ICYMI: We spend some time with Apple’s iOS 15 beta

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Apple’s iOS 15 should be unveiled this fall, and this week we were introduced to its public beta version. According to Cherlynn Low, iPhone users have something to look forward to later this year. Meanwhile, Nicole Lee has set up 8 and 5 inch Echo Shows in her house to check out Amazon’s updates and says Echo Show 8 is now significantly improved for video calling. Also, Daniel Cooper liked a lot about Lenovo Legion 5, but he admits that the laptop comes with certain compromises.

Apple

After spending a few weeks testing the latest features of iOS 15, including SharePlay and Focus modes, Cherlynn Low concluded that Apple fans will have a bunch of new things to try this fall. As most of the changes are already available, it may come as no surprise that the beta is pretty much complete. While testing SharePlay, Cherlynn encountered several minor glitches. It was difficult to figure out how to access the feature in the beginning, because the options are displayed only when a compatible media application is open during a call. Both parties will need a subscription to broadcast together on Apple TV + or Apple Music.

Cherlynn particularly liked the Focus modes, which allow users to create custom profiles that only allow notifications of selected apps or people to pass through. You can also choose a home screen that will only show the apps you want. In this mode, you won’t see any other pages – just the app tray and the Today screen – keeping distractions to a minimum.

Other upgrades include Live Text, which scans photos to use text like foreign words in the translation menu; richer and more detailed maps; better Spotlight search and share with you, which brings together the media sent to you by your friends. Cherlynn said there is much more to explore in the Weather, Safari and Wallet apps that should give fans a taste of the full release. She spent time with a new one as well watchOS 8 beta, which brings more health and fitness tools, improved communication and better integration with connected devices on the Apple Watch.

Amazon Echo Show 8 and Show 5

Nicole Lee / Engadget

Amazon hasn’t changed much in the new one $ 129 Echo Show 8 i $ 85 Show 5, and Nicole Lee says that’s perfectly fine. The two devices avoid the rotating screen located in Echo Show 10 and retain much of what worked in previous models: a minimalist design, an ambient light sensor to adjust brightness and color temperature, and a camera shutter for privacy. The Echo Show 8 has a screen resolution of 1,280 x 800, while the Show 5 has a screen of 960 x 480, and the latter is obviously intended for a nightstand device. Nicole was particularly pleased with the sound quality at the Echo Show 8, which provided strong bass and impressive volume.

And since it now has an octa-core processor and a 13-megapixel wide-angle camera, the Echo Show 8 is now more useful for video calling. The camera also has digital scroll and zoom technology so it can track you during a video call, although according to Nicole’s experience it took a few seconds. But Show 8 won’t be the best for all of your video needs, as it lacks native YouTube, as well as streaming support for Disney +, Paramount + and HBO Max. If you’re already in Amazon’s ecosystem, she says Echo Show 8 brings the most value for money – but if you’re looking for something like an alarm clock, Show 5 is a better choice.

Overview of the new Lenovo Legion 5 Pro (2021)

Daniel Cooper

Although Lenovo is not best known for its gaming laptops, Daniel Cooper points out that it is new Legion 5 Pro the laptop is obviously trying to get more of that attention. With AMD’s Ryzen 7 5800H and NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 3070 graphics, the machine is powerful – and at $ 1,530 it’s relatively affordable. Daniel points out that 16GB of RAM and 512GB of SSDs are superior, but can be upgraded, and the 16-inch, 165Hz QHD IPS screen stays in bright light and reduces glare.

In terms of design, users get a solid aluminum chassis with a professional-looking matte gray color, plus a host of ports, including four USB-A, two USB-C, HDMI, Ethernet and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Daniel said typing on a Lenovo TrueStrike keyboard is a unique experience: the “soft landing” switches make each activation feel a little deeper than the 1.5mm key depth. He was less fond of the 720p webcam that gives blurry images with bright flowers, and the heat generated by the fan system was noticeable. However, a big trade-off for the Legion 5 is battery life – the machine lasted only 4 hours and 43 minutes during testing, making it most useful when near an outlet.

Fitbit Luxe

Cherylnn Low / Engadget

Cherlynn Low admits that designing a modern fitness tracker is difficult. Fitbit has tried this several times already, but their last attempt, Luxe, it’s really chic – but Cherlynn says its size is actually the most striking thing about it. Measuring 0.4 x 1.43 inches, the Luxe manages to include a heart rate sensor, oxygen saturation monitoring, sleep monitoring, water resistance and basic telephone synchronization in its small frame.

However, the disadvantage is that a small print also results in a small screen. The 0.76-inch AMOLED panel, which works at a resolution of 124 x 206, is hard to read. Cherlynn said the text showing exercise statistics, cardio zone information and notices could be frustratingly small for some. Despite this, she had no problem using Luxe to track her training and sleep data; works as promised, and the user interface is similar to other Fitbit devices without physical buttons. The touch screen responded and was able to get seven days of battery life – and that was even with the connected GPS turned on a bit. All in all, Cherlynn Luxe calls it well made and capable, but best for those looking for a tiny tracker.



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