ICYMI: Toyota’s 2021 Sienna is a stress-free car

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This week we went through the gadgets that surprised us and a few that disappointed us. First, Devindra Hardawar had to change her stance on people carriers after driving the 2021 Toyota Sienna. Then Cherlynn Low tested the HP Elite Folio laptop, which left a lot to be desired in the software department. Cherlynn also gave the OnePlus Nord N200 5G a try, which is a great deal if you don’t mind lagging low-end camera performance and features. And finally, James Trew played with the second-generation iZotope Spire portable studio which has received a few upgrades but still lacks a key feature.

Devindra Hardawar / Engadget

Although they often offer more safety, functionality and space than other vehicles, minivans carry a brand name. Devindra Hardawar has been fiercely anti-minivan for a long time, but the 2021 Siena changed his mind. It has a sportier styling with crisp lines, a large grille, an 11.6-inch infotainment screen for second- and third-row passengers, and because it’s a hybrid, it offers the minus 35 MPG of mileage combined with all-wheel drive. It’s also competitively priced starting at $ 34,460 (although the Limited model tested by Devindra starts at $ 50,085).

After driving his parents and daughter, Devindra was surprised to find that the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and two electric motors were smooth and responsive, even when driving down the highway. And he was always impressed with the space he had. The last row of seats can be easily laid flat by pulling a string, providing additional cargo space and making grocery shopping less stressful. He also liked the included Safety Sense 2.0 technology, which can identify pedestrians, adjust direction if the vehicle drifts, and use radar-assisted cruise control to keep a safe distance from other cars.

HP Elite Folio

Cherylnn Low / Engadget

Cherlynn Low says the new HP Elite Folio laptop matches the company’s reputation for producing eye-catching laptops. The new machine features sleek leather construction, reliable LTE connectivity, and a stylus with Wacom technology, all of which help justify its $ 1,889 price tag. It also has a touchscreen with a 3: 2 aspect ratio, over 15 hours of battery life and loud, clear speakers. Cherlynn said she also liked the keyboard because of its adjustable backlighting and well-spaced layout.

Despite all of these promising features, Cherlynn found the overall user experience to be messy. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2, 16 GB of RAM and Windows software on ARM fell behind when it switched between Word and Slack documents. She also said the laptop can use a lock to secure the screen into place after sliding it forward, as the panel will sometimes pop out of the cover, which is not ideal when you’re in. working. .

iZotope Spire Studio

James Trew / Engadget

James Trew was impressed with iZotope’s Spire Studio. The portable, mobile-connected recording device has an unusual and playful design and allows musicians to carry a “studio” with them via the built-in microphone, storage and the two combi-XLR ports. He called it a “curious but compelling proposition,” so he was eager to check out the refreshed model which adds more built-in storage (up to eight hours of recording), revised preamps with better interference rejection and higher volume, as well as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.

James says it’s easy to see why the Spire might be favored by amateurs and professionals alike, because it’s simple yet incredibly capable. He found the companion software to be accurate at reducing external noise, and says the app is overall very user-friendly. He says improvements to the second-gen Spire have made the already solid device even better, but he still looks forward to the day when he can connect the device to a computer via USB. Upgrades come at a cost – precisely $ 150 more than the first gen, bringing the entire unit to $ 499.

OnePlus Nord N200 5G

Cherylnn Low / Engadget

A $ 240 smartphone with 5G seems like too good a deal to be true, so Cherlynn Low tested the OnePlus Nord N200 5G to see how it went. While the ruggedly built smartphone has a 6.49-inch HD + LCD display that refreshes at 90Hz, Cherlynn said it lacks the colors and contrast levels offered by competing OLED displays. And while she likes OxygenOS 11’s clean UI, the low-end Snapdragon 480 processor fell behind and stuck when it switched between the camera and other apps.

The Nord N200 also has a triple camera system consisting of a 13-megapixel main sensor, a 2-megapixel macro lens and a 2-megapixel monochrome lens. While that looks okay on paper for a budget smartphone, Cherlynn said all the photos she took looked dull, especially compared to the same photos taken by a $ 350 Pixel 4a. She also said the night landscapes were blurry and noisy, and OnePlus’ night mode didn’t do much to address it. The battery lasted over 17 hours during testing, but it still felt like this T-Mobile exclusive would only be suitable for die-hard OnePlus fans on tight budgets and keen to upgrade to 5G.

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