Hands-On

Apple iPad Pro (2020) hands-on: Not a laptop, more than a tablet

Is it a good laptop replacement?

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The new iPad Pro is more powerful, has a high tech sensor for AR, works with a mouse and trackpad — there’s even a Magic Keyboard. With all these new features, is it good enough to replace your laptop?

What’s new?

This is officially the fourth generation iPad Pro — following the announcements in 2015, 2017, and most recently 2018, where Apple first debuted this form factor.

It comes in two sizes: 12.9 and 11 inches. Its camera bump is now similar to the iPhone 11 — squarish with two rear cameras, a first on the iPad.

Like the 2018 model, this iPad Pro comes with Face ID as its biometric security option.

How much better is it than the 2018 model? On the outside, there’s only the camera bump to tell both models apart. Button, port, and speaker arrangements are all the same; even the dimensions are the same. It also comes with the same 1 meter long USB-C cable, and 18W charging brick.

As with most Apple updates, it’s what’s on the inside that matters. There’s a new A12Z Bionic Chip which is much more powerful than the 2018 model.

While we don’t usually do benchmark tests, this new chip scored higher than the previous model in both CPU and GPU tests.

Camera and LiDAR technology

The new iPad Pro now has a 10 MP ultra wide angle camera to go alongside its 12MP wide camera.

I understand tablet photography is often frowned upon, but Apple really sees the iPad Pro as a device for content creators like me. Aside from being able to to edit entire videos on apps like Luma Fusion, Apple wants the iPad Pro to also be a device you can use for video capture.

Both cameras shoot 4K video, and just like on the MacBook Pro, it’s got 5 studio microphones built in.

That ultra wide angle camera also comes in handy when you’re scanning in documents, which the iPad is great for especially if you need to make annotations — the Apple Pencil is made for that.

Reps from Apple also tell me that the cameras work in conjunction with the new LiDAR scanner that’s built into the device. LiDAR stands for Light Detection and Ranging. If you’ve heard of it before it’s probably in relation to self-driving cars where the technology is also used.

LiDAR works by sending beams of light at your surroundings and creates a map of objects in the space around you by measuring the time it takes for the light beams to bounce back.

The new LiDAR scanner is meant to elevate the augmented reality experience on the device, which Apple is committed to making a reality, pun intended.

One great example of this is the upcoming AR game Hot Lava. With LiDAR technology, the iPad Pro is able to accurately detect objects in a room, that in-game elements can interact with them — including humans in the scene.

The IKEA app which I used a lot while designing my apartment is also getting an update. It will soon be able to recommend matching furniture or accessories based on what you currently have.

There are scientific applications, too, like the Complete Anatomy App that uses Lidar to measure the range of motion of someone’s arm in real time.

With LiDAR, it’s also easier to set up AR applications. Previously you needed to scan your surrounding by moving your device around.  Now you just launch the AR app to start.

Magic Keyboard and trackpad function

With the Magic Keyboard, the iPad Pro gets elevated, giving it an iMac-esque feel.  The elevated display means you don’t have to look down as much.

Built into the hinge is a USB-C port so that you can keep your iPad charged while in use. The hinge is sturdy enough to keep the iPad Pro propped up at all times. 

I think what makes the Magic Keyboard even more exciting though is the built in trackpad. iPad OS 13.4 brings this functionality to the iPad.

Swipe gestures work just like on the Mac: swipe up with four fingers to see all your open apps, scroll down with two fingers to scroll through web pages. It works just like on a computer just reimagined for a touch screen device.

On the screen, instead of a pointer you’ll see a circle instead. When you hover over menu items they get highlighted to indicate they’re being selected.

It transforms into a vertical bar when you’re highlighting text. You can easily copy text like you would with a right click or a two-finger tap.

If you’re editing a long document, you can also move entire blocks of text by simply dragging them. It’s the same thing if you’re using a mouse. Third party mice work, too.

While we’re on the topic, mouse and trackpad support isn’t exclusive to the new iPad Pro. All iPads that will get this update support this functionality. The Magic Keyboard will also work with the 2018 iPad Pro.

iPad Pro vs MacBook Air

Another question I get a lot is whether it’s good enough to be an alternative to the MacBook Air? Is it powerful enough? Is it just an oversized iPhone?

With this latest iPadOS update, the iPad encroaches more on Mac territory. Having said that, these are still two different kinds of devices.

The iPad Pro is still a tablet so it’s a great device for reading books or magazines, not to mention watching videos on a plane especially when you’re flying economy.

It has a touch screen display, which means apps built for the iPad are optimized for touch, and in some cases that makes more sense.

It also has pen support making it a great device for taking notes the old way, or sketching and drawing.

It’s thinner and lighter. I love the portability of the iPad and love how I can squeeze my 11-inch iPad into my man bag, which is not something I can do with my MacBook Air.

As a creator having the two cameras on its back are a plus too. If you get the cellular model, that also means you can have internet connectivity everywhere you go.

If we’re being literal, balancing the Smart Keyboard Folio or Magic Keyboard on my lap is not as easy as the MacBook Air for example. In that sense, it doesn’t make a good laptop replacement.

The iPad Pro also isn’t necessarily cheaper than a Mac so you don’t buy it to save money. All this extra functionality I just talked about, you pay for.

The cheapest MacBook Air starts at US$ 999. The cheapest iPad Pro with the Smart Keyboard Folio and Apple Pencil will cost you at least US$ 1,107.

Ask yourselves which apps you use on a daily basis. If you edit on Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premier for example, you’re stuck with the Mac. The Mac is also better at file management.

If these aren’t things you need and you’re lured by pen support and portability, then go for the iPad Pro.

I want to correct the impression that you can’t get desktop browsing experiences on an iPad.

Since iPadOS 13, a desktop version of Safari has been included so things like Google Docs and WordPress work just fine.

Is the iPad Pro your GadgetMatch?

If you follow me on social media, you’ll know that starting with the 2018 model, the iPad Pro has been one of my most favorite devices of all time — apart from my iPhone that is.

I just love it. I love all the things that I can do on it, and I love the portability that it allows.

Is it for everyone? As its Pro branding suggests, this is a device for those who have more specialized needs. Those who need more power for things like photo or video editing, for professional illustrators and artists. It’s perfect for creators on the go.

If you just need an iPad for surfing the web, or taking notes, watching videos or playing games, Apple makes many capable iPads that you can get for less.

Should you get the 2018 model instead? The answer really depends on what you plan on using the new iPad for and how big of a discount you should get.

If you plan on using it for things like video editing, take advantage of the newer more powerful processor. Also remember iPad Pro updates come every 2 years.

It’s also great for students, but because of its price tag I think you’re better off getting the iPad or iPad Air. They will do the job as well.

Is it a laptop replacement? It’s not, and Apple is clear that that isn’t the point here.  It’s about having different kinds of devices that match what it is you’re trying to do. If I were to paraphrase, it’s to make sure each kind of user has his or her own GadgetMatch, even if the line between the iPad and Mac is now blurrier than ever.

One thing I’ll say is this: While tablets continue to struggle to find relevance, there’s still plenty of reasons to get an iPad.

Features

8 things we like about the Samsung Crystal UHD TU8000

Definitely one of the best value 4K Smart TV around!

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Samsung Crystal UHD TU8000

Samsung is known for a lot of things. And in the home theater department, the South Korean giant cemented itself as one of the leading brands.

There are a lot of reasons why. But for starters, the company creates sturdy yet well-designed TVs. It never shies from packing its devices with plenty of smart features. More importantly, there’s a range of lineups that suit your taste, preference, lifestyle, and of course, budget.

Of all its lineup, Samsung’s Crystal UHD TV series is the one that’s worth checking out, if you’re in the market for an affordable Smart TV. And the Crystal UHD TU8000 variant, in my opinion, is one of the best value Smart TV you can get right now. It’s a really sweet package, and here are 8 reasons why.

Easy setup via SmartThings app

Smart TVs are supposed to be smart, and shouldn’t be a gatekeeper between the tech-savvy and everyday consumer. Samsung kept this in mind, so they optimized the TV setup. You can quickly finish it on the TV itself, or you can connect it via SmartThings app, and do everything on your smartphone!

One of the best smart TV system

Samsung’s TV that has 4K HDR, like the Crystal UHD TV series, is powered by Tizen — an open-source operating system developed by Samsung which can be seen on smartwatches, smart TVs, and appliances.

With this system, you can have quick access to popular streaming services. Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Google Play, and even Apple TV — without the need for a dedicated Apple TV box.

Operating systems are often overlooked, but it’s one part of what makes or breaks your watching experience. Samsung’s Tizen made navigation easy, smooth, and functional. It might be due for a look upgrade, but it still gets the job done. It’s perfect for nights when you don’t want to engage your brain and watch telly after a long day at work.

Detailed picture quality

Watching on any Samsung TV is a treat for your eyes, with its sharp and detailed picture quality. It uses an LCD UHD panel technology, so its strength isn’t blowing your mind (and eyes) with vivid colors and a vibrant palette.

Rather, it keeps the visuals interesting by leveling the natural colors. Moreover, you can adjust its picture modes to match your preferences and your room’s lighting condition.

4K and Upscaling

Even though we already have 8K technology, I still enjoyed the 4K HDR capabilities of Samsung’s Crystal UHD TU8000. It was cinematic, immersive, and visually astonishing.

After all, the TV automatically switches to HDR mode whenever you’re watching HDR content, and upscales non-4K videos decently. And if you’re worried about added noise after being upscaled, fret not. The upscaling technology keeps quite a good amount of detail.

Ambient Mode

Samsung Crystal UHD TU8000

The artistic Ambient Mode, which was only exclusive to the high-end QLED range, made its way to the Crystal UHD TV series — and I love it. You can choose what to do with the display when you’re not using your telly. Opt for nice scenery, place images directly from your Samsung phone’s gallery, make it look like a frame — the choice is yours.

Samsung Crystal UHD TU8000

Lastly, the TV operates on lower power mode when in Ambient mode. So it’s not just prettifying your display when not in use, it helps save energy, too.

Stylish, functional, and sturdy

The TU8000 is pretty sturdy despite using plastic on its back panel, bezels, and stand. Nonetheless, it looks stylish whether it’s mounted on a wall or on a TV stand. Its back is designed with cables in mind, allowing you to manage it in an orderly manner to keep your TV neat and clean.

While already looking stylish, the TV never forgot about functionality, too. It has three HDMI ports, two USB ports, an ethernet port, a common interface slot, and an input for composite video and radio-frequency antenna. It definitely suits whatever kind of user you are!

Remote Control

Samsung Crystal UHD TU8000

Surprisingly, I enjoyed the remote control. It’s lightweight, fits my hands with its slim and curvy figure, and easy to navigate with its buttons that are only necessary. It’s also a smart assistant and a voice remote in one, so you can use your voice to search in apps like YouTube and make it function like Bixby, Alexa, or Google Assistant.

Pricing

Samsung Crystal UHD TU8000

The Samsung Crystal UHD TU8000 sits well at an affordable price point. The 43-inch model retails for PhP 27,999 while the 50-inch model costs PhP 33,999. For those who want a larger unit, the 55-inch model retails for PhP 41,999.

Bonus: Soundbar

Frankly, the sound quality isn’t the best when it comes to Samsung’s Crystal UHD TV TU8000. It’s loud and decent, however, having an impressive picture quality should be matched with stellar audio quality.

This is why pairing it with Samsung’s TF-400 Soundbar made the audio-visual experience heavenly, especially the Surround Sound that the soundbar offers. It’s really a match made in heaven, so if you’re considering the Crystal UHD for its 4K HDR capabilities, make sure you pair it with the right soundbar.

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Why people can’t stop talking about the 2021 Huawei MateBook D 15

Now with 11th Gen Intel Core and 16GB RAM

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MateBook D 15 2021

Huawei has always been known to be that powerful force in innovation. The bezel-less display, Huawei Free Touch and the recessed camera are just some of the many instances when Huawei have revolutionized and leveled up the playing field for the PC industry.

I think it goes without saying that Huawei’s premium brand, the MateBook family, is one that has truly set a new standard for intelligence when it comes to laptops.

It has been five years since the inception of the MateBook and ‘till this day, the MateBook family pushes on to be the perfect tool for the challenges we are faced with. From enhanced connectivity for online classes, immersive audio for work-from-home conferences to engaging visuals for Netflix nights, the MateBook family has got you covered and that’s exactly what we’ll be talking about here as we move further.

As they celebrate their fifth year of the MateBook series, they introduce to us another line of technological advancement with the 2021’s MateBook series.

With this comes the revamp of the very popular MateBook D 15 with the HUAWEI MateBook D 15 2021 11th Gen along with the powerfully sharp MateBook 14 2021 11th Gen and the borderless MateBook X Pro 2021.

Talk of the town with its elegance

There’s no denying that the MatebBook D 15 2021 is a dazzling piece of machinery. And being one that has been used to plastic laptop bodies, the all aluminum alloy body of the D 15 had me drooling over it. A prominent indication of its quality also, was how this MateBook’s body had rounded edges and a very solid build which are admittedly satisfying to the touch.

MateBook D 15 2021

Carrying the device, it’s impossible not to notice just how feather light this MateBook D 15 is. For 1.56kg and only 16.9mm thin, it’s amazing just how this laptop carries a ton of horsepower and 15.6-inches of screen real estate.

Feature packed FullView display

Relatively bezel-less at only 5.3mm of bezel width, the MateBook D 15 2021 sports the iconic FullView display of the MateBook family. At 87% screen to body ratio, this 15.6-inch FHD IPS display panel is a feast for your eyes.

MateBook D 15 2021

Given that we mostly look at our computer screens most of the time, eye strain is often the setback. A noteworthy feature the D 15 has with its display is that it has been certified under TÜV Rheinland’s Low Blue Light emittance and Flicker Free qualifications which makes it perfect for binge watching K-dramas on Netflix. Top that with 100% sRGB rating, there’s no reason to doubt the color representation this display outputs when doing creative work.

Much to flex under the hood 

At the heart of this laptop is Intel’s 11th Gen Core i5 processor and the Intel Iris XE graphics that it comes with. While most of us are already familiar with the power of the Core i5 processor, this newest generation of Intel’s offering takes this up a notch. Running four cores and eight processing threads, Intel’s newest architecture delivers 31 percent faster multi-core performance from its predecessor.

MateBook D 15 2021

I believe many would agree that a lot of us do try to get some form of gaming done on their school or work laptop. The Intel Iris XE graphics is perfect for sneaking in some play time with our favorite games as well as for running some multimedia tasks.

Swamped with work or just juggling multiple tabs on your web browser, expect the experience to be as smooth as it can be as there’s now 16GB of DDR4 RAM packed in this slim body.

Smart power button

I guess you won’t have time to make coffee while waiting for your laptop to start up as with the D 15’s smart fingerprint power button, keying in your log on password is now a thing of the past. The moment you press on the D 15’s fingerprint power button automatically authenticates your identity and jumps you directly to your home screen, saving you the hassle of typing in your password.

At only 2.5 seconds as recorded by Windows for its start up, this has been the fastest power on time I have yet encountered on a laptop. Seriously, a boot up time this fast would make you doubt if you’ve left the laptop on sleep mode or if it was from a coldboot.

Cool and quiet

Despite the size of the MateBook D 15, it did not become noticeably hot. In fact, the palm rest felt cool to rest your palms on.

You know what they say: work smart and not hard. Huawei definitely worked smart with the ingenious fan design of its Shark fin fan. Designed with higher density and thinner fan blades, the need for increasing fan speed to cool the whole laptop has been drastically minimized. This resulted in the device to use less power, run cooler and operate quieter as this Shark fin fan contributes to 24% better cooling performance from its last-gen counterpart.

Next Generation WI-FI 6

I couldn’t help but geek out on this feature as I’m sure many I.T. professionals would as well. This next generation Wi-Fi 6 is actually known to be the successor to the standard 802.11ac or Wi-Fi 5 that most of our devices use.

MateBook D 15 2021

The inclusion of Wi-Fi 6 on the D 15 means that this device is able to operate at more stable Wi-Fi frequency bands to eliminate interference and reach significantly faster speeds. This ensures that the MateBook D 15 is ready for crowded scenarios such as what you would experience in shopping malls, corporate offices or even populated areas.

Not your ordinary charger

I just can’t count how many people I know who’ve asked me where to buy a new charger for their laptop simply because its cable is broken. I’m happy to say that that problem is pretty much gone with this one as the D 15’s charger features a detachable USB-C cable.

Surprisingly, it took exactly 9 hours and 30 minutes for the D 15’s battery to shift to power saving mode and with Huawei’s Supercharge feature built-in, this 65w charger was able to fully charge the D 15 in just an hour. That’s insanely fast for such a long run time if you ask me.

But that’s not all. Weighing only 160g, this charger isn’t much bigger and heavier than a smartphone charger.

Speaking of smartphones, this charger can also charge your USB-C compatible smartphone. Talk about #PowerInLightness .

Hear and be heard with Dual Mic and Immersive sound

By this time, we’ve all probably been on an online meeting or conference of some kind. Personally, I’m one who could tolerate bad video signals but bad audio is really something that would really ruin the experience for me. Thankfully, the dual front facing microphones of the MateBook D 15 ensures our voice would be picked up clearly even at longer distances.
MateBook D 15 2021

Guaranteed to give you an immersive experience, the 2W dual-speaker audio system can simulate both 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound performance.

Tap and share with HUAWEI Share 

If you’re fortunately among the proud owners of a Huawei smartphone then you’d be able to maximize this very handy feature of the 2021 MateBook D 15.

Huawei Share lets you cast your smartphone screen on your laptop, transfer files wirelessly and basically use almost all features and apps of your smartphone onto your laptop. With just a tap of your Huawei smartphone on the Huawei Share label on the D 15, the two devices are all set. It’s that easy.

MateBook D 15 2021

I can’t emphasize how convenient this is for people like me who always transfer footage I took with my smartphone. No cables for data transfer and no switching from two devices to get things done, just tap and you’re wirelessly connected.

Fast is the word that I think best describes the 2021 HUAWEI MateBook D 15 11th Gen.

The fast new processor, large amount of RAM, next generation Wi-Fi 6, ultraportable charger with SuperCharge, thin and light size, Huawei Share and an ingenious smart fingerprint power button, every bit contributes to everything being faster and just getting things done faster.

With so many features loaded in one package, I understand why it’s hard not to talk about these new offerings of the MateBook family and why there’s no need to think twice on getting a hold of this awesome device.

MateBook D 15 2021

The Huawei MateBook D 15 2021 retails for PhP 52,999. Interested buyers may purchase from any of the following: Huawei Store, Lazada, Shopee.


This feature is a collaboration between GadgetMatch and Huawei Philippines.

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Hands-On

Galaxy Book Pro and Pro 360 Hands-on: Samsung’s first “Pro” laptops

First laptops in the world with Super AMOLED displays

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Galaxy Book Pro

Samsung isn’t new in the laptop department, but what’s new is them launching a new “Pro” laptop line. Meet the Galaxy Book Pro and Galaxy Book Pro 360.

Packed with the latest hardware, the Galaxy Book Pro series aims to deliver the best of power and performance in such a thin and lightweight form factor. To make it more Pro-centric, they’re equipped with Super AMOLED displays — a first on any laptop.

Curious to find out what Samsung has to offer? Head over to our Galaxy Book Pro hands-on video now!

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