This week we got our hands on Samsung’s new Galaxy Chromebook 2, and Nathan Ingraham details the ways that the new model makes significant improvements over last year's laptop. Also, Steve Dent takes another look at the Canon EOS R5 to see how firmware upgrades have fixed the cameras overheating problems. Lastly, I used an online sleep training system to see if it could help my twins sleep better, and got some pretty positive results.
Samsung’s Galaxy Chromebook 2 is better than the original
Although the new Galaxy Chromebook 2 looks much the same as its predecessor, Samsung made some internal changes that make this a better laptop for more people. The body of the Chromebook 2 is slightly bigger at 13.9mm thick and 2.7 pounds, but Nathan Ingraham said it both feels well-made and light enough to easily carry around all day. The new model eschews the previous stylus, camera on the keyboard deck, and fingerprint sensor — and Samsung changed the display resolution from 4K to 1080p. Nathan said that didn’t impact the quality of the screen, which still looked outstanding with bright and saturated colors and solid viewing angles.
One of the biggest upgrades was battery life: the Chromebook 2 lasted an impressive 11 hours and 49 minutes in testing, compared to the paltry 5 hours and 11 minutes he got out of last year’s model. Still, he said he wished it would last an hour or two longer. Overall though, Nathan felt that the Chromebook 2 was much easier to recommend, and not just because of the upgrades, but also because the new model has a lower price of $699. Now if they could just do something about that giant promotional sticker on the palm rest....
Owlet’s Dream Lab is an online sleep coaching program for your kid
Every new parent has one common question: How can I get my baby to sleep better? To answer that, Owlet — the company that makes the smart sock monitor — has Dream Lab, an online sleep training system that helps parents teach their children healthy, consistent sleeping habits. A series of assessments and questionnaires will match your child with one of three methods to use to help them learn to self-soothe. The program also offers videos that give step-by-step instructions, motivational advice and information on sleep training.
I tried out the program with my infant twins, and saw some immediate improvements — even though I admittedly did not follow the system as strictly as I should have. I liked the way the system was tailored to my babies needs, and after trying the “Stay” method noticed the children sleeping more soundly, for longer periods and with fewer overnight wakings. However, I would have preferred to see the service available as part of Owlet’s existing app, as opposed to a separate, less convenient website.
For Canon's EOS R5, overheating isn't as much of a problem anymore
When Canon initially released the EOS R5 and R6, the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. The EOS R5 offered 8K 4K 120p video, accurate autofocus, fantastic image stabilization and sharp images. Steve Dent also liked the way the full-frame mirrorless camera handled during shoots. However, the R5 suffered from overheating issues, which disappointed many fans. In response, Canon has released firmware updates that have improved — but not entirely solved — the heat problems.
Steve still experienced a few hiccups while shooting video: he was able to shoot in 8K for roughly 25-30 minutes before he needed to stop because the camera got too hot. But he pointed out that it also recovers more quickly now, so when he was able to shoot for a few minutes at a time and shut down the camera between takes, he was able to keep the camera running for several hours without issue. Despite the heat challenges, Steve said he really likes the $3,900 EOS R5 as it’s the only pure, high-megapixel hybrid camera that does both photography and video equally well.