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Rolex Deepsea Challenge 2022: the Deepest Diver You Can Buy

Rolex Deepsea Challenge 2022: the Deepest Diver You Can Buy

Rolex describes its new release, the Deepsea Challenge, as “a watch that defies the limits.” That means the limits of depth and atmospheric pressure in addition to engineering, since the Deepsea Challenge is designed to be able to function up to 11,000 meters—almost 7 miles—underwater. But you’d be forgiven for concluding it means the depths of logic also. Rolex already offers a watch rated to 3,900 meters (the $12,950 Deepsea Sea-Dweller), which vastly outstrips the possibilities for human survival (the deepest-ever ocean outing for a saturation diver, in 1988, bottomed out at 534 meters). What, then, could be the rationale for almost tripling a capability that can only ever be experienced in theory, necessitating a watch so big that it pushes another limit—that of wearability?

The answer Rolex could reasonably give is: because it can. But also, because it had to. The Deepsea Challenge is the pinnacle piece in a succession of ultra-deep watches that began in 1960, when the company sent an experimental watch, the Deep Sea Special, attached to the Trieste bathyscaphe on its epochal descent to the bottom of the deepest place on Earth, the Mariana Trench in the Pacific, reaching a depth of 10,911 meters (the watch, sporting a huge, bulb-shaped dome of glass above its dial, performed perfectly). 

In 2012, the filmmaker James Cameron made his own dive to the bottom of the trench in the Deepsea Challenger submersible, with another, rather more modern, experimental Rolex attached outside. In one sense, the new watch could be seen as a slice of unfinished Rolex business: Based on the watch that plumbed the depths with Cameron, it finally makes commercially available what was for six decades purely experimental. As an expression of engineering competency, that really can’t be beaten.

For a while, though, it looked as if it had been. Even if it invented the concept, Rolex is hardly alone in making barely fathomable depth capabilities of watches the ultimate technical flex. While a raft of brands offer watches with a rating of 1,000 meters or more, battle was truly joined by Omega in 2019 when it sent its own experimental Seamaster watch to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, affixed to the submersible of adventurer Victor Vescovo. Not only did this give Omega victory in having the deepest-traveled watch—reaching 10,916 meters, pipping Cameron (10,908 meters) by 8 meters—but Omega developed a commercially available model, too. The Seamaster Ultra Deep Pro, priced at £10,350 (around $11,883), arrived earlier this year, but with a depth rating of 6,000 meters—an achievement that Rolex has now trumped by almost double. 

The ultrahighpressure tank used to test the waterproofness of the Oyster Perpetual Deepsea Challenge.

The ultra-high-pressure tank developed in partnership with Comex to test the waterproofness of the Oyster Perpetual Deepsea Challenge.Photograph: Fred Merz/Rolex

12 Best Portable Battery Chargers (2022): For Phones, iPads, Laptops, and More

12 Best Portable Battery Chargers (2022): For Phones, iPads, Laptops, and More

Many years ago, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 gained notoriety when its batteries caught fire in a series of incidents. There’s been a steady stream of similar, though isolated, incidents ever since. However, despite the high-profile coverage of batteries gone wrong, the vast majority of Li-ion batteries are safe.

The chemical reaction that occurs inside a lithium-ion cell is complex, but as in any battery, there’s a negative and a positive electrode. In lithium batteries, the negative is a lithium-carbon compound, and the positive is cobalt oxide (though many battery makers are moving away from cobalt). These two compounds cause a reaction that is safe when controlled and delivers energy to your devices. When the reaction gets out of control though, you end up with earbuds melting in your ears. What changes a safe reaction to an uncontrolled reaction can be any number of things: excess heat, physical damage during use, physical damage during manufacture, or using the wrong charger. 

The three basic rules that have kept me safe (thus far) through testing dozens and dozens of batteries are: 

  1. Avoid cheap cords, chargers, and outlet adapters.
  2. Make sure batteries aren’t exposed to excessive heat (over 110 degrees).
  3. Regularly inspect batteries for signs of damage.

Avoiding cheap wall-outlet adapters, cords, and chargers is the most important. These are your most likely source of problems. Those chargers you see on Amazon for $20 cheaper than the competition? Not worth it. They probably got the price down by skimping on insulation, leaving out power-management tools, and ignoring the basics of electrical safety. Price alone is no guarantee of safety, either. Buy from reputable companies and brands.

Then there’s heat. Too much of it can cause all manner of problems, both in terms of discharge and in terms of safety. Avoid heat, and pay attention to your batteries when they’re charging. If your device gets overly hot when charging, this can be a sign of problems. Similarly, beware of any swollen, bulging, or otherwise misshapen batteries.

Casio’s Flagship Keyboard Has a Voice of Its Own

Casio’s Flagship Keyboard Has a Voice of Its Own

You might want to learn music, but nobody wants to spend a thousand dollars on a keyboard only to realize they hate it. Most people buy a beginner keyboard to pound out “Hey Jude,” the kind of plasticky model that you probably remember from middle school. They work fine as tools to manufacture sound with your fingers, but the actual tones leave a bit to be desired.

That’s why I’ve enjoyed my time with the Casio CT-S1000V. It’s a sleek $470 model that acts as an excellent beginner keyboard, but with one particularly cool party trick: You can program lyrics into it and have the keyboard sing for you. It’s a rad tool for those of us with voices like angry crows.

Between solid construction, good sounds, and an easy-to-navigate interface, I think this board is the perfect place for beginners to start. The vocal synthesis engine is cool enough that even die-hard synth nerds will want to mess around when they come check your progress.

Classic Casio

Vintage Casio models are beloved by indie darlings like Mac Demarco for a reason. These basic, utilitarian keyboards sound as nostalgic as they are functional. Like many Casios before it, this one has a decent keyboard and 800 built-in sounds, with everything from boring piano to spacey synths represented. You also get 243 rhythms to play along with, should you need some inspiration.

You’d be surprised how far sounds have come since you last messed with a keyboard at Guitar Center before Covid. The team at Casio has included some legitimately great sounds, stuff you would have paid thousands of dollars for before the iPhone era (hear samples below).

You can plug the keyboard into an amp or use it as a MIDI keyboard with a computer, but I actually liked just using the built-in speakers on the top. It makes it easy to jam along with music, or to quickly sample sounds without the hassle of turning on an amp or opening the Casio Music Space app (which works for iOS and Android and pairs to the keyboard).

The included LCD display works well in dark rooms, and it gives you pretty granular control over everything you might want to adjust when playing. You can assign two knobs on the top left of the board to do various filters, effects, and EQ moves, and there is a very usable pitch-bend wheel on the far left side, for when you want to feel like Herbie Hancock in the 1970s.

Getting Connected

Casio CT1000V keyboard

Photograph: Casio

You can get sound information out of the keyboard four ways: through the aforementioned speakers, a headphone jack, stereo ¼-inch outputs, or via USB. You can also use the keyboard as a sampler for your favorite music, with the ability to capture sounds from Bluetooth audio and use an internal six-track sequencer to line up a beat.

Once you’re plugged in, you can easily mess around and save any sounds that you find you like for later. Speaking of mucking around and finding cool sounds, I really did fall in love with the new vocal synthesis engine. It’s easy to type lyrics into the Casio Lyric Creator app (iOS, Android) and then transfer whole songs of lyrics to the keyboard.

If you really hate to sing, or you particularly love Daft Punk or Peter Frampton, you’ll be in love. You can use 22 different vocal sounds and manipulate them with a fairly wide variety of effects and other sound parameters. The vocal synth is polyphonic, which means you can play really cool harmonies (hear below) over your own words.

The Top New Features in Apple’s WatchOS 9

The Top New Features in Apple’s WatchOS 9

If you have an iPhone, the Apple Watch is far and away the best fitness tracker. The only downside perhaps (besides the battery life) is that Apple’s health software has historically been somewhat lacking. It’s not uncommon to see Apple Watch users immediately transfer their data to more useful and easily actionable software, like Strava or Nike Run Club. But that could all change with a whole host of new fitness features debuting in WatchOS 9. 

If features like measuring stride length and vertical oscillation work as intended, they could easily turn the Apple Watch into the best running watch and best watch for endurance athletes, period. That’s in addition to a whole host of brand-new features on the new Series 8, such as crash detection and a body temperature sensor that will help people who want to become pregnant track their fertility. Here, we break down all the top new features in WatchOS 9. Don’t forget to check out our Best Apple Watch and the Best Apple Watch Accessories guides for more. 

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Is Your Apple Watch Compatible?

Will your watch be able to download WatchOS 9? The following models are compatible:

  • Apple Watch Series 4
  • Apple Watch Series 5
  • Apple Watch SE (2020)
  • Apple Watch Series 6
  • Apple Watch Series 7
  • Apple Watch SE (2022)
  • Apple Watch Series 8
  • Apple Watch Ultra

You’ll also need an iPhone with support for iOS 16, which includes the iPhone 8 (2017) or later. You can check out our iOS 16 features roundup for instructions on how to download the new OS on your handset.

How to Install WatchOS 9

You can install WatchOS 9 with either your iPhone or your Apple Watch. Whichever method you choose, you’ll want to make sure your iPhone is connected to Wi-Fi and running iOS 16, and that your Apple Watch battery is at 50 percent (at least). You’ll also have to make sure your watch and iPhone are next to each other, to keep them in range.

To update your watch using your iPhone, open the Apple Watch App and tap on the My Watch tab. Then tap General > Software Update and Download. From there, you’ll see a progress wheel on your Apple Watch indicating the update has begun. If you choose to install an update directly on the Apple Watch, you’ll have to make sure the watch is connected to Wi-Fi. Then open the Settings app on your watch and tap General > Software Update > Install

It can take up to an hour to install WatchOS 9, so make sure you won’t need to access your smartwatch during that time. If you do need it, you can choose to update your Apple Watch overnight instead. When you receive a notification that the new OS is available to download, tap the Update Tonight option. Then on your iPhone, confirm that you want to update your watch overnight. Before you go to bed, make sure both your iPhone and Apple Watch are charging throughout the night.

Health and Fitness Features

watch screen showing graph of sleeping stages

Photograph: Apple

There are a number of improvements to the Apple Watch’s health and fitness apps. Here’s the lowdown. 

Better Workout Views

Apple Watch showing power and elevation workout view

Photograph: Apple

To better optimize your workouts, Apple updated its Workout app to show more stats, and you can rotate the Digital Crown to cycle through different views like Heart Rate Zones, Activity Rings, and Power and Elevation. You’ll also have the option to build Custom Workouts complete with work and rest intervals, along with alerts for heart rate, pace, power, and cadence while working out.

Compass App 

Apple Watch showing Compass app

Photograph: Apple

The redesigned Compass app now has a hybrid view that includes both the simple analog compass that shows direction and bearing, plus a new digital one. Turning the crown shows relevant navigational information, such as latitude, longitude, elevation, and incline. It also includes new orienteering features, like Waypoints and Backtrack. Tap the Waypoint icon to place a marker on a point of interest. Backtrack uses GPS data to show the user where they’ve been if they become disoriented and need to turn around. 

In-Depth Running Metrics

Anyone who uses an Apple Watch while running will be happy to know that you can now track new metrics like Ground Contact Time, Stride Length, and Vertical Oscillation—all of which can help improve your form. You can add them to your Workout Views, or view them in the Fitness app summary as well as the Health app (the Fitness app is finally available for iPhones as of iOS 16). You’ll also be able to see trends and patterns over time.

Fitness+ Features

Apple Watch and iPhone showing trainer callouts feature

Photograph: Apple

If you’ve been streaming your Fitness+ workouts to a second screen (like your TV) using AirPlay instead of Apple TV, you’ll finally be able to see your heart rate, calories, and Burn Bar in real-time on the display (if it’s compatible). Speaking of metrics, there’s also a new “trainer callouts” feature incorporated into your stats—with phrases like “Hard” and “All Out!”—to help you push your intensity levels while exercising. 

Sleep Stages

Apple Watch showing sleep stages feature

Photograph: Apple

Sleep tracking now shows different sleep stages. Leveraging the heart rate sensor and accelerometer, your smartwatch will identify when you’re in REM, Core, and Deep sleep. You can check this data each morning using the Sleep app on the watch. A more detailed breakdown that includes things like time asleep, heart rate and respiratory rate, and sleep comparison charts will sync to the Health app.

Log Your Medications

Apple Watch showing medication tracking feature

Photograph: Apple

In iOS 16, the Health app now features a new Medications tab. You can use it to log medications, create schedules, and set reminders. Those reminders will then appear on your Apple Watch (and your iPhone), with the ability to log the moment you take them by tapping the notification on your watch.

Track Your AFib History

Apple Watch showing AFiB history

Photograph: Apple

If you’ve been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, you can now enable the AFib History feature for a weekly update on deeper insights pertaining to your condition. You can see an estimate of how often your heart rhythm shows signs of AFib and how other factors such as exercise, sleep, and alcohol impact your AFib. You can access a detailed history via the Health app too—with the option to download a PDF to give to your primary care physician. According to Apple, the feature has “received a number of local clearances and approvals from health authorities around the world, and will be available in more than 100 countries and territories, including the US, Canada, Europe, Hong Kong, Mexico, South Africa, the UK, and more.” It will be available in Australia later this fall.

Temperature Sensing (Series 8 and Ultra Only)

Apple Watch and iPhone showing temperature sensor

Photograph: Apple

With a two-sided temperature sensor—one on the back of the smartwatch close to your skin and one under the display—the Apple Watch Series 8 packs a new feature that can help detect changes in your body depending on your temperature. While asleep, it can measure your wrist temperature to detect any differences to your baseline temperature that might be caused by something such as illness or exhaustion. If you track your period using the Health app, you’ll receive “retrospective ovulation estimates” to help with family planning and improve period predictions. 

Power Up Anywhere With the Best Travel Adapters

Power Up Anywhere With the Best Travel Adapters

There are 15 plug types in use across the world. Type A and Type B are used in the US, Canada, Mexico, and Japan; Type C is common across Europe, South America, and Asia; Type E and Type F are found across Europe in places like Germany, Russia, and France; Type G is used in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and a handful of other places; and Type I is used in Australia, New Zealand, China, and Argentina. Universal adapters tend to cover all of these types.

Some countries are not usually covered by universal adapters, such as India (Type D), Israel (Type H), and South Africa (Type M or N). You’ll need to buy specific plug adapters for those places. To avoid any surprises when you land, double-check what type you need before you travel.

If you’re visiting just one destination, a basic plug adapter that caters to one plug type is all you need. For trips to multiple destinations or for frequent flyers, a universal travel adapter can prove more versatile. The universal adapters we recommend here have the bonus of including multiple USB ports for charging several mobile devices from a single outlet.