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Garmin Forerunner 55 voted Best Running Watch at TechRadar Choice Awards 2021

The show goes on at the TechRadar Choice Awards 2021 with our day three winners. Today's awards are in the Health & Fitness and Home Tech categories where the Garmin Forerunner 55 has scooped up the best running watch award.

The TechRadar Choice Awards 2021, powered by Oppo, are a new series of awards for 2021, celebrating the very best tech products and brands we've been using throughout the year.

We have over 50 award categories in 2021 from smartwatches to TVs, laptops to smartphones, cameras to drones. We've spent the week coveting the very best in tech in 2021, and today we're diving into both the Health & Fitness and Home Tech awards.

We couldn't decide the winners on our own, of course, so voting was split between the general UK public as well as our expert panel of judges for the best possible combination of informed opinions.

Now, we're just as eager to reveal this year's award winners as you are to read them, so here's our picks of the Health & Fitness and Home Tech award winners for 2021.

Best Running Watch

Garmin Forerunner 55

This entry-level running watch from Garmin is perfect for beginners and veterans alike, with bespoke workout suggestions and well-designed, easy to use controls.

Read our Garmin Forerunner 55 review

Best Fitness Tracker

Fitbit Luxe

The Fitbit Luxe is easily the best fitness tracker of the year, with a sleek and professional design complete with a gorgeously crisp AMOLED screen. Its features are similarly fantastic, with very impressive biometrics and heart rate monitoring.

Read our Fitbit Luxe review

Best Electric Toothbrush

Oral-B iO Series 9

The Oral-B iO Series 9 is the comfiest - and smartest - electric toothbrush we've used all year. With smooth, quiet motions as well as robust cleaning, it's a must-own for anyone looking to keep their teeth as healthy and clean as humanly possible.

Read our Oral-B iO Series 9 review

Best Smart Scales

Xiaomi Mi Body Composition Scale 2

The Xiaomi Mi Body Composition Scale 2 is the best smart scale of the year. We loved the simple, rounded design of the device, as well as its ease of use and relative affordability that makes it accessible to a wide range of budgets.

Read our Xiaomi Mi Body Composition Scale 2 review

Best Electric Bike

Raleigh Array

The Raleigh Array represents the best value e-bike of the year. It delivers great power and performance, while maintaining a high level of comfort for rides of all lengths.

Read our Raleigh Array review

Best Electric Scooter

Pure Air Pro (2021)

2021's Pure Air Pro is easily the best electric scooter of the year. It's great value with a price cheaper than its predecessors, and a more powerful motor with longer range.

Read our Pure Air Pro (2021) review

Best Smart Speaker

Sonos Roam

In terms of smart speakers, nothing came close to the Sonos Roam in 2021. Featuring superb audio performance, great portability and robust connectivity options, we named it the best smart speaker you can buy in 2021.

Read our Sonos Roam smart speaker review

Best Smart Display

Amazon Echo Show 10

Amazon's best Echo Show to date features a sharp, clear screen that's responsive to touch. Video calls are excellent on the device, and its home security camera functionality works incredibly well, too.

Read our Amazon Echo Show 10 review

Best Vacuum

Dyson V15

The Dyson V15 is simply the company's most powerful vacuum to date. While on the pricey side, its excellent suction and robust cleaning features easily makes it our choice as the best vacuum of the year.

Read our Dyson V15 review

Best Airfryer

Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer AF300UK

The Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer AF300UK is fantastic if you just want to take the stress out of cooking, while still serving up food that's to die for. With two compartments, you can sync up cooking times to ensure nothing is under or overcooked.

Read our Ninja Foodi Dual Zone Air Fryer AF300UK review

Best Coffee Machine

Delonghi Prima Donna Soul

The De’Longhi PrimaDonna Soul is the best choice for coffee lovers in 2021, with an incredible range of drink options, especially if you crave a cappuccino or flat white at a moment's notice.

Read our De’Longhi PrimaDonna Soul review

Best Video Doorbell

Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2

The Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 might just be the best video doorbell ever made, and easily the best for 2021. A wider angle lens allows you to view more, and high-quality video output alongside 3D movement detection help to keep your home safe and secure.

Read our Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 review

Apple AirPods 3 release date, price, leaks, and rumors

When will we see the Apple AirPods 3? With nearly two years having passed since the last iteration of Apple's true wireless earbuds, the AirPods (2019), we're expecting an updated pair any day now.

In fact, the next Apple event has been confirmed for October 18 at 10am PDT / 6pm BST - that's 4am AEDT on October 19 - and we think it's likely that the AirPods 3 will be announced then. 

That's because nearly all the rumors we've heard have been pointing to a 2021 release date, and this is likely to be the last Apple event of the year. 

According to Bloomberg, which spoke with people familiar with the plans, the AirPods 3 could include motion sensors for fitness tracking and integration with Apple Fitness Plus, along with noise reduction.

As well as reports claiming that a third iteration of the Apple AirPods are definitely in development (along with the second generation of the Apple AirPods Pro), we've also heard rumors that components for the earbuds are already being shipped to manufacturers.

Cut to the chase

What are they? A new version of the Apple AirPods.

When will they be released? It could be October 2021.

How much will they cost? Likely similar to the current AirPods.

Since the original Apple AirPods launched in 2016, the true wireless earbuds have dominated the headphones market, becoming an icon of the company’s slick design customs and user-friendly technologies. 

They weren’t perfect, though – and in 2019, the upgraded AirPods (or AirPods 2, if you will) were furnished with Apple’s H1 chip, which brought with it faster pairing times, longer battery, and a cool hands-free ‘Hey Siri’ feature. 

These second-gen true wireless earbuds were a definite improvement upon their predecessors – but they were still easily eclipsed by the likes of the Sony WF-1000XM3, the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1, and Apple’s own AirPods Pro in 2019.

While we're still waiting for official confirmation from Apple that it will be launching the AirPods 3 this year, here's everything we know so far, plus a wish list of all the features we want to see from the company’s next true wireless earbuds.

AirPods

(Image credit: Moma Okgo / Shutterstock.com)

Apple AirPods 3 release date

While we have a few ideas about the specs we might see with the new earbuds, an official AirPods 3 release date still eludes us. We thought we might see them at the iPhone 13 launch event on September 14, but we were left disappointed.

We still think they'll be released before 2021 is out, though. That's certainly what those in the know are saying - and with an Apple event scheduled for October 18, we may not have very long to wait at all. 

In May, Bloomberg said the AirPods 3 were in development in May and will be announced before the end of 2021. 

Noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo also said that the company will start producing new AirPods models in the ‘third calendar quarter of 2021,’ according to an investor report seen by AppleInsider.

The same rumors align with further reports in June, claiming several Apple suppliers had begun shipping substrate components (aka circuit boards) for various upcoming Apple products, including the AirPods 3.

A 2021 release also seems likely now that we've seen more leaked photos of the AirPods 3, showing off a AirPods-Pro style design, following the first images of the Apple AirPods 3 from 52audio.

As for new AirPods Pro earbuds, Japanese blog MacOtakara had alleged that the AirPods Pro 2 would arrive in April 2021 alongside the iPhone SE 3 – though neither appeared at the company's Spring Loaded Apple Event in April.

The latest Bloomberg’s sources are hinting at a 'Fall' release (that's September-November), which suggests we'll see the AirPods Pro 2 before the year is out - but we're hedging our bets, and think 2022 is more likely. 

Apple AirPods

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple AirPods 3 price

The Apple AirPods 3 are expected to be cheaper than the AirPods Pro, which cost $249 / £249 / AU$399, possibly costing the same as the current AirPods (2019) with Wireless Charging Case. 

That would set their price at $159 / £159 / AU$249. Saying that, it's possible that they could be more expensive, particularly if Apple adds more premium features like active noise cancellation and support for Spatial Audio. 

Whether there will be a cheaper version with a standard (non-wireless charging case) remains to be seen – though with Apple's focus on wireless charging with the iPhone 12, it doesn't seem likely.

Apple AirPods 3 design

Images of what could be the upcoming wireless earbuds have surfaced online, potentially giving us a good look at the next Apple earbuds. 

The images were posted to Twitter by LeaksApplePro, and show off what looks like a pair of AirPods with shorter stems, backing up previous rumors that the next AirPods would take some style cues from the noise-cancelling AirPods Pro.

Nice pic.twitter.com/2PJdCd2hEnMarch 10, 2021

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Not only that, but renders of the new AirPods were posted by GizmoChina, with the site claiming that the images came from suppliers of the rumored earbuds

These renders look very similar to the photos posted by LeaksApplePro, as well as previous images leaked by 52Audio in late February.

airpods 3

A render of the AirPods 3 from GizmoChina. (Image credit: GizmoChina)

The image backs up some of the previous rumors we've heard about the Apple AirPods 3, including the fact that they'll sport shorter ear stems like the Apple AirPods Pro

Based on the photographs, it doesn't look like the new AirPods will have silicone eartips like their noise-cancelling siblings, though a render provided by 52audio shows what looks like detachable silicone eartips included with the buds. Giving users the option to swap the tips in and out would certainly appease fans of both the original AirPods and the newer AirPods Pro.

Aside from catering to more ear-sizes, silicone or foam eartips provide a better seal, and therefore superior noise isolation, and passive noise-reduction – making your music sound better, while simultaneously preventing the entire world from earwigging on your favorite songs.

Airpods 3

The photograph leaked by 52Audio. (Image credit: 52audio)

52audio also claims that the true wireless earbuds will feature similar pressure-relieving air vents to make the earbuds comfortable to wear for long periods, and will sport touch-sensitive controls. 

The charging case appears to be more like what you get with the original AirPods, rather than the more rectangular case provided with the AirPods Pro, though there is now an LED battery indicator on the front. 

According to TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has made a number of correct Apple predictions in the past, the AirPods 3 will "adopt a compact system-in-package (SiP) solution similar to AirPods Pro", in a research note obtained by MacRumors.

As electronics manufacturer Octavo Systems explains, system-in-package "integrates multiple Integrated Circuits (ICs) along with their supporting passive devices into a single package", as opposed to cramming lots of components into one piece of silicone.

In other words, it allows for product-makers to create smaller devices, and it's a technique that was used by Apple in its creation of the AirPods Pro.

The AirPods Pro are significantly smaller than the original AirPods, with shorter ear stems – that's in spite of the wireless earbuds packing in active noise cancellation technology and a new Dolby Atmos spatial audio feature, which requires an inbuilt gyroscope and accelerometer.

The latest Bloomberg’s sources also suggest the AirPods 3 will look like the AirPods Pro – though won’t pack the same noise-cancelling features.

airpods pro

The AirPods 3 will apparently take their design cues from the AirPods Pro (pictured). (Image credit: Apple)

Apple AirPods 3 features

While many of the AirPods 3 rumors have focussed on the design of the new earbuds, there's been lots of speculation on the kind of features we can expect to see when they're finally launched. 

A focus on fitness

Apple is apparently planning to fit ambient light sensors to future versions of the AirPods – sensors which could make them much more useful as health monitoring devices, akin to the best fitness headphones in the world.

A report in DigiTimes (via MacRumors) passes on information from the Apple supply chain that production of these ambient light sensors is being ramped up, quite possibly to get ready for some brand new wireless earbuds.

There are a lot of dots to join here, and there isn't necessarily just one way to join them – but that said, it would make a lot of sense for Apple to want to boost the fitness tracking capabilities of future AirPod models, much as it did with the Apple Watch.

Apple has also recently been awarded a number of new patents, one of which suggests that the next AirPods could come with a nifty feature for fitness fans

According to Patently Apple, the patent describes AirPods that use inbuilt sensors to "gather orientation information such as accelerometer measurements during user movements".

The true wireless earbuds could then communicate via Bluetooth with an iPhone, and "may form part of an AirPods system that supplies the user with coaching and feedback while evaluating user performance of a head movement routine or other exercise routine".

This could be particularly useful for exercises like yoga, with the AirPods providing realtime feedback on a user's head tilts, poses, and stretches. We've also heard that the AirPods 3 will come with Apple Fitness Plus integration, which would make sense if they do come with these clever sensors.

The latest fitness feature we've heard about is the ability for AirPods to track your breathing rate

As well as allowing AirPods users to track their respiratory rate during exercise, this feature could help users to track disease progression and general fitness over time, without the need for obvious medical monitoring equipment.

Safety features

Future Apple AirPods – including the rumored AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro Lite – could automatically pause or lower the volume of your music if they detect hazards in your surroundings, according to a patent granted to the company on August 11. 

The patent describes a pair of true wireless earbuds that are capable of adjusting their audio output based on the user's activities and location, including "adjusting audio volume, stopping or preventing audio from playing, providing feedback, directions, encouragement, advice, safety information, instructions, and the like". 

Using a combination of GPS data from a smartphone or smartwatch and positional data from the earbuds themselves, the patent describes how future AirPods could help users stay safe while near busy roads:

"As one non-limiting example, the sensing device may determine that the wearable audio device engages both ears and that the user is at a side of, or on, a road."

The earbuds would then "pause or prevent audio playback" through the speaker adjacent to the road, allowing you to hear traffic while still listening to music through the other earbud.

Speed data, presumably taken from a built-in accelerometer in the AirPods themselves, could also be used to keep cyclists safe, by pausing music when the speed is above a certain threshold.

Active noise cancellation

Whether the AirPods 3 will come with ANC is unclear right now. As we mentioned, Ming-Chi Kuo has suggested that the AirPods 3 will look most like the AirPods Pro, with silicone eartips and a sleek look, which could lend itself to noise-cancelling smarts. 

However, recent Bloomberg reports indicate that the AirPods 3 will mimic the AirPods Pro in aesthetic only (i.e. they won't boast the same audio features).

52audio has said that support for active noise cancellation is likely, and it's certainly possible if the earbuds do take their design cues from the AirPods Pro, however MacRumors editor Joe Rossignol has speculated that the AirPods 3 will simply be a cheaper version of the AirPods Pro with noise cancellation removed – which follows what we're hearing from Bloomberg. 

The latter has hinted at noise reduction, at least, as opposed to total cancellation – a little like the original Amazon Echo Buds.

Spatial Audio

Another feature that 52audio has deemed likely is Spatial Audio. Apple’s Spatial Audio is the company’s answer to Dolby Atmos for Headphones, designed for the AirPods Pro and the AirPods Max over-ear headphones

It takes 5.1, 7.1, and Dolby Atmos content and applies directional audio filters, placing sound in a 3D sphere.

What’s unique to Spatial Audio though, is that it uses the built-in accelerometers and gyroscopes inside Apple’s earbuds and headphones to track the position of your head, as well as the position of your iPhone or iPad. 

That means that, when you watch films on your iPhone  or iPad, the sound will always be placed correctly based on the action on the screen – so, if you turn your head or shift your device, it will still sound as though the sound is coming from the screen.

Gesture controls

While some outlets have predicted touch-sensitive controls like the AirPods Pro, it's possible the AirPods 3 will make use of more futuristic methods. In 2020, Apple was awarded a patent that described some of the cool features we could see in future AirPods models, including the ability to control the true wireless earbuds with futuristic 'in-air gestures'

The patent, which was spotted by Patently Apple, describes how in-air gestures – for example hovering a hand over the AirPods – could work alongside the touch controls already employed by the AirPods Pro, allowing you to trigger different actions. 

Another patent has since described AirPods that could automatically pause or lower the volume of your music if they detect hazards in your surroundings.

Better battery life

According to Bloomberg, Apple is looking to improve the battery life of the AirPods, which currently comes in at a rather meagre 24 hours. We certainly hope this the case – though if 52audio is to be believed, the onboard 5-hour battery life provided by the buds themselves won't be increased, with any improvements possibly only applying to charging case.

True wireless earbuds like the Lypertek PurePlay Z3 (Tevi) have shown that cutting the cord doesn’t have to mean sacrificing your battery life – and there’s really no need for the AirPods to only be offering a measly five hours of playback in 2021. 

airpods

The AirPods (2019) (Image credit: Future)

Apple AirPods 3: what we want to see

Better sound than the AirPods 2

The AirPods (2019) were an improvement upon their predecessors in terms of connectivity, but the sound remained exactly the same as the originals – and that audio technology is now four years old. 

They have a lively, powerful presentation, although they can sound slightly harsh when it comes to higher-frequency sounds, and they aren’t the bassiest earbuds on the market.

Since the launch of the original AirPods, the sound quality offered by true wireless earbuds has soared; just look at the Sony WF-1000XM3 or the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1

There’s no reason why Apple couldn’t take a cue from these companies and really develop the sound of their earbuds, with more accurately-tuned drivers for improved bass response and rolled-off trebles – after all, the company has proved it possible with the AirPods Pro.

Hi-res audio support

Now that Apple Music offers hi-res audio at no extra cost to subscribers, we'd like to see Apple update its own hardware so that its capable of delivering lossless audio.

Right now, all AirPods models only support the AAC codec when connected to an iOS or iPadOS device, whereas the new lossless Apple Music format is encoded in ALAC. In short, without ALAC support built into the headphones, the AirPods aren't capable of transmitting hi-res audio.

Realme GT Neo, 4K Smart Google TV Stick launched in India: Price, specs, and availability

Realme has launched six new products in India today including the much-awaited Realme GT Neo smartphone and Realme 4K smart Google TV stick. The company has also added a new Bluetooth speaker and a few gaming accessories. 

Here is everything you need to know about all the products that Realme unveiled at the event today including the specifications, features, price and availability. 

Realme GT Neo 2 specs and features

Realme GT Neo 2

(Image credit: Future)

The Realme GT Neo 2 is Realme’s first phone in India to be powered by the Snapdragon 870 5G processor. It comes in two variants with up to 12GB RAM and 256GB 3.1 UFS storage. You also get an additional 7GB Virtual RAM

Further, the Realme GT Neo 2 is the first device in the series to come with a 5,000mAh battery coupled with 65W fast charging 一 a full charge will take only 36 minutes. It flaunts a 6.62-inch E4 AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate, 92.6% screen to body ratio, 1300 nits, 100% DCI-P3 colour gamut, 600Hz touch response rate, and support for HDR10+ content. 

In the camera department, the 64MP main camera(Samsung GW1), an 8MP ultra-wide-angle camera, and a 2MP macro shooter. On the front, there is a 16MP selfie camera. The phone comes with an 8 layer cooling system with diamond thermal gel and a stainless steel vapour cooling which Realms claims can reduce temperature by up to 18 degrees. It weighs 200 grams and measures 8.6mm thick. 

8GB+128GB: Rs 31,999 | 12GB+256GB: Rs 35,999

Colours: Neo Blue, Neo Green, Neo Black

First sale: October 17 on Flipkart

Realme 4K Smart Google TV Stick specs and features

Realme 4K Smart Google TV Stick

(Image credit: Realme)

Realme 4K Smart TV Google TV stick makes its debut in India today and this is also the world’s first streaming device to come preloaded with Google TV platform. As far as functionality goes, this stick can convert any non-smart TV to a smart TV as long as you have an HDMI port on the TV. 

The 4K Smart Google TV stick comes with an HDMI port (2.1) which can be plugged into your TV and there is also a micro USB port that needs to be plugged into a power outlet. As the name suggests, this tiny device is capable of streaming up to 4K content from different OTT apps like YouTube, Netflix, Prime Video, and Hotstar as long as you have a subscription. 

You also get Google Assistant for hands-free control. It supports up to 4K 60fps resolution as well as HDR10+ support. The stick comes with several apps pre-installed, but you can also download other apps through Google Play Stores. Other features include 2GB RAM, 8GB storage, quad-core CPU, and dual-core GPU. 

In addition to the stick, you also get a remote with a built-in microphone, hotkeys for Netflix, YouTube, Prime Video, and Music. As for the wireless connectivity, you get Bluetooth 5.0 and Wi-Fi. 

The Google TV platform focuses on user interaction and perfecting content curation, so finding what you want to watch is sleek and easy. The Realme 4K Smart Google TV Stick will take on the Xiaomi Mi Box 4K and Amazon Fire TV 4K. 

Price: Rs 3,999 (Rs 2,999 initially)

First sale: Coming soon

Realme Brick Bluetooth speaker

Realme Brick Bluetooth speaker

(Image credit: Realme)

The third Bluetooth speaker from Realme, the Brick Bluetooth speaker is by far the most powerful speaker from the company. It comes with a 20W dynamic bass boost driver along with dedicated bass radiators. The device supports 360-degree stereo sound as well. It has a 5,200mAh battery built-in which is rated to last up to 14 hours on a single charge. You also get volume control and media control buttons on the top. 

Price: Rs 2,999

Colors: Black

First sale: October 18

Realme gaming accessories

Three new gaming accessories were launched today. Here is how much they cost. All products will go on sale from October 18.

  • Cooling back clip Neo priced at Rs 999
  • Type-C SuperDart game cable at Rs 599
  • Mobile game trigger at Rs 699

Realme Buds Air 2 Closer Green

Realme AIoT launch

(Image credit: Realme)

Last on the list is a new colour variant for a popular product from Realme, the Buds Air 2 Closer Green edition. Apart from the change in paint job which is mostly Neon Green on the outside and Black on the inside, the rest of the specs and features remains the same. You can check our Realme Buds Air 2 here. 

Price: Rs 3,299

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New Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin wireless speaker will get wiser with age

The Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin is one of the most recognizable wireless speakers on the planet. Having started life as an iPod dock (those were the days), the speaker has had no less than three different iterations - and now it's been upgraded once more for 2021. 

The new Zeppelin looks pretty similar to its predecessors, with that unmistakable oval shape that looks like like a floating airship. There are a few tweaks to the design, though; available in dark and light gray, the speaker now includes ambient lighting around its base that projects a halo-like effect onto its metal pedestal stand.

While most audiophiles will agree that two speakers are better than one, the Zeppelin offers a complete stereo system in one package, with dedicated left and right speakers assembled around a central 150mm subwoofer. 

Those speakers are mounted in an "ultra-rigid" enclosure that's been designed for the best audio dispersion possible - in other words, you should find the Zeppelin is more than capable of filling your living room with sound.

There are also two decoupled double-dome tweeters mounted at the far edges of the enclosure. These tweeters - which originally featured in the company's 600 Anniversary Series - are isolated from the other larger drive units, which Bowers & Wilkins says allows for a "wide, spacious, and highly accurate sound". 

The tweeters are paired with 90mm midrange drivers that use the company's Fixed Suspension Transducer technology - the same tech found inside the 800 Series Diamond (the monitor speaker used at Abbey Road Studios, of all places).

the bowers & wilkins zeppelin wireless speaker in light gray

(Image credit: Bowers & Wilkins)

A speaker for the ages

The new Zeppelin has been brought up to date with Alexa built-in, so you can ask the voice assistant to play a song of your choice, or to control your smart home devices - though there are physical buttons on the top of the speaker's enclosure if you prefer. 

You've also got AirPlay 2 and aptX Adaptive Bluetooth compatibility, so you'll be able to stream high quality music from your iPhone or your Android device. For Spotify users there's Spotify Connect, while the Bowers & Wilkins Music App gives you access to lots more music streaming services, such as Deezer, Tidal, and Qobuz.

The most interesting aspect of the new Zeppelin is that it's built to last a long time. Its "digital brain" can be upgraded over time, with multi-room support being added in early 2022. That means you'll be able to fill your home with sound by pairing the new Zeppelin with other speakers in the Bowers & Wilkins Formation range - and it also means that the speaker should last you a long time. And you'll be glad of that when you find out how much it costs.

The new Zeppelin is available to buy now for $799 / £699 / AU$1,199. That's no small amount to spend on a wireless speaker, but if it sounds anything like its predecessors, you can expect clear, natural-sounding audio that will fill a room with ease - and a striking design piece to boot.

The new ColorOS 12 based on Android 12- A nifty upgrade with features that will significantly provide a seamless experience

The stock Android experience can be hard to beat, especially since a lot of companies tend to create customisations that just don’t feel right. But then, there are some who not only get the basics of Android right but also surpass it to become even better than you would imagine. One such Android-based OS that has steadily risen to the ranks of stardom is OPPO’s ColorOS. And now with the launch of ColorOS 12, OPPO has clearly showcased how its custom skins can transform the smartphone experience to match the best.

Are you ready to experience the #ColorOS12 in it’s full glory?Find out everything you need to know here 👇 https://t.co/CShBdk0uJgOctober 11, 2021

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Ever since its release, ColorOS has gained a lot of momentum in the industry. After launching in 2013, ColorOS quickly gained followers, surpassing 30 million users by 2015. The brand kept releasing iterations to the OS, each improving upon the previous one, and each improvement designed keeping in mind the user experience. And then last year, OPPO jumped from ColorOS 7 to ColorOS 11, bringing in a host of customisations and personalisation to its OS. Right from fine-tuning user control over design, to app management, OPPO got it right.

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Oppo ColorOS

(Image credit: Oppo)
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Oppo ColorOS

(Image credit: Oppo)

The newly launched ColorOS 12 takes this brand legacy forward, especially by being the widest and fastest upgrade in the history of the OS, covering 110 mobile models and 150 million users worldwide! Plus, the brand new ColorOS 12 is based on the new Google OS, making OPPO one of the first OEMs to release Android 12. 

Along with this, OPPO has also made a major commitment to upgrade policy for the first time, giving out three Android versions upgrade and four years’ worth of security patches maintenance for its flagship models. In fact, over the next few months, OPPO plans to roll out ColorOS 12 to its signature line-up of devices here in India. Starting from November 2021 for its tremendously successful Reno series – Reno6 Pro 5G, Reno6 Pro Diwali Edition, and Reno6 5G. 

The ColorOS 12 has very similar features and UI as stock Android, including the ubiquitous Google Feed and Material You. Thanks to its in-depth technical cooperation with Google, particularly in the field of interconnectivity, the new ColorOS 12 is gaining a lot of attention and buzz for its one-of-a-kind upgrades.

Oppo ColorOS

(Image credit: Oppo )

I got a chance to experience the new ColorOS 12 and I am thoroughly impressed. Inclusivity, for instance, is possibly the biggest highlight of the ColorOS 12. The content is not only spaced out in a clean and uncluttered manner but also tailored to suit my needs. How OPPO has achieved this is by establishing multilingual teams to proofread English and other minority languages translation to solve the context localization problems. Amongst the 67 languages that the ColorOS 12 supports, a staggering 13 are Indian. 

This will cover 430 million users in more than 140 countries worldwide. Add to this there is the Screen Translate feature, which let me leverage Google Lens to make one-click full-screen translation while calling out the sidebar to display the translation result in the form of a pop-up window. This greatly helps to reduce or even break the language barrier while viewing, especially news content in other languages on your phone.

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Oppo ColorOS

(Image credit: Oppo )

Another aspect where the new ColorOS 12 scored top scores for me is Privacy. ColorOS 12 takes that into account very seriously.  Thanks to a 100% integration of stock Android privacy protection features, the permission granting on ColorOS 12 smartphones is more transparent. The permission usage for the camera, microphone, and location of apps was recorded and displayed clearly on the page so that one can easily check and manage these permissions. 

If you want to know about or change the permissions that different apps on your phone have, you can do that seamlessly. Another security feature in ColorOS is Anti-Peeping. If you are travelling in a crowded metro or bus, and reading or watching videos on your phone, the feature automatically recognises when someone else is trying to peep into your device, and collapses your content. What you view is yours, and yours only.

 

Oppo ColorOS

(Image credit: Oppo )

ColorOS 12 is also pretty smart and efficient, and it is immediately apparent when you start setting up your phone. With an AI system booster in tow, the OS makes your phone work hard with ease. It basically reduces memory usage by 30%, background power consumption by 20%, and increases battery life by an average of 12%. The visualized battery dashboard also provides detailed information about your power consumption. 

If you have a habit of working long hours on your phone or just scrolling endlessly while losing track of time, the power consumption notification will remind you of possible power optimization so you can continue doing whatever you were doing without worrying about running out of battery. Features like the One-Tap Power-Saving feature and System Performance Optimizer are super-efficient when it comes to increasing battery life.

Oppo ColorOS

(Image credit: Oppo )

All these features, along with many other major upgrades, make the ColorOS 12 a superb OS. It greatly enhanced my smartphone experience especially in aspects like power-saving and privacy. Nifty improvements and uncompromised features give this new OS just the right touch, making it the best ColorOS version from OPPO so far.

Win a Sony Alpha ZV-E10 Camera and take your vlogging to the next level

If you're an avid vlogger and you really want to shoot professional-looking vlogs, you'll want to invest in some great gear. Sure, you can shoot some decent videos with your smartphone, but if you want to keep making great content, you'll need a better camera than what's bundled with your phone.

The Sony ZV-E10 is the first vlog camera with interchangeable lenses, which allows you to choose the best lens that suits the content you’re trying to create. With over 60 lenses to choose from, there’s a perfect lens for every situation. For example, if you’re filming a vlog, you’ll want to opt for a wide-angle lens to capture not only yourself, but also your surroundings to make for an immersive viewing experience. When filming far away objects, a telephoto lens lets you smoothly zoom in and out on subjects, while keeping everything in sharp focus. This can also add a dynamic element to your video with no extra editing required.

If you enjoy creating unboxing videos and product reviews, the ZV-E10 is a perfect sidekick. When the Product Showcase Setting is activated, the camera will quickly and automatically shift focus from your face to a product held in front of the camera, without the need to place your hand behind the product to shift the focus to it. The ZV-E10 is then able to quickly focus back on your face when you’re done, all without having to stop to manually change focus settings.

We're giving away a ZV-E10 camera along with a SEL 1018 Lens and camera grip, so you'll be able to make the best vlogs or take stunning photos for your social feeds. 

To win, just fill in the form below - the competition ends on October 31st and is open to valid UAE residents only.

Amazfit GTR 3 and GTS 3 smartwatches to launch in India soon

Amazfit GTS 3, GTR3, and GTR 3 Pro smartwatches were launched globally a couple of days back. Now, the company has confirmed the same smartwatches will be launched in India soon. 

The Amazfit GTS 3 and GTR 3 are the successors to the Amazfit GTS 2, GTR 2 from last year while the GTR 3 Pro is the first Pro variant in the series. While the smartwatches seem to be the successor on paper, the company has taken away some features that were present on the second-gen models such as Wi-Fi, speaker, and internal storage 一 these features are now exclusive for Pro models. 

Amazfit GTR 3 Pro specs, features, and price

Amazfit GTR 3

(Image credit: Amazfit)

The Amazfit GTR 3 Pro comes with a 1.45-inch circular AMOLED screen with a digital crown and a button on the side. The wearable is made up of an aluminium body which adds a premium look. The watch comes with a 450mAh battery which is said to last up to 12 days. You also get Wi-Fi, a speaker, Bluetooth calls, and 2.3GB internal storage. 

The Amazfit GTR 3 Pro offers more than 150 sports modes and weighs just 32 grams. Other features include built-in GPS, automatic workout detection, notifications, sleep tracking, Alexa support, and more. 

Price: $229.99 (~Rs 17,400)

Amazfit GTR 3 specs, features, and price

Amazfit GTR 3

(Image credit: Amazfit)

It sports a 1.39-inch circular AMOLED display and weighs 32grams. On a single charge, the GTR 3 is rated to last up to 21 days with a 450mAh battery.  Health-related features include BioTracker 3.0 PPG biometric sensor to measure heart rate, 150+ sports mode, built-in GPS, sleep tracking, and more. 

Price: $179.99 99 (~13,600)

Amazfit GTS 3 specs, features, and price

Amazfit GTR 3

(Image credit: Amazfit)

Amazfit GTS 3 is similar to the GTR 3, but there are few changes. Firstly, the display is a 1.75-inch square AMOLED and the battery life also drops down to 12 days paired with a 250mAh battery. It weighs just 24.4 grams. 

Price: $179.99 (~13,600) 

We should hear more details about these watches in the coming days from the company. 

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Black Friday Apple Pencil deals: you can still save on a new stylus

When shopping for a stylus for your iPad, your first consideration should be an Apple Pencil. The company's accessory syncs up perfectly with its tablet, as expected, and there should be plenty of Black Friday Apple Pencil deals arriving soon.

Apple's products aren't often discounted, but even they aren't immune from the Black Friday 2021 deals that come around before late November. While we don't expect too much money off Apple's stylus, you should be able to save on a new Apple Pencil 1 or Apple Pencil 2 as the deals start rolling in closer to Black Friday.

The Apple Pencil 1 and Apple Pencil 2 are different, and some iPads may not be compatible with both, so it's important to check ahead of time before making your purchase. As a rule, older iPads support the Apple Pencil 1 while the newest iPads should work with both, but the Apple Pencil 2 has some upgrades over its predecessor – which only the best iPads can benefit from, like magnetic attaching and charging.

Of course, the original Apple Pencil 1 is cheaper than its successor, even if it lacks some advanced features, so make sure you're buying the right Apple stylus for you.

Best Apple Pencil deals today

We're still some weeks away from the best Black Friday Apple Pencil deals, so we'll list the best Apple Pencil deals you'll find right now. Keep in mind that prices may drop toward the end of November, but if you need an Apple Pencil now, here are your best options:

Last year's Black Friday Apple Pencil deals

Last year's Black Friday Apple Pencil deals

Hottest deal

Apple Pencil (1st Generation): $99 $87.94 (save $11.06)
The original Apple Pencil is a fantastic companion for your iPad, giving you precise control. This 1st Generation version doesn't have the wireless charging and gesture controls of later models, but it's an absolute bargain for Cyber Monday and a great buy.

Official Apple iPad accessories: 10%-15% off at Amazon
On Amazon, Apple is discounting loads of its iPad accessories including Lightning Cables, Apple Pencil tips and Smart Covers for loads of its different tablets.

$100 gift card with iPad Pro purchases from Apple
If you're thinking of picking up a new iPad as well as an Apple Pencil, you can now get $100 in a gift card on certain iPad Pro purchases. If you're after something a bit smaller, you can also get $50 gift card when you buy the iPad mini.

Third-party pencils

If the original Apple Pencil is still too expensive, you can pick up a third-party stylus even cheaper. These aren't just any old Apple Pencil copycats, either – we've picked out a small selection that actually work well, and won't give you a sub-par experience when you're working on your tablet.

Adonit Dash 3: $44.99 $35.99 at Amazon (save $9)
Adonit is widely regarded as one of the best names in third-party Apple Pencil alternatives, and this fine-tipped, pressure-sensitive stylus is a typical example of its work. It features two shortcut buttons and (unlike the first-gen Apple Pencil) isn't round, so it won't roll of your desk.

Adonit Note Stylus: $49.99 $29.99 at Amazon (save $20)
This smart metallic stylus is one of the best alternatives if an Apple Pencil is out of your price range. It can keep going for 12 hours between charges, is slim and light, and has a handy clip to keep it secure in your pocket. It might not match the real deal, but for a third-party stylus it's pretty decent.

Black Friday 2021 toy deals: what we expect to see from Lego, Hot Wheels, and more

It's officially playtime now that Black Friday toy deals are here, and they're drowning us in a sea of neon colors and loud noises – but if we can brave all the toy sales, that means better birthdays and Christmas presents for all.

To help you in your journey to finding a perfect gift amid all these Black Friday sales, we've found lots of toys on offer that might interest you or your children. 

Whether you're looking for a birthday or Christmas gift for a loved one, or just want something for yourself (no judgment here), the Black Friday toy deals below cover loads of bases. We've got offers on Playmobil, Lego, Barbie, Sylvanian Families, Hot Wheels, branded action figures and more, so there's something for everyone across every age group.

Black Friday is often the perfect time to start shopping for toys for your little one, or even for older collectors and enthusiasts. That's because Black Friday presents a great opportunity to nab loads of toys at heavily discounted prices, often making Christmas shopping a breeze when done online.

This year, Black Friday is taking place on November 26. In the US, it's already a busy time of year due in no small part to Thanksgiving celebrations, but both US and UK buyers should take note if they want an opportunity to make Christmas and holiday shopping as stress-free as possible.

According to statistics site SpendMeNot, toys are among the most purchased items during Black Friday. That's somewhat understandable, considering the term covers a fairly broad range of items, but the site also noted that US retailer Walmart were popular with Disney's Frozen and Ryan's World toys and games.

Last year's Black Friday in the UK was particularly big for Osmo and Lego toys, games and sets. The former is a relatively modern series of educational products for children, while the latter should need no introduction. We expect big discounts to continue for these brands and more during this year's Black Friday sales period.

While we haven't seen any outstanding deals yet, we can point you to the top online retailers to look in both the US and UK to scope out the toys you'll want to pick up when they're discounted later. Here's where to look:

Today's best toy deals

Best toy sellers right now

Best toy sellers in the US:

Best toy sellers in the UK:

Best Black Friday toy deals: Our predictions

When will the best Black Friday toy deals start in 2021?

Last year, we saw toy deals from many different retailers go live well ahead of the official Black Friday date. This isn't uncommon, and we fully expect this to be the case in 2021, with deals potentially going live a week or two ahead. You may see toy deals go up especially early to help consumers get ahead of the curve when it comes to Christmas shopping.

Of course, we'll be updating the site and our social channels as and when Black Friday toy deals go live, meaning you won't miss out if you keep an eye on our coverage.

Where are the best places to find Black Friday toy deals in 2021?

There's going to be a very wide range of retailers selling all kinds of toys, games and playsets this Black Friday. In the US, chief among them is likely to be Amazon and Walmart, as well as Best Buy, Target and brand outlets themselves such as Playmobil's official website.

In the UK, retailers like Argos, Smyths Toys and The Entertainer routinely feature great Black Friday deals. Last year, Argos hosted huge half-price discounts on popular Nintendo, Minecraft and Disney toys, for example.

What Black Friday toy deals do we expect to see in 2021?

The Osmo brand really hit its stride last year, and we expect its success to continue as it finds its way into the hands of more young learners this year. Stalwarts such as Lego, Playmobil, Star Wars, Disney and more similarly aren't going anywhere. Once again, Black Friday 2021 will be an opportune time to get your hands on toys from popular brands aimed at all ages.

Tips for buying toys online during Black Friday

What should I look for when buying a toy on Black Friday?

Toys can be tricky to research on Black Friday for the average consumer, if only for the abundance of retailers all selling the same products at varying prices. It can be hard to know which retailers are offering any given toy at the lowest price.

If you're completely lost, Google Shopping is a great search engine for sifting through deals on any one toy. Here, you can compare prices and see which retailers offer the best deals, as well as availability, delivery costs and more.

Last year's best Black Friday toy deals in the US

We've put together a quick list of some of the best deals we found during last year's Black Friday event. This should give you an idea of what to expect this year, and of course, the world of toys is so incredibly vast that we've limited the list below to just five from each region.

Playmobil Take Along Fire Station: $39.99 $29.99 at Playmobil.com (save $10)
While Playmobil US doesn't seem to be doing the same online Black Friday sale its UK counterpart is, there are still savings to be had on a few different key sets. One example is this easily-totable fire station with two figures, accessories and vehicles. Ages 4 and up.

Fornite 10-pack Battle Royale: $79.99 $39.99 at Target (save $40)
If you know someone who loves Fornite – which is very likely, given how popular the game is – this set could be a great gift. It contains action figures of 10 of the game's iconic characters, and at half off it's much more affordable than before. Age 8 and up.

Barbie Dreamhouse Dollhouse: $199 $179 at Walmart (save $20)
This dollhouse is designed for Barbie fans, with a several rooms and an assortment of furniture. Sure the saving isn't huge, but given how expensive Barbie-loving children can be, any discount is appreciated. Age 3 and up.
 

Lego Marvel Avengers Quinjet: $79.99 $49.99 at Walmart (save $29)
This vehicle from the popular Avengers films comes with superheroes like Thor and Black Widow, as well as various tools and gadgets. Earlier in the Black Friday sales it was at $55 but it's seen another price cut. Age 8 and up.

Hot Wheels Colossal Crash Track Set: $99.99 $49.99 at Best Buy (save $50)
Right now you can get 50% off this Hot Wheels Colossal Crash racetrack set, which lets you build a loop-of-eight track, complete with a jump in the middle to (hopefully) avoid that titular colossal crash. Age 5 and up.

Last year's best Black Friday toy deals in the UK

Marvel Titan Avengers 8 Figure Pack: £117.99 £58.99 at Smyths (save £59)
If you know an Avengers fan, this could be a great gift for them. The set of eight action figures is half-price at Smyths, and while it doesn't have all the characters – Hawkeye and Black Widow are absent – it's got all the cool ones. Age 4 and up.

Sylvanian Families Grand Department Store: £119.99 £95.99 at John Lewis (save £24)
This Grand Department Store is the perfect centrepiece for your child's Sylvanian town, and comes with a character figure, plus assorted furniture and accessories. Age 3 and up.

Lego Star Wars Death Star: £409.99 £349.99 at Smyth's (save £60)
This massive Death Star set from the original trilogy comes with over 4,000 pieces, plus figures, droids, vehicles and more. It's a fantastic set that Lego no longer officially sells, so this deal is likely to sell out fast – so act quick if you want it. Age 14 and up.

50% off Nintendo, Minecraft and Disney toys at Argos
Argos is running an amazing pre-Black Friday toy sale, with up to 50% off a huge selection of toys from names including Nintendo, Minecraft, LOL Surprise, and Disney. Many of these deals are unlikely to be beaten on Black Friday, so move fast to grab them while they last.

Lego Mindstorms Robot Inventor Robotics Kit: £329.99 £246.99 at Amazon (save £83)
This is a pricey Lego kit, but right now it's available at a big discount. Lego Mindstorms kits are for technically-minded youngsters, and this set enables them to design a robot and program it to perform basic functions. It's a great gift for young engineers and prospective coders. Age 10 and up.

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