Laptops

ASUS ZenBook 15 review: Everything you need in a laptop?

With great power, comes all the caveats in between

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Very few laptops have everything a person would ever need out of it. Whether it’s just for typing Word documents or playing all the latest games, only a handful of laptops fit the bill. ASUS has one laptop to offer, which was announced back in IFA 2018.

The ASUS ZenBook 15 has almost every piece of hardware for everyone. But is a device powered by a powerful Intel processor and a gaming-ready graphics card really worth it? Let’s find out.

Same premium design through the years

ASUS dubs their ZenBook lineup as its top-of-the-line Ultrabook. Through the years, ZenBooks have retained their premium design and feel. So when I got the chance to try the new ZenBook 15 (UX533) out, I expected nothing less — and I was impressed. The build quality of the device is great, with a sturdy metal-plastic chassis that shows little to no flex. It even feels light to bring around, at only 1.59kg.

My unit has the Icicle Silver finish that shows off the elegance of the laptop. There is an option to get it in the bolder Royal Blue color, but it will definitely feel like you own a premium device the moment you set your eyes on it.

The only real change the company implemented was the addition of the ErgoLift. Essentially, it frees up space for the laptop to release hot air instead of blasting them on the table or your lap. It’s also supposed to make the bottom-facing speakers sound better, although this really wasn’t the case when I used it.

It almost has everything for everyone

The ZenBook 15 is one powerful machine, from the inside out. My unit comes with an eighth-generation Intel Core i7-8565U processor and 16GB of RAM. This configuration alone guarantees superb performance, and the ZenBook 15 did not disappoint. Typing Word documents, surfing the web, even photo and video editing felt like a breeze with this machine. You can play games here too, but let’s save that discussion for later.

On the outside, you have a 15-inch Full HD anti-glare NanoEdge display — perfect for outdoor use at full brightness. It comes in a resolution of 1920 by 1080, a full 16:9 display with tiny bezels on the side.

It’s also equipped with a full-size backlit keyboard, with the number pad separated from the trackpad — unlike its 13-inch and 14-inch variants.

The ZenBook 15 does come with three USB Type-A ports and one USB Type-C port that supports external displays; however, it would have been better to make it as Thunderbolt port to fully maximize the potential. The laptop also comes with a dual-band Wi-Fi card, although an additional Ethernet port would have been nice, as well.

It’s got game, but it really destroys your battery life

Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the ZenBook 15 is the fact that it comes with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q. With this graphics chip, gaming on this laptop actually feels pretty damn good. It managed to get competitive frame rates for fast-paced games like Fortnite, PUBG, and Rocket League, all with high settings. But, don’t expect the same from AAA titles like Shadow of the Tomb Raider.

Also, there is a significant increase in the laptop’s overall temperature with longer than 30 minutes of play time. The left side of the laptop felt so hot, it’s almost like you could fry an egg on it. Of course, playing for long hours on this device drains the 73Wh battery significantly faster. I got about nine to ten hours on regular use, and only two to three hours on full game mode.

The camera is honestly only good for Windows Hello

The ZenBook 15 comes with an 3D infrared HD camera that supports Windows Hello. The infrared sensors were great at facial recognition, and Windows Hello felt really easy to set up and use. But, the camera was lackluster when taking photos and videos. It only seems passable to use for video calls, but the overall image quality just doesn’t equate to HD.

The bottom-facing speakers could be better

The two Harman/Kardon speakers on the ZenBook 15 are placed on the bottom side, facing the table or your lap. Sound quality is impressive until you turn it to maximum. Apart from that, I was expecting that they would sound better because of what ErgoLift supposedly does for them.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

For PhP 89,995 (US$ 1,720), the ASUS ZenBook 15 jams almost everything you need in a premium device. And for that price you get the highest, most powerful configuration possible. Anyone can do pretty much anything with the hardware that comes with it. Apart from that, its elegant design and lightweight body make it a perfect on-the-go device. 

If you’re low on cash, you can also get the 14-inch ZenBook 14 for PhP 77,995. It only has 8GB of RAM and an NVIDIA GeForce MX150 graphics card that offers similar, but less powerful overall performance. But, you do get the illuminated number pad on the touchpad.

Of course, that is if you don’t mind the otherwise average camera and fryer-like temperatures with heavy gaming. However, if you’re looking for a laptop that can handle anything, the ZenBook 15 is for you!

Laptops

Huawei MateBook D 15 2021 11th Gen review: 4 months after

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Huawei MateBook D 15

The work from home and online class setup had us all adjusting to this new normal. You’ll see a lot of inquiries on Facebook groups about LED ring lights, microphones and midrange laptop recommendations. Huawei’s MateBook D series is among the ones you’ll see that has gotten a lot of popularity for this purpose.

It makes perfect sense, since back when I first reviewed the Huawei MateBook D 15 2021 11th Gen, I had a lot of good things to say about it. After four months under regular use, there are quite a few more that I came to realize about this device that I think you guys might find interesting.

It can get things done

A quick refresher on its specs, the D 15 2021 we have with us has an 11th gen Core i5 with the Intel Iris Xe graphics, 16GB DDR4 RAM and 512GB of SSD storage. 

It’s no question, if you’re just going to use this for online classes or regular zoom meetings, the D 15 probably won’t even break a sweat. However, I consider my power requirements to be somewhat on the heavy side for my photo and video editing needs.

What surprised me was I didn’t find myself having to go back to my main editing workstation and have actually done more work on the D 15 than I expected. It may not be as fast, but it also wasn’t drastically slower.

Plus the fact that this has a more accurate display with its 100 percent sRGB color gamut, the 15.6-inch LED display is perfect for my daily Photoshop use.

Portability also applies at home

Huawei MateBook D 15

Working from home for a long time and looking at the same thing over and over, not having to be able to go to places, had many of us bored and unmotivated. I personally always had that urge to look for another spot just for the change of scenery.

Thankfully, weighing only 1.56kg, it gave me the flexibility for me to place it in different places. I didn’t worry that the surface wouldn’t be able to handle it.

Battery life

The capability to place the D 15 on different places wouldn’t really matter if you’re still stuck near an outlet because you’re constantly required to plug it in. Fortunately, the 42Wh battery of the D 15 keeps us away from the charger for around nine to ten hours before needing to plug it back in.

Huawei addresses issues and gives regular updates

Huawei MateBook D 15

During its time with me, the D 15 had quite a few driver and software updates. Along with one of the updates came a fix for an issue I had with its fingerprint scanner where it frequently had trouble recognizing my fingerprint. While it shouldn’t have had that issue to begin with, the regular updates are an indication that users aren’t abandoned and issues are in fact being addressed on Huawei’s end.

I also learned from Huawei’s website that the MateBook series has a Windows 11 upgrade rollout plan. That’s something nice to look forward to.

Undesirable camera angle

Huawei MateBook D 15

Sadly, not everything is praise worthy on the D 15. The hidden web camera, while innovative, came at the cost of an awful camera angle. Since it is placed on the keyboard, it is also pointed upwards.

Using it, you’ll mostly see an unflattering image of yourself often emphasizing the size of your nostrils.But if you decide that you’d want to use a laptop raiser for a more comfortable viewing angle, the camera won’t be pointed downwards. That’d make it barely usable.

A generous availability of ports

Huawei MateBook D 15

Being the boxing fan that I am, the recent Pacquiao fight had me subscribing for a pay-per-view service. The full sized HDMI port on the D 15 was heaven sent. During the fight as I was able to output the fight on our dated TV set. It let us to enjoy the stream on a bigger screen.

The availability of USB ports on both sides also let us to choose where certain devices can be plugged. We didn’t worry about hitting our external drives with our mouse or fitting multiple USB devices side by side.

Multi-Screen Collaboration

I did not find myself using this feature as much. However, having this capability eliminated the need for me to grab a USB cable to transfer files from my phone. A quick tap of my phone and I was ready to transfer photos I recently. It’s great for some quick editing before posting on Instagram. 

Is this still your GadgetMatch?

Huawei MateBook D 15

When I think of the D 15, freedom is the word that comes to mind. It gives so much freedom to work anywhere with its portability and battery life. You get freedom to do what you wish with it with its capable hardware. There’s also freedom from wires with the Multi-Screen Collaboration. And even freedom to plug various devices with its great selection of ports.

It’s a no fuss kind of laptop that just gets things done. Its sheer simplicity is what makes it a great device.

If you’re interested in getting the Huawei MateBook D 15 2021 11th Gen with 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD, you can now get it for PhP 48,999.00.

 

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Laptops

MediaTek launches Kompanio 900T for notebooks, tablets

Devices are coming soon

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Most users are familiar with MediaTek’s smartphone chips. However, much like other chipmakers, the company also has a respectable tablet and notebook processor lineup. Now, MediaTek is expanding this lineup with the new Kompanio 900T series.

Announced last week, the Kompanio 900T powers the industry’s more affordable devices. The chipset complements the company’s recently launched Kompanio 1300T, which graces premium tablets across the market.

The Kompanio 900T is a 6nm chipset with an octa-core architecture. It packs in two Arm Cortex-A78 premium cores with six Arm Cortex-A55 smaller ones. Besides the eight cores, the chipset also comes with an Arm Mali-G68 GPU and MediaTek’s AI processor.

The chipset can support up to 2K resolution and 120Hz refresh rates. It can also handle up to LPDDR5 RAM and UFS 3.1 internal storage. The chipset’s AI processor can help put out better images with the display. It can enhance image quality such as from standard quality to HD.

As with a lot of chipsets today, the Kompanio 900T has a 5G modem that covers sub-6GHz networks. 5G UltraSave balances 5G support with battery life. In terms of connectivity, the chipset can also support 2×2 MIMO Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2.

MediaTek has not listed devices which will come with the chipset. However, they do promise that supported devices are coming out soon including Chromebooks.

SEE ALSO: MediaTek announces Dimensity 920 and 810

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Laptops

Lenovo’s new IdeaPad among the first to ship with Windows 11

Also the world’s lightest OLED laptop

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The next generation of PCs are coming.  Soon, a lot of PCs all over the world will start receiving the anticipated Windows 11 updates, refreshing the operating system for a wide user base. Of course, besides rolling out updates for existing PCs, newer PCs will ship out with the update already in tow. Lenovo is already a part of that esteemed first wave with two new IdeaPad laptops for you.

IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon

Touted as the world’s lightest OLED laptop, the 14-inch IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon weighs only 1.1kg. The laptop sports the AMD Ryzen 7 5800U octa-core processor and AMD Radeon Graphics. For more juice, users can also opt for a variant with NVIDIA GeForce MX450.

Inside, the laptop can pack up to 16GB of LPDDR4x of RAM and up to 1TB of PCIe M.2 SSD internal storage. It comes with 61WHrs of battery compatible with dual charging for rapid juicing. It can reportedly offer 14.5 hours of battery life on a single charge.

As mentioned above, the IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon will come installed with Windows 11 out of the box. Lenovo Smart Assist supplements built-in Alexa and offers more convenience features for users. It will be available starting in October for US$ 1289.99.

IdeaPad Slim 7 Pro

While the previous laptop offers a lightweight for factor, the IdeaPad Slim 7 Pro packs in a lot of performance-heavy features inside. It touts up to an AMD Ryzen 7 5800H processor and up to an NVIDA GeForce RTX 3050 GPU.

It packs in up to 16GB DDR4 of RAM and up to 1TB PCIe M.2 SSD of internal storage. The laptop also has a powerful 75WHr battery with Rapid Charge Boost. The 16-inch laptop will ship in October for US$ 1,449. It is available in either Cloud Grey or Storm Grey.

Duet 5 Chromebook

Finally, the IdeaPad Duet 5 Chromebook can detach from its keyboard, offering the same Lenovo experience whether on-the-go or stationary. The 13.3-inch notebook sports the Snapdragon 7c Gen 2, up to 8GB LPDDR4x of RAM, and up to 256GB eMMC SSD of storage. It packs in 15 hours of life with its 42WHr battery.

The 2-in-1 device will come in Storm Grey or Abyss Blue. It will ship in October and will start at US$ 429.99.

SEE ALSO: Lenovo’s ThinkVision P27u-20 offers more than just a pretty monitor

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