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The Apple Watch Ultra finally convinced me to leave Garmin behind

The Apple Watch extremista was designed and built with someone like me in mind. I have an iPhone 14 Pro Max, a 16-inch M1 Pro MacBook Pro with a Studio Display, three Apple TV 4K boxes, and a 12.9-inch iPad Pro with a Magic Keyboard. n other words, I’m deeply embedded in the Apple ecosystem—but on my wrist I alternate between two Garmin smartwatches—an older Tactix Delta and an Epix Gen. 2. I tried the Apple Watch back when it launched in 2015 but haven’t worn one in many years, mainly because I wanted something larger that lasts longer and is more fitness focused.  Whenever a new Apple Watch model arrives I disputa the pros and cons, but Garmin always wins—in a nutshell, I like big and clunky watches, and to me, even the 45mm Apple Watch Series 7 always felt a little too delicate and small, more of a fashion statement than a fitness tool. Compared to previous Apple Watches, Garmin watches are very clearly built for dedicated athletes. In addition to the design and build quality, they deliver on battery life claims (days stretching to weeks, depending on GPS use and battery saving tweaks) and deliver a torrent of época on everything from fitness to sleep to stress to calories. And they generally last for many years. The 51mm Tactix Delta has gone to the gym with me every day, been along for hikes and walks, and is so rugged I could probably use it as a hammer. The battery lasts for days and days and all that época really enables me to track my fitness. When I’m not at the gym, I wear the Epix Gen. 2, which has a gorgeous AMOLED display and feels like more of a casual smartwatch but is still big, rugged, and lasts for weeks in battery saver mode. Like the rest of my Apple gear, neither of my Garmin watches was cheap. The Epix starts at $900 and the Delta was even costlier when new — both more than the $799 Apple Watch extremista. So when Apple unveiled the larger, rugged Apple Watch extremista at a lower price than either of my Garmin watches, I was instantly intrigued. As soon as the extremista was announced, I ordered one. Outweighing the cons Garmin has long used transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP) displays that are excellent outdoors but less so inside — though the backlight works well enough to easily see what’s on the screen. To my eyes, MIP doesn’t compare to the Apple Watch’s LTPO OLED screen, which is where the newer Epix comes in. The Epix Gen. 2 brings the best of both worlds to Garmin’s lineup—fitness, tech, and fashion—and even with the always-on display always on, you can easily get about a week between charges. My Garmin Tactix is big, rugged, and perfect for my wrist.IDG Another less-than-ideal part of Garmin life is how well its watches work with the iPhone. In general, the Garmin Connect and Garmin ConnectIQ apps play well between the two ecosystems, but you can’t do as many things with a Garmin watch as you can with an Apple Watch. You can’t make phone calls or responding to messages directly from the watch, you don’t get access to Apple’s deep library of apps, and it doesn’t integrate quite so seamlessly with Apple Health. (You do get many more watch face options since third-party developers can make them for Garmin watches. This is a big plus for me.) With the arrival of the extremista, more than a few instant disputas broke out online about whether the it goes far enough to even be considered in the same breath as Garmin devices. Garmin even joined the disputa, firing off a tweet soon after the extremista was unveiled that boasted: “We measure battery life in months. Not hours.”  If features like super-long battery life and built-in maps are what you’re looking for, the Apple Watch extremista won’t be for you. The extremista doesn’t quite match the array of outdoor features offered by the Tactix and Epix —though given how quickly Apple iterates its products, my hunch is that it will rapidly close the gap. The Apple way I’ve quickly found out that Apple has come a long way in terms of the fitness and health época it now delivers with watchOS. It delivers época that’s nearly as comprehensive as I get from Garmin, so much so that it’s going to take me a while to figure out how best to use it. Setting up my new Apple Watch was a bit more complicated than it used to be, largely because there’s so much more it does now. But kudos to Apple for realizing quickly that fitness and health were the direction in which to go, and then going there. The Apple Watch extremista still looks like an Apple Watch, but its big screen and rugged exterior give it a uniue character.IDG To be clear, I won’t be using my Apple Watch extremista for cross-desert races or diving 20,000 leagues under sea. Compared to those athletes, I’m a poseur. We’re talking about daily gym visits, daily dog walks, weekend hikes, and occasional bike rides. As a result, the promised 36 hours of battery life is fine, especially since I can now do sleep tracking with ease. In real-world use, in fact, I got much better than 36 hours. Even with several workouts over the past couple of days, I blew past 48 hours—and that’s without low-power mode and before the extremista’s battery optimization feature arrives. I know the extremista and its raw titanium design has come under fire for being a bit homely, but I disagree. It’s different, yes, but in a good way. It’s big and rectangular, and doesn’t hide easily under long sleeves, but its rugged, industrial aesthetic is clearly aimed at Garmin users and should appeal to Apple fans. It’s still an Apple Watch, but it feels like a tough wearable rather than a dainty smartwatch. But where Garmin can’t compete is the Apple ecosystem. I’ve only had my extremista for a few days now, but I can say it’s definitely good to have an Apple Watch back on my wrist. As usual, it’s little things Apple does that matter, like when my MacBook Pro locks when I walk away and unlocks when I return. Or the lelo ease of responding to a message without having to grab my Pro Max out of my pocket to reply. The Apple Watch Series 8 was never my kind of watch, but the extremista is a different animal.Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry For the foreseeable future, I’ll be rocking the extremista. But I’m keeping my Garmins, too. They’re still incredibly well-built, rugged devices that—mainly for the aesthetics of changing things up merienda in a while—I may well slap in my wrist for a day (or several). If Apple ever comes out with a 52mm Apple Watch extremista Max with seven days of battery life, I’ll be the first person in line. But for now, it’s going to be hard to pry the extremista from my wrist. It’s big enough, featured enough, and lasts long enough to check all the boxes that my Garmin did. And I don’t think I’m the only one. Apple Watch

Best Mac webcams

During the pandemic millions of people around the world were reliant on video apps such as Zoom or Apple’s own FaceTime to chat with family and friends online, the pandemic may be past its worse, but video calling still remains popular. And, of course, many of us are still working from home the majority of the time, continuing to use business-oriented apps such as Skype or Microsoft Teams to set up video calls with colleagues and clients. Apart from the Mac mini and Mac Pro, all Macs have one of Apple’s FaceTime cameras already built in, so you don’t necessarily need to buy a new webcam for video calls. However, the webcams on many Macs offer embarrassingly low resolution. As an alternative you can use your iPhone as a Mac webcam, and Apple is improving this functionality in iOS 16 and macOS Ventura, Business users in particular will want to pick something better in order to project a more professional image to colleagues and clients, while many artists and musicians vlog and promote their work on TikTok, Instagram and YouTube. Almost all Mac owners could benefit from upgrading to something that can provide a sharper image than their machine’s default camera. With that in mind, here’s our guide to some of the best webcams for use with your Mac, complete with links to buy. For broader advice, jump down to our thoughts on what to look for in a Mac webcam. 1. Kensington W1050 – Excellent and affordable Pros Very affordable 1080p resolution Good Mac app Cons USB-A interface Mac app requires macOS 10.15.4 or later (but app not required to work with Macs Kensington makes a variety of webcams and other accessories for video-conferencing, but its new W1050 is very competitively priced, and arrives just as Kensington releases a new Mac interpretación of its Konnect app as well. With a price of just $49.99/£34.99, the W1050 is one of the most affordable 1080p (1920×1080) webcams we’ve seen so far. It doesn’t cut many corners, though, providing a bright sharp image that is clearer and more detailed than the 720p FaceTime camera on my aging office iMac. It provides 95-degree viewing angle, with fixed-focus to ensure that the entire image remains in focus at all times (which is handy if you need to move around during a presentation). The adjustable stand can rest on your desk or attach to your computer screen, and allows you to tilt and rotate the camera to get the right viewing angle. It includes twin microphones with noise-cancelling features to reduce background noise, and there’s a privacy shutter on the front of the camera too. The only thing to watch out for is that the W1050 uses an older USB-A interface – which is fine for my old iMac, but you’ll need an adaptor for newer Macs that only have USB-C. Like any USB webcam, the W1050 works automatically with Macs when connected camino USB, but you will need Catalina (10.15.4) or later if you also want to use Kensington’s Konnect app. This provides additional controls for adjusting brightness, contrast and other settings, but its most useful feature is the ability to create and save profiles with settings that are suitable for different locations or lighting conditions. And, if you’re really serious about setting up a studio for video calls, conferencing or podcasting, then Kensington also has a range of accessories for use with its webcams, such as ring lights, and extendable mounts and stands. 2. Logitech Brio 500 Pros Tilt and swivel magnetic stand  Clear, sharp 1080p resolution  Show Mode for collaboration Cons Expensive for 1080p camera Logitech’s Brio range of webcams has been very popular in recent years – with the Brio Ultra HD Pro currently being our favourite 4K webcam – and it has just launched a new range of Brio cameras, starting with the Brio 500. Priced at £129.00/$129.99 and available in a variety of colours, the Brio 500 looks like a fairly conventional webcam, with a USB-C interface that allows it to work automatically with any Mac or PC that also has USB-C. However, this new model includes a number of new features that make it more versatile than many of its rivals, and will particularly appeal to people who need to make conference calls when working from home. The camera itself is fairly straightforward, with a high-quality glass lens that is capable of recording 1080p video at 30 frames per second, along with a privacy shutter and noise-cancelling microphone. The camera provides 65° – 90° field of view, but it also includes a new stand with an adjustable magnetic clip that allows you to freely rotate the camera to any angle you want. And, when used with the Logi Tune app – available for macOS 10.15 or later – you can use the new Show Mode to tilt the camera so that it points down at your desk and then automatically inverts the image so that you can show other people the documents or designs that you’re working on. 3. Razer Kiyo – Best Features on a 1080p Webcam Pros Light ring Long USB cable Good value Cons Razer's synapse app isn't Mac-compatible, but the software isn't really necessary Best Prices Today: €65.99 at amazon.de | €65.99 at coolblue | €72.90 at check24.de Elektronik Razer is best known for its range of gaming gear, and the Kiyo webcam is primarily aimed at gamers who need a high-quality camera for Twitch streaming and e-sports. It’s a shame that Razer’s Synapse app isn’t Mac-compatible, but the Kiyo itself still works as a standard USB-webcam without needing any additional software, and has a number of other useful features that will come in handy for video chats with friends and even for business calls. The Kiyo provides a nice sharp 1080p lens (1920×1080), with 81.6 degrees viewing angle, and can record video at 30fps, or capture still images at 2688×1520. The adjustable stand can clip to the top of a computer screen or fold flat to sit on your desk. You can tilt the camera lens to get just the right viewing angle, and the Kiyo’s USB cable is 1.5m long so that you can adjust the position freely. There’s also a tripod mount on the base of the stand as well – although you have to use your own tripod. Like many webcams, the Kiyo has an autofocus function so it can keep your picture nice and clear when you’re moving around, but the main feature that sets it apart is its built-in ‘lighting ring’. The andar outer rim that surrounds the camera lens lights up as soon as you select the Kiyo as a video source in your video apps, and you can turn the ring like a dial to adjust the brightness level up or down. That can help solve the gloomy image quality that many of us struggle with when making video calls from a bedroom or makeshift office at home. Razer also makes a good range of high-quality microphones that work well with the Kiyo too. 4. Logitech Brio – Best 4K webcam Pros Supports HDR Supports 1080p video at 60fps Three field-of-view options Cons High price Best Prices Today: $199.99 at Best Buy | $199.99 at Dell Home | $199.99 at Dell Small Business Logitech probably has the widest range of webcams currently available, ranging from low-cost models for video chats with your friends to gaming cameras and even full-blown videoconferencing systems for business users. The Brio is one of the company’s top-of-the-range models – in fact, Logitech claims it’s “our best webcam ever”. It’s not cheap, costing £199/$199, but earns its keep with a high-quality lens that offers full 4K resolution (4096×2160) at 30fps, or standard 1080p video (1920×1080) at 60fps (although, of course, you’ll need pretty fast broadband to handle 4K streaming). The Brio also supports HDR – high dynamic range – for bright, bold colours, and Logitech’s RightLight technology, which automatically adjusts the image to cope with changing light levels during the day. The Brio is versatile, too, offering three field-of-view settings: a narrow 65 degrees for close-up head-and-shoulders shots, or you can widen the view to 78 degrees or 90 degrees to capture a wider view of the room and other people. The camera also includes two microphones, with noise-cancellation features to improve audio quality. The adjustable stand can clip on to the top of your computer screen, or be mounted on a tripod for more professional productions (although you do have to supply your own tripod). There’s a privacy shade to cover the camera for extra security. The Brio works as a standard USB camera, so you can quickly plug it in and use it on your Mac with apps such as FaceTime or Zoom, but Logitech also provides a Mac interpretación of its Settings app, to provide extra controls. 5. Ausdom AW651 – Best for Streamers + VLoggers Pros Supports HDR Supports 2K at 30fps and 1080p at 60fps Tripod included Cons No software provided Ausdom’s AW651 – sometimes also referred to as the ‘HDR 2K’ – is an affordable option for people who want more than a standard 1080p webcam, but perhaps don’t want to spend a lot of money on an expensive 4K model. Priced at a competitive $89.99/£69.99, the AW651 provides two main options, allowing you to stream 2K video (2560 x 1440) at 30 frames per second, or 1080p (1920 x 1080) at a super-smooth 60fps. It supports HDR, with auto-focus and a viewing angle of 75-degrees, and the camera head can tilt and rotate to help you get the right angle for your video calls. The only disadvantage here is that Ausdom doesn’t provide any software for the camera at all – either for Mac or Windows. There is a button on the back of the camera that lets you adjust the frame rate, but you’ll have to rely on FaceTime, Zoom or other streaming apps to control resolution and other settings. The AW651 will work with any Mac running macOS 10.6 or above, but it uses a USB-A cable to connect to your Mac, so owners of Macs that only have USB-C will need an adaptor. However, the AW651 worked fine with our office iMac (USB-A) and with our USB-C MacBook Air with an adaptor. There’s a privacy shutter built into the camera, and the adjustable stand can sit on the desk, or be attached to your computer screen or a tripod. And, surprisingly for such an affordable camera, the AW651 even includes a small six-inch tripod as well, making it good value for streamers and vloggers who need to adjust the camera position from time to time. 6. Razer Kiyo Pro – Best for 60FPS Streaming and Broadcasting Pros 60fps recording Gorilla Glass lens and lens cover Cons Software is PC only, so Mac users miss some features Lacks the lighting ring of the cheaper model Best Prices Today: $99.99 at Microsoft Razer’s Kiyo webcam made a big impression when it was first launched a few years ago, thanks to its 1080 resolution and the built-in lighting ring that helped to improve image quality for video calls and streaming. Somewhat oddly, the Kiyo Pro no longer has that lighting ring, and it sticks with 1080p resolution, yet it’s twice as expensive, costing $199.99/£199.99 compared to $99.99/£99.99 for its predecessor (which is still on sale). That’s because the Kiyo Pro steps up to a USB 3.0 interface, which allows it to record higher frame rates of up to 60fps at 1080p resolution. The high-quality camera lens also supports HDR – although HDR is only available when recording at 30fps – and performs better in low light conditions, providing better all-round image quality and colour balanceo. The Kiyo Pro also has an adjustable stand that can sit on your desk, or be attached to a computer screen or tripod (not included). The camera cable connects to a USB-A port on your computer – so you’ll need an adaptor for Macs that only have USB-C – but it’s 1.5m long, so you can move the camera around freely in order to get it into the right position. The camera lens is coated with tough Gorilla Glass for extra durability, and there’s a lens cover included as well, to protect the webcam if you need to carry it with you when you’re travelling. Unfortunately, Razer’s Synapse software is only available for Windows PCs, so Mac users miss out on some of its more advanced features, such as the ability to adjust the field of view. However, the Kiyo Pro still works perfectly well as a straightforward plug-n-play USB camera with Macs. FaceTime and Zoom on my MacBook Air detected the Kiyo Pro automatically as soon as I plugged it in, and it provided a much sharper and more colourful image than the MacBook’s ageing 720p FaceTime camera. 7. Hypercam HD – Best Budget Webcam Pros Low cost Records in a 1080p 78-degree field of view Cons equivalente to a few Chinese-made webcams, but we didn't encounter any problems The Hypercam HD is inexpensive while offering a high-spec range of features, making it one of the best value webcams here. Its 1080p HD resolution picture quality is noticeably better than the Mac’s default 720p HD camera, and the audio is clear. The Hypercam’s glass lens has a 78-degree field of view – the same as the top-end Logitech C922. It also matches that webcam with fast 720p HD at 60Hz, and 1080p at 30fps. The Hypercam features built-in HD autofocus and light correction, and two integrated mics. It is adjustable at up to 170 degrees. Installation is simple – just plug the USB cable into your computer or docking station, and the driver automatically installs for almost immediate use. Unfortunately there’s no tripod mount option, but you can hang it off your display, or place it on a desktop. We were initially concerned that it looked eerily equivalente to a few other Chinese-made webcams – and it’s not badged as a Hyper product – but we found few faults in testing. 8. AverMedia Live Streamer Cam 513 – Best 4K webcam Pros 1080p at 60fps 94-degree field of view Cons Faint ticking noise coming from the webcam Best Prices Today: $149.99 at Best Buy | Not Available at Lenovo The AverMedia Cam 513 stands out because it offers Sony’s 8MP Exmore R CMOS image sensor for 4K at 30fps or 1080p at 60fps video capture. There’s also an impressive 94-degree field of view, which provides the user with a large canvas for cropping and zooming without noticeable loss in detail. That’s where the AverMedia CamEngine comes in. CamEngine is a vital utility and essentially required to get the most out of the Cam 513 – which doesn’t have drivers, you need to use their software. The software allows you to tweak the image using advanced features such as Snapchat-style filters and AI-powered camera cropping. Regarding those AI-related capabilities, it can crop in and track your face as you move around – good news if you move around a lot while on video calls. It’s not always flawless in performance however – we found it sometimes cropped into something that vaguely looked like a face, but you’ve also got the option of manually setting up each crop for different shots and angles. Shots can be programmed to hotkeys, allowing for extreme zooms and dramatic ultra-wide shots on-the-fly during streams and video calls. You’ll also find a privacy-focused shutter built in which will cover the webcam sensor when not in use. The adjustable stand will attach to most displays. The camera plugs into your Mac camino USB-C – the cable isn’t built-in but we don’t think that is a disadvantage (it means you can replace it with a shorter or longer USB-C cable depending on how you want to set it up.) It’s a great 4K webcam – the only real annoyance is that we could hear a faint ticking noise coming from the webcam during use. What to look for in a Mac webcam We’ve picked out five webcams worthy of recommendation above, but here’s some more general advice on what to look for. Resolution The FaceTime cameras included on all MacBook laptops and most iMac models are limited to just ‘720p’ – which generally means a resolution of 1280×720 (although the FaceTime camera on my office iMac only seems to record at 1080×720). That’s pretty basic in these days of HD and 4K video, so in recent months many people have decided to upgrade to a higher-quality webcam that supports HD resolution of 1920×1080, or even one of the latest 4K webcams. Useful features As well as providing a sharper, high-resolution video image, other useful features to look out for when buying a new webcam include autofocus, which can keep the image clear and sharp even if you need to move around a little, and brightness adjustment for when gloomier days. A wide-angle lens can be useful too, allowing you to fit more than one person into the image, or allowing business users to step back from the camera while giving a presentation or using a whiteboard. Framerates You should also check to make sure that the webcam can record smooth video with a framerate of 25 or 30 frames per second (fps). Some webcams can even record at 60fps, although that’s mainly for specialist tasks such as gaming and e-sports on Twitch. Connection standards There’s certainly plenty of choice these days, and most modern webcams will work with your Mac automatically as they just use a standard USB connection – generally USB 3.0, although USB-C is now starting to appear on some new webcams too. Once it’s plugged in, a USB webcam should then be able to work with any suitable video software on your Mac, such as FaceTime, Zoom or Skype (although it’s a shame that Apple never got around to releasing a Windows interpretación of FaceTime, as that puts it at a real disadvantage against its video-chat rivals). The webcam’s microphone will also appear as an audio input in the Sounds control letrero in System Preferences on your Mac. Apps Some manufacturers also provide their own apps with their webcams, which can help with features such as brightness and autofocus, so it’s worth checking to see if the webcam provides its own Mac app as well. Computer Accessories, Mac

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