Quick Look: Lamptron HX070 7″ Hardware Monitor

Lamptron HX070

I would like to thank Lamptron for supplying the review sample.

Lamptron has been around since the early 2000s and is well known for its slew of fan controllers. In recent years, with the disappearance of external 5.25″ slots, Lamptron has expanded the line-up to internal components for both fan and RGB control, as well as several LCD monitors and RGB accessories. In this article, we will take a quick look at the Lamptron HX070, which is a 7″ display that may be used internally or externally.

Packaging and Contents

The Lamptron HX070 display comes in a brown cardboard box with a sticker on top to let you know what is inside. While the HC070 variant ships with AIDA64, this HX070 includes Lamptron’s own Hardware Monitor Software.

Taking a look at the display out of the box, it feels really sturdy with its metal housing. On the back, you can see that the controller board for the HX070 is also encased in the same material. In comparison, the Lamptron also offers an HC070 that comes with an exposed board. There are three connectors in the top. The Micro-USB and HDMI ones are for power and video, but what the third one is for is not clear.

You will receive an HDMI cable and a Micro-USB to USB-A cable to plug everything in properly. On top of that, Lamptron ships the HX070 with a desktop stand as well as a bracket for internal mounting within your chassis. The software comes stored on a Kingston USB drive with Lamptron branding.


There are two parts to the Lamptron software kit. On one hand, it gives you direct access to your system’s sensor data. Out of the box, this comes as a 30-day trial with a user code. You have to email Lamptron the code to receive a unique registration code for the software. I am assuming this is due to the fact that this hardware monitor utilizes a 3rd-party code base with a per-user cost to Lamptron, so this is their way of ensuring the software is not freely passed around.

The second element of the software focuses on the screen and utilizes a total of ten templates, eight for landscape use and two for portrait mode. Below are the landscape ones, which were easy to screenshot, while you are able to take a peek at portrait mode in action further down. While some of these are made by Lamptron, several templates came from fans of Lamptron products. One even has an anime character dancing away for you on screen. I am sure there are fairly easy ways to edit the template, as many visual elements are just part of a static background image, so you should be able to replace outdated product or brand icons with little effort.

Display in Use

The coolest way to use the screen is certainly inside your system. While it is not nearly as bright as your desktop or notebook screen, it should do just fine without nearly 1000 W of studio lights fighting it. The sturdy bracket holds the unit in place nicely, and there is still ample room for bulky GPUs behind it. The HDMI and USB cables need to be routed outward, so an expansion slot bracket with holes in it would have been nice. Once booted, you actually see a Windows screen, as the Lamptron HX070 is a traditional IPS display at its core.

Cycling through the above-mentioned templates can easily be done by clicking the left or right edges of the screen with your mouse. That said, I like the default screen seen in this picture the most.

You may also use the screen outside the case by employing the included stand. Unfortunately, it is not specifically made for the screen and pretty clunky. A small monitor foot instead would have been better, as it could have been screwed to the housing, for example. You may also utilize the screen in portrait mode, as Windows allows you to rotate your desktop accordingly as well.

Once it is set as such, the two remaining templates may be used properly as well. You may even conduct traditional tasks, like “surf” to TechPowerUp on the HX070. While its native resolution is 1024×600 pixels, scaling to 1080P works really well by the way.


The Lamptron HX070 is at its core a 7″ IPS panel with 1024×600 resolution running at 60 Hz. Lamptron has gone as far as figuring out an interface for it to utilize USB as power and HDMI for your video signal. Furthermore, Lamptron has built a steel enclosure for the screen and, in the case of the HX and HM series, the controller board as well.

To round out the total package and present a unique use case, Lamptron includes an internal mounting bracket, which is where the screen really seems to fit best. In terms of the software front, while simple, it is nice to have the templates which can be edited fairly easily by the user, and Lamptron’s simple yet functional Hardware Monitor Software.

Priced at $150, the HX070 is certainly not cheap for a screen, but could still be an interesting purchase for those looking to add something really unique and special to their build.


Sonos Arc review: Dolby Atmos soundbar delivers big sound

(Pocket-lint) – Sonos is not one for racing new products out for the sake of it. Its Playbar, for example, ruled the roost for seven years, being its only full-fledged soundbar in that time.

The Sonos Beam arrived in the meantime, but was more meant for smaller TVs and rooms, giving you a better alternative than the speakers on your flatscreen rather than cinematic experience. So, a replacement to the Playbar was long overdue.

That’s where the Sonos Arc came in. But it didn’t just replace the Playbar, it brought so many new bells and whistles to the party that it is an altogether different beast. One with Dolby Atmos – a first for the company – to deliver a virtual surround-sound experience from the single ‘bar.


  • Dimensions: 87 x 1141.7 x 115.7mm / Weight: 6.25kg
  • Can be wall-mounted or laid on a TV cabinet
  • Black and white options available
  • Adjustable status LED

Putting its tech and audio prowess to one side for a minute, the Sonos Arc is a sleek looking soundbar that matches the aesthetic of the company’s One and Move standalones.

  • Best soundbar: Options to boost your TV audio

It is long – almost the length of a modern 55-inch flatscreen TV – but more subtle than its predecessor, with a plastic alloy build and grille to front and sides. Even the logo fades away when you’re not staring directly at it, whichever finish you choose (there’s black or white, nothing more outlandish than that).


We particularly like that there are no contrasting flourishes in the design, as there’s nothing worse than catching a soundbar out of the corner of your eye while watching an intense moment in a film. Unlike children, speaker systems – and especially soundbars – should be heard and not seen. The subtlety of Sonos’ bar ensures that is the case, whether it’s wall-mounted or laid flat on a TV stand.

There are a few touch buttons on the top for play/pause and volume adjustment, but the Sonos app is so simple to use we couldn’t see ourselves bothering with them. Plus, as it is HDMI eARC-enabled, you can mainly control the soundbar through your TV remote for general use.

  • What is HDMI eARC? Why is it different to HDMI ARC?

The only other distinguishable icon on the bar itself is a microphone symbol, indicating that it is voice-enabled, with support for both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. You can tap it to turn on/off the listening mode – signified by a small LED light.


  • Ethernet (10/100 Mbps) and Wi-Fi (802.11b/g, 2.4GHz)
  • HDMI eARC (with optical digital audio adapter)
  • IR sensor on the front

Around the rear, hidden in an alcove, there are connections for power, HDMI and Ethernet. That’s it.


Those not wanting to connect the Arc through HDMI will be pleased to know that a digital optical audio adapter is included in the box, but that will effectively disable any Dolby Atmos support, as that requires hooking it up to an HDMI eARC/ARC port on a compatible TV. You’ll still get very effective multichannel surround sound, just not Atmos.

Also missing (if setup using the optical connection) will be the ability for full automation through your TV’s remote control. There is an infrared (IR) sensor, so you can set your remote to also adjust volume, but that’s a less elegant solution than using HDMI CEC (standing for Consumer Electronics Control) between TV and Arc. It also emits automated audio sync between them.

Still, if it’s all you’ve got then that’s fine – you’re still getting a superb sound system and are future-proofed to boot.

Plus, while there are plenty of TVs with at least one ARC-enabled HDMI port, only more recent models support Dolby Atmos decoding or passthrough. Even fewer support the full HDMI eARC standard, so it’s possible you might consider the soundbar with an eye on upgrading your TV somewhere down the line.


As well as 10/100 Mbps Ethernet for wired network connection, single-band (2.4GHz) Wi-Fi is available too.


  • Dolby Atmos support (through HDMI eARC/ARC)
  • Built-in Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa voice assistants
  • Runs on new Sonos S2 software
  • Apple AirPlay 2 support
  • Sonos multiroom compatible

As well as Dolby Atmos – which we’ll come to in a bit – the Sonos Arc is quite a step up over the Playbar when it comes to features.

Support for Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant is wholly welcome, for starters, implementing in similar fashion to Sonos One and Move.

The Arc has a four far-field microphone array built in that detects voice from a fair distance. We walked around a decent sized living room, even stepped outside for a moment, and it could still hear and recognise our voice.



Both services are setup through the Sonos app and, subsequently, their own individual applications on iOS and Android, so once complete act almost exactly as they would on any other supported device.

You can only use one assistant, having to disable the other if you swap, but it’s great to be given the choice. And, depending on Amazon and Google’s compatibility, it means you can play and control music by vocal command, across streaming services, and your own digital library.

You can also technically use your Arc to control your TV, if it too is Alexa and/or Google Assistant-enabled.

Apple AirPlay 2 is also supported by the soundbar, to present the cleanest possible audio sent wirelessly from an iPhone, iPad or Mac. And, Sonos’ Trueplay audio tuning during setup ensures that the output matches your surroundings through very simple instructions.

  • What is Sonos Trueplay and how does it work?

Of course, the Arc’s biggest, most attractive feature is that it is a Sonos speaker.

Sonos has provided an integrated, connected multiroom solution for many years, and has refined the experience over time. Today it is compatible with all the big music streaming services, including Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Deezer, Tidal, and more. There is also Sonos Radio, the brand’s own free service with ad-supported stations and curated playlists, so even if you aren’t a member of a third-party platform, you will still have plenty to listen to.


As Sonos products also connect wirelessly to each other, through your home network, you can sync the same songs playing on your Arc to, say, a Sonos Five speaker in another room, for example. You can group multiple speakers together and have them all play the same music. It’s great for house parties, that’s for sure.

Alternatively, you can use the interoperability to hook up a couple of Sonos One speakers to work as rear speakers, using your Arc as the front, centre and height channels. And adding a Sub for extra bass is made as simple as possible.


  • 11 drivers: 8 eliptical woofers, 3 angled silk-dome tweeters
  • Each connected to Class-D digital amplifiers
  • Four far-field microphone array
  • Adjustable equaliser (EQ)

A decent feature set is all well and good, but the most important aspect of a soundbar is the sound itself. And the Arc does not disappoint when it comes to spatial performance.


It effectively presents a virtual 5.0.2 soundfield with Atmos engaged, 5.0 when not. Dedicated centre, left and right channels provide the front-facing effects. Two other channels angled at either end of the bar provide virtual surround, while a pair of additional drivers point upwards to reflect Dolby Atmos height channels off the ceiling and back to the listening position.

There are eight woofers and three tweeters in all, each with its own Class-D digital amplifier, and when all are working in unison it presents a wall of sound that belies the simple, thin form factor.

We advise pairing the Arc with the Sonos Sub, as that will put extra growl into the bass, but we’re already impressed with the overall effect when it’s playing solo, including low frequencies.

As we’ve mentioned above, you can also add a pair of additional Sonos speakers for true rears/surrounds, but the reason why many invest in a soundbar is for its simplicity. Unless you are a true home cinema buff, you’ll already be impressed with the Arc’s out-of-the-box experience.

We tested the Arc using the latest Sonos software (Sonos S2) and several sources. We also used a Philips OLED754 TV, which has Dolby Atmos processing on board and passthrough – which we activated.

This allowed us to play a few Netflix shows that come with Atmos sound, plus several 4K Blu-rays: The Rise of Skywalker, John Wick 3 and Ready Player One. The second John Wick sequel is an especially good check disk for Dolby Atmos, with rain effects utilising the height channels throughout the first few scenes.


Perhaps the best test came via our Xbox One X. The Dolby Access app for the console (plus the One S) comes with a great collection of game and movie trailers featuring Atmos mixes, plus a few of Dolby’s own demo clips. They each gave the Sonos Arc a great workout, which it passed with flying colours. It provides a wall of sound, with clear precise spacing, even at extreme volumes.

When listening to the Arc you get an impression of audio above the seating position, plus a widening of the soundscape. But you also get a bold, cinematic presentation that seemingly comes straight from the TV screen. Having a dedicated centre also allows for clean vocal tracks.

In music terms, listening to high-res mixes of Price’s Purple Rain and The Rolling Stones’ You Can’t Always Get What You Want streamed over Tidal perfectly illustrated the bar’s ability with mid and high frequencies. Even bass response is more than acceptable for music playback.

You are still likely to want a separate Sub to get the most from genres utilising sub-bass – d&b and dubset heads, that’s you – but even without that additional cost the Arc’s neutral tones are a great starting point for all genres.


The Sonos Arc is a highly-accomplished bit of kit. There are caveats: it only works with the Sonos S2 software, so cannot be part of the same multi-room setup as older legacy kit; and, without a separate source input on the bar, your TV needs to have Dolby Atmos and HDMI ARC/eARC support to use it at its fullest.

However, those are minor points really as, like the Playbar before it, this is a speaker with the potential to be relevant for the next seven years or more. Your surrounding kit will inevitably catch-up.

In the meantime, the Arc presents an exemplary sound experience even without Dolby Atmos – which accounts for 90 per cent or so of the audio you’ll pump through it anyway. And, with Alexa and Google Assistant built-in, plus AirPlay 2 and Sonos’ own feature-filled music platform, you have yourself a very compelling speaker system to elevate your entertainment no end.

It’s pricey, granted, but you’re getting a tough-to-rival feature set and a very classy act all told.

Also consider


Samsung HW-Q90R


If you’re not bound to Sonos’ multi-room system idea, yet want a true surround sound system in the one box, Samsung delivers a 7.1.4 with ‘bar, sub, rear speakers and Dolby Atmos support out of the box. All for a very reasonable price considering.

  • Read our review

Writing by Rik Henderson. Editing by Britta O’Boyle.


Google Pixel 6 vs Pixel 5: What’s the rumoured difference?

(Pocket-lint) – Google is expected to announce the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro smartphones towards the end of the year, succeeding the Pixel 5 that arrived in October 2020. 

We’ve compared how the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro could compare based on the speculation in a separate feature, but here we are focussing on how the Pixel 6 might stack up against the Pixel 5.


  • Pixel 5: 144.7 x 70.4 x 8mm
  • Pixel 6: 158.6 x 74.8 x 8.9mm, 11.8mm with bump
  • Pixel 6 Pro: 163.9 x 75.8 x 8.9mm, 11.5mm with bump

Based on the rumours, the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro will offer a complete redesign compared to the Pixel 5. Renders suggest a rectangular camera housing will stretch across the entire width of the devices on the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro compared to the square housing positioned in the top left corner on the Pixel 5.

It also looks like the punch hole camera at the top of the display will move to the centre in the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, repositioning from the top left corner on the Pixel 5.

The other big change in design appears to be the introduction of an under-display fingerprint sensor on the Pixel 6, rather than the physical sensor on the rear of the Pixel 5. The Pixel 6 and 6 Pro also both appear to be a little more exciting in terms of colours, with blocks of colours on the rear based on the leaked images.

In terms of physical measurements, it looks like the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro will both be larger than the Pixel 5, as well as thicker. The Pixel 5 has an IP68 water and dust resistance, and we’d expect the same from the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro.


  • Pixel 5: 6-inch, Full HD+, 90Hz
  • Pixel 6: 6.4-inch, Full HD+, 120Hz
  • Pixel 6 Pro: 6.67-inch, Quad HD+, 120Hz

Rumours suggest the Google Pixel 6 will come with a 6.4-inch display and the Pixel 6 Pro with a 6.67-inch display. If true, both devices would be bigger than the Pixel 5’s 6-inch display.

It’s thought the Pixel 6 will likely come with a Full HD+ resolution, a flat screen and a 120Hz refresh rate. The Pixel 6 Pro meanwhile, is thought to be coming with a slightly curved display, a Quad HD+ resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate.

The Pixel 5 has a 6-inch display that has a Full HD+ resolution at 2340 x 1080 for a pixel density of 432ppi. It offers a 90Hz refresh rate and it has HDR support, which the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro are both likely to offer too.

Hardware and specs

  • Pixel 6: Google chip, 5G, 5000mAh battery
  • Pixel 6 Pro: Google chip, 5G
  • Pixel 5: Qualcomm SD765G, 5G, 8GB RAM, 128GB storage, 4000mAh

It’s thought the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro will run on an in-house chip Google is said to be working on codenamed Whitechapel. The chip is claimed to have a raw performance somewhere between the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 and the Snapdragon 865. It’s expected to offer 5G capabilities.

RAM and storage options haven’t been detailed as yet in leaks, though it’s said the Pixel 6 will have a 5000mAh battery capacity, so we’d expect the same or higher from the Pixel 6 Pro. 

The Pixel 5 runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G processor, with 8GB of RAM and 128GB storage. There’s no microSD support. The battery capacity is 4000mAh and the Pixel 5 supports fast charging and wireless charging, both of which we would expect on the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro.


  • Pixel 6: Dual camera
  • PIxel 6 Pro: Triple camera
  • Pixel 5: Dual camera

It’s claimed the Pixel 6 will have a dual rear camera with talk of a 50-megapixel main camera coupled with an ultra wide-angle lens. 

The Pixel 6 Pro meanwhile, is said to have a triple rear camera with the same 50-megapixel main sensor and same ultra wide angle lens as the Pixel 6, but with the addition of an 8-megapixel telephoto sensor too.

The Pixel 5 has a dual rear camera comprised of a 12.2-megapixel dual-pixel main camera with 1.4µm pixels and a f/1.7 aperture, along with a 16-megapixel ultra wide-angle lens with 1.0µm pixels and an f/2.2 aperture.

The front camera on the Pixel 5 is an 8-megapixel sensor with 1.12µm pixels and an f/2.0 aperture.


Based on the speculation, the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro will offer a big redesign compared to the Pixel 5, along with larger displays, faster refresh rates and upgrades in hardware. 

It also looks like the camera offering will be more advanced on the Pixel 6 and certainly the 6 Pro with the possible addition of a telephoto lens, but nothing is confirmed as yet and we’re still waiting for more rumours on the RAM and storage options. 

You can follow all the rumours for both the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro in our separate round up features.

Writing by Britta O’Boyle.


OnePlus Nord CE vs Poco F3: Which should you buy?

(Pocket-lint) – The mid-range market is heating up. And in this instance, when we say mid-range, we mean the less expensive phones, not necessarily the low powered devices. That’s because in this comparison we’re looking at two fast, smooth phones that won’t leave you wanting. 

Those two phones are the excellently priced Poco F3 and the OnePlus Nord CE. Both offer great features and capabilities for what you pay, but each takes a slightly different approach. 



  • Nord CE: 159.2 x 73.5 x 7.99mm – 170g
  • Poco F3: 163.7 x 76.4 x 7.8mm – 196g
  • Nord CE: Plastic back and frame – no official water resistance
  • Poco F3: Glass back, plastic frame – IP53 splash resistance

Design could actually be one area that decides it for you, if only because of the difference in size. The Nord CE is noticeably more compact. At least, when it comes to width and height. There’s not much difference when it comes to thickness, there’s only a tenth of a millimetre between them, and both are generally quite slim. 

The two phones each have their own practical benefits too. For instance, the Nord CE has a 3.5mm port for wired headphones and headsets, where the F3 doesn’t. Poco F3 has IP53 rating against water and dust, which means it’s basically splash proof. OnePlus doesn’t have that, but the company has told us it should survive splashes okay. 

One thing we like, surprisingly perhaps, is the fingerprint sensor in the Poco. It has a physical reader in the button on the side that’s not just thin, but quick and reliable too. OnePlus’ we found was decent enough. It was reliable, just not as quick. 

Then there’s the hole-punch cutout in each screen. Poco’s is much smaller, and so doesn’t interrupt as much of the available surface area. It’s also placed nicely in the centre, out of the way. 

W love the feel of the Poco in two hands, typing away. It’s a great two-handed device, but the frosted plastic finish on the back of the Nord CE is really nice, and looks fantastic in the Blue Void colour.

What’s more, it’s nearly 30 grams lighter, and that’s something you can definitely feel when it’s in your hand. And the size makes a difference too. If you want something that’s easy to hold and carry around with you in your pocket, the Nord is the one. 

One minor thing we noticed when typing – the Poco has a much more subtle haptic feedback than the Nord CE, which gives a nasty buzz when you’re typing. 

Displays + Media

  • Nord CE: 6.43-inch – AMOLED – 90Hz – fullHD+ (1080 x 2400)
  • Poco F3: 6.67-inch – AMOLED – 120Hz – fullHD+ (1080 x 2400)
  • Nord CE: Single loudspeaker + 3.5mm port
  • Poco F3: Stereo speakers 

Despite spec lists that look a different, there’s not a huge amount in this as long as you’re happy to go into the settings menu and adjust things. That’s because that while both have AMOLED fullHD+ displays at 1080×2400 resolution, their default settings are quite different. 

OnePlus default vivid mode seems to boost reds, so white skin tones looks a lot pinker than they are, while the automatic mode on the Poco seems to over-saturate blues and make them unnatural. Thankfully, both have display settings that allow you to calibrate it to the way you’d like to have it. 

Poco’s reaches refresh rates of 120Hz, which is higher than the 90Hz on the OnePlus. But to our eye, it’s really hard to tell the difference in daily use. Poco’s does feel fluid in the general interface, but so does the Nord. We wouldn’t suggest basing your purchase decision on this. 

Instead, there are other factors, like the fact Poco’s screen is larger, making it a great immersive canvas, joined by stereo speakers to enhance that. Nord CE only has the single loudspeaker. The screen is also brighter. In that way, it’s a much better device for media consumption. 


  • Nord CE: Snapdragon 750G – 5G 
  • Poco F3: Snapdragon 870 – 5G
  • Nord CE: 6GB/128GB – 8GB/128GB – 12GB/256GB 
  • Poco F3: 6GB/128GB – 8GB/256GB
  • Nord CE: 4500mAh battery – 30W fast charge
  • Poco F3: 4520mAh battery – 33W fast charge

As with any point of comparison on this list, you could easily make a judgement on performance and battery from just looking at the spec sheet and assume the Snapdragon 870 will give you much better performance then the Snapdragon 750 in the Nord CE, but that will depend on exactly what you use it for. 

In truth, when it just comes to general day-to-day phone usage and casual gaming, both will run even the most demanding games pretty easily. 

Where we did notice a difference was in load times for the bigger games like CoD Mobile where it took a second or two longer on the Nord CE. The Poco seems to render sharper images in those games with more demanding graphics, without stuttering and lag too. The Nord by comparison – while smooth and responsive – had more jagged edges and slightly less detail. 

Technically speaking, the 870 is the more powerful chip and will benchmark way higher, offering better high refresh rate performance and you will see it in the more graphically demanding titles if you put them side-by-side. 

As for battery life, both have very similar capacities. It’s 4500mAh on the Nord and 4520mAh on the Poco, both with their own fast-charging. 30W vs 33W.

That means each will get you a full battery in just under an hour, roughly. They’ll both even get you similar battery life. We lasted about a day and a half with both phones, using them for casual gaming, social media and such throughout the day. 


  • Nord CE primary: 64MP – f/1.8 – PDAF
  • Poco F3 primary: 48MP – f/1.8 – PDAF
  • Nord CE: 8MP ultrawide – 2MP monochrome
  • Poco F3: 8MP ultrawide – 5MP macro 

So Poco has it when it comes to performance and media, where we think Nord is a better phone is in the camera. Speaking about the primary lens here, it seems to take shots which have much more natural colours and depth.

The processing on the Poco phone is quite aggressive sometimes depending on what you’re shooting, making colours seem too saturated and contrast a bit dark at times. Often it didn’t produce great HDR effect either, completely bleaching out the sky on some shots, while just about getting it right on others. It was just a bit inconsistent in that regard. 

Neither is particularly good at focussing on objects that are close to the camera, and both have ultra wide lenses with similar performance. But for the most natural processing of colours, detail and depth, we’d say the OnePlus is the one to go for here. 



  • Nord CE: From £299
  • Poco F3: From £329

There’s little difference in price between these two phones. In fact, in the UK, the Poco F3 starting price is only £30 more than the Nord CE’s. It’s worth nothing that’s just the recommended retail price, and you could find it cheaper now that it’s a little older. 

For those looking for more storage, the 256GB model Poco F3 is actually cheaper than the OnePlus Nord CE model with 256GB storage. So that’s also worth considering. In that instance it’s £349 for the F3 and £369 for the Nord CE in the UK. 


So in the end there are a couple of things to consider. The OnePlus is more compact, lightweight and – we think – has a better primary camera. The Poco has a bigger display, faster performance and the stereo speakers for better media and gaming consumption. There’s a little difference in price, with the Poco being slightly more expensive. 

So what matters most to you: multimedia and speed or practicality and cameras? If you can answer that, you know which is the right phone for you. 

Writing by Cam Bunton.


Affordable OnePlus N200 5G will go on sale on June 25th

OnePlus has confirmed that the inexpensive Nord N200 5G will be available in the US and Canada starting on Friday, June 25th, for $239, making it one of the most affordable 5G phones in the US. With US wireless carriers demanding more 5G devices, the N200 will likely get a lot more company soon.

OnePlus had previously dropped a few other details about the upcoming device, like its 6.49-inch 1080p display with 90Hz refresh rate and big 5,000mAh battery. Other newly confirmed specs include a Snapdragon 480 5G chipset (also used by the freshly announced Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G), 4GB of RAM, 64GB of expandable built-in storage, and a rear triple camera with a 13-megapixel main camera. OnePlus doesn’t specify details for the other two rear-facing cameras, but the N100’s 2-megapixel macro and 2-megapixel depth sensor are likely candidates. There’s a 16-megapixel selfie camera around front, and the N200 offers 18W charging.

The N200 5G features three rear-facing camera sensors, including a 13-megapixel main camera.
Image: OnePlus

The N200 5G becomes one of the least expensive 5G phones to go on sale in the US, coming in $40 cheaper than the similarly specced Samsung Galaxy A32 5G and $60 less than OnePlus’ own Nord N10 5G. It’s likely to gain more competition in the near future, too, as other manufacturers adopt low-cost 5G chipsets like the 480 5G and wireless carriers aim to put more 5G phones on their shelves (and more customers on premium unlimited 5G plans).


Realme GT review: In the flagship fast lane?

(Pocket-lint) – It’s probably no surprise that the Realme GT’s international reveal happened just one day after the OnePlus Nord CE hit the headlines. Because, while the GT isn’t a direct competitor – it’s actually more powerful than OnePlus’ more budget offering – it’s certainly a handset that wants to lead the young brand’s charge on OnePlus’ ongoing dominance in the alt-flagship space.

It’s even pulled the same old-hat promotional tagline – “flagship killer” – which is rather cheeky. But that gives Realme a platform upon which to stand. It is a bit cheeky. It has previously released phones with eye-slapping phrases plastered on them – we lambasted the Realme 8 Pro for its ‘Dare To Leap’ slogan. It’s that bit different, that bit of fun.

With the Realme GT the company is looking to enter the fast lane – the ‘Grand Tourer’ name reference name says it all really – for this alt-flagship has top-tier Qualcomm processing power, a more grown-up looking vegan leather finish than earlier Realme devices, and arrives at a price point that could make you pay attention to this brand over better-established products such as, say, a Moto G100 or Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite.

Design & Display

  • 6.43-inch AMOLED panel, 1080 x 2400 resolution, 120Hz refresh rate
  • Colours: Racing Yellow, Dashing Silver, Dashing Blue
  • Dimensions: 156 x 73 x 9.1mm / Weight: 186g
  • Finishes: Vegan leather or glass back
  • In-display fingerprint scanner

With phones often gigantic slabs these days, it’s rather refreshing to hold onto the Realme GT – because it’s sensibly proportioned, not too thick even in its vegan leather finish, and is on the right side the 200g weight barrier (a limit that we’ve pretty much decided to impose having handled the all too heavy Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra).

Motorola’s new Moto G9 Plus is a stunner of a phone – find out why, right here

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That the volume control buttons are on the opposite side to the Realme GT’s power button – a rarity in most Android phones – is something you might not immediately love, but we stuck with it and it’s actually a sensible layout. Taking one-handed screengrabs is easier, as one beneficial example.

But it’s not the layout that’ll first catch your attention. It is, but of course, that bright yellow rear – which Realme calls ‘Racing Yellow’, keeping in theme with that GT name. It’s a bold, bright finish, almost like an exemplary Pantone shade card for what a true yellow should represent.

That it’s vegan leather is another standout point, but less for its apparent environmental kudos – although there’s an argument that processes for this material aren’t actually Thunberg pleasing – and more for its tactile quality. It’s nice and grippy. It doesn’t become smeared in heaps of fingerprints. It looks consistent – and the black stripe down from the integrated cameras panel helps to soften the look.


Why, then, Realme has decided to (literally) stick its logo onto the rear is a big question. This silvered stick-on will inevitably fall off over time – not that we’ve actively been picking at it. Maybe that’d be for the better though – we’re not fans of any brand sticking big logos onto its phones. Motorola used to, before realising it looks much better to be subtle. Still, Realme ought to deboss or emboss for added chic.

Flip the phone over to its front and the Realme GT houses a 6.43-inch AMOLED panel, delivering a screen that’s capable of deep blacks and strong colours. Sadly, however, its auto-brightness adjustment is so shy that you’ll often end up squinting at the dulled screen trying to find the manual brightness slider. At maximum brightness it can remain visible in outdoor sunlight though. At lowest brightness there’s some ‘black crush’ to visuals, which is fairly common – an issue other Oppo phones present (Realme is effectively under the same umbrella as that brand).


Interestingly this panel has some top-end features, such as a 120Hz refresh rate, to keep visuals extra smooth and easy on the eyes. You needn’t have the 120 refreshes per second active for the sake of battery life, though, as a 60Hz option is found within the menus – which is on by default anyway. In terms of resolution the Full HD+ span of pixels over the 20:9 aspect ratio panel delivers ample detail – these days you don’t really want or need much more, as it rarely enhances apps and mostly just squeezes the battery life.

Performance & Battery

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 platform, 8GB/12GB RAM
  • Realme UI (v2.0) software over Google Android 11 OS
  • 4,500mAh battery capacity, 65W fast-charging
  • Stainless steel cooling system
  • 5G connectivity

That the Realme GT can cope with a 120Hz refresh rate is no surprise given its top-end hardware under the hood. There’s a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor, paired with 8GB or 12GB RAM (there are two variants, we have the lower spec 8GB model in for review).


It’s this “my processing power’s bigger than yours” angle that will garner the GT a lot of attention – especially for its asking price. And so it should, for this Realme performs really well whether you’re casually navigating between pages and apps, or digging deep into a gaming session.

Other than when recharging it doesn’t overheat either, which is impressive in the context of a faux leather-backed device with such a strong performance engine running things. The stainless steel cooling system designed within must be part of the reason for the apparent well-managed heat dissipation.

With mixed use we’ve found the GT’s battery life to be perfectly acceptable. Long days will see you finish close to the 20 per cent mark, after around 18 hours, but that includes some gaming so we think that’s pretty good innings. Besides, with a 65W fast-charging capability – no wireless to be found here – topping it up is speedy. It can even learn your typical charging pattern as to not refill the battery too quickly, which will help with long-term battery health.

We suspect the GT could last longer if various settings were activated to throttle the experience. But we’re glad that’s not the case. So often we hit a wall with, say, a Xiaomi phone because its software default controls the way in which apps respond – often causing notification issues or delays. Realme doesn’t have that issue; its Realme UI (version 2.0 here) is effectively a rework of Oppo’s ColorOS, which we’ve found in recent iterations to be generally pleasing.


  • Triple rear camera system:
    • Main (26mm): 64-megapixel, f/1.8 aperture, Sony IMX682 sensor, 0.8µm pixel size
    • Wide-angle (16mm): 8MP, f/2.3, 1.12µm
    • Macro: 2MP, f/2.4
  • Front-facing selfie camera:
    • 16-megapixel, f/2.5 aperture, 26mm, 1.0µm pixel size

Given the phone’s price point its camera setup is the one area to expect some compromise. Realme has gone down the “triple camera” route – but, really, it’s a main camera paired with ultra-wide that show their worth, while the low-resolution close-up macro camera isn’t even worth including in our view. It’s a trap so many makers have fallen into – to oversell their cameras.

Anyway, that’s not to say expect bad things all across the board. As a straightforward point-and-shoot camera the main 64-megapixel sensor – which uses six-in-one processing to deliver 12-megapixel results by default – is capable enough. For sharing snaps on socials and so forth it’ll deliver the goods.

That said, however, it’s not the most refined in terms of processing. Where detail lacks – subject edges such as buildings, or busier areas such as trees and shrubs – there’s oversharpening, often to the detriment of realism. Colour also can look as though it’s been washed over with a blue filter, while contrast is a bit punchier than needed.


: Main cameraMain camera

Then there’s the wide-angle camera. Results from this aren’t consistent with the main lens – the colour looks different, for example – while detail lacks, and optically speaking it’s not particularly great. The benefit of having the wide camera is, of course, that it’s wide; that you can fit more into a shot, even if the edges are blurred and the contrast pushes image noise into greater visibility. You can compare the main camera and the wide camera – including 100 per cent zoom-in for each shot – in the gallery above.

The Realme GT might have wide-angle covered, but it doesn’t really cater for zoom. Well, it depends how you look at it. The camera app does offer 2x and 5x as part of the controls, but we’d strongly suggest avoiding using these as it’s nothing more than digital zoom. Given that the main sensor is 64-megapixels, however, the 2x ought to be better than it is. The 5x really pushes beyond what’s acceptable, with soft and unimpressive results. You can see the zoom stages from wide to main to 2x to 5x in the gallery below:


: Ultra-wide (16mm)Ultra-wide (16mm)

So while the zoom is one to avoid and the wide-angle isn’t great, the GT’s main camera is passable. It recognises backlighting to boost high dynamic range (HDR). It’s managed pretty well in low-light conditions, too, so if you’re shooting indoors at night then it can still focus and present enough detail – as we found out in a basement distillery at Edinburgh Gin.

That’s the long and the short of it: there’s not really much that’s “GT” about this Realme’s cameras. A “Pro” version might be able to rectify that – but it’d also come at cost, given the list price of camera components. And, really, that’s not the point of this phone. The GT is all about flagship performance for the day to day, not top-tier cameras – if you want that then you’ll have to pay out a lot more cash elsewhere.


From its striking yellow-colour vegan leather finish, to its impressive performance thanks to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 platform, the Realme GT is an impressive alt-flagship – but one that will depend on its eye-catching asking price to lure in a fan base.

As we said up top, this Realme has arrived at a time when OnePlus is no longer, well, “being OnePlus” – i.e. delivering flagship devices for considerably less cash. In that sense, then, the GT slots into the space that OnePlus once occupied in its earlier days, a tactic that’s as measured as it is a bit cheeky.

No, the GT doesn’t offer the greatest of cameras, its auto-brightness is shy to activate, and as a brand name it might not yet resonate with the masses.

But it’s hard to not see the GT’s specification for what it is: more powerful than a Motorola equivalent, such as the G100; and more software consistent than a Xiaomi device, such as the Mi 11 Lite.

In that sense, then, the Realme GT sure does enter the alt-flagship fast lane, overtaking some of the big competition that are also jostling for pole position.

Also consider


Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G

We love the Xiaomi’s colour finish and slender build – it’s a great alternative to the current glut of massive flagship phones. That said, it’s less powerful and the software brings its share of irks.

  • Read our review



Moto G100

It’s about the same price, but with a slightly lower-spec processor, equally so-so cameras, but a more established brand name and near flawless software.

  • Read our review


Writing by Mike Lowe.


Roccat Kone Pro Review: An Ergonomic Win

Our Verdict

The Roccat Kone Pro is a very comfortable ergonomic mouse with a unique look and shape that’s more considerate of the ring and pinky fingers than most rivals. Its mundane plastic can easily attract moisture, dust and fingerprints. But once you download the mouse’s software, there’s a lot of programmability.


  • + Cozy ergonomic shape catering to most fingers
  • + Buttons are highly programmable
  • + Unique scroll wheel, RGB look


  • – Plastic chassis lacks grip, gets clammy, attracts dust
  • – Need software to change CPI out of the box
  • – Black version attracts fingerprints

When it comes to the shape of your best gaming mouse, you may prefer an ambidextrous design that’s symmetrical in shape or opt for an ergonomic mouse, which typically curves in a way that caters to the right-handed gamer’s thumb. The Roccat Kone Pro (and wireless Kone Pro Air) are a more unique approach to ergonomic gaming mice with bolder curves that also provide support to the ring and even pinky finger.

For $80, the Kone Pro can keep up with the competition when it comes to specs, software and functionality. But an unimpressive plastic chassis with some questionable gapping in places like under the primary click buttons stop it from being flawless.  

Roccat Kone Pro Specs 

Sensor Model Roccat Owl-Eye
Sensitivity 19,000
Polling Rates 125, 250, 500 or 1,000 Hz 
Programmable Buttons 8, (including 3 scroll wheel functions)
LED Zones and Colors 2x RGB
Cable 5.9 foot (1.8m) USB Type-A, braided  
Connectivity USB Type-A
Measurements (LxWxH)  4.94 x 2.83 x 1.57 inches (125.6 x 72 x 40mm) 
Weight 2.34 ounces (66g)
Extra  1x extra set PTFE feet 

Design and Comfort of Roccat Kone Pro

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The Kone Pro’s best asset is, perhaps, its shape. It caters to parts of the hand that many gaming mice today neglect: the ring and pinky fingers. Ergonomic mice often focus on curving in for a righty’s thumb, and the Kone Pro does too. But it also provides a subtler, longer curve in its right side, where the ring finger can easily rest and the pinky may find respite too. I have longer hands for a woman, and sometimes I noticed my pinky dragging on my mouse pad in my typical claw and palm grips still, but this happened less often than with most gaming mice I’ve tested.

The mouse’s shape makes palm gripping very comfortable. My palm’s outer edge makes comfortable contact with the Kone Pro’s hump, while the deepest part of my palm hovers above. In both palm and claw grips, my ring finger often grazes the gap underneath the right click button. This is a small annoyance but one worth noting for perfectionists. This wouldn’t be an issue if I used a fingertip grip, but I find the mouse a bit bulky for that, and a more symmetrical shape would be helpful too. 

Roccat’s Kone Pro measures 4.94 x 2.83 x 1.57 inches and weighs 2.34 ounces. For comparison to other ergonomically shaped wire mice for righties, the Razer DeathAdder V2 is longer, less wide, taller and heavier (5 x 2.43 x 1.68 inches / 2.89 ounces), and the honeycomb-filled Glorious Model D is about the same length and weight but less wide, taller and lighter (5.04 x 2.4 x 1.65 inches / 2.4 ounces). Especially with its lightweight plastic, the Kone Pro does a good job of feeling light for its size, but I wouldn’t call it lightweight, especially with the likes of honeycomb mice like the 2.08-ounce Glorious Model O- around. 

Roccat Kone Pro and wireless Roccat Kone Pro Air (Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

Available in black or white (the above picture shows both color schemes available for the wired and wireless versions of the mouse, and the white version is wireless), the Kone Pro’s plastic shell is nothing remarkable. It’s carved with a gathering of parallel lines on the sides where it curves in, and it’s easy for fingerprints together there and elsewhere, making the mouse look extra unremarkable, especially with the black unit we’re reviewing. The chassis lacks gripping and is a little slick without being gross or too slippery, but some more grip would be appreciated. 

A Roccat Kone logo stamped on the plastic chassis is inoffensive, yet snooze-worthy. The chunky, plastic side buttons don’t look the most premium to me; although I like the contrast they create on the white version of the mouse. Of greater concern is the amount of spacing under the primary click buttons, between them and throughout the scroll wheel, where dust accumulated during my weeks of testing. The gaps under the primary click buttons allow RGB to shine through in a unique, appealing way. But if you look through the spacing at the right angle, you’ll be alarmed to see some of the mouse’s internal components. (Note that the mouse has a 2-year warranty.) 

Although the scroll wheel can get dusty and some might think it looks flimsy, it adds a special touch to the Kone Pro. Instead of opting for some pattern-textured rubber, the Kone Pro’s scroll wheel is a thin, but hard, piece of aluminum. It makes for a cool side profile, as I can see through the wheel into some RGB lighting. Tactile scrolls are subtly reassuring, and it’s a little heavier to press in than other wheels. It’s also not as grippy as some rubber wheels, but slippage shouldn’t be a problem unless you’re literally sweating. And if you are (no judgement here), this wheel may be a bother.

Gaming Experience on Roccat Kone Pro

The Kone Pro starts off with the right tech to compete with other gaming mice in its price range. Its Roccat Owl-Eye sensor is based off PixArt’s PAW3370 and can reach 50g max acceleration and a sensitivity of up to 19,000 CPI. But while many mice offer a way to change CPI settings without ever opening an app, the only way to change the Kone Pro’s CPI out of the box is by downloading software. There’s even a profile switch button on the mouse’s underside, but this doesn’t change CPI by default. Even worse, CPI was set uncomfortably low. Swarm eventually confirmed it was set to 800 CPI, when I’d prefer around 2,500-3,000. 

I used the Kone Pro across CPI settings, from a comfortable 2,500, to the lowest (50) and highest (19,000). Regardless, tracking seemed as smooth and accurate as expected of a premium gaming mouse. I had no trouble with large sweeping swipes or careful, small movements, meaning the mouse was part of the action rather than a hindrance. 

The primary click buttons use what Roccat calls Titan Switch Optical mechanical switches. If you haven’t heard the hype around optical mechanical switches, (which are finding homes in some of the best gaming keyboards too), yet, basically they actuate when their stem goes through a light beam, rather than via metallic contact. This should prevent them from suffering from accidental double-clicking, which has been reported among some premium gaming mice after a years of extended use. Roccat claims these Titan switches are particularly “great for FPS and action games.”

I tried the Kone Pro across some shooters and found it easy to press the primarily click buttons with my fingers at various positions. It didn’t take much force or effort to press those buttons or the cheaper feeling plastic side buttons. 

Compared to left-click, right-click felt clunkier though. In a side-by-side comparison with mice using standard mechanical switches I had on hand, including the Logitech G203 Lightsync, Cooler Master MM711 and Razer Orochi V2, the Kone Pro’s clicks sounded noticeably softer and seemed easier and lighter to actuate, but the other mice’s clicks felt sharper. 

In the Human Benchmark reaction time test, where you must click when the screen turns from red to green, I averaged 178.6ms with a low of 168ms with the Kone Pro, compared to 205ms and 163ms, respectively, with the Orochi V2.

Meanwhile, the side buttons are large and high enough to be easily accessible without repositioning. Both myself and a man with larger hands had no issue accessing both buttons that way with palm and claw grips and without accidentally pressing another button on the mouse. 

The Kone Pro keeps up with the design trends of other gaming mice in its price range, with its 5.9-feet-long braided cable and “heat-treated pure PTFE glides.” The PTFE feet are spread across the top of the mouse’s underside, plus around the sensor and on the bottom. Roccat also includes an extra set of feet in the box. The mouse moves slightly easier and more lightly than I expected from looking at the chunkier rat, but it’s not as slippery a glide as I’ve experienced on other mice, such as the small Razer DeathAdder V2 Mini.

Roccat’s Kone Pro proved comfortable enough for hours of gaming but after a few minutes of heavy gaming it felt a little clammy and moist. There’s not much in the way of grip here either. There are slimier mice out there, but after a bit you may want to take a moisture break from the Kone Pro.

Features and Software of Roccat Kone Pro

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The Kone Pro uses Roccat’s Swarm software, which is a required download if you want to change the mouse’s default CPI setting. There’s no button that’ll change CPI out of the box unless you program it to in Swarm. Swarm’s UI is pretty extensive but harmless to use; however, every saved change in Swarm results in a 1-2 second delay, making detailed changes to the mouse a little tedious. 

The Settings page has tweaks that many gaming peripheral makers don’t include in their software, including vertical scroll speed and double-click speed. Here’s also where you can change the DPI settings from 50-19,000 in 100-unit increments. There’s a CPI calibration tool too, but I’ve found it ineffective here and with other Roccat mice because it always suggests I go just a little higher or lower than what I’ve already set it to. 

Swarm’s Button Assignment section lets you assign functions for the programmable buttons: left and right click, scroll up, down or in, the two side buttons and the profile cycle button on the underside. Swarm even includes 3 extra presets to give you some ideas for using all that functionality. Additionally, if you program one button as the Easy-Shift[+] button, all aforementioned inputs can have a secondary function when pressing the Easy-Shift[+] simultaneously. The mouse’s RGB will automatically switch to blue to inform you that Easy-Shift[+] has been activated. 

That ultimately means you can program 16 different inputs with the Kone Pro, from launching programs, to keyboard functions and macros and opening a new browser window. A macro manager also lets you set up macros that’ll automatically launch with games and other apps. 

Illumination controls the Kone Pro’s 2 RGB zones, including a brightness slider. You get 5 RGB presets, (plus off), with most offering a slider for speed too. You can pick a solid color for each individual zone if you want via a color selector or by entering red, green and blue values.

I used the Kone Pro as my primary mouse for about a month on and off using its Aimo reactive RGB setting. According to Roccat, Aimo RGB is meant for “adapting to your play the more you use them, and becoming more dynamic and nuanced as AIMO products combine.” Swarm adds that “Roccat is continually developing exciting new features and effects for Aimo, which will see your level increase.” But I’ve never been able to get my AIMO level past 15% when reviewing Roccat’s Kone Pro, Burst Pro or Kain 200 Aimo; however, I haven’t combined Aimo peripherals. I did hit 35% with the Vulcan 122 Aimo keyboard but didn’t feel like RGB was reacting to what I was doing on the PC. The case was the same with the Kone Pro. 

In Swarm’s Advanced Settings tab you can choose among  a 125, 250, 500 or 1,000 Hz polling rate (sorry, extremists, no 8,000 Hz here yet). There are also tools for playing with things like distance control and angle snapping. 

Swarm lets you program a generous 5 onboard memory profiles. If you have Swarm open, you can also have the profiles launch automatically with specific programs.

Bottom Line

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

The Roccat Kone Pro is a solid gaming mouse, especially where ergonomic shapes are concerned. A well-endowed hump, accessible buttons and space for the ring and smaller pinky fingers make it a win for palm and claw grips especially. And while it’s not the most exciting look in all black (the white version does pop more), an aluminum scroll wheel and RGB-lit left and right-click buttons help differentiate the mouse.

The Kone Pro’s plastic shell is not a standout though. There’s nothing to help boost your grip, and it easily starts feeling moist when gaming. Plus, there are gaps throughout the design where dust easily builds up. For a better grip in an ergonomic design, consider the Razer DeathAdder V2 Pro, which is going for $30 less ($50) than the Kone Pro as of writing. And if you hate cables, note that there’s a wireless version of the Kone Pro

But if your fingers have earned some extra attention, the Kone Pro knows what to do.