The iMac M1 reinvents the family computer

The past few weeks have been busy for our review editors as they tested new devices from Apple, Sony, Amazon and others. Apple has released a completely redesigned iMac M1, which Devindra Hardawar has tested throughout his house, and an M1-powered iPad Pro, which has left Chris Velazco hoping for software announcements at WWDC next month. Billy Steele has tested both the upgraded Amazon Echo Buds, which now have true active noise cancellation and optional wireless charging, and the Sony SRS-RA5000 speaker, which takes advantage of the 360 ​​platform. Company Reality Audio. At the same time, other staff members tested Samsung’s latest laptop, Fujifilm’s new medium format camera, and the latest edition of Mass Effect.

Apple iMac M1

After filling in the new iMac M1 in her home writing, editing, streaming videos and music, playing games and finding recipes, Devindra Hardawar recalled how useful an all-in-one family office can be. It helps that the colorful machine weighs less than 10 pounds, is 11.5 millimeters thick, and can be used with a VESA mount, making it extremely portable. The iMac M1 also boasts a stunning 23.5-inch, 4.5K Retina display, 1080p webcam, and shockingly capable sound system that make it ideal for a range of uses.

Devindra had no issues using it as a daily driver, taxing it with multiple browser windows, Slack, Spotify, Evernote, and Pixelmater Pro. The iMac M1 was able to transcode a 4K clip to 1080p faster than the ASUS ZenBook Duo and achieve higher Geekbench 5 scores than gaming laptops from ASUS and MSI. However, he noticed a bit of fan noise when playing games and the port situation is a mess since the desktop only has USB-C. Plus, despite others’ love for the magic mouse and keyboard, Devindra still found them quite uncomfortable to use all the time.

iPad Pro M1 2021

iPad Pro M1 2021

After a week of testing, Chris Velazco was impressed with the most recent iPad Pro Equipment. With the same M1 chipset as the Macbook Air, Pro and new iMac, a variety of storage options up to 1TB, 5G support, and a Liquid Retina XDR display, the 12.9-inch tablet was able to handle whatever it threw at it. It worked without hiccups even while playing intense games like GRID AutoSport, edit 4K videos and watch movies with flashy visual effects. In fact, Chris says the machine performs so well that you almost have to be a creative pro to be able to get the most out of it.

However, all of this technology results in an iPad that is heavier than previous models, making it less comfortable to hold for long periods of time. Chris also felt that the switch from a traditional front-facing camera to a 12-megapixel ultra-wide sensor allowed for annoying FaceTime calls – even though the tablet’s new CenterStage feature actually kept his face in sight during those calls. The biggest problem he’s had is with software, which doesn’t take advantage of the iPad Pro’s exceptional hardware – at least not yet. With Apple’s Global Developer Conference still coming up, it’s possible that some software announcements show what the iPad Pro can really do.

Sony SRS-RA5000

Sony SRS-RA5000

Sony spent two years teasing its Reality Audio platform before releasing any hardware. the SRS-RA5000 and SRS-RA3000 are the first speakers to offer the immersive audio format. And while they’re designed specifically for the RA platform, Billy Steele says the $ 700 RA5000 is a good all-around option as well. At 10 pounds and 13 inches tall, it’s taller than most bookshelf speakers and has a simple silhouette with dark gray speaker fabric and copper rings that Billy says set it apart from the crowd. devices. The RA5000 can be used as part of a multi-room audio setup, so it will work with a TV, but unlike other speakers, it doesn’t have built-in voice commands, so you’ll need a device. additional for this feature.

The internal components of the RA5000 include seven speakers – three up-firing, three side-firing, and a center woofer – all positioned to distribute sound in different directions. 360 Reality Audio is designed to sound like musical elements all around you; While Billy has stated that the sound quality is consistent and radiates in all directions, it is not sure that this is quite the “coin deposit” feel that Sony has advertised. Despite this, he still liked the crisp, warm sounds produced by the speaker. He also liked the Immersive Audio Experience algorithm which made non-360RA tracks fuller. However, the limited amount of 360RA content was a downside, as was the hefty price tag.

Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360

Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360

After testing the 15-inch convertible variant of Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360, Cherlynn Low considered him a capable machine. With a Super AMOLED, FHD touchscreen, a decent range of ports, an 11th gen Intel Core i7 processor, and 16GB of RAM, the Book Pro 360 never stuttered during its testing. And at 3.06 pounds and 0.46 inches, it’s thinner and lighter than competing devices while still offering a roomy keyboard and mammoth trackpad. Samsung also includes an S Pen with the laptop, which some will find convenient to use with the touchscreen.

While Cherlynn appreciated some of the design changes, like moving the power button to the top right of the keyboard and including a fingerprint sensor for Windows Hello, she was disappointed with the 720p webcam. The low resolution combined with automatic filters produced dark and somewhat distorted images. The security features Samsung included was more hit and miss: the privacy screen tool in particular wasn’t the best, as it made it difficult for it to see the affected windows on the screen. And while the battery lasted a respectable 15 hours and 20 minutes, the fast charging wasn’t as fast as the company had promised.

Amazon Echo Buds

Amazon Echo Buds

Billy Steele was thrilled with Amazon’s improvements to the latest Echo Buds. Not only did the company completely overhaul the headphones for the better, but they also managed to keep them affordable at $ 120. The Buds themselves are 20 percent smaller and two grams lighter than their predecessors, and they feature new vents that make them more comfortable. Additionally, Amazon includes four sets of ear tips and two wing sizes, and there is an ear tip fit test in the Alexa app to help you determine the best fit for your ears.

Amazon has also added active noise cancellation (ANC) and optional wireless charging to the Echo Buds. The new 5.6mm high-performance driver sounds better and Billy has found that the audio enhancements are applied evenly across all volume ranges. The sound is less compressed, he said, and there is more room for each element to stand alone. The headphone app also offers several customization options, including manual EQ sliders, hands-free Alexa, and PowerSave to extend battery life. Billy also found that the battery life reliably hit the five hour mark just like the previous model. One of the few things he would have liked to see was more protection – these heads remain only IPX4 splash resistant.

Fujifilm GFX 100S

Fujifilm GFX 100S

Not only did Steve Dent test the smaller, improved Fujifilm GFX 100S mirrorless camera, but he also handed it over to a few professional photographers for their opinion. They agreed with Steve that the GFX 100S offers great handling in a small package, but the autofocus still needs work. Fujifilm reduced the size of the 100S by 35% to less than two pounds by eliminating the vertical grip and controls. Steve has always found the operation of the camera to be very tactical despite not having so many physical controls.

The GFX 100S also features a new in-body Image Stabilizer which is smaller than the previous one, and which improved Steve’s performance with six shake reduction stops. It found its low-light abilities surprisingly good and got crisp images at incredible resolutions (albeit at lower ISOs). The autofocus system offers 3.76 million phase detection pixels and up to 425 selectable AF points. However, the system also had a certain lag, which made it difficult to use the camera in dynamic situations with a lot of movement. And Steve felt that the 3.69 million dot OLED electronic viewfinder fell short of the standards he expected for a camera priced at $ 6,000. He also recommended skipping the electronic shutter and sticking to the mechanical or front curtain settings.

Legendary Mass Effect Edition

Legendary Mass Effect Edition

While the original Mass Effect The trilogy is a hugely influential game series with legions of fans, Mat Smith admits the game had both goofy shooter and cover detection that required players to dive into menus to access attacks and attacks. powers. The weapons could seem too imprecise and random, and the cover mechanics were erratic. With the release of Legendary Mass Effect Edition, many of those issues have been addressed, helping Mat rekindle his love for a game where player decisions shape a universe and have a ripple effect throughout the series.

Thoughtful modifications to the original Mass Effect have refined handling and aim; Mat says that’s probably how the game should have felt at launch. Gameplay improvements include more places to curl up as your shields recharge and a less erratic cover mechanic (though still not as good as sequels, according to Mat). He says that if you are a new visitor to the ME universe, Legendary edition is clearly the way to experience it. And if you’ve played the series before, you’ll quickly be reinvested in the trilogy thanks to the graphical lifts and quick load levels.


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