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The BenQ EW3280U 4K screen comes with a minimalist design and is equipped with all the modern interfaces, such as USB-C, that one could ask for. However, you will have to accept compromises in other areas, such as the lack of ergonomic adjustment options. The monitor isn’t cheap, currently starting at around $699, but it’s not far-fetched for a large screen with its capabilities.BenQ EW3280U: The specs
Display size 32-inchNative resolution3840×2160Panel typeIPS / 16:9Refresh rate60HzAdaptive syncCompatible with AMD’s FreeSyncPorts1 DisplayPort, 2 HDMI, 1 USB, 1 analog audio jack, USB-CStand adjustmentNoneVESA mountYes, 100x100mmSpeakersYesHDRSupports HDRiPrice$699BenQ EW3280U: Image quality
With the refresh rate limited to a relatively low 60Hz coupled with its high resolution, the BenQ EW3280U is more of a specialist monitor when it comes to gaming. It will work well for games with sophisticated graphics-oriented and detailed representation, such as Witcher 3, where not every frame-per-second is important. But it will undoubtedly lead to some ghosting and tearing when playing fast-paced multiplayer games.
BenQ EW3280U: UHD entertainment monitor that is also suitable for gaming
PC WeltBenQ EW3280U: Ports
The array of interface ports on the BenQ EW3280U is plentiful and, in addition to 2x HDMI and 1x DisplayPort, also includes a USB-C interface that delivers 60 watts of power delivery. The corresponding cables are also included in the box so you are free to use whichever is best for your setup.
Benq EW3280U: The integrated USB-C interface with 60-watt Power Delivery
PC WeltBenq EW3280U: Menu and features
The screen menu is clearly structured and can be conveniently controlled via a five-way joystick on the right rear of the housing. A small remote control is included with the monitor that has a neat rotary wheel in the middle for adjusting the volume of the speakers.
Benq EW3280U: A small remote control for convenient control
One of the features on this monitor that impressed us the most was the two stereo speakers. They are supported by a respectable sub-woofer, which delivers a surprisingly full and rich sound. While its common for monitors nowadays to include built-in speakers, they are typically an afterthought. These monitor speakers produce excellent treble and bass response even when playing the most demanding audio with strong bass lines.BenQ EW3280U: Power consumption
With a power consumption of around 43 watts in operation at maximum brightness, the BenQ EW3280U is towards the low end when compared to other 4K 32-inch displays. Additionally, in standby mode the energy requirement drops to a low 0.4 watts.Final thoughts
The BenQ EW3280U monitor not only delivers great performance for gaming and multimedia entertainment, but it throws in a few surprising features as well such as the excellent built-in audio system, low power consumption, and a practical remote to control everything. You’ll also find plenty of ports for all of your connections. It does have a disappointingly low refresh rate and the lack of ergonomic adjustment options can mean you need to find creative ways to change the height on a desk, but overall this is a solid monitor worthy of displaying the latest movies or blasting your favorite music.
This review originally appeared on PC-Welt, PCWorld’s German sister site.
You're reading Benq Ew3280U Review: A 4K Monitor Meant For Multimedia Entertainment
If you have been following the 4K HDR monitor market, you’d know that most models were well out of reach of the average buyer, with prices well above the Rs. 50,000 mark. This has also made 4K content less accessible unless you had deep pockets..
Obviously, the price demanded our attention so we decided to take a closer look at the latest monitor from BenQ, and see whether its picture quality and feature set are enough to justify a recommendation from us.BenQ EL2870U Specifications
Dimensions and Weight657.9×476.27×194.6mm, 7.2kg
Panel TypeTN (Twisted Nematic)
U/D: 160 degrees
Response Time1ms (GtG)
Color Gamut72% NTSC
PortsHDMI v2.0 x2, DisplayPort v1.4×1, 3.5mm headphone jack x1
BenQ EL2870U Design and Build Quality
But once you start using it, you’ll notice that it’s surprisingly well built and the bezels aren’t all that intrusive. The monitor is definitely quite ‘simple’ to look at, with a pretty standard rigid stand, a significant chin which has all the hardware buttons and the ambient light sensor.
In comparison, some of the recent monitors in the same price range from companies like Dell and HP look a whole lot more modern with their minimal bezels and fancy stands. But then again, those monitors pale in comparison to the EL2870U’s feature-packed spec list, which is ideally what you should be looking at to begin with.
Granted that the competitions tiny bezels and swiveling stands seem quite impressive when you first look at the monitors, but their novelty quickly wears out once you start using them, and you’re less concerned about their looks and more concerned with what you’re actually seeing on the display. This is exactly where the EL2870U shines, but more on that later.
For now, lets talk about what you get in the box when you order a brand new BenQ EL2870U. With every BenQ 2870U you’ll receive a rather heavy stand which ships in three pieces and requires a Philips-head screwdriver to assemble, a power cord with no external power supply which is great, a standard HDMI cable and some paperwork that you’ll probably never look at. Now that the box contents are out of the way, lets address all the buttons and ports on the monitor.
BenQ EL2870U Ports
All the hardware buttons on the BenQ EL2870U are placed on the underside of the right corner of the bottom bezel, with the exception of the dedicated HDR/BI button which is placed up front and has a copper colored sticker placed above it.
In terms of connectivity, the monitor features the bare minimum ports you’d need to connect it to a system, including two HDMI v2.0 input ports, a single DisplayPort v1.4 port, a 3.5mm headphone jack and a power input port. The lack of any USB ports is a major shortcoming.
The monitor also packs in two 2 Watt speakers that are barely audible and sound quite poor to be honest. So if you plan on purchasing this monitor for multimedia consumption, do note that you might also have to invest in a good pair of speakers to go along with the 4K display.BenQ EL2870U Picture Quality
The BenQ EL2870U features a 27.9-inch 4K 3840×2160 TN panel with an LED backlight and it’s definitely a pretty good panel for media consumption. As mentioned above, the display has a standard 16:9 aspect ratio with a pixel density of 158ppi and a maximum brightness of 300nits. It has a fast 1ms (GtG) response time which should be great for gaming, but the refresh rate is limited at just 60Hz which is a bummer.
The panel’s viewing angles are pretty solid, with the company claiming clear visibility 170 degrees vertically and 160 degrees horizontally. However, in my use, I definitely noticed some color shifting while looking at the display at an angle, something that’s is quite prominent when looking at the display from a steep vertical angle.
The panel has a matte finish, which is great if you wish to avoid screen glares, but the matte finish has a negative impact on the display’s color reproduction. Images and videos on the display look at bit washed out and, once again, blacks don’t look as deep as some other LCD or OLED panels.
The color reproduction is rated at 94 percent on sRGB and 74 percent on Adobe RGB, making the EL2879U a decent option for casual photographers or video editors on a budget, but it’s certainly not on par with professional-grade displays.HDR Support
The display also comes with HDR support, along with a couple of HDR specific modes, which is probably why most prospective buyers will give this display a second look. However, since the display has a maximum brightness of just 300nits, it isn’t able to make the most out of its HDR capabilities. Therefore, media consumption and gaming without the HDR mode turned on looks a fair bit better than it does with the HDR modes activated.
With the HDR mode turned on, there’s very little detail and visual artifacts in the blacks and the colors looked crushed at high intensities. So if you’re specifically considering the EL2870U for its HDR capabilities, you’re definitely going to be disappointed with your purchase. An IPS panel at the same price point will be able to reproduce better blacks and colors, with or without HDR support, making it a better choice.Low Blue Light Emissions and Brightness Intelligence Plus
To help users adjust the settings quickly on the fly, the monitor features a dedicated button that allows you to cycle between four presets, including multimedia, web-surfing, office and reading. Depending on what you plan on using the monitor for, you’ll need to select the appropriate blue light filter setting to get the best results.
The Brightness Intelligence Plus technology also adjusts the brightness automatically, which helps avoid overexposure and enhances the details in the darker areas of the image. This goes a long way in preserving the original color saturation and hue, and I preferred using the monitor with this setting turned on.AMD FreeSync Support
Additionally, the EL2870U features AMD FreeSync support which is great for those of you who wish to play games on the display. However, you’ll need to use a compatible AMD GPU in order to make use of this feature and since the refresh rate is limited to 60Hz, you shouldn’t expect FreeSync to make much of a difference. Since we don’t have access to a compatible AMD GPU, we weren’t able to test the monitor’s performance with the FreeSync mode turned on.
Decent Build Quality
Reduced Blue Light Emissions
60Hz Refresh Rate
Low Native Contrast
Bad HDR Performance
Limited Connectivity Options
Poor Audio QualityBenQ EL2870U: Decent 4K Monitor for the Budget Conscious
The BenQ EL2870U is a pretty decent monitor for the price and should be a great option for those of you looking for a 4K monitor on a tight budget. Priced at Rs. 32,265, the feature packed monitor is great for multimedia consumption, but it isn’t ideal for gamers.
Even though it comes with AMD FreeSync support, the monitor’s 60Hz refresh rate limits it from used for gaming, and there are plenty of other options in the market, with 120Hz or 144Hz refresh rate displays, which would be a better fit for gamers.
It competes with the LG 27-inch 27UK650-W 4K HDR monitor, which is priced just higher at Rs 33,895, but with a similar 60Hz panel and a slower response time as the BenQ monitor. The Acer 28-inch KG281K monitor on the other hand is far less expensive at around Rs 24,000, but it does not have the same anti-Blue Light emissions or brightness adjustment features which make the BenQ monitor more suited for prolonged usage.
The EL2870U is also a decent fit for photographers and videographers alike, thanks to its decent color reproduction capabilities, but you’ll definitely need to calibrate the display if you want the best color accuracy. The monitor’s HDR capabilities are shabby at best and you shouldn’t really consider the EL2870U if great HDR performance is one of your top priorities.
This projector might not be strictly 4K, but the projected results can certainly emulate that experience quite effectively. Well balanced output, decent colour representation and plenty of lumens to combat ambient light. At this price point calling it ‘budget’ seems silly, but for those building a home cinema system this borders on affordable.
Projectors have lagged behind somewhat from an output resolution perspective. Where LCD TV technology has left everything lower than 1080p far behind, projectors have struggled to keep pace with the 4K revolution.
The BenQ TK800 is built specifically for those with home cinema aspirations are looking for something better than a 1080p projector, such as the Epson EH-TW650. A solution they can use successfully for 4K live broadcasts, movies or gaming.BenQ TK800 Projector Price and Availability
The UK pricing for the TK800 is £1,198.99 from Amazon, and at this time it isn’t sold directly through the BenQ online store.
That’s almost the same price as the BenQ W1700, a solution that looks very similar, but is only rated to 2200 lumens, where the TK800 is 3000 lumens.
In the US a TK800 costs $1,499.99, almost the exact dollar/pound exchange rate. It might be possible to find it cheaper, but that’s the standard price that is on Amazon.
At the top of the list of competitive devices comes BenQ’s own HT2550, the previous design that has marginally better colour representation, but a lower power lamp.
On price the TK800 is undercut by the ViewSonic PX747-4K at £999.99 ( $1,299.99), Optoma UHD300X at £999 ($1,299.99), but it is cheaper than the Acer H7850 at £1,714.08 ( $1,999).
It should be stated that none of these devices are native 4K, and they mostly offer less lumens than the BenQ TK800 has.BenQ TK800 Projector Features and Design
There is something vaguely familiar about the TK800 we realised when we unpacked the review model. It is almost identical to BenQ’s previous HT2550 model, with the major difference being the blue fascia.
The choice of that colour is unusual and reminded us of something from a seventies Christmas decoration. It’s certainly striking, but not everyone will love it.
It doesn’t exactly break new ground in projector ergonomics, either. The optical system has a zoom and focus wheels, all the inputs are on the rear and there are menu navigation controls on the top surface.
While they are outwardly similar, the TK800 takes much of the physical structure from the HT2550, but swaps out the colour wheel for some alternative technology and also boosts the available Lumens to 3,000 from 2,200 before.
The diametrically opposite of portable, this is a large device that can be used either as a front or rear projection when placed on a table or ceiling mounted. It isn’t a short throw projector, having a throw ratio that depending on the zoom slides between 1.47 and 176:1.
In this reviewer’s home that capped the size of the image available to 100 inches (at 3.25 meters), although with bigger rooms the TK800 is built to generate a massive 300-inch projection.
BenQ included a nicely made remote control which features backlit keys, and significantly more buttons than are on the projector.
The available inputs are two HDMI ports, 3.5 mm audio jacks (in and out), a RS232 12v trigger, and VGA.
That last option is entirely out of place to our mindset, because VGA doesn’t support 4K and any computer that only has it as an output choice would ancient.
Also, only one of the HDMI inputs is 2.0 spec. Limiting 4K resolutions at 60Hz to a single input, as HDMI 1.4 on the other port doesn’t support better than 4K at 30Hz.
Why those designing it didn’t ditch the VGA and give this two HDMI 2.0 spec ports is annoying, because having only one port that does 4K in 60Hz means that a HDMI switcher will be required for those with any combination of cable, console, computer and Chromecast Ultra to connect at the same time.
The USB port scenario is also less than ideal.
There are two USB ports; a Type A and a Type mini B. On other, usually business projectors, at least one of these would allow you to present various file types without a computer/console, but in this design that feature was never considered. The mini B is purely for service diagnostics, and the Type A is only to provide power if you have a Chromecast or something similar connected.
But, the first question that most people will ask about this product will be is it truly 4K?Defining True 4K
The documentation that we got from BenQ about this projector claimed it has a natural resolution of 3840 x 2160 or ‘True 4K’ as it is referred, but a deeper dive into the details reveals that definition is more marketing than certified.
At the heart of this projector is DLP XPR Technology, created by Texas Instruments to enable lower resolution chip that uses pixel-shifting technology to achieve the 8.3 million pixels needed for 4K.
The concept of pixel shifting has been around for a while, first appearing on camera sensors. What the system does is moves the sensor half a pixels width, to effectively double the apparent resolution by creating overlapping data in successive frames.
So is this a real problem or a prosaic one? That entirely depends on how sharp you like the image.
Because however you dice things, pixel shifted 1080p is never going to look as sharp as native 4K. But equally, if you are watching a movie or a rapidly moving game output at distance, and not still 4K images with single pixel thick lines, you well might not notice.
And, at least this system is 4K certified, compared with some ‘4K Enhanced’ designs that forget about half the pixels in each frame.
Our take on this is that the BenQ TK800 looks better than a standard 1080p DLP projector, but lacks the fine details and clarity of one with an actual 4K DLP.
If you want a 4K DLP projector, be prepared to pay three times the cost of this, and possibly even more.BenQ TK800 Projector Performance
Having accepted that Pixel Shifting is part of the TK800 equation, the output from this projector is exceptional in many respects.
As this hardware is designated as HDR, the colour representation is important and the BenQ engineers managed a product that achieves 92% Rec.709 coverage with ‘Decent Brightness’ as the promotional material puts it.
That’s a good gamut, but it is also about 3% less than the prior BenQ HT2550 offered. This is undoubtedly the flip-side of having more lumens, as the brighter the lamp the more it appears to degrade the colour accuracy.
We need to point out that you can’t get a projector with 100% coverage for less than 50 times as much as this, therefore it’s not an issue that is easy to engineer away.
Another factor in this may be the colour wheel, that uses four elements; RGBW. The ‘W’ designates an entirely clear segment, and on some projector designs this approach can cause issues.
With that section clear, almost 100% of the light from the bulb passes through, where any pixels with colour components will be by definition less bright. We’re not sure how BenQ engineers achieved this, but they avoided creating overly ‘hot’ highlight areas, balancing the brightness correctly from deep colours to brighter sections.
This is especially impressive if you activate the HDR functionality, and have a computer or games console that can generate enhanced dynamic range output.
BenQ quotes 3,000 lumens, and in our testing it exceeded those numbers marginally. This makes it perfect for those locations that aren’t entirely devoid of ambient light, or outdoors at night with the biggest possible screen size.
One caveat here is bulb life, at just 4,000 hours of ‘normal’ use. That’s three years use of four hours a day, and you can double that lifespan using SmartEco mode.
And another issue is the light leakage around the image. Because the masked area around the projection isn’t entirely light free, creating a slightly dark grey frame bounding the projection.
When you initially run the projector the grey frame can be a distraction, but as your eyes accommodate the new lighting conditions it seems less of an issue, and you rapidly forget about it.
Overall, the TK800 is a major improvement over the best 1080p projectors, even if it isn’t the full 4K El Dorado. There are things we’d change about it, like the HDMI port selection, and that blue facia, but it has many strong points too.Specs BenQ TK800: Specs
1920×1080 native resolution (4K pixel shift)
16:9 aspect ratio
3000 ANSI lumens
10,000 hours lamp life (Eco mode)
Manual focus and zoom
Auto keystone correction
1.47 – 1.76 throw ratio
Single 5W speaker
1 x 12V trigger
1 x 3.5mm mini jack
1 x VGA Inputs
2 x HDMI (2.0 and 1.4)
1 x USB type A
1 x USB type mini B
remote control with backlit buttons
Huge range of video and audio contentCons
Older TVs without HDMI-ARC/Toslink are not supported
Remote is not customisableOur Verdict
The ultimate home TV setup deserves the best content, decent sound and ease of access. Roku Streambar delivers, and at an incredible price.Best Prices Today: Roku Streambar
Roku Streambar is a media streaming box unlike any other, powering up your home entertainment experience with both content and audio. An excellent media streamer, Roku Streambar may not be the world’s best soundbar – but it is the smartest.
It’s a common mistake to assume devices such as this are useful only for turning dumb TVs smart, with the Streambar able to significantly improve the viewing experience on even the latest and best televisions. Roku is also now the only platform that works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple Siri, making controlling all that media power a breeze.
Now with speakers and Dolby Audio sound processing built-in, the content doesn’t just look great but it sounds good, too.Design & Build
If something’s going on show in the front room, especially sitting below what may be the most expensive piece of tech in the house, it needs to look good. The Roku Streambar doesn’t disappoint.
Although this is the first such device we’ve seen in the UK, Roku last year launched the Wireless Speakers and Smart Soundbar in the States. This is a more refined and more compact version (that is also now available in the US, Canada and Mexico). And when we say more compact, it really is – compared to other soundbars this 35x6cm box is positively dinky.
As the name suggests it is a bar, and as such is an elongated device that slopes round at the left and right ends allowing sound to fire out at all angles. This is not a rectangular block, however, and its smooth curved edges will help it blend into any home environment.
Its meshed fabric front is broken only by a small and unobtrusive Roku logo, while a blue LED shines from below when the device is powered on. The top surface is matte black, neither casting distracting reflections nor leaving messy fingerprints in sight.
All ports are hidden out of sight at the back, preventing messy cabling from being on show, and you can wall-mount it if desired using two M6 connections. There’s also a DC power jack here, with the Streambar requiring mains power unlike other devices in the Roku family, but the cable is usefully long.
You’ll also find HDMI-ARC, USB 2.0, an optical digital audio (Toslink) port and a reset button. There’s no other audio inputs/outputs, nor a headphone jack, but you can get around this using the mobile app and a pair of earphones connected to your smartphone.
The Streambar connects to the web wirelessly, but you can instead plug in a USB Ethernet adaptor; otherwise this USB port is useful for playing media stored on a USB drive.
A compact remote control is supplied in the box. Usefully, this can control your TV’s power and volume, and it also supports voice control. It has shortcut buttons for quick access to Netflix, Google Play Movies & TV, Rakuten TV and Spotify, but unfortunately these are not customisable.
The layout mimics that of the mobile app, and that of the remotes supplied with other Roku streamers, so it should feel familiar for existing users.Setting up the Roku Streambar
Setup is simple, provided you have a relatively modern TV. Unlike other Rokus in the range, the Streambar requires an HDMI-ARC port that supports CEC (Consumer Electronics Control), a technology that enables the Roku remote to also control your TV’s power and volume settings.
If your TV is too old to be equipped with HDMI-ARC, you can use an ordinary HDMI port provided that you also connect the supplied S/PDIF Toslink cable – but some TVs may be too old even to feature this optical connection. It’s essential that you check the ports on the back of your TV before you buy the Roku Streambar, because without them it’s not much use to anyone.
Having connected the necessary cables, you’re prompted to connect the Streambar to Wi-Fi, allow it to download software updates, and then sign into an existing (or create a new) Roku account. If you’ve ever used a Roku device before, you’ll know that this account is necessary for you to enjoy a consistent user experience across all signed in devices, allowing you to add and manage streaming channels, subscriptions and more.
A quick tutorial later and you’re ready to go, controlling the Streambar either using the supplied remote control or the free Roku mobile app. You can use voice control by tapping and holding the button sporting a magnifying glass icon.
The interface is identical to that of any other Roku streaming device, with your default Home screen listing any streaming channels you have installed (for example Netflix, BBC iPlayer, YouTube and BBC News). You can scroll down the menu on the left to access options for My Feed, Search, Streaming Channels and Settings.
My Feed is in essence a content recommendation service that lets you find TV shows and movies that you can watch right now or are coming soon. With more than 150,000 TV shows and movies on offer here, something that can help to narrow down the choice is welcome.
The Search option is, in my opinion, one of the most useful software features of the Roku platform. It lets you search for particular content – perhaps the name of a film or an actor – across all streaming channels, showing you at a glance what services offer the movie or show and how much it will cost you if it’s not included with an existing subscription.
For someone who subscribes to Netflix, Amazon Prime, Now TV and Disney+, as well as using various catch-up services, this is an absolute god-send for that moment when you want to watch a particular show and can’t remember on which service it is provided.
Streaming Channels is the place to add new services, and though I’ve talked a lot about movies and TV content services there is also a variety of audio services available. Given the vast number of channels you could add to Roku, it’s much preferable to be able to select only the ones you want than have to scroll through endless menus of channels you don’t use in order to find what you need.
Roku recently announced that it is adding AirPlay and HomeKit support to its entire line-up, making it the only platform of its type to support Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple Siri.
You can stream content to the Streambar from an Apple device over AirPlay (Bluetooth 5.0 streaming is also supported), and control the Roku using an Apple device.
With the software largely the same, then, the major difference between this Roku Streambar and other devices in the family is its audio credentials.Streaming experience
There are now four models in the Roku line-up for UK users: alongside the Streambar there is also the Roku Express, Roku Premiere and Roku Streaming Stick+ (you can even buy a full-blown Roku TV). All serve up content (the Express at HD rather than 4K resolution, also lacking HDR), but only the Streambar can additionally cater to your audio needs.
Concealed inside the box are four high-excursion 1.9in full-range drivers, with two facing forward for clarity and two angled to the side to help fill the room and create a more immersive experience. These are paired with Dolby Audio processing and precise digital amplifiers to provide cinematic sound.
This audio setup is almost certainly better than the speakers built into your existing television, and even if you’re already using a soundbar – potentially a better soundbar – to improve audio quality it won’t have the streaming smarts of the Roku.
We were impressed with the Roku’s sound quality, which was consistent wherever we sat in the room. There is a time and a place for ramping up the bass, depending on what content you’re wanting to stream, so the ability to adjust this is especially welcome. That said, the Roku Streambar still isn’t as bassy as some competing soundbars even when the setting is boosted.
(For a more detailed evaluation of the Roku Streambar’s audio capability, see Tech Advisor’s sister site TechHive.)
Streaming video can also be of high quality, with Roku building in support for 4K and HDR content (though it doesn’t support Dolby Vision), with upscaling supported from 720p and 1080p. Naturally your ultimate viewing experience will be shaped by the specs of your TV and of the streaming quality of the media itself.Where to buy Roku Streambar
Roku Streambar costs £129.99 (US$129.99), making it a slightly pricey media-streaming box, but an eminently affordable soundbar. For the functionality it offers, we think it offers excellent value.
You can buy Roku Streambar direct from Roku, or via Amazon, Argos, Currys, Very or Littlewoods.Conclusion
Roku Streambar is arguably the best media streamer out there – and also a capable soundbar, virtually unique in its ability to cater to both home-entertainment needs (see also: Anker Nebula Soundbar). It’s super-easy to use, and simplifies unearthing the best content. Fantastic value for money makes this a no-brainer: a great buy for all but the pickiest audiophiles.Specs Roku Streambar: Specs
Audio: 4x 1.9in full-range drivers, Dolby Audio
TV support: HDTVs up to 1080p (upscaling from 720p), 4K UHD TVs up to 2160p @60fps (upscaling from 720p and 1080p), 4K UHD HDR TVs with support for HDR10 and HLG, 4K TVs must support HDMI input with HDCP 2.2
Voice control: Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri coming by year-end
Networking: Dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi with MIMO, wired ethernet requires USB adapter, Bluetooth
Mount: 2x M6 8mm threaded mounting sockets
Power: 100-240V, 50-60Hz AC, 1A
As a MacBook Pro user, having access to external SSD storage is important given the price of build-to-order SSD upgrades. For example, a 4TB SSD upgrade alone on the 2023 MacBook Pro can set you back $3400, more than the price of the laptop itself.
With this in mind, such upgrades can’t be reasonably justified for many users, which means relying on external storage where necessary. Thankfully, there is no shortage of external storage solutions for the MacBook Pro, with many of them featuring bus-powered USB-C connectivity for plug and play functionality.
SanDisk’s Extreme Portable SSD, available in various storage capacities, is one such product. Watch our video hands-on for the details.Specifications
Up to 550 MB/s read speeds
Up to 2TB of storage capacity
Shock and vibration resistant
IP55 rated against dust and water
USB 3.1 gen 2 support
Comes with USB-C to USB-C cable, and USB-A adapter
3-year limited warranty
The first thing that stands out about the SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD is its size. At roughly 3.5-inches tall, less than 2-inches wide, and .25-inches thick, it’s very compact and can easily fit in a pants pocket. The drive is made up of plastic and soft touch rubber on the rear, along with a full rubber bumper surrounding the exterior of the enclosure.Video review
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The drive doesn’t feel particularly robust, especially when compared to other drives, like the Samsung T5, with metal housings on the outside. Yet, SanDisk says it designed its SSD with portability and somewhat precarious environments and situations in mind. For example, it’s IP55 rated, meaning it’s protected from limited dust ingress, and from low pressure water jets from any direction. SanDisk also notes that the Extreme Portable SSD is vibration and shock-resistant, and is able to withstand up to a 2-meter drop. All of these claims are backed up by a 3-year limited warranty, which should offer users some peace of mind.
Inside the box, you’ll find the drive, a short 7-inch USB-C to USB-C cable, and a USB-A adapter for connecting to legacy ports. The SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD comes with a single USB-C port on the bottom for connecting to the host computer, which means it is fully bus-powered and ready to go upon connection.
I tested the 1 TB version, but you’ll also find 250 GB, 500 GB, and 2 TB storage options. Prices range from roughly less than $100 to a little over $500 for the top end storage size.Speed Tests
The drive is pre-formated using ExFat, which allows for both Mac and Windows compatibility out of the box. If you’re a Mac user, you can venture into Disk Utility and format the drive however you’d like.
I ran a couple of speed tests using my two favorite Mac drive benchmarking tools: Blackmagic Disk Speed Test and QuickBench. Here are the results:
As you can see, read speeds in the Blackmagic test averaged around 521 MB/s, while speeds with the QuickBench sequential test trended closer to the 550 MB/s rating on the box.
This drive is plenty fast enough for 4K ProRes 422 HQ workflows at 60 frames per second, which makes it a solid MacBook Pro / Final Cut Pro X companion drive. I tested both ExFat and Mac OS Extended (Journaled) formats using these two speed test utilities, and found the results to be identical.Conclusion
My biggest reservation with this drive is with its longterm durability. The plastic front exterior doesn’t exactly exude confidence as far as build materials are concerned. Yet, SanDisk has obviously designed this drive to be portable, traveled-with, and in some cases used in less-than-ideal environments. The drive even includes a hole in the upper right-hand corner for attaching a loop or even something like a carabiner, further emphasizing its on-the-go ability. So, maybe I shouldn’t be so worried about the drive’s long-term durability? I’ll keep testing and report back.
My favorite things about this drive include its extremely light weight, that it’s bus-powered, and it lends you plenty of room for handling storage-heavy tasks like video editing. If you need more MacBook Pro storage, then a compact drive like the SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD may be just what the doctor ordered. You can also find the drive available from B&H.
Do you like the idea of using a portable SSD with your MacBook Pro, or would you rather drop lots of money for more of Apple’s ridiculously-fast internal SSD storage?
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4K TVs have been ruling the roost for quite some time. And why not? They are well-timed for an incredible cinematic experience. Having already snapped the best 4K monitors, we’ve taken a shot at the best 4K TVs for Apple TV 4K in today’s roundup.
On what parameters have We Picked Out The Top 4K TVs?
Top-Notch Display: It’s been the biggest deciding factor
The Design: It’s what separates cheese from the chaws
Performance: When the dust finally settles on, it’s the performance that really counts
Enough talk? Let’s take a peek at our top 10 4K TVs!
1. Samsung 7 Series Smart 4K TV
Should you think of going for a more affordable yet highly impressive 4K TV, Samsung’s 7 Series Smart 4K TV would be a top contender. Well, I say it because I find this TV to have covered all the bases and also offer some extra goodies.
First and foremost, the sleek modern design helps it win the eyes with little effort. And the ultra-large display is good enough to offer sharp and vibrant photos.
Samsung touts that the TV offers 4X the resolution of the Full HD. Thanks to the robust UHD engine, it also transforms the non-4K TV content into 4K.
The motion rate of 120 plays a pivotal role in helping the TV run your games and movies smoothly. That’s not all, 7 Series Smart 4K TV also brings all of your apps and content from multiple devices at one convenient location for quick access.
2. Insignia NS-43DF710NA19
The Insignia 43″ Smart UHD 4K TV has built-in Fire TV features along with Alexa remote to make things a lot easier. The TV flaunts 8 million pixels, delivering stunning picture clarity, with deep contrast, giving a true-to-life 4K experience. If we talk about hardware power, the TV boasts a quad-core CPU with multi-core GPU giving speed in whatever you do.
The Fire TV feature enables you to view over-the-air channels using the HD antenna. It has three HDMI ports that can be used to connect either DTH or a Gaming console. Besides, you can also view Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, and HBO by connecting your TV with WiFi. Lastly, there are regular over-the-air software updates that enhance your TV experience with the ever-changing dynamic tech industry.
3. Samsung QN75Q70RAFXZA
Samsung knows how to produce top-notch 4K TVs. And its QN75Q70RAFXZA model is yet another example of how good the South Korean tech giant is in making one of the finest 4K TVs.
It has a bit sturdy build and features 75-inch diagonal QLED screen that is fully capable of enhancing your viewing. The QLED display is more than capable to offer rich colors and clear images.
The ability to provide 4x the resolution of Full HD makes it bang on the target for an enjoyable movie. One notable feature of this TV is that it can let you upscale your HD content into 4K.
Are you on the lookout for a top-end outdoor TV? If yes, SunBrite 4K Series can be one of the better choices for your specific taste.
The TV has a handsome build and is capable of operating in all weather conditions. SunBrite has offered a reliable safeguard in the form of nano-coating to protect both the interior and exterior. Therefore, the TV remains protected from dust, snow, and even rain.
The ultra 4K screen can be trusted to live up to your viewing demand. Besides, it ideally calibrates photos so that they can appear crisp and sharp. Not to speak of the powerful built-in speakers that can amplify your music videos.
5. Toshiba 43LF621U19
As long as features are concerned for this Toshiba 4K TV, it is almost identical to Insignia. The significant difference between the two is the brand name and customer support. Toshiba is an established electronic brand and has better after-sales support. This smart 4K TV also has 3 HDMI ports, over-the-air software updates, DTH, and HD antenna support.
Besides, you are at liberty to watch streaming services like Netflix by connecting your TV with your WiFi network. The prices are slightly higher compared to Insignia. Lastly, there are three models available, 43-inch, 50-inch, and 55-inch.
6. Samsung UN40NU7100FXZA
This 4K TV from Samsung offers seven different sizes, starting from 40-inch and going up to 70-inch. Samsung is very well-known for its display technology, and this TV is no different. With a built-in UHD engine, even a non 4K content is upscaled to 4K. The Samsung remote is pretty neat in navigation.
The TV supports most of the streaming services, all you need to do is connect your TV with the WiFi network. The PurColor technology delivers millions of colors, giving a perfect soothing experience to your eyes. It is slim and beautiful if we talk about its looks; perfect to suit your furniture. If the budget is not an issue, Samsung is undoubtedly worth the money.
With a superior quad-core processor, LG 55UM7300PUA offers wider viewing angles with minor loss of color and contrast. Hence, this 4K TV is a perfect choice for group and family viewing.
4K TV provides deeper black levels and improves color accuracy. The 55UM7300PUA Series TVs are fully compatible with HDR technology and also offer HDMI and analog AV inputs. The TV also has native support for Google Assistant and Alexa, making your viewing experience a lot more convenient.
If you are in quest of a highly functional budget 4K TV, TCL 43S425 with a built-in Roku operating system can be a perfect option. The Roku system provides access to 500,000 movies and episodes. While some channels are free, others are available for a pay-per-view fee or a prepaid monthly subscription.
There is a USB port to let you access digital media content on compatible devices. It also enables you to share audio, video or photo on your smartphone. It also offers fabulous image quality with Direct LED backlighting. TCL’s 43S425 Series Roku TVs is available in four sizes like 43, 50, 55, 65, and 75-inches.
9. SunBriteTV SE
SunBriteTV is designed to be a premium 4K TV for outdoor usage. The LED/LCD screen is three times brighter than the other TVs. An enhanced anti-glare screen backs its direct LED backlighting.
It has settings for both daytime and nighttime brightness situations. This set can resist rain, salt air, dust, and even insects. Besides, it is capable of handling temperatures from minus 24 degrees to 122 degrees Fahrenheit.
Even better, it also comes with better cable management options for additional security in different weather conditions.
What’s your favorite?
Which 4K TV have you picked for your Apple TV? Do let us know its name and the qualities you admire in it.
You might want to take a quick look at these posts as well:
The founder of iGeeksBlog, Dhvanesh, is an Apple aficionado, who cannot stand even a slight innuendo about Apple products. He dons the cap of editor-in-chief to make sure that articles match the quality standard before they are published.
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