if you want those…  (Image credit: Future)

What you need to know is this: this thing sounds fantastic, offering clarity, depth, excitement and finesse, even at higher volumes. The control app is easy to navigate and corrals all of your chosen music streaming services – but of course, you could go into each app on your phone and click the little Google cast or AirPlay icon to see the C20 ready to connect.

Audio Pro calls the C20 the complete solution for music and TV and it's hard to argue. It's also hard to imagine a home interior, color scheme or decor style that the Audio Pro C20 couldn't be friends with – and the grille can remain on or easily be whipped off, if you prefer to see its three talented drivers.

The metal top plate adds an extra touch of class and the buttons click nicely, in a build that feels both reverent to traditional techniques and yet strikingly modern. 

The fact that it comes from a long line of hits means it doesn't come cheap though. I've written odes to Audio Pro's beautiful speakers and I helped review the slightly smaller Audio Pro Addon C10 MkII for TechRadar's sister site, What Hi-Fi?, so I can personally vouch the five-star rating there (and the multiple awards it subsequently gained), although I fear those likely didn't do much to keep prices low. 

In summary, it's chic, it's unique and it's (virtually) the complete package. Why virtually? If you wanted a 3.5mm in for your headphones (or 4.4mm, 6.35mm, or XLR), you won't find it – you'd have to go the the FiiO R9 for that. The C20 is for the enjoyment of shared music. And what an experience that is. 

Audio Pro C20 review: Price and release date

  • Unveiled January 8, 2024, shipping from March 2024
  • $550 / £450 / €550 (around AU$820)

The Audio Pro C20 is available for pre-order now, and ships from March 2024. In the US, it costs $550 and in the UK, it'll set you back £450, hardly a trifling sum, whatever whistles and bells it sports. 

That said, the competition here isn't much more affordable. Yes, the Q Acoustics M40 HD is (excellent and) a music system squirrelled into a set of speakers, but as far as wireless connectivity goes, it's a Bluetooth only one. Then, there's the fantastic FiiO R9, with all of the connectivity and hi-res wireless streaming smarts you could wish for, as long as you'll provide your own speakers or headphones. 

Sonus Faber and Naim also offer similar solutions – see the Naim Mu-so Qb, a 2019 release which doesn't boast an HDMI ARC input, support, or the Sonus Faber Omnia, which does – but while the former is now available for similar money to the C20, the latter is a lot more expensive… 

Audio Pro C20 from the back, showing the ports

Audio Pro sports so many connections, it advises you on which to use for different kinds of turntable…  (Image credit: Future)

Audio Pro C20 review: Specs

Audio Pro C20 review: Features

  • Built in RIAA amplifier
  • Google Cast, Apple AirPlay and Audio Pro's own multi-room audio option
  • HDMI ARC

By adding a phono stage to its latest masterwork, Audio Pro C20 can be plugged straight into your devoid-of-phono turntable (as long as it sports a moving magnet cartridge), allowing you to simply power it on, select 'phono' on the Audio Pro's top plate, lower that needle and get into the groove. Got one of the best turntables with an RIAA amp inbuilt? That's OK too, there's a separate RCA line in for you too. 

Of course, this is Audio Pro, so the new C20 also features the winning multi-room option triumvirate that the company introduced with the 2021-release Addon C10 MkII: AirPlay 2, Google Cast, plus its own multi-room audio capability. You also get Tidal Connect, Spotify Connect, Bluetooth (v5.0) and HDMI ARC – so you can hook it straight up to your TV. 

Thanks to a combination of these these things, you can also re-stream music (including vinyl from your turntable) to other Audio Pro speakers you may have collected from its A, C, or D-series, in a wireless multi-room system around your home (and you don't even have to start making holes in your walls).

The C20 also offers the option of connecting an external subwoofer via its sub-out (the company would direct you to its own Audio Pro SW-5 or SW10) enabling you to enhance the C20's bass performance even further, should you wish – although I didn't find this necessary. 

Finally, two C20’s can be set-up as a stereo pair using the Audio Pro app, or even via Apple Airplay 2. I think you'll agree, that's a lot of options. If you want a 3.5mm headphone jack, you won't find it… but do you really? 

Features score: 5/5

Audio Pro C20 top-plate closeup, with a hand pressing one of the buttons

That's a lot of options – and six presets  (Image credit: Future)

Audio Pro C20 review: Sound quality

  • Clarity, neutrality and detail in spades
  • Ample bass clout without muddying the soundstage
  • Not an omnidirectional solution

Simply put, the Audio Pro C20 sounds very good indeed, whether physically hooked up to your TV or turntable, or when commanded to play music by your phone. You might anticipate having to make a compromise when buying a jack-of-all-trades box – a minor hit on sound in return for something that works with everything – but not so here. 

Coheed and Cambria's In Keeping Secrets of the Silent Earth: 3 accessed on Tidal Connect is a raucous proggy album and the C20 never shies away from any of it, serving indomitable energy across the frequencies in a cohesive but rigorously regimented mix. 

Given delicate string progressions such as Joni Mitchell's A Case of You, Mitchell's textured vocal soars above her dynamically agile and three-dimensional Appalachian dulcimer (and James Taylor's emotive acoustic guitar) where each musical passage is given enough space to have the necessary impact the track. 

When handling TV content, the C20 is an easy (easy!) step up from anything my Sony TV's speakers can do, opening out the sound and offering that extra ounce of detail through intakes of breath and clacks of high-heeled shoes on cobbles in Shetland

It's not a Dolby Atmos solution, of course, and the sound isn't particularly omnidirectional (owing to the C20's design), but there's a wide soundstage here nonetheless. 

However I listened to it across the course of my testing, the C20 continued to delight and entertain with its myriad connectivity perks, ease of use and gifted audio chops. 

Sound quality score: 5/5

Audio Pro C20 on a wooden table, with a smartphone to show scale

The remote certainly adds value – although volume adjustment is a slightly blunt affair  (Image credit: Future)

Audio Pro C20: Design

  • 2x 30W and 1x 130W digital class D amplifiers
  • Removable grille
  • Choice of three finishes

The Audio Pro C20 is available in Soft Satin White, Stylish Grey or Classic Black. The woven fabric front is fixed to the C20 by magnets and can be easily removed, giving the option of two very different looks, depending on your favored aesthetic. 

I like to take off the grille off to better hear (and observe) Audio Pro's iconic eyes-and-nose style driver configuration, as seen in the brand's beloved T3+, C5 MkII and C10 MkII, for starters. Here, you get two 30W and one 130W Digital Class D amplifiers, powering the C20's dual 1-inch tweeters and a 6.5-inch woofer.

At 41cm across,19.6cm high and 22cm deep (and weighing in at 6.2kg, which roughly the same as a gallon of paint), the C20 is a substantial thing and while it fits under my wall-mounted TV just fine, those thinking of using it as a soundbar will need to think about that height. 

My 'Stylish Grey' sample is just that. The gold-tone top plate (with solo LEDs to denote which source you're using as well as lights around the six preset buttons) also helps and while the gold accent on the grille is gone (as seen on the C10 MkII) I don't miss it. Do I miss Audio Pro's glorious rock 'n' roll leather handle? A little, but I also concede that this isn't  proposition is not meant to be especially portable. 

It's always been hard to find fault with Audio Pro's build quality, and the C20 is no exception. 

Design score: 4.5/5

Audio Pro C20 on a TV stand, with a Sony TV in the background, connected via HDMI ARC

You need a bit of clearance, but it works with my TV (Image credit: Future)

Audio Pro C20 review: Usability and setup

  • Simple, app-guided setup
  • App can handle your music – or not
  • No supplied remote

After powering the speaker on (in case it needs to be mentioned, the C20 needs to be plugged in to power at all times), you're quickly guided to the Audio Pro companion app, which will add the C20 to your Wi-FI network and generally do the rest. During my time with it, it neither crashed nor tripped up even momentarily. 

On the app, the 'Browse' tab (which seeks to keep your music all in one place) will open Apple Music natively through 'open on Apple Music' if using an iOS device, but third-party streaming services (such as Tidal) will require you to login again if going this route. You can also select the C20's source here, whether that's Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, phono, line in (I hooked it up to the FiiO R9 before setting it up and it did a fantastic job), optical or TV. 

The central 'Device' tab in the app is meant to organise your speakers rather than your music, so here you can name your speaker, (either the model, or its placement in your home, such as 'kitchen') and with the C20 there's a three-band EQ tab for bass, treble and subwoofer out. 

The third and final 'Settings' tab basically lets you choose which services are displayed on 'Browse', as well as an FAQ section and details on the app version you're running. 

Audio Pro hasn't supplied a dedicated remote control in the box (although if you're using the HDMI ARC to your TV, you can just use your TV's remote for volume) and honestly, I don't miss it, because the app does the heavy lifting – or of course, you can use the premium top plate. 

Usability and setup score: 5/5 

Audio Pro C20 app, three screen-grabs on gray background

Audio Pro's companion app makes it really easy to group your music and your wireless speakers for multi-room audio  (Image credit: Future)

Audio Pro C20: Value

Obviously, if you don't have the expendable income to afford such a speaker, it doesn't matter how good it is – you won't be buying it. 

That said, Sonus Faber will offer you something with a similar spec sheet that's double the price, while Naim has an older option that offers less in terms of connectivity, but sounds excellent, for similar money (see below for a comparison of these products). 

My advice? You will not be disappointed with the sound-per-pound value here. 

Value score: 4.5/5 

Audio Pro C20 review: Should you buy it?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Audio Pro C20: Also consider

Audio Pro C20 review: How I tested

  • Tested across seven days 
  • Used as a TV soundbar, wireless speaker, wired to the FiiO R9, wired to a turntable and as a Wi-Fi and Bluetooth speaker
  • Listened to a variety of music; watched three episodes of an action-packed TV show

When testing the Audio Pro C20, the only connection I didn’t use was the subwoofer out – because honestly, I really like Audio Pro's tuning within its speakers and never felt the need to try to augment the low end. 

The analogue inputs accommodated both pre-amplified and non-amplified turntables, the digital optical was used for a CD player, the line in for FiiO R9 (as a source device), my TV was hooked up to it… and, of course, Bluetooth and my home Wi-Fi network were handy for using it with my iPhone. 

And then it's the usual: listening to lots of familiar music from my reference playlist, (as well as three episodes of Shetland on TV, which I'm really into and highly recommend – yes, I know I'm late to that particular party) at a variety of volume levels, for the duration of my testing. 

As a brief aside, I removed the grilles for the duration of my testing – it's what I always do whenever possible. Why? The fewer physical obstructions between you and your music, the better… 

Samsung The Freestyle 2nd Gen review: the best portable projector gets even better
2:00 pm | February 25, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Home Theater Projectors Televisions | Tags: , | Comments: Off

Samsung The Freestyle 2nd Gen: one-minute review

Samsung’s first The Freestyle projector created quite the buzz with its compact, cylindrical form and superior streaming capabilities compared to other portable projectors. Notably, it featured the same Tizen smart TV interface found in the company’s TVs, which let viewers easily stream from a wide range of apps while also allowing for voice control via Samsung’s Bixby or Amazon Alexa voice assistants. Beyond that, the original The Freestyle could beam images as large as 100 inches, and it provided auto focus and keystone adjustments to quickly align pictures on any surface you pointed it at. We liked it so much when we tested it, that it rocketed to the top of our list of the best portable projectors.

The Freestyle 2nd Gen doesn’t stray too far from the original, but does get a key update with Samsung’s Gaming Hub, a section of the smart interface that houses a range of cloud-based gaming services such as Xbox, Nvidia GeForce Now, Utomik, and more. This new feature lets you pair the projector with wireless gaming controllers and play premium games without having to connect a physical console – something the Freestyle 2nd Gen’s single micro-HDMI connection doesn’t make easy anyway.

Samsung offers a range of accessories to pair with its portable, including a rechargeable battery base that will give you around 3 hours of playback time and an adaptor to plug it into a standard ceiling light socket for power. While most users won’t need to have images beamed down from the ceiling onto a table or floor, having that capability is just one of the things that makes the Freestyle 2nd Gen a more flexible and fun option than typical projectors.

The Freestyle 2nd Gen’s LED light source provides only limited brightness, which means you’ll get the best picture when viewing in a dim room, or at nighttime if viewing outdoors. Even in those conditions, the projector’s picture lacks the detail and punchy contrast you can expect from the best 4K projectors, making it more of a convenient means to project a big image than a high-quality one. But the Freestyle Gen 2’s compact design and excellent feature set still make it a great portable projector, one that will easily fit in your backpack.

Samsung The Freestyle 2nd Gen Review: price and release date

  • Release date: August 2023
  • MSRP: $799 / £649

Samsung’s The Freestyle 2nd Gen sells for $799 /  £649. At this writing it is not currently available in Australia, and availability appear to be limited in the UK. The $799 list price is somewhat high compared to other 1080p HD-res compact portable projectors, though it does offer some unique features not found in the competition such as Samsung’s Gaming Hub. 

The Freestyle 2nd Gen gets regular discounts during holiday sales events, where it sells for around $599. That price makes Samsung’s portable projector a much better value than at its $799 list price, so sales are worth seeking out and waiting for.

Samsung The Freestyle 2nd Gen Gaming Hub interface

The new Samsung Gaming Hub interface (Image credit: Future)

Samsung The Freestyle 2nd Gen Review: Specs

Samsung The Freestyle 2nd Gen on table with battery base

Samsung's optional battery base accessory provides around 3 hours of power before needing a recharge (Image credit: Future)

Samsung The Freestyle 2nd Gen Review: design and features

  • Compact and lightweight design
  • Tizen smart TV interface for streaming
  • Samsung Gaming hub for cloud-based gaming

The Freestyle 2nd Gen sports the same white cylinder form factor as its predecessor. At just 1.8 pounds, it’s easy to tote around the house and is compact enough to easily stash in a backpack. An included cradle stand rotates 180 degrees and can be tilted 90 degrees, giving you plenty of flexibility as to where you beam images, ceilings included. 

Samsung includes a SolarCell remote control that doesn’t require batteries (as the name suggests, it draws energy from available light sources, as well as from your home’s wireless network) and the projector can also be controlled via Samsung’s Bixby or Amazon Alexa voice commands. Such commands can be executed by pressing and holding the Mic button on the remote, but the projector also has built-in far-field mics for hands-free voice control.

The single-chip DLP projector uses an LED light source that Samsung specs for 30,000 hours of use. Auto focus and keystone adjustments let you position the projector even at extreme angles from the wall or other surface you’re projecting on and The Freestyle 2nd Gen’s image will automatically align itself to a 16:9 aspect ratio. Those adjustments can also be carried out manually (and in many cases you'll want to tweak the keystone and focus settings), and there’s the option to shrink the image to a smaller size without physically moving the projector.

Samsung offers a range of accessories to use with The Freestyle 2nd Gen. A socket adaptor lets you plug the projector into a light socket, and is mainly intended for projecting from the ceiling onto a floor or table. There’s also a battery base, which provides several hours of charge and lets you use the projector indoors or out without having to connect to power. A carrying case is another accessory and one that will protect The Freestyle 2nd Gen if you’re bringing it outdoors or to another location.

The Freestyle 2nd Gen is all about streaming and features the same Tizen smart interface found in the company’s TVs. This provides pretty much any streaming app you could want and also has Samsung’s Gaming Hub onboard for cloud-based gaming from services such as Xbox, Nvidia GeForce Now, Utomik, and others. The projector uses the somewhat dated Wi-Fi 5 standard for streaming, although I didn’t have any issues during my time with it.

As a streaming-centric projector, connections on The Freestyle 2nd Gen are limited to micro-HDMI. No HDMI-to-micro-HDMI cables or adaptors are included, so, like me, you’ll probably need to order one online to be able to plug in an external gaming console, Blu-ray player, or other HDMI source. The micro-HDMI connection supports HDMI-ARC, which allows you to connect it to a soundbar or other audio system. Another option is Bluetooth, with dual Bluetooth supported for both wireless input and output connections, and there’s also wireless app casting from iPhones and Android phones.

Samsung calls The Freestyle 2nd Gen’s built-in 5-watt audio system “360 Degree” sound, and during my use, it did provide surprisingly spacious sound, although with unsurprisingly limited bass. The projector can also do double-duty as a wireless speaker for streaming music via AirPlay or Bluetooth, boosting its already impressive features list.

  • Design and features score: 4.5/5

Samsung The Freestyle 2nd Gen beaming picture at screen

With The Freestyle 2nd Gen, you'll get the best picture quality results when viewing  in a dark room (Image credit: Future)

Samsung The Freestyle 2nd Gen review: picture quality

  • Limited brightness
  • Relatively accurate Movie picture mode
  • Plentiful picture adjustments

Lower-cost LED-based portable projectors typically don’t put out a very bright image, and having seen The Freestyle 2nd Gen in action before starting this review, I knew I would have to temper my expectations. With the picture blown up to maximum size on a 100-inch screen, it was noticeably dim, even when viewed in a completely dark room. Using an ambient light rejecting screen with 0.8 gain, I measured a mere 7.3 nits in Dynamic mode on a 10 percent white window test pattern, and 6.6 nits in Movie mode. By way of comparison, a standard home theater projector such as the BenQ v5000i ultra short throw model I recently tested can deliver 125 nits under the same circumstances.

Image brightness got a boost when I positioned the projector for a smaller picture (there is no zoom lens, though images can be digitally scaled to a smaller size), though it still seemed relatively dim. Picture contrast was decent, with blacks in images showing a good degree of depth, though shadows lacked detail, appearing as more of a dark gray mass.

Colors were most accurate in the Movie picture mode. With that selected, I measured color Delta-E (the margin of error between the test pattern source and what’s shown on-screen) at 5, and the grayscale Delta-E at 14.1. They were notably less so in the Standard and Dynamic modes, but even so, I preferred Standard because it provided a slight brightness advantage over Movie. Watching Asteroid City streamed on Amazon Prime, the film’s hyped-up color scheme came through with all its garishness intact, though there was also a softness to the picture, which was being downscaled to the projector’s native 1080p format.

The projector supports HDR10+, HDR10, and HLG high dynamic range, but I didn’t see much of a picture quality difference when viewing in HDR from standard HD format – something the above peak brightness measurements, which were taken with the projector displaying in HDR backs up. As for other measurements, Samsung’s projector managed 88.5% P3 color space and 68.9% BT.2020 color space coverage, and input lag was 62ms with Game mode active. That last number is a relatively high one compared to what you’ll see from the best gaming TVs, as well as certain projectors such as the BenQ v5000i, though I didn’t have any issues when playing Xbox games in Samsung Gaming Hub.

  • Picture quality score: 3.5/5

Samsung The Freestyle 2nd Gen inputs section

Side-panel connections include one HDMI with eARC and a USB-C port for power (Image credit: Future)

Samsung The Freestyle 2nd Gen Review: value

  • Pricier than portable competition
  • Frequently gets discounts
  • Enhanced value for gamers

At its $799 / £649 list price, the Freestyle 2nd Gen sits in an awkward spot value-wise. It costs twice as much as other portable 1080p LED projectors with similar brightness specs such as the Anker Nebula Solar Portable. And spending around $1,000 more will get you a 4K model with a significantly brighter laser light engine such as the Anker Nebula Cosmos Laser 4K.

If you find the Freestyle 2nd Gen selling at a discounted price, while still not cheap, it’s value gets a boost. The main advantages Samsung’s projector holds over similar models are its highly flexible setup options, easy portability, and superior smart interface for streaming and gaming. If limited brightness won’t be a big factor in your buying decision, there’s plenty to recommend the Freestyle 2nd Gen.

  • Value score: 3.5/5

Samsung The Freestyle 2nd Gen remote control held in hand

The projector's remote features a built-in mic for voice commands (Image credit: Future)

Should I buy the Samsung The Freestyle 2nd Gen?

Samsung The Freestyle 2nd Gen close up of lens and controls

(Image credit: Future)

Buy it if...

Don’t buy it if… 

Also consider...

Anker Nebula Cosmos Laser 4K
This powerful portable has a laser-based light engine with a whopping 2,400 lumens brightness, though it costs more than twice what you’ll pay for the Samsung. It also has a stunning design, though there’s no built-in battery for easy outdoor use.

Read our full Anker Nebula Cosmos Laser 4K review

Samsung The Freestyle 2nd Gen smart interface

(Image credit: Future)

How I tested the Samsung The Freestyle 2nd Gen

  • I spent about 5 hours in total measuring and evaluating
  • Measurements were made using Calman color calibration software
  • Used with an Elite Screens Kestrel Tab-Tension 2 CLR 3 projection screen

When I test a projector, my first step is to spend a few days using it for casual viewing for break-in and to assess the out-of-box picture presets. The next step is to select the most accurate-looking preset (typically labeled Filmmaker, Movie or Cinema) and measure the white balance (grayscale), gamma, and color point accuracy using Portrait Displays’ Calman color calibration software. The resulting measurements provide Delta-E values (the margin of error between the test pattern source and what’s shown on-screen) for each category, and they allow for an assessment of the TV’s overall accuracy.

Along with those tests, I make measurements of peak light output (recorded in nits) for both standard high-definition and 4K high dynamic range using a 10% white window pattern. Coverage of DCI-P3 and BT.2020 color space is also measured, with the results providing a sense of how faithfully the projector can render the extended color range in ultra high-definition sources.

Unlike many portable projectors, the Samsung The Freestyle 2nd Gen provides a full range of adjustments to calibrate its picture. And while most users aren’t likely to bother using these, it’s nice to know they exist. Knowing that Samsung’s portable will almost exclusively be used for casual viewing, I bypassed a calibration and relied on both streaming reference 4K Blu-ray discs to test its performance in the Movie, Standard, and Dynamic preset picture modes

My projector testing experience spans almost three decades, going back to the early three-gun CRT models.

First reviewed: February, 2024

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Image credit: Future)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Value score: 3.5/5

Amazon Fire HD 10 (2023) review: specs

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

Amazon Fire HD 10 (2023) review: design

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Design score: 3.5/5

Amazon Fire HD 10 (2023) review: display

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

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

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

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

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

  • Display score: 2.5/5

Amazon Fire HD 10 (2023) review: software

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Image credit: Future)

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Software score: 2/5

Amazon Fire HD 10 (2023) review: performance

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

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

(Image credit: Future)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Performance score: 2.5/5

Amazon Fire HD 10 (2023) review: battery life

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Battery score: 3.5/5

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

Buy it if...

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

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

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

Don't buy it if...

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

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

Amazon Fire HD 10 (2023) review: Also consider

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

How I tested the Amazon Fire HD 10 (2023)

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

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

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

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

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

Read more about how we test

First reviewed January 2024

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