An NYPD security robot will be patrolling the Times Square subway station

The New York Police Department (NYPD) is implementing a new security measure at the Times Square subway station. It's deploying a security robot to patrol the premises, which authorities say is meant to "keep you safe." We're not talking about a RoboCop-like machine or any human-like biped robot — the K5, which was made by California-based company Knightscope, looks like a massive version of R2-D2. Albert Fox Cahn, the executive director of privacy rights group Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, has a less flattering description for it, though, and told The New York Times that it's like a "trash can on wheels."

K5 weighs 420 pounds and is equipped with four cameras that can record video but not audio. As you can guess from the image above, the machine also doesn't come with arms — it didn't quite ignore Mayor Eric Adams' attempt at making a heart. The robot will patrol the station from midnight until 6 AM throughout its trial run that's running over the next two months. But K5 won't be doing full patrols for a while, since it's spending its first two weeks mapping out the station and roaming only the main areas and not the platforms. 

It's not quite clear if NYPD's machine will be livestreaming its camera footage, and if law enforcement will be keeping an eye on what it captures. Adams said during the event introducing the robot that it will "record video that can be reviewed in case of an emergency or a crime." It apparently won't be using facial recognition, though Cahn is concerned that the technology could eventually be incorporated into the machine. Obviously, K5 doesn't have the capability to respond to actual emergencies in the station and can't physically or verbally apprehend suspects. The only real-time help it can provide people is to connect them to a live person to report an incident or to ask questions, provided they're able to press a button on the robot. 

NYC is leasing K5 for around $9 an hour for the next two months. The mayor sounds convinced that's worth what the robot can do even though, as The Times notes, he recently ordered several agencies to reduce spending by 15 percent. "This is below minimum wage," he said. "No bathroom breaks, no meal breaks." Adams has a history of supporting the use of machines as police tools. Earlier this year, the mayor also announced that the NYPD will acquire two Digidog robots for $750,000 each for use in hostage and other critical situations. That's quite a reversal from the NYPD's decision in 2021 to cancel its lease on what was then known as Boston Dynamics' Spot after facing backlash for its use.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

How to use NameDrop in iOS 17

If you want to easily share contact information with someone, Apple’s NameDrop is an efficient tool. With the recent launch of iOS 17, however, some consumers worry that accessing the new tool boasts a steep learning curve. That’s not true at all, as it’s quite simple to get started with NameDrop. Here’s our guide on how to share contact information like a true boss.

What is NameDrop?

NameDrop is a feature that comes with iOS 17. It allows you to instantaneously send contact information to other people just by placing your iPhone near to their iPhone. This is similar to the pre-existing Tap to Share toolset, but with a specialized emphasis on contact information. There have been plenty of third-party apps that do this sort of thing, but this is Apple’s first-party solution.

How to use NameDrop to share contact information

NameDrop is extremely simple. Just hold your iPhone near the top of someone else’s iPhone. That’s it. You’ll see a faint glow emerge from the top of both devices to indicate a successful connection and NameDrop will appear on both screens. 

Apple's NameDrop in action.

Once connected, you’ll be able to adjust exactly what contact information gets shared between the two devices. You can receive the other person’s information, send your information or do both at once. If you want to cancel, just move the phone away before the system finishes its dark magic.

This only works for new contacts, though, and cannot be used to update pre-existing contact information. You can get around this limitation by deleting the contact before going in for the NameDrop.

How to use contacts on iPhone to share information

NameDrop requires that both phones are updated to iOS 17, and that’s not always a realistic possibility. You have another choice for sending out contact information. Just head into the Contacts app and select Share Contact. Select the specific data you want to share and tap Done. Finally, select the delivery method. You can choose between Messages, Mail and several other options. This isn’t as easy as moving one phone close to another phone, but it should still take just a few seconds.

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iPhone 15 stuck on the Apple logo during setup? Here’s how to fix it

If you’re setting up a new iPhone 15 today, you might run into some problems. As first reported by 9to5Mac, the new models (including standard and pro variants) can get stuck in a boot loop where they may freeze on the Apple logo when transferring apps and data to the new model. Although Apple says the setup process should prompt you to install iOS 17.0.2, which fixes the problem, some users (including one Engadget staff member) have reported that it failed to do that. Here’s what to do.

First, if your iPhone 15 setup prompts you to install iOS 17.0.2 before reaching the data-transfer step, you’re good to go: That means Apple’s hotfix worked as planned, and you don’t need to worry about any special instructions. Accept the update, wait for it to install and complete the process. But you’ll need to hop on a computer if it doesn’t prompt you to update.

Computer workaround

Start by plugging your iPhone into a Mac or Windows PC using its supplied (or any compatible) USB-C cable. Then, put the phone in recovery mode using the following button combinations: While it’s still plugged in, quickly press the iPhone’s volume up button, then the volume down button. Immediately after, press and hold the phone’s side (power / sleep) button until your handset displays the image below of a computer and cable. (If you don’t see it, try the button combinations again without pausing.)

Image of an iPhone with a recovery mode graphic (cable pointing upward towards a laptop) on its screen. Gray background.

Next, Mac users can open Finder and select their iPhone from the sidebar. Windows users will need to open iTunes. (If you don’t already have it, you can download it from here.)

After opening Finder (Mac) or iTunes (Windows), it will ask if you want to restore or update your phone. Choose “Restore,” and it will install the new software. (Apple notes that if your iPhone restarts while your Mac or PC downloads the update, you’ll need to wait for the update to complete before repeating the recovery mode button combination from paragraph three.)

After your Mac or PC completes the software restore, you should be able to unplug your iPhone and follow the prompts on its screen to set it up and transfer your data as usual.

Workaround without a computer

If you’re on the go or otherwise don’t have access to a computer, there’s an alternate method that may take a little longer. After powering up the phone, select the option to set it up as a new iPhone instead of transferring apps and data from your old model or iCloud. Then, after it takes you to a clean Home Screen for the first time, navigate to Settings > General > Software Update, and install the iOS 17.0.2 update.

After the update completes, head to Settings > General > Transfer or Reset iPhone, and choose “Erase All Content and Settings” at the bottom of the screen. After it completes the factory reset, the setup process should allow you to transfer your existing content from iCloud or your old handset.

Once you’ve set up your new phone, you can check out Engadget’s iPhone 15 Pro / Pro Max review and iOS 17 preview to brush up on all your new features.

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Samsung leaks its upcoming Fan Edition devices, including a phone, tablet and earbuds

Eagle-eyed visitors to Samsung's Argentinian website have spotted something a little unexpected — a product page for new Galaxy Buds FE earbuds, along with images of a Galaxy S23 FE smartphone and Galaxy Tab S9 FE tablet. That's because the company leaked its latest Fan Edition devices, as noted by SamMobile. One of the smartphone images includes the date October 4 on the device, which could be a nod toward the announcement or a release date.

The company hasn't let slip any specs for the phone and tablet as yet. However, the Galaxy S23 FE and Galaxy Tab S9 FE were reportedly mentioned by name on the page. This is about as close as Samsung can get to a formal announcement without a press release or an Unpacked.

The product page (which Samsung has taken down) did mention some details about the Galaxy Buds FE, Samsung's first Fan Edition earbuds. They're slated to have a single 12mm driver, three microphones in each earbud to bolster the active noise cancellation function and a three-way speaker.

Samsung's Fan Edition devices have proven popular over the years. They tend to pack in solid features for a more reasonable price than the company's flagship models. It's safe to imagine that quite a few people will be looking forward to snapping up this year's FE devices.

While the leak appears to have been an error, we can't count out the possibility that Samsung deliberately showed off the latest FE devices before an official announcement. Major hardware companies are all jostling for your attention around this time of year. Just before Apple revealed the iPhone 15 lineup last week, Google dropped some teasers for its Pixel 8 and Pixel Watch 2 devices — Google's Pixel event isn't until October. So, Samsung may have been looking for headlines with a purposeful leak here (in which case, it evidently worked).

The more likely scenario is that it's another unintentional slip up for the company. It's probably not quite as bad or as damaging as this week's massive Xbox leak, but you'd think Samsung would know better by now in any case.

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Amazon Prime members can get a Blink camera bundle for half off

Amazon has a half-off deal for Prime members on a Blink outdoor / indoor security camera bundle. The sale gives you a pair of Blink Outdoor 4 cameras, which launched last month, and a Blink Mini for only $117.49. Whether these are your first security cameras or you’re adding to an existing setup, this is a chance to save 50 percent off their usual cost.

The Blink Outdoor 4 is a wireless device that, despite its name, can work as an inside or outside camera. It supports person detection, which uses computer vision to alert you when it spots a human in its field of view (if you also subscribe to an optional Blink subscription). The camera offers 1080p HD video, infrared night vision, two-way audio and enhanced dual-zone motion detection. Its bundled AA batteries can last up to an estimated two years. Also included is the Blink Sync Module 2, required for offline storage (if you bring your own USB drive).

Meanwhile, the Blink Mini is the company’s classic entry-level indoor camera. The wired device also records and streams in 1080p. It includes motion detection, two-way audio and night vision. It also requires a Blink subscription to save clips in the cloud, but, like the Outdoor 4, the Blink Mini also supports offline storage if you connect a USB drive to the Sync Module 2.

Remember that the deal is only available for Amazon Prime members. And it only lasts until midnight Pacific time.

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The best October Amazon Prime Day early access deals for 2023

No, the sale hasn't started yet. Amazon's second Prime-related event for 2023 is officially called Prime Big Deal Days and will happen October 10 and 11. This is the second year for a fall-based, site-wide Amazon sale and we're already seeing discounts pop up. You'll need a Prime membership to access many of the deals, though a few are available to everyone. This week, notable sales include first-ever discounts on the second-gen AirPods Pro with USB-C charging and iPhone 15 cases with Apple's leather-replacing FineWoven material. Amazon's own Kindle Scribe writable ereader is seeing discounts of up to $90, and a bundle of Blink's new outdoor cameras are half price. We also included a Solo Stove deal from elsewhere on the web that's worth considering. Here are the best early access October Prime Day deals you can get right now. 

Apple AirPods Pro (2nd gen, USB-C)

Last Tuesday, Apple revealed new iPhone 15 models, and one of the most notable changes was the switch to a USB-C port. The company also announced the latest (second generation) AirPods Pro would now come with the same connectivity. Just a week later, you can get those buds on Amazon for $200, which is $49 below list price and the same sale price we've been seeing for the AirPods Pro with Lightning. The earbuds themselves haven't changed much, save for a little more waterproofing. They should offer the same excellent transparancy mode and substantially improved audio quality over the first-gen Pros. 

Blink Outdoor 4 security camera bundle

Amazon just announced the latest generation of its wireless outdoor security camera, the Blink Outdoor 4. If you're a Prime member, you can get a two-pack of the new cameras, plus an indoor Blink mini camera and a Sync Module 2 for 50 percent off. Bought separately, the set would run you $235 at full price, but the early Prime deal brings it down to $117.50. The latest-gen cameras have better image quality and low-light sensitivity and the field of view has increased to 143 degrees. A new custom processor on board helps boost the image quality and can differentiate people from other moving things (though enabling that feature requires a subscription). Along with the two cameras and mounting kits, you also get one indoor Mini camera and a Sync Module 2, which acts as a hub that enables app control and local storage of video clips. The AA batteries required for outdoor cams are also included, which should last for two years before you need to replace them. 

Kasa Smart Bulbs

Smart lightbulbs like these not only adjust to whatever color you want, you can also control them with the app or just your voice (and a compatible smart speaker). Kasa's KL125 bulbs made the cut as the budget pick in our guide to smart bulbs because they are easy to install, easy to use and pack a ton of features. Right now they're down to $28, which is a 30 percent discount and close to the lowest price we've tracked. 

Apple iPhone 15 Fine Woven cases

In addition to announcing the iPhone 15 at last week's event, the folks at Apple also spent a lot of time talking up the company's environmental initiatives. One change eliminates all leather from the products Apple sells and a new material, called FineWoven, will take its place on accessories like iPhone cases. Right now, Amazon is discounting the new iPhone 15 FineWoven cases by five percent. It's not a huge discount, but if you've just dropped a grand on the new iPhone 15 Pro, even little savings might help. 

Amazon Kindle Scribe

Prime members can save between $75 and $90 on a Kindle Scribe at Amazon right now. The configuration with 64GB of storage and the Premium Pen is $330 or $90 off, while the 16GB base model with the Basic Pen is $265 or $75 off. The deals are pretty close to the ones we saw during Prime Day this July, coming in about $10 more. The Kindle Scribe earned an 85 in our review and is our current pick for the best ereader E Ink tablet. We appreciate the low-latency writing, large and roomy screen, and the integration with Amazon's Kindle services. You can also click the button to get Kindle Unlimited with your Scribe for free for three months, just remember that the subscription will auto-renew at the end of the trial. 

Apple Watch Ultra

The second generation of the Apple Watch Ultra is available to buy as of today — but the new version isn't on sale. First generation Apple Watch Ultras, however, has been discounted by $100 on Amazon bringing them to $699 instead of $799. The discount only applies to the watch with the orange Alpine Loop in small. The medium and large bands are about a dollar more, and watches with different colored bands aren't discounted. We gave the first AW Ultra an 85 in our review, praising its long battery life, bright display and useful fitness and health features. Of course it doesn't have the new features of the new Apple Watches, including the tap navigation and the S9 SiP (system-in-package) processor for on-board Siri requests. But if all you need is a rugged watch with lots of hiking, running and other activity features, now's your chance to save. 

OnePlus 11 5G

The OnePlus 11 5G Android smartphone is currently $100 off at Amazon. It's dropped to this price a few times before, and matches its all-time low. This is the latest flagship phone from OnePlus, which earned an 83 in our review. It packs a powerful processor, a vivid screen and has a long-lasting battery that also happens to charge blazingly fast. 

Amazon Fire Omni QLED TVs

All sizes of Amazon’s Fire TV Omni QLED Series are on sale ahead of October's sale. The 43-, 50-, 55- and 65-inch models are down to $380, $400, $440 and $600, respectively. Those match or beat the prices we saw for July's Prime Day. The Fire TV Omni QLED sets are best for people who like Amazon’s Fire interface, which we found easy enough to figure out, though the OS does tend to push you towards Amazon's own content. Beyond that Fire TVs do a good job of integrating Alexa's helpfulness with a useful voice remote, and hands-free smart home support. And if you don't feel like having Alexa listening in, you can turn off the mics with a built-in switch.

Samsung Galaxy S23 phones

All models of Samsung's flagship S23 smartphones are on sale right now, including our pick for the best Android smartphone you can buy, the Galaxy S23 Ultra. The 256GB base model is down to $999 after a 17 percent, or $200, discount. The phone has been hitting that low regularly over the past few months, so if you've been thinking about getting one, it's probably best to make your move when its at this price. The other two phones in the S23 lineup are also on sale, with the base model of the standard Galaxy S23 going for $700 and the S23+ going for $800, both of which are $100 discounts. 

Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Pro tablet

Updated versions of Amazon's kids-focused tablets are on their way, though they won't arrive until after October's Prime sale. The new versions will have 25 percent faster processors, but if you don't think your kid will care about having the latest model, you can save $60 on the current gen Fire HD 10 Kids Pro tablets. This is our current pick for the best tablet for kids as it comes with a "kid-proof" case and a two-year warranty — just in case your kid proves exactly how optimistic that terminology is.  

It also comes with a free year of Amazon Kids+, which will incorporate a new "Explore with Alexa" feature that takes advantage of the upcoming improvements to Alexa's conversational abilities, with a kid-friendly bent. 

Solo Stove sitewide coupon

Solo Stove is offering sitewide coupons for up to $100 off its popular outdoor pizza ovens and fire pits. Enter SAVE20 at checkout to get $20 off purchases over $125, SAVE40 to get $40 off anything over $350 and SAVE100 to lower the price by $100 if your purchase is over $550. The codes should work with all fire pits bundles, pizza ovens or other products, and they even stack atop other discounts. The deal applies to the Pi Pizza oven, which we recommend in our guide, as well as the Bonfire 2.0 fire pit, which is one of our favorite bits of outdoor gear for fall. 

Motorola razr+

Motorola just released its new razr+ foldable flip phone a few months ago, but it's already seeing a $100 discount at Amazon. We gave it an 85 in our Engadget review noting that it was giving Samsung a little competition in the flip foldable category. It's also the runner up flip option in our guide to foldable smartphones in part because its exterior display is actually a little easier to use than Samsung's version. Just keep in mind that the water resistance isn't as substantial. 

Your Fall Prime Day Shopping Guide: See all of our Prime Day coverage. Shop the best Prime Day deals on Yahoo Life. Follow Engadget for Prime Day tech deals. Learn about Prime Day trends on In The Know. Hear from Autoblog’s car experts on must-shop auto-related Prime Day deals and find Prime Day sales to shop on AOL, handpicked just for you.

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Ayaneo Slide, the Sidekick of gaming handhelds, is coming soon

The Ayaneo Slide is one step closer to becoming a real, in-your-hands device, with the launch of its Indiegogo holding page. The company first announced the Ayaneo Slide back in January and initially set a release date for the second quarter of 2023.

The Slide's shape is reminiscent of an early 2000s favorite, the Sidekick, giving it a real boost for nostalgia seekers. It has a six-inch 1080p floating screen with an adjustable angle for viewing preference. Ayaneo claims the keyboard has an ergonomic design and can display a range of light effects.

Its system is based on the Ryzen 7000 mobile APUs, utilizes a 46.2Wh battery and has a Hall sensing joystick and trigger — plus a master controller. The Slide also has the company's updated frontend, AyaSpace 2, which upgraded the interface, quick settings window and gameplay customization. Hyper Sound stereo dual speakers and a customized heat dissipation system round out its primary features, but a promotional video details the Slide's many functions.

An actual release date and cost for the Ayaneo Slide are still up in the air, with a call out on Indiegogo stating, "Sign up to get early-bird price on launch day!" Of course, a disclaimer adds that you'll also get updates and news from Ayaneo in the meantime. Once out in the world, the Ayaneo Slide will face some serious competition between rivals like the GPD Win 4 and Valve's ever-popular Steam Deck

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Sony ZV-E1 review: The best vlogging camera to date, by a big margin

Content creators have become a key segment in the mirrorless camera industry, and Sony fully embraced them back in 2020 with the launch of the ZV1 camera. It has since added no less than four models to its ZV lineup, with the latest being the 12-megapixel full-frame ZV-E1 — its most capable model by far.

It uses the same sensor as the $3,500 A7S III, a video-focused camera that’s also a low-light marvel. However, the ZV-E1 costs $1,300 less, so of course it’s missing some key features like an electronic viewfinder (EVF), dual high-speed card slots, a mechanical shutter and some physical controls.

At the same time, the ZV-E1 has some functions that the A7S III lacks, surprisingly enough. Most of those are in the area of AI, and very useful for vloggers, like auto-framing, advanced subject detection and dynamic stabilization. With the sensor and AI features combined, it’s not a spoiler to say that this camera is both a mini A7S III and a powerful vlogging camera at the same time. The sheer number of advancements also make it a technological tour de force.


The sensor might be the same, but the ZV-E1 looks radically different from the A7S III. Instead of Sony’s classic A7-style mirrorless form, the body is squat and chunky like an A6700 or full-frame A7C. It’s also significantly smaller and weighs a third less than the A7S III at 483g, making it Sony’s smallest full-frame camera to date.

Sony boasts that it’s built of recycled plastic, and that makes the camera feel significantly cheaper and less grippy than the A7 series. The grip is also smaller, but I was still able to get a reasonably firm grasp considering the lighter weight. Despite the lower-end materials, it is dust and moisture resistant.

As we’ve seen on numerous recent cameras, there’s a switch for photos, video and slow & quick, and each has its own dedicated settings. It has a prominent red record button on top, and like Sony’s other mirrorless vlogging camera (the APS-C ZV-E10) it has a zoom rocker for supported zoom lenses, and also works with Sony’s “Digital Zoom” feature.

Sony ZV-E1 review: The best vlogging camera to date, by a long ways
Steve Dent for Engadget

Other than that, it’s significantly stripped down compared to the A7S III. While it does have a few vlogging-specific buttons like Product Showcase and Background Defocus, there’s just a single control dial on top (at the back) and no dial on the front – making it difficult to operate the camera using physical controls in full manual mode.

That said, the ZV-E1 is one of Sony’s first cameras that can be fully operated using touch controls. Most of the key settings (shutter speed, aperture, ISO, etc) can be changed in that way, and it also lets you tweak the display settings by swiping left or right. And of course, the LCD screen fully articulates for vloggers, though it’s a bit low-res at 1,030K dots.

Where the A7S III’s 9.44 million-dot EVF is the best on the market, there’s no viewfinder at all on the ZV-E1. I missed that feature when shooting on bright days, but the EVF does have a “sunshine” mode that automatically maxes out brightness.

It uses the same battery as Sony’s flagship models, so you get a generous 95 minutes of 4K 30p video recording and 570 photos on a charge. Luckily, the USB-C Gen 3.2 port lets you charge while shooting, and also supports high-speed transfers.

Along with headphone and mic ports, it’s got a micro rather than a full sized HDMI port, which isn’t ideal for a vlogging camera. It has just a single high-speed UHS-II card slot. Oddly the lack of a fast CFexpress type A slot doesn’t appear to limit video capture compared to the A7S III.


As you’d expect for a camera based on the powerful A7S III, video specs are impressive. It can handle 4K UHD video at up to 60 fps, though it’s lightly supersampled from the 12-megapixel, 4,240 x 2,832 sensor – so it’s slightly less sharp than higher-resolution Sony cameras like the A7 IV. Thanks to a recent firmware update, it can also shoot native 4K at up to 120 fps with no supersampling.

Sony ZV-E1 review: The best vlogging camera to date, by a long ways
Steve Dent for Engadget

You can choose from high- and low-quality MP4 longGOP options, all with up to 4:2:2 10-bit color depth and 280 Mbps data rates. There’s also an I-mode at up to 4K 60p with 4:2:2 10-bit color that offers a more fluid editing experience with no transcoding. That setting uses higher data rates at up to 600Mbps (60 fps), so it requires expensive, high-speed V90 UHS-II cards.

Sony’s S-Log3 boosts dynamic range to 14-plus stops, and you can preview footage using Sony’s LUTs or install your own. If you don’t want the hassle of log, S-Cinetone also boosts dynamic range and is easier to tweak and edit later on.

What about overheating? Since it lacks the thermal capabilities as the A7S III, continuous recording times are shorter, particularly at 4K60 and up. In that mode you can expect less than an hour depending on the outside temperature. Content creators might be OK with that, but event shooters may need to look elsewhere.

Autofocus and AI

Sony ZV-E1 review: The best vlogging camera to date, by a long ways
Steve Dent for Engadget

When it comes to autofocus, the ZV-E1 actually outshines the A7S III. That’s because it uses Sony’s new AI processor introduced in the A7R V, so it behaves more like that model –- particularly when it comes to image tracking.

It can now track human heads and bodies, not just faces and eyes. And besides people, it has specific settings for animals, birds, insects, cars, planes and trains. Unfortunately it does lack an auto setting, so it can’t automatically select the type of subject — you have to dive into the menus and do that yourself.

Subject tracking sets a new speed and reliability standard for mirrorless cameras, nailing autofocus consistently – even in tricky settings with fast moving subjects. That’s hugely important for vloggers, who often work alone. That said, even Sony’s system isn’t perfect, as it can occasionally lose a subject’s eyes in busy backgrounds.

AI powers other features too. For example, the built-in microphone is now directional, and can automatically aim toward the front, rear or all around, based on subject detection.

A key AI feature lets you digitally zoom an extra 1.5 times without much noticeable loss in quality. It works with the zoom rocker, and unlike with past ZV implementations, includes full subject tracking. That ability to zoom smoothly and automatically scale the image powers other features as well

Sony ZV-E1 review: The best vlogging camera to date, by a long ways
Steve Dent for Engadget


That starts with the ZV-E1’s in-body stabilization. Optical-only offers 5 stops, enough to smooth handheld video without much movement. Active stabilization considerably boosts performance, but adds a slight 1.1x crop. However, dynamic stabilization is new and quite remarkable. It adds a 1.3x crop, but can effectively remove bouncing from footsteps, making it like using a dedicated gimbal – albeit with some loss in sharpness. With that feature, the ZV-E1 is the first camera that can really match the smoothness of the latest GoPro action cams.

The digital zoom teams up with subject tracking on two other new features as well. One is the Framing Stabilizer, which crops into the image, steadies the shot and keeps the subject in the center of frame, allowing for dolly-like smoothness.

Auto Framing, meanwhile, gives the illusion of camera movement. It first digitally zooms into the subject, then tracks it within the frame. You can choose a small, medium or large crop, different tracking speeds and more. You can even send an uncropped video to HDMI so you have two versions.

It also carries vlogger-centric features seen on other ZV models, including Product Showcase and Auto Depth of Field. As before, the latter automatically defocuses the background by instantly opening the aperture as much as possible. Product Showcase, meanwhile, ignores eye detection and quickly shifts focus to any foreground object brought in front of the camera. Finally, Breathing Compensation uses a slight digital zoom to maintain constant framing when changing focus.

Video Quality

Sony ZV-E1 review: The best vlogging camera to date, by a big margin
Steve Dent for Engadget

As mentioned, 4K 30p and 60p video is slightly softer than Sony’s 30-megapixel A7 IV due to the lower resolution. On the plus side, the absence of pixel binning means no there’s no aliasing or other ugly artifacts that can ruin a shot.

The other positive aspect is far less rolling shutter than the A7 IV at the full sensor width. That means you can make quick pans or film fast-moving subjects without worrying about skewed video.

Apart from sharpness, image quality is superb. It delivers nearly 15 stops of dynamic range in C-Log3 mode, up there with the best mirrorless cameras. That allows for plenty of detail in dark shadows and bright highlights, even on sunny or dark days. S-Log3 mode, meanwhile, gives editors room to tweak video. Sony’s colors are accurate, though skin tones can lack the warmth I’ve seen on Canon models.

The ZV-E1 can’t be beat in low light. It has dual native ISOs at 640 and a whopping 12800. That allows for low-noise video all that way up to ISO 25,600, and manageable levels even at 51,200 – letting you shoot by moonlight or candlelight. In fact, Sony’s FX3 cinema camera with the same sensor was recently used to shoot a feature film called The Creator, specifically because it’s so good in low light.


Since it doesn’t have an EVF or mechanical shutter, I wouldn’t recommend the ZV-E1 for photography alone. That said, like the A7S III, it’s more than competent in a pinch.

The AF works just as well with photography, and has the same features and tracking modes. So you can count on this camera to grab sharp photos, even when shooting bursts at up to the maximum 10 fps or in low light. It’s actually a pretty good street photography or travel camera, as it’s small, silent and discreet. And with so little skew, I rarely missed the mechanical shutter.

Photo quality is outstanding, particularly in very low light. RAW images can easily be tweaked, even at high ISOs, and colors are accurate. The biggest drawback is again the lack of sharpness. That means there’s not a lot of room to crop into photos later, so you’ll want to get your framing right when you take the shot.


Sony ZV-E1 review: The best vlogging camera to date, by a long ways
Steve Dent for Engadget

With all that it can do, Sony’s ZV-E1 is the best vlogging camera on the market and its rivals aren’t even really close. It delivers everything creators need like 4K 120p video, high dynamic range, unbeatable low-light capability, great ergonomics, the best AF on the market and a boatload of useful AI features. The main drawback is a lack of sharpness — but that’s only really noticeable if you’re pixel peeping.

The ZV-E1 costs $2,200, so its rivals include the $2,200 Panasonic S5 IIx, the $2,500 Canon EOS R6 II and Sony’s own $2,500 A7 IV. All of those cameras have sharper 4K video and electronic viewfinders, so they’re better hybrid cameras for both photography and video

The ZV-E1 beats them in nearly every other way, though, while breaking new ground with its innovative AI features. If you’re a content creator looking for a full-frame camera in that price range, I’d highly recommend the ZV-E1.

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Drop’s BMR1 PC speakers are almost really good

At some point over the years there’s been a shift in what PC speakers look like. Many of you may remember plugging in a pair of small, often beige, units into the back of your PC (where the PCI sound card was) and pretending to enjoy the results. Over the years, built-in audio interfaces improved and external ones found their way to a more convenient location on our desks. This, in turn, led to a trend of bigger, creator-friendly, shelf-style speakers. But the rise of the home office has led to a renewed focus on streamlined workspaces, making compact speakers more appealing again.

Enter Drop, a company best known for mechanical keyboards and audiophile gear. With the announcement of its BMR1 desktop speakers, the company is hoping to re-invigorate the dedicated PC speakers category. At first glance, the BMR1 looks like it has more in common with the Logitech or Creative speakers of yore (they still make them, I know), but with the promise of the audio oomph usually reserved for larger “monitor” style speakers.

Given Drop’s credentials as a destination for audio enthusiasts, the company was unlikely to put together something you might find in the PC accessories section at Best Buy. Unsurprisingly, the BMR1 isn’t as cheap as those big box store options, either. At $129 they’re at the upper end of what more mainstream alternatives tend to cost.

The rear of the Drop BMR1 main speaker shows the power connector and input ports.
Photo by James Trew / Engadget

That $129 gets you a pair of 15W Balanced Mode Radiation (BMR) speakers with either 3.5mm or Bluetooth input. That’s a respectable amount of audio power for this size. There’s no USB here, though, as there’s no built-in interface; you’ll either use your PC’s headphone port or the outputs on a dedicated audio interface. As is the norm with this type of speaker, one is the “active” unit with the in/outputs and you simply connect the other with a (proprietary) cable for the left channel audio. Though I will say the included cable is a little on the short side and currently there’s no alternative.

Physically, the BMR1 is a minimalist affair. There are no dials for power, volume or EQ and the inputs and outputs are all hidden around the back. This will be an annoyance for those who prefer physical controls, especially if you have no alternative (such as a keyboard with a rotary or a programmable mouse). The housing is made of plastic and doesn't give the BMR1 a premium feel, which is in contrast to the company’s keyboards. The stands are also plastic which makes the speakers feel light and prone to moving about if a cable tugs on them, for example.

On front of the speakers are two drivers: a full-range BMR driver along with a passive radiator. One nice touch is that the BMR1s can be mounted either horizontally or vertically, which makes them suitable for a variety of different setups, be that for your own aesthetic preference or out of necessity. The right side speaker has the BMR1’s lone button along the bottom edge for switching between 3.5mm, bluetooth and headphone modes.

Headphone mode might sound counterintuitive to have on a set of… speakers, but it’s a practical tool that passes through the audio from your PC to headphones without having to unplug the BMR1, which, depending on your setup, could be occupying the only output port on your PC. It’ll even work with microphones on compatible (TRRS/4-pole) headsets so you can take work calls without having to remove the speakers to free up that headset jack.

A Drop BMR1 speaker pictured next to a PC monitor.
Photo by James Trew / Engadget

That’s a neat quality-of-life feature, but the main focus here is obviously those BMR drivers. In terms of volume, the 15W speakers are likely capable for most small to medium sized offices. My home office is somewhere north of 150 square feet and the BMR1 amply fills the space. They’re described as “near field” monitors — i.e., specifically designed for close proximity, but they are able to fill this room with sound without much struggle.

As for the quality of that sound, that’s a little more complicated. The BMR1s appear to perform best when their volume is set somewhere between 40 and 70 percent of the maximum. Above that, things start to sound a little strained, which isn’t unusual — especially for speakers this size. At the lower end, from mute to around 30 percent, the speakers are great with spoken word — ideal for podcasts, video viewing and voice calls. But at these lower volumes, music feels a little too muddled to my ears. It’s fine for having something on in the background, but it’s a slightly dense listening experience.

Nudge the volume up a bit, and things improve. Just north of the middle section of the volume curve is where the BMR1s do their best work. There’s still a slight lack on the low frequencies, meaning bass forward music can sometimes feel dried out. If you’re listening to rock, country, classical or any other genre where the action is more in the mid-frequencies, you can have a good time with the BMR1s, but if Hip-Hop or Drum & Bass are more your thing, then you might find yourself wanting at any volume.

The listening experience improves if you can have the speakers nearer to you. There’s definitely a sweet spot at around 18 inches away. When the speakers were about two feet away from me on my desk, Metallica’s Enter Sandman sounded fine, but a little thin on the low end, thus leaving the song’s splashy hi-hats and James Hetfield’s voice feeling a little over represented. If I leaned in a little, the rhythmic bassline and kick drums were notably more apparent.

Even with great placement, the sound from the BMR1 never quite felt as robust as I wanted it to be. I know these are PC speakers, but Drop’s pitch is that these are “ideal for movies and music” — specifically for the desktop. And while they do an acceptable job most of the time, there are definitely occasions where I notice they’re lacking, and more so than I was expecting.

A Drop BMR1 speaker pictured on a desk next to a PC monitor and keyboard.
Photo by James Trew / Engadget

It was a little surprising to learn that the BMR1 only supports SBC and AAC Bluetooth codecs. Obviously, with a focus on PCs, the inclusion of AptX or LDAC might feel a little superfluous, but the Bluetooth functionality, to me, is more about making them compatible with your phone, too (rather than another input mode from a PC). As such, support for higher-quality codecs, even just regular ol’ AptX, feels like a bit of a miss here.

The BMR1 ships as a 2.0 (stereo) system, but it can also be used as a 2.1 with an external subwoofer. There’s a switch around the back that will shelf off the bass on the main speaker to balance things out, and this would certainly resolve the issue with weaker low frequencies. Alas, I don’t have a compatible sub, but some reports online indicate that the whole sound does present much more robustly in this configuration. The bigger issue there being that this requires another separate spend, probably another thing to plug in and takes away from one of the BMR1’s primary appeals: a simple, compact setup.

This is something of a theme with the BMR1s: they slightly miss on some key areas. In certain optimal conditions, they’re really quite enjoyable. But that sweet spot is limited and not what you expect either from the brand or for the price. Some of the practical complaints like material choices, the proprietary cable and lack of physical controls feel like obvious misses. The sound profile is enjoyable but the bass is sometimes a bit lacking for certain styles of music. The price point isn’t egregious, but a shade over where it should be. And so on.

Making the BMR2 feels like a task Drop won’t need much assistance with. Most of the pre-order reviews on its own website list off similar minor annoyances. There was a lot to look forward to here, and the final product doesn’t land too far from its promises, but it does fall short enough that more demanding users — which are kinda Drop’s whole thing — could feel slightly underwhelmed.

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The best foldable phones for 2023

Foldables have come a long way since the original Galaxy Fold went on sale back in 2019. They’re smaller, they’re tougher and while they still aren’t a great option for people on a budget, they’re now more affordable too. (Well, kind of.) And with more device makers getting into the space, there are a wider range of options than ever before. So if you’ve been thinking about buying your first foldable phone (or upgrading from an older model), here’s a guide covering the best models on sale today.

Note: For this guide, we’re focusing on devices that are widely available in North America and Europe. That’s because while there are even more options for people who live in Asia (especially China), they are often difficult to buy from abroad and may not support your local carriers.

How we test

When evaluating foldables, we consider the same general criteria as we do when we’re judging the best smartphones. Devices need to have good battery life (at least a full day’s use), bright displays (peaks of at least 1,000 nits), sharp cameras and responsive performance. That said, foldable phones come in different shapes (and sizes); there are varying designs that may appeal to different types of people.

For those who prefer more compact and stylish devices, flip-style foldables resemble old-school namesakes but with flexible interior displays (typically six to seven inches diagonally) and smaller exterior screens. Alternatively, for power users and people who want to maximize mobile productivity, there are larger book-style foldables (with seven to eight-inch main displays) that can transform from a candy bar-style phone to essentially a small tablet when opened.

A note on durability: Are foldable phones worth it?

Aside from their displays, the biggest difference between foldable phones and more traditional handsets is durability. That’s because while some models like the Pixel Fold and Samsung’s Galaxy Z line offer IPX8 water resistance (which is good for submersions of up to five feet for 30 minutes), their flexible screens – which are largely made from plastic – present some unique challenges.

Most foldables come with factory-installed screen protectors. However, unlike regular phones, users are instructed not to remove them without assistance from approved service centers. Thankfully, Samsung does offer one free screen protector replacement for its foldables, while Google charges between $29 and $129 depending on the warranty status of your device. That said, while we can’t do long-term testing for every foldable phone on the market, after personally using the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Z Fold 4 each for a year, I’ve found that Samsung’s pre-installed screen protector tends to start bubbling nine to 12 months after purchase. So you’ll probably want to factor in that your foldable may need some sort of servicing after about a year unless you plan on removing the screen protector entirely (which is possible, but goes against most manufacturers' instructions).

Furthermore, foldable phone owners need to be mindful about keeping sharp objects away from their flexible displays, as rocks, keys or even pressing down very hard with a fingernail can leave permanent marks. In the event that you need to get a flexible screen serviced, you’re potentially facing a much higher repair bill when compared to a typical phone (up to $500 or more depending on the model and the severity of the damage). In short, while the ruggedness of foldable phones has improved a lot, they're still more delicate than traditional handsets, which is something you need to account for.

The best flagship foldable phone: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5

Despite a growing number of challengers, Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold line remains the best flagship foldable on sale today. On the Z Fold 5, Samsung introduced its new Flex Hinge, which has slimmed down the phone’s dimensions while allowing it to close completely flat. It boasts blazing performance thanks to its Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip, excellent battery life and the flexible main display’s brightness is the best you can get with a peak of 1,750 nits. And, thanks to new multitasking gestures and updated taskbar, its capacity for mobile productivity is simply unmatched. If that’s not enough, unlike most of its competitors, the Z Fold 5 offers native stylus support, though you have to shell out extra for one of Samsung’s S-Pens (and a case if you want somewhere to stash it). The biggest downside is that with a starting price of $1,800, the Z Fold 5 is still extremely expensive. — Sam Rutherford, Senior Reporter

Read our full review of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5

Runner up: Google Pixel Fold

While the Z Fold 5 may be our favorite big foldable overall, the Pixel Fold isn’t far behind. Its wider design means its 5.8-inch exterior display feels a lot more usable than the Z Fold 5’s skinnier 6.2-inch Cover Screen. Additionally, that extra width results in a flexible main panel with a landscape orientation, so it’s super easy to open the Pixel Fold and launch straight into watching a TV show or movie; no need to rotate the device. And, despite being Google’s first foldable device, the Pixel Fold (12.1mm) is thinner than Samsung’s alternative (13.4mm) while boasting better camera quality and a longer 5x optical zoom. The phone also has IPX8 water resistance and Google’s excellent Pixel-only software including features like the Hold for me, Call Screener, the Pixel Recorder app and more. — S.R.

Read our full review of the Google Pixel Fold

The best flip-style foldable phone: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5

Packing a faster Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip, better cameras and longer battery life, the Galaxy Z Flip 5 is our favorite compact foldable. This year, Samsung even added its new Flex Hinge, which makes the phone thinner while also eliminating the gap between its screen when closed. Also, thanks to its larger 3.4-inch exterior display, the latest model can do much more without needing to open it up. You can even run full Android apps, though you’ll have to mess around with Samsung’s Good Lock software first. Its display is also brighter and more colorful than what you get from rivals, and starting at $1,000, it’s not that much more expensive than a more conventional high-end phone. — S.R.

Read our full review of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5

Runner up: Motorola Razr+

While the Razr+ (or the Razr 40 Ultra for those outside North America) may not be quite as sophisticated as the Galaxy Z Flip 5, what it lacks in tech it makes up for with its personality. It’s available in three colors, with the magenta model featuring a soft vegan leather back. In addition, its exterior display features a neat cutout that wraps around its cameras and compared to Samsung’s flip-style foldable, it’s actually a touch easier to use. There’s no need to fool around with extra settings just to view all your favorite Android apps. And for those who are nostalgic for the original Razr from the early 2000s, Moto even included an easter egg that features a retro UI. Unfortunately, its water resistance is much less substantial, as it’s only rated to withstand spills or small splashes. — S.R.

Read our full review of the Motorola Razr+

A more affordable option: Motorola Razr

The non-plus Moto Razr (aka the Razr 40 internationally) is the company’s first attempt to make a more affordable flip-style foldable. Starting at £800 (U.S. pricing still TBA), it’s one of the least expensive options on sale today. However, it features a much smaller 1.5-inch exterior display along with a slower Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 chip and somewhat underwhelming cameras. On the bright side, it features the same display you get on its more expensive sibling. The one difference is that it’s limited to 144Hz instead of 165Hz due to its less powerful processor. And, similar to the magenta Razr+, all the colors of the basic Razr (Sage Green, Vanilla Cream, Summer Lilac) come with a soft vegan leather back. — S.R.

Read our full review of the Motorola Razr

Exotic options

As mentioned earlier, there’s an abundance of exotic – and often more advanced – foldables well beyond the Samsungs and Motorolas of the world. However, you either need to have access to phone importers or actually live in Asia, and don’t mind sideloading missing Google apps on your own.

Xiaomi Mix Fold 3

The best overall book-style foldable is none other than the Xiaomi Mix Fold 3, which packs Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, four Leica-enhanced rear cameras (including a 5x zoom periscope) and a 4,800mAh battery within its surprisingly slim body – 10.86mm when folded, and 5.26mm when unfolded. Xiaomi even goes as far as boasting a 500,000-fold durability – more than doubling that of the Galaxy Z Fold 5. Despite its absence in the western markets, the Mix Fold 3’s newly-added 50W wireless charging option would be much welcomed over there. The phone comes with a protective case for both halves of the body, with the rear shell offering a kickstand for easier video playback and video calls. One Hong Kong-based specialist can send a Mix Fold 3 to the US from around $1,500 with shipping included, which is still much cheaper than Samsung’s equivalent. — Richard Lai, Senior Reporter

Honor Magic V2

Another worthy contender is the Honor Magic V2, which currently holds the title for the slimmest foldable phone available. We’re talking about just 9.9mm thick when folded, and a mere 4.7mm thick when opened, but it’s still a full-blown flagship device. Weighing at just 231g (8.15oz), this is the lightest book-style foldable phone as well. Funnily enough, the Magic V2 also packs the largest battery capacity in this category, offering 5,000mAh of juice thanks to Honor’s silicon-carbon battery – a breakthrough tech in the mobile industry. The obvious trade-off here is the missing wireless charging feature, but you do get a durability rating of 400,000 folds. Sadly, due to limited availability, the Magic V2 costs slightly more – around $1,670, shipping included, from the same Hong Kong shop. — R.L.

Oppo Find N3 Flip

If you’d prefer a smaller flip-style foldable from overseas, the Oppo Find N3 Flip is the only triple-camera option at the time of writing this guide. While others only offer a main camera and an ultra-wide camera, the Find N3 Flip benefits from an additional 32-megapixel 2x portrait shooter next to its 3.26-inch external screen (and you still get a 32-megapixel selfie camera on the inside). As a bonus, this clamshell has a physical mute switch, a whopping 600,000-fold durability and a generous 4,300mAh battery. That said, wireless charging is again a no-show here. You can pick up a Find N3 Flip in either black, gold or pink, and importing from Hong Kong should cost around $1,090 with shipping included. There’s no price advantage in this case, so it’s more about how much you want Oppo’s designs, features and accessories than anything else. — R.L.

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