The Legal Issues Concerning of CBD Vape Oil

CBD vape oil has been linked to health benefits such as treating mental disorders, reducing pain, and helping with inflammation. However, just because it has positive effects does not mean you can use it wherever you like. Some places do not allow it while others have already legalized CBD oil. 

CBD vape oil has come a long way in terms of legalization due to its relation to cannabis. Yes, some countries have allowed citizens to use it but many others still have reservations about it. They include the vape oil on the list of illegal products.  

Well, why are states having controversial stands about CBD vape oil legality? CBD stands for cannabidiol. Its legality depends on three factors its source and country.  

Source  

CBD oil can be obtained from either the marijuana plant or the industrial hemp version. Many nations consider marijuana illegal. It is because one of its species contains high levels of THC, a compound that causes users to feel ‘high’. Therefore, instead of looking into the other strains with very low THC, such states decide to criminalize marijuana altogether.  

If you live in a country where marijuana is illegal, then even CBD oil vape extracted from it is illegal. Some states in the US permit use of marijuana and its extracts for medical purposes. Therefore, make sure you have a doctor’s prescription before purchase.  

As for industrial hemp, it is the alternative source of CBD vape oil. This is because it does not contain THC. You do not have to worry about getting high. That is why it is considered a safe and legal product. Every US state recognizes hemp-cultivated CBD as legal. You can buy it from the local store and online.

Country of Use  

You already know that some states in the US allow people to use marijuana and its products. Some countries have legalized marijuana. It would be prudent to enjoy its extracts including CBD vape oil in such places.  

If you are not sure whether CBD is legal in a country, contact its customs department. Ask about whether it allows cannabis use. If it does not, get a no objection certificate from your doctor. It should state that you are using CBD for health purposes.  

FDA-approved hemp products usually have 0.3 % THC, which is entirely acceptable.  

Will the Legality of Cannabidiol Change in Future? 

There are mixed reactions about the future of CBD. THC-free CBD vape oil has no harsh effects on the human body. Therefore, there would be no reason to ban it in the future considering the studies conducted in its favor. 

However, with the controversy surrounding CBD, it is almost impossible to predict its legal status in future. It could get better or worsen. Some countries continue to embrace it while others with strict laws against CBD may adjust or hold their stand. The easiest way to be on the safe side of the law is to be up to date with the legal status of CBD in the country you are in.   

The legality of CBD vape oil depends on is source and whether a given country allows it or not. With the two factors in mind, you are in a position to prevent committing a crime.

Updated Herbalife Review: Is This Weight Loss Shake Safe?

The weight loss industry is booming and numerous weight loss products are being constantly released in the market. A lot of people are desiring to live healthy lives and many companies have taken advantage of this. One of the companies that have rapidly grown in popularity is Herbalife which manufactures some of the best meal replacement shakes. Although herbal shake is said to be plant-based, there are growing concerns about its safety. To understand the ingredients and functions of this product below is an unbiased herbalife shake review.  

Herbalife Shake Ingredients  

The safety of herbalife shakes heavily relies on its ingredients and their functions in the body. The active ingredients found in this meal replacement shake include: 

  • Soy Protein Isolate

Soy is a protein-rich supplement that is known to have numerous health benefits. It is commonly used with some of the best meal replacement shakes thanks to its ability to enhance the growth of lean muscles, to reduce risks of cancers and the onset of menopause. However, soy protein isolate has also been listed among the top GMO foods which have negative health effects.

  • Fiber Blend

The popular formula 1 herbalife shake contains 3g of fiber which helps to suppress the appetite and reduce food cravings. 

  • Digestion Enzymes

They help to enhance protein digestion and regularity. 

  • Sugar and Sweeteners

This meal replacement contains natural sweeteners which are used to enhance the flavor of this shake. 

  • Calcium

It has vital importance in multiple cellular processes. Calcium is mainly used to enhance the strength of bones and teeth. 

  • Vitamin A

It helps to enhance the appearance of the skin, bones, tissues, and teeth. Vitamin A is commonly known as retinol and it gives the eye its pigment and improves vision in low light conditions. 

  • Vitamin C

Vitamin C is found mostly in fruits and it is an essential nutrient which helps to protect the body by enhancing immunity. It also prevents the risk of cardiovascular diseases, reduces wrinkles, prenatal diseases among others. Vitamin C helps to protect the body cells by keeping them healthy through the production of collagen which is important for blood vessels, bones and skin. 

  • Vitamin E

The best meal replacement shakes contain antioxidants which help to repair worn out muscles and enhance the growth of body cells. Vitamin E is mainly used with herbalife shake because of its antioxidant properties. The antioxidants help to enhance the immunity of the body by killing free radicals that pose health risks. It is used to treat diseases such as cancer, diabetes and it also protects the skin against aging. 

  • Magnesium

It helps to maintain normal blood pressure, control heart rate and to enhance the strength of bones. A lot of people take meals with inadequate amounts of magnesium and herbalife caters to this by providing sufficient amounts of magnesium. 

  • Niacin

Niacin, commonly known as Vitamin B3 provides the body with essential health benefits such as balancing the cholesterol levels in the body and reducing the risks of cardiovascular diseases.

How Herbalife Shake Works 

Herbalife shake is one of the best meal replacement shakes which can be used to effectively shed weight. The low-calorie shake is used as a meal replacement once or twice a day. Herbalife reviews indicate that this shake works by creating a feeling of satiety and fullness. Because it is a supplement which contains low amounts of calories than a normal real meal, it creates a calorie deficit in the body which leads to weight loss. 

The Side Effects of Using Herbalife shake 

Herbalife reviews indicate that there is a strong and direct relationship between this shake and significant weight loss. So does it have any side effects? Herbalife shake has been specifically formulated for individuals who want to lose weight. Apart from soy protein isolate protein which is said to be genetically modified, then this product is one of the best meal replacement shakes that you can use for weight loss. It has numerous health benefits which are not only good for physical appearances but also emotional well-being. This herbal shake helps to boost the confidence levels of the user and improving their overall mood. 

However, Herbalife reviews show that large amounts of this shake can cause potential side effects such as dehydration, frequent urination, gas, fatigue, and others hence it is therefore important for the user to ensure that they consume only adequate amounts of this shake. 

Final Thoughts

Herbalife is a great meal replacement shake. It provides users with healthy nutrition, weight control and the much-needed energy for workouts. Anyone can enjoy using this meal replacement plan because it has been formulated with natural and safe ingredients which effectively promote weight loss. It is an incredible and convenient shake that is easy and simple to make and it can be consumed on the go. If you are going to use Herbalife shake, there is no need to diet since the portions have enough nutrients which are required by the body.

Why Herbalife Formula is the Best Diet Shake

Herbalife shake is a nutrition rich meal replacement formula that helps in healthy weight loss and energy boost. It can also serve as a quick meal for people who have tight schedules at work because it is nutritious, filling and very tasty. The satisfying aspect of the shake reduces the intake of snacks thus cutting down calories taken when one keeps on eating snacks due to hunger. 

Essential nutrients, vitamins that are present: 

This is an important step toward losing weight. Herbalife shake is fully balanced. It contains essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals; therefore, one needs not to worry about being supplied with proper nutrition in the right amounts needed by the body when using the shake. 

Herbalife shake is made from keenly selected high-quality ingredients most of which are organic. To start with; Herbalife shake is packed with healthy proteins from soy as well as milk. Research shows that a protein-rich diet is able to cause weight loss. This is because high healthy protein decreases the fat in the body. 

The effectiveness of the Herbalife shake 

It has fiber which helps in digestion. Other ingredients are fruits such as papaya, ginger root powder, canola, corn, bran, vegetables, and other micronutrients such as minerals and vitamins all of which supply the body with the required nutrients. 

In addition, the vegetables in the shakes provide fiber that aids in digestion while the fruits provide natural low sugars to prevent hypertension while providing the body with the required energy at the same time. Generally, herbal shake ingredients used to make the formula are low in fat to ensure the prevention of cholesterol. For this reason, the shake is healthy even in prolonged use. 

Herbalife reviews from Customer 

Herbalife reviews are mainly positive as people give testimonies of how they have succeeded to lose weight with the help of the shake. Also, most of them have confessed to having experienced higher energy levels while using the formula. Mothers have acknowledged how Herbalife shake has helped them in shedding weight and promised to recommend it to other people looking forward to losing weight. Also, most of those who have used the shake applaud its high quality and agree that it has a great taste as well, therefore, they enjoy taking it. 

Herbalife is produced in a wide range of flavors to cater to the personal tastes and preferences of users. A few of the best Herbalife flavors are seasonal, but the majority can be supplied all year round. These Herbalife shake flavors are: Cookies n Cream, Orange Cream, Koshera also called Vanilla, French Vanilla, Dulce de Leche, Mint Chocolate, Wild Berry, Pina Colada, Café Latte, Pumpkin Spice, Dutch Chocolate, and Vanilla non-GM ingredients. 

Although all Herbalife shake flavors are popularly used, the best flavor is Cookies n Cream. This is according to the Herbalife shake reviews of those who have either used Herbalife meal replacement shake or still are using it. The reason most of them give for choosing Cookies n Cream as the best flavor is that it is easy for one to add other foods such as vegetables and fruits into its formula. 

Bottom line 

In conclusion, Herbalife is the best meal replacement for those who want to lose weight in a healthy way. It is a high-quality shake carefully made from Herbalife shake ingredients proven to provide nutrients and to stimulate weight loss as well. Therefore, it is the most recommended meal replacement formula for those aspiring to lose weight. 

Also, it is balanced and fortified with numerous vitamins which are twenty-one in number as well as micronutrients to ensure nourishment and to boost one’s energy during the weight loss process. Also, Herbalife shakes are very delicious, and their preparation is simple and quick therefore coming in handy when there is little time. 

These are some of the reasons why they are popularly bought. Compared to other weight loss shakes, Herbalife meal replacement shake has proven excellent results since it certainly helps in losing weight when used even in few, for instance, a week. For remarkable healthy weight loss though, continuous use of Herbalife is required; this is because Herbalife leads to gradual loss of weight; therefore, one remains healthy and strong even in the process. Herbalife Shake is the best diet shake for weight loss, and it gives one value for money. 

Fundamentals of Tru Weight Loss

You achieve physical fitness by living a healthy lifestyle. If you are in bad physical shape, you tend to suffer from anxiety, depression among other health-related problems. The problems can drastically reduce if you make efforts and stay safe. In order to improve the level of physical fitness, many people resort to diet products. Not all diet companies offer the best products. There is good news to those who try Tru weight loss products. They are made to assure you great success when it comes to weight loss. 

What Are TruVision Products? 

It is a revolutionary company which is known to make quality weight loss products. The weight loss products sold by the company are highly effective. The products combine diet and exercises which are very effective in helping you lose weight. It does not offer to get fit quick schemes which do not work. The products offered by the company combine fat burning medicines, healthy diet plans, remarkable experiences and beneficial dietary supplements.
They have been tested to ensure they work for many people who try them. 

The company is concerned in promoting better wellbeing and health. It produces several products which are used all over the world. Some of the products can work alone or in a combination of other products from the company. Some of the products include TruFix and TruContol which are packed with vital ingredients based on several years of scientific research. 

The 411 on TruFix 

The products in TruVision Company are made out do different ingredients. Some of the bestselling products in the company is TruFix which promotes healthy blood cholesterol levels and sugar. It also supports live functions. The globally known products are naturally sourced from plant extracts which initiate detox of your body. They optimize blood chemistry and encourage fast weight loss process through initiating the body’s own fat burning processes. 

The products feature several nutrients such as minerals, vitamins as well as amino acids.
The developers of TruVision have included the most vital components of weight management processes which are safe. Some of the ingredients include the following: 

  • Chromium 
  • Magnesium 
  • Chlorogenic acid 
  • Copper
  • Zinc
  • Alpha Lipoic acid
  • Selenium
  • Raspberry Ketones
  • Cinnulin
  • Vanadium 

The work of Trufix is to help the body release toxins and fats from the body. It leads to the reduction of cellulite as well as minimizing fat storage in the body. Use of the products helps in tackling stubborn fats from the body. TruFix is designed to work in combination with TruControl. 

The 411 on TruControl 

The weight management products are proved to be effective in helping you lose weight. TruControl works with Tru Fix to provide a well-rounded approach. The product picks up where TruFix stops to help you achieve the best results in your weight loss journey. It provides excellent appetite control as well as sustaining energy levels. It also promotes better mental lucidity. TruControl has several ingredients which make it an effective weight loss program. It utilizes quality ingredients such as the following: 

Hydroelectric Acid 

Octodrine 

Cocoa Powder
Caffeine 

Hordenine HCL 

Pyridoxine 

Yohimbine HCL 

Green Tea Extract 

Microcrystalline Cellulose 

Theacrine 

Dendrobium Extract 

Silicon Dioxide 

KinetiQ 

Black Pepper Extract 

Evodiamine 

Magnesium Stearate 

Ferrous Fumarate 

For effective results, Tru Weight loss products are designed to work as dietary supplements in form of pills which you should take before breakfast. They should be taken early in the morning and in early afternoon. They work to control your appetite hence leave you satisfied. They also boost your body metabolism as well as detoxifying. They optimize blood sugar levels to help you attain as well as maintain. The products are recommended by nutritionists because they pose no adverse negative side effects to human beings. 

Other TruVision Weight Loss Products 

The company is globally recognized to offer a wide array of naturally derived health ingredients. The healthy products can be used alone or with other supplements to help you enjoy good health. The high safety and efficiency of the products from the company makes them highly respected. 

The company also manufactures other three products which are effective just like TruControl and TruFix. They include the following products: 

1. TruElevate – The product helps you to feel energized all through the day especially when you are using fat burning products. Trufix and TruControl offer a boost to metabolism, but TruElevate helps to increase your energy levels. 

2. Renu- It is applied as a full body detox agent. It is effective in decreasing the amount of cellulite as well as helping you to shed fats. 

3. rePlace- It is a vegan meal replacement product which comes with several healthy ingredients. It can be taken with other TruWeight loss products to increase the absorption of different essential minerals, vitamins and amino acids in the body. 

Best Herbalife Shake Cafe Latte Formula One Recipes

Herbalife is a worldwide nutrition plus weight management company which manufactures weight loss supplements, protein shakes, sports plus energy products. The signature product-composing 30% of its sales is called “Formula 1”, a meal replacement shake powder manufactured from soy.

Herbalife losing weight plan is comprised of teas, losing weight supplements and protein Shakes For Weight Loss. Herbalife mixes some diets with its own Herbalife meal replacement protein shakes so as to help “induce weight loss”.

The company has created someplace where you can access all their Herbalife Shake Recipes, organized by Formula 1 Flavor. All the recipes can be accessed at this website: http://www.herbaldrive.com/herbalife-shake-recipes/

Example: Best Herbalife Shake Recipes:

Caffe Latte Formula 1

Lots of people think it is not possible having some quick and easy meal which is also healthy. Therefore, they end up sacrificing nutrition for ease and in the process visit the closest fast-food chain. But you do not have to that. The following are 10 ideas for some delicious and healthy meal that is based on Caffe Latte, flavored Formula 1 Shake Mix.

However, before getting to the recipes, there are some few things that ought to be mentioned. First is that you are going to require a smoothie machine or a blender to help in mixing together everything. You throw 10 ounces of water and ice into the blender together with other ingredients, then you blend till it becomes smooth. It may take some few times to get the correct ice/water ratio, depending on the make of your blender, the thickness of the ice among other factors.

Then there are common ingredients you are going to require much for each shake. For instance, you are going to use Formula One (Healthy Meal Nutritional) Shake Mix plus the Herbalife Protein Drink Shake Mix. when you happen to have only Formula 1 Mix, then you may just use two scoops of that. Then another common ingredient is the sugar-free pudding. When you are unable to find this in your local store, you are advised to look for it at abundantlifefoods.com.

Cafe Latte Formula, Ice, Water, Protein Drink Mix start with:

  • 24 grams protein 
  • 24 vitamins and minerals
  • 250 calories

Any extra or substituted ingredients are going to alter the shake’s nutritional content.

10 Herbalife Shake Recipes utilizing Cafe Latte Formula One, Healthy Nutritional Meal Shake Mix

1. Chai Latte Shake

  • 2 Scoops Cafe Latte Formula One Mix
  • 2 Scoops Vanilla Protein Drink Mix
  • 1 Tablespoon of sugar-free, Gingerbread Syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon of sugar-free, Vanilla Syrup
  • ¼ Tablespoon of Cinnamon

2. Hazelnut Latte Shake

  • 2 Scoops Cafe Latte Formula One Mix 
  • 2 Scoops Vanilla Protein Drink Mix 
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar-free, Hazelnut Syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar-free Vanilla Pudding MIx  

3. Peppermint Mocha Shake

  • 2 Scoops Cafe Latte Formula One Mix 
  • 2 Scoops Vanilla Protein Drink Mix 
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar-free, Chocolate Pudding Mix 
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar-free, Peppermint Syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon Andy’s Mints

4. Mocha Cappuccino Shake

  • 2 Scoops Cafe Latte Formula One Mix 
  • 2 Scoops Chocolate Protein Drink Mix 
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar-free, Chocolate Pudding Mix 
  • 1 A teaspoon of Instant Coffee

5. Coffee Heath Bar Crunch Shake

  • 2 Scoops Cafe Latte Formula One Mix
  • 2 Scoops Chocolate Protein Drink Mix
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar-free, Butterscotch Pudding Mix
  • 1 Teaspoon Peanut Butter
  • 1 Tablespoon Heath/Toffee Bar Bits

6. Pumpkin Spice Latte Shake

  • 2 Scoops Cafe Latte Formula One Mix 
  • 2 Scoops Vanilla Protein Drink Mix 
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar-free, Pumpkin Syrup 
  • 1 Dash Cinnamon

7. Caramel Cafe Latte Shake

  • 2 Scoops Cafe Latte Formula One Mix 
  • 2 Scoops Vanilla Protein Drink Mix 
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar-free Caramel Syrup 
  • 1 Teaspoon Instant Coffee

8. Irish Cream Latte Shake

  • 2 Scoops Cafe Latte Formula One Mix 
  • 2 Scoops Vanilla Protein Drink Mix 
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar-free, Irish Syrup 
  • 1 Teaspoon Instant Coffee

9. Banana Latte Shake

  • 2 Scoops Cafe Latte Formula One Mix
  • 2 Scoops Vanilla Protein Drink Mix
  • 2 Slice of Banana 
  • 1 Teaspoon Instant Coffee

10. French Vanilla Cappuccino Shake

  • 2 Scoops Cafe Latte Formula One Mix 
  • 2 Scoops Vanilla Protein Drink Mix 
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar-free, Vanilla Pudding Mix 
  • 1 Teaspoon Instant Coffee 

Herbalife Pros

Since the teas and protein shakes may be prepared anytime, anywhere and they need no special ingredients, their plan is quite practical.

Their diet plan is quite prescriptive, and this makes it convenient for people who have the propensity of liking exactly when and what they are told to eat.

Their diet program also is likely to result in short-term weight loss

Herbalife says you should try the above recipes and let them know your opinion. And that should you come up with your own recipes and you need to share it would be great. You just send it to them and they may feature it on their site. But all in all, these shakes are fast, simple and healthy. Therefore, you no longer have any reason to eat unhealthy food.

Amplifi HD

Amplifi HD is a new addition to the growing list of mesh Wi-Fi routers, which use additional Wi-Fi repeaters to help spread a wireless network throughout the home.

This type of router is becoming increasingly popular as it’s an easy to set up, and effective, method for ensuring that all the devices in your home can access the internet.

Well-known names such as Google (with Google Wifi), and Netgear (with the Netgear Orbi) have released mesh routers to critical acclaim, so how does a relatively unknown brand stack up against these stalwarts? We plugged it in to our home network to see how it does.

Amplifi HD review

Price and availability

The AmpliFi Mesh Wi-Fi system can be bought as a bundle, and includes a router base station and two wireless ‘super mesh points’ called ‘MeshPointHD’ for extending the Wi-Fi coverage, and costs $311.99 (£360, around AU$380). You can also buy the parts separately from the Amplifi website, with the router itself costing $133.99 (£150, around AU$180).

This is a more palatable price, though of course without the mesh points, you’re missing out on quite a bit of functionality. The MeshPointHDs can also be bought separately, and cost $108.99 (around £80, AU$140). If you don’t have a huge house, then buying the router and a single mesh point separately will be more cost effective.

However, for most people, the complete bundle will be the one to go for, which means it’s one of the more expensive mesh routers out there. Google Wifi, which we really like, costs less, with a price tag of 299 (about AU$389) for a set of three Wi-Fi units. In the UK, Google Wifi comes with a two unit set costing £229, with additional units costing $129 (£129, around AU$167), which means it will cost around the same price as the AmpliFi Mesh Wi-Fi with a main router and two mesh points.

However, the AmpliFi Mesh Wi-Fi system is cheaper than the Netgear Orbi, which costs $399 (£399, AU$749), though it only comes with two units (a router and a 'Satellite'). So to get a third unit, you’d need to pay an additional $249 or £249 (about AU$329) – making it a fair bit more expensive.

If you’re in the UK, then there’s also BT Whole Home Wi-Fi, which has had a drastic price cut to just £199.99, and offers three units.

Amplifi HD review

Design

In an increasingly crowded market, you need to stand out from the pack, and the Amplifi HD achieves that thanks to a stylish look that combines a minimalist design with some genuinely useful features.

From the box to the design of the router, there’s an obvious Apple influence here. The box it comes in has a number of tabs and fold out parts that certainly bring to mind the fancy packages of Apple products, and it feels like Ubiquiti, the company behind the Amplifi HD, really want to show that this is no ordinary router.

The main router unit is a white cube that can sit in the palm of your hand, with a round LCD display at the front, and the ports at the back. Again, the influence is clear, and it’s little surprise to learn that Robert Pera, the CEO of Ubiquiti, used to work at a certain fruit-themed company.

Considering the minimalist design, it’s good to see that the router still comes with plenty of ports, with four Gigabit Ethernet connections for wired devices, and another Ethernet port to connect to your modem. There’s also a USB port for sharing printers and storage devices across your network, and a USB-C power port.

Amplifi HD review

It’s easily one of the better looking routers we’ve seen, and that’s saying something when the likes of Google and Netgear have been upping their games lately when it comes to stylish networking devices. 

It’s definitely a gadget that you wouldn’t mind having out on display, rather than hiding it away like you’d want to with more ugly routers, which helps improve wireless strength, as it won’t have to battle through cupboard doors and other obstacles. When plugged in, the screen lights up, and a subtle white light along the bottom edge of the unit begins to glow. 

Overall, it looks very nice.

Unlike some wireless mesh systems, like Google Wifi, the three units that make up the Amplifi HD system don’t all look the same, with the two MeshPointHDs signal boosters having quite a different, yet still quite striking, design to the main router. 

Amplifi HD review

The MeshPointHD

They are both long white oblongs that plug directly into a power socket. The main body of the MeshPointHD is actually attached to the power supply via a magnetic ball. This allows you to angle the body to help improve Wi-Fi coverage. 

Amplifi HD review

On the whole, the design of the MeshPointHD isn't quite as successful as the one for the main router. They are quite large, and don’t match the understated design of the router. We can see the usefulness of the articulated magnetic joints to maneuver the antenna, but if they were small, cute squares like the router, the whole system would be more attractive.

Amplifi HD review

Despite our reservations over the MeshPointHDs, the design of the Amplifi HD, especially the router, is very impressive, and if you’re an Apple fan, you’ll likely approve of the Cupertino-esque aesthetics.

Performance

On plugging in the Amplifi HD, the screen lights up and asks you to download the Amplifi app for either iOS or Android devices. You can also use the touch screen on the front for more options. The app makes setting up pretty easy, with an animated video taking you through the process of connecting up the router.

Amplifi HD review

The app quickly found the Amplifi router and took us through the steps needed to configure the device. The well-presented app, along with the touchscreen display on the router itself, made this one of the most straightforward router installations we’ve ever experienced, and will certainly appeal to anyone who doesn’t like having to mess around with any settings.

Once set up, we were able to test out the main Amplifi HD router, and even without the MeshPointHDs installed, we found it had a impressive range, reaching the third story of our building with a decent signal strength.

When testing the internet speeds, we got 74.6 Mbps download speeds in the same room as the Amplifi router (which was pretty much the maximum speed of our connection). One floor up, the speed dropped slightly to 74.1 Mbps, and on the top floor of the three-storey building we got download speeds of 68.3 Mbps. 

This is pretty decent performance for such a small router with no external antennae, and shows how you don’t necessarily have to have a big bulky router in the vein of the Linksys WRT32X to get good coverage.

This impressive performance also means you may not need the MeshPointHDs signal boosters unless you have a very large house.

Adding the MeshPointHDs signal boosters was, again, pretty easy. All we needed to do was plug them in to a power socket, wait a few minutes and they would appear in the Amplifi app. 

Amplifi HD review

Part of the Amplifi app

From there you can see the signal strength, as well as notes about whether or not the MeshPointHD is installed in an optimal place to boost the Wi-Fi signal. However, we did find we needed to plug it in to a few different places ourselves to get good results. 

Once we did, we saw the speeds at the top floor of the house (where the MeshPointHD was installed) climbing to 74.4Mbps, pretty much the same speed as when we were in the same room as the main Amplifi router.

So, the performance of the Amplifi HD is more than good enough to quickly set up and then just leave it to do its thing, competently providing internet to all corners of your house, either from the main router or via the MeshPointHD. 

If you do want to tweak the settings, however, then the Amplifi app does an excellent job of providing you with advanced networking tools, such as port forwarding and guest network access, in an easy-to-use interface that we’ve come to expect from this router.

We liked

The design, the app, the whole experience is very nice, and it’s one of the simplest routers we’ve ever set up. For a relatively unknown brand, the Amplifi HD certainly gives its more established rivals a run for their money.

It’s also a very good performer, offering brains as well as beauty.

We disliked

While most of the design is fantastic, we’re not too sold on the MeshPointHD designs, as they look a little ungainly compared to the rest of the setup.

The price is also pretty high as well – there are much cheaper alternatives out there.

Final verdict

The Amplifi HD is an excellent wireless router with range extenders that will look good in almost anyone’s house thanks to an excellent design that Apple’s own Jony Ive would surely approve of.

It’s incredibly easy to set up, and it works brilliantly as well. If you have a large house, then the two MeshPointHD extenders will help ensure it is covered by your Wi-Fi network.

However, it is expensive, and may be over kill for smaller buildings. If you’re not too fussed about what your router looks like, and don’t mind fiddling around with more complex interfaces, then there are cheaper alternatives out there.

But from a design and usability point of view, the Amplifi HD is an excellent router to rival Google Wi-Fi and Netgear Orbi.

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Asus Chromebook Flip C101PA

What it lacks in size, the Asus Chromebook Flip C101PA makes up for in names. It’s a mouthful, but at 1.9 pounds and under 11 inches in width, this Chromebook is not a bagful. That, plus its 12-hour, go-go battery are the C101PA’s best qualities.

Unfortunately, there’s not much else to get excited about. Though a convertible, and relatively cheap, a finicky touchscreen makes the C101PA not a particularly great tablet, and a cramped keyboard makes it not a particularly great laptop. The C101PA has an identity problem. 

That said, it’s not without a market. The C101PA is a fine backup device, and a better-than-decent media ‘tabtop’ that isn’t afraid of trains and/or tiny dorm rooms.

Asus Chromebook Flip C101PA

Price and availability

Its crossfit body and coupon-clipped, $269 (£289, about AU$349) price are what the C101PA puts at the top of its resume. 

The rest of this laptop's specs, however, are fairly standard for a budget Chromebook: 4GB of memory, 16GB of storage and a barely-HD screen.

Decidedly non-standard is the C101PA’s processor. Rather than the Intel Celeron or Core i3 that’s ubiquitous in these laptops, the C101PA runs on a Rockchip OP1. A little research yields some clues as to why Asus went with the “rock”: the OP1 is very mobile-friendly – a better fit perhaps for the tablet-style C101PA.

The C101PA’s closest competitor, the $249 (£170, AU$320) Acer Chromebook R11 shares its convertibility, as well as its small, barely-HD screen and 4GB of memory.

Where the R11 differs from the C101PA is in its storage (32GB local) and processor (budget-standard Intel Celeron). It’s also, of course, a tad cheaper.

The conventional – it’s just a laptop – $199 (about £229, AU$499) HP Chromebook 14 is older, larger and sharper (14-inch HD screen) than the C101PA, though the two are similarly kitted out on the storage and memory front. HP’s device also runs on – you guessed it – an Intel Celeron processor.

Design and display

With its silver finish and black bezel and keys, the C101PA is clearly MacBook inspired. That’s not a criticism necessarily – kudos to Asus for making a little Chromebook that looks just as stylish as Apple’s flagship laptop.

As expected for a device that’s part tablet and needs finger-gripping room, the C101PA gives up much of its screen’s real estate to the previously-mentioned black bezel. Additional tactility is provided by the screen and back panel’s stiff construction.

All this finger-friendly space has the unfortunate effect of making the C101PA’s small 10.1 inch screen appear even smaller. The bezel doesn’t just frame the screen, it swallows it up.

The C101PA’s full-flex hinge allows the Chromebook to execute its namesake: it flips smoothly, though not effortlessly, into tablet mode, and without any NASA-level mechanics, locks or funky twists.

Asus Chromebook Flip C101PA

Because the C101PA simply rotates on its hinge, the keyboard in tablet mode awkwardly faces south, directly at your lap, table, or, most likely, hand. Manipulating the C101PA as a tablet feels like playing a saxophone – you’re going to get a fingerful of keys whenever you pick it up. It’s disconcerting but not disastrous – the keys turn off in tablet mode – though we wonder what effect this saxophone setup will have on the C101PA’s long term keyboard health.

Also awkward is the C101PA’s supposed touchscreen. Finger scrolls and flicks work fine, but icon pressing, particularly small ones like a tab’s ‘X’ or browser’s ‘back’ arrow, is too often an exercise in futility. Be prepared for frustrated screen jabbing.

At least its touchy touchscreen is clear and colorful with wide viewing angles – those essentials-for-a-tablet Asus got right.

Asus Chromebook Flip C101PA

Keyboard and touchpad

The C101PA’s touchpad isn’t given a lot of space, but it makes do. It swipes and scrolls as well as any device and has a springy, tactile ‘click’ that works all over the touchpad. 

This well-engineered usability helps the touchpad feel larger than it is. 

The same can’t be said for the C101PA’s keys: they’re small and feel as much. Neither their actuations nor the well in which they sit are particularly firm.

The real estate they’re given is also sparse: your hands practically end up on top of each other as you type. An enterprise or school-ready device the C101PA is not.

Apparently, going with the Rockchip was the right move for Asus, as the C101PA scored fairly well (for a budget device) on our benchmarks.

The C101PA outperformed its Celeron-run rivals on both our Mozilla Kraken and Octane tests. 

While the C101PA’s scores aren’t impressive when put up against something like the Google Pixelbook, it’s not really a fair comparison. Asus’s little Chromebook is a quarter the price of Google’s top-of-the-liner. 

Our day to day usage backed up the benchmark scores: the C101PA ran cool with multiple tabs open and Spotify pumping music in the background.

This Asus machine does what Chromebooks are expected to do (and nothing more): provide a solid device for light media and Internet browsing.

Asus Chromebook Flip C101PA

Battery life

Inside this pup of a Chromebook is one beast of a battery. This laptop turns out a half day’s worth of cordless action, outlasting the R11’s battery by three hours, and the HP Chromebook 14’s by six and a half. The battery inside is easily the highlight of this Chromebook.

Its all-day battery is essential to the C101PA’s usability, and not because it’s a convertible. This Chromebook hates to be tethered.

The placement of its power port near the front, rather than back of the device’s base effectively knocks six inches off the power cord’s length. Furthermore, its front plug forces you to play some positioning games with the C101PA while charging it, as the power cord will try to snake underneath the device’s base.

Asus Chromebook Flip C101PA

Final verdict

All told, the C101PA is certainly affordable, it just isn’t as affordable as some of its competitors. Acer’s Chromebook R11 accomplishes the same tablet feats as the C101PA, but for a bit less. The HP Chromebook 14 has similar internals to Asus’s Chromebook, and while HP’s device isn't convertible, it is cheaper. When other devices do what the C101PA does, but for cheaper, it’s hard to see the value.

That isn’t to say the C101PA isn’t without great features: it’s light, it runs smoothly and it has one hell of a battery. But, it doesn’t have a sharp screen. It doesn’t have a comfortable keyboard. It doesn’t have a precise touchscreen. These are the sorts of faults that can relegate a device to ‘backup’ or ‘my kid’s first computer’ or ‘the thing on my nightstand I use to google celebrities.’ The C101PA is a backup Googler.

And, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. If you’re in the market for a secondary device, or a primary one that easily fits into a nightstand drawer, then check out the C101PA.

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Honeywell Evohome

Until the invention of the smart thermostat, you probably only really thought about your thermostat when engaged in a battle of hotter/colder with the other inhabitants of your home, who clearly don’t care about bills/comfort. 

Now, thanks to connected thermostats you can control different rooms independently, ensuring that everyone gets a temperature they’re comfortable with, and that the bill-payer gets to save some pennies because only the rooms that are being used get heated.

One such thermostat is the Honeywell Evohome. At the time of writing, this thermostat is already a few years old, but is considered one of the best in the industry on account of its zonal controls, easy installation, and user-friendly interface.

But the question is, now that there are younger, swankier models ram-packed with features on the market, can this simple, solid solution keep up? 

Price and availability

The Honeywell Evohome is available in the UK, US and Australia. As it's a UK company the prices for other regions can depend on the supplier so we'll be providing approximate rates here. 

Pricing is a little complicated (and not cheap) due to the modular nature of the kit. The control panel will set you back £229.99 (about $330, AU$220) not including installation, which in the UK will cost about £100. 

On top of this you'll need a valve for each radiator. These will cost £59 (about $85, AU$100) if bought individually, or there are packs where you can buy a larger number at a discounted rate. It's definitely worth looking for a pack that best suits your needs.

Installation

Installation of the Evohome system is a little more involved than with some other smart thermostats available due to the fact that each radiator in your house needs to be fitted with an individual thermostat.

This means you’ll need radiators with TRV valves to start with, or be prepared to stump up the money to change your current valves to TRV valves. TRV valves are the type that enable you  to adjust the temperature of the radiator. 

Most modern central heating systems will have TRV valves, but bathroom radiators often don’t. This was the case in our house, and we were told by the installer that what would happen was that the bathroom radiator would simply turn on any time one of the other radiators was on, which we figured wasn’t too big a problem.

The TRV valve thermostat

If you don’t need to change valves, the installation of the individual thermostats is unbelievably easy. The TRV valves just pop off and the Evohome valves slide on. The installer even shows you how to do it yourself so that you can change the battery on the thermostat when it eventually runs out.

The main control panel just needs to plug into a wall socket and then connect to your Wi-Fi network, so can go anywhere you’d like it. It can be used as a temperature sensor or simply as a control panel. Pairing the thermostats and the control panel was also very simple – the entire installation took about half an hour for a two-bedroom apartment.

The only bit of the installation that was a bit tricky was the rewiring needed to connect the boiler to the wireless signal receiver. This makes your previous thermostat redundant, so you’re left with the option of having a redundant thermostat sitting on your wall, or getting it removed and repairing the resulting hole.

This isn’t technically part of the installation, but it’s worth remembering when calculating the cost, as you don’t have this issue with a direct thermostat replacement like the Nest Learning Thermostat.

Design

All of the individual components of the Evohome setup are made of the same white plastic, which is disappointing when some of the competition have clearly put a lot of thought into their designs. 

It’s not that the design is unpleasant; it’s just clearly been designed to be functional rather than fashionable. It does mean that it’ll probably be able to fit in with a wide range of interior design styles, but for our taste the range could do with a bit of an image upgrade.

The main control terminal sits on a white dock that’s also a charging platform. That’s right, the terminal has a battery on board so that you can move around the house while setting temperatures. You need to make sure you return it to the dock though, as the battery life isn’t long enough to leave it off the dock overnight, and it’s the unit keeping your entire heating system running. 

The terminal and its dock

The terminal houses a backlit resistive touchscreen that allows you full control of the heating system. We’ll get into the full spectrum of the features a little later on. 

One gripe we had was that the screen is always on; it has an ‘idle screen’ that you can set to display either a digital or traditional clock face, with the option to show current settings, but there’s no option for turning the screen off entirely, which forced us to move the terminal to the study as the constant white light was an annoyance.

The individual thermostats come with their own screens that are adjustable, so they can point up towards you, saving you from having to crouch down every time you want to see what the temperature is currently set to. 

The screen tipping up on the thermostat

There is a twist-dial on the thermostats, so you can override the current settings from the radiator without having to use the control terminal or your phone. You won’t get as sophisticated a level of control, but to bump the temperature up or down a couple of degrees it’s perfect.

In contrast to the hardware, the app is beautifully designed. It’s very clearly laid out, with color coding for temperatures allowing you to identify at a glance the temperature for each room of your house. 

Performance

The Honeywell Evohome allows you to set schedules for each individual thermostat, so if you know that your bedroom is only used at night, you can set it to be cold during the day, heat up half an hour before you head to bed, and then cool down to your preferred sleeping temperature through the night.

The Evohome can even work out how long it takes to heat a room to a particular temperature, and turn on the radiator the appropriate amount of time before a scheduled window so the room is exactly the right temperature when you walk through the door.

Having zonal controls means you can have totally independent schedules for each room, so people using different rooms can have the heating set to their specific demands. 

This was something of a revelation when we got it to work. The apartment we were testing the Evohome in is one of those properties where every room is a different temperature, and what this means is that we always heat to the right level for the living room, but then go through to a cold bedroom. Not so with the Evohome – it was the first time since we moved in that the bedroom had been warmer than the living room.

And figuring out the temperatures that different rooms needed to be at to feel comfortable was something of an issue for the first few days. It’s definitely a more labor-intensive process to figure out the heating requirements of each room and the schedules, and we didn’t get it right for the first few days, leading to some cold evenings and hot nights.

While it is possible to just put your entire home at the same level constantly, that would be like doing the school run in a Porsche. You get Evohome to get unprecedented control – just be prepared to spend some time and effort exercising that control.

Once you’ve set up a schedule, it’s really easy to customize, override for short periods, even activate special settings. So if you’re up late you can do a custom override, or if you’re off sick a single button will activate ‘day off’ mode, which uses your schedule for Saturday on a weekday.

If you’re still wanting to save the pennies there’s an ‘economy’ mode that reduces all temperatures across the board by a few degrees, and if you’re off on holiday a simple push of a button turns all the heating down to 15 degrees.

Of course, one of the biggest draws of a smart heating setup is the ability to do all this from your phone, and the Evohome delivers in this department brilliantly. The app is so simple, it makes competitors like Tado look positively labyrinthine. 

All of the features are easily accessible and temperature control is totally natural, effected by either tapping up or down arrows or by holding and sliding to a preferred temperature. 

This simplicity runs through the entire Honeywell Evohome product. You truly get the feeling that anyone of any level of tech competency could pick it up, and that’s rare in the smart home market.

The Evohome’s wonderfully user-friendly app

If you’re a serious smart home enthusiast you may find that the Evohome is slightly lacking in the smarts compared to some other thermostats on the market. It works with Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant, but only with Alexa and only in limited capacity. There’s a workaround using the free application IFTTT if you’ve got a Google Home smart speaker, but no integration with Apple HomeKit, Apple's smart home management software, and none coming either.

This is disappointing, especially as there are other smart thermostats from Honeywell, like the Lyric, that have all these integrations (but don’t have the zonal control of the Evohome). Hopefully there will be an Evohome 2 at some point down the line that combines the best of both.

The Evohome also doesn’t offer the more advanced features that we’re a fan of in other smart thermostats, like motion sensor-activated routines, geolocation-activated routines (turning your heating on if it registers, via your phone, that you’re on your way home), or learning routines and self-adjusting based on your routine to optimize your heating.

One of the major draws of Evohome is that it can control not only radiators, but, with additional kit, hot water and underfloor heating. Our installer found it hilarious that our flat was so small we only needed to have three radiators hooked up – the Evohome is designed for big houses with complex heating and hot water systems. 

The layout of our flat has proved an interesting challenge for this smart thermostat, as there isn’t a radiator in the hallway or kitchen. Our old thermostat was in the hallway, so the house would always heat to the point where the hallway was warm from all angles. 

The screens are easy to read and clear

Evohome’s zonal control has meant that the hallway has become neglected in the temperature department, and now we have to close all our doors in order to get rooms to stay the right temperature. 

Another thing worth mentioning is that the thermometers aren’t entirely accurate. Depending on the size of the room you may get different actual temperature for the same temperature reading. This isn’t a massive problem, it just means you have to take each temperature measurement with a pinch of salt and adjust each room accordingly.

We liked

We were blown away by how simple the Honeywell Evohome was to set up and use. The app is brilliantly designed, and all of the features are genuinely useful. It doesn’t feel like there’s anything superfluous about the kit or the app. 

Once you’ve got zonal control of the temperature in your home, you do wonder how you lived without it. Being able to have towels warming in the bathroom for your morning shower while keeping the bedroom cool until you wake up, and then having that room come up to temperature by the time you step out of the shower, is truly amazing.

You can control the temperature directly from the radiator thermostat, from the control terminal, from your phone, and even using your voice by asking Alexa. It’s truly remarkable how simple it is for something so versatile and useful.

We disliked

The design definitely leaves something to be desired, and if you’re hoping for the slick brushed metal smart home look, keep looking. Actually, if you’re a smart home enthusiast, probably best to keep looking. 

It doesn’t have many of the ‘smart’ features that you’d expect from a smart thermostat like motion sensor control and geolocation. It doesn’t adapt or learn based on your routines, and isn’t capable of working with HomeKit or Google Assistant without an IFTTT workaround.

If you’re the sort of household that leaves all the doors open, you’re going to have a problem with temperature bleed between rooms, a particular problem if you’ve rooms or corridors without radiators. 

Also, as each of the radiators is individually controlled, there is a small motor that makes a whirring noise when changing temperature. It wasn’t an issue for us, but for those that are very sensitive to noise, it’s worth considering.

Final verdict

The Honeywell Evohome is an interesting device. In so many ways it’s been left behind by its recent competitors, but it’s still the best we’ve seen in terms of simple, effective zonal control. 

It isn’t perfect by any means, and really we wish that Honeywell had amalgamated the Evohome and the Lyric into one device so you got slick smart home tech and industry leading zonal control. 

One thing that really sets the Evohome apart is how user-friendly it is. It’s a smart home thermostat for people who don’t like new and complicated technology – and that’s not us, yet we were still very impressed, which is saying something.

The Honeywell Evohome delivers brilliantly on its gambit: making zonal temperature control child’s play. If all you’re looking for is a system that allows you total control over the temperature of your house, even when you’re not there, get this one.

It’s so easy to use and set up, the app is brilliant, and we’ve only had one issue with the wireless connectivity the entire time we’ve been using it (as a side note, our Evohome emailed us to tell us the about the issue and reassure us that it had already been reported).

That said, if you want cutting edge smart thermostat features like AI-powered scheduling and geofencing, you’re better off trying something like the Nest learning thermostat, Hive thermostat, or if zonal control is important to you, Tado.

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Microsoft Surface Studio

With its exorbitant price, you may not have been sold on the Surface Studio up to this point. Even if it released nearly a year and a half ago, the Surface Studio as it exists right now has found its audience among creators and business alike. For any reluctant to make the transition to an all-in-one desktop PC running full-fat Windows 10, the Surface Studio aims to convince enterprise customers by letting them implement custom scripts while updating.

If that all sounds dry and irrelevant to your specific needs, you’ll be happy to hear that there’s more to the Surface Studio than competent software. The Surface Studio also combines the blistering performance of a high-end PC with the versatility of a 2-in-1 laptop. Sure, we’ve seen touchscreen computers before, but none with an elbow as flexible as the Surface Studio’s Zero Gravity hinge. The hockey puck-like Surface Dial accessory also does a lot to set Microsoft's first true desktop apart from competitors.

With that in mind, the Surface Studio is also ridiculously expensive, which might cause some to turn away when it comes down to purchasing. Its closest competition starts at less than half the price for close – or even better – specs. As such, our Surface Studio review should help you decide whether the advantageous flexibility and accessorization of the Surface Studio are worth three grand. To the general user, they might not.

Pricing and availability

Microsoft usually aims their Surface devices at a premium market, but the Surface Studio takes it to another level altogether, starting at $2,999 or AU$4,699 (about £2,390). All versions of this AIO come with a 28-inch (4,500 x 3,000) display. But, at this level, you’ll be getting an Intel Core i5 processor with 8GB of RAM, 1TB hard drive (with an integrated 64GB SSD) and Nvidia GTX 965 (2GB GDDR5 VRAM) graphics.

The Surface Studio ranges from anywhere between $2,999 (£2,999, AU$4,699) and $4,199 (£4,249, AU$6,599), the latter of which we reviewed here. 

The ‘cheapest’ unit comes outfitted with a 6th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, a 2GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 965M graphics card and 1TB of storage. Simultaneously, the highest-end Surface Studio model we reviewed is packed with an Intel Core i7 CPU, 32GB of RAM and a 4GB GTX 980M eGPU.

A total of $4,199 (£4,249, AU$6,599) is a frightening price tag, particularly when you can pick up an HP Z1 G3 for just $1,359 (about £971, AU$1,723) featuring a business-class Intel Xeon E3-1270 CPU, Nvidia Quadro M2000M graphics and a 3,840 x 2,160 4K screen to top it all off. Plus, unlike the Surface Studio before it, HP’s workstation all-in-one is easily upgradeable and future-proof thanks to internal accessibility. 

The Surface Studio we reviewed is a very costly desktop to say the least. Even if you were to max out the configuration of a Dell XPS 27 AIO, it wouldn’t even come close at $3,299 or £2,999 (about AU$4,320). The same goes for the HP Envy AIO 27, whose most lavish variant is $1,799 (about £1,346, AU$2,363). 

Design

From the moment we pulled the Surface Studio out of its box, we knew we were in love.

There isn’t any shortage of impressive desktops what with Apple’s ever-thinning iMacs to the six-speaker sound on Dell’s XPS 27 AIO. Still, nothing comes close to the elegance and simplicity offered by the Surface Studio.

By moving all the components to the basement, so to speak, the display is just a touchscreen with remarkably thin bezels. Without that rear bump, the profile of the screen is a mere 12.5mm, making it slimmer than virtually any dedicated monitor.

There’s also no fat chin underneath the screen to flaunt a Windows logo – actually, it’s refreshing to see no branding anywhere except for a mirrored logo on the back.

The Surface Studio is a modern and minimalistic desktop designed with straight edges and a simple gray on chrome aesthetic. The base of the desktop takes this one step farther by simply being a nearly featureless, ashen box. The noticeable element is a subtle line that wraps around the perimeter of the Studio’s foundation to provide cooling for the mobile computing parts contained within.

Microsoft arguably takes this clean aesthetic a bit too far, as all the USB 3.0 ports as well as the memory card reader are located on the rear. The lack of USB-C and ThunderBolt also means you won’t be able to take advantage of the fastest external drives.

Although we’ve already said our piece on the Surface Keyboard and Surface Mouse separately, we absolutely adored the completely wireless and clutter free setup when paired with the Surface Studio. 

The two come included along with a Surface Pen in the box, though you might soon find that it’s not the best version of the accessory you can buy. With Microsoft having patented a new rendition of the Surface Pen, complete with haptic feedback capabilities, the experience of using the stylus accessory might resonate even more with us in the future.

Back to the digital drawing board

We’ve seen some truly impressive displays, such as the 5K iMac and , but the Surface Studio takes the cake. 

Although 4,500 x 3,000 pixels isn’t the sharpest resolution in the world, it is sharper than a 4K display without being overzealous. This combination of screen resolution and size with the Studio’s 3:2 aspect also means you can snap four separate programs to each corner and still have a legible view of each app. Frankly, the size and resolution feel just right.

Microsoft’s nearly perfect sense of color gamut and contrast carries over to its latest PixelSense display. Additionally, there are more color profiles to choose from, including sRGB, Vivid, and DCI-P3 to make it a truly production-grade display.

Holding up this glorious display is the Surface Studio’s other winning feature, the Zero Gravity Hinge. This catchy-named mechanism absorbs all the torque required to move the 13-pound display, making it easy to switch from a standard all-in-one PC to a digital drawing surface.

When lowered, the Studio’s touchscreen display holds itself at the same angle of pitch as a standard drafting table. Of course, you can also adjust the display at different levels of tilt and without worrying about it moving under the weight of your hands as you work.

As with the and , drawing and writing on the Studio feel like it’s almost too good to be true. Surface Pen strokes translate perfectly into lines of digital ink. Unlike other styluses that feel like they’re gliding on glass or cutting themselves into the touchscreen, Microsoft has refined its hardware so that it offers just the right amount of resistance.

Dialing it in

Using Bluetooth to wirelessly tether it to the Surface Studio, the newly introduced Surface Dial is a creation unique to Microsoft. Shaped much like a hockey puck, the Surface Dial has the potential to be a game-changer for creative professionals who also have a proclivity for Windows 10, a common demographic for the Redmond tech giant’s recent products. 

The Surface Dial is intuitive and, within minutes of picking it up, you’ll realize it both spins and acts as a physical button. Pushing in the dial brings up a radial menu of options like volume and screen brightness controls as well as zooming and scrolling. Hit it again and you can get to tweaking whichever option you’ve selected.

But that’s not where the utility of this peripheral starts and ends. Instead, the Surface Dial is compatible with a wide array of apps that have been optimized in its favor. These include both first- and third-party applications, such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, Microsoft Photos and even Spotify. 

In the Adobe Creative Cloud software specifically, users can leverage the power of the Surface Dial by rotating it in order to tweak brush settings in addition to adjusting for size, opacity, hardness, flow and smoothing. In Spotify, on the other hand, the music volume can be changed in by the force of a simple hand motion. 

It might sound functionally simple, but having that quick access to physical controls without having to stop drawing is huge if you want to stay absorbed in your process. Of course, this also means only digital artists and other creative professionals are going to get the most out of this accessory.

One other small gripe we have with the Surface Dial is it doesn’t stay in place when you have it on the Studio’s screen. Instead, it slowly slides down the touchscreen – even if it’s lowered all the way.

After installing the Creators Update, we were able to squeeze a bit more functionality out of the Surface Dial. The more recent versions of Windows 10 integrate customizable Dial controls and Paint3D as another app for the artistically adept.

Performance

You might balk at the graphics chip from last year and the less-than-current Skylake processor on its spec sheet, but the Surface Studio keeps up with other all-in-one machines.

Thanks to its high-end GPU, this desktop pulls well ahead of the XPS 27 AIO and iMac with 5K Retina screen with a Fire Strike score that’s nearly four times higher. Unfortunately, the Studio’s processing power doesn’t prove to be impressive, and its more CPU-intensive benchmark scores lag behind.

Benchmarks aside, this desktop knows how to put in work. Microsoft’s AIO never buckled, even as we loaded up dozens of tabs on two web browsers, a separate Google Music streaming app, Slack, Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator all at the same time. Even Lightroom, which usually grinds gaming laptops to a halt, ran smoothly on the Studio as we processed images for this review.

We also played a fair number of Overwatch matches at the Surface Studio’s full-screen resolution with Ultra settings without issue. During our entire time with the device, we didn't encounter any graphical performance issues that would have required the latest Nvidia graphics.

The most impressive thing about the Surface Studio’s performance is how quickly everything loaded on it. Rather than being equipped with a traditional SSD or hard drive, Microsoft used Intel’s Rapid Storage Technology to intrinsically tie a 2TB spinning drive to 128GB of flash memory.

In this setup, the hard drive does all the heavy lifting of storing all your files, meanwhile, a smaller segment of your data is compartmentalized onto the SSD if it has been associated with a commonly used program or service. Although this system doesn’t allow you to directly access the faster storage solution, we never felt like we had too as files loaded seamlessly and quickly the whole time.

Final verdict

We hesitate to say that if you weren’t interested in the Surface Studio already, our review probably didn’t change your mind. Microsoft’s contribution to the all-in-one PC space is expensive to say the least, but it’s also nothing short of the best when it comes down to build quality and innovation beyond offering the latest specs. 

Whereas the iMac, Dell XPS 27 AIO and HP Envy 27 AIO are all compelling additions to the market, the Surface Studio thrives because of its uncompromising desire to convince you that it’s something else entirely. For the price of a Surface Studio, sure, you could build a PC that’s just as powerful and still have money left over.

However, for artists and especially illustrators the Surface Studio introduces a new wrinkle into a world primarily dominated by Wacom tablets. Not only does the Surface Studio allow you to sketch and inspect your picture with one device, the visual quality of the PixelSense display is far greater than that of Wacom’s Cintiq display or Dell’s new 27-inch Canvas.

For those reasons, we’ll reiterate that the Surface Studio would best serve artists and illustrators. It’s without a doubt one of the finest premium computing devices ever produced, but there’s no reason regular users should purchase this unless they’re in the market for the highest-end iMac and want more options…or bragging rights.

First reviewed April 2017

Gabe Carey has also contributed to this review

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Microsoft Surface Pro 4

Did you know the Surface Pro 4 isn’t Microsoft’s latest flagship tablet? No, that honor goes to the new Microsoft Surface Pro – now, read our Surface Pro review!

Microsoft Surface Pro 4: The Essential Review

Our ‘essential review’ of the Surface Pro 4 contains all of the highlights (and lowlights) of Microsoft’s 2015 Windows 10 tablet. It’s intended as a more digestible summary of our full-length review, in that it shouldn’t take more than half a minute to read.

Our ‘Essential Review’ of the Surface Pro 4 contains all of the highlights (and lowlights) of Microsoft’s 2015 Windows 10 tablet. It’s intended as a more digestible summary of our full-length review, in that it shouldn’t take more than half a minute to read.

While it isn’t the the hottest Surface on the block anymore, the Surface Pro 4 is still worth considering – even if there are rumors that a new foldable tablet version of the Surface might be incoming. When the Surface Pro 4 launched in October 2015, it was hailed as the natural progression of the Surface Pro bloodline. Nearly three years on in 2018, it still holds up extremely well, and although you won’t find it brand new on store shelves these days, a cheaper refurbished model is certainly worth picking up.

At the time of writing, the new Surface Pro costs noticeably more than a similarly specced Surface Pro 4 that’s been refurbished by the manufacturer, undoubtedly a major selling point for the older of the two. For a 2017 model configured with an Intel Core m3 processor, 4GB of RAM and 128GB of solid-state drive, or SSD, storage, you can expect a price point of $799 (£799, AU$1,199).

The ageing Surface Pro 4, on the other hand, can be had for the same exact price on Amazon in the US and includes a more powerful 6th-generation Intel ‘Skylake’ Core i5, 4GB of memory and a 128GB storage drive. Even better, you can buy the entry-level, Core m3 model certified refurbished for $649 (£579, about AU$812), $150 (£120, about AU$387) less than the Surface Pro 2017 counterpart.

Unlike the Surface Pro 3 that came before, the Surface Pro 4 runs Windows 10 instead of Windows 8 by default. It’s a huge benefit considering all that Microsoft’s greatest operating system is capable of. Most notably, tis the last numbered iteration of Windows, so instead of throwing down your cash every four years or so for a major overhaul, you’ll get iterative updates throughout the year. The next of which is Windows 10 Redstone 4, or the Spring Creators Update, which may introduce Windows 10 S Mode, so you won’t have to pay to upgrade to a full-fat version of Windows 10.

It’s likely we’ll see the Spring Creators Update on April 10, if reports are to be believed. And, it looks like you can even download it right now, you’ll just have to sign up for the Windows Insider Program.

The most recent revamp is known as the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, which boasted great additions like Game Mode and OneDrive Files On-Demand. Internally, this was known as ‘Redstone 3’ prior to its official launch back in October 2017. The next in the series, ‘Redstone 4’, will allegedly be called the Spring Creators Update, according to several leaked Insider Preview builds that contain the moniker.

It’s expected that the next version of Windows 10 will introduce developments in artificial intelligence (AI), gaming, HDR video and security to the Surface Pro 4 as well as other devices like it. The latest news is that it’s purportedly coming out in April 2018.

Otherwise, to catch you up with its history, the Surface Pro 4 managed to introduce more levels of pressure sensitivity and a host of buttons to the signature, but sold separately, Surface Pen. Likewise, the Type Cover keyboard is heavier and more satisfying to the touch, while the screen resolution was bumped all the way to 2,736 x 1,824, making it 216 pixels per inch (ppi), as opposed to the 128 ppi display of the 13-inch MacBook Air.

With the Surface Pro 4, Microsoft was more concerned with perfecting an already-successful design rather than making any bombastic innovations. That’s why it basically retains a similar look and feel to that of the Surface Pro 3, albeit with a few minor refinements including a new chrome-laden Microsoft logo and a chassis more than half a millimeter thinner than the previous generation.

Microsoft Surface Pro 4: Who's it for? Should I buy it?

If you can’t stand the massive, unwieldy size and price of the Surface Book 2, the Surface Pro 4 is not only a worthy alternative, but an excellent first choice for creative professionals constantly on the move. It’s cheaper than the new Surface Pro if you buy it refurbished, and it’s nearly as good.

Although there are admittedly shortcomings when it comes to the battery life of the Surface Pro 4, it still holds up as a product that we can safely recommend to Windows tablet newcomers and veterans alike. As a ‘Pro’ device, the Surface Pro 4, of course, ships with Windows 10 Pro pre-installed (a $199/£219/AU$339 value).

That goes without mentioning the Surface Pro 4’s gorgeous screen, which is crystal clear when pitted up against its predecessor. The Type Cover might be sold separately, too, but it’s satisfying to the touch nonetheless. As we glossed over before, the battery life lasting only 3 hours and 15 minutes in the PCMark 8 test is pretty unacceptable for a tablet, but the zippy internal components more than make up for the frequent need to charge.

Having come a long way since its reveal two years ago, the Surface Pro 4 has seen considerable improvement in that time.

The aforementioned Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, for example, is now available to download and install. Aside from our previous utterances, it comes with a helping of new features you’ll grow to love and appreciate such as the Apple AirDrop-inspired Near Share and ‘Find My Pen’ for clumsier artists. 

As we continue to await a multitude of changes yet to come, including a potential Surface Pro 5 redesign in the coming months, there is still some work to be done to appease the current Surface Pro 4 install base.

That said, the Surface Pro 4 is markedly cheaper and better than its newly teased ARM-based rivals. Seeing as the HP Envy x2 is now up for pre-order, you may have anticipated a lower starting price than that of Microsoft’s tablets due to its use of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor found in a lot of Android phones these days.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case. For the time being, you’re better off waiting for the Asus NovaGo if LTE functionality is what you’re after. Meanwhile, the Surface Pro 4 is only $50 more and features twice the storage and more powerful specs.

Microsoft Surface Pro 4 review

Design and display

Just like last time, the same all-magnesium, uni-body casing is still here, though the 'Surface' logo has been replaced with Microsoft's new logo in chrome.

Microsoft managed to up the device's screen size by a few hairs, from a straight 12 inches to this year's 12.3 inches, without affecting its footprint at all. In fact, the firm shaved more than half a millimeter off of its thickness, from 9.1mm to 8.4mm – all while fitting full-fat mobile processors.

As for how this was done, the capacitive Windows button said goodbye, thus the extra room for that three tenths of an inch in the display. 

Then, Microsoft brought the screen's optical stack – the series of sensors, diodes and pixels beneath the glass – even closer to the glass now, a key point of Microsoft's trademarked PixelSense screen technology.

The display is thus incredibly responsive to touch, and the further sensitivity it brings to the stylus experience is huge. In tandem with the improved Surface Pen, the screen detects 1,024 levels of pressure, even during a single stroke.

Microsoft Surface Pro 4 review

Now, let's talk resolution. Even though it didn't have to, Microsoft increased the Surface Pro 4's resolution from 2,160 x 1,440 (216 ppi, or pixels per inch) to 2,736 x 1,824. That makes for a huge 267 ppi for the Surface Pro 4, which blows a key rival, the MacBook Air (128 ppi for the 13-inch), out of the water and just barely beating out out Apple's 12.9-inch iPad Pro at 264 ppi.

More importantly, the new screen proves to be way more luminous and more color accurate than the Surface Pro 3 display at all brightness levels. This is obviously going to be a pretty big deal for any designers or artists that are looking to upgrade from the Wacom tablet and calibrated monitor combo.

Screen

For the rest of us, this means more realistic-looking movies and more vibrant photos and games. That's despite even thicker black bars sandwiching your favorite films in 16:9 – and even more so for those in 21:9, or widescreen format, thanks to the 3:2 aspect ratio that remains from last generation.

It's a fair concern for folks that watch plenty of movies and TV on a tablet. But fear not, workers, for you're the very reason Microsoft made this decision. The 3:2 aspect ratio is a middle ground between 16:9 and 4:3 that is ideal for both photo and design or drafting work, wherein 3:2 is much more common, as well as getting computational work done, given the extra vertical space.

Microsoft Surface Pro 4 review

Surface Pen and Type Cover

In addition to the aforementioned 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity, the new-and-included Surface Pen is redesigned to feel more like a pencil. The stylus now has one flat side, as if a Number 2 pencil had all but two of its angles rounded off.

This version is even more comfortable to hold than the last as a result – your index finger rests just above the main function button on the flat end. Secondly, the left side of the frame is coated with thin, powerful strip magnets that allow it to cling onto the tablet's left side. The age of stylus loops is over.

Microsoft Surface Pro 4 review

The Pen also sports a new, functional eraser button up top that does what it says on the tin, but has three more functions. In addition to opening OneNote with a single press, the button now takes a screenshot and then opens OneNote with a double press. Finally, a long press summons Cortana to help you out.

Microsoft seems to have expertly weighted the Surface Pen to make it feel not much heavier than your average clickable pen, despite all of the tech inside. Plus, now Microsoft offers additional pen tips right out of the box.

Suface Pen

Coupled with Microsoft's PixelSense display, the duo makes for the best stylus experience we've had on a tablet yet for as little as we're wont to use it. While we're neither artists nor designers, the screen's superb palm detection and the accuracy and nuance of the Pen tracking give us confidence that the Surface Pro 4 is Microsoft's best shot at luring in that crowd yet.

Microsoft Surface Pro 4 review

These improvements pale in comparison with Microsoft's new-and-still-not-included Type Cover. This time around, Microsoft took a chiclet-style approach. This makes keeping track of which keys your fingers are on by feel much easier, and it allows for each key to be individually back lit.

The new Type Cover is also thicker and far more rigid than before, allowing for deeper key travel and punchier feedback – not to mention a sturdier, quieter surface to type on – that brings it so much closer to a true laptop keyboard. Microsoft also widened the touchpad and coated it in glass rather than plastic.

Microsoft Surface Pro 4 review

Finally, Microsoft has a version of the Type Cover with a biometric Fingerprint ID for $159 (£149, AU$249). The new keyboard cover is only available in black and uses to login to the Surface with a fingertip press. The scanner can also authorise app purchases from the Windows Store, and because the keyboard is backwards compatible, it can be used with the too.

Performance

Every performance score here, save for PCMark 8 Home, shows a minor increase from the first unit I tested. It's a good sign that the Surface Pro 4 was already operating at its peak, and that only the battery needed fixing.

The Surface Pro 4 bested the 2015 HP Spectre x360 in almost every test by roughly 25%. As for the 13-inch MacBook Air, its multi-core Geekbench 3 (which tests CPUs primarily) score is plenty short of what the Surface achieved.

Ultimately, don't expect to see a major difference between how any of these three machines perform day-to-day, though the MacBook Air will last way longer on a charge. If anything, you might get slightly better frame rates out of games played on the Surface Pro 4 than that 2015 Spectre x360.

If you're curious, the Pro 4 runs Hearthstone (our go-to tablet testing game) without a hitch on its highest settings, even at an automatically-adapted resolution. Plus, the color-calibrated display makes every element on the game's interactive play boards that much more distracting.

Battery life

Tested on pre-production hardware that we were promised has been scrubbed of its battery woes, the Surface Pro 4 produced far better battery life results than at the onset. Unfortunately, they're still well below not only Microsoft's own claims, but what choice rivals are able to put up.

While arguably the most harsh battery test in our lineup, PCMark 8 Home Battery saw the Pro 4 last 3 hours and 15 minutes, a marked 50% increase from before. Still, the Spectre x360 held out in that test for 4 hours and 38 minutes.

Microsoft's tablet fared much better on our video playback test, lasting 5 hours and 15 minutes. That's enough to last you on most coast-to-coast US flights.

In a similar test, the MacBook Air was able to stream 1080p video over Wi-Fi for a whopping 13 hours and 24 minutes. Though, that's thanks to a far lower-resolution display and likely a larger battery.

Regardless, Microsoft promises up to 9 hours of video playback, and these numbers aren't close. Sure, these figures are far better than last year's Surface Pro 3, despite the serious screen resolution bump, which should not be overlooked. But, they still can't hold a candle to neither Apple's leading laptop nor its top tablet – much less comparable Windows hybrids.

Longevity is then about the only thing holding the Surface Pro 4 back from truly, honestly replacing your laptop – or at least your MacBook Air specifically. Otherwise, the machine offers somewhat below-average lasting power.

Not convinced? Try these:

: With an incredible display, long battery life and all of the essential accessories in the box, this tablet all but requires you to make liberal use of Samsung’s phone-exclusive syncing and biometric login features via Samsung Flow, its key selling points. Just mind the lack of Windows Hello.

: A great price, USB-C and USB 3.0, and an included keyboard cover make the Miix 510 an appealing option. While there are a couple of reasons (battery, screen) why you’d go for the Surface Pro 4 instead, but the Miix 510 offers an awful lot for the price. But, again, what's counting against it is considerable.

: Its unique kickstand, even sharper IPS screen and hardier included keyboard cover help the Spectre x2 stand out. You'll stay for the impressive spec sheet and premium. That said, it's too bad that the stylus doesn't come included with this device, unlike its rivals. This is likely the biggest rival to the Surface line today.

First reviewed: October 2015

Kane Fulton and Gabe Carey have also contributed to this review

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