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’s MateBook X Pro and MateBook 13 are now in Singapore

There’s also a new color for P30 Pro

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Huawei Matebook X Pro (2019)

The new MateBook 13 and MateBook X Pro have found their way to Singapore. Huawei‘s new laptops are part of the Chinese company’s product offering expansion to cater to a growing customer base in the country.

First unveiled at CES 2019, the MateBook 13 is one of the well-reviewed Windows notebook today. It’s a portable 13-inch laptop that combines the aesthetics of a MacBook and the power of Windows 10. The laptop’s 2K display with a 3:2 aspect ratio is probably its best asset. Also, what’s under the hood is also promising.


The MateBook 13 is powered by either eighth-gen Intel Core i5 or Core i7 chips paired with high-speed PCIe SSD of up to 512GB. Additionally, Huawei’s notebook has NVIDIA GeForce MX150 to boost graphics performance. It also has the new Huawei Share OneHop that lets Huawei phone users transfer files with just a tap.

Huawei MateBook 13 | GadgetMatch

The MateBook 13 has a starting price of SG$ 1,348 for the Core i5 model with 256GB of storage. If you wish to get the more powerful Core i7 variant with 512GB of storage, it’ll cost SG$ 1,498. The laptop comes with a 2-year warranty.

Both variants will be available in stores by the end of May. Those who will buy at The PC Show from May 30 to June 2 will receive a free Huawei Watch GT Active and Huawei Backpack.

The flagship MateBook X Pro (2019) is also coming to Singapore. The more premium Huawei laptop has a 14-inch Ultra FullView display with a 3K resolution and 100 percent sRGB coverage. It’s complemented by four speakers tuned with Dolby Atmos.

Huawei MateBook X Pro (2019) | GadgetMatch

Inside, it has the latest Intel Core processors plus the updated NVIDIA GeForce MX250 graphics. The laptop is cooled by two Shark Fin Fans 2.0 for better performance. What’s more, it has Thunderbolt 3 ports for faster two-way data transmission of up to 40Gbps.

Another notable feature of the MateBook X Pro (2019) is its outstanding battery life of up to 12 hours, the company claims. It also has the Huawei Share OneHop feature for easy file transfer between the laptop and a phone.

Local pricing and availability of the MateBook X Pro (2019) will be announced at a later date. While we wait, check out our unboxing video below:

Along with the arrival of the laptops, Huawei is also bringing the Amber Sunrise model of the P30 Pro with 512GB of storage. It’ll be available from May 30 exclusively at Huawei Concept Stores and Lazada for SG$ 1,698.

SEE ALSO: Huawei MateBook 13 review: 5 reasons to make the switch

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Laptops

ThinkBook is Lenovo’s new line of business-oriented laptops

The ThinkPad X1 Extreme gets a refresh, too!

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Lenovo ThinkBook 13s and ThinkPad 14s | Image credit: Lenovo

When we think about business laptops, the famous ThinkPad comes first into our minds. Lenovo, the current maker of ThinkPad notebooks, now has a new sub-brand to cater to the growing enterprise market — the ThinkBook.

Under the ThinkBook line, Lenovo has two new laptops. First is the ThinkBook 13s which is primarily built for mobile business. It features a slim and metal body with a mineral gray finish. As its name suggests, it has a 13.3-inch IPS display with a Full HD resolution and Dolby Vision support. It also has Harman-branded speakers with Dolby Audio.


Like with current ThinkPads, the 13-inch ThinkBook is equipped with a physical camera shutter for full control over camera and privacy. It has an anti-spill design for its keyboard and a lay-flat hinge as well. As for its battery life, it promises up to 14 hours with its 45Whr cell.

Lenovo ThinkBook 13s | Image credit: Lenovo

If you prefer a bigger notebook, there’s also the ThinkBook 14s. It practically has the same metal body and mineral gray finish of the 13s, but with a bigger 14-inch Full HD display. It has the same anti-spill keyboard and lay-flat hinge, too. With its larger screen though, it has a slightly shorter battery life of 10 hours.

Specs-wise, both share the same eighth-gen Intel Core i7 processor with up to 16GB DDR4 memory and 512GB SSD. There’s an option to have discrete graphics using AMD’s Radeon 540X.

Lenovo ThinkBook 14s | Image credit: Lenovo

Connectivity is one of the strengths of business notebooks. The new ThinkBook line is no different. It’s equipped with a USB-C (Gen2), two USB 3.1, an HDMI, and a 3.5mm combo jack. It also comes with a fingerprint reader built into the power button and TPM 2.0 security chip.

What will make the ThinkBook appealing for businesses is its price. The ThinkBook 13s starts at US$ 729. Meanwhile, the ThinkBook 14s starts at US$749. Both will ship in the US this month.

For those who need more power and have extra cash can look into the refreshed ThinkPad X1 Extreme. The second-generation X1 Extreme now has the option for a 4K OLED touchscreen and ninth-gen Core i9 processors.

Lenovo ThinkPad Extreme X1 | Image credit: Lenovo

The graphics department has also updated the old NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti to the newer GTX 1650 Max-Q. The upgrade should offer a small bump in performance and support for new features. Pricing starts at US$ 1,500 for the base variant which starts shipping in July. The OLED version won’t come until August.

SEE ALSO: We tried Lenovo’s foldable ThinkPad PC and it screams future

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We tried Lenovo’s foldable ThinkPad PC and it screams future

A foldable computer like no other

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Lenovo’s been working on a new kind of computer: a folding laptop that will supposedly replace your own laptop.  

While foldable smartphones captured the talk of the tech world, Lenovo worked behind the scenes on a foldable computer over the past three years. Going on sale sometime next year, Lenovo aims for the bragging rights to call it the world’s first.


The device does not have a name yet. However, last week, Lenovo gave me the unique opportunity to play around with an early prototype.

It’s a computer that screams of the future. In fact, it will run an unannounced Intel processor and an upcoming skew of Windows.

Of course, Lenovo is still fine-tuning certain details. Still, the foldable 2K LG OLED display and torque hinge already do what they’re supposed to. The mechanism ensures each fold and unfold cycle goes smoothly and without a hitch.

Considering how much my iPad Pro has become my go-to, on-the-go device, Lenovo’s all-in-one device is an idea that I’m willing to embrace.

The device starts out as a 10-inch leather-bound Moleskine notebook, with the display folded shut.

Unfold it a little: it’s an ebook like nothing you’ve used before.

Keep it at a 90-degree angle: you’ve got yourself a laptop with an on-screen keyboard on the bottom half.

When used this way, both halves of the display can work independently. You could be on a Skype call on the top screen and viewing a presentation on the bottom half. You could also watch a video up top and jotting down notes on the bottom

Fully articulated, it’s a 13-inch tablet.

Prop it up and use the bundled Bluetooth keyboard: it’s a desktop PC.

According to Lenovo, user confidence in foldable devices is currently low. However, the brand is confident in its product so much that it’s attaching the ThinkPad X1 line — a name associated with reliability and durability — to the foldable laptop.

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