Thursday, April 15, 2021

Samsung 870 Evo SSD

Two-minute review

TEST SYSTEM SPECS

This is the system we used to test the 2TB Samsung 870 Evo
CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600X
CPU Cooler: AMD Wraith Spire
RAM: 32GB T-Force Vulcan Z CL18 @3,600MHz
Motherboard: MSI B550 Pro VDH Wi-Fi
Graphics card: Gigabyte RTX 3070 Vision OC
OS SSD: Samsung 980 Pro @ 500GB
Power Supply: Thermaltake Toughpower GF1 750W
Case: ThermalTake Core V21

The Samsung 870 Evo took its time coming to market. Even as Samsung followed up its successful 860 Evo with the affordable QLC-NAND-based 870 QVO, the 870 Evo was nowhere to be seen. And, now that it’s here, it’s starting to feel like there’s a bit less reason for it to exist.

At a starting price of $129 (£119, AU$201) for the 1TB model, this SATA SSD costs as much as its recent M.2 NVMe compatriot, the Samsung 980 SSD. Perhaps that’s why everywhere we look, we see it discounted. And though there are a lot more unoccupied SATA slots to fill than there are empty M.2 slots, it’s not a great position for a much slower technology to go head to head on price with its superiors. It even stays close in price to the Samsung 980 at its other capacities, which range down to 250GB, though it also comes in 2TB and 4TB capacities that Samsung 980 is not yet offering.

Samsung 870 Evo SSD

(Image credit: Future)
BENCHMARKS

Here’s how the Samsung 870 Evo performed in our suite of benchmark tests:
CrystalDiskMark Sequential: 564.07MB/s (read); 535.34MB/s (write)
CrystalDiskMark Random Q32: 403.95MB/s (read); 377.33MB/s (write)
10GB file transfer: 15.68 seconds
10GB folder transfer: 14.985 seconds
PCMark10 SSD: 1,269.5 points

There is some newness in store at least, as the Samsung 870 Evo features Samsung new 128-layer V-NAND TLC memory and a new controller. In every benchmark we run on the 2TB model, it does step out ahead of the older 860 Evo, at least. It even pushes the Team T-Force Delta Max aside with a lead in all of our benchmarks and close price competition. 

We see the most noticeable improvement over the 870 Evo’s predecessor in its 10GB folder transfer test, where it trims more than 10 seconds off the transfer time. Curiously, the drive's performance in our benchmarks is almost identical to those of the 870 QVO. Though it’s worth noting that the 870 Evo has a far greater write endurance (600 total drive writes) than the QVO model, which can only handle 360 total drive writes.

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Samsung 870 Evo SSD

(Image credit: Future)
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Samsung 870 Evo SSD

(Image credit: Future)

But every little bit of lead the Samsung 870 Evo musters only brings it closer to the limitations of SATA. Even in Samsung’s own stack of products, the Samsung 980 obliterates the 870 Evo with more than five times the speed in our synthetic benchmarks and file transfers that are three-times shorter. It’s even doing that without DRAM, something the 870 Evo actually includes.

Samsung 870 Evo SSD

(Image credit: Future)

Worse still, the Samsung 980 isn’t even the drive we’d recommend, because just as the 870 Evo held back by its SATA interface so too is the Samsung 980 held back by its PCIe 3.0 bandwidth. 

The SSD market is getting faster and faster, and some of the prices you can find a PCIe 4.0 SSD for are almost shocking, like the Silicon Power US70 and PNY XLR8. All of this is to say that the SATA interface is starting to become something of a relic. If you’ve filled up all the M.2 slots in your computer, the Samsung 870 Evo won’t be a bad choice for some extra SATA-based storage. But, if you’re not limited to SATA, there’s little reason to go for the Samsung 870 Evo. Heck, you can even use USB 3.2 Gen 2 enclosures to get better speeds.

Samsung 870 Evo SSD

(Image credit: Future)

Buy it if…

You want the best SATA drive
The Samsung 870 Evo may be limited in speed because of its interface, but it’s still leading the pack for SATA performance and it comes at a competitive price for the market.

You want a safe drive
Samsung is making sure your data is safe in two ways. For one, this drive has a considerable endurance rating at 600 total drive writes. Then there’s the encryption Samsung supports.

You’re all full up on M.2 drives
You should go PCIe drives first if you can, but once you’ve run out of room for those, the Samsung 870 Evo can make a strong supplement for your systems storage.

Don’t buy it if…

You’re picking your boot drive
If you’re building a new computer, it’s a safe bet there’s an empty M.2 slot on your motherboard somewhere, and you can get as much storage and better speeds by going with a different drive.

You hear someone tell you to
Samsung has led the pack for a while now, so to many, whichever drive is newest may seem like the default option. But even Samsung’s best drives have some fierce competition right now, and the 870 Evo isn’t even the best.

You need storage for big files
Even if you can’t use a PCIe SSD inside your computer, you can actually install one into a USB 3.1 Gen2 (or higher) enclosure and get sequential speeds that exceed the capabilities of SATA III. 

Asus Chromebox 4

Two-minute review

As the way we use computers has changed - and productivity has moved more towards online tools - so has the value of Chrome OS (which powers many of the best Chromebooks). The Asus Chromebox 4 is a good example of what it can do; a box which can handle basically any online tool you can throw at it, and as long as you're careful not to ask too much of its relatively limited hardware, it's a machine with a surprising amount of pep for its price.

It's small and subtle, able to sit behind a monitor or quietly on a desk, with a very good collection of connectivity ports and enough graphical power to output in 4K - perhaps, if you're really looking to push it, over multiple screens at a time. The Chromebox 4 is a roundly positive device.

But there are 'buts'. It's faster than the Celeron version of the Chromebox 3, but we didn't have to work too hard to start slowing it down - a series of heavy Chrome tabs was enough. Linux app performance was OK, but we weren't super-impressed with its handling of Android apps. It's cheap, but not as cheap as its main competitor or, if you shop around, a semi-decent Chromebook. 

While the score reflects (as it has to) the Chromebox 4's capabilities in the world at large and against others in its family, we're not going to say this won't slot into a lot of niches. This could be the perfect addition to transform that old stack of peripherals you've kept hanging around. It might be a brilliant device to hook up to your living room TV for those moments when you want to stream very specific things that a Chromecast or Fire TV Stick won't manage. It could even be a great playground for tinkering when you want to leave your main machine pristine.

And don't discount Chrome OS's simplicity. For those who really don't 'get' computers, for younger or older users who just need something utterly straightforward to do the things they need to do, the Chromebox 4 would be a far stronger investment than a 'proper' PC. There's nothing to maintain, nothing to worry about (though you may wish to run some kind of ChromeOS anti-virus) and basically no way to break it. In that context, the Celeron version of the Asus Chromebox 4 is a fine machine indeed - just don't expect too much.

Spec Sheet

Here is the Asus Chromebox 4 configuration sent to TechRadar for review:
CPU: 1.9GHz Intel Celeron 5205U (dual-core, 2MB cache)
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 610
RAM: 4GB DDR4 (2666MHz)
Storage: 32GB EMMC
Ports: 3 x USB 3.2 Gen1, 2 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-C (PowerDelivery/DisplayPort 1.4), 2 x HDMI 2.0, Ethernet, Audio combo jack, microSD reader
Connectivity: Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201 + Bluetooth 5 combo, gigabit ethernet
Weight: 2.2 pounds (1 kg)
Size: 5.7 x 5.7 x 1.57 inches (14.5 x 14.5 x 4 cm; W x D x H)

Price and availability

The Asus Chromebox 4 isn't, at least in the base configuration we have here, all that expensive - it starts at $289 (£249.99, AU$549), which puts it in the region of lower-tier Chromebooks, and certainly well within reach of those who just want to turn a dumb monitor into something useful. 

It's not the cheapest Chromebox implementation - HP's similarly-specced Chromebox G3 looks set to launch in the US at $254 (around £185/AU$330), and this is more expensive than Asus' previous Chromebox 3 was. 

You can also certainly spend more if you decide to spec things up. Asus offers the Chromebox 4 in everything from that bargain Celeron through tenth-gen Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 specs, the latter of which will cost somewhere in the region of $1,049 (around £765/AU$1,360). Whether going that far with a Chromebox is a good idea isn't for us to decide, given that we have the Celeron spin on test, but to our educated eye it seems like an i7 would probably boosting things a little too far.

The price of this model puts it right where Chrome OS machines should be. It's cheaper than basically any Windows 10 machine out there - and that's really the point. But it also does make us ask why you wouldn't just pick up a Chromebook instead, unless you're in need of this specific form factor - for a very similar outlay you can get a machine like the HP Chromebook 14, which is (as we write) available for quite a bit less. That'll give you vaguely comparable power as well as a screen, a keyboard, and a pointing device, things this doesn't include. 

Asus Chromebox 4

(Image credit: Future)

Design

This will, we're sure, not come as a huge surprise, but there's not an awful lot about the Chromebox 4 that's remarkable. It's basically the same design as the previous generation, a rounded square box with a slashed off corner for the power button, and with a similar size to the Mac mini

That pedestrian design is not a huge surprise - this isn't flashy hardware. Had Asus imbued it with RGB, had it used some sort of magnesium alloy case in place of the basic plastic employed here (called 'gun metal' by Asus, but let's be honest, it's very, very dark gray) it would have been wasting its time and your money. This is a machine that's just built to get on with its job for the least outlay possible.

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Asus Chromebox 4

(Image credit: Future)
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Asus Chromebox 4

(Image credit: Future)

Not that Asus hasn't been clever. The ports are spread over two of the edges, with a pair of high speed USB Type-A ports, a microSD reader and an audio combo jack on one side, and three more USB ports (one high speed) as well as a pair of HDMI outputs (as opposed to one on the previous generation), a DisplayPort-compatible Type-C port and an Ethernet jack on the opposite side. 

This isn't just idle layout, since the Chromebox 4 includes a specially-designed VESA mount in the box, practically begging you to mount it on the back of a monitor - this port layout puts the right things in the right place if you do, with the power button pointing upwards and the ports on either side. It's also, y'know, a pretty sensible way to lay things out even if you have this flat on a desk, with its defined front ready to give external drives maximum attention, and everything else cabled out of the back.

The Chromebox 4 is powered by a fairly compact external brick, but its USB Type-C port also supports power delivery. Use it with the right monitor - the BenQ EW3270U, say - and you can do away with that adapter altogether, sending signal and juice through the same cable.

If we were to pick one little hole, perhaps one of those HDMI ports could have been swapped for a full-sized DisplayPort socket. Sure, the USB Type-C port is convertible, and the resourceful user can feed just about anything into anything, but the versatility of having all three possible outputs would have made this that much more universal.

Asus Chromebox 4

(Image credit: Future)

There is a fan, though you'll rarely hear it unless you push things hard, and while it's not exactly silent when it gets going we've definitely heard worse and we're glad it's there. 

The case design allows for a good amount of airflow, so we're confident that this won't cook itself. There's nothing user-upgradeable here, with all the RAM and storage soldered on, but that's to be expected. Chrome machines are not generally upgrade targets.

Performance

Asus Chromebox 4

(Image credit: Future)
Benchmarks

Here's how the Asus Chromebox 4 performed in our suite of benchmark tests:
JetStream: 51.869 (higher is better)
Mozilla Kraken 1.1: 2103.7 (lower is better)
Octane: 16822 (higher is better)

The experience of working on a ChromeOS device has come a long way since the earliest Chromebooks, with extra underlying power helping everything move along at a clip and small - if not revolutionary - upgrades turning the operating system itself into a very usable environment. If all you need is the web, if you're working with a small number of online tools at a time, it is absolutely adequate - and if you need more, like the ability to run Linux applications or compatibility with Android apps, it has that too. 

The Celeron spin of the Asus Chromebook 4 is not a powerful one, but it's a hardware combo that can still manage a surprising amount. The jump up from an 8th-gen to 10th-gen CPU since the previous generation gives the Asus Chromebox 4 a solid bump in muscle over the equivalent Chromebox 3, and in general things feel rather snappy on the desktop. From a user experience point of view this is fine for the most part, but things get a lot more syrupy if you're bold enough to open more than a few heavyweight Chrome tabs. 

Its RAM might be running at an impressive 2,666Mhz and have the relatively light job of supporting a fairly minimal OS, but it turns out 4GB is simply not an adequate amount for a modern machine basically being forced to run one of the most memory-intensive browsers out there.

It's particularly galling in a box which touts its ability to support three 4K screens at once; Intel's integrated graphics can manage it, but don't expect desirable results unless you're very hot on your tab management. The Asus Chromebox 4 (and again, this is the Celeron version - higher-end models get 8GB RAM) is a machine you have to hand-hold if you want it to play nice.

Of course, it is a modern ChromeOS device, which means it's capable of more than Chrome-based web apps. Android here is containerised and slightly out of date, running apps on top of a version of Android 9. It's functional, but don't expect great results from more intense apps; we ran three-year-old Asphalt 9 in an attempt to show off the Chromebox 4 to a young family member, and even they were able to detect its sluggish performance and frequent frame drops. Lighter work fared fine, with smart home apps and things like the Android Reddit app giving us no trouble.

Linux apps work, with the usual Chrome OS niggles, though CPU-intensive apps like GIMP did feel somewhat more challenged by the hardware than the browser did when performing similar tasks on sites like Photopea.

Asus Chromebox 4

(Image credit: Future)

Buy it if...

You're looking to work and not play
This is a fine machine for mild web browsing, for online apps, and for the occasional diversion into the worlds of Android or Linux. It's basic, but it absolutely does the job.

You have a monitor in need of a job
The Asus Chromebook 4 is basically all about getting the most out of old kit, and it's super-discrete if you VESA mount it behind an old screen. Bear in mind you'll need to supply a mouse and keyboard too.

You need something small
This is a tight box perfect for situations where it needs to get out of the way - and it's adept at streaming media, too, so it might work in your living room.

Don't buy it if...

You're looking for power
There are versions of the Asus Chromebook 4 that have some muscle to them, but this ain't it. This is the bog-standard, low-end, does-the-job, bare-minimum edition, which is fine. Just don't expect too much of it.

You're after an Android box
Sure, this can run Android apps, and it does so reasonably well, but there are actual Android boxes out there which run on ARM hardware and don't have to containerise things to get them to work - and they're going to be a lot more efficient. 

You want the cheapest ChromeOS experience
There are cheaper machines with the Chromebox form factor, and this requires peripherals and a screen on top; a low-end Chromebook might be a better choice if you're just looking for a simple low-cost machine. 

DJI Air 2S

Two-minute review

Hot on the heels of the DJI FPV, the drone giant shows no signs of slowing with the announcement of the DJI Air 2S. And while the name suggests only an incremental upgrade on the Mavic Air 2, there’s a lot in this new model to whet the appetite of consumer and professional drone pilots alike – most importantly, a 1-inch sensor packed inside a compact drone.

The headline feature of the DJI Air 2S is the 20MP 1-inch sensor, which improves image quality and provides an improved high ISO response compared to the Mavic Air 2. Then there’s the ability to capture 5.4K video at 30fps, alongside 4K at up to 60fps, as well as 1080p at up to 120fps, which opens up significant creative potential for capturing video. Even better, this larger sensor camera has increased the weight of the drone compared to the Mavic Air 2 by just 25g.

Another feature being hyped by DJI is the Air 2S' digital zoom, which starts at 4x with 4K at 30fps video and goes up to 8x zoom with 1080p at 30fps. This feature may not sound all that exciting from the outset, but with the laws that govern how close to people drones can safely fly (no closer than 50m, in most cases), it allows you to get close while maintaining that safe distance. For professional drone pilots, this could be an extremely useful feature, and for enthusiasts it will open the door to more creative stills and videos.

Image quality overall is excellent, and the noise levels at high ISO settings are much better than those from the Mavic Pro 2. However, images are slightly softer at the edges and the aperture is fixed at f/2.8, so the only way to control exposure during video recording is with the use of ND filters. Still, just like the Mavic Air 2 Fly More Bundle, the Air 2S Fly More Bundle also includes four ND filters, so we'd recommend going for that if you can.

DJI Air 2S price and release date

  • Announced 15 April 2020
  • Standard kit costs £899 / $999 / AU $1699
  • Fly More Bundle costs £1169 / $1299 / AU $2099

If you’d like to get your hands on this exciting new drone, we have good news – it's available to buy right now from the DJI store.

As is often the case with DJI drones, the Air 2S is available in a standard kit or Fly More Bundle. The standard kit consists of the drone, controller, one battery, propellers, a charger and all cables, and costs $999 / £899 / AU $1,699.

DJI Air 2S

(Image credit: Future)

The Fly More Bundle is great value at £1,169 / $1,299 / AU$2,099, because along with getting everything in the standard kit, you also get two additional batteries, a three-battery charging hub, a shoulder bag and a set of four ND filters. 

As always, the Fly More Bundle offers the greatest value for money because getting all of those extras separately would cost much more. Plus, pretty much everything in the bundle is essential, because one battery is never enough and, if you plan to shoot video, you will need ND filters to maintain control of shutter speed. As for the shoulder bag – well, you’ll definitely need something to carry your drone and accessories in, too.

Design and controller

  • The Air 2S weights just 595g
  • It has a compact, foldable design
  • Also has the same controller as the Mavic Air 2

On the outside, the Air 2S looks extremely similar to the Mavic Air 2, with just a few subtle differences. As you’d expect, it features the folding design that Mavic drones are known for (even if DJI has now dropped the Mavic name). The front arms swing out, while the rear arms rotate down and out for flight and help keep the drone highly transportable. 

The Air 2S is small at just 180×97×80mm when folded, and 183×253×77mm when unfolded. It’s barely any different to its predecessor, but that puts the folded length at 4mm shorter than the Mavic Air 2. And at just 595g, the Air 2S is just over half the weight of the DJI Mavic 2 Pro and just 25g heavier than the Air 2, which is very impressive considering its larger camera.

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DJI Air 2S

(Image credit: Future)
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DJI Air 2S

(Image credit: Future)
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DJI Air 2S

(Image credit: Future)

The controller is the same as the one you get with the Mavic Air 2. Unlike the Mavic 2 Pro's controller, though, it isn't foldable and is larger with a weight of 393g. While it connects to the aircraft faster than the Mavic 2 controller it, unfortunately, doesn’t offer a simple screen showing basic flight and camera information.

Without the folding arms to support a phone, the phone attaches to the top of the controller using a telescopic grip, and the control sticks are stored in rubberized sections at the bottom of the controller. It’s a comfortable controller to use, but it’s a shame it’s larger and heavier than the Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom's controller.

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DJI Air 2S

(Image credit: Future)
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DJI Air 2S

(Image credit: Future)
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DJI Air 2S

(Image credit: Future)

Still, the controller's extra size isn't the end of the world, and the combined size and weight of the drone and its controller remain low. A basic screen to display information plus a couple of additional programmable FN (function) buttons on the back of the controller would be useful, but aren't essential.

This relatively basic controller means that all camera controls – except releasing the shutter, switching from video to stills, and anything you program to the FN button – need to be done through the DJI Fly app.

Again, this is the same setup at the Mavic Air 2, apart from that Tripod Mode is now called 'Cine mode' and is labelled as such on the flight mode switch, offering Normal and Sport modes besides.

Features and flight

  • Upgraded safety features
  • A new MasterShots flight mode 
  • Real-world flight times around 20 minutes

Flying the DJI Air 2S is extremely easy, and indeed safe, thanks to the flight features that the Mavic series have become well-known for. Whether you’re an absolute beginner or a seasoned expert, the flight modes, automated video modes, collision avoidance and manual flight control provide as little or as much assistance as you need.

The Air 2S features all of the camera functions you’d expect including Single Shot, Timed Photo, AEB (Auto Exposure Bracketing), HDR, Panoramas and Hyperlapses. Plus, there’s a new SmartPhoto mode that records full-resolution photos using scene analysis and deep learning to automatically choose the best of three options – HDR, Hyperlight and Scene Recognition – for your photo.

This is great for photography beginners who want to capture a high-quality image with minimum effort, but not so much for more advanced users. Still, if you’re capturing stills in raw+JPEG mode, the JPEG will be processed as a SmartPhoto while the Raw file will be unprocessed, so you can edit it yourself if you wish.

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DJI Air 2S

(Image credit: Future)
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DJI Air 2S

(Image credit: Future)
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DJI Air 2S

(Image credit: Future)

Video users also get the usual QuickShots, which are DJI's automated camera moves – for example, choose 'Boomerang' and the drone will automatically circle around you. These have apparently been upgraded on the Air 2S, although we didn't notice much difference in testing – everything just worked. These modes include Rocket, Circle, Dronie, Helix and Asteroid, and they're another big bonus for beginners looking to quickly shoot a pro-looking video. 

The Air 2S also has an upgraded FocusTrack mode, which includes several programmed modes where you draw a box around the subject and the drone will track it. Plus, there’s Spotlight 2.0, where the drone’s flight is controlled by the pilot, while the camera locks and tracks the subject in the frame.

The new MasterShots mode sounds exciting on paper and it does produce an interesting result. But it’s perhaps more of a showcase of all the QuickShots in a single video, rather than something to be used regularly. You'll likely try it a few times, then move onto QuickShots or manual flight control to capture more unique camera movements.

With MasterShots, you select a subject in the app by drawing a rectangle or square around it, then press the start button. The drone will then perform several maneuvers with a countdown timer showing its progress. The drone will automatically select a capture mode to shoot the video in, and then once it's complete you can then add themes in the DJI Fly app to create a video to share.

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DJI Air 2S

(Image credit: Future)
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DJI Air 2S

(Image credit: Future)
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DJI Air 2S

(Image credit: Future)

In terms of safety features, the Mavic Air 2S provides front, rear, bottom and top obstacle sensors that use binocular zooming technology to recognize objects from further away when traveling at speed. Also, when Advanced Pilot Assistance System (APAS) 4.0 is enabled, you can set it to stop the drone or to fly it autonomously around, under or over obstacles when they're detected, to help maintain continuous flight.

Another safety feature, which was first introduced to consumer drones with the Mavic Air 2, is AirSense. This feature uses ADS-B aviation technology to receive signals from nearby planes and helicopters, and displays their locations on the on-screen map on the DJI Fly app. Then there’s the GEO 2.0 geofencing system, which helps to keep the drone away from locations such as airports. Overall, DJI certainly has the safety angle covered with the Air 2S, though you'll of course need to heed the usual drone laws.

The maximum flight time of the Air 2S is a respectable 31 minutes, although that’s three minutes less than the Air 2. This claim is for when there’s no wind, so when factoring in the weather and the Return-To-Home function (which kicks in when the battery reaches 25%), we found that flight times are often around 20 minutes per battery, depending on your conditions.

Video and image quality

  • 1-inch 20MP sensor
  • Shoots up to 5.4 K video
  • Clean images even at high ISO settings

It doesn’t matter how many bells and whistles you put on a drone, it’s the image quality that's often the most important feature. And the Air 2S undoubtedly delivers here.

It features a 20MP 1-inch sensor, with the camera providing an 88-degree field of view or a full-frame equivalent focal length of 22mm. Like the Mavic Air 2, the Air 2S also unfortunately has a fixed f/2.8 aperture (more on that later) with a focus range of 60cm to infinity.

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DJI Air 2S

(Image credit: Future)
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DJI Air 2S

(Image credit: Future)
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DJI Air 2S

(Image credit: Future)
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DJI Air 2S

(Image credit: Future)
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DJI Air 2S

(Image credit: Future)
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DJI Air 2S

(Image credit: Future)
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DJI Air 2S

(Image credit: Future)
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DJI Air 2S

(Image credit: Future)
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DJI Air 2S

(Image credit: Future)

Still images appear to be slightly softer at the edges than those from the Mavic 2 Pro, even when the Pro’s aperture is set to f/2.8. But while noticeable in a side-by-side comparison, this drop in sharpness is extremely minimal and is no reason to choose one drone over the other. In video, however, the image is sharp across the frame. 

The most significant improvement in image quality over the Mavic 2 Pro has to be the high ISO noise handling of the Air 2S. Images shot at ISO 3200 are surprisingly clean for a drone, even one with a 1-inch sensor. It’s only at ISO 6400 where noise becomes more noticeable. 

In a nutshell, ISO handling is significantly better than the Mavic 2 Pro, which will make it possible to shoot at higher ISO settings, when necessary in low-light conditions, without having to deal with prominent chroma and luminance noise. In fact, the Air 2S blows the Mavic 2 Pro out of the water in this respect.

However, there is a reason for this. The raw files from the Air 2S are so clean because, as DJI told us, 'temporal denoising technology' is applied to them to reduce high ISO noise. The results are fantastic, but it does raise an important question: is a raw file actually a raw file if any kind of processing is applied? 

Correcting any supposed negative issues in raw files using in-camera processing could set us down a dangerous path where consumers may lose faith in products such as cameras and drones if they can’t be sure that results are fair and true.

In terms of video, it’s possible to shoot 5.4K at up to 30fps, 4K at up to 60fps and Full HD at up to 120fps, so slow-motion video is available. There's also the 8x digital zoom, which starts at 4x with 4K at 30fps video and goes up to 8x with 1080p at 30fps. Zoom recording isn’t available while shooting 10-bit videos or 120fps videos though, sadly.

As you can see below, video quality when using the zoom is good if you simply zoom in 2x at any resolution. But going in further looks, well, like a digital zoom has been used, because of the huge drop in image quality.

Digital zooms are traditionally extremely poor because they reduce image resolution by cropping into images to achieve the zoom. But here it’s achieved less destructively, because the Air 2S’s camera can record at up to 5.4K, and explains why there’s a sliding scale of zoom available at different video resolutions. Either way, 2x zoom is as far as you’d ever want to go at any resolution.

You can record video in H.264 or H.265 formats, and can also choose from three video color profiles – these are Normal (8-bit), D-Log (10-bit) or HLG (10-bit). This provides the perfect range of options for both professionals and enthusiasts. Pros can fit their aerial footage into a raw video workflow with color grading, while hobbyists can use Standard more to get footage that looks great straight out-of-camera without any need for raw editing.

Should I buy the DJI Air 2S?

DJI Air 2S

(Image credit: Future)

Buy it if...

You want the smallest drone with a 1-inch sensor
Thanks to its 595g weight and folding design, the Air 2S is the smallest and lightest consumer drone available with a 1-inch sensor. This means you can enjoy excellent image quality and comfortably take the drone away on trips.

You shoot in low light
When you're shooting with a drone around sunrise and sunset, shutter speeds can become slow, which can then result in camera shake if there’s wind. One of the great things about the Air 2S, though, is the excellent high ISO noise handling, which means you can confidently shoot at higher settings.

You want a drone featuring AirSense
DJI AirSense is an alert system that uses ADS-B technology to alert drone pilots of nearby aircraft with ADS-B transmitters. The aim is to make drone flights safer and to reduce the risk of air incursions, and it's a great thing to have for peace of mind.

Don't buy it if...

You need aperture control
While the Air 2S matches the Mavic 2 Pro's 1-Inch sensor, it lacks the latter's adjustable aperture. This means that the only way to control exposure during video capture on the Air 2S is to use ND filters. This is no deal-breaker, but it takes longer to change an ND filter than it does to change the f-stop on the Mavic 2 Pro.

You recently bought the Mavic Air 2
The Mavic Air 2 is less than a year old and provides many of the same features as the Air 2S. Of course, there are new features that on the new model, including the 1-inch sensor, 8x digital zoom and MasterShots flight modes, but the Air 2 remains a highly capable drone.

You want to use it with the DJI Goggles V2.0
Despite rumors to the contrary, the Air 2S isn't compatible with the DJI Goggles V2.0. DJI has told us that it's "theoretically" possible that the Air 2S could support the video headset in the future, but if you want to get a bird's-eye view from the Air 2S, you could either use a third-party option or just buy the DJI FPV instead.

Asics Novablast Tokyo

Two-minute review

The Asics Novablast Tokyo is a new iteration of the company's lightweight, springy road shoe – and it's a lot of fun. This is a highly cushioned neutral shoe with masses of lightweight Flytefoam Blast material in the midsole that give a really bouncy ride.

The shoe is stiff laterally, with a toe that's quite dramatically curved for efficient transfer of energy and a distinctively springy feeling that's great for faster sessions and race days.

Asics Novablast Tokyo

(Image credit: Future)

Asics has gone to great lengths to pare back the weight, which has resulted in a particularly breathable upper, and although both the laces and tongue are thinner than we're used to, there was no unpleasant pressure on the top of our foot after a long run.

However, all that squashy foam means the Novablast Tokyo can feel a little unstable on bumpy surfaces, and the minimal grip (another weight-saving measure) means you'll want to keep it for dry days to avoid slipping. We foresee it being an excellent shoe for warm days though, and the heel clutch provides a secure yet comfortable fit even with lightweight socks.

Asics Novablast Tokyo

(Image credit: Future)

Not that unlike the Sunrise Reborn pack launched earlier this year, which features new versions of the MetaRide and Gel-Quantum 360 TYO shoes redesigned from old clothes collected in Japan, the Novablast Tokyo sticks with the company's conventional manufacturing techniques and materials.

Price and release date

The Asics Novablast Tokyo launched in February 2021, and costs $130 / £130 / AU$230 direct from Asics.

Design

The Asics Novablast Tokyo come in one color: a searingly bright red-orange that the company calls Sunrise Red. Our review pair were supplied in an illuminated box, but that was barely necessary; nobody's going to miss you, which is a real plus for training sessions after dark. The men's model has black detailing, while the women's (tested here) has white. It may not be to everyone's taste, but it's fun.

Asics has sought to reduce weight wherever practical, and as a result the men's version tips the scales at around 275g, while the women's is about 225g.

The laces are thinner and narrower than we've come to expect, and we were concerned that they might put unwanted pressure on the top of the foot when combined with the minimally padded tongue, but this wasn't the case.

The shoe fastened securely and remained comfortable throughout each run, though you may want to pay a little extra attention to the tension.

Asics Novablast Tokyo

(Image credit: Future)

The midsole is made from Asics' Flytefoam Blast material, which is super soft, giving the shoe a very characteristic bouncy feel. There's 32mm of squishy foam under the heel and 22mm under the toe, which is generous by anyone's standards.

The shoe is stiff enough to remain springy though, and the aggressively angled toe provides good forward momentum. If your 10k times have hit a plateau, this could be right up your street.

Asics Novablast Tokyo

(Image credit: Future)

Performance

We found the Asics Novablast Tokyo comfortable right out of the box, and despite the thin laces mentioned earlier, it was easy to get a secure fit. As with all recent Asics road shoes, the heel clutch prevents slipping, and there's plenty of room in the toebox to suit a wider foot and accommodate swelling on hot runs.

This is one of the most breathable road shoes we've tried in some time, which should be a real boon for summer efforts, and the upper is manufactured entirely in one piece with no seams or welding, which should help prevent blisters even with thin summer socks.

Asics Novablast Tokyo

(Image credit: Future)

Although the Asics Novablast Tokyo doesn't have a carbon or plastic plate, it has real spring that makes it a better choice for faster sessions than long, slow runs. In fact, the super-soft foam combined with stiff sole give it a slightly strange, unstable feel until you get up to speed, at which point it becomes thoroughly enjoyable.

You may also feel a little unsteady if the roads near you are prone to cracks and potholes; for the best run, we recommend sticking to reasonably well surfaced roads. You might also want to keep them for dry days; the outer sole has relatively little grip, which could lead to some slipping in wet conditions, particularly when you take the squishy foam into account.

In the right conditions, though, this shoe is a joy, and we can see it being particularly fun in hot weather when a heavier shoe would make training a sweaty drag.

Buy it if

Your 10k times are in a rut
This shoe's bouncy, springy feel makes training fun again, and could give you the boost you need to shave off a few seconds.

You find summer running a chore
Light and breathable with minimal stuffing in the tongue, the Novablast Toyko will keep your feet as cool as possible when the temperature starts to climb.

Don't buy it if

You run on uneven roads
Asics' Flytefoam Blast material really is super soft, and you'll feel much more stable on good quality flat pavements.

You want to keep things low-key
There are other Novablast designs available if searingly bright orange isn't your shade of choice.

Asus ZenBook Duo UX482E

Two minute review

The ZenBook Duo UX482E is a head-turner for sure. If you’re sitting in a public space working on this laptop, you will certainly have people staring at the laptop from the corner of their eyes.

Moving on from the looks, this second-generation dual-screen laptop borrows a lot from its predecessor though the amount of improvement that Asus has brought on board is worth appreciation. However, at this price point, it will surely draw comparisons from other pro devices like Apple Macbook Pro with the all-new M1 chipset among other devices.

Aimed at creators, the Asus ZenBook Duo comes in a couple of flavours – the vanilla variant and the larger 1.56-inches Pro Duo variant that comes with an OLED display. Also, Asus has brought an EVO variant as well that guarantees longer battery life according to Intel’s standard, however, you will have to settle for an onboard GPU in that case.

Further Asus has persisted with the Ergo-Lift that offers an ergonomic typing experience by tilting the base ever so slightly. However, this time around the secondary display rises 7-degrees from its base offering a single large screen, if seen from an angle. The ErgoLift hinge combined with the automatic rising secondary display keeps the temperatures under control when you’re using the laptop for resource-intensive tasks.

This lifting mechanism also offers space for Asus to cram in more powerful speakers, as a result, media consumption on this laptop is a delight.

Spec sheet

Here is the Asus ZenBook Duo UX482E configuration sent to TechRadar for review:

CPU: 2.80Ghz Intel Core i7- 1165G7 processor

Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce MX450 with 2GB GDDR6 memory

RAM: 16GB DDR4

Primary Screen: 14” LED Full HD 1920 x 1080p, touch

Secondary display: 12.65" ScreenPad Plus with 1920*515p, Touch

Storage: 1TB SSD (PCIe, NVMe, M.2)

Ports: 2x Thunderbolt 4, 1 x USB A, 1 x HDMI, 1 x SD card reader, combo audio jack

Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0

Weight: Approx 1.6KG

Size: 324mm x 222mm x 16.9mm; (W x D x H)

This laptop is tailor-designed for content creators and is one of the best obvious choices over any other Windows laptops given the fact that it is now very portable and thanks to slim form factor. Weighing just 1.6 kg’s it might be the most portable laptop around, however, it's the lightest one to house 2 displays for sure. 

That being said, the large secondary display means that the keyboard is crammed at the bottom half and the touchpad has been shifted to the extreme right. This means that there is no resting place for the wrist and typing at a stretch can be uncomfortable. Both the keyboard and the trackpad have a massive learning curve but you can get the best out of the laptop if you use it on a tabletop rather than on the lap.

Though that’s the slight compromise you might need to make to get the ScreenPad+ powered secondary display. A bunch of software customisations mean that the secondary display becomes an asset for the target audience. The bundled stylus that supports 4096 pressure levels can help further enhance the experience of creators.

Overall, the Asus ZenBook Duo UX482E is an extremely powerful and premium laptop that is making a strong case for the secondary display, a luxury that is unmatched.

Price and availability 

The all-new Asus ZenBook Duo starts at Rs. 99,990 and comes in a couple of variants and the one we received (ZenBook Duo UX482E) for review is priced at Rs. 1,34,990. The ZenBook Pro Duo starts at Rs. 2,39,000. The ZenBook Duo is already available to purchase and can be bought from Asus’ official offline partners and online platforms like Amazon and Flipkart.

Check out the Asus ZenBook Duo on Amazon | Flipkart

Starting Price - Rs. 99,990.00

Availability of ZenBook Pro Duo - TBA

Design 

The Asus ZenBook Duo scores heavily on the design aspect. Given the fact that the laptop has a couple of displays in place it is fairly light, however, it is not that light as well that you can carry it for hours in your backpack or a sling on your shoulder. The overall build is sturdy with the external lid made of dark blue magnesium alloy giving it a stealthy look.

Asus has not altered the looks of the device. The concentric circular pattern and the Asus logo is still present on the top though smudges and fingerprints remain and aren’t easily removable. Underneath this lid, there are two displays, the primary one is now a 14-inch full-HD panel while the secondary display one is a 12.6-inches IPS panel. Both the displays are touch-enabled.

Asus ZenBook Duo UX482E

(Image credit: Jitendra Soni)

The laptop comes with a new common hinge system that controls both the primary display and the secondary display and raises the secondary display by 7-degrees. The first generation ZenBook Duo had a stationary secondary display, this one, however, inspired by the Zephyrus Duo rises slightly above the base offering the user slightly better visibility without giving your neck some extra workout. Asus cites both better ergonomics and better airflow as the primary reasons behind adopting this new moving screen mechanism and to what we’ve experienced it works effectively on both counts.

In case you still need to raise the display a bit more, Asus is bundling a kickstand that can be stuck on the base of the laptop and it can push the laptop further up. A similar kickstand was present on the first generation ZenBook Pro Duo, however, this one doesn’t come pre-installed and Asus has left it on you to decide if you want to use it or not.

Asus ZenBook Duo UX482E

(Image credit: Jitendra Soni)

Coming to the keyboard, while the keys give satisfactory feedback and have decent travel, the entire keyboard and the trackpad is housed in a slightly recessed cavity. While working on a desktop, it isn’t an issue, however, if you’re working while on the go, the sharp edge where your palm rests feels slightly sharp and uncomfortable. This coupled with the cramped typing space doesn’t offer the best working experience.

For an ultrabook, the Asus ZenBook Duo UX482E ample connectivity option. As far as ports are concerned, Asus has tried to offer almost all the important ports here. On the left, it has a couple of Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports that can be used to charge the laptop, a full-sized HDMI port. While on the right you have a USB A, a headphone combo and a micro-SD card slot.

Displays 

The primary display on this laptop is a Pantone validates 14-inch LED panel with a full-HD resolution and sports an extremely narrow bezel on all four sides offering a 93% screen to body ratio. The details on this panel are crisp and the colour reproduction was accurate thanks to the Pantone certification. 

With the limited time I had with the laptop, I streamed Falcon and the Winter Soldier on Disney Plus Hotstar apart from a couple of games that I played on this laptop, I had an enjoyable experience. This is even though the panel isn’t an OLED panel as on the pricier Pro Duo.  Also, since this isn’t a glossy display; hence reflections of the panel aren’t an issue.

The real magic lies in the secondary display or the ScreenPad+ as Asus likes to call it. Compared to the first generation, Asus has made the ScreenPad+ more usable and comes in handy when using programs Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom Classic, Premiere Pro and After Effects that lets you use the ScreenPad plus as a touch-friendly control centre.

Sadly, Filmora, which I use regularly to edit our weekly #TechShastra videos could not take advantage of this enlarged touch bar. And this remains the story with quite a lot of other applications. One of my favourite tweaks that Asus has natively built-in is the ability to take a screenshot of windows that you open on both displays. The system saves these windows/programs and opens all of them in one go whenever you need them.

That said, the content on the secondary display is very easily readable. So, if you’re reading off the secondary display while using the primary one for inputs, you might still find yourself craning your neck now and then. Further, the brightness of this display could have been slightly better.

Asus ZenBook Duo UX482E

(Image credit: Jitendra Soni)

The laptop comes with a new common hinge system that controls both the primary display and the secondary display and raises the secondary display by 7-degrees. The first generation ZenBook Duo had a stationary secondary display, this one, however, inspired by the Zephyrus Duo rises slightly above the base offering the user slightly better visibility without giving your neck some extra workout. Asus cites both better ergonomics and better airflow as the primary reasons behind adopting this new moving screen mechanism and to what we’ve experienced it works effectively on both counts.

In case you still need to raise the display a bit more, Asus is bundling a kickstand that can be stuck on the base of the laptop and it can push the laptop further up. A similar kickstand was present on the first generation ZenBook Pro Duo, however, this one doesn’t come pre-installed and Asus has left it on you to decide if you want to use it or not.

Coming to the keyboard, while the keys give satisfactory feedback and have decent travel, the entire keyboard and the trackpad is housed in a slightly recessed cavity. While working on a desktop, it isn’t an issue, however, if you’re working while on the go, the sharp edge where your palm rests feels slightly sharp and uncomfortable. This coupled with the cramped typing space doesn’t offer the best working experience.

Image 1 of 2

Asus ZenBook Duo UX482EG

(Image credit: Asus)
Image 2 of 2

Asus ZenBook Duo UX482EG

(Image credit: Asus)

For an ultrabook, the Asus ZenBook Duo UX482E comes with an ample connectivity option. As far as ports as re concerned, Asus has tried to offer almost all the important ports here. On the left, it has a couple of Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports that can be used to charge the laptop, a full-sized HDMI port. While on the right you have a USB A, a headphone combo and a micro-SD card slot.

Performance 

As mentioned above, the laptop will surely make heads turn while you’re working on it at an airport or a restaurant, when it is safe to travel and eat outside that is. Even my family members were in awe of the design and the fact that it had a tiny footprint yet it was able to host a couple of displays.

However, there is much more to this laptop. The ZenBook Duo lineup is tailor-made for content creators and I love the direction this second-generation device has picked up exactly from where the first-gen left and has made massive improvements.

There is no prize for guessing that creators will love to use the extra screen real estate available to them in the form of ScreenPad + and Asus justifies the same with the collaborations mentioned above. It’d be safe to say that the ZenBook Duo’s secondary display isn’t a gimmick any more.

Though my regular tasks include using multiple browsers, keeping a bucket load of tabs open, working on Google Docs, Microsoft Word and probably streaming music in the background. Apart from random resizing, cropping and colour correction of images. This suggests that this laptop isn’t targeted at a user like me, however, the laptop was able to perform all the regular tasks thrown at it with ease.

Image 1 of 2

Asus ZenBook Duo UX482EG, ScreenPad +

(Image credit: Jitendra Soni)
Image 2 of 2

Asus ZenBook Duo UX482EG

(Image credit: Jitendra Soni)

I tried editing a 15 minutes video with basic edits and overlays and compared to my regular device, the ZenBook Duo took slightly more time rendering the video. Also, with all this fancy airflow tech in place, the back panel did get warm and keeping it on the lap was out of the question.

There is a stylus pen bundled with the laptop and it supports 4096 pressure levels. This can be used to create artwork on this laptop on wither of the touch displays. Thanks fully, Asus has added the option to disable the keypad in case you plan to rest your palm on the keyboard 

This suggests that if your daily workflow includes 4K video or image editing then this isn’t the right configuration for you. The Nvidia MX450 GPU doesn’t do justice with heavy gaming as well.

Another key thing to add here is the audio performance on this laptop is impressive. The dual speakers are tuned by Harman Kardon and produce a sound that is enough for you to enjoy your streaming session. The special hinge plays a role in amplifying the audio output of this laptop.

Battery life 

For the entire duration of my usage, I kept the brightness of both the displays to the maximum and charged the ZenBook Duo UX482 only when the battery levels went below 10%. With my regular activity, I got a solid 6 hours of backup without any issues. With a slightly heavy workflow, you can expect a slight dip in the overall backup, however, that again is impressive for a device with 2 displays working in tandem.

Aside, Asus has also introduced an Intel EVO certified Ultrabook under the ZenBook Duo lineup that according to the company offers 10 hours of backup easily. However, you might have to trade off the dedicated GPU for the same.

Buy it if...

You want a unique pro device: The ZenBook Duo UX482 is all about its design. The compact form factor that houses a couple of displays can help you perform regular tasks as well and the ScreenPad+ will only add value.

You’re a content creator: You can go for this laptop if you’re a content creator who primarily uses Adobe’s applications, then this laptop is a tailor made solution for you. It is powerful, compact and beautiful as well. 

Don’t buy it if..

You’re always on the go: This laptop offers the best experience when used on a table or desk. If you work regularly out of the office then the bulk and the keyboard experience may be a hindrance 

You’re a gamer: If gaming precedes your workflow, then you can avoid buying the ZenBook Duo UX482. It is not designed for gamers  

Yealink SIP T2, 3, 4, 5 series

Yealink was established in 2001 in China, specializing in video conferencing, voice communications, and collaboration solutions. In less than a decade, Yealink had become China’s top SIP phone provider and, more recently, started to forge partnerships with other Chinese organizations, including Tencent Cloud, Sony China, and China Telecom.

Please note

This is our all-in-one roundup reviewing four of Yealink's flagship ranges of VoIP devices for 2021. On this page, after our brief intro, you’ll find 

(a) a full evaluation of the Yealink SIP T2 range, along with our assessment of the essential features modern businesses depend on

(b) a review of the Yealink SIP T3 series,  

(c) our take on the Yealink SIP T4 range, with its Optima HD Voice system, and

d) our assessment of the Yealink SIP T5 range, which comes with extensive video collaboration features at the high-end.

You can jump to the reviews of those individual products by clicking on the links in the bar at the top of this page, but bear in mind that this article is really designed to be read all the way through, as the features of businesses will benefit from assessing all three phone ranges before deciding which one best suits their needs. 

Yealink’s IP phones, which come in a number of models to suit different companies’ needs and budgets, have acquired widespread popularity. Among some of the higher-profile users of Yealink devices are the United Nations, online retailer JD.com and the fast-food restaurant chain Pizza Hut. 

Included within a number of illuminating case studies, Yealink highlights the use of its IP phones in Sampson County Schools in the US. Given that a large percentage of school districts continue to bear the cost and problems associated with legacy PBX phone systems, the adoption of Yealink VoIP handsets (in this case, the T26P model) has greatly improved communication at the schools, without adding to their budgeting challenges. Impressively, the handsets have suffered a failure rate of less than 2.5% over the last five-plus years of operation.

Whether your organization is in education, healthcare, finance, or any other industry, communication is absolutely vital. This is particularly true with the COVID-19 pandemic making in-person meetings more difficult to arrange.

Businesses are relying more and more on digital technologies to ensure that their staff can remain connected to colleagues, clients, and customers. Although VoIP phones have been around for a number of years, they have evolved significantly of late, and many now offer a host of video collaboration and unified communication tools. Yealink’s VoIP phones are no exception and the company has a number of different handsets on offer. Below we’ve reviewed four of the company’s VoIP ranges, so businesses can easily determine which one is right for them. 

Yealink SIP T2 range

Yealink SIP-T29G

(Image credit: Yealink)

Yealink’s T2 series boasts six different models, ranging from entry-level devices to high-end phones that would suit any enterprise. The most budget-friendly option is the SIP-T19P E2 IP phone, which is a single-line handset that still boasts a number of handy VoIP features and has impressive build quality. 

The SIP-T19P E2 comes with a 132x64-pixel graphical LCD display, dual 10/100 Mbps network ports, and integrated Power-over-Ethernet, the latter of which makes it ideal for extended network use. Although the fact that this model only supports a single VoIP account may rule it out for some firms, having the option of using a headset or mounting it on the wall means it does come with a fair amount of flexibility. 

Moving up the pay scale, the SIP-T23G boasts three SIP lines and a backlit 132×64 LCD screen. The handset is ideal for small to medium-sized businesses or home offices, and while other devices may come with more advanced features, the SIP-T23G is hard to beat in terms of value. Plus, the inclusion of 32 keys, including four soft keys, provides a good amount of customization. The SIP-T23G can also be auto-provisioned, meaning that businesses will receive a handset that is already set up before they receive it. 

The most advanced model in the Yealink T2 series is the SIP-T29G phone, which comes with a high-resolution TFT color display, making it the only device in this entry-level range to support color output. The SIP-T29G also boasts Optima HD technology to deliver crystal clear audio quality and 12 SIP lines for medium to heavy VoIP users. It’s also worth noting that the T29G can be augmented through the addition of an expansion module, which will greatly increase the number of programmable keys available to users. Overall, call center staff and executive users that don’t want to break the bank could do a lot worse than choosing a device from the T2 range. 

Yealink SIP T3 range

Yealink SIP-T33G

(Image credit: Yealink)

The Yealink T3 series gets off to a rather inauspicious start with the SIP-T30 model, which offers a 132x64-pixel graphical LCD, an adjustable multi-angle stand, but otherwise looks fairly unspectacular. It’s when you look under the surface, however, that the T3 series starts to get interesting. Because the T3 range comes equipped with an enhanced processor, it boasts stronger computing ability and upgraded functions. 

The improved chip really starts to come to the fore with some of the higher-end models, including the Yealink SIP-T33P. This color screen IP phone delivers high performance and facilitates local five-way conferencing. An extra-large backlit 320x240-pixel color display combines comfort and clarity. Other features included within the SIP-T33P include dual 10/100 Mbps network ports with integrated PoE, support for a Yealink wireless headset, and Smart Noise Filtering. 

Crucially, the T3 series also supports the Yealink Device Management Platform, which provides an easy and convenient way for businesses to manage their endpoint devices. The management platform provides remote diagnostics, call statistics, and bulk configuration, which could save companies a lot of time - particularly if they have a lot of handsets to deploy. 

The top-end model in the T3 range is the SIP-T33G, which also comes with a high-resolution color screen. The device comes packaged with its own network cable for businesses that only have one Ethernet cable for their desk computers and don’t want to invest in a whole load of new cabling to get their VoIP phones set up. The footprint of this phone is also impressively small, so it makes a great option for offices that don’t have much space to play around with. 

Yealink SIP T4 range

Yealink SIP-T48U

(Image credit: Yealink)

With the T4 series, Yealink really starts ramping up the number of features on offer, starting with the SIP-T40P model. This handset comes with industry-standard encryption protocols, support for three SIP accounts, and a number of programmable keys. It also comes with a foot-stand, flashing LED to indicate incoming voice messages or calls, adjustable volume, and four navigational keys. 

The Yealink SIP-T46S is well-suited for busy executives, coming with a fast interface, a high-resolution TFT color display, and HD audio. The handset also comes with an impressive number of connectivity options, including Gigabit Ethernet technology, and support for accessories like a Bluetooth USB Dongle and a Wi-Fi USB Dongle. 

Users are also likely to be impressed by the T46S’ design and build quality. The handset has an elegant appearance, making use of premium materials and a scratch-resistant surface. The T46S also supports up to six expansion models for up to 240 additional buttons, so businesses are unlikely to find that they run out of space on this model. 

The most premium device in the T4 range is the Yealink SIP-T48U IP phone, which features a seven-inch color touch screen with backlight, Optima HD voice with Acoustic Shield,  Smart Noise Filtering, and PoE support. The installation also promises to be straightforward, as the model comes with Yealink’s Redirection and Provisioning Service and Boot mechanism to help you avoid a complex manual setup process. For a high-level phone, it is surprisingly simple to configure and manage. 

Yealink SIP T5 range

Yealink VP59

(Image credit: Yealink)

What immediately stands out about the T5 range is the screen. Significantly larger than those included with other models offered by the company, the display on Yealink’s T5 models is clearly aimed at businesses that need clarity and speed with regard to their comms. 

Although the most affordable model in this series, the T53, does come with a black-and-white display, at 3.7-inches it still stands out compared to most other VoIP handsets. One word of caution regarding this particular handset is that some users have complained that the headset port fails after only a few months of use. Obviously, many individuals will probably use the built-in receiver but for companies that deploy headsets, it’s a consideration worth bearing in mind. 

Moving to the SIP-T58A model, users are sure to be wowed by a business phone that combines HD audio and a rich video calling experience. Built on the Android 5.1.1 operating system, the SIP-T58A comes with a seven-inch adjustable multi-point touch screen, a removable two-megapixel HD camera, integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2, and even boasts its own built-in web browser.

Rounding off the T5 range is Yealink’s flagship video phone, the VP59. As this device supports the Android 7.1 operating system, it at times feels more like a tablet than a desk phone. This is particularly true given the number of collaboration apps available - with the likes of Skype, Slack, Trello, Evernote, and others all easily integrated with the device. The fact that the phone also connects to Yealink’s VC Desktop software, means that users can collaborate direct from their PC or laptop as well, which may prove particularly useful as businesses start to adopt more flexible remote working policies.  

Our overall verdict

There are a lot of options to choose from when it comes to picking the Yealink range best suited to your organization. Fortunately, the company provides a host of information online about the features that come with each model and, once the handset arrives, further documentation makes installation and maintenance straightforward. 

Although there have been reports of some faults with the headset port, overall the build quality on these handsets is mightily impressive - particularly when users consider the very competitive price points.

  • Want to compare Yealink to its rivals? Check out our guide to the best VoIP handsets available

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