Laptops

ASUSPRO B9440UA Review: Business-minded laptop

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Don’t let its confusing — and we mean confusing — name turn you off. The ASUSPRO B9440UA means serious business.

As part of ASUS’ more professional segment, this rugged-looking laptop comes with Military-grade durability and a magnesium alloy construction which the company claims is the lightest in its class.

Coupled with stylishly slim bezels around the 14-inch display and a well thought-out hinge design, we’re looking at a recipe for success. So, the question is: Could this be your GadgetMatch?

Let’s start with a full view of the laptop

Total weight is only 1.05kg

Look at how thin the bezels are!

The top and side borders measure only 5.4mm

Its hinge lifts the laptop up when the lid is opened

This gives the keyboard a more comfortable angle to type on

Sadly, there are only two USB-C ports

You can charge the laptop using the left port

This is how far the lid can open up

Useful for writing in all sorts of sitting positions

The keyboard has a nice, tough feel to it with good spacing in between

Comes with spill resistance and backlighting

Heat stays away from your lap with these well-placed vents

Fans can get a little loud under heavy load, though

Both stereo speakers can be found underneath

They provide a surprisingly loud kick!

Placement for the fingerprint sensor is great; not so much for the power button

Expect accidental shutdowns when aiming for the delete button

Trackpad lacks precision and often caused missed clicks

There were times it wouldn’t even respond to my fingers or gestures

Does it perform well?

Behind the rugged exterior is a smoother user experience than you’d expect. With an Intel Core i7-7600U processor, 16GB of memory, and 512GB of SSD storage, you shouldn’t hope for anything less.

Minus the lag I experienced while using the inaccurate trackpad, I was never bothered by poor performance or slowdowns when running Chrome and Photoshop at the same time. Adding more applications like Spotify and file transferring didn’t affect the fluidity, either.

Considering its integrated graphics chip, I didn’t bother playing games, but it can surely handle light games and mainstream titles at lowered settings on its native Full HD 1080p resolution.

I also appreciate how cool the unit runs and the way it shoots hot air upwards, away from my face or lap. Combined with the ergonomic keyboard, I barely felt tired after long sessions with this laptop.

Can it last a whole day?

This comes down to each person’s unique usage patterns, but my experience wasn’t so great.

Even with brightness set to 50 percent and charging the notebook to full before leaving the house, I couldn’t get the battery to last more than five hours of continuous usage.

Blame it on the power-hungry Core i7 processor or the slimmed down battery capacity, but the fact remains you can still get a lot of work done during the time this machine is on.

There’s something missing…

If you’ve noticed something lacking, you have sharp eyes. If not, know this: There’s no front-facing camera on this thing.

At first, I figured this was a compromise that needed to be made to cater to business-minded individuals, but then I realized that these people need webcams for conference video calls, as well. Now that’s a strange omission!

And while it isn’t a total exclusion, having only two USB-C ports hurts the productivity of this notebook. ASUS bundles a dongle that provides an extra full-sized USB port and HDMI, but that still doesn’t give you a card reader or DisplayPort.

But don’t worry, there’s a 3.5mm audio port on the left for your headphones.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

On one hand, the B9440UA excels at its specialties, which are the solid build quality and buttery smooth performance; on the other hand, excluding the webcam and limiting the number of ports are potential turnoffs.

For the starting price of US$ 1,000, I would’ve liked to see a touchscreen built in, as well. With the laptop laid down flat on the table, presenting with touch gestures would be a lot more seamless — and give you an alternative to the finicky trackpad.

When it comes down to it, the B9440UA is all business. Pay the premium, and you get a machine built to last. Our particular high-end variant retails for PhP 89,995 in the Philippines.

SEE ALSO: ASUS ROG Zephyrus Review: So thin, so powerful
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Deals

Lenovo offers the most affordable GTX 1050-equipped laptop

Good for gaming and editing

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If you’re looking for a new laptop that can handle demanding tasks, you might want to take advantage of Lenovo‘s offer for the IdeaPad 330. For just under forty thousand pesos, you could have your own 15-inch laptop with discrete graphics and fast processor.

Lenovo is marketing the decently specced IdeaPad 330 for casual gamers or individuals looking for a powerful laptop that can do video and photo editing with ease. The laptop mainly features an Intel Core i5-8300H processor and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 graphics. Basically, Lenovo’s notebook has more than enough power than a conventional notebook in its price range.

Completing the specs sheet are the 15.6-inch Full HD display, 4GB DDR4 memory, and 1TB of storage. The laptop is also equipped with a plethora of ports including HDMI, full-size USB, and SD card reader.

You may get the Lenovo IdeaPad 330 for PhP 39,995 exclusively at the Legion Concept Store in SM North EDSA. Keep in mind that this is a limited offer until March 31, 2019. The laptop retails for PhP 47,495 in other stores, so you’re getting a pretty good discount during the promo period.

To make the deal even better, Lenovo is throwing in PhP 9,000 worth of freebies. This includes a JBL Clip 2, a Lenovo backpack, and Lenovo Accidental Daming Protection (ADP) on top of the 2-year warranty.

We already got our hands on one late last year. You may read our thoughts on the IdeaPad 330 here.

SEE ALSO: Lenovo Legion is sticking to PC gaming for now

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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!

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Accessories

Razer announced a whole line of peripherals in Quartz

Pretty in pink but still pretty bada$$

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Razer’s always been known for their flashy things and pretty chroma, but nothing prepared me for their most recent announcement: A whole line of peripherals in the new shade they call Razer Quartz.

And yes, that means the gaming company just released a whole lot of very pretty pink stuff. Let’s see that again:


The highlight of the new line is the Razer Blade Stealth 13, released just last December. It has the same great specs –NVIDIA graphics with an Intel Core i7 processor — only now in the new rosy hue.

For a better view of the new pink peripherals, watch this unboxing from iJustine:

Also included in the new release: The Razer Basilisk and Lancehead gaming mice, Huntsman mechanical keyboard, BlackWidow tournament gaming keyboard, Kraken and Kraken Pro V2 gaming earphones, plus lots more accessories. There’s even a Quartz Razer Phone 2 case!

The new Quartz line is available in the US, China, and Canada starting today.

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