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This week we’ve got a few reviews for music and photography enthusiasts. First, James Trew put the GoPro Hero 10 Black through its paces and was impressed by the capabilities of the new GP2 processor. Next, Billy Steele listened to Jabra’s $80 Elite 3 earbuds and, due to the combination of price and features, deemed them one of the company’s best gadgets. Lastly, Terrence O’Brien played around with the Arturia SQ80V synth emulator only to be charmed by its fluid user interface and timeless sounds.
James Trew is plain about the new GoPro Hero 10 Black: it is remarkably similar to last year’s model, save for the impressive, new GP2 processor. That chip brings a boost in frame rates across the board, including 5.3K at 60fps. It’s also responsible for the updated HyperSmooth 4.0 stabilization technology, which makes for smoother shooting scenarios, a speedier user interface, faster offloading of media and even improvements to the front-facing display. GoPro says the GP2’s capabilities can help produce improved photos and videos as well.
In James’s testing, this was well born out: He saw noticeably better image quality from the Hero 10 Black than from the Hero 9. James said the difference in detail was instantly noticeable at 100-percent crop, where the Hero 10 was able to capture textures like road surface or leaves. He also enjoyed the added flexibility that came with the new resolution and frame rate combinations — another bonus of the GP2 processing power. The Hero 10 Black also adds a hydrophobic lens coating, which keeps water droplets from gathering in blurry drips, 4K video at 120fps for respectable slow-mo, and a good, old-fashioned wired transfer. With one of the only drawbacks being a shorter battery life, James says that the Hero 10 takes everything that was working for GoPro devices and builds on it.
The Jabra Elite 3 earbuds have a lot going for them: they’re affordable, have functional controls, a comfortable fit courtesy of a new design, impressive sound quality and a solid feature set. Billy Steele says they far exceeded his expectations and offer an incredible value for their $80 price tag. During testing, he was immediately impressed by the sound quality, which was adept at highlighting details like the rattle of a snare drum. While he found the call quality to be only serviceable, he found other features — like a mute control on the earbuds — well thought-out. He was also pleased with the nearly seven-hour battery life.
However, low-cost models will forgo some things you may take for granted on other earbuds, and here, the Elite 3 buds lack wireless charging and active noise cancellation. Billy said one of the few drawbacks with the Elite 3’s was the missing auto-pause feature — he found it annoying, but not a dealbreaker. He also mentioned that the only EQ customizations are available in presets, but that the Elite 3 outperformed similar models here due to its balanced tuning and great clarity. With few drawbacks, Billy deemed them one of the best wireless products from Jabra.
Terrence O’Brien spent some time tweaking the knobs on Arturia’s new SQ 80V, a synth emulator designed to mimic the dusty charm of the Ensoniq SQ-80. The device contains the original 75 waveforms as well as “hidden” waves from the SQ-80 to provide users with a wide range of sound design possibilities. The majority of the controls, three LFOs and four envelopes, are on a mouse-friendly synthesis tab, while you can change the oscillator waves and tweak the filter right from the device itself.
Terrence says the SQ80 V is ideal for crushed digital sounds, and the two sound packs released alongside the emulator are right in line with that feel. While those packs made it easy to find sounds in the included presets, Terrence said it’s simple to build your own patches as well because of the dropdown menus and tabs. He called the interface “clean, charmingly retro and easy to navigate.” Overall, Terrence said he digs the SQ80 V because it’s approachable to synth players while providing warm, timeless sound.