5 phones you should buy instead of the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra | Digital Trends

5 phones you should buy instead of the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra | Digital Trends

Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

It’s hard not to lust after the biggest and most powerful smartphone on the market, and at the moment, that’s the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra. Samsung’s new flagship is here, and it’s simply one of the best smartphones you can buy today. The Galaxy S24 Ultra isn’t just another smartphone; it’s extremely powerful and has some of the most advanced AI features we’ve ever seen on a phone, along with an excellent camera and battery life. Simply put, it’s great.

But you know what? You don’t have to buy it. As good as it is, the Galaxy S24 Ultra is only one of a number of smartphones you can buy, and many of them are as good as the S24 Ultra — and may even exceed it in a few key ways.

Not sure about dropping $1,300 on Samsung’s latest? Here are five smartphones you should buy instead of the Galaxy S24 Ultra.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus

Someone holding the Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus with its screen turned on.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

What is the Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus? Simply put, it’s the phone that made us forget about the Galaxy S24 Ultra. After a great review, we were set to place the S24 Ultra at the top of the Samsung pile and call it good for another year. Then, the Galaxy S24 Plus dropped into our lives.

In short, it’s the S24 Ultra with all the “extras” carefully removed. Sure, you don’t get the Ultra’s S Pen or periscope zoom lens, but did you really need those? Because what you get for a full $300 less is the same high-speed Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor, the same 1440p AMOLED display with a 1-120Hz dynamic refresh rate, and 45W charging speeds. Yes, you’re taking a hit in the battery and screen size departments, but these decreases are absolutely tiny, as you’ll lose 0.1 of an inch from the screen’s diagonal measurement and 100mAh of a 5,000mAh battery. It’s so small a change as to be unnoticeable, and the same applies to the camera too. The S24 Plus doesn’t have the sky-high megapixel counts of its bigger sibling, but it doesn’t need them, as it delivers fantastic results each time.

You can get more from the S24 Ultra, that’s for sure — but are those extras really worth $300 to you? That’s a question only you can answer, of course. But as far as we’re concerned, the S24 Plus is phenomenal value for the money and simply the best Samsung Galaxy S this year.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

Someone holding the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra and the Galaxy S23 Ultra.
The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra (left) and S23 Ultra Joe Maring / Digital Trends

It’s all too easy to forget about yesterday’s toys when that new model is sitting right there, but it’s worth remembering that “new” doesn’t always mean “better.”

OK, so it kind of does, and yes, the S24 Ultra is technically better, but the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is still an incredible phone. Compared with the newer model, the differences are barely noticeable and can only be pinpointed by diving into the spec sheets. The older model is a gram lighter, has a handful fewer pixels in the display, and has a slightly older processor. It’s still a beefy, premium-feeling brick, with a gorgeous display and a transcendent amount of processing grunt hidden beneath a gorgeous design.

The S24 Ultra has Galaxy AI as its new headline feature, but honestly, you can drop that without worrying too much about it. The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is still a heck of a lot of smartphone, and as a bonus, it actually has a little bit more than the newer model. Remember the S24 Ultra’s 5x periscope zoom lens? The S23 Ultra has a 10x zoom lens, which is hilariously so extra when you look back at it. Who needs that? No one, which is why Samsung dropped it. But that’s the whole reason why the Ultra line exists, and we should celebrate when it turns the dial to 11. Buy the Galaxy S23 Ultra instead, and grab a nice discount for almost the same phone.

OnePlus 12

OnePlus 12 Flowy Emerald leaning on a park bench.
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

The OnePlus 12 isn’t a flagship killer (that’s the OnePlus 12R), but there’s a strong argument it’s a Galaxy S24 Ultra killer.

OnePlus made a name for itself by focusing on the raw specs and cutting out as many extraneous features as possible — and in that sense, it’s the ideological opposite of the S24 Ultra, as the specs, not the special features, are the reason to buy this phone. It’s powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, giving it the same big brain as the S24 Ultra, but then OnePlus threw in up to 512GB of storage and a truly ludicrous up to 16GB of RAM. Backing that up is a 1Hz to 120Hz refresh rate on a 1440p display that’s just as big as the S24 Ultra’s. This phone can easily trade punches with the brawny Ultra and stay standing round after round. It’s even a faster charger, thanks to the blindingly fast 80-watt charging speed.

The camera isn’t as good, but it’s still a solid shooter, and it’s easily balanced out by the vast gulf in price. The OnePlus 12 starts at $800, an incredible $500 difference in price. Granted, that’s for the base 256GB model with 12GB of RAM, but that’s equal to the specs offered by the basic S24 Ultra, so it evens out. If you want a big phone with big specs, then grab the OnePlus 12 and save a bucketful of cash.

Google Pixel 8 Pro

Someone holding the Google Pixel 8 Pro in front of a colorful mural.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

Google’s Pixel line isn’t as common as Samsung’s Galaxy, but it’s made a strong reputation for itself, and for some very good reasons.

In previous years, we’d have immediately plugged the Google Pixel phone as the best camera phone, but this year, the Galaxy S24 Ultra has taken a shocking win in our S24 Ultra vs. Pixel 8 Pro camera comparison. But even with that in mind, there are still many great reasons to pick the Google Pixel 8 Pro over Samsung’s huge smartphone. The camera system is still incredible and takes shots with superior real-life colors, eschewing the vibrant saturation Samsung tends to opt for in its cameras. While the wide-angle and telephoto shots aren’t as strong as Samsung’s, it would be a mistake to think the Pixel 8 Pro doesn’t have an incredible camera system.

That’s not all Google’s biggest new phone has going for it. It’s a similar size to the S24 Ultra, so you’re not missing out in that department, and it has similar display specs, too, including the 120Hz dynamic refresh rate. The Google-made Tensor G3 processor is powerful and fast, and it even has similar AI features to the S24 Ultra — because Google did it first.

The battery life falters a little bit, offering only a single day per charge, but the Pixel’s version of Android makes up for that with a super-clean interface and useful features that don’t bulk up the phone. While we love One UI on the S24 Ultra, there’s no doubt that there’s a lot of extra stuff thrown in there, and purists will love what Google offers.

The final point is the price. The Pixel 8 Pro is a big phone with similar power, camera systems, and features to the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra, but it does it at a much lower price. The Google Pixel 8 Pro starts from $999, a full $300 less than the S24 Ultra, and upgrading to 256GB of storage (putting it on par with the Ultra) will cost $1,059 — still well below what you’ll pay for Samsung’s latest.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 half folded on a showcase.
Prakhar Khanna / Digital Trends

A strong reason to buy the S24 Ultra is because it provides the cutting edge of smartphone tech with extremely powerful specs, a very impressive camera, and almost the most advanced display money can buy. Why almost? Because the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 exists, and if you’re already spending at least $1,300 on a smartphone, why not go all-in and buy the most cutting-edge device instead?

In terms of specs, it’s similar to the S24 Ultra, even if it’s not quite as powerful. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is a stellar chip with more power than you’re ever likely to need, and the camera is still excellent. But we all know what the real draw here is: the folding screen. The 7.6-inch inner display has the same refresh rate as the S24 Ultra while offering almost twice the width. When using such a large tablet-like screen isn’t feasible, there’s also a 6.2-inch display on the outside.

Unlike most of the options on this list, the Z Fold 5 is more expensive than the S24 Ultra, with prices starting at $1,799. But when you’re looking to pay an already large amount of money on the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra and clearly want to get a bit extra, why not go a little bit further and really shoot for the stars?

Editors’ Recommendations






How to Connect a Nintendo Switch to a TV | Digital Trends

How to Connect a Nintendo Switch to a TV | Digital Trends

Released in 2017, Nintendo Switch is still as popular today as it was years ago. The hybrid handheld console has seen dozens of high-profile game throughout its lifespan, and it shows no signs of slowing down. Part of what makes the device so compelling is the ability to play in both handheld or docked mode — allowing you to project your game onto the big screen when you get home from work or school.

It might seem complicated, but connecting your Nintendo Switch to a TV is simple. It takes just a few moments to set up its dock and get back to gaming, though there are a few caveats to be aware of before starting the process.


Image courtesy of Amazon.com / Nintendo

Setting up the Nintendo Switch

For those who are new to the system, every purchase of the Nintendo Switch not only includes the Switch itself but also a Switch dock. This dock will be key in putting your system together for the TV. The first thing you’re going to want to do is take out the dock and all the cords. Make sure that you have the dock, an HDMI cord, and a power cord for the system. If all three are present, you’re good to start!

Step 1: Begin by opening the back of the docking system. This will give you access to where all the cords are going to go. Additionally, you’ll notice there is a space for the cords to lead out from. The back of the Switch should have three outlets. From top to bottom, they are the AC adapter, USB, and HDMI out. You’ll only need the AC adapter and the HDMI out to hook the system up.

Step 2: Take one end of the HDMI cable and insert it into the bottom terminal, aptly named HDMI out. Then connect the other end of the HDMI port to the TV or monitor of your choosing.

Step 3: Take the AC adapter (which should be model No. HAC-002) and put it inside the dock labeled AC adapter. Then connect the other end of the AC adapter into a wall outlet.

Step 4: You can now go ahead and close the back of the switch. Remember to keep an eye on where the cords feed out to ensure you don’t actually damage the cords. Both cords should fit through the space without any problems.

Step 5: Now the dock is all set up! You’ll just have to put the console into the dock to get rolling. When placing the console into the dock, ensure that the LCD screen faces the same direction as the face of the dock. The LCD screen of the Switch will turn off once it’s perfectly docked.

Step 6: All you’ll have to do from here is turn the TV and Switch on, set the TV to the correct HDMI, and your Switch should be ready to go!

The Switch adapter from Battony.

Battony

How to connect your Nintendo Switch to a TV without a dock

If your dock happens to break, you can still use your Nintendo Switch on the big screen. Before getting started, you’ll need to buy a USB-C to HDMI adapter that has both USB-C and HDMI ports. This will essentially replace the original dock and serve to get your Switch communicating with your TV.

Here’s what you’ll need to do to get your Nintendo Switch connected to your TV without a dock.

Step 1: Remove the USB-C power cable and HDMI cables from the original Switch dock.

Step 2: Insert the USB-C cable and HDMI cables into the adapter you’ve purchased.

Step 3: Connect the USB-C adapter to your Switch.

Step 4: As long as you’ve selected the right input on your TV, you should now be able to play Switch on your TV without a dock.

Step 5: Note that this method will not work with Switch Lite. Also, be careful about overheating your Switch — try propping the unit upright to keep its vents accessible and open to airflow.

An image of the Nintendo Switch - OLED Model Mario Red Edition.

Nintendo

Small notes

There are a few things that you should keep in mind as you’re hooking your system up. The first, and one of the most important, is to always handle the console with care. Although the Switch is a durable gaming system, that doesn’t mean it’s impervious to damage. Set the console into the dock gently in order to avoid scratches or damages, which is a problem a few players have reported. It may also behoove you to pick up a screen protector for the system to ensure that docking the Switch doesn’t do more damage than good.

Also, in order to play the Switch, you’ll need to have both of the Joy-Cons in your hands. You can either remove the Joy-Cons before docking the Switch or after. However, keep in mind that if the Joy-Cons haven’t been attached to the console before this moment in time, you’ll need to register them before playing. It’s similar to how the Wii would need the Wiimotes synced with the system before use.

Finally, after every Switch session, it may be helpful to you if you unplug the Joy-Cons and put them back onto the docked Switch. The Joy-Cons will drain the battery while unplugged from the console, so leaving them out overnight could risk the Joy-Cons being drained of battery. Try to make a habit of putting the Joy-Cons back onto the docked console to ensure they’re being charged while you’re not playing. Nothing is worse than a controller dying as you’re facing off with Ganondorf, so be sure to stay in the battle with powered Joy-Cons!

Editors’ Recommendations






Are Kindle books free? How to read on your Kindle for free | Digital Trends

Are Kindle books free? How to read on your Kindle for free | Digital Trends

While real books still hold a special place in our hearts, there’s no denying an Amazon Kindle is an exceptional piece of kit. Whether it’s simply to save yourself some shelf space (or avoid buying a new bookshelf), to read in the dark, or to give you a lightweight way to travel while carrying lots and lots of books, no avid reader should really be without a Kindle. Best of all, unlike physical books, it’s not too hard to find Kindle books for free.

We have a list of some of the best free Kindle books you can get, but it’s not a comprehensive guide, and you might be looking for something more to your tastes. As such, here are a number of ways you can find free books for your Kindle, from the most simple to the more complex.

Kindle Paperwhite on top of Kindle Scribe

Joe Maring/Digital Trends

How to get free Kindle books on Amazon

Surprisingly, Amazon is the easiest place to get free Kindle books. Yes, there are plenty of free books on Amazon, with available titles including older works that are in the public domain now, as well as first entries from a series that entice you to buy the rest to finish the story. If that sounds good to you, getting hold of these books couldn’t be simpler.

Step 1: Open up the Amazon website or app, and search for “free Kindle books”.

Step 2: Find one you like.

Step 3: Select Buy now with 1-click.

How to get free Kindle books from your library

Did you know you can get Kindle books from your library for absolutely nothing? Libby is a free service that lends out digital library books from across the U.S., and if you’re in the States, it can send them straight to your Kindle as well. All you need in order to get started is a library card.

Step 1: Start by downloading the Libby app for Android or iOS.

Libby App iOS

Michael Archambault/Digital Trends

Step 2: Open the app and complete the sign-up process by finding your library and entering your library card number.

Step 3: Now, you’ll be able to browse your library’s selection in the app. Select a title to borrow.

Step 4: Head to your Shelf > Loans to find your chosen title.

Step 5: Select Read with > Kindle.

Step 6: If you haven’t linked accounts already, you’ll be sent to an Amazon page to sign in.

Step 7: Sign in and choose the Kindle device the book is to be sent to.

Step 8: Finally, choose Get library book to have the book sent to your device.

How to get free Kindle books with Amazon Prime

Did you know an Amazon Prime membership also gives you access to thousands of books through

? While you technically pay a subscription for access to Prime Reading, if you’re paying for Amazon Prime anyway, Prime Reading is a handy bonus.

Prime Reading gives you access to unlimited access to a catalog of books, audiobooks, comics, and magazines at no extra charge. It also comes with a free book every month for a prerelease title. It’s a great deal and one that many people forget they have.

Step 1: To find your Prime Reading options, open the Amazon app or head to the Amazon site.

Step 2: Open the menu (in the bottom right of the app), and select Prime > Prime Reading.

Step 3: On the website, you’ll need to select All > Kindle e-readers & books > Prime Reading.

Step 4: From here, you can use the search bar to search just within Prime Reading, or you can browse the main page’s selection.

Step 5: Once you find an option you like, select it and choose Add to library.

How to get free Kindle books with Project Gutenberg

The final option can be applied to a number of websites that offer free digital books, but as Project Gutenberg is the most well-known, we’ve chosen to highlight this one.

Project Gutenberg is an enormous repository of some of the most famous books in the world, all of which have fallen into the public domain. As such, you can grab them and read them for absolutely nothing. You’ll need to send each book to your Kindle, but that’s not too difficult; here’s how it’s done.

Step 1: Head to the Project Gutenberg website on your phone or PC.

Step 2: Search for or browse until you find a title you want.

Step 3: In the downloads of your chosen title, select one of the downloads. Select a file marked EPUB or Kindle.

Step 4: Once you have the file, head to the Content and devices page of your Amazon account, then select Devices.

Step 5: Find your Kindle, and copy its individual email address.

Step 6: Open your email app (or website), insert your Kindle’s email address, and attach the file for your new book. Send it, and it’ll be sent to your Kindle.

Editors’ Recommendations






How to use wireless charging on your Samsung phone | Digital Trends

How to use wireless charging on your Samsung phone | Digital Trends

Today’s Samsung devices, including the latest Galaxy phones, Samsung smartwatches, and even compatible Samsung earbuds, all work with wireless charging. Place your device down on the right pad, and it’ll charge up all on its own. That saves time and wear and tear on your cables — but it’s important to know how it works first. Our guide will go over all the basics so you’re ready for every kind of Samsung wireless charging.


Image used with permission by copyright holder

Wireless charging basics

If you’re primarily interested in the nuts and bolts of wireless charging, here’s how to get started.

Step 1: Make sure you have a compatible Samsung device. For phones, that means have either a Galaxy S6 or newer, a Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy Note 8, or newer, or a Galaxy Z Flip or Fold model. Galaxy A series devices are not compatible.

For smartwatches, you’ll need the Galaxy Watch 3 or newer.

For earbuds, the Galaxy Buds, Buds 2, Buds+, Buds Live, and Buds Pro all work with wireless chargers.

Step 2: Get a compatible wireless charger. Samsung’s devices use the common Qi standard, so most any wireless charger you find should work. However, newer chargers are more likely to support faster charging speeds. You can also get chargers that can charge multiple devices at once, like the Charger Trio, in order to charge a Samsung phone, watch, and earbuds at the same time.

Step 3: Plug your charging pad in, and place your Samsung device on top of it with the back facing the charger. When the charger has connected with the device, it should turn on an indicator light. You may have to reposition the device until this indicator light comes on.

how to use wireless charger samsung indicator light

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Step 4: Wait for the device to charge. While chargers vary, a steady red or blue indicator light usually means something is still charging, and a green light means a device has finished charging.

anker mago magsafe charger battery useful magnetic wireless maggo use

Anker Innovations

Helpful tips for wireless charging

Wireless charging is simple, but there are a few things everyone should know to make the process as smooth as possible.

Step 1: Wireless charging can work through cases … but not all of them. Thinner cases will allow wireless charging to work, although you may need to double-check that the positioning above the charging coil is correct. Thicker cases can run into problems, especially thick leather cases or similar materials. These can block wireless chargers from working until you take them off. Cases should specifically say that they are compatible with wireless charging. We have guides to our favorite cases where you can find more options.

Step 2: Wireless chargers generally stay in one spot, which means you need to spend some time picking the right spot to fit your daily habits. Some prefer chargers at their bedside, where devices can recharge while they sleep. Others prefer them on desks or in offices where devices can charge while they work. Sometimes a central location on a counter or an entryway shelf is ideal.

Step 3: If you are charging at your bedside, be wary of bright indicator lights. Some indicator LEDs are more or less unobtrusive, but others are bright and could be annoying if you’re trying to sleep. If it’s too late to get another charger, you can always cover the indicator with a piece of tape to remove the annoyance.

Step 4: The wattage of the charger indicates how fast it can charge devices. Currently, you’ll want around 10W to 15W on your wireless charger for the fastest possible charging speeds. Note that for multi-device chargers, the wattage will typically be divided among different charging coils, so those numbers will naturally be higher.

how to use wireless charger samsung powershare in action

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Use Samsung’s Wireless PowerShare to help charge your accessories

You can’t be near a wireless charger all the time, but there’s another solution for that. You can find Wireless PowerShare on most newer Samsung devices. It allows those devices to act as remote wireless chargers for other devices. That means you can charge wirelessly on the go for your device or a friend’s device that’s running low. Here’s how to enable it.

Step 1: Check your battery. Your Samsung phone should be charged to at least 30% or more before using Wireless PowerShare.

Step 2: Swipe down from the top of the screen to open up Quick settings. Then swipe down again. You should see an option to turn on Wireless PowerShare with the icon of a battery and arrow. Select it.

If you don’t see this icon, check that your Samsung phone is up to date. Head into the Quick settings customization to manually add it. You can find this in More options, the three vertical dots in the Quick settings menu.

how to use wireless charger samsung powershare option

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Step 3: Place the device you want to charge on the back of the Wireless PowerShare phone within 60 seconds of turning PowerShare on (again, thick cases may prevent this feature from working). PowerShare works with most Qi-compatible devices, so it doesn’t matter if the other device is Samsung or not. You can even charge other phones this way.

Editors’ Recommendations






Ring Stick Up Cam Pro vs. Canary Pro | Digital Trends

Ring Stick Up Cam Pro vs. Canary Pro | Digital Trends

When it comes to premium indoor security cameras, few are as popular as the Ring Stick Up Cam Pro. Available in both wired and battery-powered formats, it’s a versatile camera that’s well-suited for most home security systems. However, the lesser-known Canary Pro offers many of the same features as the Ring Stick Up Cam Pro — yet is often on sale for a much lower price.

But is the Canary Pro better than the Ring Stick Up Cam Pro? Or should you just buy the popular Ring product? And, more importantly, what sort of ongoing monthly fees are required for these cameras? Here’s a look at everything you need to know.

Pricing and monthly fees

Jon Bitner / Digital Trends

The Ring Stick Up Cam Pro costs $180 for both the battery-powered model and the plug-in model. A monthly plan isn’t required to use the product, but you’ll miss out on key features like video history and smart alerts without one. That means most users will want to sign up for Ring Protect Basic, which will cost $5 per month starting on March 11, 2024.

Here are some of the standout features offered with Ring Protect Basic:

  • Video history for up to 180 days
  • Snapshot capture
  • Person and package alerts
  • Rich notifications

The Canary Pro costs $169, but is often on sale for much less. In fact, it’s not uncommon to see it discounted to as little as $90. That immediately makes it more appealing than the Ring Stick Up Cam Pro — but its sticker price doesn’t tell the full story.

Like Ring’s camera, the Canary Pro works best with a monthly subscription plan. In this case, you’ll be looking at Canary Premium. Without Canary Premium, you’ll only be able to receive motion alerts, check your live feed, activate two-way audio, and a few other basic features. Canary Premium costs $13 per month. Here’s a look at a few of its standout features:

  • Person detection
  • Video clips
  • Video history
  • Custom activity zones
  • Desktop streaming
  • Upgraded customer support

That’s eerily similar to everything offered by Ring Protect Basic, yet it’s nearly three times as expensive. So while you might save a few bucks upfront with the Canary Pro, anyone planning to use the device over several years will quickly recoup their losses when purchasing a Ring Stick Up Pro.

Winner: Ring Stick Up Cam Pro

Design and installation

The Ring Stick Up Cam Pro on display the 2023 Amazon Fall Devices and Services event.
Phil Nickinson / Digital Trends

The Ring Stick Up Cam Pro is a good-looking, but rather bulky device. It features a black faceplate that holds the camera unit and speakers, and is surrounded by a white chassis. Standing over six inches tall, it’s easy to spot when placed on a countertop or table. Aside from resting it on a flat surface, Ring allows for the unit to be mounted on a wall.

Getting the Ring Stick Up Cam Pro working is a breeze. The battery-powered model is arguably the easiest to install, as you won’t have to worry about any wires. Regardless of which model you pick, after getting it powered up, you’ll need to sync it with your mobile app and Wi-Fi network. And since it supports dual-band 5GHz, you shouldn’t run into any compatibility issues. Once that’s done, you’re ready to start using the camera.

The Canary Pro is only sold as a wired unit. It’s unfortunate that it needs to be tethered to an outlet, as the battery-powered option available with the Ring Stick Up Cam Pro gives you the freedom to place it virtually anywhere in your home. Canary designed the unit to look sleek, and it’s arguably better-looking than Ring’s product (though it’s just as large at six inches tall). Setting up and installing the Canary Pro is rather simple, though it only works with 2.4GHz networks — which could pose issues during setup depending on your network.

Winner: Ring Stick Up Cam Pro

Resolution and night vision

The Canary Pro on a table.
Canary

The Ring Stick Up Cam Pro films in 1080p and supports HDR for enhanced colors. When operating in the dark, it supports color night vision. The unit also films in a generous 155-degree viewing angle, allowing it to capture large portions of your property.

The Canary Pro films in 1080p, though it uses black-and-white night vision when filming in the dark. Its viewing angle isn’t quite as generous as Ring’s, maxing out at 147 degrees. It still captures a significant chunk of your home, but can’t quite compete with the 155-degree diagonal view offered by Ring.

Winner: Ring

Features and spec list

The Canary Pro on a shelf.
Canary

The Ring Stick Up Cam Pro is strictly a security camera. It offers impressive video capture, a great viewing angle, a simple installation, and a robust smartphone app that lets you customize nearly all aspects of its performance.

By contrast, the Canary Pro does a little bit of everything. It’s billed as a monitor that provides “total home security and intelligence,” as it does more than just capture motion events. Beyond filming, the Canary Pro will also monitor air quality, ambient temperature, and humidity. That makes it a compelling purchase for homes seeking a “do-it-all” device that doesn’t break the bank.

Winner: Canary Pro

Which is the better security camera?

The Ring Stick Up Cam Pro is the best option if you’re looking for a security camera. Not only does it offer a better viewing angle and vibrant HDR video, it’s available as both a battery-powered unit and a wired unit — giving you the flexibility that makes it easy to fit into your home. Toss in the robust Ring app for easy customization, and it’s one of the best security cameras you can buy. You can also operate it without a Ring subscription, though its functionality will be limited. Consider picking up the Basic plan to get the most out of your system.

The Canary Pro is no slouch, but its hefty monthly fees and slightly worse video quality make it less appealing than the Ring Stick Up Cam Pro. However, homes that would benefit from an air quality monitor should give it a closer look. It’s not quite as robust as a standalone air quality monitor (and it’s not an air purifier), but it has some unique capabilities that make it a great purchase for the right smart home.

Editors’ Recommendations






How many years of updates will the OnePlus 12 get? | Digital Trends

How many years of updates will the OnePlus 12 get? | Digital Trends

OnePlus 12 Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

OnePlus has started the year off strong with the launch of its signature flagship, the OnePlus 12. It packs in the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip, at least 12GB RAM, a powerful triple-lens camera system, and a gorgeous high-resolution AMOLED display that gets up to 120Hz refresh rates and reaches a whopping 4,500 nits of peak brightness. Plus, it’s an absolutely beautiful phone.

The OnePlus 12 really does offer a lot of bang for your buck. It’s a flagship packed with a ton of great features and actually costs less than the competition. But how long will it get software updates for? That’s what we’re here to determine.

The OnePlus 12 will get five years of updates

The OnePlus 12's camera module.
OnePlus 12 Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

In 2022, OnePlus confirmed that it would commit to four years of major Android/OxygenOS updates and five years of security updates, beginning with its 2023 lineup. This commitment applies to the OnePlus 12, meaning it will receive four years of major Android updates and five years of security patches.

Prior to that announcement, OnePlus was only doing three years of major updates and four years of security updates. At the time, this new policy matched Samsung’s and was actually better than Google’s old software update policy.

How this compares to Google, Samsung, and Apple

A person holding the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra and Google Pixel 8 Pro.
The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra (left) and Google Pixel 8 Pro Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

When Google launched the Google Pixel 8 and Google Pixel 8 Pro, it also announced that it was improving its software update policy. The Pixel 8 lineup will receive seven years of major software updates and security patches.

Samsung launched the Galaxy S24 series (Galaxy S24, Galaxy S24 Plus, and Galaxy S24 Ultra) shortly after the OnePlus 12. Samsung also revealed that it would support seven years of major updates and security patches for the S24, which puts it in line with Google’s Pixel 8.

On the flip side, Apple has never made any guarantees on how long it supports older iPhones. However, based on Apple’s track record, iPhones get around five full years of major iOS updates and Apple issues security updates regularly for older devices. Apple’s longevity with the iPhone has set a standard that Android makers are also trying to follow.

Is five years enough for the OnePlus 12?

Gray Samsung Galaxy S24 (left), Rose Gold Google Pixel 8, Flowy Emerald OnePlus 12, Green iPhone 15, Titanium Gray iPhone 15 Pro on a pink and red heart blanket.
The Samsung Galaxy S24 (from left), Google Pixel 8, OnePlus 12, iPhone 15, and iPhone 15 Pro Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

Though OnePlus’ five-year update policy for the OnePlus 12 may seem worse than what Google and Samsung are offering, there’s a reason behind it: the hardware likely won’t last seven years.

Of course, the first thing that may come to mind is that, yes, brands want to sell new hardware down the road rather than support old devices (that’s what businesses do). But also keep in mind that as new software features come along, it becomes harder to support it on older devices.

And let’s also consider the hardware itself. Battery capacities degrade over time — the more you use and charge it, the less charge it will hold down the road. At some point, you may even want to replace the battery once it gets bad enough. And there are other components to the phone that aren’t guaranteed to still work. At some point, it would just be easier to replace the phone with a new one rather than continuing to buy replacement parts.

While not everyone upgrades annually, most people tend to upgrade their phone every few years. A four-year policy makes the most sense logistically with that in mind, rather than seven. But who knows — OnePlus could offer a longer update policy later to rival its competition.

In the end, the consumer wins either way, as five years is still a solid length of time.

Editors’ Recommendations






Kanto Ren active speakers with HDMI take aim at your TV room | Digital Trends

Kanto Ren active speakers with HDMI take aim at your TV room | Digital Trends

Kanto Audio

The Canucks at Kanto Audio are at it again, announcing the addition of another new set of powered speakers to its lineup. The Kanto Ren are a 100-watt pair of active speakers that, in a first for the company, offer HDMI ARC connectivity.

After unleashing its new Ora Desktop reference speakers a few months back and then announcing their cousin, the Ora4, at CES 2024 last month, the Canadian speaker maker has set its sights on TV connectivity with the Ren, a $600 set of compact powered speakers that can be connected to your TV with HDMI ARC and be controlled with an included remote or with your TV’s remote, with the help of CEC. The new connectivity makes the Kanto REN an intriguing soundbar alternative.

But, of course, that’s not all the Kanto Rens can do. In line with its other speakers, the powered bookshelf speakers offer all kinds of connectivity options, including Bluetooth 5.3 that supports SBC and AAC codecs, as well as USB-C and optical inputs that can support a resolution of up to 24-bit/96kHz for high-resolution playback from sources such as computers, digital audio players, network streamers, smartphones, and more.

The back and inputs of the Kanto Audio REN powered speaker.
Kanto Audio

For the more analog inclined, the Kanto Ren also have RCA line-in and a 3.5mm input for connecting things like turntables, DVD players, and other devices (you will need a turntable with a built-in preamp or an external phono stage, though). The REN also features a dedicated subwoofer output for adding extra bass to the proceedings, and if the aforementioned Ora review is any indication, that extra bass will be just booming.

Driving the Kanto REN speakers is 100-watts of Class D amplification with 200 watts of peak power to the speaker’s 1-inch silk dome tweeters and 5.25-inch mid-woofers. Kanto says the speakers will deliver “clear highs, detailed midrange, and impressively powerful bass.” They’ll also feature a couple of sound modes for TV watching — Vocal Boost for lifting dialogue,and Night Mode that will balance out any peaks and lows in the audio volume so as to not wake your household up when there’s an explosion in the action movie you’re watching.

With six colors — black, white, cream, green, brown, and orange — the Kanto Ren powered speakers will retail for $600 and be available in July. If you happen to be in Bristol, England, this weekend however, ,you can check them out at the Bristol Hi-Fi Show.

Editors’ Recommendations






HP Spectre x360 16 (2024) review: just not enough power | Digital Trends

HP Spectre x360 16 (2024) review: just not enough power | Digital Trends

HP Spectre x360 16 (2024)

MSRP $1,710.00

“The HP Spectre x360 16 is beautiful, but not fast enough for its intended use.”

Pros

  • Good build quality
  • Attractive aesthetic
  • Excellent OLED display
  • Great keyboard
  • Exceptional haptic touchpad

Cons

  • Not fast enough for creators
  • Large chassis
  • Tablet mode is cumbersome

HP has the best 360-degree convertible 2-in-1 you can buy, the brand-new Spectre x360 14. It’s a laptop offers genuinely useful media and tablet modes. HP also has an update to its largest 2-in-1, the Spectre x360 16, that mates the convertible design with a very large display.

Most recent 16-inch laptops, though, are aimed at creators, with fast CPUs and GPUs to support their demanding workflows. The Spectre x360 16 is, therefore, an outlier, with strong productivity performance, but mediocre speed in creativity apps. Its 2-in-1 functionality is much less valuable on such a large laptop, meaning it just won’t be the best laptop choice for many people.

Specs and configurations

  HP Spectre x360 16 (2024)
Dimensions 14.05 inches x 9.67 inches x 0.78 inches
Weight 4.3 pounds
Processor Intel Core Ultra 7 155H
Graphics Intel Arc graphics
Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050
RAM 16GB
32GB
Display 16.0-inch 16:10 WQXGA (2560 x 1600) touch, 120Hz
14.0-inch 16:10 3K (2880 x 1800) OLED touch, 120Hz
Storage 512GB PCIe 4 SSD
1TB PCIe 4 SSD
2TB PCIe 4 SSD
Touch Yes
Ports 2 x USB-C with Thunderbolt 4
1 x USB-A 3.2
1 x HDMI 2.1
1 x 3.5mm audio jack
Wireless Wi-Fi 7 and Bluetooth 5.4
Webcam 9MP with infrared camera for Windows 11 Hello
Operating system Windows 11
Battery 83 watt-hours
Price
$1,250+

HP’s prices tend to change considerably over time, and so it’s best to check them before making a purchasing decision. Right now, for example, the Spectre x360 16 is on sale, with the base configuration coming in at $1,250, which is a whopping $350 off the list price of $1,600. That gets you an Intel Core Ultra 7 155H chipset, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, Intel Arc integrated graphics, and a 16.0-inch WQXGA IPS display running at 120Hz. The high-end configuration is $1,980 (also $350 off) for 32GB of RAM, a 2TB SSD, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050 GPU, and a 16.0-inch 2.8K 120Hz OLED panel.

My review configuration with 16GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, the RTX 4050, and the OLED display is $1,710. You can mix and match components to your liking, saving some money by opting for the IPS display or the integrated graphics. While it’s on sale, the Spectre x360 16 is a very attractively priced 16-inch laptop that undercuts its competition, albeit with slower components. The Dell XPS 16, for example, starts at $1,899 with the same Intel chipset, RAM, storage, graphics, and IPS technology while ramping up to a much costlier $4,399 for 64GB of RAM, a 4TB SSD, an RTX 4070 GPU, and a 4K+ OLED display.

Similarly, the Apple MacBook Pro 16 starts at $2,499 for an M3 Pro chipset, 18GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and a 16.0-inch Mini-LED display. Fully configured, the MacBook is a whopping $7,199 for an M3 Max, 128GB of RAM, and an 8TB SSD.

As we’ll see in this review, the Spectre x360 16 isn’t in precisely the same class as these two competitors, which are among the best 16-inch laptops. But you will spend far less money.

Too large for a convertible 2-in-1, but still attractive

HP Spectre x360 16 2024 front angled view showing display and keyboard.
Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

The first thing you’ll notice about the Spectre x360 16 is that it’s a large laptop, even by 16-inch standards. The Dell XPS 16 has a larger 16.3-inch display compared to the Dell’s 16.0-inch panel, yet it’s slightly smaller and thinner at 0.74 inches compared to 0.78 inches. The Dell is denser and heavier, though, at 4.8 pounds versus the HP’s lighter 4.3 pounds. That’s thanks to the Dell’s insanely small display bezels.

The MacBook Pro is also roughly the same size with a 16.2-inch display, while being the thinnest of the three at 0.66 inches and the most dense at 4.8 pounds, same as the Dell. The HP’s display bezels are thicker on top and on the bottom due to the need to fit in a 360-degree convertible hinge.

The large size matters most with the Spectre x360 16. You expect these to be large machines, and they benefit greatly from having such expansive displays. But the Spectre is meant to be used in tent, media, and laptop modes, as well as a simple clamshell.

Picking this thing up and using it as a tablet is predictably cumbersome, meaning you’ll want to set it on a desktop when using the included active pen for drawing and handwriting text on the touch- and pen-enabled display. That’s certainly usable, but I found the configuration much less useful than with the excellent Spectre x360 14. A 14-inch 360-degree convertible is a more reasonable size.

HP Spectre x360 16 2024 top down view showing tablet mode and pen.
Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

Once you get past the large chassis, you’ll appreciate the build quality. HP uses aluminum throughout, resulting in a lid that barely gives in to firm pressure and a bottom chassis and keyboard deck that are both rigid. The MacBook Pro 16 is even more solidly built and is best-in-class, and I’ll have to wait to review the XPS 16 to see if it lives up to the XPS lineup’s typically excellent build.

The Spectre’s hinge is a bit firm, which is necessary to hold the machine up in tent and media modes, and even given the base’s weight, you’ll need two hands to open the lid.

HP Spectre x360 16 2024 top down view showing notch.
Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

The Spectre x360 16 is also a very attractive laptop. HP smoothed off the edges from the 2022 model, giving it a more comfortable feel in hand. It retains the display and chassis notches, with a convenient Thunderbolt 4 port in one notch and a 3.5mm audio jack in the other.

The Spectre comes in Nightfall Black and Slate Blue color schemes, both of which are fingerprint magnets, with a blue keyboard that detracts a little from the overall look. The keyboard’s large, blocky letters are more visible than before in lowlight without turning on the excellent keyboard backlighting, and the special keys, such as Ctrl, Fn, and Alt, now have simpler lettering that’s also easier to read.

The XPS 16 has a sleeker design, and the MacBook Pro 16 enjoys Apple’s usual fastidious elements. The Spectre x360 16 differs from both, but it looks just as good. Laptop design overall has taken a quantum leap forward lately.

A bunch of OLED goodness

HP Spectre x360 16 2024 front view showing media mode.
Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

One argument in the Spectre x360 16’s favor is its use for streaming media, at least as long as you select the 16.0-inch 3K (2880 x 1800) OLED display. Put the laptop in media mode, with the display tilted toward you and the keyboard pointing downward, and you’ll love watching TV shows and movies. The OLED panel supports high dynamic range (HDR) video and is IMAX Enhanced Certified, meaning it supports special aspect ratio and audio in supported media.

I played some IMAX content on Disney+ and I could tell the difference. The Spectre’s OLED panel isn’t bright enough to provide the best HDR experience (more on that below), but it was good enough. The Poly Studio-tuned four-speaker audio, with tweeters on each side of the keyboard and front-firing woofers on the front edge of the chassis, pumped out quality sound with clear mids and highs and decent bass.

HP Spectre x360 16 2024 top down view showing speaker.
Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

However, as good as it is, the Spectre x360 16 can’t match the MacBook Pro 16. Apple’s machine has a Mini-LED display that’s much brighter than the Spectre’s 399 nits, coming in at closer to 600 nits for standard dynamic range (SDR) content and a blistering 1,600 nits for HDR. In addition, the MacBook’s audio gets much louder, and the overall sound is deeper and more complex. That offsets the Spectre’s advantage in form factor.

Overall, the Spectre x360 16’s OLED display has wide colors at 100% sRGB, 96% AdobeRGB, and 100% DCI-P3, with slightly less accurate colors than some other OLED panels with a DeltaE of 1.11 (1.0 or less is excellent). That’s better than the MacBook Pro 16’s 89% of AdobeRGB and DeltaE of 1.22. I haven’t tested the Dell XPS 16’s OLED display yet and will have to wait to see if it’s as good, but I suspect it will be. Of course, the Spectre’s OLED panel produces the usual inky blacks thanks to incredibly high contrast.

Whether you’re a productivity user, a creator, or a media consumer, you’ll love the Spectre x360 16’s display. If you’re looking for better battery life, you’ll want to consider the lower-resolution IPS option — something I don’t recommend unless your budget is tight. Both displays run at 120Hz and provide the same smooth response.

Class-leading input and connectivity

HP Spectre x360 16 2024 top down view showing keyboard and touchpad.
Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

Other than its color, I have no complaints about the keyboard. It offers large keycaps and plenty of key spacing, with switches that are deep, light, and snappy. I might like the MacBook Pro 16’s Magic Keyboard better, but I wouldn’t mind working full time on the Spectre’s. Once again, I’ll wait to pass judgment on the XPS 16’s keyboard, but its zero-lattice layout is ultramodern and, if it feels like the version on the XPS 13 Plus, it will rank up there with HP’s and Apple’s.

The Spectre x360 16’s touchpad is a massive improvement over the previous generation. Instead of a small mechanical version, the 2024 model introduces a massive haptic touchpad using Sensel’s technology. Simply put, it’s the best touchpad I’ve used on a Windows laptop.

To begin with, it’s slightly larger than the MacBook Pro 16’s, which is the industry standard for excellence, and it has quick, responsive haptics and gestures that work across its entire surface. The only thing Apple’s Force Touch touchpad has over HP’s is its Force Click feature, where a stronger press activates additional features.

Connectivity is also strong, with a mix of modern and legacy ports. The only disappointment, and it’s a big one, is the lack of an SD card reader. The MacBook Pro has an additional Thunderbolt 4 port and a full-size SD card reader, while the XPS 16 is more limited with just Thunderbolt 4 and a microSD card reader. HP won’t make creators happy by requiring an adapter. In its favor is the most cutting-edge wireless connectivity, with both Wi-Fi 7 and Bluetooth 5.4. The MacBook and XPS 16 are both limited to Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3.

The Spectre x360 16 has a high-res 9MP webcam that’s capable of producing 1440p video, along with hardware lowlight adjustment and a variety of enhancements powered by the Neural Processing Unit (NPU) in the Intel Meteor Lake chipset. Those include AI-enhanced Microsoft Teams and Windows Studio Effects, which use the NPU to reduce power. The Spectre supports HP’s user presence-sensing technology that can put it to sleep when you walk away and wake it back up when you return, as well as dim the display when someone’s looking over your shoulder.

Not enough oomph

HP Spectre x360 16 2024 rear view showing lid and logo.
Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

Let’s face it: 16-inch laptops are aimed primarily at creators. Sure, avid media consumers will love the expansive display, and productivity users will appreciate the extra space for multitasking. But creators are this class’s sweet spot.

Unfortunately, the Spectre x360 16 is underpowered for those who benefit most from a fast CPU and GPU. Applications like Adobe’s Premiere Pro use both to speed up various tasks, and the MacBook Pro 16 and XPS 16 are better-suited for those applications. The Spectre x360 16 has a reasonably fast CPU in the Intel Core Ultra 7 155H, which runs at 28 watts and features 16 cores (six Performance, eight Efficient, and two Low Power Efficient) and 22 threads.

In addition to the Intel Arc integrated graphics, the Spectre can be configured with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050, which is that company’s entry-level discrete GPU. Intel Arc performs about halfway between the older Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics and the RTX 4050, meaning creators will want to opt for the latter.

However, that pales compared to the XPS 16, which uses the same Core Ultra 7 155H, but can be configured with up to an RTX 4070. That’s a much faster GPU that promises faster video renders and encodings. The XPS also supports up to 64GB of RAM. But the MacBook Pro 16 dominates this comparison, with up to the M3 Max featuring up to 16 CPU cores and 40 GPU cores. That’s an insanely fast chipset that rips through creative tasks and offers enhanced graphics for (potentially) faster gaming. And the MacBook supports up to 128GB of RAM.

The Spectre x360 16 will meet the needs of less demanding creators, but barely. Our suite of benchmarks showed mixed results. Its CPU performance was slower than some machines with the same chipset, but its GPU performed well for its class. However, it couldn’t keep up where it matters most, in creative tasks.

HP Spectre x360 16 2024 rear view showing vent and logo.
Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

As we can see from the table below, the Spectre x360 16 was the slowest machine in our comparison group at running our Handbrake test that encodes a 420MB video to H.265. This is an entirely CPU-intensive benchmark, and despite having a larger chassis to move air and keep things cool, the Spectre exhibited slower CPU scores. That was true in Cinebench R24 and the PCMark 10 Complete benchmarks as well. But, when looking exclusively at the GPU scores in Cinebench and the 3DMark Time Spy benchmark, the Spectre x360 16 was fast for an RTX 4050, with only the Acer Swift X 16 being faster.

That resulted in mediocre scores in the PugetBench Premiere Pro benchmark that runs in a live version of Premiere Pro. Here, it was roughly as fast as the smaller XPS 14 with the same components. I’ll test the XPS 16 with the Core Ultra 7 155H and an RTX 4070 when I receive it, but in the meantime, the Alienware M16 R2 will serve as a proxy. And that machine was significantly faster in GPU and CPU performance.

And to top it all off, the MacBook Pro 16 with the M3 Max 16/40 was much faster across the board. The Spectre x360 16 is significantly less expensive, but the MacBook is a more powerful machine for serious creators.

Gamers will find the Spectre x360 16 a good entry-level 1080p or 1200p gaming machine. I ran the Red Dead Redemption 2 benchmark and saw 74 frames per second (fps) at 1200p and Ultra graphics in performance mode. That’s fast enough for casual gamers.

Cinebench R24
(single/multi/GPU)
Handbrake
(seconds)
PCMark 10
Complete
Pugetbench
Premiere Pro 24.1
3DMark
Time Spy
HP Spectre x360 16
(Core Ultra 7 155H / RTX 4050)
Bal: 104 / 577 / 6,672
Perf: 104 / 591 / 7,290
Bal: 131
Perf: 93
5,812 Bal: 2,875
Perf: 3,552
Bal: 5,879
Perf: 6,277
Dell XPS 14
(Core Ultra 7 165H / RTX 4050)
Bal: 100 / 772 / 5,811
Perf: 101 / 681 / 5,738
Bal: 84
Perf: 72
5,992 Bal: 3,274
Perf: 3,547
Bal: 5,168
Perf: N/A
Alienware m16 R2
(Core Ultra 7 155H / RTX 4070)
Bal: 103 / 1040 / 10,884
Perf: N/A
Bal: 63
Perf: N/A
7,028 N/A Bal: 12,025
Perf: N/A
Asus Zenbook 14
(Core Ultra 7 155H / Intel Arc)
Bal: 103 / 493 / N/A
Perf: 105 / 706 / N/A
Bal: 86
Perf: 73
6,348 Bal: 1,583
Perf: 2,026
Bal: 3,178
Perf: 3,696
Acer Swift X 16
(Ryzen 9 7940HS / RTX 4050)
Bal: 104 / 827 / 8,392
Perf: 105 / 933 / 8,439
N/A N/A N/A Bal: 7,992
Perf: 8,894
Apple MacBook Pro 16 (M3 Max) Bal: 134 / 1,667 / 13,146
Perf: N/A
Bal: 53
Perf: N/A
n/a Bal: 8,046
Perf: N/A
n/a

Just OK battery life

HP Spectre x360 16 2024 side view showing lid and ports.
Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

The Spectre x360 16 has an 83 watt-hour battery to power a large, high-resolution OLED display, so I wasn’t expecting great battery life. Note that HP offers three performance settings in its myHP utility: Balanced, Performance, and Smart Sense. The latter uses AI to optimize CPU and GPU power, fan noise, and temperatures based on open apps, the laptop’s placement (e.g., on a desktop versus a lap), and battery status. I tested battery life in balanced mode and reported the performance in the above table in both balanced and performance modes. I also tested Smart Sense and found that it offered mixed performance based on how I used the laptop. I suspect that it would impact battery life in a similar fashion.

In our web-browsing test, the Spectre x360 16 lasted for 8.5 hours, an average score, and in our video-looping test, it managed 14 hours. That’s slightly above average. As I used the laptop, I saw less than a full day’s battery life, coming in closer to five or six hours of productivity work. That’s good, but not great for such a large machine. Once again, however, the MacBook Pro 16 stands out with its incredible 19 hours of web browsing and 26 hours looping our test video. It will last closer to two days of typical use and a full day of more intensive tasks.

An excellent laptop I find hard to recommend

The Spectre x360 16 puts me in a difficult position. On the one hand, it’s an excellent 360-degree convertible 2-in-1 with a solid build, beautiful OLED display, and superior keyboard and touchpad. Its performance is very good for all but demanding creators.

Therein lies the rub. As a 16-inch laptop, the Spectre should appeal most to that very market — demanding creators — but it’s simply too slow. That makes it an oversized 2-in-1 that sits in an awkward position. As much I appreciate its high quality, I can’t recommend it to its intended audience over faster options.

Editors’ Recommendations