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Best fans 2024: Our recommendations based on comprehensive testing

An NSA Dual Position tower fan next to an arm chair

Read on for our pick of the best fans, all of which have been tried and tested by experts

You’re never guaranteed a scorching summer in the UK, but when the heat hits, the best fans will keep you cool, calm and collected – and might even help you get some shuteye as the mercury rises. However, choosing one can be tricky. With so many desk, tower and pedestal fans all vying for your attention, which one will deliver the comforting airflow that you’re looking for?

In the last five years, I’ve tested and reviewed over two dozen fans, including some of the best desk, tower and pedestal models on the market. I’ve tried out their features, used them while snoozing, and run detailed tests to check their noise output, airflow and energy consumption.

Listed below, you’ll find the fans that I’m happiest to recommend for a range of budgets and requirements. Meanwhile, if you want to know more about what to look for in a fan – including the strengths and weaknesses of different types – then take a look at the detailed buying guide that comes after the reviews.

Best fans: Our expert picks

Best budget fan

Best fan. Angled view of the Igenix DF0030 tower fan on a white background

Igenix DF0030

Price when reviewed: ~£30

“It’s hard to recommend most fans at such a low price point, but this cheap tower fan puts out plenty of air while being light enough to carry around the house. Even on the lowest setting it can be relatively noisy, but it’s compact, easy to use and surprisingly good at its job.” | Read our review

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Best desk fan

Best fan. Front of the Duux Globe fan on a white background

Duux Globe

Price when reviewed: ~£80

“This compact fan looks great on your desk or bedside table, yet it can dish out a fantastic, cooling airflow. What’s more, it’s incredibly quiet at its lowest settings, so it won’t disturb you if you’re working or enjoying a quick snooze.” | Read our review

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Best pedestal fan

Best fan. Front of the Meaco Sefte fan on a white background

Meaco Sefte 10in Pedestal Air Circulator

Price when reviewed: ~£180

“The Sefte is an incredibly powerful pedestal fan, and with switchable oscillation on the horizontal and the vertical, it can easily push air around a good-sized room. Yet it’s also quiet and energy efficient, making it one of the most versatile and effective coolers you can buy this summer.” | Read our review

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The best fans you can buy in 2024

1. Igenix DF0030: Best cheap tower fan

Price when reviewed: £30 | Check price at Amazon

  • Great for… cheap and cheerful cooling and carrying around the home
  • Not so great for… noise levels or getting some sleep

If you don’t need to cool a massive space, this 30in tall Igenix fan is something of a bargain. I found I could easily lug it around the house with the integrated handle, yet it puts out a decent airflow at each of its three speed settings, with an 80-degree oscillation to help spread it around.

This isn’t the perfect fan for sleeping – even at its lowest setting, it’s far from silent – but it did a fine job of cooling down a small living room, and it’s good for taking heat out of the bedroom before you go to bed. Looking for maximum cooling for minimal cost? This is the fan for you.

Key specs – Dimensions: 76.2 x 24 x 24cm; Weight: 2.66kg; Oscillation angle: 80 degrees; Cord length: 1.8m; Warranty: 2yr; Power: 45W

2. Ansio 30in Tower Fan: Best value fan for cooling power

Price when reviewed: £60 | Check price at Amazon

  • Great for… huge airflow on a budget
  • Not so great for… keeping noise levels low

Don’t expect much in the way of modes or features, but this striking 30in tower fan has it where it counts. It’s one of the more powerful tower fans I’ve tested, with air speeds reaching 3.2m/sec from a metre away. Even at the lowest of its three speed settings, I measured 2.4m/sec; not bad for what’s still a budget model.

That’s a lot of cooling power, I did observe, however, that the airflow is at its strongest relatively low to the ground. With 60 degrees of oscillation, you can spread the airflow around a decent section of a bedroom or living room, and it doesn’t take up too much space. On the flip side, noise levels are relatively high as well. If you struggle to sleep through the 41dB at low power, you can forget about the 49.9dB at full. Still, the old-school mechanical timer works surprisingly well, and even if it’s not the most refined of fans, you’ll appreciate its icy blast as the temperature soars.

Key specs – Dimensions: 76.5 x 24 x 24cm; Weight: 3.96kg; Oscillation angle: 60 degrees; Cord length: 1.75m; Warranty: 2yr; Power: 45W

3. Dimplex Ion Fresh Cooling Tower Fan: Best tower fan for fresher air

Price when reviewed: £110 | Check price at Argos

  • Great for… a well-controlled airflow with a fresher feel
  • Not so great for… using while you’re trying to snooze

The Ion Fresh stands out from the tower fan crowd thanks to its imposing 1.07m height, its built-in ioniser mode and its rather classy brushed-copper finish – even if it’s just a coloured plastic. It looks great with its low-glow green digital temperature display and touch-sensitive controls, and I was also keen on the fan’s tilt feature, where you can push it back by up to seven degrees to direct the airflow upwards.

The ionisation feature is designed to discharge negative ions that attach to positive ions to freshen up your environment. Whether this works or not is somewhat controversial, but I found that the Ion Fresh did a fine job of making stuffy rooms more liveable and – more importantly – it proved to be an effective fan.

It can speed air through the vertical slats at up to 2.3 m/sec at maximum speed, and 1.3 m/sec at its lowest, with a wide 70-degree oscillation to spread the gust of air around. I also found it easier to use than cheaper rivals, thanks to the bundled remote and intuitive controls, while it packs in a timer, a sleep mode and a natural mode that varies the power setting to make the airflow feel more like a natural breeze. Don’t get too excited about snoozing, however; even at its quietest, the Ion Fresh puts out around 41dB, reaching 50dB at its worst. Still, if it’s not the ideal fan for bedroom use, it’s a good-looking, capable cooler for everywhere else.

Key specs – Dimensions: 107 x 31 x 31cm; Weight: 5.6kg; Oscillation angle: 70 degrees; Cord length: 1.5m; Warranty: 2yr (3yr after online registration); Power: 45W

4. Princess Smart Compact Tower Fan: Best tower fan for smart features

Price when reviewed: £60 | Check price at Amazon

  • Great for… decent airflow, smart features and voice commands
  • Not so great for… wobbling while it works and getting noisy at high-speed settings

On first impressions, there’s little to distinguish the Smart Compact Tower Fan from budget efforts. While the design and glossy white finish look good, the plastics feel a little cheap and the tower wobbles on its two-part plastic base, which you’ll have to screw on yourself. Still, I found the touch controls simple but effective and the basic remote perfectly usable, even if you only get three speed settings and just 85 degrees of oscillation. The sleep mode simply starts at your current speed before ramping down to the low setting, while the natural mode is too noisy to work as a convincing breeze.

Luckily, the Smart Compact Tower Fan has two big things going for it. You’ll have probably guessed that one is its smart features, and while these are limited to using the app as a remote control and being able to schedule when the fan turns on and off, it’s still pretty cool to be able to control your fan using Alexa or Google voice commands. Second, it blasts out a decent amount of air without making too much of a racket. True, I found the maximum airflow of 2m/sec slightly underwhelming, but I could get 1.8m/sec at the medium setting with noise levels at a manageable 40 to 42.7dB. That wasn’t enough to overpower the living-room TV with the volume turned up one notch higher than usual. Look elsewhere if you want cooling you can sleep through, but this one’s smarter than your average fan.

Key specs – Dimensions: 80.8 x 30.7 x 30.7cm; Weight: 3.3kg; Oscillation angle: 85 degrees; Cord length: 1.6m; Warranty: 2yrs; Power: 36.8W

5. Levoit 36-inch Tower Fan: Best tower fan for big air

Price when reviewed: £90 | Check price at Amazon

  • Great for… cooling larger areas without much noise or fuss
  • Not so great for… noise levels at the highest speeds

While it’s one of the tallest tower fans I’ve tested, it’s worth making room for Levoit’s 36in column. Look beyond the two-part plastic base and it’s a well-built unit without a hint of wobble, with stylish and straightforward touch controls on the top panel. It also has some useful advanced features, including an Auto mode that adjusts the speed according to the room temperature, and a Sleep mode that will do its best to keep you cool while staying quiet. There’s also a Turbo mode for some extra speed, plus a simple 1- to 12-hour off timer.

However, what I like most about this tower fan is that it offers an efficient and economical way to cool a larger area. It pushes through air at speeds of up to 3.2m/sec at the highest of its five speed settings, or 3.3m/sec in Turbo mode. It’s a little loud when maxed out, putting out between 44.4 and 45.2dB, but on its next-to-lowest setting, you can still hit speeds of 2.1m/sec, with the noise reduced to around 32dB. That’s almost whisper quiet, and perfect for watching TV on a boiling summer evening. What’s more, on its lower settings it uses only around 20W. Throw in the competitive price, and you have a great tower fan for bigger rooms.

Key specs – Dimensions: 92 x 16.5 x 16.5cm; Weight: 3.6kg; Oscillation angle: 90 degrees; Cord length: 1.8m; Warranty: 2yr; Power: 39W

6. Meaco Sefte 10in Pedestal Air Circulator: Best all-round pedestal fan

Price when reviewed: £180 | Check price at Meaco

Best fan. Front of the Meaco Sefte fan on a white background

  • Great for… massive airflow with little noise and impressive levels of customisation
  • Not so great for… some less than intuitive controls

Meaco’s new Sefte pedestal fan improves on its already superb 1056P Air Circulator through a combination of an even quieter motor and a more efficient fan design, along with a clever, modular build that makes it even more flexible. By only using some parts of the three-part stalk, you can use it as a desk fan, floor fan or pedestal fan, while controllable oscillation lets you set the arc to between 30 degrees and 120 degrees on the horizontal and 20 degrees and 65 degrees on the vertical. I found this surprisingly useful for spreading the airflow across, say, a group of people on the sofa, or focusing it on just me, sitting at my desk.

You might want to exercise some restraint on the speed settings, however. At the maximum setting, the Sefte produced over 7.6m/sec of airflow; enough to blow paperwork around the desk at a distance of more than one metre. Even at the medium speed settings, you can get an impressive 4.7 to 5.9m/sec. Yet it’s quiet, not exceeding 40dB even at its highest settings, and staying at 32 to 35dB at low to medium settings. It’s quiet enough to sleep through, especially if you switch to the handy Night mode. I have some reservations about the controls, especially those for oscillation, but nothing to take away from the fact that this is the new king of pedestal fans.

Key specs – Dimensions: 59 to 109.8 x 34 x 34cm; Weight: 5.4kg; Oscillation angle: 120 degrees (horizontal), 6- degrees (vertical); Sound level: 38.4dB (max); Remote control: Yes; Compatible smart devices: N/A; Warranty: 2yr; Power: 26W

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7. Princess Pedestal Air Circulator: Best compact pedestal fan

Price when reviewed: £125 | Check price at Dunelm

  • Great for… cooling a large space without making much of a racket
  • Not so great for… not much. It’s a well-designed and effective fan

At less than 80cm high, the Princess Pedestal Air Circulator is pretty short for a pedestal fan. Luckily, it more than makes up for it through a combination of air-circulating muscle and oscillation. Unlike most pedestal fans, it can oscillate on both the horizontal and vertical axes, giving it more scope to push air around the room. Meanwhile, its 12 speed settings deliver wind speeds of up to 4.3m/sec, making this one of the most powerful fans I’ve tested. At the highest speeds, it’s a bit too noisy, reaching 48dB, but by stepping down to 10 I could still get a 2.9m/sec airflow with a more bearable 43dB. At the halfway point, I was looking at 2.5m/sec and a mere 35.8dB. That’s still not perfectly quiet, but it’s close enough that you won’t notice it while you’re busy bingeing Netflix on TV.

On its lowest settings, it’s virtually silent – I dozed quite comfortably with it on – and you can still get a decent breeze. What’s more, this fan has one of the more usable Natural modes out there, varying the speed but without any extreme changes. It even has a sensible Sleep mode that starts at your current setting and then reduces the speed every 30 minutes. I also liked the simple controls and the rock-solid build quality; there’s barely any wobble once assembled. This is one of Princess’s only fans without smart features, but despite that, it’s arguably its best.

Key specs – Dimensions: 77.3 x 28.8 x 29.3cm; Weight: 5.1kg; Oscillation angle: 90 degrees (horizontal), 60 degrees (vertical) Cord length: 1.6m; Warranty: 2yr; Power: 20W

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8. Duux Whisper Flex: Best dual-purpose pedestal and floor fan

Price when reviewed: £142 | Check price at Amazon

  • Great for… good airflow, smart features and a flexible design
  • Not so great for… limited height adjustment

The Duux Whisper Flex gives you what you want from a modern pedestal design. It’s powerful – I measured the maximum airflow at a solid 3.7 m/sec – and it’s also quiet, producing roughly 43dB when running at full tilt, and dropping to under 34dB at medium settings. It can run for up to 12 hours away from mains power using the optional battery pack, and with 26 different speed settings and useful Natural and Night modes, you’ve got plenty of control.

You can also connect to it over Wi-Fi using an iOS or Android app and control it using your smartphone, even scheduling when it will come on or off, and it will also work with Google Home and Alexa voice control. I found the commands a bit limited beyond turning the fan on and off or adjusting the speed, but it’s still nice to be able to do it without standing up or using a remote.

Perhaps the best thing about this fan, though, is that you can use it either as a pedestal fan or a floor fan – or even a desk fan at low speed – just by adding or removing one section of the stalk. This means there’s less height and vertical adjustment than on other pedestal fans, but it’s a real plus if you don’t want a tall pedestal fan dominating a corner of the lounge. Versatile, stylish and efficient, this is one of the best fans you could place in your home.

Read our full Duux Whisper Flex review

Key specs – Dimensions: 88 x 34 x 34cm; Weight: 5kg; Oscillation angle: 90 degrees horizontal, 100 degrees vertical; Cord length: 1.85m; Warranty: 2yr; Power: 27W

9. NSA UK Compact Cool: Best small desktop fan

Price when reviewed: £45 | Check price at NSA

  • Great for… quiet and effective personal cooling
  • Not so great for… extra modes and speed settings

This little desk fan lives up to its name, being very compact while keeping you cool. It doesn’t have much in the way of features or settings, with just three speeds and a 90-degree oscillation option, but it puts out a lot of airflow at its maximum speed – up to 2.9m/sec – and enough to keep one person cool even at its lowest setting. I used it for staying cool at my desk while working, and the 1.7m/sec breeze was just the job.

At that speed, it’s pretty quiet, too, with the fan noise only just above ambient sound levels, and even at medium speed the 37dBA wasn’t loud enough to stop me catching 40 winks. The timer can be awkward to use and it uses slightly more power than some rivals, but if you’re after an unobtrusive but effective desktop fan, this one takes some beating.

Read our full NSA Compact Cool review

Key specs – Dimensions: 29.5 x 24 x 21cm; Weight: 1.5kg; Oscillation angle: 90 degrees; Cord length: 1.6m; Warranty: 2yr; Power: 35W

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10. Duux Globe: The quietest desk fan

Price when reviewed: £80 | Check price at Argos

  • Great for… whisper quiet airflow for your desk or bedside table
  • Not so great for… performance at high speeds

The Duux Globe is perfect for the office or the bedside table, with a classy spherical design, a choice of three speed settings and 90 degrees of oscillation on both the horizontal and vertical axis. The phrase whisper-quiet doesn’t even cover it; on its lowest speed setting I could hear nothing from the fan above the ambient levels, and my (quiet) laptop made more noise. Yet it still pushed out a breeze of roughly 1.2m/sec at a distance of one metre.

If you need more cooling power, you’ve still got it. At the top speed, I measured airflow at 2.7m/sec, with a noise level of just 42dB. You’ve got a choice of touch-sensitive controls on the fan itself and a slightly cheap-feeling remote, while the efficient DC motor keeps power consumption between 2W and 8.1W. The Globe doesn’t have the power of the Meaco Sefte 10in Table Air Circulator, but this is the fan to go for if you prize your peace and quiet.

Key specs – Dimensions: 38 x 28 x 28cm; Weight: 3.4kg; Oscillation angle: 90-degrees vertical/ 90-degrees horizontal; Cord length: 2m; Warranty: 2yr; Power: 14W

11. Honeywell HT 900E: Best budget desk fan

Price when reviewed: £24 | Check price at Amazon

  • Great for… powerful performance on the cheap
  • Not so great for… keeping the noise down

As far as budget desktop fans go, the HT 900E is a monster. The 40W “turbo” motor blasts out huge amounts of air at its highest speed; the 2.7m/sec gusts were enough to send papers flying across my desk, and feels a little too high for close-up use. Thanks to the 90-degree tilting fan head, it can be mounted on the wall or stood on a desk or floor.

It’s incredibly simple to use and the construction is rock solid. The one downside is that at medium or high settings it makes an unholy racket, reaching 47.5dB at full tilt. At low, though, it’s less noisy – a bearable 40dB –while still putting out a respectable breeze. It’s not my go-to for features or finesse, but you’ll struggle to find more cooling power for this kind of money from any other fan.

Key specs – Dimensions: 27.7 x 27.7 x 15.9cm; Weight: 1.35kg; Oscillation angle: No; Sound level: Up to 39dB; Cord length: 1.6m; Warranty: 3yr; Power: 40W

12. Meaco Sefte 10in Table Air Circulator: The most powerful desk fan

Price when reviewed: £120 | Check price at Meaco

Best fan. Front of the Meaco Sefte Table fan on a white background

  • Great for… Powerful and portable cooling, with extra-low noise
  • Not so great for… The oscillation controls can be tricky, but nothing major

While I’m classifying the Sefte 10in Table Air Circulator as a desk fan, that’s a waste of its potential. It’s immensely powerful, capable of pushing through air at a ridiculous 7.8m/sec. I had to check my anemometer against another fan to make sure it wasn’t broken. Yet with 12 speed settings, it can ramp down to deliver everything from a blast to a barely-there breeze, with plenty of usable options in between.

To make it even more versatile, it has the same controllable oscillation as the Pedestal version, giving you between 30 and 120 degrees on the horizontal and 20 and 65 degrees on the vertical. I found this useful for getting a more focused airflow while using a rowing machine but having a wider spread for general cooling in the living room. And, even with all this power, the Sefte keeps things nice and quiet. It’s barely audible at its lowest speed settings, and even at its awesome maximum speed it only puts out 43dB. The oscillation controls can be tricky and the 12-hour switch-off timer a little basic, but this is a superb fan that works as well as a carry-around floor fan as it does on the desk or bedside table.

Key specs – Dimensions: 43.2 x 30.5 x 22.7cm; Weight: 3kg; Oscillation angle: 30 to 120 degrees (horizontal), 20 to 65 degrees (vertical); Sound level: Up to 43dB; Cord length: 1.6m; Warranty: 3yr; Power: 8-26W

Check price at Meaco

13. Vortex Air Cleanse Bladeless: Best multi-function fan

Price when reviewed: £180 | Check price at Amazon

best fan Vortex Air Cleanse

  • Great for… warming, cooling and purifying nearly all year round
  • Not so great for… high airflows or low noise

The Vortex Air Cleanse is a fan of many talents, working as a tower fan in the summer, a fan heater in the winter and an air purifier all year round. All it takes is a tap of the touch-sensitive button on the base, which switches between fan mode and three heat settings.

In tests, I found it less effective as an air purifier than most dedicated models, but if you want to keep an average-sized living room or bedroom free of pollen and other airborne contaminants, it will do the job. At the highest of its ten speed settings, I measured air speeds at a reasonable 1.9m/sec, falling to 1.3m/sec once I reached setting 7. You won’t get huge gusts of air, then, and noise levels peak at a high 53dB, but on lower settings, with 120 degrees of oscillation, it does a solid job of moving air around the room with minimal fuss.

As a heater, it’s even more effective. You can leave it static and sit dead centre in a blast of warm and cosy air or set it to oscillate to let it warm a larger area. In tests, it warmed my living room by 2.5°C within the first 15 minutes and by a further degree within another 15.

The Vortex Air’s only downside is that it suffers from the usual problem of all fan heaters – that temperatures dip fast when the heater isn’t active – and that there’s no way to manually set the thermostat control. Does it excel in any of its functions? No, but it looks great and will come in useful for at least three seasons of the year.

Key specs – Dimensions: 85.6 x 26.5 x 16cm; Weight: 5kg; Oscillation angle: 70 degrees; Cord length: 1.8m; Warranty: 2yrs; Power: 35W (fan), 1.95kW (heating)

How to choose the best fan for you

To start, it’s worth making one thing very clear: a fan is not an air conditioning system. While air conditioners actually cool the air, fans simply push the air around. Obviously, this means that even the most effective fan won’t cool as well as one of our best portable air conditioners, but then they’re also much cheaper – both to buy and run. In the UK, with our comparatively mild, dry summers, an air conditioning unit may be overkill anyway.

When it comes to choosing a fan, your decision should largely come down to the size of the area you need to cool. If you’re only interested in keeping yourself comfortable, a small desktop fan will do the job. If you’re looking to cool the lounge or bedroom, then a large floor, tower or pedestal fan could be in order. Different fans will also expel air at different angles, with some pushing it around a bigger space and others focusing their power in a narrow cone. Oscillation can also help, with the fan rotating slowly left and right to cool a wider area. Some even tilt upwards and downwards as they do so, although this and the angle of oscillation will differ from fan to fan. Think about your needs and room layout in advance, and look for a lightweight, portable fan if you plan to move it around with you during the day.

The other big issue is noise. There’s no point in having a fan to keep you cool if you can’t sleep through the noise or hear the TV over the racket, and often you’ll need to find a compromise. Nearly all fans offer a choice of speed settings, which makes finding that balance easier, and some have special nighttime modes. Some fans also use noticeably quieter, more energy-efficient motors and blade designs, maximising cooling power while minimising noise.

Should I buy a desk fan, floor fan, pedestal fan and tower fan?

Desk fans are small, portable and can be picked up for anywhere between £20 and £50 (although pricier designer models are available). Most offer an adjustable tilt so you can direct the airflow, and some have an oscillating feature to create a breeze that sweeps from side to side. Don’t discount rechargeable models as they can be remarkably effective.

READ NEXT: Best desk fans

Floor fans are larger, more powerful and are designed to fill a bigger space. Since they’re designed to be used at a distance, they might offer more angles, a wider oscillation range and a remote control. This is handy if you want to turn the fan up or down from the bed or even just pause it while you take a phone call. Otherwise, they’re very similar to desk fans and have the same kind of features – in fact, there’s plenty of overlap between the two.

It’s a similar story with pedestal fans, which are basically more powerful desk fans on a stand that are designed to cool a larger area. You can usually adjust the height, pivot and oscillation to control airflow, but they tend to be bulkier than tower fans so you’ll need to make sure you have enough space – both for use and for storage.

This is where tower fans come in. These slimline units blast out air from a tall column, giving you the cooling power of a pedestal fan in much less space. Most tower fans also come with a remote control so you can manage airflow without unsticking yourself from the sofa.

READ NEXT: Best tower fans

Is there anything else worth looking out for?

Fans aren’t generally that expensive to run – even the most powerful models we’ve tested use around 40W when running at maximum speed. However, the most energy-efficient models we’ve tested consume under 20W at full blast and less than 5W at their lowest speed, which could make a difference to your bills if you’re running the fan all summer long. You can also keep your costs low by using any timer features, which can be set to shut the fan off after a set period. We’ve even seen some fans that can regulate their speed according to the ambient temperature, or that have a sleep setting where the fan slows down gradually over the course of the night.

A growing number of fans are also coming with Wi-Fi connectivity built in, enabling them to be used with an app for remote control or voice commands through Amazon Alexa or Google Home devices. These features don’t tend to be as sophisticated as those you’ll find in smart lighting or heating devices, but they make it easy to control a fan from across the room.

How we test fans

We test every fan for airflow, power consumption and noise output, as well as checking through their features and finding out how easy (or not) they are to use. Having assembled the fan and set it up, we measure the speed of the airflow through the fan at a distance of 1m with an anemometer, being sure to test at both maximum and minimum speed settings, plus a medium setting.

Testing a Duux Whisper Flex fan with an anemometer

We also measure the sound levels at these settings, along with power consumption at the highest and lowest point. From there, we use the fan in a variety of rooms to gauge how effectively they work in different situations and layouts, using different modes and oscillation settings where available. We also try out any special modes and get to grips with both the built-in controls and the remote control, where supplied.

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