Trending March 2024 # Review: Bragi’s ‘The Headphone’, Cord # Suggested April 2024 # Top 5 Popular

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They apparently didn’t get the message about not naming cord-free earbuds with a singular naming scheme, so this new product from Bragi is awkwardly named, “The Headphone.” But branding aside, these earbuds have made quite an improvement over the company’s first-generation product called “The Dash,” which was one of the first to hit the market a year ago. 

My biggest complaint when testing The Dash was half-baked fitness features, unnecessary built-in storage, and sloppy touch controls that cluttered what could have been an otherwise decent cord-free earbud experience. The Headphone fixes a lot of those issues (mostly by simply removing the problematic features), and what you end up with is a basic but less expensive cord-free earbud that actually works well enough for everyday use. They’re also one of the first cord-free earbuds worth considering before the launch of Apple’s delayed AirPods.

They have slimmed down just enough compared to The Dash to not feel or look too bulky in your ear. They don’t protrude from the ear much more than the average wired set of earbuds, and they were light and comfortable enough to wear for extended periods of time. In the process of scaling back features, they also lost two little sensors on the inside of the ear that made The Dash uncomfortable for my ears. They come with three ear tip sizes including a small and large silicon tips and medium Comply Foam tips that provide an even snugger fit and more isolated sound. 

The Headphone isn’t waterproof like The Dash, which the company is still selling as a premium version, and it also doesn’t have a companion iOS app or the ability to receive firmware updates down the road. The company says it’s sweatproof, however, and still suitable for workouts.

There are three buttons on the right ear: + and – buttons to adjust volume up or down or skip to next and previous songs (with a double or triple press), and one main button to pause/play music and answer calls. The buttons are quite small and stiff, which means they require the tip of your nail to push in easily, but they are a welcomed improvement over the messy touch controls the company included on the previous generation product.

You can also hold the volume up button to enable an audio transparency mode, which lets in outside sound so you can better hear your surroundings. Some prefer a headphone that doesn’t totally isolate and block outside noise, and others will find it handy to enable this feature in certain situations like when talking with others or, for example, cycling outdoors where you might want to be aware of your surroundings for safety reasons.

I found the audio transparency to work well, but you can also use just one earpiece instead if that better suits your usage. If you take out the right ear, audio will automatically pause, while taking out the left ear pauses only the left side allowing you to use the right by itself.

Bluetooth pairing is the same old experience— no W1 chip here— but I didn’t have any issues with pairing to my iPhone 7 or Mac initially. Once paired for the first time, The Headphone automatically paired reliably for me afterwards, but will have the usual Bluetooth range limitations and start to drop out from time to time if you stray from your device. If you’re using multiple devices automatic pairing is less reliable; you’ll often have to manually disconnect and connect from your Mac or iPhone if you want to switch from one device to the other in the same room. 

The sound quality on The Headphone(s) is really nothing to brag about, but it passes the test for the price point when comparing to other Bluetooth headphones and the competitors. They sound better than Apple’s EarPods, for example, but they are still a bit on the thin side and won’t blow you away. Sure, you can find better sounding Bluetooth earbuds with a wire, but the options for cord-free earbuds at this point are few and far between. They still don’t sound as rich and full as the Sol Republic Amps Air— the best sounding cord-free earbuds I’ve tested so far— but those are also much bulkier compared to The Headphone. If you’re happy with the audio on Apple’s EarPods or similar sub-$100 earbuds, these likely won’t disappoint.

Call quality is another story, but a familiar one for earbuds and especially cord-free earbuds. The company says it uses “Left and right external auditory microphones and EarBone microphone,” but the mic was only just passable for short calls in relatively quiet environments. I wouldn’t buy this to rely on for calling or for important calls with noisy surroundings.

A big downside to Bragi’s The Headphone is the fact that the charging case doesn’t include a built-in battery for on-the-go charging. Most of the competitors are doing this and some at similar price points, so it’s something to consider if you’re someone that is on the move often or for long periods of time. But they claim 6 hours of battery life on a single charge (and they take around 2 hours to charge from 0%), which for most people will be enough for an entire day’s worth of usage and commutes. You’ll find a battery life indicator next to the Bluetooth icon on your iPhone’s status menu bar. A short 3-inch micro-USB to USB cable is included for plugging in the case. 

Should you buy it (them)?

The two big factors for me when it comes to testing these products is fit/comfort and sound quality. So far one or the other has been a deal breaker in making cord-free earbuds my daily drivers over wired Bluetooth options. But Bragi’s The Headphone is one of the first products I’ve tested that managed to pass in both of those categories, scoring high points for fit and squeaking by on sound quality.  If Sol Republic could shave off 15-20% in overall size in a future generation Amps Air product without sacrificing their great sound quality, they’d be my top pick. But as the market stands right now, Bragi’s The Headphone at $149 is so far the best overall cord-free earbud I’ve reviewed.

You can pre-order them now for $149 for shipping in early January.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

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Hulu’s $40 Live Tv Service Is Basically Basic Cable For Cord

Hulu first started teasing its plans for a premium Live TV streaming service exactly one year ago. Today, the program is going into public beta with a $40 per month subscription plan that includes more than 50 live TV channels (the exact number can vary because local affiliate access varies by region), as well as the content found in it’s typical $8.99 streaming subscription service.

The company hasn’t been secretive about its process, and has been announcing content partnerships along the way. Since the initial announcement, however, the live TV streaming service landscape has changed quite a bit in just one year. New services like Google’s YouTube TV and AT&T’s DIRECTV NOW popped up and existing services like Dish Network’s Sling TV and Playstation Vue have tweaked their offerings to match the current trend of “skinny bundles,” which allow users to get more customized content packages at lower subscription prices.

The Hulu app has gotten a makeover to integrate the new Live TV streaming service. The menus show personalized content for up to six different users on a single account. Hulu

Channels

The list of channels included with Hulu’s $40 streaming package feels very familiar. The selection is similar to what you’ll find in a standard cable package or one of there other live TV streaming services, including channels like CNN, ESPN, TNT, TBS, and the big broadcast networks. The only option by way of a-la-carte channels is a premium Showtime add-on for $9 per month. Hulu says that options for other premium channel add-ons (they weren’t specific about which ones) would be coming down the road.

You’ll noticed that Hulu Live TV is missing Viacom channels like MTV, which is the result of an exclusivity deal with DIRECTV, so the lack of MTV and Comedy Central might hurt a bit.

In a way, the $40 all-in package has the feel of a cable subscription more than some of the more customizable options like Sling TV or Playstation Vue, which offers several tiers depending on which channels you want to watch.

Price

Many of the other streaming TV services, including YouTube TV and DirecTV Now start at the standard $35 rate, which is slightly cheaper than Hulu’s new offering. Hulu, however, also includes its typical streaming service, which usually costs $8.99 on its own. If you want the commercial free option with Hulu’s streaming content, it still costs the extra $4.

Sling offers a much cheaper $20 per month package, but it’s light on channels unless you augment it with a la carte offerings. Otherwise, the pricing across the board is fairly standard.

Hulu Live TV lets you track sports teams and it will automatically show and record games when available in your market. Hulu

DVR

The standard Hulu streaming plan comes with DVR service that can record up to 50 hours of content with two simultaneous recordings. For an extra $14.99 per month, you can upgrade the DVR service to a capacity of 200 hours with unlimited simultaneous recordings. While the standard DVR package should be fine for those switching from traditional cable, it pales in comparison to Google’s YouTube TV offering, which offers unlimited cloud-based DVR storage as part of its standard $35 subscription.

Device compatibility

At launch, Hulu’s service will work with Apple TV, iOS, Android, Chromecast, and Xbox One (Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Samsung smart TV compatibility is in the works). This puts Hulu in the middle of the pack in terms of compatibility, on par with Playstation Vue (which add obvious Playstation support) and Directv Now for the moment. Sling TV offers more options and YouTube TV offers considerably fewer.

Google launchd YouTube TV last month with a $35 subscription, but the service is currently limited to a few major markets. YouTube TV

Interface

In order to accommodate the new features, the app has gotten a facelift. It supports up to six different profiles and offers content recommendations based on user preferences and watching habits. The app integrates live content, recorded content, and streaming content, so if you search for a show or movie, it will check all three options.

Sports

Live sports is one of the main things that still draws people to live TV and Hulu supplements the typical suite of sports channels (CBS Sports, ESPN, Fox Sports, NBC Sports) with regional sports networks where available. Hulu can also track sports teams from major league and automatically record that team’s games when available. Of course, pro sports tend to have tons of broadcast restrictions, but if you’re a fan of a team based in your local market, it could be very handy.

YouTube TV offers 12 sports channels with its standard $35 package, but it’s currently limited in terms of regional availability. It does, however, lack TNT and TBS, which host some of the biggest MLB and NBA games of the year.

This is the lineup of channels on Hulu Live TV at launch. Hulu

Simultaneous streaming

The $40 Hulu Live TV subscription includes up to two simultaneous streams, but you can upgrade to unlimited in-house streams and three outside streams for $15 per month. If you get both the upgraded HDR and the simultaneous stream upgrade, Hulu offers a discount, bringing the total package cost to $60 and saving $10. The $15 upgrade seems a little steep, but the limit of two simultaneous streams isn’t unusually low. YouTube TV offers 3, while Sling TV only offers one with its basic $20 Orange package and up to three with the more expensive Blue package. PlayStation Vue, however, offers five, so if you have a big family, that may be a consideration.

So, which one should you pick?

Right now, there’s a convergence going on with almost all of these services. The decision about which one is right for you likely comes down to a few specific factors, like compatibility with your set top box, or the availability of content in your own area. Most of the major players are now in the live streaming TV game, so that will hopefully mean each service will now be out to prove their worth and carve out their specific niche in the market with added features and expanded functionality.

On paper, Hulu’s $40 Live TV subscription seems like the best option—at least on paper—for users looking to “cut the cord” on cable and replace it with a single digital subscription. It’s nice to have the option to bail out of DVR and live broadcast content and dive into Hulu’s library of streaming content.

Save $49 On Sennheiser Hd 450Bt Wireless Headphone – Early Prime Day Deal

Last Updated on July 11, 2023

As Prime Day inches closer, the anticipation for spectacular deals is mounting. If you’re on the hunt for an early Prime Day deal, we’ve found just the bargain for you.

Currently, the Sennheiser HD 450BT Wireless Headphones are at a 25% discount on Amazon, dropping the price from $199.95 to only $150.11.

That’s an incredible savings of almost $50 on one of the best wireless headphones available.

Save 24% NOW!

SENNHEISER HD 450BT Bluetooth 5.0 Wireless Headphone

Active Noise Cancellation – 30-Hour Battery Life, USB-C Fast Charging, Virtual Assistant Button, Foldable – Black

Best Deals

DEAL @ Amazon

*Prices are subject to change. PC Guide is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Let’s delve into the benefits you can seize for this discounted price. 

Bluetooth 5.0 technology: This isn’t your ordinary Bluetooth connection. You can enjoy your favorite tunes, podcasts, or audiobooks without worrying about dropped connections or laggy audio.

Active Noise Cancellation: Designed for the discerning listener, this feature ensures your audio experience isn’t marred by external noise, allowing you to focus on the music and drown out the world around you.

30-hour battery life: Remember when you were enjoying your favorite album, only to be interrupted by a battery warning? With the HD 450BT, that’s a thing of the past. Its impressive 30-hour battery life means your listening sessions are longer and uninterrupted. 

USB-C fast charging: Fast and efficient, it ensures your headphones are powered up and ready to go in no time.

Sennheiser App support: With Sennheiser App support, you can tweak sound settings to your liking, ensuring the music always sounds exactly the way you want it to.

High-quality audio with deep dynamic bass: Courtesy of the high-quality wireless codec support, including AAC and AptX. AptX Low Latency guarantees that your audio stays in perfect sync with on-screen action when viewing videos.

Voice assistant button: These headphones give you instant access to Siri or Google Assistant at your fingertips, making your life easier and more efficient.

What We Think

The Sennheiser HD 450BT is a stellar choice among wireless headphones, as evident in its premium construction and its loaded feature set. With its integration of top-of-the-line features such as Bluetooth 5.0 technology, Active Noise Cancellation, and an awe-inspiring 30-hour battery life, these headphones certainly exceed expectations for their price bracket. And with the current early Prime Day discount, these headphones provide great value for money.

Early Prime Day Wireless Headphones Deals

Save 50% NOW!

SAMSUNG Galaxy Buds Pro 2 [2024]

SAMSUNG Galaxy Buds Pro 2 [2024] (SM-R510) – (Gray)

Best Deals

Deal @ Amazon

Save 18% NOW!

Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless Industry Leading Headphones

Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless Industry Leading Headphones with Auto Noise Cancelling Optimizer, Crystal Clear Hands-Free Calling, and Alexa Voice Control, Black

Best Deals

Save @ Amazon

Save 17% NOW!

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II, Noise Cancelling Wireless Earbuds

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II, Wireless Earbuds, Bluetooth Earphones with Microphone, In-Ear Noise Cancelling Headphones with Personalized Noise Cancellation and Sound, Triple Black

Best Deals

Save @ Amazon

*Prices are subject to change. PC Guide is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Smartproxy Review: The Reliable, High

This is a sponsored article and was made possible by Smartproxy. The actual contents and opinions are the sole views of the author who maintains editorial independence even when a post is sponsored.

Overview of Smartproxy

Smartproxy doesn’t just specialize in one type of proxy service or tool. Between a a variety of proxies, tools, and user resources/tutorials, users get everything they need to scrape the web efficiently. In fact, Smartproxy actually won the 2023 Best Value Provider by Proxyway for their dedication to meeting customer needs.

Some of the main features the service offers include:

Smartproxy provides four main products:

Residential proxies – More than 40 million proxies from over 195 locations. You get access to the entire IP pool with any subscription. These proxies work for most use cases, such as SEO, social media, business scaling, and massive web scraping.

Datacenter proxies – Over 100 secure U.S. subnets with more than 40,000 proxies that offer both high stability and ultra fast speeds.

Dedicated datacenter proxies – Maintain control over your private IPs while getting full control of your browser history.

SERP API with search engine proxies – Master Google web scraping with a full-stack solution that includes residential and datacenter proxies, scraper, and parser. While it works with other search engines, it doesn’t work with Yahoo.

Use Cases and Pricing

If you’re new to proxies, Smartproxy helps you better understand what you can and can’t do along and how to accomplish tasks straight from your dashboard.

The search engine proxies give you valuable data from Google, other major search engines, and major e-commerce sites, such as Amazon, Aliexpress, and Wayfair. Scraping data from any of these isn’t easy, but Smartproxy’s all-in-one solution ensures you get results. Plus, you only pay for successful requests. Plans start at $100/month for 35,000 successful requests.

Free Bonus Tools

X Browser is designed to work with residential proxies and lets you handle multiple accounts and browsers while protecting your identity. It’s compatible with both Windows and macOS but only works with the Chrome browser. Once set up, it runs in your notification tray for quick access.

The final tool is Smart Scraper. It’s the only tool you can use without a subscription, but you’ll get the most benefit when subscribing to a SERP Scraping API plan. I was impressed to see that you get data sorting, JSON and CSV data exporting, unique fingerprints, and zero CAPTCHAs and IP bans for free. It’s incredibly easy to use directly from your browser.

Smartproxy in Use

All the features are ideal in theory, but the real test comes in actually using the service. The features, pricing, and free tools all combine to separate Smartproxy from the competition.

It was a pleasant experience setting everything up, and the dashboard really is as straightforward as promised.

All I had to do was select my proxy type, which was residential for my test. After that, I set up a user under “Authentication method.” I could use up to three users or buy more if necessary.

Next, I went to “Endpoint Generator” to generate my proxy list. You can use an authenticated user or a whitelisted IP. You also get to select your proxy location, session type, output format, and the method for copying the list (copy to your clipboard or download as .csv or .txt).

It was just a simple matter of setting up the proxy in my tool of choice, which was my PC in this case. I highly recommend checking out the setup guides if you’re not familiar with using proxies. They have detailed guides for browsers, operating systems, proxy managers, smartphones, and much more. This is all in the Help docs listed on the dashboard.

In less than five minutes, I was ready to start to using my proxies. While datacenter proxies are designed to work faster, I couldn’t ask for more from the residential. Through several tests, requests went through quickly with zero problems. There was very minimal lag, which is impressive. With other proxies I’ve tried, the speed just wasn’t there at all.

Final Thoughts

Overall, Smartproxy delivers on its promises. Pricing is fair, proxies are easy to set up and use, there’s ample documentation and resources, and proxies are reliable and fast. Honestly, the most impressive part for me, outside of how easy the platform is to use, is the amount of resources available to help users get more of the products. Plus, the free tools included with subscriptions are hard to beat.

You can try Smartproxy yourself today to see how the service makes using proxies simpler than ever without compromising on quality and reliability. With the 3-day money back guarantee and 24/7 customer support team to help you get started, there’s no reason not to give them a try.

Crystal Crowder

Crystal Crowder has spent over 15 years working in the tech industry, first as an IT technician and then as a writer. She works to help teach others how to get the most from their devices, systems, and apps. She stays on top of the latest trends and is always finding solutions to common tech problems.

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2024 Honda Ridgeline Review: Looking The Part

2024 Honda Ridgeline Review: Looking the part

Brand identity is a tricky thing to get right. If the second-generation Ridgeline had a problem, it was that it was just too similar, from the front at least, to Honda’s Pilot. That’s not a bad looking SUV, no, but if you weren’t confusing the Ridgeline for its (mechanically similar) sibling, you were probably questioning its softer aesthetics compared to most rival pickups.

There is, for better or worse, a design language we expect from trucks. While practicality is king, they also have to look burly and tough; we expect road presence and a sense of invulnerability, too. The original Ridgeline was odd-looking enough that the conversation instantly shifted to that love-it-or-hate-it appearance, but Honda’s second attempt was just close enough to a family SUV to be an outlier in its segment.

Ironically, of course, a family-minded pickup is just what the Ridgeline always has been, and what it excels at. Driving one is a reminder that trucks don’t need to be lumpy and coarse; they don’t need to wallow and flex across pockmarked asphalt. The Ridgeline’s issue was that it looked a little too much like the SUV it drove like, and so that’s what Honda has changed.

The 2023 Ridgeline gets a brand new front, with everything forward of the A-pillar redesigned. The grille is beefier and more dominant, with wider, scalloped mesh and – on some trims – a chromed strip over the top. It’s more upright, too, between new LED headlamps, while the hood bulges to emphasize the standard V6 engine.

Chunkier plastic cladding for the arches and a new lower bumper add to that visual heft (Honda, ever eager to make maximum use of a change, also uses the functional side vents in that bumper to create aerodynamically-beneficial air curtains around the side of the Ridgeline). New skid plates, a new rear bumper and a 20mm wider track help keep the whole thing looking planted, meaty, and like it’s taking pickup heritage a little more seriously.

My Sport review model came equipped with the $2,800 Honda Performance Development (HPD) Package. That adds 18-inch HPD alloy wheels in a rather fetching gold, plus special fender flares, a unique grille, and – edging on a little too much for my tastes – various HPD decals and emblems. Alternatively there are more practically-minded options packs, like the $1,465 Utility Package with its running boards, roof rails, and crossbars, or the Function+ Package which, for $1,315, adds a hard tonneau cover, cargo nets for the bed and trunk, and cargo dividers.

Pricing starts at $36,490 (plus $1,175 destination) and climbs to $43,920 for the top-spec Black Edition.

The new garb hasn’t diluted the Ridgeline’s core usability, though, and that’s what stands out most. Pickups are a playground for automakers looking to throw in some cunning cubbies and tie-downs, but the Honda arguably got that first with its imaginatively usable extras. The tailgate not only drops down but can swing out sideways, for example, while under half the bed there’s a huge trunk compartment.

You can lock the lid to that, and use it for valuables, or fill it full of ice and treat it as a massive drinks cooler. A drain port on the bottom makes emptying it easier. It’s one of my favorite pickup features, because there are times you just don’t want to have things sliding around the bed.

Speaking of that, the Ridgeline can handle up to 1,589 pounds of payload, and minimal intrusions into the bed mean you can lay 4 foot wide sheets of plywood down flat. For towing, it’s rated for 5,000 pounds: not as high as some rivals, no, but probably sufficient for most drivers’ requirements. RTL-E and Black Edition trims get a 150W/400W power outlet in the bed too, and all trims have bed lighting.

The other big change for the 2023 model year is the drivetrain. Gone is the front-wheel drive Ridgeline option – hence the starting price seemingly jumping up – with all-wheel drive now standard. Not just any AWD, either: it’s Honda’s iVTM-4 system, with torque vectoring. Up to 70-percent of the 3.5-liter V6’s 280 horsepower can be shifted back to the rear axle, and from there up to 100-percent of that power can be funneled to the left or right wheels depending on which has the most traction.

Compared to the AWD systems on rival pickups it’s positively space-age. On the road, it contributes significantly to how SUV-like the Ridgeline feels: planted and steady, with the suspension level and predictable, and none of that unexpected squirming some trucks can suffer when they’re underloaded and you suddenly gas things up. The 9-speed automatic transmission is dependable and shifts with greater urgency if you tap the button-shifter into Sport mode.

The downside, though, is that some of the more mechanically-minded settings four-wheel drive competitors have are absent. There are modes modes for different off-road conditions, yes, but the Honda lacks locking differentials and dedicated low-range gearing.

I’m of a mind that, for the target audience – and, quite frankly, most pickup drivers were they to buy with their head not their heart – this is more than enough. If your motivation to get a truck is for those occasional times you need to haul something obstinate, the Ridgeline will probably be up to the task. The rest of the time you can drive it as comfortably as you would, yes, a Pilot.

According to the EPA you’ll get 18 mpg in the city, 24 mpg on the highway, or 21 mpg combined. That bests Chevrolet’s Silverado 4WD with the 2.7-liter turbo, and Ford’s F-150 4WD with its 3.5L turbo. My own mixed driving clocked in at nearly 22 mpg.

Inside, the changes are a little less dramatic. There’s new cloth seats on this Sport trim, and new accents on the dashboard, center console, and steering wheel; all Ridgeline versions get new contrast stitching on the seats. Cubbies and bins aplenty ape the bed practicality, including a huge lidded central box and big door pockets. The second row gets plenty of legroom and a useful 2.9 cu-ft box under the bench. Everything feels sturdy and reliable, though that’s not to say it’s uncomfortable or spartan.

The 8-inch Display Audio infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is standard now, and 2023 brings back the physical volume knob and adds a wireless phone charging pad to higher trims. Honda Sensing is standard too, with Collision Mitigation Braking, Road Departure Mitigation, Forward Collision Warnings, and Lane Departure Warnings. You also get a multi-angle reversing camera, lane-keeping assistance, and adaptive cruise control; RTL and above trims have blind spot warnings.

Sony Xperia 1 Review: Ahead Of The Curve

What’s in the box

18W USB-C charger

USB-C to USB-C cable

USB-C to 3.5mm adapter

USB-C headphones

167 x 72 x 8.2mm, 178g

IP65/68

Gorilla Glass 6

USB-C audio

Display

6.5-inch 4K HDR OLED

3,840 by 1,644 pixel, 643ppi

21:9 CinemaWide aspect ratio

X1 for Mobile

As per the norm for a flagship, you have total control over the color profile, the blue light filter or night mode, the resolution settings, and so on. The Sony Xperia 1 has one of the best displays I’ve encountered this year, though content has to catch up quickly for the aspect ratio to be of any real use.

Performance

Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 S0C

2.8GHz octa-core, 7nm process

6GB of RAM

128GB of storage

Sony’s use of the Qualcomm-made SoC is efficient and quick. I never encountered any performance issues whatsoever with the Xperia 1. It purred along like a well-oiled machine, with nary a hiccup to complain about. Truly, the phone was a joy to use. It devoured intense games, including Asphalt 9 and Fortnite, both of which are pre-installed, with gusto. Sony has a Game Enhancer mode that blocks notifications during gameplay. Similar features are found on the OnePlus 7 Pro and ASUS ROG Phone.

As for benchmarks, the phone scored well across the board. It trounced nearly all competing devices in 3DMark and GeekBench. It bested a respectable 87% of phones on AnTuTu. It looks like memory speed held the phone back in AnTuTu.

No matter. You don’t have to worry about running into any roadblocks with the Xperia 1. It’ll easily surmount them.

See also: Snapdragon 855 phones — What are your best options?

Battery

3,330mAh Lithium-ion

Xperia Adaptive Charging

Stamina Mode

USB power delivery

I’m a bit surprised by Sony’s decision making with respect to the battery. To start, a 3,330mAh power cell is a bit small for a flagship. Many competing devices have batteries in the 3,500 t0 4,000mAh range. Moreover, Sony dropped wireless charging — a major no-no for a flagship in 2023 (especially at this price.)

Then there’s the 4K screen to consider. The Ultra HD display has millions more pixels that need to be lit up than a Quad HD display.

This is partially why the Xperia 1 didn’t perform particularly well in our battery tests. While I pushed the phone from morning to night on most days I used it, it survived little more than 12 hours in our web and video tests. Competing devices reach 14 or more hours in these same tests.

If there’s one thing the Xperia 1 has going for it, it’s Sony’s Stamina Mode and rapid charging. Using the included charger powers up the phone quickly, and you can endlessly tweak power consumption to manage battery life. You’ll find you might need to.

See also: Fastest charging cables, see which one is right for you.

Camera

Rear:

12MP wide-angle, f/1.6, OIS

12MP telephoto, f/2.4, OIS

12MP super-wide lens, f/2.4

Front:

8MP, f/2.0

Video:

4K HDR

The Xperia 1 has four cameras: three on the back and one on the front, like many modern flagships. The different lenses let you snap standard, wide-angle, and zoomed images. The camera app opens quickly with a firm press to the dedicated camera button. You can also open it via the lock screen shortcut.

The app’s controls are what you expect from a modern flagship. That means lots of features and modes accessible via buttons, toggles, and drop-down menus. Sony’s intelligent auto mode is the default. This uses AI to assess what the phone is pointed at and adjust the camera settings accordingly. Point it at text and you’ll see the word “document” appear in the upper left corner. Same applies to landscape, daylight, low-light, and other scenes. You can turn intelligent auto off if you wish.

Photos I captured with the Sony Xperia 1 are good, but short of great. Focus was generally sharp throughout. I didn’t notice too many soft shots, even those taken in low light. Exposure, however, is all over the place. You can see over- and under-exposed shots in the samples below. I’m not quite sure what’s up with the HDR tool, which doesn’t appear to be doing its job.

Colors look a bit muted to my eyes. Many of the murals I shot in New York City were bright and radiant, but the real-life vibrance doesn’t necessarily come through in the photos. This is in direct opposition to the photos we see from phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S10, which pushes colors a bit.

Noise and compression artifacts are evident in low-light shots. Speaking of which, the Xperia 1 doesn’t include a dedicated low-light mode — another stunning omission on a 2023 flagship.

The selfie camera does an acceptable job. It’s certainly not bad. The selfie portrait software simplifies the process of capturing selfies. I think the bokeh’d shots have decent edges, but the blur is a bit too intense.

Audio

Bluetooth 5 with aptX HD

Dolby Atmos

Stereo speakers

LDAC

If you are an audiophile, phones from Sony and LG are your best bet. The Xperia 1 may lack a 3.5mm headphone jack (boo!), but it delivers on nearly every other front.

Stereo sound is reproduced when the earpiece and bottom-firing speakers work together. The sound is quite good when you tilt the phone sideways to watch movies. You can opt to turn on Sony’s dynamic vibration, which will rumble the phone similar to a game controller to give you a multidimensional experience. Sometimes this feature is fun, and other times it is just too much.

The aptX HD Bluetooth profile means Android fans get outstanding audio quality from their compatible Bluetooth headphones. Cinema-quality sounds comes roaring through with fine details preserved. This is aided by Dolby Atmos and DSEE HX, both of which include their own controls for tweaking audio,

This phone sounds great.

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Software

Android 9 Pie

The Xperia 1 ships with Android 9, the latest operating system from Google. Sony’s software skin is fairly light. The most significant changes you’ll see are different background colors and some alternate fonts, when compared to stock. Otherwise, it provides the typical home screen, app drawer, Quick Settings shade, and pill-based home screen navigation.

There are plenty of ways to customize the software (ambient display, lock screen clocks, themes) to your liking and it all runs fluidly on the phone.

Specs

Sony Xperia 1 with 6GB of RAM, 128GB storage: $949 (U.S.), £849 (U.K.)

Sony Xperia 1 review: The verdict

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