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Edifier QR65 review: great-looking powered stereo speakers – but perhaps not for your desktop
5:30 pm | June 29, 2024

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

Edifier QR65: Two-minute review

It's easy to assume that your desktop computer just needs cheap and cheery monitor speakers so you can hear your email chimes or the sound of the YouTube videos you watch when you're pretending to work, but the Edifier QR65 make a good case as to why you should stretch upwards into the realm of the best stereo speakers.

The QR65 are the newest speakers from Chinese audio company Edifier, which sells plenty of other desktop and monitor speakers for gaming, studios or just general computer use. These new models are classed as part of its 'Wireless Speakers' line-up but it also calls them 'Desktop Active Monitors' so they're clearly designed for desktop use.

I wouldn't recommend buying them solely for desktop use, though, because the Edifier QR65 function much better as multi-media speakers.

The Edifier QR65 are mid-range speakers and the sound fits; it's pretty good, with thumping bass and clear treble, even if the maximum volume won't exactly rock the house (unless you have a small house).

There are a fair few connection options too, as you can connect via USB (that's for the desktop connection) as well as wired and Bluetooth audio, so the speakers really do work for multi-media enjoyment.

And while I'm listing positives, I want to touch on the look of the speakers: they're fashionable and good-looking, even though they have LED lights which will raise red flags for audiophiles (and red LEDs for everyone else).

Then onto the... not 'bad', per se, just 'annoying' bits. While the QR65 have an app for control on your phone, they don't on PC, which feels like an odd omission given that these are meant to be desktop speakers. They also don't turn off or on with your computer, so you have to keep manually turning them on and off when you want to use them or contend with their LEDs lighting up your room all day and night.

Because of these two hurdles I ended up preferring to stream music over Bluetooth during the testing period, rather than testing them alongside my Windows PC.

Edifier QR65 review: Price and release date

The Edifier QR65 on a white background.

(Image credit: Future)
  • Announced in April 2024
  • Mid-range at $369.99 / £329.99 / AU$449

Edifier announced the QR65 in April 2024, to join its busy range of audio products. 

The Edifier QR65 cost $369.99 / £329.99 / AU$449, and they’re generally considered to be towards the low end when it comes to desktop speakers. Sure, you can find Amazon cheapie options for a tenth of the price, but you can also find many options for ten times that cost (or more, see the KEF LS50 Wireless II). They’re also snugly in the middle of the options on our list of the best computer speakers

Another thing this price puts the Edifier QR65 roughly in the middle of? Edifier’s range of speakers – Edifier has a lot of speakers in many categories such as bookshelf, computer or studio speakers, and the QR65 are actually part of its wireless speaker range, despite being designed to work with desktops.

If you want to see what else is at this price range, specifically when it comes to dual-speaker desktop set-ups, then the Kanto Ora4, FiiO SP3 and Audioengine HD3 all hover roughly at this price point. 

Edifier QR65 review: Specs

Edifier QR65 review: Features

The Edifier QR65 on a white background.

(Image credit: Future)
  • Phone app, but no PC one
  • LED lights with customizable effects
  • Audio cable, USB and Bluetooth connections

If you’re connecting the QR65 to your smartphone, you’ll need to download the Edifier ConneX app to control them. Not Edifier Connect, nor Edifier Home, nor Edifier Enhance, and I had to deploy the trial and error approach when working out which app to use, which was an annoying waste of 10 minutes. Sure, Edifier isn’t the only tech company which refuses to consolidate its apps, but that doesn’t excuse it.

ConneX lets you change the EQ of music, customize the light effects and change the audio codec of streamed music, amongst a few select extras. You can certainly use the QR65 without it, but there’s no harm in exploring these extra features.

So what about if you’re using these desktop speakers while paired to a desktop PC or Mac? Well then you’re out of luck, because there’s no app support when you’ve got the QR65 hooked up to your computer by Bluetooth. You can use the dial to change the light effects a little but there are no EQ options, and if you want to turn up the volume, you’ll have to reach over to the speaker and turn up the dial manually (if you’re already at 100% PC volume, that is).

That’s why I said in the introduction that these speakers fare better as general multimedia speakers than desktop-exclusive ones; if you only use these connected to a computer, you’re going to miss a few features. The exception is if you connect the speakers to your computer and your phone, which lets you use the latter to equalize and change light effects, but that’s a lot of faff.

One other thing to bear in mind when using the Edifiers as your desktop speakers is that they don’t turn off or on with your computer – you’ll need to remember to separately turn them off or on, which is something I was constantly forgetting.

The other form of connectivity is via audio cable, with RCA plugging into the speakers and a 3.5mm jack to connect to your phone, MP3 player or other device. Pretty straightforward. Talking of connectivity, there’s actually a Sub Out port in one of the speakers that you could use to connect to an external subwoofer if you want more bass than the Xtreme Bass Series. I don’t see most people needing this, but it’s a nice optional extra.

  • Features score: 3.5/5

Edifier QR65 review: Design

The Edifier QR65 on a white background.

(Image credit: Future)
  • Two good-looking rectangles
  • Stands included in box
  • Dials and ports in one speaker

The Edifier QR65 consists of two fairly large speakers, with one measuring 13 x 21.3 x 21.2 cm and the other a touch bigger due to it having extra dials and ports. This latter is the ‘active speaker’ which you use to control the music and connect to power and inputs/outputs, while the former is the ‘passive speaker’ which only has a port to connect it to the active speaker. Yes, they're actually 'powered' speakers even if they're listed as 'active', since the amplification is squirrelled into one of the boxes. 

Setting up the Edifier is a little bit of a faff but once you’ve connected the active speaker to power, the passive speaker and your PC (via USB-A cables), Bluetooth device (via Bluetooth, obviously) or other audio device (via ports in the back and an included cable), and also directed the speakers towards you (using included stands, which sit at a 10-degree angle) you’re ready to go.

As well as the aforementioned ports, there are three charging ports which you can use to power up other devices (one USB-A and two USB-C) which is a handy extra feature.

On the right side of the active speaker is a button and two dials. The button is to switch between inputs (each press toggles you between Bluetooth, USB and Line In) and to turn off the speakers by pressing and holding. I ended up leaving them on though, to save myself the journey of going into my computer settings to change the active output.

Then onto the two dials: the first is for volume which is pretty self explanatory, though pressing it also pauses or plays music. The lower dial is for changing the light patterns of the speakers: turning it increases or lowers the brightness, and pressing it toggles between various patterns for the lights to display.

Oh, did I not mention the lights around the front of each speaker? That’s because of the (earned) stigma around LED lights in speakers, with many audiophiles assuming that they incur noise and indicate a probably bad-sounding product. That’s not a wrong assumption, but it’s not applicable in this situation, as the sound quality section describes. Saying that, I’m not sure the LED lights add much to the QR65, beyond the novelty factor. 

I’m a big fan of the white version of the speakers I tested (there’s also a black version but it’s a little more bland, in my opinion). The clean-looking shell contrasts with the silver dials and the black front in what is a fairly minimalist boxy look (apart from the LEDs). If you’re a Mac user who insists on having a fashionable svelte desktop, these could well fit into your set-up better than most rival options.

  • Design score: 4/5

Edifier QR65 review: Sound quality

The Edifier QR65 on a white background.

(Image credit: Future)
  • Full sound with lots of bass
  • Lots of codecs and Hi-Res certifications
  • Max volume could be louder for certain use cases

Each unit of the Edifier QR65 consists of a 1.25-inch dome tweeter and a 2.75-inch mid-low driver, and together they provide a nice warm sound.

When listening to music, you’re getting a sound that’s nice and bassy, though that’s not to say you’ll struggle to hear treble sounds. That’s not quite true of the mids, which do fall through the cracks a little bit, as does sub-bass. But that’s why you can plug a subwoofer into the speakers!

Playing games, the full-bodied sound works well for creating a layered soundstage – I could hear the background hum of cities and the echo of damp dungeons all around me. 

The bassy emphasis was more noticeably when watching TV or movies, as it meant voices occasionally sounded a little low and muffled – they’d often blend into the rest of the mix a little, and I lost a few lines of dialogue in shows as a result. 

If you’re using the Edifier QR65 as your PC speakers, you’ll find the 70W power output more than adequate. I played PC games with them and even at medium volumes, I was surrounded by sound – the shriek of an enemy behind me in Lords of the Fallen nearly gave me a heart attack when I thought it was something behind me in real life!

That’s not quite the case if you’re using these as general media speakers, as even at their maximum volume the QR65’s sound didn’t fill my living room – I wouldn’t recommend buying these in lieu of a TV soundbar or a set of tower speakers for your hi-fi system.

Depending on your audio input, you can enjoy listening with LDAC codecs, Hi-Res Audio or Hi-Res Audio Wireless certification, and that all means that you can enjoy great-sounding music whether you’re using Bluetooth 5.3 to connect your smartphone, are plugging in an aux-cord or have plugged the Edifiers into your computer.

  • Sound quality: 4/5

Edifier QR65 review: Value

The Edifier QR65 on a white background.

(Image credit: Future)
  • Good value for money as a multimedia option
  • … but they definitely aren't for everyone

You're emphatically getting your money's worth with these Edifiers. They look good, provide decent music quality, all things considered, and do work well as jack-of-all-trades options for desktop, Bluetooth and wired audio.

However, if you just want any old speakers for your desktop, these are overkill. For workplace computers or on devices you won't use for multimedia entertainment, you don't need speakers that cost this much. If that's all you need, you might try looking for inexpensive speakers that cost a third (or less). 

  • Value: 3.5/5

Should I buy the Edifier QR65?

Buy them if…

Don’t buy them if…

Edifier QR65 review: Also consider

How I tested the Edifier QR65

The Edifier QR65 on a white background.

(Image credit: Future)
  • Tested for over two weeks
  • Tested at home connected to phone and computer

The testing process of the Edifier QR65 was just over two weeks. 

About half of the testing process was done with the speakers connected to my Android phone via wired and Bluetooth audio, for music streaming. I streamed from Spotify, YouTube and briefly from Netflix during this time.

For the other half I connected the speakers to my custom-built Windows PC using the USB port, and used it for watching movies and TV shows and playing video games on my computer.

I've been reviewing devices for TechRadar for over five years now, a time which has seen my test speakers, headphones, earbuds and gaming peripherals, including a previous gadget from Edifier.

  • First reviewed in June 2024
Logitech Signature Slim K950 review: a great keyboard that’s ideal for Mac, Windows… or both
4:44 pm | May 23, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Computing Gadgets Keyboards Peripherals & Accessories | Tags: | Comments: Off

Logitech Signature Slim K950: Two-minute review

The Logitech Signature Slim K950 is billed as a keyboard that’s equally comfortable at work or at home, with sensible looks, some advanced functionality and plentiful customization options.

Typing is satisfying on the Logitech Signature Slim K950, thanks to the feel of the keys. At first touch, they feel light and tappy due to the plastic material, but the subtle dampening helps to provide more depth to presses. Logitech claims that this is a quiet keyboard, but as the clashing of the plastics generate a high-pitched sound, I would be reluctant to point this out as a highlight, even if it’s still definitely quieter than a mechanical keyboard. Similar to a laptop keyboard, the profile of the keys is low, although the spacing between them is greater – a combination I personally prefer among the many options in the best keyboards.

The default shortcuts that occupy the function keys are well chosen, too. They’re aimed at the modern worker, with hotkeys for muting a microphone or activating a dictation package, as well as for bringing up a calculator app, screenshot tool, and even an emoji menu. 

These hotkeys can be modified using the Options Plus software, downloadable from Logitech’s website for free. It’s well designed and easy to use, and while it’s stable enough, I did encounter a few minor glitches and a crash on install, although this was easy to rectify.

Options Plus offers a set list of Windows and macOS system-level functions to choose from when customizing the hotkeys, which include actions such as putting your device to sleep and opening a certain app or file, to name a few. You can also create macros, which Logitech calls Smart Actions. The company provides 30 templates to choose from across a range of scenarios, which can be used as they are or edited to meet your specific requirements. Overall, many of these are well considered, although I did find that some of them failed to work as intended.

One of the new standout features in the Options Plus software is the ability to call up an AI Prompt builder, which essentially opens ChatGPT in a popup window at the press of a hotkey of your choosing. It comes with four default prompt templates for productivity purposes, but you can also create your own.

Depending on how much you use the AI chatbot in the course of your work, this is either a very useful tool or merely a gimmick to have fun with. Still, the integration works well enough, barring a few minor niggles.

There’s very little that the Logitech Signature Slim K950 doesn’t do well when it comes to being a tool for most users. The lack of rechargeable batteries, backlit keys and a few minor bugs are the only real issues with the product itself. The greater concern, though, is the cost: it’s hard to see why it’s almost double the price of its predecessor, the Logitech Signature K650, considering that the K650 offers nearly all the same functions and features, save for easy switching.

Close-up of Logitech Signature Slim K950 keys

(Image credit: Future)

Logitech Signature Slim K950 review: Price & Availability

  • $79 / £79 (about AU$120)
  • Graphite and Off-white color schemes
  • K650 is cheaper and almost as good

The Signature Slim K950 is available now for $79 / £79 (about AU$120). It comes in two colorways: Graphite and Off-white.

If you’re looking for a cheaper option, the Signature K650 is another Logitech keyboard aimed at productivity, but has a larger form factor and includes a built-in wrist pad (although in our review, we noted this as an irrelevance). However, the K650 is currently available for $49 / £49 (about AU$75), which offers a considerable saving over the K950. It doesn’t support easy-device switching, but apart from that, it offers virtually everything else the K950 does. 

Although the K950 is a pleasure to use for the most part, if you’re after a supreme typing experience, the Cherry Stream Desktop is a standout choice. Although it lacks many of the advanced features of the K950, the comfort and performance levels elevate it among our best keyboard picks.

  • Value score: 3 / 5

Close-up of Logitech Signature Slim K950 logo

(Image credit: Future)

Logitech Signature Slim K950 review: Design

  • Slender profile
  • Forgettable appearance
  • No rechargeable battery or USB ports

The K950 doesn’t exactly scream style: the Graphite finish I was given to test was quite austere, and the matte plastic made it look rather anonymous. A simple and small ‘logi’ logo is the only branding that adorns the K950, which at least keeps its aesthetic minimal. The slim profile helps to impart some elegance too.

The entire construction is plastic, with no metal in sight. It feels robust enough, as do the keys themselves. They’re tightly fitted with very little play, and the lettering is ever-so slightly embossed, which I could feel under my fingertips. 

The fold-out feet can raise the K950 to an 8-degree incline, which isn’t as steep as other keyboards, and there are no gradients in between. For me, this wasn’t a problem, but if you’re someone who likes a steep typing angle, then this likely won’t be enough for you.

The power switch is located on the top edge of the keyboard and hidden from view, meaning I had to feel for it every time I wanted to turn the K950 on or off. There’s a small LED in the top-right corner to indicate battery level, which flicks on momentarily when you power up the K950 – otherwise, it stays off. 

There’s no backlighting for the keys, which is a shame, but does at least save on battery power. The only lights available are one on Caps Lock and three on the easy switching keys, which again only light momentarily when connecting to devices, or blink rapidly when in pairing mode.

Another small gripe I had with the K950 is the lack of LED indication for the FN lock. If you have the optional Options Plus software installed, it will display an on-screen prompt, but only when the lock is toggled. This meant I had no way of knowing if I had it activated or not without having to toggle it again. This is a small point, but one that, if you plan on using this keyboard to streamline your productivity as much as possible, may become a real thorn in your side over time.

Another notable absence is the lack of a rechargeable battery and ports. Instead, the K950 runs on two AAA batteries. Some may consider this to be an advantage, as it keeps costs down. However, it does mean that you’ll need to change the batteries once flat, and you won’t be able to charge and continue typing, as you can on keyboards with inbuilt batteries. 

  • Design score: 3.5 / 5

Hands typing on the Logitech Signature Slim K950

(Image credit: Future)

Logitech Signature Slim K950 review: Performance

  • Satisfying typing experience
  • Nice hotkey selection
  • Options Plus software is great

Typing on the K950 felt great to me. The keys are clacky and light, but they are also slightly dampened when you press a little firmer, making them suitable for both soft and hard typers alike. Their profile is low, so those who prefer typing on laptops will be right at home here, although the spacing between them is generally bigger compared to most laptop keyboards in my experience – something I personally consider a positive.

Logitech claims that this is a quiet keyboard to type with, but in my experience, I don’t think it’s necessarily quieter than other keyboards in its class. The plastic keys generate a higher-pitched sound, which isn’t exactly loud, but I wouldn’t say they’re dampened enough to eliminate most of the impact; they’re just ‘quiet’ compared to the best mechanical keyboards.

The easy-switching functionality between three devices worked well in my tests, whether it was between macOS, Windows, or Chromebook laptops, or whether they were connected via Bluetooth or the included Logi Bolt USB wireless receiver. I did encounter a hiccup on one occasion, however, when after switching between macOS and Windows devices the hotkeys stopped working on the latter machine. A quick on/off restart of the keyboard fixed the problem, but it’s worth mentioning.

The hotkeys along the top row feature a good selection of productivity-enhancing shortcuts, including window switching, search, mute mic, as well as keys for opening the calculator app, screenshot tool, and a dictation package you have installed. There’s even an emoji menu shortcut – handy for workplace chats.  

They can all be customized in the Options Plus software, which is free to download and provides plenty of additional features and functions for the K950. It displays the battery life as a percentage, and has a support menu where you can rate your experience with the app or inform Logitech of any connectivity issues you might be experiencing.

I did experience a few minor glitches with the software. It crashed on first launch after I installed it on Windows 11, but a relaunch fixed the problem. And every time I put my device to sleep, on both Windows and macOS machines, the application would close by itself. 

Options Plus also launches in a window which isn’t full size, and it can’t be adjusted, which could be an issue for those who like to have their windows larger for the sake of clarity. 

The hotkeys – which occupy the function and navigation keys – can be customized in the software, allowing you to choose what shortcuts they activate from a predefined list. These include simple actions, such as putting your device to sleep, as well as the ability to record keyboard shortcuts. These can be assigned globally or on an app-by-app basis, effectively letting you create profiles for every app you have installed on your device. 

You can also record macros via Logitech’s Smart Actions, which again can be assigned to any of the hotkeys. These allow you to create a series of automated actions to perform certain tasks, including opening apps and recording keystrokes. Anyone who has used Apple's Shortcuts app will be in familiar territory here, as it looks and works very similarly. 

Logitech has 30 templates to choose from to meet the needs of various users. There are those made for productivity and leisure, and those for developers and designers. There are also others specific to meetings and for using popular AI tools. 

Although some of the templates worked well, others that I tested didn’t. For instance, one template is meant to use ChatGPT to reply to an email, by copying text you’ve selected, opening ChatGPT in Chrome, and asking it to draft a reply based on the copied text. The problem I found is that it failed to type in ChatGPT’s prompt box, as it wasn’t automatically selected after opening the page. Since Smart Actions are essentially macros, they can’t account for subtleties such as a dialog box not being selected in a home page, for instance.  

Speaking of ChatGPT, one of the new headline features of the Options Plus software is the AI prompt builder. When assigned to a hotkey of your choice, this displays a small window that connects you to ChatGPT, with a selection of ready-made prompt templates (which Logitech calls “recipes”) to query it. These default recipes include drafting emails and rephrasing text. In order to make it work, you need a user account with OpenAI.

You can also create your own recipes, which involves writing a prompt and choosing two parameters from a possible four that modify the output. The four available are: word length, tone, complexity and style.

Your mileage may vary with this feature, depending on how much you employ the AI tool in the course of your work, but I found the integration to be responsive, and it functioned well for the most part, aside from a few small annoyances. 

When submitting a prompt, you can’t go back to submit another via the recipes list without first closing and reopening the prompt builder menu (if you’d rather not use ChatGPT without going through the prompt builder window, then you can choose to open a window that takes you straight to the main ChatGPT prompt page instead). The prompt window remains on top of all other windows you have open, too, even when not selected. 

  • Performance score: 4.5 / 5

Logitech Signature Slim K950 battery compartment

(Image credit: Future)

Should you buy the Logitech Signature Slim K950?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Logitech Signature Slim K950 review: Also consider

How I tested the Logitech Signature Slim K950

I tested the Signature Slim K950 on Windows, macOS and Chromebook devices for around two weeks. I used it for work, leisure and general productivity, both in the office and at home. 

I tried out all the functions and features it had to offer, including the hotkeys and the customization options in the Options Plus software, to see how well it performed on these fronts.

ZimaBlade review
9:35 am | May 15, 2024

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

The ZimaBlade single-board computer looks surprisingly similar to an old-school portable cassette player. 


CPU: Entry-level Dual-Core N3350, High-Performance Quad-Core J3455

GPU: Entry-level 650MHz, High-performance 750MHz, 12 execution units

RAM: Upgradable up to 16GB of DDR3L, none supplied in the box


USB: 1 x Type-C, 1 x USB3.0, 2 x internal USB2.0

Display: 1 x 4K MiniDP, 1 x DP over Type-C, 1 x eDP internal

PCIe: Four lanes 2.0

SATA: 2 x SATA3.0

Ethernet: 1 x Gigabit LAN

Power Consumption: About 15W

Size: 107mm x 80mm x 32mm

It competes with the Raspberry Pi 4, being in the same price bracket while offering an Intel x86 architecture. The SBC has plenty of connectors, which makes this hacker-friendly platform versatile and unique. The built-in PCIe 2.0 x4 connector accepts various cards out-of-the-box, and with two SATA3 ports, the board can morph into a portable NAS storage device.

Since the ZimaBlade supports up to 16GB of DDR3L, it can run applications requiring large amounts of memory, such as databases and VMs. The main let-down is the outdated CPU, with the speediest version of the board based on a Quad-Core 2.3GHz Apollo Lake CPU. The SBC features a single USB Type-C, which supplies power and drives a DisplayPort output.

IceWhale Technology, the maker of the ZimaBlade, held a Crowdsupply campaign to finance the board's new version. Various perks are available; the most basic, containing a Dual-Core Intel Celeron N3350, is available for $64. The ZimaBlade 7700, built around a Quad-Core J3455 CPU, sells for $96. Except for the CPU, both have the same hardware and require a DDR3L memory module to boot. 

ZimaBlade front view.

(Image credit: Future)

ZimaBlade: Design

The ZimaBlade computer comes with a male-to-male Type-C and one SATA cable. The passively cooled unit measures 107mm x 80mm x 32mm and weighs 175g. The small case sits perfectly flat on a desk, with no mounting holes and only four tiny rubber pads on the bottom. Being very light, connecting various cables can become problematic as the case can topple easily.

The Zimablade designers have worked hard to produce an enclosure that showcases the computer’s internal components. A transparent plastic top displays the SODIMM memory but not the CPU. With no power button available, the hardware turns on when plugging a Type-C cable. A single status LED, barely visible from the side of the case, indicates if the board is powered. The PCIe socket location does not allow easy card insertion. The card’s metal bracket has to be removed before use.

Under the hood, the ZimaBlade sports a J3455 quad-core Intel Celeron CPU clocked at 2.4GHz for the highest performance board variant. Geekbench shows the ZimaBlade handily outperforms the Cortex A72 ARM CPU found in the Pi4 but scores well below the new Pi5’s Cortex A76 CPU. One aspect not found on similar-priced platforms is expanding the memory to 16GB using DDR3L SODIMM.

The ZimaBlade targets an audience that strives for high-speed interfaces. Seven connectors provide connectivity for many use cases with throughputs above the gigabit mark. Two SATA6 and one Gigabit Ethernet socket turn the ZimaBlade into a redundant storage server. One USB3, a USB Type-C with DP, and a mini-DP connector capable of 4K at 60Hz complete the list of external ports. Three internal connectors, two USB 2.0 connectors, and one eDP socket allow additional peripherals.

ZimaBlade side view.

(Image credit: Future)

ZimaBlade: In Use

The owner can use the ZimaBlade simply by plugging a USB Type-C cable into a screen supporting a Type-C display. The computer then boots CasaOS, a lightweight cloud-accessible platform with an ever-increasing number of applications. ZimaBlade is extremely fast at booting, taking just five seconds to display the Linux login.

After entering the default username and password, the user has root access to the Linux-based OS stored in 32GB eMMC storage, with 24GB left for user applications. A lean OS means a lowly 20% RAM utilization with an 8GB memory module. With the 1G LAN connected, software updates run automatically and keep the platform secured.

In addition to being affordable, the ZimaBlade builds on a user-friendly OS where the UI is viewed entirely through a web browser. This cloud concept could have been a miss, but thanks to modern technologies like Docker containers, using the desktop is very snappy. The installed software includes a file explorer and an app store containing forty applications ranging from a retro emulator to home automation. 

Running Geekbench6 on the ZimaBlade involves installing through SSH. The board's power consumption reaches 15W, with the case becoming 

hot at more than 60 degrees Celsius, and decreases to 6W when idle. With a score of 300 in single-core and 911 in multi-core benchmarks on Geekbench6, the J3455 CPU won’t blow you away with its computing prowess but will be sufficient for everyday basic tasks.

ZimaBlade top view.

(Image credit: Future)

ZimaBlade: The competition

Thanks to the ZimaBlade, finding an affordable x86 single-board computer with lots of connectivity and expandable memory has become more accessible. Hardkernel’s Odroid H3+ is very similar to the ZimaBlade, being passively cooled and possessing various high-speed connectors. The H3+ costs more than twice as much, with the Odroid H3+ being bigger with an oversized heatsink and consuming more power. The quad-lane PCIe connector on the ZimaBlade makes it a valuable testbed for PCIe cards, something not found in the Odroid H3+. 

ZimaBlade: Final verdict

IceWhale’s ZimaBlade makes a tremendous entry-level computer with many options for adding extra hardware. The PCIe slot is the product's standout feature, allowing the use of high-end gaming graphics cards, for example. The single SODIMM socket gives the user an upgrade path to more memory. The onboard eMMC storage memory turns the unit into a self-contained product. Finally, a price below $100 tilts the balance, making the ZimaBlade a must-have gadget this year. 

We've listed the best business computers.

Bluetti AC70 portable power station review
8:50 pm | May 3, 2024

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

Portable power stations have become an essential item for homes and businesses, providing a back-up power solution for charging and powering a massive range of devices. 

The Bluetti AC70 is a smart portable power station chiefly designed for homes, home offices, and on the road. This model boasts a 1000W pure sine wave inverter, making it better suited to lower-powered devices - think laptops, phones, other home office essentials - with a 2000W Power Lifting Mode for higher-powered household appliances. 

We’ve tested out a number of the best portable power stations, and having been impressed with previous Bluetti models, we were keen to see how the new AC70 compares.  

Bluetti AC70: Pricing & availability

The Bluetti AC70 is available worldwide, with an RRP of $699 / £699. However, at the time of review, it was on sale for $499 / £649. This does place the AC70 at the mid-to-high end of the spectrum for a power station of this type. 

You can find the AC70 on the official Bluetti site, Amazon, and most electrical retailers. 

Bluetti AC70: Design & features

Bluetti AC70 during our test and review process

(Image credit: Bluetti)

What's in the box: 1x Bluetti AC70, 1x mains charger, 1x cigarette lighter charger, 1x solar panel charging cable, 1x grounding screw
Battery capacity: 768Wh
Output: 1000W / 2000W in Power Lifting Mode
Inverter: Pure Sine Wave
AC output: 2
DC output: 1
USB output: 4 (2x USB-A, 2x USB-C)
Weight: 22.5 lbs / 10.2kg
Dimensions: 12.4 × 8.2 × 10.1in / 314 × 209.5 × 255.8mm

The AC70 is a compact but weighty little box (it clocks in at 22.5lb / 10.2kg) - although transportation is made easier with the built-in handle. It’s all part of the same casing as the rest of the unit, and feels firm during transit. However, we were glad to set it down after a while. 

Soft, curved edges and a dark gray coloring makes this feel smart and accessible - its presence not dominating, but subtle, suitable for a range of locations. Driving the unit is a 768Wh LiFePO battery, which is relatively small when it comes to power stations, but does keep things more portable. 

On the front of the power station, you’ll find a bright, clear LCD screen and buttons for powering on the device and switching between AC and DC outputs. Pressing these together lets you access and navigate the settings menu. It’s simple enough, after some trial and plenty of error, although we recommend using the Bluetti app for managing the power station, especially if you’re in and out of settings. For example, by default the unit is set to the power-saving eco mode. According to the manual, this mode is best turned off when charging smaller devices like phones. We found it far quicker to hop into the app and make that change than fiddle in the on-device menus. 

When it comes to connections, the Bluetti AC70 is well-rounded for general use. Beneath the power button are two USB-A and two USB-C ports. A DC output and cigarette lighter port, letting you charge up the power station from your vehicle, sit to the left. On the right are two AC outputs. Around the side, a grounding pole and an AC input to recharge the unit via mains. A solar panel charging cable is included in the box to draw power from Earth’s yellow sun, with solar panels available separately. 

Bluetti AC70: Performance

Bluetti AC70 during our test and review process

(Image credit: Bluetti)

In use, the Bluetti AC70 portable power station works exactly as intended. Quietly powering our devices, turning the screen off after a minute, and generally being as unobtrusive as possible through our testing process. It’s worth checking the specs for any high-energy device you connect here. For example, our standard UK kettle (average 3000W) wouldn’t work even in Power Lifting Mode, which increases the power station’s reach to 2000W. Impressive technology, but hardly a game-changer compared to many we’ve tried. 

That makes it a fairly low-level portable power station for more casual everyday use. In this regard, we had no issues at all, with the AC70 easily handling all devices within the 1000W range without any issue at all. Phones, battery chargers, laptops, lamps all worked instantly via AC and USB (DC) connections. However, if you use this for camping trips, you’ll want to store it somewhere safe and dry - keep it in the van. While the sockets do have rubber caps to protect from water and dust, the unit itself has no MIL-STD or IP ratings to complement the lifestyle of more rugged adventurers and road warriors. 

For extra utility, the AC70 also boasts turbo charging when plugged into the mains. Documentation states the unit charges to 80% in forty-five minutes, and full charge in 1.5 hours in this mode. In our own tests, this was broadly accurate. You can switch between Standard, Turbo, and Silent charging modes in the app, and even charging on standard mode, it took the device from 33% to 75% in forty-five minutes. So, you won’t have to wait long to put the power station to use, whatever charging mode you use. We checked and the AC70 also supports pass-through charging, powering devices while you charge or run the unit off the mains.

You control this, and much more, within a beautifully designed app. It's incredibly easy to navigate and find what you need, with a series of taps and toggles for controlling pretty much every feature, from Power Lifting and Eco Mode to Grid Self-adaption, an option that lets you continue a steady charging rate even during electrical spikes and volatility. Connecting the device to the app took us seconds after signing up, with any changes made in the app immediately reflected on the AC70’s screen.

Bluetti AC70: Final verdict

Bluetti AC70 during our test and review process

(Image credit: Bluetti)

The Bluetti AC70 is a solid portable power station ideal for household use and the van-life - although in this regard, it’s likely best as a secondary or tertiary back-up unit, given its lower wattage output. Capable of powering most everyday devices, such as laptops and phones, it works very well, with a range of charging options and minimal fuss for those who just want to charge up devices on the go. For us, the companion app was a real highlight. Using this was absolutely seamless, giving you as much (or as little) control over the AC70 as you need. 

It’s not perfect - what is? - and certain users are going to find the power output simply too low, the battery too small for their needs. But then, this isn’t designed for high-capacity or industrial use. If your needs are smaller, then it's a very nice unit, with a pleasing design and construction that, while heavy, remains highly portable for solo users.  

Should I buy?

Netgear Orbi 970 review: a state-of-the-art Wi-Fi 7 mesh system for larger homes and offices
5:37 pm | April 16, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Computing Computing Components Gadgets Servers & Network Devices | Tags: , | Comments: Off

Netgear Orbi 970: One-minute review

Netgear was quick off the mark with its RS700S, one of the first routers we’ve seen supporting the new Wi-Fi 7 standard. The Orbi 970 mesh system was announced around the same time and promised to be one of the best mesh Wi-Fi systems on the market, but faced some delays and has only just become available in the US and UK.

However, the Orbi 970 goes even further and faster than the standalone RS700, offering a three-piece ‘whole home’ mesh system with a phenomenal top speed of 27Gbps, that is capable of covering areas of up to 10,000 square feet. It’s also phenomenally expensive, with the three-piece system that we review here costing £2199.99/$2299.99 – and that’s before you add the cost of the extra subscription services that Netgear tries really hard to sell you.

The Netgear Orbi 970 mesh Wi-Fi system.

(Image credit: Future)

The cost of the Orbi 970 will probably rule it out for most home users – especially since most of us are still muddling along with domestic broadband services running at around 150Mbps.

However, Wi-Fi 7 isn’t just about speed – it also brings improved capacity and reliability, and the Orbi 970 claims to provide fast, reliable connections for up to 200 devices on your home or office network. It also includes new Wi-Fi 7 features, such as ‘preamble puncturing’, which helps to reduce outside interference and improve the reliability of your wi-fi connections. 

And while there aren’t many computers or mobile devices that currently support Wi-Fi 7, the Orbi 970 will still be backward-compatible with older devices that are still using Wi-Fi 5 or 6, so it’s a good way of future-proofing the wi-fi network in larger homes and offices, or public venues such as hotels and restaurants.

Netgear Orbi 970: Price & availability

  • How much does it cost? $2,299.99 / £2,199.99 / around AU$3,475
  • When is it available? Available now
  • Where can you get it? Available in the US and UK

The Orbi 970 is the first mesh system we’ve seen that supports Wi-Fi 7, so it’s hard to draw comparisons with any of its mesh rivals. It’s also very much a high-end option, offering quad-band Wi-Fi 7 with a top speed of 27Gbps, for a somewhat daunting price of £2199.99/$2299.99 (it’s not currently available in Australia, although those prices equate to roughly AU$3475.00). 

There are certainly less expensive Wi-Fi 7 options, such as Amazon’s Eero Max 7, which costs £1699.99/$1699.99 (approx. AU$2568.99) for a similar three-piece system. However, the Eero is a far more modest performer, offering basic tri-band Wi-Fi 7 with a top speed of just 4.3Gbps – which is barely one-sixth of the speed of the Orbi.

Netgear states that this three-piece system can cover areas of up to 10,000 square feet (quoted as 8,200sq.ft in Europe due to differences in local regulations). However, there’s also a two-piece option available as well, which covers up to 6,600sq.ft (5,400sq.ft in Europe) for a still rather hefty £1499.99/$1699.99 (approx. AU$2600.00). And, if you’re a Silicon Valley zillionaire, you can buy additional add-on units for £799.99/$899.99 (approx. AU$1350.00) each.

  •  Value: 3 / 5 

Asus RT-AX59U: Specs

The Netgear Orbi 970 mesh Wi-Fi system software interface.

(Image credit: Netgear)

Netgear Orbi 970: Design

  • Newly refreshed Orbi design available in black or white
  • Primary router with two 'satellite' routers
  • Plenty of Ethernet ports, but no USB

The upright rectangular design of the Orbi range is a familiar sight in many homes and offices, but the Orbi 970 has had a bit of a facelift. The sheer speed of Wi-Fi 7 requires a lot more power than previous models, so the new Orbi units have a taller, more cylindrical design that stands 294mm high and 144mm deep, and houses no less than 12 internal antennae.

Netgear also states that this design helps the antennae to transmit the wi-fi signal through a full 360 degrees all around so that it can reach every corner of your building. And, as with previous Orbi models, you can choose a model in either black or white to suit your décor. However, the larger design means that each Orbi unit weighs 1.8kg, so you’ll need a sturdy shelf or table to support them – preferably with plenty of free space on all sides as well.

The Netgear Orbi 970 mesh Wi-Fi system.

(Image credit: Future)

It’s also worth noting that although the three Orbi units look identical, they do differ in some ways. There is a primary router that needs to be connected to your existing wi-fi router, while the additional units are referred to as ‘satellites’. Reflecting the state-of-the-art performance of Wi-Fi 7, the main router has a 10 Gigabit Ethernet port for your Internet connection, with a second 10 Gigabit port to provide a high-speed wired connection (LAN) for a device such as a gaming PC or console that needs maximum performance.

The router also includes four additional ports with 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet for additional wired connections. The two satellite units also have a 10 Gigabit Ethernet port as well, but only two ports that provide 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet. You can’t fault the Orbi 970 for its high-speed connectivity, although – at this price – it’s a little disappointing that there are no USB ports provided, which would allow you to connect a shared hard drive or other storage device to your network. 

  • Design: 4 / 5 

Netgear Orbi 970: Features

  • Easy-to-use companion app
  • Relatively feature-light
  • Comes with a one-year subscription to Netgear Armor

The Orbi’s hardware features are state-of-the-art, but the Orbi app is something of a mixed bag. To be fair, the app is very easy to use and guides you through the initial setup process quickly and easily. It’s a little irksome, though, that the app requires you to provide your email address in order to create an account with Netgear before you can finish setup – and then hits you with an ad for extended technical support before you can even look at your new network settings.

But while the Orbi app is easy to use, it is a bit lightweight when it comes to additional features. The app combines its different frequency bands – 2.4GHz, 5.0GHz, and 6.0GHz – into a single network and then automatically connects all your devices to the fastest band available. That keeps things simple for newcomers, but more advanced users might like to have more precise control over the network settings.

The Netgear Orbi 970 mesh Wi-Fi system software interface.

(Image credit: Netgear)

The Orbi does include a one-year subscription to Netgear’s Armour security service – as it should at this price – but after that, you’ll need to pay $99.99pa/£84.99 per year to continue the service. The app’s parental controls are also pretty basic, consisting of little more than a ‘Pause’ button that will pause Internet access when you want to get the kids to come to the dinner table. However, additional features, such as schedules for Internet access or content filters for unsuitable websites require another subscription for Netgear’s Smart Parental Controls service.

You only get a one-month free trial for this, and then have to pay $7.99/£6.99 per month, or $69.99/£49.99 per year for the service. There are rival routers that provide better parental controls free of charge, so the Orbi’s hard sell on its additional subscription services seems a bit cynical.

  • Features: 4 / 5 

Netgear Orbi 970: Performance

  • Stellar connection quality
  • Good penetration inside buildings
  • Satellites allow for wide-range use

Whatever the shortcomings of the Orbi app, we can’t fault the system’s high-speed performance.

We have an office at the back of our building that normally struggles with weak wi-fi, forcing us to rely on some PowerLine adaptors to provide a wired network connection. So, to test the Orbi 970, we connected the Orbi’s main router to our existing office router, then positioned one Orbi satellite in a hallway that is roughly halfway between the main router and the back office. The second Orbi satellite was then set up in the back office itself.

Netgear Orbi 970: Benchmarks

Ookla Speed Test (download/upload)
Within 5ft, no obstructions: 150/150Mbps
Within 30ft, three partition walls: 150/150Mbps

20GB Steam download
Within 5ft, no obstructions: 150Mbps
Within 30ft, three partition walls: 150Mbps

Unsurprisingly, the Orbi just shrugged its shoulders as it effortlessly cruised along at the maximum 150Mbps provided by our office broadband connection (note that our benchmarks below don't actually demonstrate the true potential of the Orbi 970, as we were constrained in our testing by that 150Mbps limit).

It may be wildly expensive, but this is one of the best routers out there. If you’re looking for state-of-the-art performance for a larger home or office – and you don’t need too much in the way of parental controls – then the Orbi 970 really is state-of-the-art.

  • Performance: 5 / 5 

Should you buy the Netgear Orbi 970?

Buy it if...

You’re An Early Adopter
It’s still early days for Wi-Fi 7, and we’ve seen very few computers or mobile devices that can take full advantage of the blistering speed of the Orbi 970. But Wi-Fi 7 is still backward-compatible with older versions of Wi-Fi, so it’s a good way of future-proofing your wi-fi setup at home or in the office.

You Need Long-Range Wi-Fi
The Orbi 970 three-pack can cover areas of up to 10,000sq.ft. Few people who aren’t called Elon Musk have homes that large, but there are lots of offices and public locations, such as hotels and colleges, that could benefit from that sort of far-reaching wi-fi coverage.

Don't buy it if...

You Just Want To Watch Netflix
One day, when we’re all streaming 8K video to our VR headsets, you might actually need a router or mesh system with super-fast Wi-Fi 7. But, if you just want to watch 3 Body Problem on Netflix, then a more modest router with Wi-Fi 6 is all you need. 

You’re On A Budget
Unsurprisingly, the state-of-the-art performance of Wi-Fi 7 comes with an equally state-of-the-art price. If you want to boost your wi-fi without taking out a second mortgage then there are plenty of less expensive routers and mesh systems available.

Netgear Orbi 970: Also consider

How I tested the Netgear Orbi 970

  • Tested it for 3-4 days
  • Used it as our main office router
  • Used the Ookla Speed Test app and tested game download speeds

We pride ourselves on our independence and our rigorous review-testing process, offering up long-term attention to the products we review and making sure our reviews are updated and maintained - regardless of when a device was released, if you can still buy it, it's on our radar.

Read more about how we test

First reviewed April 2024

Acer Predator Triton 14 review: lightweight and affordable with great performance
5:00 pm | April 2, 2024

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

Acer Predator Triton 14: Two-minute review

“Thinner laptops imbued with the latest hardware” is an adequate mantra for Acer’s Predator Triton series of gaming laptops. From the 500 to the 300 SE, these powerful yet slim devices continuously balance from and factor, and this is nowhere more evident than the latest Acer Predator Triton 14.

Starting at just $1,499.99 in the US (£1083.05/AU$4,599) and standing less than an inch tall when closed and weighing under four lbs, the model I reviewed is packed with a 14-core Intel i7-13700H CPU, Nvidia RTX 4070 GPU, 16GB of RAM, and 1TB SSD. Then there’s the 14-inch display that has a 2560 x 1600 resolution alongside a 250 Hz refresh rate. 

Accompanying the wonderful gaming laptop monitor are powerful DTSX-certified speakers that are loud enough when performance isn’t being pushed. Through and through, the Predator Triton 14 is also suitable for not just gaming. 

The form factor makes this great for general computing while the powerful components are more than good enough when editing photos or videos through Adobe Suite software. Portability doesn't sacrifice a respectable battery life either, with multiple ways of charging the gaming laptop as well. 

The port selection is well thought out and a wonderful keyboard features per-key RGB lighting and plenty of hotkeys. All of these can be customized beyond the performance settings that can be customized through the Predator Sense app. Even the trackpad is smooth as butter with its incorporated fingerprint scanner.  

Despite the balanced approach, some compromises come with the Predator Triton 14. As mentioned above, the cooling and fan system can get incredibly loud when playing a game like Cyberpunk 2077 or Alan Wake II, which means headphones are going to be a must. However, that shouldn’t be too much of a problem when writing a review on Google Docs while listening to music on Tidal. The underside can get uncomfortably hot when under loud as well, so make sure it's being placed on something like a desk if you intend to game on it especially hard.

Potential buyers looking for the Predator Triton 14 to be their main general-use laptop may also need to understand that this is a dedicated purchase. Unfortunately, both RAM and SSD storage aren’t upgradeable at this time. RAM-wise, 32GB is slowly becoming the top-tier standard, so having 16GB may be a bit on the lower side, but it'll still get you several years of gaming. 

Meanwhile, with modern AAA games using well over 100GB of storage, 1TB really isn’t cutting it much anymore. Right now, these specs are more than adequate, but they’re coming close to “not much longer” status. 

If that doesn’t necessarily matter, there’s so much to appreciate with the Acer Predator Triton 14. Not only does it look ready for action but it's ready for any type of game users throw at it. Gamers looking for solid 1440p performance who are content creators are going to have a blast with this, and given its decent price point, it easily makes our list of the best gaming laptops going.

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HP laptop various angles

(Image credit: Future - Joel Burgess)
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HP laptop various angles

(Image credit: Future - Joel Burgess)
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HP laptop various angles

(Image credit: Future - Joel Burgess)
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HP laptop various angles

(Image credit: Future - Joel Burgess)

Acer Predator Triton 14: Price and availability

  • How much does it cost? It’s available in 2 configurations in U.S. and UK for $1,499 ( £1083.05) and $1,999 ( £1575.38) and AU for $4,599
  • When is it available? Available now 
  • Where can you get it? From Acer’s online store in U.S., UK and AU


Both U.S. and UK configurations of the Acer Predator Triton 14 share the specs for their $1,499 ( £1083.05) and $1,999 ( £1575.38) price points. All configurations have identical Intel i7 CPU, 16GB LPDDR5 RAM, port selection, audio and Full HD webcam. 

At the base price, users get an Nvidia RTX 4050 with 6GB RAM, 1920X1200 resolution display at 165Hz and 512GB SSD storage. This is totally fine for anyone looking to stay in the 1080p native resolution range when gaming. The highest $1,999 configuration for 1440p performance comes with the Nvidia RTX 4070 with 8GB RAM, 2560 x 1600 resolution display at  250Hz and 1TB SSD storage.  There is only one configuration as of print for Australia which is in line with the top tier option outside of offering 32GB of RAM. 

There are two 14-inch gaming laptops that come to mind when thinking of alternatives to the Predator Triton 14. One is the more expensive Razer Blade 14 which starts at $2,399. For those who need something cheaper, the Lenovo Legion 5 Slim 14 gives up performance power for a 1,439.99 price point. With that said, the Predator Triton 14 does find a happy medium when it comes to value.

  • Value score: 4 / 5

Acer Predator Triton 14: Specs

The Acer Predator Triton 14 currently comes in two configurations in the United States,  two in the UK, and one in Australia. 

Acer Predator Triton 14: Design

HP laptop various angles

(Image credit: Future - Joel Burgess)
  • The design matches aggressiveness with modesty alongside a healthy port selection
  • Awesome visual/audio capabilities 
  • Outstanding keyboard layout and touchpad

The Acer Predator Triton 14 hasn’t changed its looks going as far back as the past two years and that’s totally fine. Acer’s 14-inch gaming laptop manages to have more powerful components and still manages to be lightweight and thin. Therefore, that’s an accomplishment on its own. Only coming in one color, Sparkly Silver, the Predator Triton 14 feels good enough to hold in one hand yet not fragile enough to crash if dropped. Regardless of the power packed in, there are three sets of vents on each side and rear which can turn into leaf blowers when performance is put to the max. 

Port selection is solid with the right side housing an HDMI port, USB-A port, and headphone jack. The other has a charge port for the nice-sized power adapter, a USB-A port, and a USB-C port that can also be used for charging as well. At the front of the gaming laptop is a micro-USB slot which will definitely be helpful for creators looking to offload content for use later. 

Once opened, the 14-inch display provides fantastic image quality and performance. For one, the display is Vesa Certified for DisplayHDR 600. This definitely provides great image quality with vivid colors that are the right amount of crisp in contrast, a high level of brightness, and deep blacks. 

This means outside of gaming or watching videos, color correcting on Photoshop and Premiere is easier. Though there are a handful of games that’ll be able to match its 250 Hz refresh rate output with the performance specs, the gameplay looks purposefully smooth. When the cooling fans aren’t running loudly, the DTS:X speakers work sound great as well. Having the codec also means that users can get true virtual surround sound or Spatial Audio if using some form of headphones. 

Keyboard input strikes a nice balance between being tactile and punchy. Typing out long-form editorial content is a comfortable and precise feeling. Playing games like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III and Cyberpunk 2077 feel just as good as writing a complex email. 

Then there’s the per-key RGB lighting that adds a bit of personal flair. On top of that are several function keys including some for media and access to the Predator Sense app. There’s even a button to switch between performance modes too. Even the touchpad feels great and smooth alongside the fingerprint scanner on the top left side. However, even casual gamers will know to get a gaming mouse instead. 

  • Design score: 4.5 / 5

Acer Predator Triton 14: Performance

HP laptop various angles

(Image credit: Future - Joel Burgess)
  • 1440p gaming at high settings are possible
  • DLSS is clutch 
  • Cooling fans get outrageously loud and lap can get hot 


Here's how the Acer Predator Triton 14 performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

3DMark: Speed Way: 2654  Fire Strike: 24205 Time Spy: 11147
GeekBench 6: 2633 (single-core);  (multi-core) 14626
Total War: Warhammer III (1080p, Ultra): 83.6fps; (1080p, Low): 212.6fps
Cyberpunk 2077 (1080p, Ultra):  90.74fps; (1080p, Low): 89.15fps
F1 23 (1080p, Ultra): 43fps; (1080p, Low): 208fps
25GB File Copy Transfer Rate (Mbps): 2214.546879
Handbrake 1.6: 63 fps
CrossMark Overall: 2075; Productivity: 1980; Creativity: 2155; Responsiveness: 2132;
Web Surfing (Battery Informant):  5:17:26
PCMark 10 Battery (Gaming):  1:49 

1440p gaming performance on the Acer Predator Triton 14 successfully manages to play some of the top AAA games available without much problem. As of right now, two of the most visually demanding games on the platform are Cyberpunk 2077 and Alan Wake II. The Predator Triton 14 handles both games well at 1440p with frame rates that are usually in the 60 fps range. 

Having the 14-core Intel i7-13700H and Nvidia RTX 4070 really goes a long way in helping in-game performance. Having the RTX 4070 also means that users can do AI upscaling through DLSS which can push in-game performance even more. Due to the 2560 x 1600 resolution with a 16:10 ratio, one way to get higher performance is to play a game in native 1080p and upscale from there if playing through the display. Native 2560 x 1600 is fine on its own though. Be mindful that there won’t be too many current games that’ll even come close to hitting a 250-frame-per-second mark at native resolution. The only games that could theoretically come close are possibly Counter-Strike 2, Doom Eternal, and Fortnite if graphics settings are in a reasonable range.

Both Cyberpunk 2077 and Alan Wake 2 are also fine examples of games that’ll test a GPU’s ray tracing capabilities as well. Thankfully, both games work excellently in that regard though Alan Wake II for sure requires some tweaks to maintain a high frame rate. Of course, these games will require max power output or Turbo mode which will have the fans running incredibly loud. If playing on the lap, the heat can get uncomfortable.

Outside of gaming, Adobe Creative Suite performance is acceptable as well. We were able to use multiple layers on photos without much slowdown when using Photoshop. Through Premiere Pro, we could edit 10 minutes worth of 4K video that took less than 10 minutes to export. When it came to general use tasks like web browsing, I had a few dozen Google Chrome tabs opened without much issue. 

  • Performance score: 4.5 / 5

Acer Predator Triton 14: Battery life

HP laptop various angles

(Image credit: Future - Joel Burgess)
  • Battery life reached the halfway mark in about 4 ½ hours 
  • Can be charged through a charging port or USB
  • Recharge time is around two hours

Gaming laptops aren’t necessarily known for their battery life prowess but Eco-mode on the Acer Predator Triton 14 does lead to impressive results. It took around 4 ½ hours for the battery to reach the mid-way point. In total, we were able to get around 7 hours and some change in total. Of course, turning off features like Bluetooth alongside turning down the brightness and keyboard lighting can help reduce battery load too. Trying to play games that’ll push the laptop to the max will deliver around an hour’s worth of gaming so it’s best to keep it plugged in if one plans on doing so.

Gamers who need to get work done during a bi-coastal trip should have plenty of time before they need to charge. Users can change via the powerport which will take around two hours to get the battery to full. Meanwhile, if users forget their power brick, users can charge through the USB-C port but won’t get the same level of performance. 

  • Battery life score: 4 / 5

Should I buy the Acer Predator Triton 14?

Buy it if...

You need a slim gaming laptop with respectable performance 
Weighing under 4 lbs and as tall as a quarter, the Acer Predator Triton 14 still manages to shine when it comes to 1440p performance. 

Don't buy it if...

You would like a quieter machine when pushing specs to the max
The cooling system is incredibly loud when pushing high-quality visuals and performance. 

The Acer Predator Triton 14

How I tested the Acer Predator Triton 14

  • Tested over a two week period 
  • Split between general tasks, creative work and gaming 

My time with the Acer Predator Triton 14 lasted a little over a two-week period. During the day, I used it as my main laptop while working the office job. It was here that I was able to test general performance and speakers. During office hours, I used Google Chrome and related services like Google Docs, Tidal to listen to high fidelity music alongside creative software. 

Through Adobe Photoshop and Premiere Pro, I was able to create graphics and short-form video clips. When away from work, I took the time to play various AAA games. These games included Cyberpunk 2077, Forza Motorsport (2023), Dead Space (2023), Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, and Alan Wake II. 

Since 2020, I’ve been covering various gaming laptops for TechRadar. As a PC Gaming enthusiast, I can definitely help anyone who is looking for a gaming laptop that’s worth their performance measures and pocketbook. 

  • First reviewed April 2024
New Realme GT5 Pro teaser details USB 3.2 port and up to 1TB storage
6:30 pm | December 2, 2023

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

The Realme GT 5 Pro flagship is just around the corner, with an unveiling set for December 7. Realme has been going a bit crazy with all of the teasers to drum up hype around the upcoming flagship. Most recently, the company dropped a pretty revealing video teaser, showing off the internals of the new 50MP, 3x, Sony IMX890 periscope telephoto camera and a vegan leather back panel for the phone. A new set of teaser images has now dropped. One of these shows the phone is an alternative Starry Night color with what seems to be a more traditional, non-leather back panel surface. The other...

Dali iO-12 review: deliciously detailed wireless headphones with just one thing missing
1:00 pm | November 4, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Audio Computers Gadgets Headphones Wireless Headphones | Tags: , , | Comments: Off

Dali iO-12: 3-minute review

The delightfully delicious Dali iO-12 are easily in my top three headphone designs of all time, aesthetically speaking, and I've seen some gorgeous headphones in my time. I almost want to take a bite out of them, or at least dunk them in something creamy and highly calorific. And it's not just looks and luxe either – aptX Adaptive is here, as is 24-bit/96kHz resolution if you're going USB-C wired (both 3.5mm and USB-A to USB-C cables are provided) so you're getting the trousers and well as the talk, so to speak. 

While the Dali iO-12's bid for entry to our best wireless headphones guide surely includes that USB-C port for hi-res audio passthrough (take note, iPhone 15 and Apple Music users) the sense of pride in ownership one feels wearing these striking yet understated headphones is a massive part of their appeal. They look expensive (because they are) but more than that, they sound expensive. 

Forget special spatial audio side-sauce, forget customising what the on-ear controls do, forget EQ tweaks (other than the solo bass boost button) forget sound zones, forget speak-to-chat features and forget tweakable ANC. There's none of that here. In fact, there's no app here at all, so forget any visual representation of what's going on inside your headphones. 

That said, they're some of the best noise-cancelling headphones around even without the scope to tweak modes, levels or adaptiveness. And this is because what you chiefly want when you stick on a pair of noise-cancelling headphones is for them to be worthy of their name claim and cancel some noise. What you need to know is that Dali's iO-12 reduce noise very well, thus setting the stage to deliver excellent audio to your ears.

I'm not at all surprised. Although TechRadar's reviews of Dali gear to date hone in the brand's speaker output (including the new Epikore 11, if you skip to point three here) my tenure at our sister publication, What Hi-Fi?, saw me help review the 2019-issue Dali iO-6 and Dali iO-4, the Danish audio specialist's first ever foray into the world of wireless over-ear headphones and one it approached as very much a 'personal speakers for your ears' endeavour. However that sounds, those inaugural cans were nothing short of excellent for detail, finesse and form, marred only by a fractionally over-cautious delivery that lacked an extra ounce of punch for the price. 

To atone for this (a mere four years later), Dali has added a button to boost bass. I don't particularly like it, but it's there – and the hi-fi sound profile is so enjoyable I don't care. There's also a new patented Soft Magnetic Compound (SMC) magnet system, which I'll discuss later because that is inspired. 

Dali iO-12 held in a hand on autumnal leaves background

Favorite time of year, with headphones to match (Image credit: Future)

The ear pads here in the newest model are bigger than previous models, and while they're very well padded, make no mistake: this is a big set of over-ears and could swamp a smaller wearer – or overheat the user who tends to suffer from overly warm ears. If ever there was a set of over-ears for the fall temperature drop, it's the Dali iO-12. I love the coziness of them, even if the headband fell back on my crown a little more often than I'm used to – a 370g, they're certainly not the lightest on the market.

In summary, if you like to keep things simple and you want a quality, mature, hi-fi grade listen plus an aesthetic that purrs "I'm very important; do leave me alone", you've met your match in the Dali iO-12. However, if you prefer all the whistles and bells of an app-enhanced experience, you'll find a more suitable proposition for less money in the likes of the Sony WH-1000XM5, Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphones, or even the mighty Bowers & Wilkins Px8

I did warn you they're expensive…

Dali iO12 in their case, on autumnal leaves

The Dali iO-12 have a fairly large case, but it feels premium and the earcups lie flat.  (Image credit: Future)

Dali iO-12 review: Price & release date

  • Released May 18, 2023
  • Priced $1,499 / £999, which is around AU$1,870

The Dali iO-12 were unveiled at the prestigious annual hi-fi trade show, High End Munich, in May 2023.

And high end is certainly what they are. If you want them, you'll need deep pockets; they're more expensive than premium options such as the Focal Bathys ($799 / £699 / €799, around AU$1,210) or the Bowers & Wilkins PX8 ($699 / £599 / AU$1150). 

OK, they're not quite as dear as the wired Meze Audio Liric ($1,999 / £1,799 / AU$3,399) but still, they're easily four or five times the price of many quality, aggressively priced options out there. 

Consider for example the Shure Aonic 50 Gen 2, ($349 / £349 / approx. AU$540), the Sony WH-1000XM5 ($399 / £380 / AU$649), the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2 ($399 / £379 / approx. AU$575), the Edifier Stax Spirit S3 ($399 / £330 / approx. AU$640) or the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless ($349.95 / £300 / AU$549.95) for starters. 

Now, consider that every single one of the options above except the Dali iO-12 has a companion app. That performance had better be good, no? 

Dali iO-12 closeup, right earcup

All physical buttons, all on the right earcup – and although all work well, we'd love an app… (Image credit: Future)

Dali iO-12 review: Specs

Dali iO-12 headphones held in a hand, with autumnal leaves in the background

You've got to say the Dali iO-12 are a good-looking pair of headphones… (Image credit: Future)

Dali iO-12 review: Features

  • New Bass/Hi-Fi button
  • USB Aaudio supports up to 24-bit/96kHz resolution
  • Excellent ANC – but not as fully featured as the competition

Let's talk stamina first: 35 hours is very good. It's better than the 30-hour claim of the TechRadar 2023 Award-winning Bowers & Wilkins PX8, although not as good as the 45 hours you'll get from the Shure Aonic 50 Gen 2 or the 80-hour staying power of the Edifier Stax Spirit S3, but the latter is a somewhat skewed contest since the Edifier headphones are devoid of ANC. Also, I can confirm that Dali's battery life claim holds true.

Multipoint? Yes, it's here – and once you get used to that fact that the physical buttons are all on the right earcup, altering volume (by pushing the outer lip of the circular right earpiece either up at the top or down at the bottom), handling playback and scrolling ANC profiles works a charm. I did find myself turning them off occasionally in error, forgetting that the ANC button (which scrolls between "Transparency", "ANC off" and "ANC on")  is actually further forward on the earcup and a little trickier to locate, but these controls are certainly dependable.

What these physical buttons are not is customizable in any way. What am I talking about? Well, other headphones give us options to change what a single or double press might do. The competition might also let you deploy sidetone to amplify your voice during calls, set a few EQ profiles for different music genres, switch auto-pause on or off, offer sound zones, give you the chance to prioritize audio quality or a stable connection, or even switch up the vocal notifications to a female voice. None of that here. 

Usually in this section I'd provide three screenshots of Dali's companion app and a bit on its merits or shortcomings. Only, I cannot do that because there isn't one. One could argue you don't need an app if the sound from the box is good enough – and to a degree I'm inclined to agree. But anyone who's used Sennheiser's sound zones, deployed Bose's new Immersive Audio or created their own EQ profile for maximum hip-hop track enjoyment may beg to differ. In the end, it's up to you. 

One new button on the iO-12's right earcup, nearest your crown, is denoted by an EQ symbol. Press it and a male voice utters "bass" or "hi-fi" depending on how many times you've pushed it. It's something extra and it adds value, although I prefer Dali's integrated, refined hi-fi listen. Rather than unearthing that extra ounce of clout, snap and energy you might be hoping for, the bass booster amplifies the low end but draws a veil over the other frequencies somewhat.

The good news? The noise cancellation here is very good. The levels are not selectable on a slider (look to the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 for this) but still, when it's on, it does create a lovely bubble of silence. 

  • Features score: 3.5/5

Dali's iO-12 case on autumnal leaves

No denying it's a big case… (Image credit: Future)

Dali iO-12 review: Sound quality

  • Neutral, revealing separation with oodles of clarity 
  • Treble frequencies are particularly insightful and agile
  • Can still be beaten (just) for fun and zeal

What I love about larger over-ears is the circumaural sound dispersion and the Dali iO-12 serve up the goods here – in a big way. Kicking off with Far Beyond the Sun by Yngwie Malmsteen on Tidal (a FLAC file), cymbal crashes and keys approached my left ear with newfound direction and clarity as the guitar came in centrally.

My Chemical Romance's To the End reveals whispered backing vocals darting underneath each ear as axe crashes stay over on the left and the melody comes through the right. Gerard Way's vocal is as overly close to the mic as it should be in a cohesive and musically pleasing mix across the frequencies. 

Switching to an Apple Music file on my iPhone, the key progressions in Joni Mitchell's Blue are three-dimensional and moving. My playlist continues to All I Want, where each musical passage is given due diligence in a layered performance – strummed guitar chords in my right ear, the rhythm in my left, Mitchell's ponderous artistic vocal stylings and trills upfront and center. Honestly, it's emotional – particularly through the sparkling treble. Dali's iO-12 offer immersive listening without the extra parlor tricks; it's dynamically agile listening inside your head. I applaud it. I can (and have) listened to it for hours. If you're a singer, you'll want people to listen to your voice on these cans. 

Some listeners may want an extra iota of what I can only call fun; a cheekier rise and fall, a bit of added oomph, a punchier bass injection. You can look to Bose or JBL for these marginal sonic additives to the audio curve, I'll take the insight, detail, neutrality and precision of the Dali iO-12's hi-fi profile, thank you.

  • Sound quality score: 5/5

Dali iO-12 headphones on a park bench with autumnal leaves

Don't worry, we didn't leave the Dali iO-12 here. As if we could bear to part with them… (Image credit: Future)

Dali iO-12 review: Design

  • USB port on the right earcup, 3.5mm jack on the left
  • Classy design which lies flat but doesn't fold
  • Very large earcups and pads

The iO-12 are the world's first headphones to feature Dali's patented Soft Magnetic Compound (SMC) magnet system. This is an important build feature since it uses the same material found in Dali's high-end speakers, but to understand it fully you need to know about 'hysteresis'. Conventional magnets in a speaker design can introduce an unintended resistance to the voice-coil, which can lead to unwanted distortion in the audio signal, aka hysteresis. Dali's SMC technology, combined with the company's signature paper fibre cones, promises to significantly reduce hysteresis and lower uneven harmonic distortion drastically. And I think it's a huge success.

Looking for a set of foldable headphones – the kind that concertina up for easier portability? No dice here sadly. In the same way that the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless, Focal Bathys or newer Fairphone FairBuds XL do, these cans have cups that can rotate to lie completely flat (and they do so silently, with no clicking whatsoever during adjustment), but the square hard-shell case is really quite big and not one that can easily slip into a bag unnoticed. 

The build here is really quite beautiful though (it does include real leather, vegans take note) and there is ample padding wherever you need it, particularly from the rectangular pads attached to the circular earcups. That said, they're big. You may love this; I certainly do – it helps to deliver a wide soundfield and there's nothing quite like a huge set of over-ears wrapped around your head to signal "No words, please" to the public. However, once or twice during testing and despite the about-perfect clamping force, I did find the iO-12's headband slipped back on my crown as I walked. I think it's their sheer size. 

Ultimately, these are cans that aren't backwards about coming forwards. Photos don't do it justice but the metallic circular accent on each earcup catches the sun beautifully – I did get regular compliments while wearing them. 

I like that the physical buttons are all one earcup since I'm right-handed, although those with larger fingers (or lefties) may find this a little fiddly – only the ANC button takes a bit of practise to locate quickly. 

What is a tad strange is the location of the wired input options, with one on each earpiece (USB-C on the right, 3.5mm jack on the left) – but this is relatively small fry and something you'll also find on the Shure Aonic 50 Gen 2. The supplied fabric-covered cables feel premium, robust and impossible to tangle. 

There's very little sound bleed here, but there's also no IP rating for water resistance, so you should be careful in very heavy storms – particularly at this price. 

At 370g, they're equivalent to something like Apple's AirPods Max (384g), and like the AirPods, they use clamping to distribute that weight comfortably. Considering Sony's WH-1000XM5 are quite a bit lighter at 249g, the Dali definitely feel a tad more substantial in the scheme of headphones.

  • Design score: 4.5/5

Dali IO-12 in their case on a beige table

Can't get enough of the chocolatey hue? You're not alone  (Image credit: Future)

Dali iO-12 review: Value

  • Premium looks, premium sound, premium price
  • USB-C audio connection adds flexibility and hi-res audio
  • There's no app – and cheaper options have one

There's no getting away from it: these headphones are expensive. But what they do, they do extremely well – and by that I mean you're getting excellent sound quality and very decent ANC.

That said, if you want the best (and by that I mean tweakable) transparency profiles, EQ presets, button tweaks, spatial audio, or perks money can buy, spend it elsewhere, on the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless, Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphones, or the Sony WH-1000XM5

Buying headphones usually involves a compromise (omission of a particular hi-res codec, poor call quality but great sound, lack of water resistance), and here, the glaring omission is app support and smart features. There just aren't any. Dali actually lists "No app required" as a feature in the iO-12, but we're not so sure. 

The battery level is more than sufficient at 35 hours, the build is incredibly beautiful and the sound is supremely detailed and integrated. If you want an extra ounce of oomph though, you'd be better off looking to Bose. 

  • Value score: 4/5

Should I buy the Dali iO-12?

Buy them if...

Don't buy them if...

Dali iO-12: Also consider

How I tested the Dali iO-12

TR's Becky Scarrott wearing Dali iO-12 headphones in a park

Unmistakably fall weather calls for warm, chocolate brown Dali over-ears. (Image credit: Future)
  • Tested over two weeks, listened against the Edifier Stax Spirit S3, Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless, Bowers & Wilkins PX8 and Focal Bathys
  • Used on long walks on public streets, at work in a busy office, on a train, and at home
  • Listened to Tidal Masters, Apple Music, Qobuz and Spotify on an iPhone 12, a Sony Xperia 1 V, and from MacBook Pro

To test headphones is to invite them into your life – how the case fits in your bag is just as important as how they slip onto your head. The Dali iO-12 became my daily musical companion – after a thorough run-in period. And just as Dali is a trusted name in speakers, I now trust what the firm can do with personal speakers that wrap around your head. 

These headphones accompanied me to work on busy weekdays (walking brusquely to the station; boarding a train and taking the London Underground; at the office) and walking along the blustery seafront – a great way to test any wind-interference from mics during calls.

To check the audio quality across the frequencies, I listened to various playlists across various music genres (spanning everything from grime to classical) on Apple Music and Tidal, but also to podcasts and albums on Spotify – plus of course YouTube tutorials (on how to change a light in my refrigerator, most recently) from my MacBook Pro. 

I’ve been testing audio products for over five years now. As a dancer, aerialist and musical theater performer in another life, sound quality and the user experience have always taken priority for me personally – but portability, security and comfort come a close second. 

Samsung’s T9 portable SSD is its first with USB 3 Gen 2×2, it achieves 2,000MB/s transfer speeds
12:47 pm | October 4, 2023

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The Samsung Portable SSD T9 is the company’s first with a USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 interface. This allows the external drives to reach 2,000MB/s sequential read and write speeds, twice as fast as the previous T7 drive (that one had a Gen 2x1 interface). To help the drive stay fast, Samsung equipped it with its “Dynamic Thermal Guard”, which helps minimize slow downs due to thermal throttling. This is only for prolonged transfers, which may be rare – the drive is so quick that you can send a 4GB file to it in just two seconds. The Samsung T9 SSD comes in four capacities: 1TB, 2TB and 4TB. They...

Shure Aonic 50 Gen 2 review: glorious wireless headphones with top-end features and sound, but OK ANC
4:12 pm | September 29, 2023

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Shure Aonic 50 Gen 2: Two-minute review

Shure's Aonic 50 Gen 2 look the business. And not only that, they back up their not-here-to-mess-around aesthetic with Qualcomm's Snapdragon Sound support, so aptX Adaptive, aptX HD, regular aptX and LDAC are all here – aka all of the current top-tier wireless audio coding. 

But there's more! The Shure Aonic 50 Gen 2's bid for inclusion in our best wireless headphones guide culminates in a special USB-C port not just for charging. It means hi-res USB audio is also on the menu (look over here, iPhone 15 and Apple Music users!) thus completing a veritable banquet of connectivity options, from wireless Bluetooth audio pinged from your phone, older sources in a more traditional wired hi-fi system, right up to USB-C audio from your MacBook Pro at work. If that sounds good to you, add these headphones to your list. 

However, the star feature of these hotly anticipated second-generation Shure cans (let's be clear here, the three years and five months since the originals is eons in the world of headphone iterations) is Shure’s new spatialized audio technology. The feature provides three distinct modes: Music, Cinema, and Podcast. And the good news is that these are a delight across the board, offering oodles of separation and crispness to vocals during movies and podcasts especially, but unearthing extra sonic articles in even your heavy-rotation music playlists too. 

To stake a claim for the best noise-cancelling headphones currently on the market, Shure Aonic 50 Gen 2 feature advanced hybrid active noise cancellation. As you'd expect, mics inside and outside the earcup allow the Aonic 50 Gen 2 scope to fine-tune your auditory environment, but you can also help it along thanks to four selectable modes: Light, Moderate, Max, and MaxAware. 

For us, the performance here was just a shade under excellent. On the one hand, the clamping force is strong with this one (possibly even a little too forceful for those blessed with larger skulls) and levels of passive isolation are top-notch. But on occasion we found the more ambient-aware options (MaxAware aims to offer the best of both worlds – blocking unwanted noise and maintaining awareness of your surroundings) added warmth to our music and a marginal sweetness to the upper mids. Essentially, the overall efficacy of the noise-nixing here can be beaten by the class-leaders at the level. 

Shure Aonic 50 Gen 2's app, ShurePlus PLAY, three screens showing the features of the headphones, on gray background

Shure's ShurePlus PLAY app is one I'd go to battle for (Image credit: Future)

Picking up on the comfort, at 340g they feel just a tad heavy over longer listening sessions, despite the ample padding. For reference, the Edifier Stax Spirit S3 weigh 329g they're comfortable for all-day use. OK, Apple's AirPods Max weigh 44g more than the Shures at 384g, while Sony's WH-1000XM5 are quite a bit lighter at 249g – so depending on what you're used to, there may be an adjustment period here. 

When it comes to sonic performance, Shure Aonic 50 Gen 2 is a set of over-ears for the EQ curious. There is very good sound to be had here, if you're prepared to work for it just a little. Those with neither the time nor the inclination to play with those presets might find the sound out of the box a little light on lower mids, treble-heavy and even a fraction cluttered timing-wise, albeit expansive and detailed. 

The ShurePlus Play app is your friend here and honestly, I'd go in to battle for this companion app – it is slick, easy to navigate and makes more sense than several offered by rival products. It'll even corral your music under one tab, for easy streaming across various services. Pairing is also a breeze and these headphones skip happily from one device to another thanks to multipoint connectivity that really works. 

In summary, the Shure Aonic 50 Gen 2 are solid all-rounders. If I'm nitpicking (and it is my job to do so), those who want perfect sound quality from the box may not have the patience for these headphones and the ANC is fine rather than fantastic – but those who love immersive spatial audio during movies, podcasts or playlists are well served here. And if you want USB-C hi-res headphones with the option to go wireless? They're an excellent choice. 

Shure Aonic 50 Gen 2 headphones held in a hand on multi-color background

An understated build, but a quality one, to be sure. (Image credit: Future)

Shure Aonic 50 Gen 2 review: Price & release date

  • Released in September 2023
  • Priced $349 / £349 / approx. AU$540

The Shure Aonic 50 Gen 2 arrived in the third week of September 2023, having been announced on August 31.

They are priced aggressively for the elite over-ear headphones sector. To explain, that MSRP is actually cheaper than the launch price of the inaugural April 2020 Shure Aonic 50, which were aimed very much at the upper end of the consumer market and evaluated accordingly at $399 / £359, around AU$580.

This clever new pricing strategy from Shure undercuts the asking fee of some of the best and most notable over-ear headphones in the business by a tidy $50 – see the Sony WH-1000XM5 ($399 / £380 / AU$649), the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2 ($399 / £379 / approx. AU$575) and the Edifier Stax Spirit S3 ($399 / £330 / approx. AU$640) for starters.

The Illinois audio specialist has put the Aonic 50 Gen 2 right in the way of the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless too, which will set you back $349.95 / £300 / AU$549.95 too. Smart – if the performance is good enough.

Shure Aonic 50 headphones held in a hand showing detail on the earcup

All physical buttons, all on the right earcup – and it works. (Image credit: Future)

Shure Aonic 50 Gen 2: Specs

Shure Aonic 50 Gen 2 in their hard travel case, on a wicker chair

Note the 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable for optional wired listening and USB-A to USB-C, for both charging and audio. (Image credit: Future)

Shure Aonic 50 Gen 2 review: Features

  • Excellent spatial audio processing options
  • Very useful EQ presets
  • USB Audio supports up to 32-bit/384kHz

Firstly, stamina: 45 hours is very good (although not as good as the 80-hour staying power of the Edifier Stax Spirit S3, granted, but the comparison is skewed since the Edifier headphones are devoid of ANC) and I can confirm that this battery claim holds true.

Shure Aonic 50 Gen 2 headphones are a walk in the park to pair, too. Multipoint? Easy – and once you get used to that fact that the physical buttons are all on the right earcup, altering volume, playback and ANC profiles works a charm. 

One lovely little perk here is PausePlus. Imagine you're listening to death metal at the office with Max ANC deployed and your boss approaches (just a random example, no reason). If PausePlus is toggled to on, simply pressing the multi-function button to pause the music also deploys ambient sound, so you can hold a polite conversation with your superior and pretend you were only listening to the latest episode of Revisionist History podcast.

Next up, Shure's Spatializer – no, nothing to do with turning vegetables into edible ribbons. In the app, under the device tab (see? It makes sense, it's a feature on the device) you can select spatial audio processing optimized for music, movies or a podcast. I found they brought all of these sources to life, adding depth, value and enjoyment to the whole testing process. 

The EQ presets are a similar story – in fact I suggest using both EQ and spatial audio liberally. There's a dedicated Equalizer tab, and although you can go manual if you want, Shure has sensibly opted to call its presets names such as Bass Cut, Bass Boost, Treble Cut and Vocal Boost. My particular favorite is Treble Cut for music, since I do find these headphones a little heavy-handed through the higher frequenciess, but the point is that Shure has bucked the trend of creating profiles for specific music genres (how often have you wondered whether 'jazz' is the correct preset for the acoustic mix you're listening to, or whether soft-rock is really the same as 'rock'?) and it's an excellent move. 

Now, ANC. It's acceptable. It isn't a complete bubble of silence. You deploy it by moving a physical slider all the way up on the right ear cup for ambient, or all the way down for ANC. But you can also open the app to select either the Environment Mode Level on a slider, or Light, Moderate, Max, or MaxAware ANC options. I was unable to perceive a lot of difference in the ANC options during the course of my testing save for MaxAware, which also filters in ambient noise. For softening the extraneous sounds of the office, they do a job – but the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 or Sony WH-1000XM5 still do that job a fair bit better. 

Call quality is aided by a "Hear myself on calls" toggle and it does exactly what it says on the tin, making calls feel a lot less like your head's stuck in a bucket as you speak. 

  • Features score: 4.5/5

Shure Aonic 50 Gen 2 case, held in hand with a garden in the background

A svelte but durable hard-shell case with a useful strap. (Image credit: Future)

Shure Aonic 50 Gen 2 review: Sound quality

  • Expansive and revealing separation and clarity 
  • Can come off treble-centric on occasion
  • Not the most musically cohesive listen

Kicking off with Ritchie Sacramento by Mogwai on Tidal (a FLAC file) with a wired USB-C connection to my Mac, the twinkling chimes and expansive ambient soundscape is pensive and more detailed than I remember it through lesser headphones. The driving beat underpins everything and as sonic articles jangle and dart between each ear, a rare talent for clarity through the mids is revealed.

Paolo Nutini's Loving You is a delight, with Nutini's textured voice held centrally among agile guitars and easy drums.

Switching to an Apple Music file on iPhone, Jamie T's Sticks 'n' Stones is energetic and immersive to the point that I feel Jamie and friends all congregating around me at Hampton Wick Station. It's here I notice the Shure Aonic 50 Gen 2's tendency to over-celebrate the treble though – and as a result, the mix can sound a touch disorganized and jumbled on occasion; the placement of each musical strand seems as if it relies on the frequency being played. Here, female backing vocal "ah"s come forward a little too readily when T's lyrics should be the star of the show, for example.

It's a relatively minor issue and one only noticeable in direct comparison against the likes of the Focal Bathys and Edifier Stax Spirit S3, but it's our job to notice. Otherwise, we're treated to a detailed mix with plenty of dynamic rise and fall through the mids and a decent serving of snappy bass weight. 

Deploying the Treble Cut EQ option is the panacea for the upper registers, but it really is worth switching out these profiles depending on your music. If you're someone who believes headphones should just sound good without having to lift a finger, you may not like this solution – and it's a fair point. 

  • Sound quality score: 4/5

Shure Aonic 50 Gen 2 headphones detail with cups rotated to lie flat, on a wicker chair

The Shure Aonic 50 Gen 2's cups glide silently to lie flat – but headband adjustments are a bit clicky. (Image credit: Future)

Shure Aonic 50 Gen 2 review: Design

  • USB port on the right earcup, 3.5mm jack on the left
  • Design lies flat, but doesn't fold
  • Longer hair can get caught in the hinge points when fitting them

Do you miss foldable headphones – the kind that concertina up for easier portability? Well, you won't get them here. The large Shure Aonic 50 Gen 2's earpieces here lie flat in the same way that the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless, Focal Bathys or newer Fairphone FairBuds XL do, and the hard-shell case is a little more svelte than the Focal's, but it'll still take up a bit of room in your bag – unless you want to use the strap to latch it to a carabiner on the outside of your backpack, perhaps. 

The build here is classy and the hinges rotate silently and at a glacial pace (be careful; the anchor point is towards the back of the headband and I caught my hair a few times) which is why it's a little strange that the headband itself is a little noisy if you need to alter the sizing. 

The padding on both the earcups and headband is ample and personally, I love that the physical buttons are all one earcup, since I'm right-handed, although those with larger fingers (or lefties) may find this a little fiddly. 

What is a little strange is the location of the cable ports, with one on each earpiece – but this is a relatively small issue. 

There's hardly any sound bleed; people on desks next to me couldn't hear my tracks at 50% volume in the office unless I lifted an earcup away from my head. On this, the clamping force is relatively strong; if you're running for a train you'll be glad of it, if you're relaxing in a comfy chair, perhaps not so much. There's no IP rating for water resistance here, so try not to wear them to the shower.

In summary, the Shure Aonic 50 Gen 2 are a handsome, sleek – if marginally heavy, at 340g – set of over-ears. They're not winning any design awards for originality, but the branding on each earcup is classy and if you prefer physical controls and sliders over touch capacitive functions (I do) you'll enjoy them. 

  • Design score: 4.5/5

Shure Aonic 30 Gen 2 on a black table, outside

In case you're wondering whether the Shure Aonic 50 Gen 2's headband is nicely padded, yes it is.  (Image credit: Future)

Shure Aonic 50 Gen 2 review: Value

  • Spatial audio is a high-end option
  • USB-C audio connection adds flexibility
  • The merely acceptable ANC may not be what you want

First off, these headphones are not particularly expensive given their features and the price of competitors. That said, if you want the best ANC over-ears money can buy, spend it elsewhere, on the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless or the Sony WH-1000XM5. There is active noise cancellation here, and the presets are fine, but it isn't a class-leading experience. 

Buying headphones almost always involves a compromise somewhere (omission of a particular hi-res codec, poor call quality but great sound, lack of water resistance), but for the wealth of connectivity supported both with wires and without, the spatial audio profiles and the outstanding EQ tweaks, Shure's Aonic 50 Gen 2 are almost impossible to equal.

The battery level is more than sufficient at 45 hours, the build is classy, the companion app is excellent and the multipoint pairing experience has never let me down. 

The flies in the ointment? Occasionally the treble is a little forward in the mix and the ANC is a shade off excellent. Depending on your priorities, this either doesn't matter or is a deal-breaker. It's up to you. 

  • Value score: 4.5/5

Should I buy the Shure Aonic 50 Gen 2?

Buy them if...

Don't buy them if...

Shure Aonic 50 Gen 2 review: Also consider

How I tested the Shure Aonic 50 Gen 2

Shure Aonic 50 Gen 2 worn by TechRada'r's Becky Scarrott, in profile, in a garden

Wear headphones while the sun shines. (Image credit: Future)
  • Bulk of testing done using an iPhone 12, running ShurePlus PLAY app, firmware version
  • Tested over two weeks, listened against the Edifier Stax Spirit S3, Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless and Focal Bathys
  • Used on long walks on public streets, at work in a busy office, on a train, and at home
  • Listened to Tidal Masters, Apple Music, Qobuz and Spotify on an iPhone 12, a Sony Xperia 1 V, and via USB-C connection on MacBook Pro

To test headphones is to invite them into your life – how the case fits in your bag is just as important as how they slip onto your head. These cans became my daily musical companion – after a thorough run-in period. And just as Shure is a trusted name in audio, I now trust these headphones to work every day, regardless of how you're connecting to your music source, without fail. 

The Shure Aonic 50 Gen 2 accompanied me to work on busy weekdays (walking brusquely to the station; boarding a train and the London Underground; at the office) and walking along the blustery seafront on the UK coastline – a great way to test any wind-interference from mics during calls.

To check the audio quality across the frequencies, I listened to various playlists across various music genres (spanning everything from grime to classical) on Apple Music and Tidal, but also to podcasts and albums on Spotify – plus of course YouTube tutorials (on how to change my car's brake light, mostly) from my MacBook Pro. 

I’ve been testing audio products for over five years now. As a dancer, aerialist and musical theater performer in another life, sound quality and the user experience have always taken priority for me personally – but portability, security and comfort come a close second. 

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