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In July of 2012, Christian wrote a very positive article about Checkmark, calling it

In July of 2012, Christian wrote a very positive article about Checkmark, calling it the app that Reminders should have been . Thanks to location and time-based reminders, the app made it much easier for users to be notified at the right time and place about an upcoming event or task.

Checkmark 2 just launched in the App Store. Not only has the app received a complete iOS 7 redesign, but it also now includes iCloud sync and recurring reminders. Plus, a whole slew of new features make Checkmark 2 the app that Checkmark should have been…

Design

The newly redesigned app now has three main sections, each with new features. Switch between When, Where, and Lists to create reminders under different circumstances. The When section now features scheduled reminders, recurring reminders, and items you’ve completed. The Where section features places, all tasks, and items you’ve completed. The List section shows you each project list by title and items you’ve completed.

The app’s theme is white with a sea foam green color scheme. It has a simplistic, clean look with soft, rounded text. The available options are fairly easy to access and additional gesture-based shortcuts make accessing all of the features even easier. Most reminder inputs can be added with just a few taps.

App Use

Start by adding some tasks or reminders. Where you add the item depends on your needs. If you want to schedule a task or set a recurring reminder, tap the When section from the menu screen, which is accessible by tapping the menu icon in the upper left corner of the screen.

Add an item by tapping the plus (+) symbol in the upper right corner of the screen. A task window will appear and you can name the item, add a note, input the date and time, and set the recurrence.

Recurrences can be set daily, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or you can customize the recurrence to specific days of the week, or weekdays only. For example, you could set a recurring reminder for every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

If the item is recurring, it will automatically be added to your Recurring section. If not, it will be added to the Scheduled section.

After the date and time passes of a recurring reminder, it will automatically be updated under the next date and time. If it is a one-time event and you did not check it off first, it will be listed at the top of the Scheduled section under “Overdue.” This makes it very easy for users to see if they’ve forgotten about something.

If you want to set a reminder that notifies you when you leave or arrive at a specific location, go to the Where section. Here, you can create location-specific reminders with specific dates. For example, if you jog past your favorite coffee bean roasting company, you can add the location to your list and later set a reminder to grab a pound of beans the next time you jog past it.

To add a location-based reminder, first tap the plus icon in the upper right corner and then name the location, like “Safeway” or “Starbucks.” You can add a location from your current position, find it on the map, or import it from your contacts. If you add it from the map, you will be redirected to an in-app map that will start you off at your current location. You can then type in an address or name of a business to find it on the map.

Once you see your desired location on the map, touch and hold the screen for a second to drop a pin.  You can increase or decrease the radius by scrolling the meter ruler at the bottom of the screen. For example, if you want to make sure you remember to pick up milk on the way home from work, set the radius to be wider so you will be notified a few blocks ahead of time. If you set a reminder to take out the trash when you get home, reduce the radius to 100 meters so you don’t get the notification until you are close to the cans.

You can then add an icon that represents the location. There are 36 icons, including coffee cups, mountain ranges, animal paws, and more.

You can also create group location-based reminders. For example, if you combine all grocery stores in your area, you can set a reminder to pick up milk and the app will notify you when you are close to any store on your list.

To combine locations into a group, tap one icon until it wiggles, then, touch and drag one icon on top of another. You can then name the group and change the icon. Any new reminders will be triggered when you are near one of the locations listed in the group.

To start a task list, tap “Lists” from the menu tab. Then, tap the plus symbol to create a list. Name it. Then, tap it to access the task list. Under the task list, tap the plus icon to add an item. You can also create headers for your lists, making this section a comprehensive project list. For example, you could create a project list for fixing the porch that includes a header for demolishing, rebuilding, and finishing. The demolishing header could include tasks for pulling up old wood and removing nails. The rebuilding header could include tasks for buying and cutting new wood. The finishing header could include tasks for sanding and staining the wood.

The app is now iCloud supported so your reminders will be synced and backed up in case something goes wrong. You can reschedule a reminder for a later time by tapping it. Sort of like a snooze button, you can reschedule the reminder for 10 minutes, one hour, or one day.

The Good

The best feature of this app is location-based reminders, but it certainly isn’t the only thing that makes it good. The time-based recurring reminders option makes it easy for you to have flexibility with your schedule. The List feature makes it possible for you to create projects with notifications attached.

The Bad

It does not sync with any other productivity apps. If you already have a lot of lists stored in Reminders, you’ll have to start from scratch.

Value

Currently, Checkmark 2 is on sale for half off at $2.99. Unlike its predecessor, this is a pricey app. It does come with a lot more features, but it is difficult to say that $5.99 is a reasonable price to pay for a reminders app. At the current cost, it is a good buy.

Conclusion

Just like its predecessor, this is the app that Reminders wishes it could be. It has plenty of convenient options, great integration with location-based notifications, and looks good with iOS 7. At $2.99, it is a good buy for those looking for a new reminders app. When it reverts to full price, I can’t say I would recommend the higher cost. If you want to get your hands on it before the price goes up, download it in the App Store today.

Related Apps

Any.DO is a useful reminders app. 24me combines reminders with a calendar app.

The developer of Checkmark 2 very kindly gave us an extra promo code, which we are sending along to you at no charge. Good luck.

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Sonos Beam (Gen 2) Review

Sonos Beam (Gen 2) Review – Dolby Atmos Magic

Sonos’ original Beam wowed with just how much home theater audio it packed into its tiny footprint, and now the Beam (Gen 2) is adding Dolby Atmos to the mix. A little more expensive at $449, and a lot smarter inside, this new Beam sees Sonos double-down on targeting an audience that wants surround sound but doesn’t want to be surrounded by speakers. There, with some qualifications, the surreptitious soundbar succeeds.

The S2 transition has caused no small amount of headache for Sonos, but it’s hard to argue that it wasn’t worth it. In addition to Atmos support, there’s also higher-definition streaming audio and more headroom for the company’s future features.

Like the Arc, the new Beam has a plastic grille with thousands of tiny holes, rather than the fabric cover of the original soundbar. You probably won’t notice the difference from the couch across the room, but it should make it easier to wipe clean of dust. It’s just shy of 26-inches wide, and still comes in matte white or black finishes; a panel of touch-sensitive controls for volume, play/pause, track skip, and microphone mute are on top.

The rear ports selection is the same, too: power, ethernet, and HDMI. The latter now supports HDMI eARC as well as ARC; you don’t need eARC for Dolby Atmos, but the bandwidth is greater than over an ARC connection. That means better overall audio quality is possible, but many streaming providers are still using compressed Atmos anyway so depending on your source it may not make much of a difference.

Setup is as straightforward as any Sonos product, and the new Beam now has an NFC chip – it’s just to the left of the control panel – so that you can tap an NFC-enabled phone there and have the link to your network made even faster. If you have a fairly recent TV that whole integration should be handled by HDMI-CEC, so your TV remote can control the Beam’s volume. Alternatively, there are IR options you can go through in the Sonos app.

Finally, there’s Trueplay. Sonos’ audio tuning system promises to finesse the EQ to suit the acoustic properties of the room. To do that, you need to walk around the space with your iPhone held up, as a series of faintly-ominous bleeps and bloops recreate the feel of a mid-2000s conceptual art installation. That is, assuming you’re not using an iPhone 13, which – at time of writing – isn’t supported by Trueplay yet.

Sonos does have automatic Trueplay on its portable Move and Roam speakers, but its mains-powered models stick with the regular version. The company’s argument is that the phone-based Trueplay has better results than using a speaker’s own internal microphone, and I’ll say you can notice the slight-but-worth-doing difference in audio balance post-Trueplay-tuning. Still, it’d be nice for those who use Android – or who just don’t go to the effort of running through the two-minute Trueplay process – if the Beam could fall back on auto-tuning instead.

As for what’s actually being tuned, despite the addition of Dolby Atmos support the hardware inside is unchanged. You still get a center tweeter, four mid-woofers, and three passive radiators, plus the Class-D digital amps to drive them. That’s just as it was in the original Beam.

What’s new are two new arrays dedicated to surround sound and height as, a little confusingly, Sonos refers to them. You can think of an array as a set of processing channels; the original Beam had three of them. It means it can use the existing hardware to give some of the sense of height that Atmos-encoded content includes.

Without dedicated up-firing drivers, you’ll be unsurprised to hear that the gen 2 Beam doesn’t give the same sort of Atmos experience as a full room of multiple speakers. Then again, that’s really not what Sonos is promising. What you get instead is an unexpectedly good facsimile of that.

Sonos leans on the Beam’s faster processor and its knowledge of how our hearing works to massage height and width perception, and it definitely sounds more encompassing than the first-generation soundbar. No, you’re not going to be reflexively ducking from missiles whizzing overhead, or have the sudden impression of someone shouting from over your shoulder, but it definitely feels richer and more immersive.

Since the surround audio is being bounced off your walls, bigger spaces start to dilute the effect. You can link the new Beam with a pair of Sonos speakers for wireless rear channels, and things got even better when I added a couple of Play 1 behind me. Again, that’s not going to do anything to improve the overhead sound, but there’s definitely a greater sense of height that the original Beam couldn’t supply.

Elsewhere, the new Beam works just fine with your music, cranks loud, and has decent stereo separation. I’d still recommend a pair of Play 1 with a wireless stereo configuration if music is your first priority. Where Move and Roam have Bluetooth support, Beam sticks with WiFi, though you do get AirPlay 2 for streaming from Apple devices.

You can do all the usual Sonos niceties like grouping Beam with multiple other zones, play from multiple services through the Sonos app, hook it up to a broader home automation system such as Crestron, and access Sonos’ selection of free and paid streaming radio channels. If you set up Amazon Alexa or the Google Assistant you can use Beam as an oversized smart speaker, but they’re thankfully optional.

Motorola Moto 360 2 Review

Our Verdict

The 2nd-generation Moto 360 is a decent smartwatch offering excellent build quality and hardware. The value is good if you avoid the extras on the Moto Maker but they are hard to resist. Battery life is fairly good and performance too apart from the odd moment. All of this is leading to a whole hearted recommendation, if only Motorola had made the one change we wanted – removing that flat tyre from the display. As much as we like the Moto 360, it’s hard to look past this, as small as it may seem.

Motorola used IFA 2024 to showcase it’s new Moto 360 smartwatch, which is the second-generation of the wearable and now comes in two sizes. Here’s our full and in-depth Moto 360 2 (2nd-generation) review. See also: Best smartwatches 2024

Updated 21 December with video review.

Moto 360 2 review: Price & availability

Motorola has now launched the new Moto 360 which starts at £229 when you build it on the Moto Maker, which we’ll talk more about later. Of course, if you want the larger model or a more premium strap, you can expect that price tag to increase significantly. That’s more than the original but still a good price with rivals coming in above this.

You can also get the Moto 360 2 from Amazon for certain models (no Moto Maker, of course) with prices, at the time of writing, starting at £211.

The most you can spend is £349 which is the Men’s 46mm model with a gold case, micro knurl bezel and metal strap. These add £40, £30, £20 and £30 to the starting price respectively. Find out more about the Moto Maker in the next section.

For comparison, the Apple Watch starts at £299 for the small Sport model, and the LG Urbane costs £219. Last year’s Moto 360 was priced at £199.99. Considering aspects like the build quality and hardware on offer, the value is good if you don’t add too many extras.

Moto 360 2 review: Design & build

We loved the original Moto 360 when it launched early last year as one of the first Android Wear smartwatches, not least because of its circular display that helps it look more like a traditional smartwatch rather than a lump of tech strapped to your wrist.

But the biggest complaint we had about it (as did many, many others) is that there’s a portion of that circular display dedicated to the ambient light sensor and therefore doesn’t have pixels. This results in an irritating ‘flat tyre’ effect. That’s why we’re so disappointed to see that it’s still there! If you want to use a circular design as your clock face, you’ll find that the bottom of it is cut off in an ugly and truly frustrating fashion. It might seem like a small thing but it makes a really big difference.

Motorola has put some time and thought into the rest of the design, though. There are now two sizes available. We’re not keen on the way Motorola has labelled these sizes as men’s and women’s, but in the ‘Men’s’ collection there’s a black, silver or gold option, and in the ‘Women’s’ collection there’s silver, gold and rose gold.

When it comes to the size options, Motorola has included the 46mm and 42mm models in the Men’s collection, but the Women’s collection only features the smaller 42mm design -awkward.

The smartwatch has a stainless steel body, and has been slimmed down significantly helping it look sleek and in some cases quite elegant with the leather straps. The physical button on the side of the watch has been moved up slightly, too, to the 2 o’clock position. This makes it a lot easier to use.

As mentioned, the Moto 360 is available to customise through Moto Maker, meaning you can choose exactly the strap, colour and size combination you like. This isn’t new, but the previous Moto 360 had very limited options, whereas this year’s model offers lots of choice. You can even choose to have a different colour bezel around the watch face, for example, and Motorola doesn’t charge extra for that.

You do have to pay extra for ‘micro etch’ for Women and ‘micro knurl’ for Men though which is an additional £20. Tiny lines are cut into the metal to add these effects.

In terms of durability, the Gorilla Glass display combined with IP67 dust and water resistance should keep it safe in most conditions, but you won’t want to take it with you if you plan on going swimming or taking a bath. This is the same as the original.

Moto 360 2 review: Hardware & specs

We’ve talked about how the Moto 360 looks, but what can it actually do? Each model comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 chip inside, with a 1.2GHz quad-core processor. This new chip brings the Moto 360 in line with premium smartwatches like LG’s Watch Urbane and the Huawei Watch (which you can find out more about in our hands-on review here).

Performance is generally very good but we have found the new Moto 360 to occasionally freeze, mostly when dismissing a notification or card. This is a shame since it’s not something we’ve really experienced on rival Android Wear devices. It can also take a second or two to load some apps.

That Snapdragon chip is paired with Adreno 350 graphics, and there’s 512MB of RAM and 4GB of on-board storage should you want to download songs and listen to them while you’re out and about without your smartphone.

Which brings us on to the next point, which is that the Moto 360 itself can connect to Wi-Fi, which means you can use lots of its internet-requiring features without your smartphone should you wish to, as long as you’re able to connect to Wi-Fi.

We’ve talked a bit about the screen size, but taking a closer look at the resolution you’ll find that the 42mm model is 360 x 325 pixels at a pixel density of 263ppi, while the bigger watch offers 360 x 330 pixels at 233 ppi. Both are clear,crisp and an improvement on the original in this respect. However, as mentioned, that flat tyre is a real sticking point.

There’s still a heart rate monitor on the spec sheet and this is on the backside of the watch once again. This, if it is of much use to you, works better than most we’ve seen on smartwatches and genuinely gives a reading without needing to push the watch into your skin. We’re not convinced it’s always accurate though, providing a reading of 100 bpm while sitting a desk writing this review.

There’s no GPS so like rivals, the Moto 360 2 isn’t a great choice for those looking for great fitness features. You’ll want to look out for the Moto 360 Sport when that arrives.

Depending on which model you buy, the Moto 360 2 either has a smaller or larger battery than the original. The 42mm has a 300mAh battery while the 46mm is 400mAh. Our review sample had the larger and we found that with default screen settings (always on), it lasted a couple of days with fairly light usage – heavier users will likely need to charge every night.

Charging can be a faff with smartwatches but Motorola makes things much easier with the wireless charging dock. This means that you can simply take your watch off at night, leave it on the dock while you sleep and it will be topped up when you put it back on, no matter how much you’ve used it. The problem comes when you find yourself away from the dock for whatever reason since you can’t just plug in your smartphone charger.  

Moto 360 2 review: Software

The new Moto 360 runs Google’s Android Wear OS for smartwatches, which means its fully compatible with most Android devices, and interestingly also with the iPhone now that Google has released an Android War app for iOS. iPhone users won’t get the full range of features, though.

Moto Body is Motorola’s fitness app, which uses the sensors in the Moto 360 to track steps, calories and heart-rate, and can also be used to track specific workout activities. Motorola has announced a new Sport model of the Moto 360, but that was only in prototype form at IFA and there’s no word on when that’ll be available to buy just yet.

In addition to the Moto Body app, Motorola has also added Live Dials for the Moto 360, which means you can see information such as weather forecasts and your step count at a glance right from the home screen. Tapping on those Live Dials on the watch faces which have them will take you to the related app on the watch itself.

There aren’t as many faces to choose from compared with some recent rivals but you can, of course, download more.

Specs Motorola Moto 360 2: Specs

Android Wear (Android 4.3 or later) and (iPhone 5 onwards, with iOS 8.2 or later)

1.37in, 360×325, 263ppi (42mm)

1.56in, 360×330, 233ppi (46mm)

Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 with 1.2 GHz quad-core CPU

Adreno 305, 450MHz GPU

512MB RAM

4GB internal storage

Bluetooth 4.0 LE

Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g

Accelerometer

Ambient Light Sensor

Gyroscope

Vibration/Haptics engine

Optical heart rate monitor (PPG)

Dual digital mics

Wireless charging with included dock

IP67 dust and water resistant

300mAh (42mm)

400mAh (46mm)

Oppo Reno 2 Review: Cameras Galore

Our Verdict

If you already have any other Oppo smartphone, it’s probaby not worth splashing out on the Reno 2. For everyone else, it looks like a good option if you want an Android phone with good cameras, excellent performance and long battery. You may be among those who still do not trust the resilience of motorised cameras. Although we understand your doubts, the wing-shaped design of the Reno 2 seems good and also allows you to have a beautiful screen without notches.

Two months after its launch in India, Oppo has held an event in London for the new generation of its Reno range. In this case, only two new models arrive in Europe: Reno 2 and Reno 2 Z, while Reno 2 F does not. We’ve been lucky to try Oppo Reno 2 before its official launch so here’s our full review.

The main difference between the Reno 2 and the original Reno is the rear camera. Now, the module includes four lenses that significantly improve photographic results and bring them closer to those of the Oppo Reno 10x Zoom also launched in April.

Price

The official presentation in Europe of Oppo Reno 2 took place 16 October, at an event held at the English National Ballet in London. 

It will be available from 18 October priced from £449 in the UK – that’s £50 cheaper than the original. If you’re looking for something even cheaper, the Reno 2 Z is just £329.

Check out our best mid-range phone chart to see what it’s up against.

Design & Build

Before analyzing the performance of Reno 2, you are probably interested in knowing more about its design. At first glance, it does not present too many physical differences with the previous model and retains that curved structure at the rear, as well as at the angles.

The dimensions have changed slightly, now with a taller and thicker body than before: 160 x 74.3 x 9.5mm instead of 156.6 x 74.3 x 9mm. That’s because Oppo has made room for a bigger screen and a more powerful battery.

Our first feeling was that the Reno 2 is somewhat heavy, but it should be said that you quickly get used to both weight and dimensions, especially if you come from a device with a smaller screen. If you are also one of those who prioritise having a large screen to be able to handle it well with one hand, this experience is even better with the absence of any type of notch or hole in the panel thanks to its moving selfie camera.

The Reno 2’s bezel is very small but still visible. Although aesthetically we prefer the design with curved edges of mobiles such as the Galaxy Note 10, we still prefer that there be a bezel because the image on the screen is not interupted.

As we have already mentioned, the main difference between the first Reno and this is the rear camera. This also affects the design, since behind we now have four lenses instead of just two. The O-dot is still present to protect the camera.

The presence of this raised nubbin does not make the mobile completely flat and it may bother you if you type with your smartphone resting on the table. The Reno 2 will shake a little when writing but at least it will remain stable and will not slip.

It is also worth mentioning that it has the same Gorilla Glass 6 on the front and the same Gorilla Glass 5 on the rear as per the original Reno and the Reno 10x Zoom.

If you are bothered by the fingerprint marks left by your fingers, you can use the protective case that comes in the box, although its design will not be to everyone’s taste. There is no mention of its water resistance, so we assume it’s not resistant.

The Reno 2 arrives in Europe in two colors: Ocean Blue and Luminous Black. In other markets it is also available in Sunset Pink, and we are looking forward to seeing it. The tones are brighter than the Ocean Green and the Jack Black of the previous model.

Specs & Features

Since Oppo has not surprised us with too many design developments, the most interesting thing here is to see if the small internal improvements such as screen, cameras, processor and battery make a big difference to the original and can compete with current rivals.

Screen

We have already said that the screen of Oppo Reno 2 is somewhat larger than that of its successor. Specifically, the new Reno has gained just 0.1in on the screen, its panel being 6.5- instead of 6.4in. Also, the aspect ratio is now a very tall 20:9.

This is the same AMOLED Full HD+ screen, but now it has a somewhat higher resolution of 2400×1080 pixels at 401ppi. Oppo says it has a brightness of 500 nits, quite similar to our results at 463.

We can’t say how the screen looks in broad daylight because our tests have coincided with rainy days. However, we think that in general terms you will not have problems seeing the panel with that brightness level.

The colours are vibrant and the images look sharp and with good contrast. Some high quality YouTube videos do not play with the desired quality even at a resolution of 1080p, especially if they are especially dark images.

At a much lower price, the screen of this Oppo is much better than the LCD of the iPhone 11. The Reno 2 panel reaches higher levels of brightness and more saturated colors. If this saturation bothers you, though, you can adjust the colors to softer tones.

Cameras

And so onto the main event since the two rear lenses of the original Reno have multiplied to four.

In the first generation, the rear camera configuration consisted of a 48Mp main lens and a 5Mp depth sensor. Now, in addition to the 48Mp lens, it has a wide angle 8Mp camera, a 13Mp telephoto lens and a 2Mp mono sensor.

The camera disappoints when it comes to to 20x magnification. With the optical zoom and even with the hybrid zoom up to x5, the results are decent, but thereafter, with the digital zoom, the photos lose a lot of quality and are quite blurry.

If we compare the results obtained with the main lens with and without the night mode activated, the differences are quite remarkable. With the mode activated, the portrayed objects will be much better appreciated, almost as we perceive it with our own eyes.

By testing the macro mode, the Reno 2 will be intelligently able to detect what it is that you are portraying. As it happened with the Reno 10x Zoom, we like more the blurry effect that is achieved with this type of photos than with the portrait mode activated.

Speaking of portrait mode, in the gallery you can also appreciate the differences between a selfie using this mode and another without using it. The bokeh effect is not too pronounced and the results are more natural. In addition, it manages to handle the hair silhouette well.

We have taken these photos with the front retractable camera. This is the same removable system that we have seen in previous Renos in the form of shark wings and with a 16Mp lens.

To those who are concerned about the durability of this module, we must say that the automatic closing of the camera when detecting the free fall has always worked for us. In addition, Oppo says they have tested 200,000 times and should last up to 5 years.

The new video features are interesting. We especially want to highlight the Ultra Steady mode, which offers fantastic stabilization and it will make it seem like you are using a gimbal.

Oppo says its retractable camera is the first to allow video recording with a bokeh effect. It should be said that the blurred background is achieved artificially through software and that the results are not too good (hair is often blurred).

Performance & Battery life

The Oppo Reno 2 is only available in a single configuration: 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. The previous model, on the other hand, was also available with 6/128GB.

That’s a nice upgrade, then and the Reno 2 also comes equipped with a new processor. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G and the Adreno 618 GPU, which is a step up from the Snapdragon 710 processor.

If we look at the performance tests below, we see that Reno 2 surpasses Reno Z, although this was to be expected. On the other hand, it was not possible vs the Qualcomm 855 found in the Reno 10x Zoom.

When comparing the Reno 2 with other mid-range smartphones that have recently gone on the market, we see that both the Xiaomi Mi 9 and the OnePlus 7T far exceed the results in Geekbench 4.

For practical purposes, the new Oppo device remains a handset with which you can trust if you want to perform from the most basic tasks to more intense ones, although you may suffer a bit with video games rich in graphics.

In terms of longevity, the Reno 2 includes a battery with a capacity of 4000mAh, slightly higher than the 3765mAh of the previous generation. In our tests with Geekbench 4, it has given a result of 10 hours and 10 minutes.

This translates into hours and hours of real-world usage. The battery of the Reno 2 should easily last throughout the day, even if you regularly use the camera, watch video or play video games.

If you’re afraid of running out of battery too early, in addition to having a power bank nearby, you can use the power saving mode. You can set, for example, to save battery provided the phone is idle.

Connectivity & Audio

For now, 5G connectivity has not reached the mid-range market, so if you want to enjoy higher speeds when using the internet you must continue betting on its Reno 10x Zoom 5G model.

The other connectivity services are what we would expect today on any smartphone: Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC and GPS. You can also unlock by face recognition or fingerprint sensor embedded in the screen and both systems are very fast.

Although the charging port is USB-C, the headphone jack port is maintained, something that we’re happy about. Personally, we are getting used to the idea of ​​connecting headphones in the same port as the charging cable.

We already complained about this in our review of the Reno 10x Zoom and we see that Oppo has not decided to fix it: the audio comes mainly through the speaker at the bottom. It bothers us particularly and does not help to offer a premium experience at all.

Software

Another novelty of Reno 2 is the operating system. Bearing in mind that the previous model launched only six months ago, we did not expect Oppo to include a completely new version of its Color OS.

Color OS 6.1 comes pre-installed, which is based on Android 9 Pie. The interface has some differences, but usually we do not notice major changes. We quite like the visual design of this software, although it may seem to some that the icons are too small. In any case, you can only make the font and screen size of the apps larger.

In general terms it works well, although in some moments we have noticed that it does not respond well to some movements with the finger, such as swiping up and down or pinching with two fingers to zoom.

As we saw with Color OS 6, the possibility of controlling Reno 2 with certain gestures is preserved: draw a circle on the locked screen to open the camera or a ‘V’ to activate the flashlight, or also slide three fingers down to capture the screen.

If you swipe three fingers up, you will activate the split screen option instead. It is useful for those who want to chat with someone while watching a video on YouTube or other combinations of apps. It is not compatible with certain apps like Instagram, though.

Finally, we want to highlight Oppo’s efforts to take care of the health of its users. With Reno 2, you can also control your mobile use with the Digital Wellbeing feature ’or protect your view with Night Protection or Visual Anti-fatigue Mode.

Verdict

Those who expected many developments with the second generation of Oppo Reno will be disappointed to see that the Reno 2 has few differences with its predecessor, especially physically.

It should be said, however, that we are glad that the Chinese company has at least improved the cameras. The Reno 2 quad camera will not leave anyone unhappy, although the hybrid zoom could be better.

For an average user, the power of the processor and the graphics card will be enough even to watch Netflix series or play a video game. They will also celebrate not having to charge the battery before the end of the day.

The Reno 2 has tough rivals including the Xiaomi Mi 9 and the OnePlus 7T, although they are more expensive.

Related stories for further reading Specs Oppo Reno 2: Specs

ColorOS 6.1 basad on Android 9

6.5in AMOLED Full HD+ (2400×1080, 20:9, 401ppi)

Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G

Qualcomm Adreno 618

8GB RAM

256GB storage

Quad camera: 48Mp (f/1,7) + 8Mp wide angle (f/2,2) + 13Mp telephoto (f/2,4) + 2Mp mono

16Mp pop-up front camera (f/2,0)

In-screen fingerprint scanner

Wi-Fi 802.11ac

Bluetooth 5.0

NFC

GPS

USB-C

4000mAh (20W VOOC Flash Charge)

160 x 74.3 x 9.5mm

189g

Reolink Argus 2 Review: Affordable Security Camera

Our Verdict

The Argus 2 might not be that different to the original but Reolink has corrected the main issue by switching to a clip-in lithium battery. Get the solar panel and things are even better. Otherwise, this is still a great camera at an affordable price that you can use indoor or outdoor with decent 1080p quality and a range of other features including two-way audio, night mode and smart motion detection. You don’t even need to use cloud storage so the Argus 2 is an attractive option in the security camera world.

We found the Reolink Argus security camera a decent option and the firm is back with a new and improved second generation. Here’s our Reolink Argus 2 review.

The new version looks pretty similar and much of the spec and feature list stays the same. But the Argus 2 comes with upgrades that apply mainly to the battery tech including an optional solar charging.

Reolink Argus 2: 

Price

We liked the original Argus largely because of its affordable price of £99. A new model in the tech world is often more expensive but the Argus 2 is £149/$129 despite not being hugely different.

That said, you can buy it from Amazon for £121 which means it’s still cheaper than many rivals such as the Hive View ( £189/ $199), Ring Stick Up Cam ( £249/ $254) and Nest Cam IQ ( £299/ $299).

For all the options, see our roundup of the  best security cameras.

Reolink Argus 2: 

Design and build

The Reolink Argus 2 uses a familiar tall egg-like design as we saw with the original. The camera sits on a ball-joint to give you simple and easy adjustment to get the right angle.

In the box are different mounting options, depending on where you want to place it. There’s even a strap that can be put round a tree branch or similar, although this isn’t as stable as a traditional bracket.

Once again the Argus 2 is weather-proof with an IP65 rating so it can survive outside, and there’s even a silicone case in the box with a cute little hood to protect it even more.

You can mount it where you like, it just needs to be in Wi-Fi range to work.

The main upgrade comes in the form of different battery tech. The original used four annoying CR 123A batteries but the Argus 2 has a rechargeable lithium battery that can easily be removed.

It charges via Micro-USB and you can even get an optional solar panel for £26.99 which means the camera battery will remain topped up so the whole thing is much less hassle. As long as you get a bit of sunlight, of course.

Reolink Argus 2: Specs and features

The above battery change is the biggest upgrade and it’s very welcome here.

Battery life won’t be an issue if you use the solar panel (probably worth the extra if you can afford it). Otherwise you’re looking at four to six months depending your usage.

Otherwise, the camera pretty much just works as it did before so you get a 1080p resolution with a wide 130-degree field of view as well as features like, motion detection and two-way audio.

The camera is decent quality and you can live stream to various devices using apps for iOS, Android, Windows and Mac. The app is similar but has a fresh look so it’s more modern but still easy to use with quick access to all the main features.

It’s all pretty easy to setup using a clever system of QR codes. You’ll want to play with the settings, mainly PIR (passive infrared) so you don’t get too many notifications of motion. The app will handily make suggestions if it thinks the settings are wrong.

The main upgrade other than the battery is improved night vision. The new Starlight CMOS sensor still offers 33ft of range but the Argus 2 can provide night mode in colour.

As before, the Argus 2 has a microSD card slot (for up to 64GB of storage) which means you don’t have to rely on cloud storage like many rivals. This often costs quite a lot so the Reolink isn’t just cheaper in terms of the initial price.

Buying a memory card will be cheaper in the long run but should you want cloud storage, Reolink is working on adding this feature. You can check for updates here.

Related articles for further reading Specs Reolink Argus 2: Specs

Indoor/outdoor security camera

iOS, Android Computer: Windows, Mac compatible

2Mp, 1080p sensor

130° field of view

Night vision

PIR sensor (up to 9m)

Two-way audio

LED status light

Micro-USB

microSD card slot (up to 64GB)

11b/g/n Wi-Fi

119 x 65 x 59mm

350g

IP65

Lenovo Flex 20 Review: This Tabletop All

The Lenovo Flex 20 makes a lot of compromises to achieve its light weight and low price. Most people would be better off saving a little more cash to buy a machine they won’t outgrow so quickly.

PC manufacturers seem convinced that everyone wants a Windows tablet, be it 8 inches or big enough to double as a TV tray. The larger models are effectively all-in-one PCs that can lie flat to allow several people to interact with the touchscreen at once.

ROBERT CARDIN

The spring-loaded hinge on the Lenovo Flex 20’s back panel allows you to position it at nearly any angle, including completely flat. 

The Flex 20’s specs read more like those of a bargain-basement cheapie than of a machine you’d expect to play games on. Powering the Flex 20 are a dual-core fourth-generation Intel Core i3-4010U processor, integrated Intel HD 4400 Graphics, just 4GB of DDR3/1600 memory, and a 500GB mechanical hard drive that spins its platters at 5400 rpm. The saddest spec of all is the screen resolution of 1600 by 900 pixels—a 19.5-inch IPS display needs 1080p.

ROBERT CARDIN

Perhaps Lenovo’s engineers don’t want you to reduce the Flex 20’s portability by hanging too many devices from it. But to provide just two USB ports? Really?

The performance is what you’d expect of a machine with such specs. The Flex 20 managed to post a WorldBench 8.1 score of just 78. That’s 22 percent slower than the benchmark results of our reference all-in-one desktop, an Acer Aspire U A5600U-UB13 powered by a third-gen Intel Core i5-3230M. The 27-inch Horizon, meanwhile, delivered a WorldBench 8.1 score of 111. And Dell’s XPS 18 Touch—another all-in-one tablet/hybrid—scored an impressive 171 (with the assistance of its 32GB SSD cache drive).

The Lenovo Flex 20’s battery life is very good, but the machine turned in an otherwise disappointing benchmark performance. 

What does that mean for family game night? A lot of waiting. Lenovo created a custom interface called Aura, designing it in a ring so that users can control the tablet from any side of the screen. Launching a game in Aura left me on a blank screen long enough for me to start wondering whether the game was actually launching or if the whole thing had crashed (which it did, on occasion).

Battery life is adequate for a quick evening of gaming. The Flex 20 lasted 3 hours, 25 minutes playing high-def video in our run-down tests, which means the kids could grab it for movie night—and considering that it’s just 7.7 pounds, they could probably get it to their room without your help. Gaming will eat that up a little faster: In our tests, 2 hours of play left the battery with a 25 percent reserve.

The machine has no memory card reader, no HDMI input or video-out, and no optical drive.

Lenovo offers some interesting wireless accessories to enhance the Flex 20’s gaming capabilities: joysticks (which attach to the touchscreen with suction cups), air-hockey strikers (small paddles that glide over the touchscreen), and the E-Dice (a die that tells the computer which side is up after a roll). Unlike with the Horizon, you must purchase the Flex 20 accessories separately: A package with one pair of joysticks and one pair of strikers costs $50, and the E-Dice costs $60. A wireless mouse and keyboard are included with the PC.

ROBERT CARDIN

Resolution of 1600 by 900 on a 19.5-inch IPS display is another letdown. 

After the Flex 20 failed to win me over during family game night, I set it up in my office to serve as an all-in-one desktop. It wasn’t so great in that role either. Of all the computers I’ve tested, none has had a problem connecting to my Wi-Fi router two floors below. The Flex 20 couldn’t hold a connection.

It’s priced about right

The idea of a touchscreen all-in-one that you can lay flat on a table is relatively new, so manufacturers are still looking for the right balance of performance, price, portability, and features. Lenovo went all out with the Horizon and then scaled back with the Flex 20. I think the company scaled back too far. Even with the lower-resolution screen, the Core i3 processor isn’t enough to support fluid tabletop gaming, which is where such machines should excel.

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