Laptops

ASUS Transformer 3 Pro review

Published

on

ASUS Transformer 3 Pro

Some people want high-powered gaming machines; others already have simple laptops that can do it all. The ASUS Transformer 3 Pro is part of a tiny gray area in between, and it’s quite the niche.

If you’re familiar with Microsoft’s line of Surface convertibles, you’ll know what you’re getting with the Transformer 3 Pro. They look and function alike, but the ASUS has a few more tricks up its sleeve.

ASUS Transformer 3 Pro

The model I’m reviewing here is also known as the T303U. If you want to get technical, mine has a decent configuration with a sixth-generation Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of memory, and 512GB SSD storage.

Not bad, eh? The only downside is the price: PhP 69,995 in the Philippines, or about $1,400 in most markets. That’s pricey, so you better read on before making the investment.

It’s surprisingly comfortable in all positions

What bothered me when I reviewed previous convertibles were the awkward resting positions on my lap. The Transformer 3 Pro manages to break that curse.

The main unit comes with a built-in kickstand, which is as long as the entire tablet part and has 155 degrees of flexibility. This means it can easily rest on any type of surface, whether you have the bundled keyboard case attached or not.

ASUS Transformer 3 Pro

Latching on the keyboard is as simple as letting the magnets of both units attract one another. And even with the two parts put together, the whole thing feels so light. The tablet weighs in at about 790g, but you’d think it’s lighter thanks to the slim 8.35mm profile.

This thing can run fast

Based on the specifications we mentioned earlier, you can already tell this convertible can blaze through everyday tasks. The question is: How far much farther can it go?

Without a dedicated graphics card, the Transformer 3 Pro will struggle when handling high-definition video editing or playing games like Tomb Raider or the new Doom. But that’s to be expected, really.

ASUS Transformer 3 Pro

What you can get away with is heavy editing on Photoshop while having several tabs open at the same time in Chrome. I’m writing this review on a Transformer 3 Pro, and I’m split-screening Google Docs with YouTube videos playing and Photoshop ready in the background.

But expect lots of heat on top

Obviously, you’re going to experience lots of heat when putting a laptop-level Core i5 chipset in a thin tablet. It doesn’t help that the whole thing is made of “premium alloy.” Solid? Yes, but the heat spreads all over the top half of the unit.

Since the Transformer 3 Pro doesn’t have the lighter Core M processor found in most convertibles — or even in the cheaper non-Pro Transformer 3 — a cooling fan had to be installed, and it blows hot air upwards.

ASUS Transformer 3 Pro

That’s a good thing, actually, as it keeps heat away from your face or lap. Still, you’ll want to give the tablet some time to cool down before slipping it back in your bag, especially if you save the heavy loads towards the end of your work session.

Speakers get loud; display’s not that bright

Something I enjoy using during my time with the Transformer 3 Pro are the loud front-facing stereo speakers. They’re a breath of fresh air after all the crappy speakers I’ve had to endure with other tablets. This is one of the few instances where I don’t have to reach for external speakers just to watch Netflix flicks.

ASUS Transformer 3 Pro

On the other hand, the screen isn’t that bright. While I appreciate the perfectly sized 12.6-inch 2880 x 1920-pixel display, the overall sharpness and well-saturated colors aren’t enough to make the screen clearly readable under sunlight. It’s a shame, since convertibles like this are designed to be used absolutely anywhere.

Wonky trackpad and keyboard, ugh

Here we go again: another Windows convertible, another awkward trackpad. Expect it to miss double-clicks and right-clicks, and mistakenly zoom in on whatever you’re viewing when you least expect it. I’d sometimes reach a point where I’d have to restart the whole thing just so it would go back to “normal.”

Same issues apply to the bundled pen. Although it works a lot like the one that comes with the Microsoft Surface line, with 1024 levels of pressure and two physical buttons for mouse-like controls, it’s difficult to write legibly or draw anything beyond rough sketches. Fortunately, the pen makes use of a removable AAAA battery instead of built-in charging like the Apple Pencil, and ASUS bundles the hard-to-find battery in the box.

ASUS Transformer 3 Pro

The keyboard isn’t that great, either. While I appreciate the well-spaced keys and their relatively long travel, they have too much resistance, requiring stronger presses while typing. You’ll get used to it eventually, but you also have to deal with a glitchy connection to the tablet. Any slight nudge, and it’ll disconnect instantly; that’s a problem if you move a lot while it’s on your lap.

On the bright side, the keyboard has evenly distributed backlighting. This is invaluable while working in the dark, since the keyboard has an all-black design. You can also choose from three brightness levels.

Hello, ports and cameras

The latest tech trend I hate most is sacrificing connectivity options in favor of a single USB Type-C port and multiple dongles. Apple’s new MacBook started this horrible idea, and companies have been following suit in order to trim down components and rip off consumers with extra accessories. ASUS is having none of that here.

ASUS Transformer 3 Pro

For starters, the Transformer 3 Pro has a single full-sized USB 3.0 for all those flash drives you have lying around, and a USB Type-C port with Thunderbolt 3 support. Then you have a full-sized HDMI port, microSD slot, and — thank goodness — a 3.5mm headphone jack. I never had to consider bringing adapters along for a trip.

ASUS Transformer 3 Pro

Finally, we have a 13-megapixel camera at the back, and a 2-megapixel shooter in front with an infrared camera beside it. I honestly never thought of using the main camera for taking pictures — and don’t have any sample photos, sorry — but the front-facing camera works flawlessly for Windows Hello, which allows you to log in using your beautiful face.

Where art thou, battery life?

This part hurts the most. As much as I love the speed and overall completeness of the Transformer 3 Pro, its battery life is terribly average.

I’d normally expect at least six to seven hours of usage on a single charge from a convertible; this hybrid can manage only four hours with brightness set at 50 percent and Wi-FI turned on the whole time. And that’s if you’re lucky — three and a half hours is the norm if you go beyond simple web browsing and add photo editing into the mix.

ASUS Transformer 3 Pro

At least you get fast charging. It took me less than two hours to reach a hundred percent, and that’s for a battery capacity much larger than any smartphone’s.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

Of all the Microsoft Surface clones that have been released, the Transformer 3 Pro does it best, and even eclipses the pioneer in a few aspects, such as physical connectivity and audio-visual quality.

This Transformer is also a step above the Core M-equipped convertibles we’ve reviewed recently, thanks to a much more powerful Core i5 processor coupled with plenty of storage and memory. Yet, in spite of all the goodness, you must take some things into consideration before investing in this product.

For one, it’s a little too powerful — yes, you read that right. You don’t need this much processing muscle for surfing the web and light editing. That’s why there’s a plain Transformer 3 with a starting price of only $799. What’s the difference? It has a more energy-efficient Core M processor and a single USB Type-C port, but comes with two additional speakers and an even thinner frame.

And, no matter how you look at it, the Transformer 3 Pro is expensive. For the same price, you could afford an ASUS gaming laptop with a real graphics card and better keyboard-trackpad combo. Sure, you’d end up with a heftier notebook without a touchscreen, but it’s far more capable in all other aspects.

[irp posts=”8791″ name=”ASUS ZenFone 3 Deluxe review”]

Features

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

Now with 11th Gen Intel Core and 16GB RAM

Published

on

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.

Continue Reading

Laptops

Apple can finally feel the heat of a global semiconductor shortage

The iPad and Mac are most affected

Published

on

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.

Continue Reading

Hands-On

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

First laptops in the world with Super AMOLED displays

Published

on

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!

Continue Reading

Trending