Thursday, September 30, 2021

Expert PDF

In the chaos of remote work, PDF readers have grown in popularity quite rapidly. Needing to manipulate and work with PDFs started as something rather specialized only a handful of years ago. Now though, the need for a quality way to handle PDFs is a necessity for all.

In this review, we’ll be taking a closer look at the features, interface and pricing of Expert PDF to see if it’s the right PDF reader and editor for your needs.


Expert PDF is available in three different versions though you will need to renew your license each year (Image credit: Avanquest Software)

Plans and pricing

Expert PDF is available in three different versions and each comes with a one user, one-year license. Expert PDF Home is $39.99, Expert PDF Professional is $79.99, and Expert PDF Ultimate is $89.99. There are also expansion programs available. One is the Ultimate Electronic Signature. This, as the name alludes, allows for remotely having your clients or business partners sign via Expert PDF without needing another application.


Expert PDF is a feature-packed PDF reader and editor (Image credit: Avanquest Software)


Expert PDF is perfectly named. The amount of features that this program has built in is astounding. Expert PDF says that they can cover all needs — regarding PDFs. Expert PDF allows for viewing of PDFs, converting, creating, editing, inserting, annotation, forms, secure, e-signature and OCR.


This feature is pretty straightforward and it allows you to open a PDF document and view it on a device. While a basic expectation of PDF Viewers is to be able to, well, view PDFs, it’s still good to confirm.

Convert / Create

Expert PDF can convert over 200 file formats to PDF, or from PDF to those same formats. This feature has accurate information transfer, with the added feature of being fully editable in whatever format Expert PDF converts it to. This can be a total game changer for most who work in and out of the PDF file format.

Edit / Insert

Saving and viewing PDFs is great. But when granted the ability to edit, that is when new possibilities are opened. This feature allows for inserting elements of all kinds to customize a PDF. This includes shapes, lines, text, photos, and more. 


If working on a PDF with others, maybe a true edit is not what is needed. Maybe collaboration via comments is what is most helpful. That is where annotation comes in. The annotation tool allows you to mark and comment utilizing tools like highlight, underline, comment, stamps, etc. This could be huge for editing a company document, and getting comments on it beforehand, or perhaps highlighting what should be signed, or important information, etc.


Gathering information through a simple Word document is not always the most engaging. That is where forms become incredibly useful. With Expert PDF, fillable forms can be created from scratch. These can include elements like radio buttons, text fields, checkboxes, and several more. These forms are perfect for custom questionnaires and other editable forms.


Something incredibly helpful with Expert PDF is the ability to lock down access. This makes it so a login or password is needed in order to access the file. For anything that holds sensitive information or files that are designed for personal details, this can be a huge feature. Knowing that confidential files are kept secure is a feature worth its weight in gold.


This feature, as mentioned above, allows for electronic signing of documents with the slightest of ease. Especially right now — with the world needing to continue on in this remote and work from home dominated time in history — this feature is more valuable than ever.


OCR stands for Optical Character Recognition. This feature allows for a simple scan to translate into a fully editable file. This could be a non-editable PDF, transformed into a fully editable one. This could also be a scanned document or image of any document. This feature is perfect for updating past files, digitizing records and systems and more.


This is the user interface of Expert PDF (Image credit: Avanquest Software)

Interface and in use

The interface for Expert PDF is robust yet not hard to learn. Once you spend a moment or two in the program, then it becomes pretty clear where to find everything. Additionally, like any advanced feature, the more time spent in the program, the more understood it becomes.

The competition

Regarding competition, there are quite a few programs that attempt to do these same things. Each uses their own touch to personalize their application. Adobe Acrobat Reader is one of these programs that is a great comparison to Expert PDF. A few others include Foxit Reader and PDF Expert, not to be confused with Expert PDF.

Final verdict

If you are looking for a quality, one stop shop for all of your PDF needs, this is one worth checking out. There are very few applications that do all of these features that well. So checking this one out will be well worth your time.

Wolfram Alpha search engine

Wolfram Alpha is a different kind of search engine, and if it’s your first time on the website, you’ll spend a lot of time staring at the home page. Is it a search engine? Is it a calculator? What is it?

It’s kind of both. It’s a search engine that computes answers based on algorithms and high-level knowledge. That may sound too much like a college course to you, but you’ll be surprised at how helpful it can be for daily life – and you’re probably already using another device to look up the type of information Wolfram Alpha excels at delivering. Let’s dive in.


Wolfram Alpha breaks down its search categories into four categories (Image credit: Wolfram)


Wolfram Alpha’s search topics are broken down into four categories – Mathematics, Science and Technology, Society and Culture, and Everyday Life – with subtopics underneath. By clicking on a subtopic, you’ll see several examples of how to search for related queries. 

Mathematics is pretty straightforward – you enter what you need to calculate, and the results show you the final answer and the steps for how to get there. This makes Wolfram Alpha unbeatable for math students or anyone who works in the field. 

The Science and Technology section is similar. Within that, though, are options that the everyday user may find helpful. For example, you can convert grams to ounces when you’re cooking, find out what your clothing size is in another country for help when shopping, or figure out how much paint you need to purchase to cover a room in your house.

The Society and Culture and Everyday Life categories will be the most helpful for users. Think of what you may ask Alexa (or your voice assistant of choice) on a normal day – things like, “What time is it in London?” or “What size turkey do I need for 15 people?” That’s the sort of information Wolfram can help you out with, so long as you know how to enter the search query. And there are several examples for each subtopic to help you figure out what to search for and how to search.


Wolfram Alpha is not a private search engine, and what they collect and how they use your information is laid out in their privacy policy. Essentially, Wolfram Alpha can collect a lot of information about you, and it can be disclosed to third parties, as well as be used to add you to Wolfram’s mailing list (which you should be able to opt-out of).

The search engine uses cookies, too, and while you can configure your browser to block cookies, the company says that may negatively impact your search results.

User Experience

You can’t type just anything into Wolfram Alpha, like you can with Google, and expect to get results (or at least the right results). For example, searches like “what are the healthiest foods,” “what’s on TV tonight,” and “Paleo diet” all returned nothing related to the search – when anything was returned at all.

Instead, you have to know how to search in Wolfram and the type of information to search for to get anywhere. But there are so many examples that you’ll get the hang of it in no time, as long as you take the time to learn how to communicate with it.

Search Results

Wolfram Alpha's search results appear quite differently than they would in other search engines (Image credit: Wolfram)

Here’s an example of what search results look like. This is in response to “Oscar for best actress 1982.”

The most entertaining section of Wolfram Alpha is the Surprises category nestled under Everyday Life. Ask Wolfram Alpha to tell you a corny joke, give it a tongue twister to reply to, have it recite a nursery rhyme, and more. 


Wolfram Alpha can be accessed via a browser, and there are also mobile apps for Android, iPad and iPhone, Kindle Fire, and Windows phones and tablets.  

There’s also Wolfram Alpha Pro, the upgraded, paid version of the basic search engine, but what you get for the price is unclear. Two of the biggest features are file upload for data analysis and form-based interfaces called web apps. 

Missing Results

You'll need to sign up for Wolfram Alpha's Pro package to take full advantage of this unique search engine (Image credit: Wolfram)

When you go to the dedicated page for data analysis, the examples don’t seem to work. This could be because you’re not a Pro user, but the idea here is to see the functionality before you sign up.


Wolfram Alpha's web app samples often prove to be more helpful than its search results (Image credit: Wolfram)

The web app samples are more helpful. This is an example of the auto loan app.

The competition

There’s not much in the way of competition for Wolfram Alpha, besides the AI that your chosen virtual assistant uses – and even then, devices like Alexa often return irrelevant answers. Yes, Wolfram Alpha can return irrelevant answers too if you input the search the wrong way, but with so much guidance on the site, that’s easy to work around. Also, it’s nice to have the answers in front of you so you can see them and slowly go through the details.

Final verdict

Wolfram Alpha is a wholly different type of search engine, and while you can’t search for anything and everything with it, what it does do it does very well. Whether you’re trying to figure out a geometry solution for class, get stats about a car you want to buy, remember who the president of a foreign country is, or find out the rating of a movie you want to watch with the family, Wolfram/Alpha can deliver the answers, along with more relevant info you probably want to know.

Go back to basics to learn what an algorithm is with our explainer. Read it here.

Corsair Xeneon 32QHD165

Two-minute review

If you’re pondering the question of what makes for the best all-round gaming monitor, the new Corsair Xeneon 32QHD165 might just be the answer. On paper, at least.

With a 32-inch 1440p panel running at up to 165Hz refresh, it arguably nails exactly the right balance between performance and graphical detail. Sure, there are gaming monitors with more pixels than the Corsair Xeneon 32QHD165. Others hum along at even higher refresh rates or offer more overall inches. But you quickly run into one obvious issue with ever-higher spec screens. How, precisely, are you going to drive the thing, what with graphics cards prices currently as crisis point?

Those headline specs aside, what do you need to know about the Corsair Xeneon 32QHD165? Corsair rates it at 1ms for MPRT pixel response and ‘below’ 3ms for the more demanding grey-to-grey metric. So, it’s quick but not among the very fastest IPS gaming panels in terms of pure response.

Corsair Xeneon 32QHD165 on a desk with a glass top bordered by two bookshelf speakers

(Image credit: Future)

However, it is one of the most accurate gaming panels you can currently buy. Thanks in part to quantum dot technology in the Xeneon’s LED backlight, it’s good for fully 100% of the Adobe RGB gamut and 98% of the even more demanding DCI-P3 color space. 

There’s also VESA DisplayHDR 400 certification, plus AMD FreeSync Premium support and Nvidia G-Sync compatibility. Just note this isn’t a true HDR display and lacks features like local dimming.

Corsair Xeneon 32QHD165 on a desk with a glass top bordered by two bookshelf speakers

(Image credit: Future)

Interface-wise, you get a pair of HDMI 2.0 ports, a single DisplayPort 1.4 socket, plus USB Type-C connectivity complete with device charging for single-cable connectivity to a laptop.

For the record, the HDMI ports only support a maximum refresh of 144Hz. That said, Corsair is pitching the 32QHD165 as a console-friendly panel courtesy of support for 4K input, which is then downscaled to 1440p. Hopefully the PS5 will soon match the Xbox Series X in natively supporting 1440p, as that would be a much better solution.

Corsair Xeneon 32QHD165's die-cast aluminium stand

(Image credit: Future)

Anyway, this is also a very nicely engineered screen, with a widely adjustable die-cast aluminium stand and one of the cleanest, clearest and most user-friendly OSD menus we’ve ever seen. 

But how does the Corsair Xeneon 32QHD165 actually look? Its core image quality is frankly fab. It’s bright, vibrant and punchy, while also being natural looking and nicely calibrated right out of the box. 

As for pixel response, Corsair has included three levels of user-configurable overdrive and even in the fastest setting, there’s almost no visible overshoot or inverse ghosting.

Granted, the subjective experience is of a very quick screen, rather than the absolute fastest we’ve ever seen. But overall, there’s minimal blurring. The same goes for latency. There are screens with higher refresh. But you’d have to be a very committed esports addict to take issue with the Corsair Xeneon 32QHD165 running at 165Hz.

Corsair Xeneon 32QHD165 on a desk with a glass top bordered by two bookshelf speakers

(Image credit: Future)

Less impressive is HDR performance, which scarcely looks any punchier than SDR content. That said, it will correctly decode an HDR signal and, with a little tweaking, SDR content looks good in HDR mode. So you have the option of running the Corsair Xeneon 32QHD165 in HDR mode all the time to make your life that little bit simpler.

Whatever, pretty much every kind of game looks great on the Corsair Xeneon 32QHD165. Shooters like Call of Duty and Apex Legends look sharp. Graphical fests like Cyberpunk 2077 and the Forza racing games have plenty of punch. And there’s enough detail to do justice to a strategy title like one of the Total War series.

All of which means the Corsair Xeneon 32QHD165 is a very nicely executed gaming panel with no major flaws, super image quality, plenty of speed and a great feature set. 

We just wish it didn’t cost quite so much, as $799 (£699, AU$999) sure is punchy for a 1440p panel. In fact, it’s pretty much 4K money. If that arguably isn’t the point, what certainly is relevant is that you can have similar on-paper specs for around half the money. Ouch.

Corsair Xeneon 32QHD165 on a desk with a glass top bordered by two bookshelf speakers

(Image credit: Future)

Buy it if...

You agree that 1440p rather than 1080p or 4K is the sweet spot
...for PC gaming and the best compromise between graphical detail and maximising frame rates.

You reckon 165Hz refresh is plenty for pretty much any kind of gaming
Which it surely is, unless you’re a borderline pro-level esports protagonist.

You want some accuracy with your speed
The Corsair Xeneon 32QHD165 sports excellent coverage of both the Adobe sRGB and DCI-P3 gamuts.

Don't buy it if...

You demand the absolute last word in pixel response
The Corsair Xeneon 32QHD165 is fast, to be sure. But there are faster monitors out there.

You also want a high-DPI monitor for desktop work
1440p is great for gaming, but makes for relatively poor pixel density on the desktop thanks to the 32-inch panel.

You want a true HDR experience
The Corsair Xeneon 32QHD165 lacks full-array local dimming and can’t truly render high dynamic range images.

Moodle LMS

Moodle is a bit of a unique prospect, as they lay claim to the “World's most popular learning management system.” Backing up the claim is that this platform has a staggering 213 million users. 

No doubt, driving this popularity is the open source software, but it is hard to argue with the success, and notable clients include the Shell corporation, the State University of New York (SUNY), and the London School of Economics.


Moodle has modern interface which you can see for yourself by trying out a demo on its site (Image credit: Moodle)


Despite the open source origin, Moodle still has plenty of features. A notable one is the modern interface, that is designed to be used via a web browser on a desktop or laptop, or on mobile platforms with available iOS and Android apps (see below). This interface includes a personalized dashboard that can display a list of courses, including the current ones, along with past courses, and future ones as well. Also displayed are the pending tasks.

There are plenty of advanced features as well that go beyond the basics. A good example is the text editor. This easy to use text editor is designed to work from within the web interface, and facilitates both formatting text, and also adding in images and other content. There is also file management, and allows users to drag and drop files from popular online cloud storage providers, such as DropBox and Google Drive. There is also an all-in-one calendar to track everything from group meetings and personal events.

Moodle also encourages collaboration among educators and among learners. To this end, there is support for a variety of activities, such as chat, wikis, forums, database activities and glossaries. Teachers can also encourage interaction, by including full quizzes, or even a single multiple choice question that is called ‘Choice.’

Teachers not only can grade an assignment online, but also can provide comments to guide the student’s learning. Surveys can also be created for learners to provide feedback and to guide lessons. Workshops can also be created to get a peer assessment.


Moodle is free to download as it's distributed under GPL license (Image credit: Moodle)

Plans and pricing

Unlike most of the competition, Moodle is available as a free download, under the GPL license, and right on the website it says that it can be used for free. The latest release is Moodle 3.11.3+, which is for developers, and there is also a more stable Moodle 3.11.3 available as well for more general use. It is downloaded as a compressed file, as either a .tgz, or as a .zip, the latter is 73.7 MB in size in either the developer or more stable version. It is also encouraging to see that it is kept up to date, with a new version adding in bug fixes on a weekly basis. It is designed to be used on a server, but there is also another package available that can run on a Windows PC or on the Mac OS for those that want to give it a try.

Realizing that installing software on a server to run this type of service may not be for everyone as it requires a level of IT support that not all organizations have. Therefore, the software can also be setup and supported via a Moodle Certified Service Provider. There are no less than 80 options for this, so those that wish to pursue this are sure to find a partner they can work with.


Moodle provides plenty of documentation on its site in case you run into any problems (Image credit: Moodle)

A shortcoming of open source software in general is the lack of support. After all, with free software, it is hard enough to keep it up to date, let alone offer robust support.

Moodle does provide at least some level of support, although it is hardly surprising that we don’t find a toll free number, direct email address, chat, nor a support portal.

The support offered is a community forum, and it is available in multiple languages for users to help each other. There is also plenty of documentation on Moodle as well. Topics include popular topics to help new users that include “Setup your course,” “Add users,” and “Create mobile-friendly courses.”

App Store

Moodle received 4.1 out of 5 stars on Apple's App Store and 3.6 out of 5 stars on the Google Play Store (Image credit: Apple)

User reviews

While there are paid learning management systems that do not have a mobile app, we are pleased to report that Moodle has both an iOS app, that is even “Designed for iPad,” and an Android app.

The iOS app gets a high rating of 4.1 out of 5 stars. There are plenty of 5 star reviews from satisfied users. On balance though, some complain of issues with a lack of notifications, randomly not working, and that the app crashed when it was updated.

The Android app gets a lower rating of 3.6 out of 5 stars. Users submitted problems with the password login with a password manager, long load times for the app, and crashes as well. Also realize that while there is an app, it needs to be enabled at the organization for it to work.

Final verdict

Moodle is the open source learning platform that does more. With its open source background, there are some compromises to be made, including the lack of direct support unless a Certified Service Provider is contracted, and that the apps are not the highest rated and have some glitches. 

For those that choose this platform, they will be rewarded with a full featured platform at an open source price, that can be downloaded and run for free for those that have IT staff with skill to support this. Learners and teachers are sure to benefit from the multiplatform support, the support for quizzes forums and wikis, and the easy integration to submit assignments from 3rd party Cloud Providers such as DropBox. Given all of this, it is easy to recommend, and see why Moodle enjoys such popularity in this space.

Fairphone 4

If you care about having an eco-friendly phone, the Fairphone 4 should be on your radar and, most likely, top of your wish-list. It’s the newest device from green tech company Fairphone, which specializes in devices made from recycled materials in ethical factories.

Buying a Fairphone used to be a tricky calculation, though: you’d be getting a phone that wasn’t terrible for the environment (many modern mobiles are made in factories with environmental standards that are questionable at best, using rare-earth materials extracted using unsustainable and sometimes ethically dubious processes) but you’d be getting a device that wasn’t exactly competitive specs-wise.

That’s not quite the case for the Fairphone 4, as the successor to the Fairphone 3 Plus from 2020 has a few upgrades in key areas to make it a more tempting buy.

The phone has not one but two rear 48MP rear cameras, as well as the mid-range Snapdragon 750G chipset, which supports 5G connectivity, and a much bigger display. These upgrades, as well as the phone’s durable body and green credentials, make the device a much more compelling proposition than its predecessors.

It’s not the perfect phone - we found the side-mounted fingerprint sensor a little fiddly to use compared to those on competing devices, and had trouble connecting to Wi-Fi or 5G networks at points – also, people used to top-end phones might find the Fairphone 4 a little slow to navigate.

That all said, though, we found ourselves enjoying the Fairphone 4 in our initial tests, partly because of its upgrades and partly because of the warm feeling inside of using an eco-friendly phone. We’re part way through our tests at the moment, but expect a full review shortly.

Fairphone 4 release date and price

Fairphone 4

(Image credit: Future)

The Fairphone 4 costs £499 in the UK, which converts to $670 or AU$930, though with Fairphone only operating in Europe, you won’t be able to buy it in those regions. That’s for a 6GB RAM, 128GB storage version of the phone, and for £569 (about $770, AU$1,060) you can bump that to 8GB / 256GB.

Casual phone users won’t need 256GB though, and can stick to the cheaper 128GB model. There’s no micro SD card slot, but with cloud storage readily available these days, those are arguably unnecessary.

That’s a fair price for the phone given the specs, though you can find cheaper handsets from Chinese companies with higher specs. We’d call this a close competitor to the Google Pixel 5, which cost $499 / £499 / AU$799 at launch, and also came with stock Android software. That handset has better cameras but is slower in operation, and doesn’t have the Fairphone's eco-friendly credentials.

Design and display

The Fairphone 4 has a 6.3-inch FHD+ display, which is broken up at the top by a tear-drop notch. It’s a design that was in vogue for mid-range phones before 2021, but in the year of the green phone’s release, most other devices at all price points use punch-hole cut-outs for the front snapper instead.

The screen looks fairly bold, at least in terms of colors, though we did find the max brightness a little limited. Fairphone fans will like the size of the display most though, as it’s a big jump up from the 5.65 inches of the last two phones from the company, and also results in a much bigger screen-to-body ratio.

Fairphone 4

(Image credit: Future)

The Fairphone 4’s body is pretty thick – we don’t have official dimensions, and it's hard to measure precisely, but it’s at least 1cm – and the phone feels rather heavy too. In fact, the device feels quite a bit like a rugged phone (a type of smartphone designed to be durable in tough conditions), partly because of its metal frame and partly because of the solid-feeling rear.

The handset has two volume buttons on the right edge, just above the power button – the fingerprint sensor is embedded in this button, and it's easy to reach with your digit. The scanner did sometimes have trouble picking up our fingerprints though, and only actually scanned after we had pressed the button, so it wasn’t as intuitive to use as alternatives on other devices like the recent Xiaomi 11T Pro or Motorola Edge 20 Pro.

There’s no 3.5mm headphone jack here, something that fans of wired audio will be disappointed by, but the USB-C jack on the bottom edge of the phone will still let you plug in your cans if you have an adaptor.

On the back, there are two rear cameras arranged in a triangle, along with a third aperture that looks like a sensor, but doesn't, as far as we can tell, do anything: it’s possible that this is just a placeholder.

A placeholder for what, you might ask. Well, the Fairphone 4 (as well as its predecessors) is a modular phone – this means you can take the back off the device, remove the battery, and use a screwdriver to replace parts like the rear camera, display and audio module.

Fairphone 4

(Image credit: Future)

Not only does this modularity enable you to replace damaged parts (which you can do yourself, just by ordering spares from Fairphone’s website), it also lets you upgrade your handset if and when the company releases a Fairphone 4 Plus. We saw this with the Fairphone 3 Plus, which had the same body as the Fairphone 3 but with improved specs – if you had the non-Plus device you could simply buy a few parts to upgrade to the Plus yourself.

So it’s possible that this third camera hole will hold a space for a third camera, which Fairphone could offer as a separate module at a future date. 

Cameras and battery life

The Fairphone 4 has two 48MP cameras on the back, one paired with a wide lens, and another with an ultra-wide-angle lens for shots with a great field of view. That’s a slight upgrade over last year’s Fairphone, which missed the second snapper.

Pictures taken on the phone look crisp, with natural-looking depth of field and lots of detail thanks to the high-res sensor.

However images weren’t particularly colorful or vibrant – we’d put this down to the phone lacking much in the way of AI scene optimization software the likes of which Google, Apple or Samsung use. You can drop photos into editing apps to spruce them up a bit, but by default, snaps looked a little desaturated.

Fairphone 4

(Image credit: Future)

This was also true of pictures taken on the 25MP front-facing camera, which looked a little subdued, so you’ll need a fairly well-lit environment to take great pictures. Again, a photo editing app solved this issue for the most part.

The Fairphone 4 has a relatively small 3,905mAh battery, but despite this being smaller than nearly every other power pack in a phone in 2021, we were pleasantly surprised by the battery life. In our (admittedly short) testing time, the device powered through a day of use with juice left in the tank.

While a full-day battery life isn’t exactly anything to write home about, the fact that the phone manages with with a relatively small battery is impressive, and suggests there’s some smart optimization going on here.

Charging is done via the phone’s USB-C port, and is 20W, which is fairly slow. According to Fairphone, it’ll take half an hour to power a phone from empty to 50% – we haven’t done a full charging test yet, but this figure seems accurate based on our experiences.

Performance and specs

The Fairphone 4 boasts fairly competitive specs for the price, with a Snapdragon 750G chipset, alongside 6GB or 8GB RAM.

Fairphone 4

(Image credit: Future)

This processor isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed, with the Snapdragon 800 series of chipsets offering much more power, but it’s certainly fit for the task. After the initial set-up phase, in which the phone was startlingly slow (as it needed to download and install all our apps), it was fairly snappy to navigate, and handed all mid-range and some top-end games pretty well.

We’ll put the Fairphone 4 through a more intensive barrage of tests (including gaming) for our full review, but for now we’d judge the device as powerful enough for most tasks.

This is a 5G phone too, enabling you to connect to super-fast next-gen networks. This is the first 5G Fairphone device, so if you want fast downloads and streaming, it’s the one to pick.

The phone uses stock Android 11, as Google designed it, which gives you the clean design and minimal selection of pre-installed apps that you’d see on a Nokia or Pixel phone. While Fairphone is offering a five-year warranty with the phone, we don’t know how many years of security or software updates it'll get.

We had a minor issue with the phone regarding connectivity – the phone was slow to connect to the internet, whether we were using cellular or Wi-Fi, which could be a nuisance if you're playing online games, looking at social media or downloading programs.

It’s not clear if this is a problem with our test device, a teething problem with the mobile, or something else, and we’ll test it further for our full review. It didn’t hugely affect our time with the phone – everything would load eventually – but it’s worth flagging.

Fairphone 4

(Image credit: Future)

Early verdict

We were ready to look past a lot of rough edges on the Fairphone 4, as its green credentials allow you overlook a few basic flaws; however, we didn’t need to, as the handset feels like a capable mid-range smartphone.

Beyond some small concerns we had, like the temperamental fingerprint scanner, connectivity issues and less-than-stellar cameras, this is a well-rounded mid-ranger that can handle most tasks you'll want to throw at it.

But you’re probably not looking to buy the Fairphone 4 for its specs or cameras or features – you’re interested because you're looking for a device that will help you to reduce your carbon footprint in a small way, while still offering many the features of the latest smartphones, with decent performance. And we're happy to report that the Fairphone 4 is that device.

Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO 5

Two minute review

Spec Sheet

Here is the Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO 5 configuration sent to TechRadar for review:

CPU: 2GHz Intel Core i7-10700T (octa-core, 16MB cache, up to 4.5GHz Turbo Boost)
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 630
Screen: 27-inch 1440p
Storage: 512GB SSD, 1TB HDD
Ports: 1x USB-C, 2x USB 3.2, 2x USB 2.0, 3.5mm headphone jack, 1x HDMI in, 1x HDMI out
Connectivity: Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0
Camera: 1080p FaceTime HD webcam
Weight: 20.30 pounds (9.21 kg)
Size: 25.3 x 1 x 18.8 inches (641.8 x 25.5 x 476.4mm; W x D x H)

The Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO 5 is a new all-in-one PC that is aimed at people working from home who are after a stylish PC that doesn't take up too much space on a desk.

It costs $959 to start in the US, with entry level models costing £899 and AU$1,479 in the UK and Australia, respectively. That's quite pricey for the specs on offer here, especially compared to traditional desktop PCs, though as it's an all-in-one it does mean it comes with a screen - so you don't need to buy an additional monitor.

Like any good all-in-one PC, the Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO 5 is a compact and convenient computer. With the components built into the base of the monitor, it means unlike normal desktop PCs, you won't have to connect wires between the PC itself and the monitor.

Not only is it easier to set up, but it means you can move it more easily, and it take up less space on a desk. This may be particularly useful for people looking for a new PC when working from home.

It’s a decent design, that feels like its aiming for a professional look for an office, rather than a stylish aesthetic for a studio. The screen itself is a 1440p display, which is fine, but can’t compete with the 4.5K (4,480 x 2,520) Retina display of the new iMac.

It means the screen isn’t as instantly impressive as some of its competitors, and there’s not as much workspace as on higher resolution screens. Stretched over 27-inches, it also doesn’t look as sharp as, say, a 4K screen would look. So for multitaskers, or photo and video editors, this isn’t going to be an all-in-one that appeals to you.

Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO 5 all-in-one PC webcam

(Image credit: Future)

But, for people looking for a day-to-day PC for their home office, the simple design and large screen may appeal.

The bezels around the screen are impressively slim, with a built-in JBL soundbar running across the bottom. It also has a pull-up webcam above the screen. This is a nice feature, as it keeps the surrounds of the screen slim, and gives you an element of privacy as well, as pushing the webcam back down inside the bezel will ensure that the webcam is blocked.

Resolution quibbles aside, the actual design of the screen is great. If Apple hadn’t given the iMac a major redesign earlier this year, we’d be tempted to say the Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO 5’s screen makes the iMac look outdated. That’s certainly true of iMacs from previous years.

The screen is attached to the base (which houses the most of actual PC) via a thick metal arm, which again looks pleasingly modern. Some components are situated behind the screen, so there are USB ports, Ethernet and two HDMI ports. The power cable is plugged into the base, however.

Images of the ports of the Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO 5 all-in-one PC

(Image credit: Future)

Speaking of the base, it looks a bit plain and non-descript, but it does the job. One thing we do like about it is that it has a built-in wireless charger. Put compatible devices like a smartphone on the top of the base, and it’ll start charging it. It’s a great feature that’s genuinely useful and worked really well when we placed a Samsung Note 9 on it.

This is the kind of feature we’d love to see in other all-in-ones, and it’s definitely one area that the Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO 5’s design beats the new iMac.

Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO 5 all-in-one PC wireless charging mat

(Image credit: Future)

The Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO 5 also comes with a wireless keyboard and mouse, but these are very basic. They do the job, sure, but aren’t the best we’ve tried. For a start, they don’t use rechargeable-built in batteries, but standard AAA batteries.

They don’t come pre-paired with the Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO 5 either. Instead, you have to plug in a USB dongle before you can use them, which is a waste of a USB port.

Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO 5 all-in-one PC on a desk in an office close up of keyboard and mouse

(Image credit: Future)

Here’s how the Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO 5 performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

Cinebench R23 CPU: 7,580 (multi-core); 1,102 (single)
3DMark Time Spy: 540; Fire Strike: 1,347; Night Raid: 6,965
GeekBench 5: 1,188 (single-core); 6,040 (multi-core)
PCMark 10 (Home Test): 4,266 points

It’s not the end of the world, but when you compare it with the out of the box experience of an iMac, where the rechargeable keyboard and mouse are already charged and paired with the PC, it just feels a little less polished and user-friendly.

When it comes to performance, things are a bit more disappointing. On paper, the specs aren’t bad, with the model we had coming with a 10th generation Intel processor and 16GB of RAM, plus plenty of storage space, but when using the Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO 5 for anything more than general day-to-day use, it starts to flag.

The Intel Core i7-10700T is an eight-core processor, but as it is a ‘T’ series chip, it means this is a less powerful variant, and is designed to throttle performance when under load. This means they are ideal chips for office equipment in that they can be more reliable over a longer lifespan, but it also means they aren’t much use for demanding users, as the performance just can’t match non T processors.

The limitations of the CPU are evident in the Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO 5 when we ran our benchmarks, as the throttling kicked in and performance dropped. The Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO 5 also has no dedicated graphics, so it relies on the integrated Intel UHD Graphics 630 GPU, which, again, is not much use for anything other than day-to-day office work. Heavy-duty photo and video editing is basically out of the question. We couldn’t get our Photoshop benchmarks to run properly, and when using the application to edit photos, it could take a while to load up, and applying some effects took a few seconds.

Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO 5 all-in-one PC on a desk in an office

(Image credit: Future)

When working on particularly stressful tasks, the fans also kick in – loudly. Several people in the office commented on the fan noise while we were testing the Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO 5. While it remained quiet during less intensive tasks, this could soon prove annoying.

But, like we say, for standard use, Windows 10 works fine. The built-in webcam, which is so important these days, is pretty good, with a decent level of detail, and the JBL speakers sound excellent. Voice, videos and music all sound great, and you can raise the volume without distortion.

If you stick to just using the Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO 5 as a device for standard office use, then it’s fine, and the compact design could appeal over a traditional desktop PC, but anyone looking for an all-in-one for creative work should look elsewhere.

Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO 5 all-in-one PC on a desk in an office

(Image credit: Future)

Should I buy the Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO 5?

Buy it if...

You want a simple all-in-one for day-to-day work
The Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO 5 is a decent all-in-one PC for the office or home if you just need to do day-to-day tasks.

You like a tidy desk
As with other all-in-ones, the Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO 5 can keep your desk free of clutter due to everything being built into the screen and stand. Along with the wireless keyboard and mouse, you only need one cable – the power cable.

You have a wireless charging phone
One of the best features of the Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO 5 is the built-in wireless charging in the base, which lets you conveniently charge your phone – as long as it’s compatible.

Don't buy it if...

You want a PC for creative work
The Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO 5 is simply not powerful enough for intensive creative tasks.

You want an iMac alternative
It does a few things well, but the Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO 5 can’t compete with Apple’s all-in-one.

Sonos Beam (Gen 2)

Two-minute review

The Sonos Beam (Gen 2) is the latest soundbar from multi-room audio giant Sonos, improving on the company’s original mini soundbar with virtual Dolby Atmos, HDMI eARC compatibility, and a refreshed design. 

While it’s a little more expensive than the first Sonos Beam, the new soundbar offers great value for money, and full integration with the wider Sonos ecosystem. The Beam (Gen 2) sounds great on its own, but you can take the audio performance up a notch by hooking it up the Sonos Sub, or by using a pair of Sonos One SL speakers as your rear right and left channels. 

Setting up the Sonos Beam (Gen 2) is a breeze – you just need the Sonos S2 app, and you’ll be able to connect the soundbar to your Wi-Fi network and set up your voice assistant of choice. The S2 app also gives you access to the company’s TruePlay technology, which calibrates the soundbar’s audio to your room’s dimensions, using its built-in microphones. 

It’s a shame that TruePlay still only works with iOS devices, as it does make a difference to the sound. Still, you could borrow a friend’s iPhone for the setup process – and we do think that’s worth doing. 

Unlike its predecessor, the new Beam comes with eARC compatibility, a feature that fans of the original soundbar have been requesting for a while. This allows the soundbar to handle more advanced audio formats than before, including hi-res audio codecs. 

a closeup of the sonos beam gen 2 soundbar

(Image credit: TechRadar)

However, the standout new feature for the Beam (Gen 2) is Dolby Atmos support. While the soundbar doesn’t contain the upfiring drivers you’d need for ‘true’ Atmos, it uses psychoacoustic techniques to give the impression of height from your movie soundtracks. 

In theory, this should make it seem as though the sound from your films is coming at you from every angle; we weren’t fully convinced, however. While the Beam (Gen 2) has a remarkably wide soundstage and powerful audio performance for its size, we didn’t experience the kind of overhead sound you get from its larger sibling, the Sonos Arc (which has those all-important upfiring drivers). 

We’re hesitant to judge the Beam (Gen 2) too harshly for that, though. You’re still getting a far more immersive experience than you’d get from a non-Atmos bar, and there is a small amount of vertical information coming through – it’s just not as convincing as other virtual Atmos bars like the Sony HT-X8500.

The Sonos Beam (Gen 2) also works really well for listening to music, with a clear, well-balanced soundstage and an impressive low end – and the S2 app makes it easy to navigate your favorite music streaming services without switching between lots of different apps and platforms. 

Overall, if you’re looking for a mid-range soundbar that won’t take over your living room, and you want the ability to upgrade it in the future with a subwoofer or rear speakers, the Sonos Beam (Gen 2) is a great choice – just don’t expect a super-convincing Dolby Atmos experience. 

the sonos beam gen 2 soundbar in white

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Sonos Beam (Gen 2) price and release date

  • $399 / £339 / AU$599
  • Available to buy from October 5, 2021

The second-gen Beam will be available to buy from October 5 for $449 / £449 / $699, which is more expensive than the original; at launch, the first-gen Sonos Beam cost $399 / £339 / AU$599, though it’s often discounted these days. 

Compared to other soundbars with virtual Dolby Atmos, the Beam (Gen 2) is a little cheaper than the Sony HT-G700, and about $400 / £400 / AU$800 less expensive than TechRadar's best soundbar of 2021, the Sonos Arc, which delivers ‘true’ Atmos thanks to upfiring tweeters.

the back of the sonos beam gen 2 soundbar

(Image credit: TechRadar)


  • Compact build
  • New plastic grille
  • Touch controls

Like the original Beam, the new Sonos Beam (Gen 2) is a compact soundbar that can easily fit under most TVs on a cabinet, or be mounted to a wall to keep your living room clutter-free. 

At 2.72 x 25.63 x 3.94 inches (H x W x D), it’s much smaller than the company’s flagship soundbar, the Sonos Arc, making it ideal for smaller spaces. 

Like other Sonos speakers, design of the Beam (Gen 2) is all about clean lines and subtle branding; this soundbar isn’t flashy, but it looks stylish, and as it comes in a choice of black and white finishes you can find the right look to fit in with your decor. 

One key difference between the new Sonos Beam and its predecessor is the design of the grille, which is now made of plastic rather than a woven fabric. This design choice is more in keeping with the Sonos Arc, and as the company points out, it’s far easier to clean than dust-attracting fabric. We asked Sonos whether the new grille brings any acoustic benefits, but the company told us it’s purely an aesthetic choice.

On the top of the soundbar you’ll find a touch-sensitive control panel. The capacitive touch sensors allow you to control your music playback, adjust the volume, and turn off the inbuilt microphones for extra privacy. We found these controls were very responsive, though you’ll probably find yourself reaching for your TV’s remote to do most of these things. 

You’ll also find a small LED light strip on the top of the soundbar, which lights up as you interact with it, as well as another LED beneath the microphone icon to let you know when the soundbar’s mic is enabled.

Around the back of the soundbar is a port for plugging it into a power outlet, and HDMI, optical, and Ethernet ports.

a closeup of the sonos beam gen 2 touch controls

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Setup and connectivity

  • Works with wider Sonos ecosystem
  • TruePlay room calibration
  • Easy-to-use app

Setting up the Sonos Beam (Gen 2) is very simple; you just need to download the Sonos S2 app and follow the instructions to connect the soundbar to your Wi-Fi network and any music streaming services you’d like to use. 

You’ll also then be able to choose between Alexa or Google Assistant. Thanks to the soundbar’s built-in microphones, you’ll be able to control its playback using your voice alone, as well as asking your chosen voice assistant questions and controlling your other smart home devices

Once you’ve done this, you’ll be able to use the Beam’s room calibration feature, TruePlay, which tunes the ‘bar’s sound to the dimensions of your room.

As you go through the TruePlay process, the Beam plays out a series of beeps and ticks across the frequency range; you’ll then be prompted to walk around your room waving your smartphone around.  

The S2 app uses the microphones built-in to your smartphone to analyze the audio; Sonos says it’s important to cover as much space as possible and to minimize any other environmental noise that could affect the results. Unfortunately, TruePlay is only compatible with iOS devices currently, but it’s worth borrowing a friend’s iPhone to get the most out of your new Beam. 

the sonos beam gen 2 soundbar

(Image credit: TechRadar)

The app also gives you the option to pair the Beam with any other Sonos speaker you might have, such as the Sonos Sub or a pair of Sonos One SL speakers that could be used as left and right rear speakers. 

Integration with the Sonos network gives the Beam (Gen 2) something many other soundbars don’t have: an easy way to upgrade your home cinema system. While the new Beam works very well on it’s own, adding in a sub and rear speakers is a great way to add to your setup over time; and if you already have a Sonos Roam portable speaker, you’ll be able to ‘throw’ your audio between the Bluetooth speaker and the Beam using the Sound Swap feature. 

In terms of wireless connectivity, the Beam (Gen 2) supports Wi-Fi, and Apple AirPlay 2 with compatible iOS devices. There’s also the option to hook it up to your router with an Ethernet cable if you want a more stable connection to your home network. 

One new connectivity feature for the Sonos Beam is HDMI eARC compatibility, which the company says will bring a “richer, more immersive, and higher definition sound experience”. Compared to the HDMI ARC connectivity found on the original Beam, eARC can handle more advanced audio formats and deliver superior audio quality. 

It’s a shame there’s no HDMI 2.1 support, which would allow for 4K at 120Hz and even 8K at 60Hz passthrough – which in turn, would make it ideal for 8K-supporting consoles like the PS5 and the Xbox Series X.

Still, the new Beam can cope with 32 channels of audio, and even eight-channel 24-bit/192kHz uncompressed 38Mbps data streams. In other words, as well as supporting Atmos, it can play hi-res audio files of your favorite songs. 

If your TV doesn’t have a HDMI port, you can also connect the Beam via the optical port; Sonos provides all the cables you need in the box.

The S2 app also makes it easy to stream music, allowing you to add the music streaming platforms of your choice and navigate them without leaving the app.

the sonos beam gen 2 soundbar

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Audio performance

  • Wide soundstage
  • Great for music
  • Dolby Atmos could be more convincing

In spite of its small size, the Sonos Beam (Gen 2) delivers a powerful audio performance, and is more than capable of filling your living room with sound. 

We started off by watching animated sci-fi comedy Mitchell vs. The Machines, in which the Mitchell family find themselves battling with electrical appliances (as well as an army of psychotic Furbys) in an abandoned shopping mall. 

As washing machines drag themselves menacingly across the floor, the Beam (Gen 2) proved it was capable of handling rumbling low frequencies with dexterity and control. The soundbar’s bass prowess was even more evident as a giant Furby stomps towards our protagonists. 

As the action intensifies and the family finds themselves in a full-blown melee complete with lasers, the dialogue always remained clear and easy to understand. 

the sonos beam gen 2 soundbar on a tv cabinet

(Image credit: TechRadar)

While the general audio performance of the Beam (Gen 2) was very impressive, we weren’t fully convinced by the virtual Dolby Atmos. As vending machines propelled soda cans over the heads of the characters on screen, the sound did provide a sense of height, but we didn’t get the feeling that it was coming from above our head. 

It felt as though the virtual height channels cut out somewhere around the top of our ears. While this did feel more immersive than a non-Atmos soundbar, the effect wasn’t as impressive as with the Sonos Arc, which features upfiring drivers. 

These drivers are designed to bounce sound off of the ceiling and back down to your ears, giving a real sense of sonic height to movie soundtracks and compatible audio files. Without them, the Beam (Gen 2) doesn’t seem capable of providing the full Atmos experience. 

Saying that, we were very impressed by the width of the soundstage. You really get the sense that the action onscreen is taking place all around you with the Sonos Beam (Gen 2), and that’s without adding any additional rear left or right speakers like the Sonos One SL. 

The Sonos Beam (Gen 2) also sounds great when playing music. Listening to Little Simz’ Woman, and the bass sounds deep and well-controlled, while synth strings are warm and rich. Simz’ rap vocal comes through with clarity, while Cleo Soul’s avant-soul melodies float sumptuously above the mix.

As capable as the Beam (Gen 2) is on its own, the bass is much improved by hooking it up to the Sonos Sub, with better separation between the different frequencies and a more arresting, toe-tapping sound. 

Should I buy the Sonos Beam (Gen 2)?

sonos beam gen 2 soundbar

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Buy it if...

You want a powerful sound
The Sonos Beam (Gen 2) sounds much bigger than its small size might suggest.

You have a small living room
The new Beam is compact enough to squeeze into the smallest living rooms, and can be wall-mounted to save even more space. 

You have other Sonos speakers
The Beam (Gen 2) fits into the wider Sonos ecosystem, and is the perfect playmate for the brand’s subwoofers and rear speakers.

Don't buy it if...

You want true Dolby Atmos
The Beam does sound immersive, but you’ll need upfiring tweeters for ‘true’ Atmos.

You’re on a strict budget
The Sonos Beam (Gen 2) is nowhere near the most expensive soundbar we’ve tested, but there are cheaper soundbars on the market. 

You don’t have access to an iOS device
You need an iOS device to take advantage of the TruePlay calibration feature - it’s even borrowing a friend’s iPhone to do this. 

  • Looking for more? Read our guide to the best soundbars you can buy today

Motorola Edge 20 Fusion

Two-minute review

With the arrival of the Motorola Edge 20 Fusion, this year's Edge lineup has officially come to a close in Australia. And, despite being the most affordable of the bunch, the entry-level Edge 20 Fusion offers enough ambition in its features to see it brush up right against the 'edge' of the mid-range category.

For starters, it offers a beautiful 6.7-inch OLED display with support for HDR10+, which is impressive for a budget device, along with support for 5G networks and a surprising 108MP primary camera.

While there are a number of similarly-specced handsets in this price range that are all vying for your attention, such as the Oppo A94 and the Realme 7, the Motorola Edge 20 Fusion has the benefit of a well-known and trusted brand name, along with  a superior camera array and a near-stock implementation of Android 11.

You'll also find that the Edge 20 Fusion offers better-than-average battery life, thanks in large part to a 5,000mAh offering that will keep you juiced well into the next day if need be.

If it falls short in any areas, it's that its camera isn't quite as brilliant as its huge megapixel numbers suggest, with a lack of detail and dynamic range and a terrible night mode. It also feels undeniably like a cheap phone, due to its plastic backing.

That said, some concessions are to be expected when it comes to a sub-AU$500 smartphone. For the price, you get oodles of functionality and impressive day-to-day performance and long battery life, along with a camera that is capable of taking good photos – so long as you're willing to work at it.

Motorola Edge 20 Fusion price and availability

  • Out now
  • AU$499

The Motorola Edge 20 Fusion has arrived Down Under to close out the company's expanded Edge lineup as its entry-level option. While the Edge series is intended as a mid-range line, the Edge 20 Fusion's AU$499 price point puts it squarely at the top of the budget phone category.

It joins Motorola's Edge 20 (AU$699) and the Edge 20 Pro (AU$899), delivering a similar software experience with some concessions made to build quality, processor and camera performance. That said, you do get access to 5G networks, so long as your phone plan provides it.

Motorola Edge 20 Fusion

(Image credit: TechRadar)


  • Plastic shell design
  • Basic IP52 water resistance

Although the Edge 20 series is intended as a step up from the lower-end Moto G series of handsets, that isn't necessarily apparent when held side-by-side – both handsets are comparable when it comes to build quality, offering a plastic shell design that won't see anyone mistaking it for a flagship smartphone.

Of course, you have to expect those kinds of concessions when you buy a budget handset, and to its benefit, the Edge 20 Fusion feels nicer than many other phones in this value-driven category.

From a design perspective, the main thing that distinguishes the Edge 20 Fusion from the cheaper Moto G-series of phones is that it's slightly thinner, sporting a thickness of just 8.3mm – that's noticeably more svelte than the 9.1mm thickness of the Moto G30.

While the Edge 20 Fusion undeniably feels plasticky in the hand, Motorola has at least gone to the effort of making phone's plastic back look like the matte finish glass seen in some high-end flagship phones, achieving a nice shimmery appearance that looks great. And, though some fingerprint marks and smudges are visible up close, it still looks much cleaner than any phone with a glossy backing. 

Motorola's Edge 20 Fusion also comes with a very welcome silicone clear case in the box, and this thing absolutely is a fingerprint and smudge magnet. That said, you may want to consider using it anyway – like the Edge 20 Lite model that's available overseas, the Edge 20 Fusion doesn't offer Corning Gorilla Glass screen protection like the more premium Edge 20 and Edge 20 Pro, but rather an unspecified kind of glass with an anti-fingerprint layer on top. The Edge 20 Fusion doesn't come with factory-applied screen protector, either.

Motorola Edge 20 Fusion

(Image credit: TechRadar)

On the right side of the device, you'll find a volume rocker that might be a little high up for those with shorter thumbs, along with a side-mounted fingerprint scanner that doubles as a power/lock button. 

Over on the left side, Motorola has included a rather small dedicated Google Assistant button. Thankfully, its high placement means you probably won't be pressing it accidentally.

And, while the headphone jack has gone the way of the dodo on most other handsets these days, a 3.5mm auxiliary output has been included on the bottom of the phone to the left of its USB-C port and single mono speaker.

The Edge 20 Fusion is also water repellent, but don't get too excited – it only carries an IP52 rating, which means you're safe against light rain and limited dust ingress, but protection from the elements stops there.


  • Large 90Hz screen
  • Excellent OLED contrast
  • Not the brightest display we've seen

The Motorola Edge 20 Fusion sports a large 6.7-inch FHD+ (1080 x 2400) OLED display with a 1080 x 2400 resolution and a maximum refresh rate of 90Hz (60Hz is also available if you'd like to extend your battery life even further). 

Aside from the device's chipset, this vibrant OLED display is what sets the Edge series apart from Motorola's lower-end G series. The benefits of OLED's self-lighting pixels are immediately apparent here, with the Edge 20 Fusion producing perfectly inky blacks that easily outmatch the dark greys achieved by the G-series' IPS-LCD screens.

OLED also has the benefit of being more energy efficient, meaning you could conceivably extend your battery life significantly by switching the Edge 20 Fusion's display to dark mode.

Motorola Edge 20 Fusion

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Aside from offering excellent contrast, the Edge 20 Fusion's OLED display is also capable of impressively vibrant colours. Users have the option of two colour modes: Natural and Saturated.

Natural mode is closer to the sRGB standard, giving the phone's whites a slightly warmer tone and desaturating primary colours to near-pastel levels. Those who crave realism will go for this, but we preferred the candy-coloured Saturated mode, which makes colours pop with increased intensity.

In terms of brightness, the display on Motorola's Edge 20 Fusion isn't as bright as many other OLED handsets we've tested. Our US team recorded a peak brightness of 427 nits on the Edge 20 Lite's identical display, which is well short of the 1000-nit peak brightness commonly achieved by phones with OLED displays these days.

That said, we found visibility to be acceptable when viewed outdoors on a sunny day – so long as we cranked the brightness up to its maximum level.


  • 108MP camera offers mixed results
  • Night Vision mode is plain bad
  • Decent selfie taker

On paper, the Motorola Edge 20 Fusion's camera package sounds too good to be true, and that's because in many ways, it is. Its 108MP primary sensor (Samsung HM2) is the very same one that features in the higher-end Edge 20 Pro, which is an impressive inclusion in a budget handset.

That said, large megapixel numbers don't always result in better pictures. Take the iPhone 12 for instance – it only sports a 12MP primary sensor but is able to produce far superior photos than anything the Edge 20 Fusion can muster. That's because image processing smarts are a far more important piece of the puzzle than megapixel size.

It's worth noting Samsung's HM2 sensor is smaller and lower spec than the Samsung HMX, HM1 and HM3 sensors that have featured frequently in phones for the last couple of years, and is intended to produce photos using pixel binning – a rather clever method that combines the pixels from multiple sensors into one block. In the case of the Edge 20 Fusion's Ultra Pixel sensor, a 3x3 configuration of pixels is turned into a single pixel, meaning 81MP snapshots are actually output at 9MP.

In our experience, standard photos taken with the Edge 20 Fusion's everyday recommended setting look great on the phone, but lack detail when blown up on a larger screen, such as a computer monitor. Images appear rather flat, revealing middling detail that takes on an almost painted appearance. 

If you primarily take photos for Instagram, this won't be an issue. You will be disappointed, however, if you were hoping the 108MP camera would pump out photos rivalling that of the big premium handsets.

Images expectedly fare better at the 'higher resolution' mode found within the camera app's settings, though you'll find they still exhibit a similarly 'painted' appearance like the lower resolution shots, despite the much larger file size of around 20-30mb per image. Thankfully, it isn't quite as pronounced, but it's still there if you look closely. 

Skip down to image 18 in the camera samples below and expand it to see its Monet-like grass smears as an example of what we mean. This could be an issue related to undercooked HDR processing, resulting in a lack of dynamic range and blown highlights. 

Motorola Edge 20 Fusion

(Image credit: TechRadar)

In addition to the aforementioned primary sensor, the Edge 20 Fusion offers an 8MP ultra-wide, which is handy for group shots and capturing more of your surroundings (even if its images are noticeably less detailed and saturated than photos taken with the main sensor), along with a 2MP depth sensor, which is used to blur the background in portrait shots.

Given its budget price point, it's surprising that the Edge 20 Fusion offers a fairly robust set of modes in its camera app, including a Pro suite of tools that lets you tweak white balance, exposure, ISO, autofocus and more.

Cinemagraph mode is a funky feature that lets you taken a series of images in a row, and then select one section that exhibits movement, while keeping the rest of the image locked and completely still.

Dual Capture mode is similar to Samsung's Director's View, allowing you to capture images or video from both the front and back cameras at the same time, which is great for vlogging. Head to image 13 in the gallery below for an example of that.

Additionally, Cutout mode lets you automatically remove the background in selfie shots to fairly rubbish effect, and Spot Colour mode lets you isolate a single colour within an image, making everything else greyscale, although the results can be patchy if shades of a colour are involved (see image 7 below).

Unfortunately, the phone's much ballyhooed Night Vision mode is absolutely terrible, producing noisy, blurry images that aren't worth showing to anyone. For examples of the Edge 20 Fusion's low-light photography, see images 19 and 20 in the gallery below.

Selfie quality is thankfully much better, with a 32MP front-facing camera that employs far less aggressive pixel binning, with a Quad Pixel implementation that only uses 2x2 pixel blocks, meaning image resolution is only quartered, as opposed to the rear camera, which reduces image resolution by nine times. It even produces acceptable low light selfies if the Night Vision mode is selected.

Video capture is another one of the camera's brighter spots, with the ability to record 4K resolution footage at 30 frames per second, and up to 60fps at 1080p. The video mode does offer a stabilisation mode, but the results are extremely juddery, so we'd advise that feature be switched off.

Camera samples

Image 1 of 20

Motorola Edge 20 Fusion camera samples

The Edge 20 Fusion's Portrait mode delivers some pretty snapshots, though this train's edges could be sharper. (Image credit: TechRadar)
Image 2 of 20

Motorola Edge 20 Fusion camera samples

Disappointed in the lack of detail in this tree's bark when viewed at full size. It almost looks like a painting filter has been applied. (Image credit: TechRadar)
Image 3 of 20

Motorola Edge 20 Fusion camera samples

Portrait mode delivers some of the Edge 20 Fusion's best photos. (Image credit: TechRadar)
Image 4 of 20

Motorola Edge 20 Fusion camera samples

This inviting bench is captured with a decent amount of clarity, as is the background. (Image credit: TechRadar)
Image 5 of 20

Motorola Edge 20 Fusion camera samples

The Edge 20 Fusion did a nice job of capturing all the detail in these trees against a bright white sky. (Image credit: TechRadar)
Image 6 of 20

Motorola Edge 20 Fusion camera samples

It took several attempts, but we were able to capture a bright exterior from within a dark interior without the outside looking overexposed. (Image credit: TechRadar)
Image 7 of 20

Motorola Edge 20 Fusion camera samples

Spot Colour mode lets you isolate a single colour while turning everything else monochrome. (Image credit: TechRadar)
Image 8 of 20

Motorola Edge 20 Fusion camera samples

Another Spoonville picture, this time taken in the regular Photo mode. (Image credit: TechRadar)
Image 9 of 20

Motorola Edge 20 Fusion camera samples

Once again, the tree bark looks blurry, as does the flat, smudgy background. (Image credit: TechRadar)
Image 10 of 20

Motorola Edge 20 Fusion camera samples

This totally fine picture was taken using the recommended 9MP capture (81MP / Ultra Pixel) mode (Image credit: TechRadar)
Image 11 of 20

Motorola Edge 20 Fusion camera samples

Despite plenty of available light, this photo lacks fine detail and appears blurry. (Image credit: TechRadar)
Image 12 of 20

Motorola Edge 20 Fusion camera samples

Selfies aren't very sharp using the Edge 20 Fusion's recommended 8MP setting. (Image credit: TechRadar)
Image 13 of 20

Motorola Edge 20 Fusion camera samples

Dual Capture mode can photograph or record using both front and back cameras simultaneously (Image credit: TechRadar)
Image 14 of 20

Motorola Edge 20 Fusion camera samples

The Edge 20 Fusion's 8x digital zoom delivers expectedly fuzzy results. (Image credit: TechRadar)
Image 15 of 20

Motorola Edge 20 Fusion camera samples

Photo taken with the camera's High Resolution mode, reduced in size by 50% (Image credit: TechRadar)
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Motorola Edge 20 Fusion camera samples

Photo taken with the camera's High Resolution mode, reduced in size by 50% (Image credit: TechRadar)
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Motorola Edge 20 Fusion camera samples

Photo taken with the camera's High Resolution mode, reduced in size by 50% (Image credit: TechRadar)
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Motorola Edge 20 Fusion camera samples

Photo taken with the camera's High Resolution mode, reduced in size by 50% (Image credit: TechRadar)
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Motorola Edge 20 Fusion Night Mode camera samples

Night Mode unfortunately delivers low detail images full of noise and blur. (Image credit: TechRadar)
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Motorola Edge 20 Fusion Night Mode camera samples

That's supposed to be a tree, in case you were wondering. (Image credit: TechRadar)

Software and performance

  • Clean Android interface
  • Good day-to-day performance
  • Customisation is lacking

Many Android fans are quite vocal about their love of the stock-Android experience, and Motorola's Edge 20 Fusion does come extremely close to providing that, aside from a couple of Motorola-specific features.

You won't find any third-party app stores, or apps, and that one example of bloatware on the phone is Motorola Notifications, which can't be uninstalled and is there to send you product-related notifications. Thankfully, it can be disabled in the phone's apps & notifications settings.

The Edge 20 Fusion does offer a couple of tweaks to its software, such as the Glance lock screen which appears when you lift the phone or get a notification, the ability to change system fonts and icon shapes in the Styles section of the system settings, and a couple of motion gestures which launch the camera or torch apps. Aside from those things, this really is a near-stock version of Android 11.

It must be said, that not everyone will actually like this, as some of the features we've been accustomed but take for granted on other phones are absent here. For instance, you always have to press the OK arrow after typing in your PIN, and you can't reorganise the order of your 3-button navigation bar.

The latter will be less of an issue for those who prefer Android 11's built-in gesture navigation, which does let you adjust swipe sensitivity.

Additionally, Motorola promises at least two major Android updates for the Edge 20 Fusion, which, much like an Android One phone, translates to around two years’ worth. 

In terms of performance, the Edge 20 Fusion's MediaTek Dimensity 800U 5G chipset does a good job of providing snappy UI navigation, never once feeling slow when swiping around between apps. That said, gaming is not a strong suit – we weren't even able to install Fortnite on it – the Epic Games app simply stated the game was not supported on this device, which is quite a shame.

Simple games like Candy Crush Saga work well enough, and even some 3D games will run well at lowered graphical settings. Asphalt 9, for instance, managed to run on the Edge 20 Fusion, albeit with some stuttering.

In our Geekbench 5 benchmark tests, the Edge 20 Fusion earned a single-core score of 580 and a multi-core score of 1757, placing roughly in the same league as the budget-centric Xiaomi Redmi Note 9, which shares the same chipset.

Motorola Edge 20 Fusion performance

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Battery life

  • 30W charging gets you to 47% in 30 minutes
  • Good battery life
  • 5,000mAh battery capacity

In our experience, the Edge 20 Fusion's sizeable 5,000mAh batter offered up to two days of battery life, which is quite good for a budget handset. When run through the PCMark's Work 3.0 battery life benchmark, the Edge 20 Fusion achieved just under 15 hours of heavy usage.

Of course, it should be taken into consideration that the calibration process requires the phone's brightness to be set at around 50%, but even at full brightness and with real-world usage, we still managed to extend the phone's battery life well into the next day.

Like most of the Moto G-series phones, the Motorola Edge 20 Lite has a 5,000mAh battery, which usually guarantees a solid day of reasonably heavy use. Or even up to two days for those who don’t use their phone too much.

And, if you do run out of juice, the Edge 20 Fusion's included 30W turbo charger will let you take the phone from completely flat to fully charged in just over an hour.

Should you buy the Motorola Edge 20 Fusion?

Motorola Edge 20 Fusion

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Buy it if...

You love a good OLED display
Props must be given to Motorola for providing a large and vibrant OLED display with a smooth 90Hz refresh rate and inky black levels at such an affordable price point.

You want a near-stock Android experience
While not quite at the stock 'Pixel' level, the Edge 20 Fusion's near-stock Android 11 implementation is the next best thing. We're talking super-clean, here.

You want decent battery life and 5G speeds
Thanks to its large 5,000mAh battery and fast-charging capabilities, we found the Edge 20 Fusion to be a great performer when it comes to battery life, sometimes giving us two full days of charge.

Don't buy it if...

You expect a flagship-level camera
Despite boasting a massive 108MP primary sensor, we found the Motorola Edge 20 Fusion to take mostly unremarkable photos, particularly when it comes to low-light photography. It's great for social media, but average if you want more.

You take mobile gaming seriously
If you're looking for a cheap mobile to play Fortnite on, this ain't it. The Edge 20 Fusion's gaming prowess is unfortunately held back by its low-end MediaTek chipset.

You want a phone that feels premium
While the Motorola Edge 20 Fusion certainly looks great, it feels cheap and plasticky in the hand. We appreciate its fingerprint resistant backing, but you're going to want to put a case on this phone anyway.


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