Bowers & Wilkins PX8 review: scaling new heights

Bowers & Wilkins PX8 review: scaling new heights

Bowers Wilkins PX8 headphones lead

Stuff Verdict

Hands down the best Bowers and Wilkins wireless headphones – but the PX8 carries a considerable premium over the already excellent PX7 S2, for fairly minor gains.

Pros

  • Sublime build quality and materials
  • Nuanced sound with exceptional detail
  • Long-lasting battery and quick charging

Cons

  • Not a huge step up from the PX7 S2
  • Can’t listen with a flat battery
  • Carries a hefty price premium

Introduction

B&W knows a thing or two about top-tier headphones. So when I heard it was working on a “no holds barred, reference level” pair, you can bet my ears started to twitch. The Bowers & Wilkins PX8 are exactly that: properly luxurious active noise cancelling cans, built using premium materials and promising stellar sound quality.

Taking tech inspiration from the firm’s uncompromising 700 Series loudspeakers, they originally took pride of place above the PX7 S2 – hardly a middle-of-the-road pair of ‘phones, given the full five-star score – and now sit above the new PX7 S2e in the line-up.

Carbon dome drivers and cast aluminium are unquestionably high-end, but the design might look a little familiar. Is there more to the Bowers & Wilkins PX8 than a luxury finish and an equally luxurious price?

Originally published October 2022, last update November 2023: Royal Burgundy model brings DSP improvements

How we test headphones

Every pair of earphones and headphones reviewed on Stuff is used for a minimum of a week’s worth of daily listening. We use a playlist of test tracks made up of multiple genres to assess sound, and use our years of experience to compare to other models. Manufacturers have no visibility on reviews before they appear online, and we never accept payment to feature products.

Find out more about how we test and rate products.

Design & build: no compromise

The PX7 S2 was already something of a stunner in the looks department, so it’s no surprise B&W has kept things familiar for the PX8. It has the same general shape, only the materials have been upgraded across the board. Fabric has been replaced with Nappa leather pretty much everywhere (even on the carry case’s zip puller), the logo plates on each ear cup are now diamond-cut, and the arms holding them in place are cast aluminium.

The ear cushions and headband are stuffed with memory foam, which makes for a comfortable fit. That’s a necessity, given the PX8 isn’t especially light at 320g – a full 70g more than Sony’s WH-1000XM5. While the ear cups have plenty of swivel, they apply quite a bit of pressure on your head. This creates a good seal for passive noise isolation but can lead to slight listening fatigue after a few hours.

These headphones simply ooze luxury as soon as you get them in your hands, whether you go for tan leather, the black version I tested, or the newly added Royal Burgundy hue. Also they may be barely a year old at this point, but B&W has already introduced a handful of PX8 special editions: the James Bond 007 edition commemorates the spy’s 60th anniversary in film, while the orange hued McLaren special edition gives a nod to the F1 racing team. 

Bowers & Wilkins Cuffie Wireless Px 8, Nere

The machined metal buttons on each ear cup felt satisfyingly crisp every time I pressed one, and the textured finish on the multi-fuction playback control made it easy to find by touch alone.

Inside, the carbon dome drivers are angled for a consistent distance to your ears, which B&W says guarantees an accurate soundstage. It worked a charm on the PX7 S2, so I was happy to see the design return here.

Features & battery life: built to last

Pretty much all the physical controls are contained on the right ear cup, with just a single button on the left one for swapping between noise cancelling modes. The power switch doubles up for Bluetooth pairing, there are individual volume keys and the play/pause button’s double-tap functions can be customised through B&W’s extensive smartphone companion app.

Music by Bowers & Wilkins also runs you through the pairing process, although Google Fast Pair takes a lot of the hassle out for Android phone owners. It lets you adjust the treble and bass (no custom EQ, though) and set how sensitive the wear sensor is. Glasses wearers will quickly find that even the low setting can result in accidental pauses while walking around, yet I had no problems at all once I swapped to contact lenses. Perhaps skinnier glasses frames won’t be quite as prone to this: YMMV.

The biggest new addition is being able to play music from certain streaming services directly through the app, and quickly swap between the headphones and any other B&W kit you might own. Deezer, Qobuz and Tidal make the cut right now, with the latter two offering Hi-Res playback.

As with the PX7 S2, Qualcomm’s aptX Lossless codec wasn’t ready for prime time while the PX8 was in development – but it still supports aptX Adaptive for 24-bit playback from supported devices. Bluetooth 5.2 also does the standard SBC and AAC codecs. I had no stutters or dropouts from a week of listening, even while walking through places with heavy foot traffic like train stations and airport terminals.

There’s no 3.5mm port (something that was also absent on the PX7 S2), but a USB-C to 3.5mm cable is stashed neatly in the hard shell carry case, along with a charging cable. Just keep in mind wired listening is a no-go if the Bowers & Wilkins PX8 runs out of battery. The headphones themselves don’t fold to fit inside: only the ear cups twist flat for stowing, so it’ll still take up a fair bit of space in your travel bag.

Battery life is on par with Sony’s best and ahead of the Apple AirPods Max at up to 30 hours between charges with ANC enabled, but a step behind the Sennheiser Momentum 4. Charging is satisfyingly speedy, though, with a 15 minute top-up good for around seven hours of listening time. You’ve got to check the app to see exactly how much juice you have remaining: there’s no audible report when you power the headphones on, just a chime that kicks in when you’re dipping into the red.

Sound quality & noise cancelling: carbon viber

Under the skin, the PX8 goes above and beyond the PX7 S2 in a few key areas. It uses carbon dome drivers, rather than biocellulose ones, and has a 20mm voice coil instead of a 15mm one. Carbon fibre adds stiffness and reduces harmonic distortion at the top end of the frequency range, which should result in better overall resolution and exceptional sound detail.

Guess what? It absolutely does. The PX8 are a delight to listen to, with superb clarity and a balanced tone that rewards critical listening. There’s no musical genre that isn’t done justice: even my back catalogue of early naughties bassline house was suitably energetic, with a deep low end that doesn’t sacrifice definition in pursuit of impact.

All parts of the frequency range flow blend neatly together, with none of the noticeable dips, peaks or gaps in the upper-mids found on lesser headphones. Complicated arrangements and multi-layered tracks are given room to breathe, with an expansive soundstage and impeccable detail.

Interestingly, the Royal Burgundy version introduced in late 2023 brought an entirely new acoustic tune, on top of a bespoke leather treatment inspired by fine wine and some rather spangly gold detailing. According to B&W, it was meant to squeeze every last speck of detail from those bespoke carbon cone drivers.

Tested side-by-side to an older pair that had yet to be updated with the new DSP settings (something existing PX8 owners will be happy to hear is just a firmware update away), the difference was noticeable. Music suddenly had even cleaner, more precise vocal frequencies, while hi-hats and percussion were given just a little more bite. Bowers’ engineers haven’t messed around with bass response, which was already brilliantly well-judged.

There wasn’t a night and day difference between the original PX8 and the PX7 S2, even if the extra level of precision did explain at least some of the PX8’s higher asking price. The improved DSP gives the more premium model some breathing room – although the PS7 S2e also benefit from some tuning magic, so the gap might not be as wide as B&W first thought.

ANC is unchanged from the PX7 S2, with six microphones (three in each ear cup) delivering subtle cancellation designed to reduce background distractions, instead of muting the entire outside world. Think the low-frequency rumble of an air conditioner or a plane’s engines during a flight, rather than passing traffic or chattering colleagues.

Sony and Bose remain my top choice for commuters, as they cope better with higher frequency distractions. The focus here is very much on the music, with ANC adding very little colouration to the sound and letting you concentrate on the details without needing to crank up the volume.

Bowers & Wilkins PX8 verdict

Bowers Wilkins PX8 headphones playing

Was there ever any doubt the PX8 would deliver on B&W’s top-tier promise? These headphones are absolutely a step up from the PX7 S2 on the materials front, and also have the edge sonically. Originally we were talking very small gains, but a DSP re-tune has hammered home just how much clarity is available on tap here. Judged solely on sound quality, I could now happily add an extra star to its rating.

The PX7 S2 set a stonkingly good baseline, though, and the PS7 S2e go even further. For many, spending almost twice as much again will be a case of diminishing returns.

We can’t blame B&W for getting in on the trend for beautifully constructed wireless headphones that cost a small fortune. Point the finger at Apple and the AirPods Max instead, for starting it in the first place. The Bowers & Wilkins PX8 is a wonderfully crafted alternative that well-heeled listeners are sure to love – but PX7 S2 owners shouldn’t feel like they’re massively missing out.

20misham.ir

“Comparing Google Pixel 8 and Samsung Galaxy S23: Which Should You Choose?”

“Comparing Google Pixel 8 and Samsung Galaxy S23: Which Should You Choose?”

Pixel 8 next to Galaxy S23

Choosing the best Android smartphone gets tougher each year due to the variety of options available. Currently, the spotlight is on Google Pixel 8 vs Samsung Galaxy S23, the top contenders for your money.

Samsung Galaxy S23 5G Dual SIM Android Mobile Phone, 256GB, SIM Free Smartphone, Black

Samsung’s Galaxy S23, priced at $799/£849, boasts a consistent design, borrowing camera elements from the pricier S23 Ultra. With a 6.1in display protected by Gorilla Glass Victus 2, it offers vibrant colors and supports HDR video playback. Its camera setup includes a 50MP main sensor, 12MP ultrawide, and 10MP telephoto lens.

On the other hand, the Pixel 8 at $699/£699, features a curvier design, a tad larger at 6.2in. Its 50MP main sensor, paired with AI enhancements like “Best Take,” promises advanced photography. The Pixel 8’s Tensor G3 processor, optimized for AI, is backed by 8GB RAM and either 128GB or 256GB storage.

Screens: shining differences

Despite being older, Samsung’s S23 retains a performance edge due to its partnership with Qualcomm. Both phones lack impressive battery life, but the Pixel 8’s larger 4575mAh cell offers an advantage over the S23’s 3900mAh. In terms of charging, the Pixel 8 supports 30W wired and 23W wireless, outdoing the S23’s 25W wired and 15W wireless capabilities.

Cameras: evenly matched competitors

Price-wise, the Pixel 8 stands out, being more budget-friendly while offering compelling features. Both phones have trade-offs, making the choice dependent on individual priorities.

 

The best smart home devices 2023

The best smart home devices 2023

Like everyone, you’ve got a smart speaker. But how can you take your connected abode to the next level? Here’s our guide to the most appealing and useful smart home devices you can add to an existing setup to make your property smart.

From Wi-Fi fridges to TVs you can talk to, it’s easy to blow big bucks on connected gear. But you don’t have to: the best smart home devices can get your gaffe online without making mortgage payments a problem.

Yes, smart homes are more accessible than ever. With big players such as Google, Apple and Amazon all competing to connect up your crib – plus plenty of third parties making tech to work with their systems – it’s never been easier or more affordable to transform your house into a smart home.

To help you get started, we’ve rounded up a batch of the best smart home devices. Whether you want clever bulbs to light up your living room or a connected camera to keep an eye on your kids, the gear below will help you get a brainier abode. Thanks to our list of the best smart home devices, you don’t need to knock down walls or embark on a rewiring disaster either.


What smart ecosystem should you go for?

Amazon Alexa remains the GOAT of smart assistants. The number of Alexa-powered Echo devices out there is now in the hundreds of millions, and Alexa’s prowess shows in its accurate responses. And it’s no longer audio-only: the Echo Show range of smart displays is getting better at serving as an effective touch interface, rather than just being voice-controlled with a tacked-on screen.

While Alexa is still a little ahead for controlling the smart home, Google Assistant’s everyday charm is compelling. What sets it apart is its ability to rely on a certain massive search engine and the info it stores about just about everything. Local bus times? No bother, and it’ll even tell you how long it will take to walk to your stop. Google Assistant is also top-notch with follow-up questions, making it able to be more conversational than Alexa or Siri.

Once seen as a part-time lover, Apple’s HomeKit is now a serious smart home ecosystem with hundreds of devices supporting it – and, of course, native support on Apple devices via the Home app. As a simple system to use, it can’t be beaten – even device setup is relatively easy.


The best smart speakers

  • Main article: Best smart speakers reviewed and rated

Amazon Echo Dot

The little helper: Amazon Echo Dot (£50)
All-new Echo Dot (5th generation, 2022 release) smart speaker with Alexa | Charcoal

Alexa has long been on hand to offer assistance from the dinky Dot. Like its bigger sibling, Amazon’s smallest smart speaker now takes the form of a ball. Wrapped in fabric, the updated orb feels playful yet classical, with soft styling to match most decors.

Buttons on top take care of volume and privacy, while an ‘Alexa’ input lets you activate the digital helper without saying her name. Stump up an extra tenner and you’ll also get a built-in clock. Besides the time, this can highlight timers and alarms.

For those familiar with Alexa, it couldn’t be easier to set up. Sound quality is surprisingly mighty for such a compact gadget. Bass is where the smart sphere inevitably falls short, but for listening to the radio and controlling other Alexa-enabled kit around the house, it definitely gets the job done.


Google Nest Audio

Google Nest Audio (£80)
Google Nest Nest Audio – Chalk

If your smart home is handled by Google, the revamped Nest Audio is a neat way to keep it under control. Its minimalist fabric finish means it fits with almost any decor, while four LEDs and a single physical button ensure the interface is foolproof.

While its sound quality won’t satisfy audiophiles, a 75mm woofer and a 19mm tweeter mean there’s plenty of full-bodied punch – so it’s perfect for everyday listening. Want more dynamism? Pair it with a second Nest Audio for a full stereo setup.

The Nest Audio ships with a machine-learning engine, which delivers quicker local processing of common commands. Three near-field mics do a solid job of detecting requests – whether that’s turning off the lights or battling the trivia ‘bot. For under a ton, the Nest audio is a properly smart package.

Little and large

Want the skills of Google Assistant in a smaller fabric blob? Add a Nest Mini to your shelf. It doesn’t pack the acoustic punch of the Audio, but it’s fine for podcasts, recipes or weather updates. Plus far-field voice recognition ensures you don’t have to shout to be heard. 


Apple HomePod Mini

Apple HomePod Mini (£99)
Apple HomePod Mini (grey)

Not to be outdone, Apple has a domestic dome of its own. And it knows the dress code: like both the Echo Dot and Nest Audio, the HomePod Mini wears a natty fabric jacket. It also features a touch-sensitive top for easy interaction.

With Siri at its heart, the HomePod Mini can handle all the usual smart speaker tasks – setting timers, checking the forecast, creating calendar events – plus it works as a HomeKit Hub for controlling your smart stuff.

The Mini also squeezes surprisingly solid sound into such a small unit. It can’t make hi-fi claims like the original HomePod, but its single driver does a stellar job of serving up energetic sound in 360. If you’re already embedded in the Apple ecosystem, this is a great way to get connected.


The best smart displays

  • Main article: Best smart display: the top smart home screens for every budget – reviewed

Amazon Echo Show 5 (2nd gen)

Amazon Echo Show 5 (2nd gen) (£75)

Amazon’s Echo Show 8 might get more attention, but its pint-sized relative is a great way to add visual smarts to any space. Admittedly, the Echo Show 5 won’t win awards for its specs: at 960×480, the 5.5in screen is low-res, while its 2MP camera and solitary 1.65in speaker are beaten by most smartphones.

But that’s missing the point. The Echo Show 5 is a smart display you can drop just about anywhere – whether that’s your kitchen counter, your bedside table or beside your bathroom sink.

It’s super simple to set up, yet also packs all the power of Alexa, supports pretty much every streaming service and the camera can double-up as a remote security guard. Plus you can pair it with the sold-separately stand for perfectly angled video calls.

  • Which Amazon Echo Show smart display is best for you?

Google Nest Hub (2nd gen)

Google Nest Hub (2nd gen) (£90)
Google Nest Hub Smart Display (H) 11,8 (W) 17,85 (Dia) 6,73 cm – Gesso

Google’s second-gen Nest Hub is a simpler display than the Nest Hub Max, but it also sets you back less than half the price. So you don’t get the clever face-recognition camera or the punchy speakers of the bigger version. What you do get for your £90 is a compact yet clever control panel that’s a top choice for countertop smarts on tap.

Its 7in display is small, but the clear interface makes navigation a cinch. Plus three mics ensure it’s easy to ask Google Assistant to do your bidding, from switching on the lights to cuing up another YouTube cooking video.

And even though there’s no lens, Motion Sense smarts mean you can wave your hands to activate Quick Gestures – ideal if you need to stop a timer but your mouth’s full and your hands are covered in the evidence of your chocolate gobbling.

  • Home smart home: the best gadgets that work with Google Assistant

Logitech Base Charging Stand

Logitech Base Charging Stand (£90)
  • Buy the Logitech Base Charging Stand here

Apple doesn’t make a dedicated smart display (yet), but that doesn’t mean you can’t put a Cupertino touchscreen at the heart of your smart home. Drop an iPad with a Smart Connector on Logitech’s Base Charging Stand and – voila! – you’ve got a connected control panel.

Power is delivered via the Smart Connector, while the stand itself props the panel at a 70-degree angle – perfect for video calls, streaming and managing devices via the HomeKit app. While Apple’s latest tablets aren’t supported, you can easily pick up a compatible iPad online, or repurpose an old one from your tech drawer.

With Siri on-board and thousands of apps on tap (including Google and Amazon services), an iPad is the perfect partner for the Base – transforming from second screen to DIY smart display.


The best smart security tech

  • Main articles: The best video doorbell, Best Ring doorbell, Best outdoor security camera and finally the best indoor security camera

Neos Smartcam

Neos Smartcam (£30)
Neos SmartCam | Telecamera di sicurezza Wi-Fi SmartHome, funziona con Alexa, 1080P HD video, visione notturna, audio a 2 vie, archiviazione cloud gratuita, supporto UK, bianco, confezione singola

Things can happen fast at home: it only takes Fido a second to sniff out freshly baked snacks. Luckily, you won’t miss a thing with this miniature monitor.

A compact cube for smarter security, the wireless watcher keeps a 1080p eye on interior scenes. With the SmartCam connected to your Wi-Fi, you can drop in for a live view any time via the Neos SmartHome app – or receive instant alerts when it detects motion. Fido lurking by the counter? Tap the talk button to tell him where to go.

Infrared night vision ensures 24/7 surveillance, while Alexa compatibility means you can view a live feed on Echo Show devices. Stick an SD card in the slot for continuous offline recording or stash snapshots in the cloud, with free storage of 12-second clips for up to 14 days. Want longer recordings? A Neos Boost subscription will set you back £2.49 per month and unlock longer clips, custom activity zones and scheduling.

Outside eyes

Want a wireless watcher that can work outdoors? Amazon’s own line of security cameras includes the Blink Outdoor – a weather-resistant cam with a two-year battery life. Buy it here


Ring Video Doorbell (2nd Gen)

Ring Video Doorbell (2nd Gen) (£89)
Ring Video Doorbell di Amazon | Videocitofono con video in HD a 1080p, rilevazione avanzata del movimento (Seconda Generazione) | Con un periodo di prova gratuita di 30 giorni del piano Ring Protect

Wi-Fi doorbells can’t open the door for visitors, but they can help you decide whether it’s worth getting off the sofa to do so yourself. Equipped with cameras, these digital bouncers ping real-time alerts to your smartphone when someone pushes their button – and offer a live video of the doorstep lurker.

While it’s not the very latest video doorbell you can buy, the second-gen Ring is still a decent dinger. You get 1080p footage from your front door, as well as night vision, motion detection and two-way talking – so you can tell calling couriers where to stash your packages, even if you’re not at home.

Connected to your Wi-Fi network, the rechargeable Ring plays nice with Alexa and can stream a live feed to Echo Show devices. Stump up £2.50 per month for Ring Protect to unlock additional features, including the all-important option to record, save and share captured videos.


Hive Window or Door sensor

Hive Window or Door sensor (£29)
Hive Window or Door Sensor – White

There’s nothing worse than getting halfway to work, only to wonder if you left a window wide open. For peace of mind about your portals, stick Hive’s sensor on openings around your home.

Fire up the app and you can check the status of every sensor. Safer still, configure the system to send alerts to your smartphone or Apple Watch if a door or window is opened while you’re away.

Got other Hive gear at home? Hook up the sensors for clever integrations, like lights that switch on when you open the door or heating that disables if a window’s open. You can also add them to Hive’s HomeShield alarm system for total security, including smart reports and 30-day event history from £10 per month.


The best smart plugs

  • Main article: The best smart plugs: Alexa, Google, and Siri support
Amazon Smart Plug, works with Alexa, Certified for Humans device

Replacing perfectly serviceable appliances with smart substitutes is expensive and wasteful. For an upgrade that doesn’t involve a trip to the tip, use Amazon’s Wi-Fi Smart Plug to enhance your existing electronics.

From coffee machines to standard lamps, connect any bit of kit to the outlet and it’ll instantly become cleverer. Provided you have an Alexa-enabled device at home (such as an Echo or Fire TV), you’ll be able to ask the voice assistant to switch the socket on or off.

More than just a switch, you can also integrate the Smart Plug – or several – into routines and schedules through the Alexa app. So you can set the coffee pot to activate automatically at 7am, followed by the kitchen radio when you say ‘good morning’.


Elgato Eve Energy

Elgato Eve Energy (£35)
Eve Energy UK – Smart Plug & Power Meter with Built-in Schedules, Voice Control, no Bridge Needed, Apple HomeKit, Bluetooth, Thread

Wi-Fi isn’t the only way to smarten up your sockets. Elgato’s Eve Energy uses Bluetooth for more efficient kit control. Like the Kasa adapter above, simply add it to a standard plug and you can wirelessly switch it on or off.

Things get even smarter when you launch the dedicated app on your iPhone or iPad, where you can configure schedules for automated appliance activation – independent of your internet connection. The app also offers up insights into your energy usage, highlighting how much power individual devices are consuming, plus projected costs.

The Eve Energy plays nice with HomeKit too, so you can instruct your sockets using your voice, while Thread mesh support means it’ll help to extend the reach and reliability of your smart home.

Who goes there

Elgato’s Eve Motion is a wireless motion sensor which can be programmed to trigger all sorts of HomeKit recipes, from switching on your smart lights to enabling the kettle connected to your Eve Energy. Buy it here


Meross Smart Plug

Smart Wi-Fi Indoor/Outdoor Plug (£29)
Smart Plug 13A WiFi meross IP44 Outdoor WiFi Plug, Compatible with Apple HomeKit Alexa Google Assistant SmartThings, Voice Control 2 Grounded Heavy Duty Outlets

It takes more than four walls to make a smart home. Don’t forget the garden: for smarter power outside, add this waterproof twin socket to your patio, porch or patch of grass.

Like any good outdoor power solution, it’s built tough with IP44 rain and dust resistance. Unlike your average extension lead, though, it’s also compatible with every major smart home platform – that means Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit, SmartThings and IFTTT.

From lights to sprinklers to the pump for your imaginary pool, the Meross multi-plug lets you control all your garden gear directly via Wi-Fi, as well as setting schedules and timers. Each socket can be enabled individually, too.


The best smart lighting

  • Main article: The best smart light bulbs

Nanoleaf Essentials A19

Nanoleaf Essentials A19 (£18)
Nanoleaf Essentials Smart A19 – Lampadina W B22

Smart bulbs shouldn’t blind you with their price tags. Luckily, Nanoleaf’s Essentials range offers Wi-Fi brightness without draining your savings.

Shipped with several screw styles, each bulb offers millions of colours on tap, adaptive brightness and custom schedules through the app. And you don’t need any separate hub or bridge to get online: simply stick it in a spare fitting, scan the barcode on the box and you’ll be gleaming.

The best bit? Bulbs cost less than £20 each. Start with one for smarter saturation – plus Circadian Lighting to boost your mode – before seamlessly expanding your connected setup as and when you need. They’re Thread-enabled, too, meaning they can join a mesh network with compatible smart kit – extending control around the house for fewer dropouts.

Strip show

Nanoleaf’s Essentials range also includes a simple Lightstrip. At two metres, it’s the ideal length for uplighting your living room or gaming den – and it ships with everything you need for a glow up. Buy it here


Lifx Lightstrip

LifX Z Strip Starter pack (£80)
LIFX Z, 2m Starter Kit LED Strip, Bianco

Run a monochrome light strip along a counter, column or desk for dramatic uplighting. Do the same with this two-metre strip from Lifx for a rainbow showcase to transform any room.

More than a saturated strip, the adhesive ribbon features eight glow zones along its length, each of which can shine a different shade. Pick from presets in the partner app or go wild with colour combos to paint your walls with light.

A single Lifx Lightstrip packs 1400 lumens of vibrant brightness and can be extended up to 10m, so even the biggest abodes can be bathed in better ambience. Plus it plays nice with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri – no hub necessary.


Innr Smart Bulb set

Innr E27 Smart LED Bulb, Tunable White Ambiance Light, Works with Philips Hue*, Google & Alexa (Hub Required) dimmable, 2200-5000K, Shades of White, 2-Pack, RB 279 T-2

Intelligent illuminations are an important part of smart home setup. Trouble is, installing a smart bulb behind every shade soon adds up. For a brighter abode without breaking the bank, start be swapping three standard shiners for the warm white ones in this triple pack.

Innr’s smart bulbs don’t offer the multi-colour magic you might want for your cinema room, but they do support wireless dimming, scheduling and smart scenes. Plus you can control them even when you’re not at home.

The bulbs also support voice control via Google Assistant and Alexa, although you will need a separate hub to get set up. Innr sells its own Bridge, although the bulbs also work with most mainstream systems, including SmartThings, Zigbee and Philips Hue (albeit sans HomeKit compatibility). Owner of an Echo Studio, Echo Show 10 or fourth-gen Echo? You won’t need any additional hardware, because these devices double up as Zigbee bridges.


The best smart TV streaming sticks

  • Main article: The best TV streaming sticks and devices

Roku Streaming Stick 4K

Roku Streaming Stick 4K | Lettore multimediale in streaming HD/4K/HDR

Roku cut its teeth with affordable streaming sticks. While its latest streamer stays true to the budget brief, it’s no cut-price solution for smart home entertainment.

Support for pretty much every major streaming platform – including Disney+, Apple TV and BT Sport – means it’s one of the most versatile devices you can stick behind your TV. Provided your set has an HDMI port compatible with HDCP 2.2, it can serve up delicious 4KD HDR video at 60fps. It also supports HDR10/10+, HLG and Dolby Vision.

The simple remote makes it straightforward to navigate all that content. Prefer to ask your voice assistant what’s on? Roku doesn’t play favourites: the Streaming Stick 4K works with Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri, so you can load up shows any which way you want. And thanks to improved Wi-Fi range, that should happen more speedily.


Chromecast with Google TV

Chromecast with Google TV (£60)
Chromecast Google TV

Google’s standard Chromecast receiver makes it a cinch to cue up web content on your telly box. While you can still ‘cast’ to the updated plug-in puck, it’s become much more than a passive receiver: equipped with Google’s TV interface, it’s now a proper smart streaming system for you TV.

Google’s entertainment hub pulls together content from multiple services on a single screen, with personal recommendations from across all of your favourite platforms. Chromecast also supports more than 6500 apps, which means you’ll always have something to watch.

Streaming quality is slick, with sharp 4K HDR at up to 60fps, plus support for cinematic Dolby Atmos, Dolby Vision and HDR10+. And thanks to the bundled remote, Google Assistant’s support is just a press away – whether you want to load up a show or view a live feed from your doorbell.


Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Max

This binge-watching stick will transform your telly into an Alexa-powered smart screen. Connected to a spare HDMI slot on the back of your set, it can stream stunning 4K content from almost all of your favourite services.

Support for Dolby Vision, HLG and HDR10/10+ means you get the latest visuals, while Wi-Fi 6 ensures the strongest possible connection. There’s Dolby Atmos as well, for more immersive audio (if your sound setup supports it).

Extra memory and processing power ensures the interface is as zippy as ever, although Amazon still puts its own shows first in the recommendations. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, provided you’re a Prime subscriber. If you are, you’ll find the Fire TV Stick 4K Max is the perfect complement to your existing setup: with Alexa built into the box, one request is all it takes to load up shows, navigate apps and control your connected kit.

I’ve owned every Pixel phone since the first generation, but I might skip the Pixel 8

Close up of Pixel 8 camera on blue background

Ever since the first Google Pixel smartphone showed up, I’ve been something of a superfan. The most important piece of tech I own might be my Pixel 7; for most people it’s one of the best smartphones you can buy. But I might not get the Pixel 8.

To explain why, first I should be clear why I rate the range so highly.

For me, a Pixel’s most compelling feature is its cameras. These phones are renowned for their phenomenal photographic abilities, with Google’s software processing being second to none. They might not have the most impressive sensor setups (to match something like the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra), but the results are just as – if not more – impressive. And that’s before getting on to features like Night Sight and Google Photos’ AI-powered image editing.

Other reasons? Unlike most phones that run Android, Pixels have a completely clean UI with no bloatware. They get timely software and security updates, and for more years than most rivals. Subjectively I also think the non-Pro Pixel is the perfect size for a smartphone. And let’s not forget they are (usually) excellent value for money; you get flagship-grade features, design, and performance, at a price that undercuts the competition.

  • Related: the best Google Pixel 8 deals and prices

The Pixel 8 gets a lot of things right

Pixel 8 from Google site

Now, don’t get me wrong, the Google Pixel 8 gets a lot of things right. I’m a fan of the new Hazel and Rose colours, appreciate the boosted brightness that now nudges 2000 nits when you step outside, and Google has made this year’s model even smaller. There’s a 6.2in screen now, down from 6.32in on the Pixel 7, yet it keeps the same sharp 2400×1080 resolution.

Boosting the refresh rate from 90Hz to a smoother 120Hz is a welcome move, as is increasing the battery capacity – even if it’s only by a small amount. Features previously exclusive to the Pro model, like Macro Focus close-up photography, also make the cut.

But let’s be honest. If the Pixel 8 were an iPhone, it would be an S model. This is, on paper, a small update.

And while Google has added a lot of smart new software features, such as Audio Magic Eraser in video and Magic Editor for group photos, it’s likely that I’ll be trickled down to older Pixel models thanks to Pixel feature drops.

And then there’s the elephant in the room: the price. The Pixel 8 starts at $699/£699 – that’s $100/£100 more than last year’s model! In a time where budgets are tight, I just can’t justify spending that much on a relatively minor upgrade. Similarly, the $999/£999 Pixel 8 Pro is $100/£150 more than the outgoing Pixel 7 Pro. That exactly matches how much Apple wants for an iPhone 15 Pro.

For Pixel 7 owners like myself, it just doesn’t make sense to upgrade – even with some tempting trade-in offers currently doing the rounds.

If the price doesn’t put you off and you’re using a Pixel 6 or older, you can pre-order the Google Pixel 8 below:

25 best gifts under $100/£100 for Christmas 2023

25 best gifts under $100/£100 for Christmas 2023

best-gifts-under-$100-£100-2023-lead

 

Looking for the best gifts under $100 / £100? As luck would have it, you can bag plenty of excellent festive tech gifts for less.

OK, so you can’t wrap up a brand-new console on a budget. But you can find a whole host of Yuletide treats without going into the red.

From smart speakers to wireless earphones, the list below features our pick of the top Christmas gadget gifts you can buy for £100 or less. The best bit? None of them will make your recipient feel short-changed.

Our pick of the best gifts for under $100/£100 for Christmas 2023

best-gifts-under-$100-£100-2023-Sony-WF-C700N

They may not be as good as Sony’s class-leading MX5 buds, but this pair of wireless in-ears are still absolutely worthy of gracing one’s ears if premium budgets are out of reach. Comfortable, noise-cancelling, and with superb sound to back it up (courtesy of Sony’s clever sound enhancement engine), they’re a failsafe pick that won’t let you (or your recipient) down.

best-gifts-under-$100-£100-2023-amazon-echo-pop

Amazon Echo Pop

The Echo Pop won’t blow anyone away with audiophile-gade sound quality. And it doesn’t have to at this price. Temptingly affordable, compact, and available in some rather funky hues, it’ll make for a great addition to any space where music and Alexa skills are needed. Made from all manner of recycled materials, it’s the most accessible way to gift the power of voice assistance this Christmas.

If you know someone who’s forever complaining about the woefully unfrothed status of their milk, this handheld gizmo from Dualit will make their day. Taking care of things in both the heating and frothing department, its easy one-hand operation, coupled with different attachments for hot chocolate and milkshakes, will make it a staple tool in any kitchen.

best-gifts-under-$100-£100-2023-Philips-VoiceTracer-DVT1600,

An excellent choice for budding students and/or MI6 applicants, the VoiceTracer is a minimalist pen with discrete audio recording smarts. A built-in microphone and easy one-touch recording come in handy for lectures and interviews, while 32GB of memory and a large battery make for a dash of added convenience. Pop the cap, and you can plug it directly into a PC’s USB port for instant cable-free transfers as well. And no, it doesn’t self-destruct. To our knowledge.

best-gifts-under-$100-£100-2023-huawei-watch-fit-se

Huawei Watch Fit Special Edition

Carving out a rather handsome niche for itself thanks to a curvy rectangular build, the Fit Special Edition provides plenty of smartwatch smarts for the money. A bright, punchy 1.64in AMOLED display makes everything pop, while sleep, health tracking, and notifications tick off all the major boxes. Compatible with Android and iPhone handsets, it punches well above its sticker price.

best-gifts-under-$100-£100-2023-anker-soundcore-space-one

Anker Soundcore Space One

About as good a pair of noise-cancelling cans you can get for the money, the Space One offers custom 40mm drivers with support for LDAC hi-res wireless audio, with a substantial 40 hours of play time in between charges with ANC on, and 50 hours with it off. Promising to reduce external sounds by up to 98% and with a smart unassuming build, we can think of far worse things to spend your cash on.

best-gifts-under-$100-£100-2023-gomatic-navigator-6l-sling

Gomatic Navigator 6L Foldable Sling Bag

Designed to collapse into near-nothingness so that it can easily squeeze into larger luggage, this 6L sling comes into its own for day trips where travelling light is key. With internal pockets, a comfortable strap, and an external water bottle pocket, it’s best thought of as one of those speedboats you’ll find hidden inside superyachts, ready to be deployed at a moment’s notice. Minus the multimillion-quid price tag, that is.

best-gifts-under-$100-£100-2023-jlab-epic-keyboard

JLab Epic Keyboard

Capable of connecting to three devices simultaneously, this wireless JLab keyboard is aimed at multitaskers who work across multiple phones, laptops and/or tablets. Quiet soft-touch keys will be appreciated by anyone else in the vicinity, while a media knob lets you blast or quieten tracks and videos with a simple twizzle.

Nokia C12

With an RRP of one penny shy of a ton, the C12 falls a little short of impulse buy territory. It’s still a bargain by smartphone standards though, with Android 12 (Go edition), a 6.3in screen, a rear camera and all-day battery life all making an appearance. An ideal phone for those who aren’t fussed about specs, and/or a festival phone that’s a bit more capable than more basic featurephones.

Twelve South AirFly Pro

If you’ve ever had to endure a long-haul flight without headphones, we feel your pain. Screaming children, incessant small talk, and a general sense of being too connected with the general public can make time in the sky pass agonisingly slowly. The AirFly Pro will protect you from this fate, as long as you remember to bring along your trusty Bluetooth headphones. Converting regular headphone jacks into Bluetooth transmitters, you can enjoy wireless audio with your own headphones for hassle-free, blissful peace.

best-gifts-under-$100-£100-2023-philips-hue-secure

Philips Hue Secure Contact Sensor

 

  • Nothing says “I care for you” more than home security gear. Gift that special person in your life with Philips’ Hue Secure contact sensor, and they’ll always know when a door or window is opened, thanks to its ability to seamlessly merge into existing Hue setups. Safety aside, it can also be used to automate actions such as turning lights on when entering a room — useful for nighttime trips to the WC.

OneOdio OpenRock S

They may not be as good as Sony’s class-leading MX5 buds, but this pair of wireless in-ears are still absolutely worthy of gracing one’s ears if premium budgets are out of reach. Comfortable, noise-cancelling, and with superb sound to back it up (courtesy of Sony’s clever sound enhancement engine), they’re a failsafe pick that won’t let you (or your recipient) down.


Stuff Christmas Gifts £100 Xiaomi Smart Band 7 Pro

Xiaomi Smart Band 7 Pro

Slapping a fitness wearable on their wrist is a good way to remind relations to get started with their post-Christmas running plan, and Xiaomi’s new Smart Band 7 Pro gives them a lot for less than £100. Built-in GNSS promises better tracking and faster position locking than the Smart Band 6, while an 84% larger AMOLED display allows them to see a lot more information and data without having to swipe. 


Stuff Christmas Gift ideas for £100: Marshall Willen Bluetooth speaker

Marshall Willen

Marshall’s most backpack-friendly Bluetooth speaker to date is also perfect stocking fodder. As you’d expect, it looks not unlike a shrunken version of one of the legendary brand’s amps, but here you’re pairing a smartphone rather than plugging in a guitar. The diddy speaker might weigh just 310g, but Marshall has managed to cram in two passive radiators paired with a 2in full-range driver, for noise-making capabilities that belie its small size.


Stuff Christmas Gift Ideas Logitech Litra Glow streaming light

Logitech Litra Glow

Shopping for a streamer, or perhaps just someone who’s seemingly never not on a video call of some description? This ring light alternative ensures they always look their best. Logitech promises that its TrueSoft tech delivers full-spectrum LED light for a balanced, natural look across all skin tones, while a three-way monitor mount allows you to find the perfect position. It’s passed strict testing guidelines too, so is fully approved to use for the duration of any Warzone stream.


Christmas Gift Ideas for £100: 1More Sonoflow headphones

1More Sonoflow

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and these wireless cans look not unlike Sony’s all-conquering WH-1000XM5. In our review we noted surprisingly good noise-cancelling and punchy sound for a decidedly wallet-friendly pair of headphones, and the 50-hour battery life (with ANC on) is enough to listen to all of The Beatles’ back catalogue several times over before you need to find a plug. The big difference between these and Sony’s offering? The sub-£100 price tag makes them a reasonable Christmas request.


Stuff Christmas Gifts £100 Logitech MX Keys Mini Keyboard

Logitech MX Keys Mini

A writer’s retreat might be just the thing to inspire your next bestseller. Stick Logitech’s compact keyboard in your backpack for top typing wherever you travel. Slim, light and good for up to five months on a single charge, the Mini features full-sized keys which are sculpted to suit your fingertips. Its solid metal build reduces the rat-a-tat that would otherwise earn the ire of fellow authors, while an emoji shortcut means you’ll easily find the right smiley to celebrate when you get published.


Christmas Gift Ideas for £100: GameSir Pro smartphone controller

GameSir X2 Pro

For all its ongoing enthusiasm for cloud gaming, Microsoft is yet to launch an Xbox handheld. But with GameSir’s latest controller, you can at least make your Android phone look like one. An officially licensed version of its X2, the X2 Pro is available in both black and white (depending on whether you prefer the Xbox Series X or Series S aesthetic), and matches up with the traditional Xbox face button layout and design. New members even get a free month of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate thrown in.


Christmas Gift Ideas for £100: Nomad Horween Leather mousepad

Nomad Horween Leather Mousepad

 

Sennheiser Accentum headphones bring affordable ANC

Sennheiser Accentum headphones

 

The Sennheiser Accentum headphones offer an attractive alternative for those seeking noise-cancelling headphones without breaking the bank. While the Sennheiser Momentum over-ears are renowned for their noise-cancelling prowess but come with a premium price tag, the Accentum headphones provide a more budget-friendly option while still delivering effective noise isolation. These headphones boast a combination of hybrid active noise cancellation (ANC) technology and impressive battery life, making them accessible to a wider audience.

Equipped with 37mm dynamic transducer drivers, Sennheiser claims that these headphones deliver an immersive audio experience characterized by powerful bass and crystal-clear clarity. If their performance is anywhere close to the highly regarded Momentum 4 headphones, users can expect a delightful and engaging music listening experience.

 

Sennheiser Accentum headphones bring affordable ANC

Each padded ear cup has been designed with maximum passive sound isolation in mind, while separate microphones target low and high frequencies for effective ANC. Those mics also have built-in wind reduction, so should help your speech stay nice and clear when making voice calls, and adjustable side-tone pipes some of it back into the ear cups for more natural conversation.

The Sennheiser Accentum headphones boast an impressive battery life, offering 50 hours of playback with active noise cancellation (ANC) activated. Even a quick ten-minute charge via a power source provides an additional five hours of playback. These headphones support wired listening through USB-C, utilizing an integrated DAC for enhanced audio quality.

They feature aptX HD codec support for superior audio fidelity, along with standard SBC and AAC codecs. Bluetooth 5.2 enables multipoint connectivity, allowing simultaneous pairing with two devices. The headphones can be customized using Sennheiser’s smartphone companion app for EQ adjustments and firmware updates.

The Sennheiser Accentum headphones are available for pre-order, with the black version expected on October 4th and the white variant arriving in late November. They are priced at £160/€180 each.

 

click please

The Best Portable Chargers and Power Banks for Phones and Tablets

The Best Portable Chargers and Power Banks for Phones and Tablets

 

The Best Portable Chargers and Power Banks for Phones and Tablets

Whether you’re a glued-to-your-screen smartphone owner who can never make it through a day on a full charge, or someone who just needs an occasional battery boost, USB power banks are a panacea for low-battery anxiety. After putting in 21 hours of research and 55 hours of testing, we’ve found the best power banks to meet a wide range of needs—portable chargers that offer you peace of mind whenever wall outlets are out of reach.

The Zendure SuperMini 20W is about as small and lightweight as a power bank can possibly be while still offering enough capacity to juice up most smartphones up to three times. Its USB-C Power Delivery (PD) port can charge most handheld devices (and recharge the power bank itself) at top speed with the included USB-C cable and a compatible wall charger (the one that came with your phone will work). The USB-A port can handle any older, non-USB-C devices you might have kicking around, too.

 

The SuperMini’s rounded edges make it easy to hold and slip into a pocket, and unlike most power banks, it comes in a wide range of colors: red, green, black, silver, blue, and pink.

Key specs

Rated capacity: 10,000 mAh (36 Wh)
Weight: 6.4 ounces
Tested input: 19.3 watts (USB-C PD port)
Tested output: 18.6 watts (USB-C PD port) and 16.6 watts (USB-A port)

This process left us with the following 23 power banks to test:

  • Anker PowerCore 10000 PD Redux
  • Anker PowerCore Fusion 5000
  • Anker PowerCore Fusion 10000
  • Anker PowerCore III Fusion 5K
  • Anker PowerCore Slim 10000 PD
  • Clutch V2 (Lightning) (discontinued)
  • Clutch V2 (USB-C) (discontinued)
  • Flux 4000 mAh Ultraslim Portable Charger
  • HyperJuice 18W USB-C + Lightning Battery Pack (discontinued)
  • HyperJuice 18W USB-C + Lightning Battery Pack (discontinued)
  • Mophie Powerstation Hub
  • Mophie Powerstation PD
  • Mophie Powerstation Plus (USB-C)
  • Mophie Powerstation Plus Mini (discontinued)
  • Mophie Powerstation Plus Mini (USB-C)
  • RAVPower 10000mAh Power Bank (RP-PB186)
  • Real Graphene G-Lite (discontinued)
  • TG90° Portable Charger 6000mAh External Battery Pack
  • TravelCard Charger (discontinued)
  • Tronsmart Trim 10000mAh USB-C Power Bank
  • Zendure SuperMini 20W
  • ZMI PowerPack 10K USB-C Power Bank (QB910)
  • ZMI PowerPack Ambi 10K Dual USB-C Power Bank (discontinued)

 

 

The Anker PowerCore III Fusion 5K is handy if you want a single, reliable charger that you can plug in the wall to charge your devices overnight and then pack up and carry with you during the day. Its 5,000 mAh capacity is half that of the Zendure, but that’s still enough to fully charge most smartphones more than once (and at 6.4 ounces, it’s just as lightweight as our top pick). The Fusion 5K recharges quickly via its USB-C PD port or fold-out AC plug—most models we tested have just one or the other—and it offers fairly fast charging for two devices at a time on the USB-C PD and USB-A ports. If you want a power bank that doubles as a wall charger, this is the best option we’ve found.

Key specs

Rated capacity: 5,000 mAh (18 Wh)
Weight: 6.4 ounces
Tested input: 10.9 watts (built-in AC plug) and 18 watts (USB-C PD port)
Tested output: 18 watts (USB-C PD port), 13.5 watts (USB-A port when plugged in), and 12.5 watts (USB-A port when unplugged)

Everything we recommend

Our pick

Zendure SuperMini 20W

The best power bank for phones, tablets, and more

This is the smallest and lightest 10,000 mAh power bank we’ve tested. It has USB-C PD and USB-A ports, it comes in several colors, and its rounded edges make it easy to slip into a pocket.

Anker PowerCore III Fusion 5K

The best power bank that doubles as a wall charger

This palm-sized power bank charges your devices on a USB-A port and a speedy USB-C PD port, and recharges itself via the USB-C PD port or through a fold-out AC plug.

Buying Options

Buy from Amazon

$42 from Walmart

May be out of stock

*At the time of publishing, the price was $40.

As the writer of this guide, I spent 21 hours researching and 55 hours testing USB power banks and portable chargers. I’ve been a science journalist for nearly a decade, covering a wide variety of topics from particle physics to satellite remote sensing. Since joining Wirecutter in 2017, I’ve reported on surge protectors, USB-C cables and adapters, portable power stations, and more.

Most people could use a USB power bank (also called an external battery pack, backup battery, or portable charger) to keep phones and other devices charged while on the go. The question is, which one best fits into your habits? Some might need only a small battery to give their phone a boost at the end of the day, while those who travel a lot may be looking to power multiple devices over the course of several days. Rather than always having to track down a wall outlet wherever you go, owning a USB power bank allows you to enjoy a conveniently portable (albeit limited) power supply.

Even if you’re blessed with an abundance of charging options in your daily life—maybe you spend most of your day at home, at the office, or in the car—you could probably still benefit from a portable power bank. Something wallet-sized is great to always have on hand for those unexpected (yet critical) moments when your phone is dying and no outlets are nearby. But if you want something for weekend trips or a regular commute, slightly larger power banks can still fit easily in laptop bags, purses, or large pockets, offering two or more full charges for most smartphones. These power banks are robust yet portable, allowing you to also charge devices such as wireless headphones, computer mice, keyboards, vaporizers, digital cameras, and more.

When you’re traveling in an unfamiliar place—relying on your phone to guide you and to potentially call for help—a power bank offers added peace of mind. Strategically placing a few of these around the house isn’t a bad idea either: You can keep one in your foyer to grab as you’re running out the door, or one near the couch for when you’re curled up cozily under a blanket and really, really don’t want to get up to plug in your phone.

Our five picks for the best portable chargers and power banks for phones and tablets, lined up in a neat square.
Photo: Sarah Kobos

Due to the unfortunate fact that battery technology has failed to keep up with the processing power of modern devices, USB power banks have become an increasingly popular way to help phones and tablets get through the day. With tons of brands and models to choose from, we checked out major retailers like Amazon, Home Depot, and Target—as well as trusted editorial sources such as CNET, PCMag, PCWorld, and TechRadar—to find the most well-known makers of widely available USB power banks. From there, we built out a list of contenders based on the following features:

  • Powerful charging and recharging: For models with USB-C output or input, we preferred those rated for at least 15 watts. That’s the minimum wattage needed for full USB-C charging and recharging speeds (though devices that support the even faster USB-C standard—USB Power Delivery, or USB PD—need at least 18 watts). Likewise, for models with USB-A output or Micro-USB input, we looked for those rated for 8 watts or more. Anything less powerful would be painfully slow.
  • No heavier than half a pound: Power banks should be small and lightweight, making them easy to tote around in a wallet, pocket, or bag for an entire day. We preferred to test power banks weighing 8 ounces or less, since we don’t think most people want to carry something in their pocket or purse that weighs much more than a smartphone (for reference, an iPhone 13 weighs 6.1 ounces and a Pixel 5a weighs 6.5 ounces).
  • Capacity rating of 1,000 to 10,000 mAh: The capacity rating listed on the power bank tells you roughly how much power it can hold. For reference, an iPhone 13 battery has a capacity of a little more than 12 watt-hours (about 3,300 milliampere hours), and a 16-inch MacBook Pro battery has a capacity of 100 watt-hours (about 28,000 mAh). Power banks with a capacity rating of more than 10,000 mAh tend to be bigger, heavier, and more expensive, so for this guide we focused primarily on lower-capacity power banks—those that store enough capacity to give your phone a boost of power or to fully charge it several times without weighing you down. Our favorite power banks for laptops with USB-C or AC charging have much higher capacity ratings than the chargers we recommend here.
  • At least a one-year warranty: A year is plenty of time to use your power bank and make sure it’s working properly, although longer warranties are, of course, always preferable.
  • Brand reputation: We favored brands that we’ve had mostly good experiences with in the past when it comes to responsive customer support, widespread availability, and capability to keep models in stock. We discounted models still undergoing a crowdfunding campaign, as well as brands lacking a visible web presence.
  • Price: We used a ratio of capacity (mAh) per dollar to break ties between otherwise similar models.
  • Built-in cables: We preferred power banks with some type of built-in cable or plug. This type of feature is indispensable when executed well, since separate charging cables (even if they’re neatly coiled up) take up more space in a bag.

This process left us with the following 23 power banks to test:

  • Anker PowerCore 10000 PD Redux
  • Anker PowerCore Fusion 5000
  • Anker PowerCore Fusion 10000
  • Anker PowerCore III Fusion 5K
  • Anker PowerCore Slim 10000 PD
  • Clutch V2 (Lightning) (discontinued)
  • Clutch V2 (USB-C) (discontinued)
  • Flux 4000 mAh Ultraslim Portable Charger
  • HyperJuice 18W USB-C + Lightning Battery Pack (discontinued)
  • HyperJuice 18W USB-C + Lightning Battery Pack (discontinued)
  • Mophie Powerstation Hub
  • Mophie Powerstation PD
  • Mophie Powerstation Plus (USB-C)
  • Mophie Powerstation Plus Mini (discontinued)
  • Mophie Powerstation Plus Mini (USB-C)
  • RAVPower 10000mAh Power Bank (RP-PB186)
  • Real Graphene G-Lite (discontinued)
  • TG90° Portable Charger 6000mAh External Battery Pack
  • TravelCard Charger (discontinued)
  • Tronsmart Trim 10000mAh USB-C Power Bank
  • Zendure SuperMini 20W
  • ZMI PowerPack 10K USB-C Power Bank (QB910)
  • ZMI PowerPack Ambi 10K Dual USB-C Power Bank (discontinued)
A power bank in the midst of being tested, plugged into a smart phone and a video game to charge both simultaneously.
Photo: Sarah Witman

We tested the performance of each power bank in a few key areas, including the following:

  • Weight: We used an Escali Primo Digital Scale to confirm the advertised weight of each power bank.
  • Size: Rather than measure the length, width, and depth of each power bank—which would have been tedious, and not terribly meaningful for most people—we considered size in terms of whether a power bank fit inside a wallet, a pocket (we tried a variety of pants, skirt, and jacket pockets), or an accessories pouch.
  • Look and feel: We took note of each power bank’s bulk and exterior texture. We considered how easy and intuitive its features—such as the power buttons, charging-status lights, built-in cables, fold-out AC plug, or flashlight—were to use.
  • Charging output of USB-A ports: We measured USB-A output by connecting a half-charged power bank to a PortaPow and a Drok USB load tester. We then turned up the amperage of the load tester as far as it could go without overloading the power bank and recorded the volts and amps we measured with the PortaPow to calculate the maximum output (watts).
  • Charging output of USB-C ports: We measured USB-C output by connecting a half-charged power bank to a Total Phase USB Power Delivery Analyzer, an Apple USB-C cable, and a MacBook Pro. We then used Total Phase’s Data Center Software, checked over the power profile and any errors, and recorded the volts and amps (to calculate the result in watts).
  • USB-C recharging speed: We measured USB-C input by connecting a fully drained power bank to the Total Phase USB Power Delivery Analyzer and a 60 W MacBook Pro charger. We then ran Total Phase’s Data Center Software, checked over the power profile and any errors, and recorded the volts and amps (to calculate the input in watts).
  • Micro-USB recharging speed: We measured Micro-USB input by connecting a fully drained power bank to a PortaPow USB Power Monitor, an Anker PowerLine Micro-USB cable, and an Anker PowerPort II wall charger plugged into a wall outlet. We then recorded the volts and amps we measured with the PortaPow to calculate the input (watts).
  • Nintendo Switch compatibility: Because this popular gaming console is notoriously finicky when it comes to charging, we plugged each of the power banks into a half-charged Switch to make sure they could charge it at least partially. All of our picks passed this test.
The silver Zendure SuperMini 20W, our top pick for the best portable charger/ power bank for phones and tablets.
Photo: Sarah Kobos

Our pick

Zendure SuperMini 20W

The best power bank for phones, tablets, and more

This is the smallest and lightest 10,000 mAh power bank we’ve tested. It has USB-C PD and USB-A ports, it comes in several colors, and its rounded edges make it easy to slip into a pocket.

$60 from Amazon

The Zendure SuperMini 20W is the total package when it comes to charging a smartphone or other small electronic device while on the go. It’s compact and lightweight—around the size of a deck of cards and as heavy as an iPhone 13—yet its capacity rating is as high as any of our other picks. If you want a power bank that you can easily slip into a pocket or purse as you walk out the door but that still contains enough juice to charge most smartphones up to three times, this is the one to get.

The Zendure has a port on each end: a USB-C PD port on one side that works for both output and input (meaning it’s how you recharge the power bank itself), and a standard output-only USB-A port on the other. In our tests, we measured a maximum output of 18.6 watts and a maximum input of 19.3 watts from the USB-C port, and a maximum output of 16.6 watts from the USB-A port. While those numbers fall a little short of its 20 W output rating, the SuperMini is still powerful enough to charge most devices at top speed from either port, or to charge two devices simultaneously at slightly slower speeds. With a capacity rating of 10,000 mAh, you can fully charge your phone up to three times (or make instant friends by topping off strangers’ phones, as well—the “bumming a cigarette” of the digital age).

Close view of a black cable plugged in to the charging port of the rectangular silver Zendure SuperMini 20W power bank.
The Zendure SuperMini 20W has a USB-C Power Delivery (PD) port for fast-charging your devices and recharging the power bank itself, as well as a standard USB-A charging port. Photo: Sarah Kobos

The exterior of the Zendure is a hard, shiny, plastic shell that’s relatively resistant to scuffs and scratches. It comes in a variety of colors (red, green, black, silver, blue, and pink) and, measuring just 3.1 by 2.2 by 1 inches, fits in the palm of your hand. It weighs 6.4 ounces—about as much as a hockey puck, which is lighter than any other 10,000 mAh power bank we tested.

The SuperMini unit is backed by Zendure’s two-year warranty—longer than that of any of our other picks—which should give you plenty of time to test it out and ensure you don’t have a dud. We’ve also had good experiences with Zendure’s customer support in the more than five years we’ve been reviewing its products.

A major drawback of the SuperMini is its lack of built-in cables. We prefer having built-in cables to charge our devices over supplying and transporting our own—they take up extra space, get tangled, and are easily misplaced. And unlike our other picks, which can recharge via built-in cables or plugs, the SuperMini needs a separate cable (one is included in the box) to recharge itself. But we think the fact that it packs so much power into a miniscule package outweighs the small burden of having to pack a separate charging cable or two. It also means the SuperMini can charge a wider variety of devices, especially older ones that don’t use the latest connectors.

We don’t love the raised ridges on the SuperMini’s main surfaces, which make it look like a tiny hardshell suitcase, but that’s a cosmetic quibble. Plus, these protuberances make the power bank easier to identify by feel among the other contents of a purse or tote. They also add some extra grippiness compared with other models we’ve tested that have completely smooth exteriors.

The white square Anker PowerCore III Fusion 5K, a top pick for best portable chargers and power banks for phones and tablets, has ports highlighted in bright blue.
Photo: Rozette Rago

Also great

Anker PowerCore III Fusion 5K

The best power bank that doubles as a wall charger

This palm-sized power bank charges your devices on a USB-A port and a speedy USB-C PD port, and recharges itself via the USB-C PD port or through a fold-out AC plug.

Buy from Amazon

$42 from Walmart

May be out of stock

*At the time of publishing, the price was $40.

The Anker PowerCore III Fusion 5K is the best power bank we’ve found that’s also a good wall charger. Rather than having a wall charger that you leave at home and a separate power bank that you carry with you, you can rely on a single gadget that does double duty. Plus, it’s easy to use: Flip open the AC plug and stick it in a wall outlet; wait for the four little battery-status lights on the front to light up, indicating that it’s fully charged; and then take it with you for hours of on-the-go power. And you don’t have to worry if your power bank dies while you’re out and about, because you can charge it on any wall outlet (or, using a separate cable, with any USB-C port).

The Fusion 5K is a relatively small charger—about the size of a tape measure, and even lighter at 6.4 ounces—making it easy to store in an accessories pouch or a roomy pocket. Its rated capacity (5,000 mAh) is enough for nearly two full iPhone 13 charges). Each of the Fusion 5K’s two USB-A output ports can send plenty of power to your devices, charging them faster than any other USB-A port we tested: We measured 13.5 watts when it was plugged into a wall outlet and 12.5 watts when unplugged—either way, it can charge your phone a lot faster than Apple’s standard 5-watt charging brick.

You can recharge the Fusion 5K via either the AC input plug (which sends 10.9 watts of power to the unit from a wall outlet, according to the test we ran with a Kill A Watt Electricity Usage Monitor) or the 18-watt USB-C PD input port, which is convenient if you need to recharge it from a laptop or some other USB-C power source. Given the Fusion 5K’s rated capacity, that means it should take a little more than 90 minutes to charge itself over AC, or just an hour over USB-C PD.

Our five picks for the best portable chargers and power banks for phones and tablets, stacked on top of each other.
The Fusion 5K (second from the bottom) is about the size of a standard tape measure and weighs just 6.4 ounces. Photo: Sarah Kobos

A drawback of the Fusion 5K is that it’s slightly less portable than our other picks—its chunky, squarish shape makes it harder to slip into an average-size pocket—and, like our top pick, the lack of built-in cables requires you to pack an extra cable or two to charge your devices. As far as two-in-one power banks go, though, it’s still fairly compact.

If the Zendure SuperMini 20W is unavailable and you want the next-best-thing in terms of capacity and portability:

 Get either the Anker PowerCore 10000 PD Redux or the Anker PowerCore Slim 10000 PD (depending on the price and which shape and color you prefer). Both models are rated for the same capacity as the SuperMini (10,000 mAh) and they’re about as pocketable, though ever-so-slightly larger. While the SuperMini weighs 6.4 ounces, the Redux weighs 6.8 ounces and the Slim weighs 7.4 ounces. Like the SuperMini, both models have a USB-C PD port capable of charging a smartphone or other handheld device (and recharging themselves) at top speed, as well as a USB-A output port.

If you prefer an upholstered exterior over the hard, plastic finishes of our picks, and you don’t mind sacrificing some power:

Get the ZMI PowerPack 10K USB-C Power Bank (QB910). Like the three aforementioned chargers, the ZMI has a 10,000 mAh capacity rating and ergonomically rounded edges. It weighs 7.4 ounces, or about as much as an iPhone 13 Pro. It fell a bit short in our maximum-output testing, managing just 16 W from its USB-C PD port, though we measured an impressive 15.6 W from its USB-A port. In terms of input, we measured 16.9 W over USB-C PD and a measly 4 W over Micro-USB. The ZMI comes with a USB-C charging cable and a cloth bag (the SuperMini, Redux, and Slim do, too), and adds a handy two-in one cable (a Micro-USB cable with a USB-C adapter attached to the end by a short tether). Compared to most other fabric-covered gadgets we’ve tested, this one uses a more stylish and sophisticated-looking textile—a soft, tightly woven, marled-gray twill. It’s fairly durable, though not impervious to stains.

If you want a power bank that doubles as a wall charger and has twice the capacity of the Anker PowerCore III Fusion 5K, and you don’t mind spending a bit more on a bulkier model:

Get the Anker PowerCore Fusion 10000. It has the same easily pocketable shape, fold-up plug, and convenient battery-status lights that we prize in the Fusion III. Plus, it’s rated for 10,000 mAh, has a pleasantly grippy and comfy-to-hold matte finish, and comes in three colors (black, white, and red). We didn’t make it an official pick because it’s significantly bigger and heavier than our other recommendations, weighing a whopping 9.6 ounces (like our top pick, the Fusion III weighs just 6.4 ounces). But if you want more capacity and can live with the extra bulk, this is your best bet.

Power banks are made primarily of plastic, metal, and other nonrenewable materials that take decades to decompose. As such, one of the most sustainable things you can do with a power bank is to avoid replacing it for as long as possible. Handle your power bank with care to prevent scratches, scuffs, and dents, and store it in a protective pouch or cable organizer when it’s in your bag. Since extreme temperatures can permanently damage batteries, you should also try to store your power bank in a cool, dry place (preferably at about a 40% charge).

If your power bank does break, iFixIt and Instructables have handy guides to mending most types of electronics. But if it’s damaged beyond repair or no longer holds a charge, you should recycle it. Most Americans recycle plastic, metal, paper, and cardboard on a regular basis, but less than half (subscription required) recycle their used batteries and other electronic waste (also called e-waste). Unrecycled e-waste usually ends up in a landfill, where it can leach heavy metals and other harmful chemicals into local soil and water systems. It also contributes to more raw materials being mined to make new electronics, rather than salvaging usable components from old ones.

Here are some good options for recycling power banks and other e-waste:

  • Find e-waste recycling facilities in your area using searchable databases like Call2Recycle, Earth911, GreenCitizen, or Greener Gadgets. Most municipalities don’t offer curbside pickup for battery recycling, but many have designated dropoff sites. Before dropping off batteries at a recycling facility, make sure it accepts lithium-ion batteries (the type found in most power banks, including the picks in this guide, as well as many other household electronics) as they may require different safety precautions than other battery types.
  • Keep an eye out for local e-waste recycling drives—or try organizing one yourself!
  • Mail in a prepaid shipping container from TerraCycle, Call2Recycle, or another recycle-by-mail service.

The Anker PowerCore Fusion 5000 is our former pick for people who want a power bank that doubles as a wall charger. It has the same capacity (5,000 mAh) as the Fusion III, as well as the same handy fold-up plug and pocketable size and shape. However, its ports (two USB-A output ports and a Micro-USB input port) are much less powerful than those on our current pick.

The Flux 4000 mAh Ultraslim Portable Charger is lightweight (3.1 ounces) and small enough to fit in a pants pocket. It has a Micro-USB input port, a USB-A output port, and built-in USB-C and Lightning cables, and comes in a variety of colors. However, the cables are nearly impossible to get back into their slots after charging and the materials seem flimsy overall.

The intelliArmor Scout Max is a jack of all trades, master of none. It has a built-in AC plug and Micro-USB port to charge itself, and its built-in Lightning, Micro-USB, and USB-C cables can charge pretty much any handheld device. But unsheathing the cables and plug is trickier than we’d like, and its 10,000 mAh capacity is no better than that of several of our picks. Plus, we couldn’t find any warranty information on the company’s site and can’t vouch for its customer support.

Although the Mophie Powerstation Hub has a bit more capacity (6,000 mAh) than the Fusion III and adds Qi wireless charging, we don’t think those features justify the usual $100 price tag. Plus, it has a more angular shape that’s not as comfortable to hold or as easy to slip into a pocket.

The Mophie Powerstation PD is super lightweight, weighing just 5.2 ounces, and has a pleasantly pocketable shape and grippy texture. However, it offers significantly less capacity (6,700 mAh) than our SuperMini pick, which is just a few ounces heavier.

The Mophie Powerstation Plus (USB-C) and Mophie Powerstation Plus Mini (USB-C) are sleek-looking and lightweight. But the built-in USB-C cables are especially tricky to get back into their slots, which we think would drive most people up the wall.

The RAVPower 10000mAh Power Bank (RP-PB186) is nearly identical to the Anker Redux, except for the rough ridges at each of its seams that make it less comfortable to hold. But if you can get it for significantly less money than the Anker model, it would be a great alternative.

The TG90° Portable Charger 6000mAh External Battery Pack is one of the smallest and lightest power banks we’ve tested, weighing just 4.1 ounces, and its capacity rating (6,000 mAh) is higher than our Anker pick. As a major added convenience, it has two built-in cables (USB-C and Lightning) that slide in and out of their holsters easily, as well as a USB-C input port. It’s also relatively sturdy and well built. Despite these attributes, however, we don’t feel comfortable recommending this model without long-term testing; aside from its Amazon storefront, the company has no web presence.

The Tronsmart Trim 10000mAh USB-C Power Bank has the same capacity rating (10,000 mAh) as our SuperMini pick, plus it adds a Micro-USB input port. However, we don’t think an extra (and slower-charging) input option offers a significant benefit for most people, and we prefer the look and feel of our picks.

 

15 tips for your successful mobile phone repair | 2023

15 tips for your successful mobile phone repair

 

Topics that you want to know :

fix my phone screen

 

Your new phone is broken? Ever thought of fixing it yourself?

For many people, repairing their own smartphone is usually completely new territory and therefore involves a certain amount of uncertainty.

We at iDoc will help you with your repair. From high-quality spare parts for all common smartphone models to detailed instructions and support for the actual repair, we offer everything you need to repair your smartphone on your own.

In addition, we give you 11 tips in this blog post to make your repair a complete success.

Why repair it yourself?

There are several reasons why you should repair your defective smartphone yourself:

You act sustainable

A cracked display, a weak battery – there can be many reasons why you are no longer satisfied with your phone. But before you buy a new one, you should think about a more sustainable option! A mobile phone repair gives you the chance to replace only the really defective part. This way you make a personal contribution to using fewer resources and protecting the environment.

You save money

A mobile phone repair is almost always cheaper than buying a new device directly. If you also carry out the repair yourself, you save the costs of a repair shop.

You keep control

If you repair your smartphone yourself, you don’t have to leave it in someone else’s hands and reveal your data. You alone decide when to start the repair and how long it will take. Waiting times, repair times – not your problem.

You have fun

Admittedly, the reason may sound nerdy at first, but: It is simply exciting to look inside a smartphone and to better understand how it is constructed. You can also be proud of yourself when you have reassembled your phone after repair and it works perfectly again.

How to prepare your repair

To ensure that the repair of your smartphone is a complete success, we recommend that you follow these 11 tips.

1. Pay attention to your spare part’s quality

On the Internet you can order the right spare part for every available smartphone model. However, you should know that there are big differences in quality on the market. Especially for Apple spare parts, for which no original spare parts are available on the open market, you should take a closer look. Take a close look at the online shop – does it make a serious impression on you? Does the product description contain all relevant information? In a previous article we compiled a checklist to evaluate the seriousness of online shops.

When you have decided on a spare part and your order has arrived, you should have a close look at it. Don’t bother with protective foils and labels, but instead pay particular attention to damage, adhesive residues and general processing. Does the spare part make a good impression on you? Then lay it out on your work surface.

15 tips for your successful mobile phone repair | 2023
15 tips for your successful mobile phone repair | 2023

An original Samsung display has the perfect fit and provides highest image quality.

2. Get the right tools

Find out which tools you need before the repair. In our repair manuals we list all the tools you need in detail, so you don’t have to search long. Many suppliers also offer spare parts together with the right tools in a set. Be careful when you receive the tool as a free gift. Often those are only inferior cent articles, with which you risk damaging your phone in the worst case. High-quality tools are not only safer and help you work faster, they also last for future repairs.

With the iDoc toolkit you have the right tool for every repair.

3. Prepare your work space

For a smartphone repair, your workplace should always be tidy. To avoid losing small parts such as screws during the repair, you should place all removed parts in a sorting box or on a magnetic pad. The work surface should also be clean to avoid scratches on the surface of your smartphone.

15 tips for your successful mobile phone repair | 2023
15 tips for your successful mobile phone repair | 2023

A clean workplace makes repairs easier.

4. Take enough time

It is better to carry out the repair in one pieceso that nothing is left lying around and gets lost. Plan a little more time, especially if this is your first repair.

5. Have fun

You are about to repair your smartphone independently, cost-effectively and sustainably. Reason enough to be in a good mood. Our YouTube instructions have subtitles in English and German, so that you can even listen to your favourite music while repairing.

6. Back up your data

If you can still connect your device to a computer, you should always back up your data externally before repairing it. For the repair of iPhones Apple has its own backup method.

7. Perform a functional test

Test all main functions of your device before you pick up the screwdriver. Samsung has developed its own test mode for this. We have created a checklist especially for the functional test. This way you can make sure that you haven’t damaged anything during the repair.

8. Discharge electrostatic charges

Newer smartphones are usually well protected against electrostatic discharge. However, we recommend you not to wear static materials such as wool, fleece or nylon during repairs. You should also avoid walking over carpets with socks on before the repair. To be on the safe side, you can discharge potential charges from your body by touching the heater or any other metallic object.

9. Turn off your device and disconnect the battery

Before opening your device, you must switch it off. To avoid short circuits you should also disconnect the battery connector as soon as it is exposed.

15 tips for your successful mobile phone repair | 2023
15 tips for your successful mobile phone repair | 2023

Always disconnect the battery first.

You shouldn’t forget that after the repair:

10. Perform a functional test

After the repair you should test the touch screen and all important functions again. This is the only way to know if your repair was successful. For example, some functions may fail if a cable is connected incorrectly.

15 tips for your successful mobile phone repair | 2023
15 tips for your successful mobile phone repair | 2023

Test your touchscreen testen: Drag an app accross the screen.

Topics that you want to know :

fix my phone screen

 

11. Note the watertightness

Note that your smartphone is no longer 100% waterproof as soon as it was once opened. You can re-glue the display with an adhesive frame. However, this only protects it against splash water.

12. Quick Service

As cell phones today are becoming indispensable, everyone wants them to be fixed as soon as possible; people aren’t willing to wait longer. With all their crucial data inside, it also becomes difficult to substitute a temporary phone or tablet. Hence if you want your business to grow and earn a good reputation while you’re at it, you will have to be quite resourceful to provide quick service.

 

 

13. Automation

If you want your business to be a professional one, automation of the entire process is necessary. There is a lot of exclusive software available for cell phone repair businesses which cover stocks of spares, repair status, profits/losses, inventory and many more. Some of them also have the option to send automated text messages to clients informing them about the progress of the handset given in for repairs.

The best paid software for cell phone repair businesses are:

RepairShopr – They have many pricing options starting from free to $299 per month.

RepairQ – They have a minimum plan of $49 a month

 

I haven’t come across any other software which is totally free. If you know, please let me know in the comments so that I can add it in this article.

15 tips for your successful mobile phone repair
15 tips for your successful mobile phone repair

14. Pricing

It is better to quote repair charges below your competitors’ estimation. Unfortunately, it is a challenge to keep prices lower than others while maintaining a high quality of service. Some people might question the quality of repairs if you quote a price that is too low. Moreover, it might lead to huge losses. However, this is essential to gain a good reputation as well as a vast clientele.

fix my phone screen

On the other hand, you should also know that you just cannot offer excellent service at a through away price. So you have to decide the pricing according to your clientele as well.

 

 

15. Advanced Level Repairs

If you repair a smartphone or a tablet that could not be fixed by any of your competitors’ service centers, you will get a lot of brownie points. Such news spreads like wildfire which will directly be beneficial to you and your business. People love places where all their problems get solved.

Topics that you want to know :

fix my phone screen

20misham.ir