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

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Apple’s iOS 15 is slated for release this fall, and this week we have a practice with its public beta. According to Cherlynn Low, iPhone users will have to wait a long time later this year. Meanwhile, Nicole Lee has installed both 8- and 5-inch Echo Shows in her home to check for Amazon updates, and says the Echo Show 8 is now much improved for video calling. Also, Daniel Cooper found a lot of fun for the Lenovo Legion 5, but admits the laptop comes with some trade-offs.

Apple

After spending a few weeks trying out the latest iOS 15 features, including SharePlay and Focus modes, Cherlynn Low concluded that Apple fans will have a few new things to try this fall. Since most of the changes are already available, it’s probably not surprising that the beta is fairly complete. While trying SharePlay, Cherlynn encountered a few minor issues. It was difficult to understand how to access the feature initially because the options are presented only when a compatible media app is open during a chat. And both parties need a subscription to stream together on Apple TV + or Apple Music.

Cherlynn particularly liked the Focus modes, which allow users to create custom profiles that only allow notifications from selected apps or people passing by. You can also choose a Home screen that will show only the applications you want. This way, you won’t see other pages – just the app drawer and the Today screen – keeping distractions to a minimum.

Other updates include Live Text, which scans photos for usable text such as foreign words in a translation menu; Richer and more detailed maps; better search Spotlight and Share With You, which consolidates the media that your friends send you. Cherlynn said there’s a lot more to explore in the Weather, Safari and Wallet apps that should give fans a taste of the full version. He also spent time with the newcomer watchOS 8 beta, which brings more health and fitness tools, better communication and better integration with devices connected to the Apple Watch.

Amazon Echo Show 8 and Show 5

Nicole Lee / Engadget

Amazon hasn’t changed much about the new one Echo Show $ 129 $ 8 and $ 85 Show 5, and Nicole Lee says she’s fine. The two devices escape the rotating screen found in the Echo Show 10 and retains much of what has worked in previous models: the minimalist design, an ambient light sensor to adjust brightness and color temperature, and a camera shutter for privacy. The Echo Show 8 has a 1,280 x 800 resolution display while the Show 5 features a 960 x 480 screen, and this is clearly intended as more of a night device. Nicole was particularly pleased with the sound quality on the Echo Show 8, which gave powerful bass and impressive volume.

And because it now features 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 panning and zoom technology so you can follow it during video calls, although in Nicole’s experience, this took a few seconds to launch. But Show 8 won’t be the best for all of your video needs because it lacks native YouTube and streaming support for Disney +, Paramount + and HBO Max. If you’re already in the Amazon ecosystem, it says the Echo Show 8 offers the most value for money – but if you’re looking for something akin to an alarm clock, the Show 5 is a better choice.

Review image of the new Lenovo Legion 5 Pro (2021)

Daniel Cooper

Although Lenovo is not known primarily for its gaming computers, Daniel Cooper notes that new Legion 5 Pro laptop is clearly trying to capture 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 as well. Daniel notes that the 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD are underdeveloped, but they can be upgraded, and the 16-inch, 165Hz QHD IPS display holds its own in bright light and reduces glare.

When it comes to design, users get a solid aluminum chassis with a professional-looking opaque gray paint job, plus a slew of ports including four USB-A, two USB-C, HDMI, Ethernet and a headphone jack. from 3.5 mm. Daniel said typing on Lenovo’s TrueStrike keyboard is a unique experience: the “soft landing” switches make each touch feel a little deeper than the 1.5mm-deep keys. He was less passionate about the 720p webcam, which produces blurred images with light images, and the heat produced by the fan system was noticeable. However, the big compromise on the Legion 5 is the battery life – the car lasted only 4 hours and 43 minutes during the tests, which makes it more useful when it’s close to a jack.

Fitbit Luxe

Cherlynn Low / Engadget

Cherlynn Low acknowledges that designing an elegant fitness tracker is difficult. Fitbit has tried it a few times before, but its most recent attempt, the Luxury, it’s really chic – but Cherlynn says its size is actually the most impressive thing. Measuring 0.4 x 1.43 inches, the Luxe manages to include a heart rate sensor, oxygen saturation monitor, sleep track, water resistance and basic phone syncing all in its tiny frame.

However, the downside is that a small footprint also results in a small screen. The 0.76-inch AMOLED panel, which runs at a resolution of 124 x 206, is difficult to read. Cherlynn said the text showing workout statistics, cardio area information and notifications can be frustrating for a while. Which aside, he had no problems with the Luxe to track workouts and sleep data; it works as promised and the UI is similar to other Fitbit devices without physical buttons. The touchscreen was responsive and was able to get seven days of battery life – and it was even with connected GPS enabled for a while. Overall, Cherlynn calls the Luxe well made and capable, but best for those looking for a petite tracker.


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