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Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate Review

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If you are a serious mobile gamer, the Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate should be on your radar. This huge, powerful cellphone is designed specifically for gaming. If gaming only takes up a portion of your mobile activities, don’t immediately write off the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate as a suitable device. In fact, it’s an outstanding choice for multimedia purposes. Let’s explore what makes this phone so special.

Design of the Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate

It’s worth mentioning that the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate is quite bulky and heavy. It may take some time to get used to if you’re transitioning from a more average-sized smartphone. It’s 77mm wide, 173mm tall, and weighs 239 grams. To put things into perspective, the Galaxy S23 Ultra is 78mm wide, 163mm tall, and 233 grams; the iPhone 14 Pro Max is 160mm tall, 77mm wide, and 240 grams.

The measurements don’t reveal the whole truth. You’re aware that the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate will take up some space in your pants pocket, and you’ll feel extra weight when you put it in your bag. Carrying the ROG Phone all day is a trade-off; you’re agreeing to the fact that it’s bulky in exchange for the gaming-oriented ergonomics, amenities, and controls. If you’re not willing to make this trade, then the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate might not be the best choice for you.

The ROG Phone 7 Ultimate’s design has its good points. Its weight gives it a solid feel when playing games in landscape orientation, and even when using it for messaging and web browsing in portrait orientation, it feels comfortable. There’s plenty of grip thanks to its curved chassis, and your index fingers will easily reach the AirTriggers located on the phone’s shoulders. However, the flat display isn’t very stylish.

The USB Type-C connection is located on the side of the phone, allowing for easy charging as you use it. Additionally, the processor is situated in the center of the device, meaning the frame won’t become heated during use and your fingers and palms remain cool.

The ROG Phone 7 Ultimate from Asus has the motorized cooling port built in to its frame, but it’s only activated by the optional AeroActive Cooler fan. When not in use, the port is flush with the rest of the device’s back, and its presence is undetectable.

The ROG Phone 7 Ultimate has a pleasing combination of glossy and matte glass on the back, plus the attractive and well-known RGB display to show off animations and notifications. It is one of my favourite features of the phone – it gives the same design a bit of flair. The ROG Phone 6 Pro hasn’t changed much. Even with the exhaust port and headphone jack, the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate has an IP54 splash-resistant rating, proving it is moderately durable. Kudos to Asus for putting the device through the accreditation.

The Republic of Gamers (ROG) arm of Asus is aware of its target audience. It comprehends the needs of those who enjoy extended gaming sessions, thus the ROG Phone 7 was created with their requirements in mind.

Are you curious if you are a part of Asus’ target demographic? Consider how much time you spend playing video games on your phone. If it’s 30 minutes or more every day on titles like Genshin Impact, PUBG, Fortnite, Call of duty, or Arena of Valor, then you are definitely the type of person Asus has in mind when they designed the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate. You will truly get the most out of this device.

If you aren’t an avid gamer, there is another factor that should be taken into account before deciding on the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate; however, if you only play Wordle and Super Mario Run occasionally, it is important to think carefully about whether you can handle the size of the phone on a daily basis.

Maximum Gaming Capabilities with the Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate

The ROG Phone 7 Ultimate utilizes the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, but it’s not a version that has been enhanced for the phone, similar to the one found in the Galaxy S23 Ultra. It is equipped with up to 16GB of the LPDDR5X RAM and 512GB UFS 4.0 storage. Asus has improved the cooling system of the ROG Phone 6 Pro by 168%, and has adjusted the game-specific X Mode to take full advantage of all the alterations and extra power.

It’s hardly necessary to emphasize that the performance is remarkable. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 has already shown its worth, and the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate handles gaming with ease. Activate the phone’s X Mode to either maximize or customize the performance, and your gaming experience will be seamlessly smooth.

The software on the Asus was fine-tuned to aim for a steady 60 frames-per-second in games like Genshin Impact , Diablo Immortal , Arena of Valor , and PUBG. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 also provides the mobile device with the capability to play games with ray tracing for more authentic visuals, even though, at present, there are no titles out with ray tracing support.

 

For our smartphone performance evaluation, we ran the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate and the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra through the 3DMark Wild Life Extreme Stress Test to compare how they perform in extended gaming situations. This was chosen as it is an area where the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate has the potential to outshine other mainstream high-performance phones, as opposed to short gaming sessions where the differences may be insignificant. The results were interesting as they showed where gamers can benefit the most from the phone’s capabilities.

During the trial, the Asus phone became warm but not overly so. Most of the heat was situated in the middle of the device, thus it was not unpleasant to keep in one’s hand. Over the course of the 20-minute intense examination, the battery depleted 13%, attaining a 3769 Best Loop with 99.7% dependability. The temperature fluctuated between 22°C and 43°C (71°F to 109°F) while the frame rate changed from 17 fps to 28 fps.

The results of the Galaxy S23 Ultra are intriguing. It had a slight rise in temperature, but the heat was distributed across the back. It reached a score of 3818 Best Loop, but its stability was not as high at 76.1%. Additionally, the frame rate decreased between 12 and 28 fps and the battery decreased by 16%. This evaluation implies that although the performance of the S23 Ultra is likely to remain the same, the Asus phone is much more secure and cooler to the touch, leading to enhanced efficiency and a better gaming experience over long sessions.

Playing my favourite games on the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate vs the Galaxy S23 Ultra didn’t make a huge impression on me, but if I’m gaming for a longer duration, I’d much rather be doing so on the Asus. Its stability, heat management, controls, and battery are all noteworthy points to consider.

Display and Control Features

The Asus Republic of Gamers Phone 7 Ultimate is a device that features an impressive display and various control options. It has a 6.78-inch AMOLED display with a 144 Hz refresh rate, 1ms response time, and a 270 Hz touch sampling rate. This phone also has many different controls, such as the AirTrigger 5, a joystick, and two shoulder buttons. All these features make the Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate a powerful and versatile gaming device.

The Asus device boasts a Samsung AMOLED screen with a 2448 x 1080 pixel resolution, with a peak refresh rate of 165Hz and a max brightness of 1,500 nits. This is protected by Gorilla Glass Victus, with noticeable bezels on the top and bottom of the display. This is beneficial for gaming purposes as the bezels are large enough to house the sizeable 12mm x 16mm stereo front-facing speakers, and also provide a secure grip on the phone, making it difficult to obscure the screen.

The touchscreen of the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate is incredibly sensitive, and it does not take much to activate something on the home screen unintentionally, which can be somewhat irksome. The same holds true within apps, as my sporadic swipes that would go undetected on other gadgets result in more precise actions on the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate. While it takes some time to get accustomed to it, it does benefit when playing games. The built-in fingerprint sensor is quick and precise, and there is also a face unlock feature if it gets something wrong.

The ROG Phone 7 Ultimate has a major selling point for gamers: AirTriggers. These are two ultrasonic buttons that can be programmed to different in-game actions with nine possible gestures that can be adjusted for sensitivity under the X Mode menu. The haptic feedback of the AirTriggers is remarkably fast, precise, and natural-feeling, giving the user a true button-like experience.

With Asus’s Game Genie, you can access a menu from the top left corner of your screen while playing a game. This menu enables you to customize various aspects of your gaming experience, including screen refresh rate, X Mode settings, notifications, screen recording, control macros, and adding a crosshair. This, in combination with X Mode and Armoury Crate (where all your games and settings are stored), makes the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate a great choice as it allows you to tailor the phone specifically to your gaming needs.

ROG Phone now offers X Capture, a feature that records important moments during gameplay when a certain pattern is detected (e.g. boss kills). Additionally, the new Background Mode allows the game to run in the background when set for auto-combat. Also, users can customise haptic feedback for different areas of the screen, helping them to differentiate between actions.

Audio and Visual Features

The ROG Phone 7 Ultimate is crafted specifically with gaming in mind, and although it is best suited for those who engage in graphically intensive gaming daily, it is also worth considering for its phenomenal audio and visual capabilities. The screen is incredibly vibrant, and the phone even surpasses most of its peers in terms of audio enhancements and connectivity.

Dirac, known for their expertise in audio, have improved the sound of the phone’s dual speakers, allowing it to remain clear and loud even with a considerable amount of bass. Additionally, the AeroActive Cooler 7 accessory that comes with the phone has a small subwoofer that enhances the sound to a 2.1 system when connected. The phone also has a 3.5mm headphone jack with Dirac’s Virtuo tuning for wired headphones, and a range of Bluetooth 5.3 features such as AptX Adaptive, AptX Lossless, Hi-Res and Hi-Res Wireless, and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Sound. It’s unusual to encounter all of these features in one device.

The audio capabilities of the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate are outstanding. This phone is ideal for those who watch a lot of videos and listen to music, as well as those who enjoy playing games.

Camera Feature of the Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate

It would be unwise for someone to purchase the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate only for its camera, yet the device’s camera does deliver satisfactory results. Though the phone is designed for gaming, it can still take pictures that are not disappointing.

On the back of the device, you will find three cameras. At the forefront is a 50-megapixel Sony IMX766, with a 13MP wide-angle and 5MP macro providing additional support. You can also experiment with different modes, such as macro, night mode, light trail mode, and even 8K video recording at 24 frames-per-second.

When taking pictures in the daytime, the colours appear vivid and HDR is clearly visible, while the 2x zoom offers impressive results. Unfortunately, the main and wide-angle cameras do not have the same quality, but this is a common issue that cannot be blamed on the ROG Phone 7, since its camera is not its main feature.

The 32MP selfie camera produces vivid, vibrant and lifelike photos, but its edge recognition while using portrait mode can be a bit off. Despite this, the high megapixel count and consistent image quality make for a great choice for streaming. When it comes to the camera, the ROG Phone 7 produces photos of a quality that any user would be pleased to show off.

Battery and Charging Capabilities

The Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate is a marvel in power conservation. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor and 6,000mAh battery function in unison, with the chip’s energy-efficiency capitalizing on the energy of the battery. You can use the phone lightly, with approximately two hours of screen time, and it will still maintain a charge of over 70% by the time the day is through. However, it is even more remarkable when you put it to the test.

Beginning at 8:00 in the morning and utilizing a variety of GPS, video call, game, and app applications, the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate’s battery life was still at 36% by 1:00 in the morning after a six-hour period of use. This is an impressive performance and, barring extended gaming until the battery completely dies, it is more than capable of lasting a full day with no difficulty.

The ROG Phone 7 Ultimate comes with a 67W HyperCharge wired fast charger and a USB Type-C to Type-C cable, which allowed for recharging of the phone in 50 minutes. Wireless charging has not been included in the ROG Phone series, which Asus explains does not fit the phone’s design. Although some may miss this feature, it is preferable that the company make the phone it had intended to, rather than trying to squeeze in wireless charging to meet a technical requirement.

A Look at the Software and Connectivity

When it comes to the software of the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate, users have the option to pick between two different takes of the Android 13 operating system. The ROG theme provides a more flashy look with its special icons, sound effects and wallpaper, while the Asus ZenUI offers a more Pixel-like, conventional approach. Both designs have the same features, and users can even combine them to create a hybrid design.

The ROG Phone 7 Ultimate’s software has proved dependable and straightforward to use, as it does not require a lot of upkeep nor does it constantly suggest activities or tasks. This is a plus, but it also contributes to some of the software’s problems. Due to the sheer number of features and game-specific modes to explore, several of which are tucked away in the X Mode menu or Armory Crate app, it can be hard to locate them initially. There is an informational page that covers some of these, but not all of them.

Trying to find the right balance is no easy task. Show too many features, and Asus could be creating a phone that is too complex and irksome; but, if they are hidden too much, those who may have wanted to take advantage of them could end up overlooking them. Personally, I appreciate the approach Asus has gone for, but be prepared to spend some time getting to know the ROG Phone’s capabilities after you buy. In terms of software support, Asus is offering two major OS updates and four years of security updates, which is sufficient, but lags behind what Samsung and OnePlus are offering.

The sound quality of phone calls on the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate is quite good, due to the phone’s excellent speakers. However, I have noticed that Wi-Fi Calling on this device isn’t always as steady as on other phones, and this may be due to the network rather than the phone itself. Nevertheless, Wi-Fi 7 is highly dependable on the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate.

According to Asus, a remarkable four million hours are devoted to gaming on ROG Phones each week, a figure that shot up by 36% over the course of 2022. This indicates that mobile gaming is definitely no longer a mere niche, with a large number of people wanting a smartphone that can make gaming more enjoyable and enhance their performance. The ROG Phone series has been on the cutting edge for a while now, and the ROG Phone 7 Ultimate maintains that legacy.

The ROG Phone 7 Ultimate is incredibly powerful, stylish without being over-the-top, its unique features are sensible and practical, and the software is reliable and well-developed. It was designed mainly with gaming in mind, however, it is also suitable for those looking for a quality multimedia phone. Although costly, this is the case with any top-spec flagship handset.

The ROG Phone 7 Ultimate isn’t a major advancement on the ROG Phone 6 Pro, but Asus has polished and enhanced the device in all the proper areas. Is it only for serious gamers? Yes and no. Most of the features are of most use to those who play power-intensive games for at least 30 minutes daily — however, it is also worth considering if video and audio performance is important to you. The ROG Phone 7 Ultimate performs very well in these areas and, if you are fine with the trade-offs, it is an excellent purchase and a phone that you will be able to use for years.

 

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Gadgets Buying Guide

Apple Watch Series 9 Vs. Ultra 2

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Despite their distinct external appearances, the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 share significant similarities internally. Priced at $399, the Series 9 and the more robust Ultra 2 at $799 both utilize the S9 chip, providing features such as Double Tap, on-device Siri, and fast performance. However, the Ultra 2, with its larger 49mm size, titanium case, and included LTE connectivity, distinguishes itself with a higher price point.

The $399 Series 9 adds complexity to the decision-making process. Initially, you must choose between a 41mm or 45mm size, followed by selecting an aluminum or stainless steel case and deciding on the inclusion of LTE. Notably, the 45mm Series 9 in stainless steel is priced at $749, placing it in direct competition with the Ultra 2.

The pricing aspect may not be as straightforward as initially perceived.

Differences in Screen Size

The Apple Watch Ultra 2 boasts a larger and brighter screen compared to the Series 9. Despite the Ultra 2’s 49mm case being bigger than the 45mm Series 9, the screen itself is slightly larger, allowing for more content display particularly useful for applications such as Maps.

To easily observe the size distinction, one can maximize the text size on both watches. This becomes evident as part of the text is truncated on the Series 9 in contrast to the Ultra 2.

The most significant contrast in day-to-day use lies in screen brightness. The Ultra 2 surpasses the Series 9 with a brightness of 3,000 nits compared to 2,000. While the Series 9 remains visible both indoors and outdoors, the extra brightness on the Ultra 2 enhances readability, particularly during workouts in bright sunlight.

This heightened brightness also proves advantageous for the flashlight feature. By turning the digital crown on the Ultra 2, you can maximize the screen brightness when using the flashlight, which proves helpful in dark situations.

Wrists Size

The Apple Watch Series 9 could be a preferable choice for those with smaller wrists. The Ultra 2, being a sizable watch with a bulkier digital crown and a flat display, notably stands out more than the Series 9.

The Ultra 2’s larger size may pose challenges for those with even smaller wrists than mine(150 mm). Opting for the Series 9 could be a preference in such cases, offering a choice of a smaller case size. Additionally, I observed that the Series 9 provides greater comfort for sleep tracking.

Despite its larger size, the Ultra 2 is designed to be a more rugged watch than the Series 9. Its titanium case, slightly elevated for added protection, enhances durability for the sapphire crystal display. The Series 9 display, on the other hand, comes with Ion-X glass for the aluminum case and sapphire crystal for the stainless steel case.

Both watches are IP6X dust-resistant and water-resistant, but the Ultra 2 excels with a depth rating of 100m compared to Series 9’s 50m. Moreover, it features an exclusive Depth app and supports the Oceanic Plus app, transforming the watch into a dive computer.

 

Double-Tap Gesture and Siri

Both the Apple Watch Ultra 2 and Series 9 feature the Double Tap gesture and on-device Siri functionality. This gesture, powered by the common S9 chip, operates identically on both watches. When the screen is active, a double tap with your thumb and forefinger allows you to perform tasks without touching the screen. For instance, raising your wrist and double tapping enables you to reply to a message using dictation, followed by another double tap to send.

This feature proves helpful, precise, and functions seamlessly in various Apple applications. It facilitates actions such as answering calls, changing tracks, and managing timers. In third-party apps, it generally executes the default action upon double tap. Personally, I use it to swiftly respond to Slack messages from colleagues when unable to reach my phone or type a response on my computer.

The consistency in functionality arises from both watches running the same chip. On-device Siri is also consistent, eliminating the need to ping the cloud for tasks like starting a workout or setting a timer. Additionally, both watches boast 64GB of internal storage, ideal for storing music or numerous apps on your watch.

 

Special Features

The Apple Watch Ultra 2 offers exclusive features, enhancing the shared WatchOS 10 experience and app selection on both watches. Unique watch faces, like Modular Ultra and Wayfinder, provide detailed information and a dark mode that turns either watch face red when the light sensor detects it’s dark outside. The Ultra 2 excels in communication with a three-microphone array and louder dual speakers than the Series 9, as demonstrated in a recorded call audio comparison. Notably, Ultra 2 comes with LTE as standard, allowing standalone use without the phone, while the Series 9 requires a specific LTE version. Both watches feature the second-gen ultrawideband chip for precise iPhone finding and phone pinging from the watch for older iPhone models.

The Ultra 2 distinguishes itself with a notable design feature absent in the Series 9—the Action button. Similar to the Action button on the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max, it allows you to swiftly launch favorite workouts, the flashlight, stopwatch, and other preset tasks.

An intriguing use of the Action button is to initiate a Shortcut, providing a quick access route to favorite features or tasks within an app. Creating a Shortcut is possible using the dedicated app on the iPhone.

While the Series 9 doesn’t have the dedicated Action button, it still supports Shortcuts. You can set a complication on the watch face to launch a Shortcut, but it requires an extra tap on the screen to confirm your intent.

 

Health Tracking Features

The health tracking features of the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 are remarkably similar. Both include a temperature sensor, blood oxygen sensor, ECG app, and alerts for high and low heart rates, as well as irregular heart rhythms. The heart rate sensor, accurate when compared to a chest strap, is identical on both watches.

Fitness tracking is uniform, with progress monitored through the Apple Watch Activity app. Both watches support Bluetooth accessories, such as power meter pedals, allow the creation of multisport workouts, and provide heart rate zone monitoring.

Standard features on both watches include a compass app, back track, waypoint functionality, car-crash detection, fall detection, and emergency SOS.

Notable differences include the Ultra 2’s 86dB siren for safety and dual-band GPS, utilizing both L1 and L5 bands for increased accuracy in tracking distance and route information, especially in built-up areas. However, the Series 9 still performs admirably for regular outdoor activities like runs in the park or bike rides on trails.

 

Battery Life

The Apple Watch Ultra 2 stands out with exceptional battery life, surpassing the Series 9 in every usage scenario. Regardless of whether you’re running a marathon or simply using it for timekeeping and notifications, the Ultra 2 outperforms the Series 9.

Officially rated at 36 hours, the Ultra 2’s battery life exceeds Apple’s conservative estimate. In regular use, which includes phone notifications, an always-on display, GPS workouts, and sleep tracking, the Series 9 lasts about a day and a half before needing a charge. In comparison, the Ultra 2 can last closer to three full days with the same usage.

Both watches offer a low power mode to further extend battery life, but actual results may vary based on usage, with resource-intensive tasks like LTE and Bluetooth music streaming affecting battery depletion. Fast wireless charging is supported by both, requiring an 18-watt or higher adapter. The Series 9 charges faster due to its smaller battery capacity.

 

When comparing the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2, which share a similar feature set including Double Tap and on-device Siri, the key distinctions lie in size, price, and battery life. The Series 9, being more affordable and slimmer with two size options, requires more frequent charging. Both are excellent choices for an iPhone-compatible smartwatch, but after a month of use, the Apple Watch Ultra 2 stands out as my preferred option. Its extended battery life eliminates daily charging concerns, and the customizable Action button enhances usability, making it more enjoyable and convenient.

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Apple Vision Pro Review

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The new Apple Vision Pro, Apple’s highly anticipated foray into wearable computers, faces significant expectations. Priced at $3,499, it introduces “spatial computing,” aiming to seamlessly integrate apps into your surroundings. Apple’s bold advertisements depict people wearing the Vision Pro in various daily scenarios, emphasizing the ambitious goal of augmenting reality by layering apps and information over the real world.

Pros:

  • Impressive display, a technical marvel, offering the best video passthrough to date.
  • Noteworthy advancements in hand and eye tracking technology.
  • Seamless integration with Apple’s ecosystem.
  • Enjoyable experience placing windows throughout space.

Cons:

  • Come with a hefty price tag.
  • Video passthrough may still be blurry.
  • Inconsistent and occasionally frustrating hand and eye tracking.
  • Personas can be uncanny and somewhat unsettling.
  • Can feel isolated or lonely during use.

Apple’s Vision Pro marks the tech giant’s inaugural venture into constructing a computer that seamlessly integrates into your surroundings. The aim is to position the Vision Pro as a comprehensive device, coexisting with Macs and iPads in Apple’s ecosystem, enabling users to accomplish meaningful tasks. From handling productivity tools like Excel, Webex, and Slack to leisure activities such as watching movies on a virtual 4K HDR display, the Vision Pro offers a versatile experience. Additionally, users can mirror their Mac’s display, utilizing the Vision Pro as a vast monitor suspended in virtual space.

While the Vision Pro boasts impressive features, it comes with significant tradeoffs that cannot be overlooked. Tangibly, the headset’s tech contributes to considerable weight on the face, leading Apple to opt for an external battery pack connected by a cable. Beyond physical aspects, there are also philosophical tradeoffs inherent in the design and functionality of the device.

Hardware

Apple positions the Vision Pro as more than just a VR headset, blending virtual and real-world experiences. Its compact design, crafted from magnesium, carbon fiber, and aluminum, defies expectations of bulkier VR headsets. The front EyeSight display attempts real-world connection but falls short with a low-res OLED.

Under the cover glass, the Vision Pro boasts an array of cameras and sensors for video passthrough, hand tracking, and spatial awareness. Powered by an M2 processor, it incorporates a unique R1 spatial coprocessor and includes detachable headbands, magnetic light seals, and adjustable headbands.

The speakers deliver impressive spatial audio but tend to be leaky, prompting the need for headphones. Weighing between 600 and 650 grams, the Vision Pro’s front-loaded distribution may impact comfort during extended use. The external battery, while contributing to weight management, limits runtime to around two and a half hours.

Setup is simplified, utilizing motorized adjustments and familiar iOS processes. Despite its design excellence, the Vision Pro’s weight becomes noticeable during prolonged use, emphasizing the trade-off for its sleek appearance.

Apple showcases the Vision Pro’s displays as a remarkable technological leap, featuring MicroOLEDs with 23 million pixels at just 7.5 micrometers. Despite their excellence, the high cost and inherent tradeoffs highlight the challenges of implementing them in this device.

The headset prioritizes real-time video passthrough, blurring the line between VR and AR. Apple’s claimed 12ms latency and adept video processing deliver an impressive experience, even in challenging situations like working in front of a large window.

However, Apple acknowledges display effects, with spokesperson Jacqueline Roy detailing hardware and software efforts to minimize these issues. While the Vision Pro’s video passthrough is the most advanced in consumer devices, occasional quirks persist, challenging the perception of flawless visuals given the high price tag.

In essence, the Vision Pro’s display, while exceptional, serves as a reminder that screens can’t fully replicate the richness of reality, falling short in capturing the vibrant colors and intricacies found in the world around us.

 

Controls

Apple takes pride in the Vision Pro’s cutting-edge eye and hand tracking control system, surpassing other consumer systems. Operating as if your eyes are the mouse and your fingers are the button, you navigate the interface by looking at and tapping on desired elements.

Initially, using hand and eye tracking feels like a superpower, with external cameras effortlessly capturing hand movements within a generous zone. However, the novelty fades as the requirement to constantly look at what you want to control becomes distracting and, in some cases, hinders usability. Unlike traditional computers where input is independent of your gaze, the Vision Pro demands your attention, leading to moments of frustration, especially in activities that require sustained focus.

The Apple Vision Pro, priced at $3,499, marks Apple’s venture into “spatial computing,” aiming to integrate augmented reality into daily life. While the display impresses with stellar video passthrough and remarkable MicroOLED technology, weighing between 600 and 650 grams, it poses ergonomic challenges, and its external battery pack adds to the bulk. The headset’s visuals, despite advancements, suffer from common VR limitations such as motion blur and color gamut restrictions.

Controlled by a sophisticated eye and hand tracking system, the Vision Pro offers a unique interface, but the constant need to look at what you want to control becomes distracting, deviating from the independent input mechanisms of traditional computers. The eye tracking, while awe-inspiring initially, exhibits inconsistencies over time, hindering the overall user experience.

In essence, the Vision Pro presents an impressive step towards spatial computing but grapples with weight, display limitations, and occasional control challenges, prompting users to weigh the magic it offers against notable tradeoffs.

Complaining about a hand tracking system needing to see hands might seem silly, yet the Vision Pro’s limitations become evident. While Siri and dictation help navigate visionOS, the constant awareness of hands and the visual tracking system’s occasional failures make it a unique, sometimes frustrating, experience. The system, keen on capturing hand movements, can lead to amusing unintended inputs, showcasing both the system’s brilliance and its pitfalls. Achieving rock-solid reliability in the input system is crucial for a seamless computing experience in the Vision Pro.

 

Spatial cameras

Shooting photos with the Vision Pro yields low-quality 6.5-megapixel stills, and videos, though slightly better, suffer from noticeable compression and barrel distortion when viewed on non-Vision Pro devices. The impracticality of taking photos with the headset and the assumption that most users own iPhones with superior video capabilities make these features seem less significant. However, spatial videos shot on the iPhone 15 Pro Max and viewed in 3D on the Vision Pro offer a compelling, albeit solitary, experience, allowing users to relive memories in a bittersweet fashion.

VisionOS

The Vision Pro operates on visionOS, a customized version of iPadOS with optimizations for spatial computing. Leveraging iPadOS provides Apple with a robust app library from the start, although early controversies involve major developers like Netflix, Spotify, and YouTube holding off on supporting the Vision Pro. While Safari on the device accommodates web-based experiences, WebXR support is inconsistent. Apple expresses commitment to contributing to WebXR but acknowledges the current variability. Notably, YouTube VR lacks support, with Apple citing a focus on delivering high-quality spatial media experiences. The Vision Pro’s app ecosystem and web compatibility remain evolving aspects.

VisionOS sets itself apart with a novel experience featuring free-floating windows for unlimited app openings and spatial arrangement. The multi-operating system support adds versatility, integrating native visionOS apps, iPad apps, and Mac connectivity. However, the personal nature of the spatial environment limits shared experiences. The intuitive gestures for window management lack centralized controls, making it more complex than typical iOS devices. Seamless Mac display sharing showcases the Vision Pro’s versatility, transforming it into a virtual Mac display.

While Vision Pro falls short in true AR interaction, subtle features like the “connect display” button and a text preview window during Bluetooth keyboard use offer a glimpse into AR possibilities. In mixed reality scenarios, particularly in entertainment, Vision Pro excels. Immersive movie experiences, 3D content, and Apple’s library of 3D movies enhance the viewing experience. Yet, the device’s weight and DRM limitations pose challenges during screen captures.

Gaming on the Vision Pro lacks popular VR titles and fitness apps, highlighting a gap compared to competitors like Quest. Concerns about the device’s weight and design arise, impacting its suitability for physical gaming experiences. While developers work on porting more games, the absence of established titles like Beat Saber points to a current limitation. A cautionary note emphasizes the need for users to adapt gradually to VR motion, acknowledging potential motion sickness.

Despite its impressive features, the Vision Pro’s hefty price and specific limitations raise questions about its broader market appeal, especially compared to dedicated VR platforms. While its transformation into a virtual Mac display showcases versatility, considerations about weight, gaming ecosystem, and adapting to VR motion suggest a niche audience for this mixed reality device.

 

The Vision Pro is a testament to Apple’s engineering prowess, showcasing a stunning display, sophisticated passthrough technology, and seamless integration within the ecosystem. However, it may unintentionally reveal that certain core ideas, like camera-based mixed reality passthrough or advanced hand- and eye-tracking, could be dead ends, facing challenges for mainstream adoption. Despite its magical moments, the device’s complex technology might be ahead of its time.

Alternatively, the Vision Pro could serve as a precursor to Apple’s envisioned true AR glasses, acting as a simulator or developer kit. This perspective suggests the current device is a stepping stone for app and use case development, preparing the ground for future optical AR glasses capable of shared digital experiences. However, these scenarios come with significant tradeoffs, emphasizing the inherent loneliness of the Vision Pro experience. Tim Cook’s acknowledgment of headsets being isolating rings true, posing challenges for a device aiming to be a primary computing tool. Despite its impressive features, the Vision Pro raises questions about its role in collaborative workspaces and everyday computing.

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Things to Know about the AI-Powered Samsung Galaxy S24 Series

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Explore a realm of endless possibilities with the newly launched Galaxy S24 Ultra, Galaxy S24+, and Galaxy S24, now available for purchase. Empowered by Galaxy AI1, these devices redefine our phone interactions, offering innovative ways to create, connect, and beyond. Starting the journey, the Samsung Care team highlights seven key features that make the AI-powered Samsung Galaxy S24 Series a game-changer.

Here are standout things you need to know about the AI-powered Samsung Galaxy S24 Series.

1. Enhance your S24 performance with the enhanced Galaxy AI experience.

The Galaxy S24 series is infused with artificial intelligence (AI), enriching every aspect of your smartphone experience. Packed with AI capabilities, your S24 is geared to elevate your Galaxy experience and boost productivity. With Galaxy AI, you can seamlessly keep pace with the speed of life, even when faced with a multitude of tasks and limited time.

2. Experience faster information retrieval with “Circle to Search” on the Galaxy S24

The pioneering phone to introduce this intuitive, gesture-driven feature. With a simple circle gesture, explore new dimensions of discovery. No more frantic searching—when something catches your eye, circle it, and ta-da access Google Search results instantly. Get answers in a flash without leaving your feed, making information retrieval swift and seamless.

3. Elevate your photography with the “Generative Edit” feature on the Galaxy S24. After capturing a photo, harness the power of Generative Edit to effortlessly turn ordinary images into photographic masterpieces with just a few taps. This innovative Galaxy AI editing tool enables easy adjustments like erasing, recomposing, and remastering. Capture a great shot, then enhance it with Generative Edit to take your photos to the next level.

4. Find the right words fast with “Chat Assist” on the Galaxy S24.

Receive real-time tone suggestions to enhance the professionalism or conversational flow of your writing. With AI integrated into the Samsung Keyboard, effortlessly translate and communicate with friends and family in various languages—real-time translation is available in 13 languages. Carry on your conversations confidently, seamlessly bridging language barriers with ease on the Galaxy S24.

5. Overcome language barriers during calls with “Live Translate” on the Galaxy S24.

Whether making reservations while traveling abroad, this feature in your Phone app provides near-real-time voice translations. Enjoy two-way, real-time voice and text translations during phone calls, eliminating awkward lost-in-translation moments and enhancing communication on your Galaxy S24.

6. Note smarter, not harder, with “Note Assist” on the Samsung Galaxy S24.

Revolutionize your note-taking and organization in Samsung Notes with AI-generated summaries, streamlined templates, and cover creation for easy preview and retrieval. Additionally, Note Assist goes the extra mile by offering translation capabilities for your notes. Let the Galaxy S24’s Note Assist handle the heavy lifting of everyday tasks, making your note-taking experience more efficient and convenient.

7. Effortlessly transfer data and settings with “Smart Switch” to seamlessly set up your new Galaxy S24.

Once you’ve acquired your Samsung Galaxy S24, the setup process becomes a breeze. Smart Switch ensures that all your content from your previous phone, including photos, contacts, calendar events, notes, apps, themes, device settings, and more, stays with you during the transition to the Galaxy S24.

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