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Generation Gap: Ranking each and every Mazda MX-5 Miata – Driving

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Let’s get this out of the way: there’s no such thing as a ‘bad’ Miata.

When you set out to rank every generation of a specific automobile, however, there’s always going to be a model that sits at the bottom of the ladder.

It’s not so much that any version of Mazda’s iconic roadster is a victim of its own shortcomings, but rather that in our estimation it pales somewhat when compared to the absolute best iteration of one of the purest representations of sheer driving joy every built.

With all that said, which generation of the Mazda MX-5 Miata stands out to us as the shining beacon of everything the car was meant to be, and which one has seen its glow dull just a little in contrast? Check out our take on the best versions of the Mazda Miata ever built, and let us know whether we got it right or wrong.

1. 1989-1997 Mazda MX-5 Miata NA

The first Miata was a tour de force interpretation of the classic British sports car concept, a vehicle just as notable for what it left on the table as for what it brought to the game. In an era when the Japanese sports car game was dominated by exotic technologies like four-wheel steering, twin-turbos, and even Mazda’s own rotary engine, the Miata went in the opposite direction.

Presenting itself as a simple, rev-happy four-cylinder roadster with an ultra-low curb weight (right around 2,100 lbs) and minimal complications between the driver and the asphalt below its 14-inch wheels, the MX-5 made a plus out of its modest 116 horsepower (later elevated to 128, then 133 when the 1.6-liter motor was punched out to 1.8-liters in 1995). It was responsive enough to keep the momentum-car moving at a brisk pace, yet never a threat to overpower either the rear wheels or the driver, and its supremely balanced chassis rewarded every input, no matter how minute.

All of the above, plus the NA Miata’s svelte shape (a lovely jelly bean with pop-up headlights), simple manual top, and inexpensive running costs set it well on its trajectory to being the best-selling two-seat convertible in history. It’s yet to have been equaled.

2. 2006-2015 Mazda MX-5 Miata NC

The third-generation Miata was brave enough to try to expand the roadster’s mission statement without losing sight of what had made it great to begin with. Somewhat larger, and a few hundred pounds heavier, than the sprightliest NA, the NC was still one of the least weighty sports cars on the market when it appeared in 2005. It continued the four-cylinder formula (now a 2.0-liter unit rated at 170 horsepower and 140 lb-ft of torque), and buyers could choose between a five- and six-speed manual gearbox. A refresh mid-way through the car’s production run would bump the redline by 500 rpm and boost its grin-factor.

The NC was significantly more comfortable and refined than the generation that preceded it and featured the availability of a power retractable hardtop. Whereas past versions of the Miata had required a lift-off design for anyone seeking four-season security, the NC’s built-in feature dragged new customers into the Mazda showroom, even if critics complained about the hundred pounds or so it added to the mix.

Most importantly, however, the NC drove exceptionally well. More insulated from the road than the NA of decades past, it was nevertheless a blast when pushed hard, and in an era where most of its rivals were at least 500 lbs heavier, it never came across as portly. It was the first time Mazda had strayed from the original simplicity-is-everything mantra that had guided the first MX-5, and it was a risk worth taking that did indeed change the character of the car, but not for the worse.

3. 1999-2005 Mazda MX-5 Miata NB

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Why does the NB come in behind the NC on our ranking of every Mazda Miata generation? Whereas the third iteration of the roadster gave us something new, the second was more accurately described as an attempt to civilize certain aspects of the first, without alienating its core fan base. It was just as ‘good’ but not appreciably ‘better’ in terms of driving experience, and that keeps it from climbing higher.

Wider, and lacking the rad pop-up headlights of the NA, the NB’s cabin was more accommodating to taller drivers and its overall styling was more sleek than round. The 1.8-liter engine was retained, and power remained at 140 horses (143 by 2001) but a six-speed manual transmission was now in the mix and helped the car shame the NA in a straight line. A five-speed also remained on the order sheet.

Aside from the above, there wasn’t much about the NB that set it apart from the original Miata. A Mazdaspeed turbocharged model came online for 2004, but its 178 horses and 166 lb-ft of torque were matched with unusually aggressive gearing that conspired to keep the car feeling more frenetic than fantastic, and it never found a widespread following among MX-5 fans.

4. 2016-current Mazda MX-5 Miata ND

2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata 1.5L

When the ND was launched as a 2016 model, Mazda went out of its way to compare it to the classic NA. In some ways the parallels were there: the car stepped down to 155 horsepower and cut major weight compared to the NC, which at its core is the same formula applied by the very first vehicle to wear the Miata badge.

What keeps the current version of the MX-5 at the bottom of our list is something that wasn’t even dreamed of when the NA first hit showrooms. Electric power steering has managed to deaden the feel for so many modern sports cars, and compared to the hydraulic – or even unassisted – setup available in early Miatas, the ND comes across as remarkably numb.

Still, there’s a lot to like about the ND Miata. Its suspension tuning remains top-notch and the car is a lot of fun to drive, especially once the revised 2019 engine’s 181 horsepower and 7,500 rpm redline injected substantial life into the chassis. The interior also offers far more modern infotainment and comfort options than any previous model. The RF model’s power retractable targa panel is a bit of a puzzler, but like the NC’s experimentation it at least tries to take the Miata concept in a different direction.

Too bad about that steering, though.


LISTEN: This week on our Plugged In podcast we talk all things Polestar with North American boss.

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MagSafe Charger found to work on Galaxy Z Fold2, Pixel 5 – GSMArena.com news – GSMArena.com

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Arguably the most attention-grabbing addition of the iPhone 12 series (apart from 5G) is the new MagSafe accessory ecosystem. The premise is simple all new iPhones have a magnetic ring around the wireless charging coil on their backs, which can snap to a range of accessories from wallets to mounts and wireless charging pads. The MagSafe charger is Apple’s first foray into wireless charging for iPhone after the whole AirPower fiasco but now it was found to be working just fine on some non-Apple phones.

Granted the MagSafe charger works on the Qi interface so any device that supports the standard will get juice from it. It’s currently the only way to get 15W speeds through wireless charging on iPhones but now we get to see it actually attaches to other magnet-touting phones as well. Max Weinbach tested out a Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 which has its own set of magnets to help it stay closed and it worked just fine.

He shared the foldable managed to stay attached to the new MagSafe charger just fine though the charger could snap away if you shook it around with some force. We also did not get any details on the actual charging speeds though we presume they will stick to 7.5W as only iPhone 12 units are advertised to reach 15W speeds.

The new Google Pixel 5 was also tested with MagSafe charger on video and managed to hold on quite well. Aaron Zollo aka zollotech tested out Google’s 2020 flagship with Apple’s new charger and its snapped in place quite well.

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We know Google engineered a plastic circular opening in Pixel 5’s aluminum casing specifically for wireless charging which should be the reason why it managed to work so well. We’ll be on the lookout to see what other phones play nice with the MagSafe charger.

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Photographer Austin Mann puts iPhone 12 Pro through its paces – AppleInsider

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As he does every year, travel photographer Austin Mann took Apple’s new iPhone 12 Pro for a test drive in the great outdoors — this time at Glacier National Park in Montana. Here’s how it went.

This year is no different, and Mann was granted the opportunity to take the new iPhone 12 Pro for a spin in both bright and inclement conditions.

The iPhone 12 Pro, however, features mostly incremental and software-based changes to its camera suite. Most of the significant hardware changes are only arriving on the iPhone 12 Pro Max, which Mann hasn’t gotten his hands on yet.

But the smaller iPhone 12 Pro model still performed admirably in a variety of conditions. The addition of Night mode on the wide lens, for example, has significantly bolstered the low-light performance of that lens.

Previously, Mann said that the “found the quality of the Ultra Wide wasn’t up to my standards when shooting in medium- to low-light conditions, so I only used the Ultra Wide in bright, daylight conditions.” But the Night mode has helped mitigate those drawbacks.

Credit: Austin Mann

Mann also praised some of the improvements to Smart HDR with the iPhone 12 Pro. For example, the ability to shoot a silhouette has been updated with the latest handset, since doing so was difficult in the previous version.

Credit: Austin Mann

Credit: Austin Mann

The photographer also pushed the iPhone 12 Pro’s Night mode to the extreme with a low-light portrait shot of his wife.

“I shot this portrait of Esther about forty-five minutes after sundown, and it was overcast, so there was very little available light. (To give you an idea, we had to use a flashlight to see our path.)” Mann wrote.

Credit: Austin Mann

Credit: Austin Mann

As you can imagine, there was definitely some camera shake and movement with this unstable setup but thanks to a little Night mode computational wizardry, better OIS, faster ISO, and of course LiDAR, Esther is still sharp and surprisingly color accurate.

The LiDAR worked great here — I realized later I never once messed with the focus it was just locked in on her face the whole time. Also, creating an accurate depth map around the furry hood seems like it would be really complex, but the iPhone 12 Pro did a great job.

The blurring and noise reduction is a bit less realistic and a bit more dreamy? But it’s sharp enough where it matters, and overall I found this image to be just lovely. (And so did Esther, which is what matters most!)

Mann also covered some of the other software-based mechanisms introduced with the latest iPhone model, including the new “Truly Locked” Exposure Adjustment that holds a manual exposure setting across shots and lens changes. Mann says the feature allows iPhone to much more closely mimic a manual camera.

Credit: Austin Mann

Credit: Austin Mann

Although Man took some stunning images with the iPhone 12 Pro, he concluded that serious photographers may be better off waiting for the iPhone 12 Pro Max.

“The iPhone 12 Pro is a solid camera, and thanks to a bunch of new digital tech I found it to be slightly stronger than the already great iPhone 11 Pro — but if you are serious about photography with your iPhone, wait for the iPhone 12 Pro Max. It looks to be the most significant jump in iPhone camera hardware we’ve experienced in years, and it’s only three weeks away,” Mann wrote.

The photographer’s full review and photo gallery is available here, and is worth a browse for anyone interested in the new iPhone camera.

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The tech powering Canada’s biggest online casinos

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Technology is a key catalyst for change in many industries. It makes the experience for customers more exciting, more streamlined and more widely available – and the online casino sector is just one of the industries that has evolved markedly due to technological innovation.

In this article, we will discuss the technological improvements that are powering some of Canada’s most popular online casinos and the games they offer to players, including the tech that makes the games better, faster and more appealing to new customers.

Browser wars

They say that competition helps drive innovation forward and that’s certainly the case in the world of the internet browser. For many years, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer ruled the roost as most users’ browser of choice, but competition from Firefox during the early 2000s ensured there was no room for complacency.

The arrival of search giant Google on the scene in 2008, however, was perhaps the most significant game-changer. Their new Chrome browser promised greater stability – with fewer crashes – and much more processing power.

This increased processing power was a huge positive for online casino developers, whose imaginations had previously been limited by platform capabilities. Today, for example, many of the services and games offered by Netent casino rely heavily on fast processing right out of the tab, without the necessity for plug-in downloads. This has allowed companies to be more ambitious and the amount of competition in the field means they have to find new ways to stand out. One way of achieving this is by offering welcome bonuses such as free spins and matched deposits for new customers.

 

Pocket power

One of the biggest technological changes impacting Canada’s biggest online casinos was the introduction of the smartphone. The launch of the iPhone is 2007 represented a major step-change for the industry and opened new, exciting doors for operators.

Today’s smartphone is powerful enough to process even the most complex online casino games, while the increased battery life of smartphones means players don’t have to cut their experience short or grab for a charger at a crucial moment.

Casual casino games, like bingo and slots, have also enjoyed a boost in popularity as more people choose to access their favorite platforms from mobile. Perhaps unlike an intense poker showdown, these kinds of games lend themselves perfectly to being enjoyed on the go.

High def

The modern casino game features spectacular graphics and colorful themes, and the dazzling, high-definition displays available on mobile and desktop mean they can provide an immersive experience.

Modern 4K gaming monitors bring online casino games to life and once again allow developers to really push the envelope when it comes to design. Large, high-end displays are available on mobile too, meaning players on the go can enjoy a premium experience in the palm of their hand.

It is perhaps in this department where the changes are most noticeable from the origins in the industry more than 20 years ago. The primitive card games of the past have been replaced by smooth, colorful experiences worthy of any high-end games console.

 

Source: Pexels It’s clear to see just how the online casino sector has been able to evolve so rapidly during the last 25 years and enhance its offering to players. Perhaps more than any other online industry, casino gaming has been perfectly placed to capitalize on new tech innovation.

 

 

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