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Since then, Apple released OS X 10.9.1 with Mail fixes. It’s definitely better, but those unread mail counts still don’t update promptly, and my jury is still out (to put it nicely) on Gmail integration and other issues. As I mentioned before, so long as you use IMAP, switching back-and-forth between email apps is trivial, so I decided to give Airmail a try …
Also, if you have any non-Gmail accounts and use IMAP folders, you may want to scroll down to Accounts and folders below to save yourself some time …
Unlike Postbox, Airmail doesn’t allow you to import account details from Apple Mail. This is no big deal these days – with gmail, all you need enter is your name, email and password and the app will grab the settings automatically – but is a surprising omission. I have a couple of non-gmail accounts, so needed to enter the server addresses and ports manually (you can look these up in Keychain, as that’s where Apple Mail stores them).
One annoyance when setting up multiple accounts: that damn ‘Subscribe to Newsletter’ checkbox is ticked by default every time. In my case, that was six opportunities to accidentally subscribe to something I don’t want. Attention every software developer in the world: absolutely nobody wants to be spammed as the default option.
I’m never quite sure whether to be scared or impressed about how integrated technology has become these days. When I entered the account details of my main personal email, Airmail automatically selected my photo as the icon for the account. More on that in a moment.
Look & feel
Apple Mail and Postbox are both inoffensive, but I don’t think many would describe them as beautiful. Airmail gets pretty close to earning that description. I would certainly describe it as pretty.
On the far left are icons for your accounts. At the top left is the currently-selected account (I’ve obscured my email address), with the usual ‘unread mail’ counter:
At the bottom, in the same column, are icons for the other accounts:
Postbox picks up icons and avatars from linked social media accounts and uses them in the conversation view. You have to link the accounts before it can do this. Airmail takes a slightly different approach.
Airmail checks iCloud contacts, Google contacts, Google+ and Gravatar to find avatars and icons for your contacts without you having to link the accounts. It’s pretty impressive. Where Postbox uses the images in the conversation view, Airmail uses them in the list view – you can see here that it recognised Amazon’s email address (yes, it is holiday season) and displayed the logo.
As well as making the app look more visually appealing, it makes it much easier to find emails from particular people or companies, so this is one of those small-sounding touches that makes a surprisingly big difference to usability. (You can switch the feature off if you prefer.)
Airmail’s spam-marking is very clear: a yellow SPAM prefix in caps:
You can at least set the preferences to delete mail as soon as you mark it as spam.
Accounts and folders
Folders appear directly below the inbox area. Unlike Apple Mail, you can’t see folders for multiple accounts in one view. This is much neater visually but makes it much harder to move messages between accounts.
But the far bigger issue with folders is that Airmail does not support automatic filtering of messages into folders! There is no equivalent of Apple Mail’s rules or Postbox’s message filters. I was quite taken aback by this, as it’s a feature I use a lot to keep my email manageable, and something I consider a basic feature that any email app ought to have.
The rationale, I think, is that Airmail was essentially conceived as a gmail client. Gmail allows you to configure your filters in the web interface (though of course applying labels and categories rather than folders), and Airmail recognises these and tags them in the app. It does, though, rule it out for power users who have non-Gmail accounts.
It’s a beautiful user-interface, it really is. I liked it so much that I even very briefly wondered whether I could manage without automatic filtering into folders – that’s how pretty I think it is.
But ultimately, as much as I appreciate aesthetics, form is no good without function. My main personal account – an email address I’ve had since sometime in the Bronze Age – isn’t a Gmail one, so the app isn’t going to work for me.
If all your email accounts are Gmail ones, however, I would absolutely recommend taking Airmail out for a spin. Despite the lack of account import, setting it up takes a matter of minutes as all you have to do is enter your Gmail account details and Airmail will do the rest.
There’s no trial version available, but when the app costs two bucks, really, who cares. You’ll spend more on a cup of coffee the first time you use it in your local Starbucks. It’s available from the Mac App Store.
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Is the OPPO Reno 5 Pro well designed?
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority
The design of OPPO Reno 5 Pro is more evolutionary than revolutionary compared to the Reno 4 Pro, but that’s okay.
While I really liked the design the first time around, OPPO has managed to up the ante. The phone feels absolutely fantastic in the hand and there’s Gorilla Glass 5 protection, both at the front and the back.
The slim 7.6mm profile combined with the 173g weight is refreshing in a world of significantly heavier glass and metal sandwiches. I’m looking at you, Xiaomi.
Amongst the BBK group of companies, OPPO has traditionally had a strong focus on design. This continues to be the case here. The Reno 5 Pro debuts an interesting new finish. It employs a combination of a reflective layer and a glass sheet that gives it this gorgeous, glittery sheen. I’ve got the Astral Blue shade here, and while I’m not a huge fan of gradients, even I’ve got to admit that the OPPO Reno 5 Pro is a head-turner.
The back panel has a matte finish that gives the phone extra grip, which definitely comes in handy as the thin mid-frame doesn’t leave too much to grab on to.
The display on the OPPO Reno 5 Pro is well-calibrated. With 1100 nits of peak brightness, it’s bright enough to be viewed in direct sunlight.
There’s an in-display fingerprint reader that does the job perfectly well. I found it to be amongst the fastest that I’ve tested. I experienced very few failed unlocks during the testing period.
All in all, OPPO has done really well here, and there aren’t many things I’d want to be changed. A 120Hz panel and wireless charging support would’ve made the Reno 5 Pro a bit more competitive, but neither is a huge miss at this price point. I would have appreciated an IP rating for peace of mind. Additionally, stereo speakers are table stakes at this price point, and the tinny mono speaker just doesn’t cut the mustard.How powerful is the OPPO Reno 5 Pro?
Is the OPPO Reno 5 Pro camera good?
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority
OPPO has been talking up the AI chops of the camera system on the Reno 5 Pro, particularly when it comes to video. I was therefore quite excited to test out what the 64MP primary camera could do. Turns out, the results are pretty darn good.
The 8MP ultra-wide camera, however, doesn’t impress indoors. The resolution is too low to capture a lot of detail. Additionally, while the camera manages to keep exposure and white balance consistent, the noise levels ramp up massively.
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority
Switching back to the primary camera, OPPO has done a really good job at eking out the most from the sensor. The combination of hardware and software delivers excellent results in less than great lighting.
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority
Switching over to the 2MP macro camera, there’s not a whole lot of detail here. However, in good lighting, the photographs sit a cut above those from alternatives like the OnePlus 8.
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority
Sadly, I wasn’t too impressed by the 32MP front-facing camera. More often than not, the phone overexposed the shot, and getting a consistent blur-free image wasn’t easy. Portrait mode on the OPPO Reno 5 Pro does well enough in broad daylight, but I noticed one too many instances where it messed up finer details like hair.
Finally, in terms of video capabilities, the OPPO Reno 5 Pro delivers. The phone captures well balanced and evenly exposed videos, with the AI mode filling in the gaps once ambient lighting goes down. It’s not going to turn night into day. However, I found that the phone was able to capture usable footage, albeit with a fair amount of grain, even in dim lighting.What I like about the OPPO Reno 5 Pro
The performance. The MediaTek Dimensity 1000 Plus chipset delivers performance that sits a cut above most competitors and is a huge step up over the Reno Pro 4.
The camera. The 64MP primary shooter on the OPPO Reno 5 Pro captures excellent images in broad daylight and does very well even in dim lighting. This makes it an excellent choice if photography is a priority.
The design. While I’m not a huge fan of curved displays, I really came to appreciate the slim profile of the phone. The lightweight build also helps keep the phone comfortable to use.
The fast charging. 65W charging is an excellent feature, and the ability to top up the phone in half an hour is very handy.What I dislike
The secondary cameras. The Reno 5 Pro’s ultra-wide camera has too low a resolution to offer compelling results.
The mono speaker. The speaker sounds tinny and underwhelming, taking away from the overall excellent multimedia experience the phone could offer.
OPPO Reno 5 Pro specs
OPPO Reno 5 Pro review: The verdict
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority
It speaks volumes that I had to think long and hard about features that I dislike about the OPPO Reno 5 Pro. Not only does the phone deliver incredible performance, but it backs it up with an eye-catching design as well as a camera that can keep up with the best in its class.
OPPO Reno 5 Pro
The OPPO Reno 5 Pro combines a refreshing design with a power-packed Dimensity 1000 Plus chipset, but there’s more. The 64MP camera consistently captures high quality images across lighting situations. Backing all of this is stellar battery life and fast 65W charging making the OPPO Reno 5 Pro one of the best phones in the segment.
See price at Flipkart
The OPPO Reno 5 Pro sits right in the middle of OPPO’s Reno 5 series. While the designs remain largely similar across the board, the chief difference is in the processing capabilities. Broadly speaking, the Dimensity 1000 Plus on the Reno 5 Pro makes it the most bang for your buck compared to the Reno 5 with its Snapdragon 765G, and the Reno 5 Pro Plus packing a Snapdragon 865.
One of the strongest competitors to the OPPO phone is the Xiaomi Mi 10T. The Xiaomi device offers a bit more grunt but is much bigger and heavier, which might be worth considering when deciding on your next phone.
The OPPO Reno 5 Pro is one of the best phones you can buy in the premium mid-range segment.
Sure, the phone could have an even higher refresh rate display and the additional cameras could do with some work. However, that doesn’t take away from the fact that the OPPO Reno 5 Pro has truly upped the game. The overall experience is one of the best you can get in the premium mid-range segment, and it’s a bit of a shame that the phone is available only in India for the moment.
That’s all for our OPPO Reno 5 Pro review. For more reviews from Android Authority, sign up below to receive all of the latest device testing and analysis straight into your inbox.
Wide colour gamut
Quick response timeCons
Poor viewing angles
Lacklustre soundOur Verdict
The TCL 55DP648 is a good looking and affordable TV if you’re looking for a large set with a 4K resolution and HDR support. Although the TV offers a decent colour gamut and a quick response time for gaming, it’s let down by a plethora of problems elsewhere. Namely we’re talking about the dramatic lack of brightness and poor viewing angles.
Not everyone has thousands to spend on a new TV, but you also don’t want to buy something sub-standard and regret it. Hisense is a great shout for a great value TV but now has a rival in the form of TCL, another Chinese brand. Here we review the 55DP648 which is under £500.TCL 55DP648: Price & Where to buy
Although the 55DP648 has an RRP of £599 it’s one of those ones where it’s not really been on sale at that price.
Instead, you can get it for around £495 at various retailers including Amazon, AO and Boots (an AO site in disguise).
That’s an impressive price point for a large size TV with a 4K resolution and HDR support and puts it in competition with sets like the Hisense U7A and to some extent, the Philips 6703.TCL 55DP648: Design & Features
These days you don’t need to splash out on a TV to get stylish design. We prefer the U7A from Hisense but the TCL is decent for the sub-£500 price.
You get slim bezels around the display and the panel itself is very thin, too, at under 10mm. The sleek lines are only interrupted by a round power button.
Like most TVs the 55DP648 is wall-mountable if you like. Alternatively, just sit it on the spiky legs. These are quite close to the sides of the TV so there’s a possible issue if you want to put the set on a small stand with the display over hanging.
The remote supplied works well enough but it’s an oddly thin and long shape like a wand. There are buttons for Netflix and Freeview Play which you’ll need (just like the Bush Smart TV from Argos.)TCL 55DP648: Setup & Interface
Setting up the TV is pretty simple and straight forward. The ports are all lined up vertically on the back and include three HDMI ports, Ethernet (there’s also Wi-Fi) and two USB 2.0 ports. We’d like more, of course, but that’s what you get with a cheaper set.
What’s really odd, and frankly stupid, is that HDMI 2.0 is switched off by default so you’ll have to find it and turn it on in the menu. Leave it switched off and colours from HDR sources look awful.
The Roku smart engine used for TCL TVs in the US would be nice but we’re stuck with a basic system here. Overall, the interface is easy enough to navigate all though there are some oddities like the sports mode being in the system section of the menu rather than display.
It’s also fairly sluggish in use and although there’s only a button for Netflix, there are various other services available via Freeview Play such as BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub. There’s also 4K YouTube via the basic Home menu.
Netflix supports 4K HDR, but there’s no Amazon Prime Video, Now TV or the like.TCL 55DP648: Performance
A cheap set with nice design and a few good features is all well and good, but whether you should buy one really hinges on the performance of the panel itself.
Let’s start with the positives,. Colour gamut is good for a TV at this price and it supports HDR10 and HLG (hybrid-log gamma). Unfortunately you will have to do some tweaking to see these colours as the default settings are for fairly muted tones.
Upscaling HD content to 4K is pretty good and a quick response time means this is a good choice if you’re going to do a lot of gaming. Having the Ultra HD resolution means the image is nice and crisp.
Sadly, the good news ends there.
Our biggest gripe is the poor brightness. The TCL 55DP648 peaks at just under 300 nits which is not good at all for an HDR TV. It means the image looks dull and you don’t get those blinding whites that you’ll see on – admittedly more expensive – sets from Samsung’s higher ranges.
Annoyingly, brightness is adjusted automatically and the image regularly dimmed for no apparent reason. We scoured the menus to find and disable any ambient light sensors, dynamic contrast settings and anything else, but either couldn’t find these things or turning them off had no effect whatsoever.
Compounding this is fairly poor viewing angles; only sitting square on does the picture look its best. Oh, and there’s no Dolby Vision support.
Backlighting comes from edge-mounted LEDs and we noticed a bit of light leakage from the top edge and and lighting isn’t particularly even across the panel. Darker areas of the picture lack detail and aren’t really deep black.A mysterious feature called Mix Dimming doesn’t seem to help either.
Motion isn’t handled (there’s no motion processing at all) so camera pans and objects moving quickly across the screen have an amount of jerkiness that can’t go unnoticed. We’ve not mentioned audio yet which, in a word, is lacklustre.Verdict
If you’re looking for a 4K HDR TV for under £500 then the TCL 55DP648 might appear to be a bargain.
It’s got a stylish design with its thin panel which has good colour gamut and better upscaling than you’d expect at this price. It’s also got a very quick response time for all the gamers out there.
However, the set’s very poor brightness was a constant source of disappointment creating a lacklustre experience across the board. It proves that you can buy a TV with HDR support that can look worse than a regular 4K set.
Add in poor viewing angles and uninspiring audio and it’s hard to recommend this TV. If you can afford it, spend a little more and buy the Hisense U7A.Specs TCL 55DP468: Specs
Screen size/resolution: 55in, 3840 x 2160 pixels
HDR10, HLG support
Contrast ratio: Not stated
Brightness: 320 nits
Speakers: 16W (2 x 8W)
Built-in tuner: Freeview Play
Inputs: 3 x HDMI (all support HDCP2.2, ARC via HDMI2)
Outputs: Digital audio optical, headphone jack
Networking: 10/100 Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi
Ports and slots: 2 x USB 2.0
Physical dimensions (w/o stand): 1227 x 765 x 9.9mm (w/h/d)
Average power consumption: 70W (average), A Energy rating
Warranty: 2 onsite home repair
If you’re not familiar with the Fantastical software, it’s major feature is natural language input. What that means is you can type a phrase like “Golf with Bob on Saturday at 10 am” and Fantastical will schedule it; you don’t have to program each line of the event in the detailed event editor. Fantastical works your existing calendar service, so you can still use iCloud or Google. It’s just an alternative way to view and manage your existing calendar service.
Aside from its natural language input for scheduling events, Fantastical is also very streamlined as it focuses on presenting your events in a simple list view. The Mac app (which is opened in the top menu bar) and iPhone app resemble one another in shape and dimension (although the iPhone app does support landscape orientation and has more dynamic views), but the iPad app is a much different canvas with both portrait and landscape orientation needing to be presented as equally primary views.Design
At a glance, Fantastical is divided into three sections on the iPad: the list view with your events, the day ticker with for an upcoming perspective, and a full month calendar view.
The left section presents individual appoints in chronological order on a scrollable, vertical list view. Because Fantastical also supports reminders, this list view unifies appointments and to-do items.
The top bar is the day ticker which shows relevant upcoming days in a a scrollable, horizontal segmented view. This can be toggled to show all upcoming dates, or only dates on which items have been scheduled.
And exclusive to the iPad design is a full month’s calendar view on the right side. You can swipe through to other months and tap on specific dates to see appointments scheduled. This includes both calendar events and reminder events.
If you land too far in the future (or past) at any point from any view, tapping the month and year at the top of the app (just below the current time) will carry you back to the current date in Fantastical.Function
Adding an event or reminder is easy in Fantastical. The top right of the app features a + button which prompts the keyboard and a text input box. Just type in your event details like “Breakfast at Taco Bell tomorrow from 7 to 11 am” and Fantastical shows you in the preview view that it has scheduled your event.
If you juggle multiple calendars, adding “/w” will move it to your Work calendar, for example. If you have multiple calendars with the same first letter, you can type slash followed by the full name of the calendar to assign it appropriately. Otherwise, an event will land on your default calendar (which you can assign).
Fantastical also interprets phrases like “alert 1 hour before” and “last weekday of the month” to include alerts and repeating events to events during input.
This also works with reminders. Including “todo”, “reminder”, “remind me to”, or “task” to the beginning of a line will let Fantastical know that you are entering a reminder and not a calendar event.
The keyboard features a manual toggle between events and reminders as well as a Details view for manual input. The keyboard is also optimized for managing a calendar with a dedicated row for numbers, colon, and forward slash.Week View
On the Mac, Fantastical is a single view made of the day ticket and list view of events. On the iPhone, Fantastical’s day ticker pulls down to become a full month calendar, and rotating Fantastical toggles to a week view. Fantastical for iPad has enough space to show a full month calendar from the day ticker view and needs to support the day ticker view from both portrait and landscape orientations, so pulling the day ticker down from either orientation will toggle to week view.
Drag down the day ticker once and you enter a sort of hybrid week view with the full month calendar and list view of events still visible. Drag the half-screen week view down again and you enter a dedicated week viewer.
Fantastical for iPad also includes two gestures for quickly accessing search and reminders. Swiping in from the right edge of your iPad brings over the search view which can drill down by title, location, people invited to events, or an all view. There is also an icon for bringing this view if you aren’t aware of the gesture.
Swiping in from the left edge of your iPad reveals your list of reminders. Tapping on the name of a reminders list shows you the list of items on that specific list.Thoughts
As you will see in the next section, Fantastical is probably priced higher than a lot of other iPad apps on the App Store, but one of my first impressions from using Fantastical for iPad a few weeks ago was that having the app I already use on my Mac and iPhone optimized for my iPad added value to using my iPad.
For me, it’s value is in two areas: ease of skimming and understanding upcoming events and ability to quickly input event details before I lose the thought. In my use, the latter part has almost become a race with myself to see how fast I can translate a thought in my head to a scheduled event on my calendar.
If you don’t use your calendar out of lack of need, I’m not sure that Fantastical is worth your money; it’s well designed software that solves a specific problem. If you’ve been disappointed with Apple’s calendar and prefer to keep dates on paper or some other way, I recommend you explore Fantastical as an alternative.
As a more technical user, I prefer Fantastical because the software impresses me. I have found, though, that less savvy calendar software users find Fantastical more approachable and easier to use than Apple’s calendar.
As you’ve seen in various screenshots above, Fantastical offers different ways to customize the app as well.
You can toggle between the default dark theme and the optional light theme. I prefer the light theme most of the time, but I’d love to see a two finger swipe gesture to easily change without using the menu like Tweetbot 3 has on iPhone.
It also supports opening links in 1Password, the unique password managing software and TextExpander support for expanding text snippets into phrases for users with workflows invested in those services.
Finally, one of my favorite features in Fantastical involves birthdays. Fantastical has a special, animated view for its users on their friends’ birthdays. This view includes falling confetti and shortcuts for telling your friend “🎈 Happy birthday!” on their special day with Twitter, Facebook, email, and messaging based on your contact information for that person. This feature has made me a better friend, and I really love it.Availability & Pricing
Flexibits is selling Fantastical for iPad as a new app on the App Store. Fantastical for iPad will go for $14.99 (the Mac app is $19.99 and the iPhone app is $4.99), but you can buy it for $9.99 at its special launch price.
If you want to try out the Mac version, Flexibits offers a free trial on its site (the App Store does not support trials).
While that pricing is probably higher than most iPad apps on the App Store, Fantastical is an app I can recommend to anyone who wants to leverage their iPad as a better calendar.
Your iPad already comes with a calendar app, but Fantastical builds on that experience and improves it with intuitive natural language input, its streamlined design, and support for other services not supported by Apple’s offering. If you’re a calendar user and like better alternatives to built-in apps, I think you’ll like it.
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– Some features locked behind subscription – No Google Assistant compatibility – Not the cheapest smart doorbell around
Cons: – Some features locked behind subscription – No Google Assistant compatibility – Not the cheapest smart doorbell around
Ring’s fourth generation doorbell packs in the features while supplying high quality audio and video, but this comes at a higher than average price.
In my eyes, the doorbell was not a device that needed vast innovation. Walk up to the house, press a button and someone answers, that’s all you need right?! Well, clearly I was wrong with the smart doorbell market currently sitting at an overall valuation in the billions.
As part of the ever-growing smart home market, there are plenty of brands now producing smart doorbells with the aim of making your life easier via automation, notifications and hands-free controls.
Colour me ever so slightly intrigued. With every missed package and timid knock at my door, my interest in a smart doorbell has been increasing. With this in mind, I spent some time using one of the leading products – the Amazon Ring 4 – to see if the hype was justified.Setup
Whether the Ring 4 will be easy to set up or not will come down to which version you get. I tested the wireless version, but they also make one that needs to be plugged into the house’s electrical wiring.
While it’s more complicated, this option is going to be better in the long term as it saves you having to charge the Ring 4. If this all sounds like a job you don’t want to take on don’t worry, the wireless option saves a lot of hassle.
Amazon estimates the average wireless Ring doorbell will last up to six months on a single charge, this combined with an 8 hour charge time means over a year you’ll be charging for less than a full day.
In setting up the doorbell, the first step was as simple as downloading an app and scanning a QR code. Like all smart products these days, most of the setup process is simply entering mass amounts of data and selecting preferences.
The hard part of the process is getting the doorbell put up. Ring includes screws, wall plugs, a mount and a plethora of parts to get you sorted. It can be intimidating but there are easy instructions to follow.
If you are in a rental property or somewhere where drilling into the side of the house would be frowned upon, this will pose a challenge. You could always attach the device to a wall with sticky strips or some kind of temporary mount, but this won’t stop any potential thieves.Design
The Ring doorbell is a lot of things, but it isn’t exactly the most aesthetically pleasing smart doorbell out there. It’s large and quite noticeable which, if you’re looking for a security deterrent, isn’t exactly a bad thing.
While brands like Arlo or Google’s Nest offer sleek doorbells, the Ring is a large rectangle that looks slightly dated. This is the same design that Ring has been offering for years across generations but, if it isn’t broken why fix it?
The large design is utilitarian in nature. Housing a powerful camera and an absolutely huge battery, the benefits outweigh the slight aesthetic issues.
The housing that covers most of the doorbell is plastic. It looks sleek and premium, but it is prone to scrapes and marks if you’re not careful with it. Obviously, you’re not moving it about much, but I did bump it while carrying something into the house leaving a noticeable mark.App
Like most modern devices, when using the Ring doorbell the app will be your best friend. Through the Ring app you can access live feeds, change settings, rewatch old footage, set zones to scan and more.
In fact, the Ring doorbell can be somewhat overwhelming when you first boot up the app, offering a plethora of settings and preferences. However, day to day most of these options won’t be needed.
I mainly used the app to access the camera’s feed and to access push notifications when someone was at the door. However, it is also worth spending some time in the app messing with settings to get your perfect doorbell experience.
The app will also be used for any other Ring devices you invest in. This includes the optional Chime device, allowing you to hear your doorbell from other parts of your property.King of the castle
So the doorbell is set up, the app is downloaded… what can it actually do? Yes, it can act as a doorbell, alerting you when someone rings the door but that is only one small part of the Ring’s functionality.
Whilst setting up the app, Ring requests a ‘Motion Zone’ be set up. This is the area that the camera will detect within, sending alerts and notifications if any human movement is detected in this range.
Depending on where you live, this zone is well worth setting up. I live on a busy road and would myself with upwards of 40 notifications in a day. Once I changed this to just focus on my entranceway, notifications dropped to a much more helpful quantity.
Motion detection can be edited even further. Adjustments can be made to the motion detection sensitivity to lower the frequency of notifications, and alerts can be sent when a package is left for you.
If the doorbell is rung while you’re out (or don’t want to have to socialise with the outside world) you can communicate via the doorbell’s microphone. It’s clear and loud, and so is the microphone that your postman will have to make awkward small talk with you through.
For even less socialising, automatic responses can be set up. These range from the simple ‘Hi! We’ll be right there’ to the blunter ‘Sorry, we’re not interested’ and the somewhat keen ‘Hi! Spring’s here and it looks like you are too! We’ll be right there’.
If you set up these automatic messages, people can leave messages, or you can still speak to them via the microphone once the message finishes.
The doorbell utilises a Full HD camera that operates in a 160 degree field of view. The video footage was mostly detailed and crisp, even when zooming in on a subject to get a clearer view.
Equally, the night vision camera is surprisingly accurate, although it is in black and white. It does have a habit of applying a somewhat sickly filter though which is not exactly going to provide the most flattering images of you as you come home late at night.Sucked into the Amazon ecosystem
Something that isn’t exactly very upfront when you buy an Amazon Ring is how dependent it is on a ‘Ring Protect Plan’. You get a full month of this when you set the doorbell up, showing you the wonderful experience available, and then a host of features will be lost.
This price increases to £8 a month if you have multiple Ring devices that you want to be included in this plan. This will only cover Ring devices at one property and a second plan will need to be set up for any other property.
Another issue with being in Amazon’s ecosystem is that Ring isn’t compliant with Google device’s or Google Assistant. If you have a house full of Google speakers and devices, you’ll be much better off with a Nest doorbell.Verdict
Ring has been making doorbells for a decade now, working on the design through iteration after iteration, so it is no surprise that the Ring 4 is a refined product, offering everything you will need from a doorbell.
It is by no means the cheapest option around, but that money rewards you with a fantastic battery life, clear footage and audio, plus plenty of smart changeable features and more features than you’ll ever need.
However, with a lot of these features locked behind a subscription pay-wall, and a lack of Google assistant compatibility, those who aren’t already loyal Amazon customers could find brands like Arlo or Wyze better fit to needs or price brackets.Alternatives Arlo Essential doorbell
Arlo’s Essential doorbell sits in a similar price bracket to the Ring Doorbell 4 and even has a similar list of features.
The big difference for Arlo is the more sleek design on offer. The brand’s Essential doorbell is slim and thin with the same layout as Ring of the camera being on top and the button below.
The camera can capture great video quality and offers a full length capture of anyone coming to your door.
Google Nest doorbell
The Google Nest doorbell looks very similar to the Arlo Essential above, slimming the design down to a long strip.
This device is mostly going to appeal to those who are deep into the Google ecosystem, filling their house with Google speakers, devices and possibly a Google smartphone in the pocket.
Where Ring requires you to set up a paid subscription to reap the full benefits of the doorbell, Nest includes it all for free.
Nest also offers facial recognition features so your camera knows when it is you or a friend at the door.
Eufy Security video doorbell
Eufy’s security doorbell is similar to its competitors in a lot of ways. The design is fairly similar, as is the list of features on offer. However, unlike some competitors that ask you to sign up for a subscription plan, Eufy instead stores your footage in a hub that comes with it. This does mean there is a delay to access photos and footage, but nothing that will be all that noticeable.
Across price, features and design, Eufy has one of the best smart doorbells available right now.
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2023 has just started and with it come the ghost of the new year resolutions of getting fitter and more active. No matter how much of a cliche it is, sticking to your guns can actually improve more than just your physical fitness. It can also make you more productive. .
Noise is an Indian company primarily known for its value-for-money audio products but also has a lot of super affordable gadgets including action cameras, wireless chargers, cases etc. It also has a wide catalog of stylish smartwatches, which appear to offer a good bang for your buck. After using the Noise ColorFit pro for almost 20 days, this is my review of the fitness band. But before starting, let’s take a look at the specs.Noise ColorFit Pro Specs
Display1.22 inches IPS LCD color display
Water-resistance3ATM or 30m (100 ft)
SensorsHeart rate sensor, Gyro sensor, BP monitor
Weight~58g (with strap)
PriceRs. 2,999 (Amazon)Noise ColorFit Pro: What’s in the Box
Noise ColorFit Pro fitness band
USB charging clip
User manuals and warranty pamphlet
While the box is pretty basic, the fitness band itself is switched on while inside the box and stares at you through the transparent cover on top. At first, it might it appear to a sticker but after taking note of the company’s confidence in the battery makes me feel optimistic about it too.Noise ColorFit Pro Build and Design
The Noise ColorFit is a very plain looking fitness tracker with a 1.2-inch color display. The body is made out of a zinc magnesium alloy with a satiny black surface that can be easily mistaken for smooth and good quality plastic. The screen does not support touch and the only way to navigate through the menu and interact with the options is the capacitive circular button. I’ll talk more about how to use the button in the Performance section.
On the back side is the heart rate sensor and the electrodes for attaching the charger. The charger is like a clamp and holds the fitness band in position while charging. This clamp reinforces the magnetic connection between the charger’s pins and the conducting dots on the back of the fitness band. Besides that, there is no other button on the sides.
Noise ColorFit Pro uses rubber straps which can be bent, stretched, and twisted and even then, there’s no sign of wear. You can also remove these straps and replace them with any standard watch strap that fits. While the Noise ColorFit Pro’s design already appears inspired by the Apple Watch, you can pay Rs 800 extra to get a strap resembling the Nike Sport Bands for Apple Watch to make it more suggestive.
The fitness band also comes with an IP68 rating which means that it can be worn in the shower and won’t be tarnished by sweat or rain. It is rated for usage at up to 3ATM or roughly 30 meters (~100 feet) suggesting you can take it out for a swim and use the dedicated swimming mode for tracking your activity.
Along with the strap, the Noise ColorFit Pro weighs 58 grams and while it does not feel very heavy or hefty, the weight can be linked to the bigger than usual screen in the price bracket. However, it does not feel as thin or light as fitness bands like the Mi Band 2 or 3, or the recently launched Honor Band 4.
Noise ColorFit Pro Display
Noise ColorFit Pro is equipped with a 1.22-inch 240×240 LCD display. If you can ignore the poor implementation of fonts and the big bezels, the display is overall good and has blacks than even the Amazfit Bip, which is much more expensive. The colors have good contrast and if you choose a high-quality image for the watch face, you will rejoice every time you look at the display. While I recommend using vector wallpapers, you can also use regular photos if you prefer and these look great too. Sadly, that’s the only customization option you get with the watch.Noise ColorFit Pro Performance Fitness Tracking
The tasks that Noise ColorFit Pro is meant to do essentially include tracking your daily steps and fitness activities. Besides this, it can also track your heart rate continuously and claims to measure your blood pressure and the oxygen saturation in the blood using the same optical sensor that’s meant for the heart rate.
While testing these claims, I found Noise ColorFit Pro to be tracking steps as well as sleep very accurately. Besides tracking your light and deep sleep zones at night, it also identifies your naps during the day. The heart-rate sensor works decently and will measure the heart rate with a fair amount of accuracy – but only if you’re sitting still. If you’re moving, the fitness band may sometime show some unrealistic results.
The option to measure your blood pressure is promising, and while I haven’t tested it against a sphygmomanometer, it does report an elevated BP when I’m feeling stressed and normal or low value when I’m resting. It works fine but I would really not recommend relying on it if you suffer from hypotension, hypertension, or any other medical condition which causes an imbalance in the blood’s pressure. Again, the results are skewed when the ColorFit Pro is strapped to a moving arm. The watch has a rise-to-wake feature, which uses a gyro sensor, but the same sensor is not used to inform the user to sit still.
Overall, I feel the Noise ColorFit Pro does reasonably well when it comes to tracking steps and sleep. It also features some promising feature like continuous heart rate, BP, and SpO2 monitoring, and while these may not be very reliable stats, they might just get you sufficiently motivated to work harder and focus on the right areas.User Interface
One funny (and somewhat disappointing) aspect of the fitness tracker is its relation with fonts and languages. The fonts used in the user interface are too thin and there’s a lot of focus on a unique animation per each mode rather than utilizing the space on the screen more effectively. Due to this, the ColorFit Pro fails to look like an actual “Pro” smartwatch, it is intended to be.
You do get the liberty to customize one of the three watch faces and while displaying time is mandatory – and there’s no option to show it like an analog watch, you can configure what is displayed above and below it, as well as change the color of the text. The other watch faces, although informative, are really unappealing to look at.
The watch also displays notifications, but it will constantly buzz your wrist in case of persistent ones. So be selective and allow notifications from only the most crucial apps. Furthermore, these notifications go away once you read them and these no option to bring them back after dismissing them once.
Great Features, But Poor Implementation
While the features are promising, their implementation is not very exciting. If you just want basic fitness tracking, then the Noise ColorFit Pro will certainly fit your needs. The poor UI of the smartwatch can be distressing, but the one saving grace is the companion “Da Fit” app which lays out all the information in a visually appealing format.‘Da Fit’ App for Noise ColorFit Pro
The data collected with ColorFit Pro can be seen using the “Da Fit” app which shows important information including the number of steps, physical activity, continuous heart rate, manually measured heart rate, BP and SpO2 data. Inside each window, you can choose data to be displayed per date. There is a lot of information that can be found here but you can interact with any of the elements to see the data analyzed with better precision.
The app also lets you customize the watch face, set alarms, shows you the watch battery level, as well as a host of other options. Using the app, you can also choose the apps whose notifications are displayed on the fitness band. Additionally, you can use the app as a to open an inbuilt camera mode which can be controlled wirelessly using the Noise ColorFit Pro.Noise ColorFit Pro Battery
The backup of the 150mAh is one area where Noise ColorFit Pro impressed me. The band has a 10-day-long battery life with automatic heart rate turned on and the brightness set to max. To test the battery further, I also used a custom wallpaper, which was predominantly white. This is astonishing, especially because the company claims over three days of usage per charge.
When it comes to charging the ColorFit Pro, replenishing the battery took almost two hours with the official magnetic clip charger. Although there is no suggested power rating, I used the charger with a 5W for low-powered transfer adapter to keep things safe.Noise ColorFit Pro: Pros & Cons Pros
Gorilla Glass 5 protection for the display
Swim-proof up to 30m
IP68 rating for dust and water resistance
Great details, deep colors on LCD
10-day long battery lifeCons
No touch controls
Poor UI navigation
Bad icons and fonts
Poorly utilized screen space
BP monitor not very reliableNoise ColorFit Pro: Great for Fitness, But Fails the ‘Smart’ Tag
Noise ColorFit Pro is a highly recommendable fitness gadget for those who want to kick off their fitness routine without feeling too weighed down by the price of a smartwatch. It has a bunch of intriguing features such as the BP monitor, remote camera shutter beside the basic ones such as the activity monitor, sleep tracker, or a simply a customizable watch.
The colored screen is a welcome benefit and its deep colors make you feel that your investment has gotten into the right product. Using the background of your choice, you can personalize the appearance of the time-keeping device.
But you might be disappointed if you buy it with the expectation of a smartwatch; it is certainly not one. It is, in reality, a beefed-up fitness tracker with an attractive display.
Buy Noise ColorFit Pro fitness band on Amazon (Rs 2,999)
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