Laptops

Apple can finally feel the heat of a global semiconductor shortage

The iPad and Mac are most affected

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Apple posted its Q2 earnings report this week, recording a whopping 54 percent rise in revenue year-over-year to almost US$ 90 billion. Thanks to blockbuster iPhone sales, the Cupertino-based giant is minting profits. But how long will the streak last considering the global semiconductor shortage?

On a call with analysts, Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook and Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri said Apple avoided a chip shortage in the fiscal second quarter by burning through supply buffers. In the coming months, the global shortage could cost the company US$ 3 to 4 billion in revenue.

The shortfalls “affect the iPad and the Mac primarily,” Cook said. “We’ll have some challenges in there.” Cook talked about the recently launched ARM-based chipsets that deliver world-class performance, but are extremely complex and expensive to make.

The executives blamed “semiconductor shortages that affect many industries” and “very, very high” demand for iPads and Macs. Cook said the company expects to be “supply-gated, not demand-gated,” but only for the two products running M1 chip.

Apple has successfully managed to grab the opportunity offered by the Coronavirus pandemic — a sudden rise in demand for gadgets due to the work-from-home model.

The iPhone-maker isn’t the only one feeling the heat of the global crunch. There have been reports stating that Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 chipset has also hit delays due to the overwhelmed supply chain.  Though, this is the first time Apple has publicly revealed that it’s getting hammered by the global crisis.

In response to the crisis, Taiwanese chipmaker TSMC has announced an investment of US$ 100 billion in the next two years to ramp up production. Veteran American chipmaker Intel has also committed upwards of US$ 20 billion to start best-in-class semiconductor fabrication facilities in Arizona, USA.

Laptops

Huawei MateBook D 15 2021: An all around solid choice

It’s no ‘beast’ because iit’s not trying to be

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Being a dominant player in the smartphone scene, I’ve always been curious about how Huawei’s laptops perform.

Having forged their name onto the spectrum of smartphone enthusiasts with their premium Mate series, we know that Huawei has the ability to craft the same caliber for their laptops.

Carrying the Mate branding with its name, let’s take a look if the Huawei MateBook D 15 2021 11th Gen also has the right to be called premium and carry on this reputation.

Performance you didn’t see coming 

The MateBook D 15 2021 is running on the 11th generation of Intel’s Core i5 processor, the 1135G7. Paired with this is the Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics, 16GB DDR4 RAM, and 512GB of SSD internal storage.

On paper, the specs of the 2021 D 15 isn’t really something many of us would consider sensational, but surely this would be more than enough for online classes or even light to heavy work.

I tend to do a lot of photo editing on Adobe Lightroom so I could say that my power requirements do demand a bit of muscle power. The 11th gen Core i5 on the D 15 is able to handle this quite smoothly even with some headroom for web browsing and other multitasking tasks thanks to the considerable amount of RAM.

As you power on the device, you’d immediately notice the swift performance of the D 15.

A surprising contributor to this is its Smart Fingerprint power button which has been carried over from the previous generations of MateBooks.

Automatically tagging your biometrics upon pressing the power button, this move eliminates the need to input your login details which drastically decreases the boot time. I understand this may vary from other users but having recorded the BIOS time at only 2.5 seconds, this has been the fastest boot up time I’ve ever encountered on a laptop.

Classic never goes out of style 

“It looks like a MacBook” was the first comment I’ve heard from the people I was with as soon as I took out the D 15 from the box. Yes, you’ll definitely see the resemblance with Apple’s MacBook line but that’s not to say that it’s a bad thing especially if there are things that Huawei has improved on. Thankfully, this is exactly the case with the MateBook D 15’s body.

The MateBook D 15 2021 has smoother and rounded edges compared to that of a MacBook Pro which makes it more comfortable for your wrists to rest on while still bringing with it that sleek and professional look that we’ve grown to love.

For a 15-inch body, you’d notice that this MateBook is incredibly thin and light weighing in only at 1.56kg and just 16.9mm thin. An easy carry to coffee shops or even just transferring from room to room at home.

Kind of a nitpick on my part though but one comment I do have with this build was it had a very slight body flex on the right hand portion of the palm rest. I don’t know if this was an issue on the particular unit I’m using but whenever my hand lands on that part, it does feel like it sinks down a tiny bit.

More screen for work and play 

Mentioning the size earlier, the MateBook D 15 2021 has a 15.6-inch FHD IPS display panel. A bit bizarre though, is that at only 250 nits this display felt a lot brighter. I mostly stay just around two or three notches above the lowest brightness setting to keep it at comfortable reading levels.

I wasn’t very concerned with eye strain however, as this display has been certified under TÜV Rheinland’s reduced blue light and Flicker-free qualifications.

With super-narrow 5.3mm bezels and a rating of 100% on its sRGB color gamut, this display is just a tempting movie companion. The large size, almost bezel-less screen and accurate color reproduction truly makes video consumption an immersive experience.

No cramps for your fingers here 

Looking at the D 15, you’d notice immediately that the keyboard is decently sized and its spacing is quite substantial. Key travel on this however, wasn’t very long. While I personally would prefer keyboards with longer key travel over one with a bigger size, the key travel on the D 15 was where it somewhat fell short for me. That being said, I do think this is a matter of personal preference so this isn’t really something that would ruin the MateBook experience. 

You’ll also notice that for a 15.6-inch device, this doesn’t have a number pad on the side of the keyboard which I think contributes to how Huawei managed to extend the spacing of its keys and incorporate a decently sized trackpad below.

Speaking of the trackpad, I really appreciate its size as it’s able to accommodate my multi-finger gestures with precision and with only very minimal input errors.

Still placed between the F6 and F7 keys on the top is the iconic recessed 720p camera that the MateBook line pioneered.

 Power overwhelming

I personally see the battery and charging features of the D 15 to be its main strength. It took me a good 9 hours and 30 minutes running off of its 42Wh battery before it shifted to power saving mode. Meaning, this laptop can easily run you for more than 10 hours under controlled conditions and once you’re able to plug it in an outlet, its fast charger would only take you about an hour to charge it back up.

The 65w charger is quite comparable to a size of a smartphone charger that would barely add weight to your everyday carry. The charger also uses a detachable USB-C to USB-C cable. This makes it easy to replace if ever it gets worn out.

Also, this same cable can be used to charge our smartphones either from the charger or from the laptop as the 2021 D 15 also has support for reverse charging.

Next level of connectivity

A neat addition also on the MateBook D 15 is the inclusion of the new Wi-Fi 6 technology. This gives the D 15 the ability to connect to more frequency ranges for a cleaner and less interrupted connection. While this does require that we connect to a Wi-Fi 6 capable wireless network to fully take advantage of it, it does give us some sort of complacency with some future proofing. Giving us more reasons to hold on to our device for a few more years from our purchase.

In this category we also have quite a selection of ports with the inclusion of a USB 3.2, HDMI and USB-C port on the left side and two USB 2.0 and a 3.5mm audio port on the right.

Tap and drop files? Yes please!  

A handy feature for people who already belong in Huawei’s ecosystem is the Huawei Share with Multi-screen collaboration.

This feature enables Huawei smartphones to connect and share files, apps and even your phone screen with the D 15 by just tapping it on the dedicated Huawei Share portion of the laptop.

Gimmicky as it may sound at first, I have to say, it really does work. And if transferring files from other devices is something you do often, this might be a feature that you could maximize.

Is the HUAWEI MateBook D 15 2021 11th Gen your GadgetMatch?

The MateBook D 15 2021 isn’t what we may call a “beast” of a device as it really isn’t trying to be one. This is mainly designed with professionals in mind or simply people who’re looking for convenience, comfort and just an overall pleasant user experience and it does that very well.

A decent performer, sleek looker, ultraportable 15.6-inch device with a lot of nifty features with the Huawei ecosystem, Wi-Fi 6 and its smart fingerprint power button, the MateBook D 15 2021 is what we could really call a versatile machine.

But here is where it gets a little bit tricky. The MateBook D 15 2021 with the older Intel 10th Gen processor is also currently an available option from Huawei. A less powerful alternative but one that could set you back a few pesos which also gets you most of what the 11th Gen version offers.

If you’re willing to spend a little more for better performance though, the D 15 11th Gen is no doubt a solid choice.

The Huawei MateBook D 15 2021 11th Gen with 16GB RAM is available in Mystic Silver for PhP 59,999.

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Features

ASUS Zenbook 13 OLED UX325: Vibrance and power in portability

Ultraportable and easy on the eyes

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ZenBook 13 OLED

ASUS is known for making their mark by leading with state-of-the-art innovation in everything they do, especially when it comes to laptops.

They consistently stand out in the crowd by rendering powerful performance and stunning visuals through their Zenbook series, and they definitely didn’t pull any punches with their best ultraportable yet –  the ASUS ZenBook 13 OLED UX325. 

ZenBook 13 OLED

Vivid visuals you’ve never experienced  

As someone who greatly relies on her laptop’s display for creative outputs, I was thrilled when I got my hands on the ZenBook 13 OLED since this has a 13.3-inch FHD OLED HDR NanoEdge Display with 400 nits of brightness. Its 88% screen-to-body ratio and thin bezel design makes work and play very immersive. 

These features are accompanied with a 100 percent cinema-grade DCI-P3 color gamut and Pantone validation, making it tick off all the boxes as to what I would prefer for my multimedia consumption. 

Since most of us are used to LCD displays on most of our laptops, visuals on this OLED display, however, felt more realistic. Clear and detailed even at low brightness. And its color accuracy made it easy for me to assess and review photos that I had to work on.

ZenBook 13 OLED

A quick research on OLED displays tells us that an OLED display doesn’t use backlight but instead, its millions of LEDs emit its own light. So if an image or a scene in a video to be produced is black, the pixels turn off, resulting in true and deep black and would then turn on  when it needs to produce colors. 

This feature really helps make you feel like you’re watching live scenes in movies and video projects you’re working on with its true black and extreme contrast ratio.

Also after a long and gruelling day at work, eye strain wouldn’t be a concern since the ASUS ZenBook 13 OLED UX325 is certified with TÜV Rheinland’s certification under low blue light reduction standard. This ensures that this display emits 70% less harmful blue light and protects you from visual discomfort and disrupted sleep quality. 

All these features rolled into this laptop’s OLED display definitely improves its image quality, viewing angles and eye comfort while consuming less battery power. 

Power that pushes through  

If you’re someone who usually multitasks or someone who wears multiple hats at work, you’ll definitely have the #PowerOfMore with the ZenBook 13 OLED. You can accomplish more tasks with this laptop as it is powered by the latest 11th Gen Intel Core processor complemented with Iris Xe integrated graphics for superb all-around performance. 

Also under this laptop’s hood is 8GB of DDR4 RAM and 512GB SSD, more than enough for everyday activities like web browsing, video watching and getting some tasks done to work without a hitch. 

ZenBook 13 OLED

Work light, work smart 

I am a big fan of compact and portable laptops since I like working at different spots. While I can’t frequent my favorite coffee shops and open spaces these days, I’m still able to work in different rooms and areas at home due to the UX325’s ultraportability. 

Measuring only 13.9mm and weighs 1.14kg, it is just a tad bit bigger than your usual notebook. It doesn’t take up much space and is so light that you can just put it in your bag and carry it around when you have to. 

ZenBook 13 OLED

Though this laptop is light, thin and has narrow bezels, ASUS still managed to put an IR camera positioned at the top part of the screen.

This is very efficient because aside from using it for your day-to-day Zoom meeting or catch-ups, this IR camera also has the technology and large sensor which allows ultrafast face logins with the help of Windows Hello. I was even surprised when I tried to unlock the laptop with the lights turned off, the IR camera was still able to recognize my face in the dark.  

ZenBook 13 OLED

Versatile battery

I usually work long hours on a day-to-day basis and I have limited power outlets at home so I mostly rely on battery power. The ZenBook 13 OLED UX325 has been very convenient being powered by a big 67Wh lithium polymer battery. 

ASUS claims that this laptop can provide up to 15 hours of battery life but this was proven wrong in a good way. I was actually able to use it for 16 hours for my daily work, a side job and some Netflix series marathon until it reached power-saving mode. Then to fully charge it just takes less than 2 hours. Talk about extreme convenience. 

ZenBook 13 OLED

All set to connect  

In most ultrathin laptops, they usually sacrifice ports for portability. The ASUS ZenBook 13 OLED UX325 definitely redefines the possibilities without sacrificing connectivity. This is the world’s slimmest laptop with full I/O ports – you’ll find a full-sized HDMI, two Thunderbolt 4 USB Type-C ports with support for fast charging and up to 40Gbps data transfer speed, a USB Type-A port, and a microSD card reader on the sides of this laptop’s chassis. 

ZenBook 13 OLED

If you’re still using wired earphones, you don’t have to fret since ASUS provides a USB Type-C to 3.5mm audio jack adaptor in the package. They also provide a standard USB to LAN adaptor if you’d have to connect to a wired network.  

Also, still adding up to this laptop’s connectivity is the inclusion of Wi-Fi 6. This new generation of Wi-Fi technology gives you access to more Wi-Fi frequency ranges which results in a more stable and faster connection.  

Lift to your liking 

Typing can be pretty wearisome especially if you’ve been working for quite a while. The ZenBook 13 OLED has a precision-engineered ErgoLift hinge which automatically lifts the rear of the laptop as it is opened, tilting the keyboard for a more comfortable typing experience. 

This lift also optimizes ventilation at the bottom part of the laptop while adding resonance to the sound that’s coming from the Harman Kardon down-firing speakers. 

Designed for comfort and convenience  

Despite being compact, the ASUS ZenBook 13 OLED is actually easy to type on. This is thanks to the stunning edge-to-edge ergonomic keyboard and its large chiclet keys with hefty key travel which provides us with that satisfying typing feedback and a more comfortable experience. 

Some people still prefer to have a dedicated number pad on their laptops. To solve the lack of a number pad caused by the small size of the ZenBook’s body, ASUS implemented the innovative NumberPad 2.0 on the UX325. This NumberPad 2.0 is a dual function touchpad with an integrated LED-illuminated numeric keypad. 

ZenBook 13 OLED

The NumberPad 2.0 can be accessed by pressing on the icon on the upper right side of the touchpad while its brightness can be adjusted through long presses on the icon found on its upper left. With the NumberPad 2.0 activated, the touchpad can still be used as cursor thanks to its integrated software. 

Built to last

Durability has always been a concern for many when deciding on which laptop to purchase. When it comes to this laptop’s toughness however, the ZenBook 13 OLED is tested with the Military Grade MIL-STD-810G U.S. Standard for reliability and durability. These tests consist of different levels of stress examinations to ensure survival in harsh environments.

This includes power-on drop tests and operation at extremes of altitude and temperature. Along with this, the UX325 also endured ASUS’s stress assessment which far exceeds the standards set by the industry. 

Is the ASUS ZenBook 13 OLED UX325 your GadgetMatch? 

It’s amazing how such a compact laptop could handle the demands of my tasks while offering more with its true-to-life colors on visuals, amazing battery life, fast charging, ultraportability and excellent performance. 

So if these features tickle your fancy in a laptop, then your search for Incredible is here with the ASUS ZenBook 13 OLED UX325. Safe to say, this amazing piece of machinery is definitely your Gadgetmatch. 

The ASUS ZenBook 13 OLED UX325 retails for PhP 59,995 and is available in Pine Grey and Lilac mist variants.

More details on The ASUS ZenBOok 13 OLED Ux325 here.


This feature is a collaboration between GadgetMatch and ASUS Philippines.

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Gaming

HP unveils its new OMEN 15 gaming laptop

Bringing the right gaming technology and experience

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OMEN 15

Over the past year, we’ve seent the rise of gaming as a regular part of our lives. Whether you’re playing a game or watching others play, it has taken up a bunch of your time while you’re indoors. It has even reached a point where you’ve decided to purchase a dedicated gaming device to play those games you see online. For HP, they’re hoping their latest offering  — the HP OMEN 15 — is something you want to consider.

Inside, it comes with 9th generation Intel Core processors paired with the latest NVIDIA GeForce GPUs. In essence, the device provides high quality gaming content for both playing and streaming on various platforms. Along with up to 32GB of RAM, it allows you to handle multiple applications — essential for content streaming.

Also, the HP OMEN 15 boasts a FHD display with a 144Hz refresh rate, which is decent for competitive play. To complement, the device also comes with a dual storage configuration of up to a 256GB SSD and an internal HDD. If you just stick with an SSD, it expands up to 512GB with 32GB of Intel Optane Memory included. If you’re worried about the heat when playing for longer hours, HP added its OMEN Tempest Cooling Technology for efficient air flow. They even managed to jam all of these in one sleek and ultra-thin chassis complete with an RGB keyboard for the full gamer experience.

The HP OMEN 15 starts at PhP 79,990, and is available through HP’s online retailers.

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