It’s not every day that I get to review devices designed for business. If you haven’t noticed, there are laptops meant for average consumers while others are for enterprise. What I have here is part of the Latitude lineup from Dell, which is basically their business-oriented series.
I’ve always loved using a ThinkPad (when it was still under IBM) back in the day when bulky and heavy laptops were a common sight, and the Dell Latitude 7390 2-in-1 kinda gives off the same vibe but with a modern kick, of course. Since the name already implies it, this business laptop has a 360-degree display hinge. That means it can all do the usual modes we’ve seen on other 2-in-1s in the market.
Right off the bat, the Latitude 7390 2-in-1 is not the most interesting laptop you’ll see. Let me run you through the physical aspects of the laptop starting with the display.
This 2-in-1 laptop has a 13.3-inch IPS screen with a 1080p resolution, multitouch input, and Active Pen support. According to Dell’s specs sheets, it’s got Gorilla Glass 4 which explains why the display feels so smooth when I use it as a touchscreen, yet it’s tough and scratch-resistant.
You can also see that it has pretty slim side bezels — a trend not only found on smartphones. The top and bottom portions of the display are about the same size as with most regular laptops, which means you get a webcam that’s in a proper position. The extra bezel real estate also acts as resting place for your thumb when using the 2-in-1 in tablet mode.
As for the ports, the Latitude 7390 2-in-1 has plenty! This is what I love about business laptops, they don’t compromise ports and they stay away (as much as possible) from dongles. On the left side, we have two USB 3.1 Type-C ports (with DisplayPort and Thunderbolt 3 support), a full-size HDMI 1.4, and a USB 3.1 Gen 1.
To the right is another USB 3.1 Gen 1 port, a microSD card reader, 3.5mm combo jack, and a Noble Wedge Lock slot. The power button and volume rocker are also on the right side, making them accessible even if the laptop is positioned differently. There’s also a SIM card slot in select models (like mine) if you want to put a data SIM for LTE connectivity.
For a modern and sleek laptop, the Latitude 7390 2-in-1 has a plethora of ports. It’s not that bulky either and I find its size to be just right for my lap. Most ultra-portable notebooks I’ve used lately only have a couple of USB-Cs, so having full-size ports brings back the convenience I missed. No dongles, no adapters.
Another business-like trait of this laptop is its keyboard. If you’re already accustomed to short-travel keys, typing on the Latitude 7390 2-in-1 is a breath of fresh air. It’s not as great as I’d like it to be because it’s a bit on the mushy side; I want a more positive response when typing like what I get from mechanical keyboards, but without the clicky noise. Having said all that, the keyboard is still a joy to type on.
The trackpad, on the other hand, is so-so. It’s a two-button touchpad using Windows Precision Drivers with a smooth yet textured surface. I definitely prefer glass touchpads, but this ain’t bad either.
The overall color of the device is black which makes the laptop look stealthy yet appealing. Even my colleagues prefer the look of the Latitude 7390 2-in-1 over some of the other laptops we’ve reviewed. But, as the one who used the Latitude 7390 2-in-1 as a daily computer for three weeks now, there’s more to the looks of it.
Built from magnesium and coated with soft-touch matte black paint, the Latitude 7390 2-in-1 feels solid and sturdy. The matte coating certainly helps with the grip and overall feel of the laptop. There’s no creaking and I never had an issue with the display’s hinge — no wobbling whatsoever. Perhaps, the only gripe I have about having an extra firm hinge is not being able to open the laptop with one finger.
A business-minded design is not necessarily blunt
When we went to Taipei for Computex 2018, the Latitude 7390 2-in-1 was my daily driver, and I was thankful for having it with me. The particular model I have has an 8th-gen Intel Core i7 with 8GB of memory and 256GB SSD. That’s more than enough to keep the laptop from slowing down when I have multiple programs open.
I’m not exactly a heavy-user of laptops since my work is mostly done online, but imagine having Google Chrome with multiple tabs opened and pinned at the same time. I didn’t have to worry about lags and I never had a single issue in performance.
Above is a photo of me remotely working on a bench in one of the spacious streets around Taipei. This is a typical scenario where I have to pull out my laptop and get some quick work done while roaming around. This is when I noticed that the display’s maximum brightness is not enough to battle the sun but if it’s cloudy, the anti-reflective coating of the display (Dell’s claim there is) helps with the visibility of the screen’s content.
Since it’s a 2-in-1, I have to take advantage of the 360-degree hinge. For business, setting the laptop in stand mode (pictured above) puts it in an ideal position for presentations. Or, if you’re like me, you can use it to binge-watch shows on Netflix and enjoy GadgetMatch videos on YouTube.
Before I used the Latitude 7390 2-in-1 as my main laptop, I had been using an ultra-portable notebook and a tablet convertible. The limitations of the two, especially with the ports, were a deal-breaker for me. Maybe that’s why I love using the Latitude 7390 2-in-1 — it has all the ports I need plus I can rely on its robust (but not bulky) body.
It can last the whole day
To be honest, I’d recommend the Latitude 7390 2-in-1 to anyone looking for a laptop that can last on the road. With its built-in 60Whr battery, I can work and play on the laptop for almost 10 hours before it automatically puts itself to sleep. When it’s time to plug it in, the included 60W charger fills up the laptop in just an hour and 45 minutes.
Did I already mention that the laptop charges through USB-C? This means you can use your laptop’s charger for your phone, so you’ll need to bring only one charger for all your USB-C devices.
Charging via USB-C doesn’t only simplify things, it also brings new possibilities. Throughout my usage of the Latitude 7390 2-in-1, I seldom brought its charger. Instead, I carried a pretty big power bank that’s capable of charging laptops through USB-C ports.
If you think power banks are just for smartphones, you’re mistaken. Dell also sells a power bank called Notebook Power Bank Plus with a high 65W power delivery, so it’s capable of charging laptops including the new MacBooks.
Is this your GadgetMatch?
Obviously, it’s my GadgetMatch, but my needs and preferences are not the same as yours. If you’re looking for a laptop that complements office lifestyle, the Dell Latitude 7390 2-in-1 will surely be a perfect companion priced at PhP 76,000 for this configuration in the Philippines.
Even if you want a laptop you can use every day that doesn’t limit your productivity, the Latitude 7390 2-in-1 is still a great choice. This isn’t a multimedia or gaming laptop, but light gaming and common editing software (e.g. Adobe Photoshop and Premiere) will work fine.
Lenovo ThinkBook 13S: Designed for today’s young workforce
Work in style
Business-grade laptops, with its robust security features, tend to look a little too business-y. While it caters to the needs of the business, it almost completely neglects the needs of today’s workforce. That’s what Lenovo hopes to address with the Lenovo ThinkBook 13S.
Lenovo was kind enough to send us a unit in advance but they didn’t exactly make the unboxing easy.
To emphasize security, the box came with a lock. Knowing its key elements was key to unlocking. We’ll share all of it in a few.
The box came with some ThinkBook goodies like a mouse pad, and a laptop stand.
Here’s a better look at what’s inside: The Lenovo ThinkBook 13S, power adapter, laptop stand, and mouse pad.
Now, onto the main event — the ThinkBook 13S. Looks matter, and this laptop does not disappoint in that department.
The mineral gray tone complements its metallic finish
This laptop looks elegant and tough and it’s thank to these: the Aluminum A/C/D covers reduce the weight while also meeting durability standards. Magnesium also helps ensure that it remains light and portable without sacrificing strength.
The Zinc-alloy inside the hinge with powdered metal technology helps endure up to 25,000 open and close cycles. And then the Indium and Stannum-coated hinge enhances corrosion resistance
Here’s another look because why not.
The five-segment hinge allows it a 180º flat view.
It also has narrow bezels. A 78 percent screen-to-body ratio to be exact.
As mentioned before, security is a major business concern. The ThinkBook 13S didn’t skip on any steps.
The power button is also a fingerprint reader.
It helps provide a stronger authentication to secure online activity. Other security features include Vantage WiFi which performs local risk analysis of WiFi networks, dTPM 2.0 which encrypts and stores user credentials on a separate chip for added security, and for those concerned about web-cam spying issues, there’s the ThinkShutter that slides in to cover the camera.
An optional addition is the Lenovo Security Console. It’s the company’s own security suite that does everything from blocking compromised devices from accessing your data to preventing malware spread, among other things.
Another reason to lobby for this laptop is its robust business support that include: Think Service and Support, longer warranty, Onsite next business day support, accidental damage protection, premier support option, and international coverage.
Powering today’s workforce
So, it’s secure and stylish, but what else can it really do? With its 8th Generation Intel chip that can be upgraded up to i7 Processor, along with up to 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and Discrete AMD Radeon™ 540X with 2GB GDDR5 VRAM or Integrated Intel® UHD 620 graphics on Unified Memory Architecture (UMA), as well as the following storage: M.2, PCIe SSD 128GB/256GB/512GB, M.2 SATA SSD 256GB — pretty much anything you need for your daily work.
Pricing and availability
The ThinkBook 13S will is available in two variants with the primary difference being the graphics card onboard. The model that comes with Discrete AMD Radeon™ 540X with 2GB GDDR5 VRAM starts at PhP 54,990 (roughly US$ 1050)while the other that comes with Integrated Intel® UHD 620 graphics on Unified Memory Architecture (UMA) starts at PhP 58,990 (roughly US$ 1126). It will be available in Lenovo Exclusive Stores located at SM North EDSA, SM Mall of Asia, and SM Megamall, as well as Thinking Tools SM City Cebu.
ASUS TUF Gaming FX505DU Hands-on: An immersive experience for less
Striking a balance between performance and affordability
We’ve got our hands on the ASUS TUF Gaming FX705 and the TUF Gaming FX505DY so you’re probably familiar with how the TUF Gaming series positions itself as the middle ground that offers premium features but with a more affordable asking price.
Another model from the same series has reached our headquarters. This time it’s the TUF Gaming FX505DU which is a newer model in the family. That single letter difference in the model name (DY to DU) suggests that it’s almost the same, with slight differences here and there. Let’s check out what those are.
It’s done with a polycarbonate body
ROG DNA is present
Sports the same 15.6-inch IPS-level 120Hz display
Keyboard is backlit
There are distinct WASD keycaps as well
Loudspeakers are located at the bottom
All the ports remain on the left
A little subtle on the design, but…
The FX505DU, like its siblings, isn’t as flashy as the company’s more expensive ROG laptops, but it still looks like a gaming rig nonetheless. The lid is plain and straightforward but with that ‘X’ pattern that suggests it’s no common office laptop.
Once you open the lid, the brushed metal design seen on the body makes it look premium. It still has a large chin, but it isn’t much of an eyesore as the slim top and side bezels surrounding its Full HD display will catch your attention right away.
There’s also a webcam for video calls positioned on top so that’s a good thing. When it comes to typing, we don’t have any major qualms about it but I personally could use a bit more travel for the keys. It comes with two USB 3.0 ports, a single USB 2.0, an HDMI, and a 3.5mm audio jack.
Overall, build quality is something that I like about this model as it has been certified to pass military-grade stress tests. Factor in the cool RGB backlighting and its edgy design and you have a good-looking yet tough gaming laptop.
Play wherever you go
Inside, it packs an AMD Ryzen 7-3750H which is then partnered to NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 1660Ti. Together, they are a combo for fast and satisfactory performance while its 8GB RAM proved sufficient for day-to-day tasks. If needed, the memory could be modified up to 32GB for even snappier performances.
It runs Windows 10 Home out of the box and as for storage, it comes with a 1TB HDD plus a 256GB SSD.
We’ve tried a couple of games on it like Assassin’s Creed: Origins and battle royale titles like Fortnite and CS:GO — just like we did with the previous FX505DY. We’re happy to report that it could handle them easily but noticed a few lags here and there especially when there was a lot of movement happening. Not enough to affect the gaming performance, though, but we thought we’d just let you know.
The built-in loudspeakers sound decent and come with DTS Studio Sound to tweak and make the quality better. Still, it might not be for players looking for high-quality audio and you’d still be better off with dedicated gaming headphones plugged in.
Is this your GadgetMatch?
It’s true that more expensive gaming rigs provide better gaming experience, but what ASUS is going for here with their TUF Gaming series is to strike the balance between performance and affordability.
With the FX505DU and its PhP 71,995 price tag, it offers a competitive gaming experience with 120Hz display, slim bezels, more premium materials, and internals that will ensure you have what you need to be able to have immersive gameplay wherever you go.
2015 MacBook Pro banned from some flights worldwide
Free battery replacement program still ongoing
Back in June, Apple announced a global recall for potentially malfunctioning MacBook Pro units shipped from September 2015 to February 2017. The aging device carried a faulty battery that can overheat and catch fire. Since then, the company has offered free battery replacements for affected units.
Haven’t we all heard this story before? In 2016, Samsung experienced a similar controversy with the exploding Galaxy Note 7. The issue caused a massive wave of calamity for the South Korean company. Airports even banned the smartphone from flights. Thankfully, an airport ban hasn’t happened to Apple yet. Until now, that is.
The US Federal Aviation Administration has recently banned the affected MacBook Pro units from American flights. Thanks to Samsung’s 2016 brouhaha, Apple will follow the same safety guidelines. The faulty MacBook Pro units can’t go on flights in both check-in and carry-on baggage.
In contrast, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency issued a more lenient ruling. Instead of a total ban, passengers can bring a faulty MacBook if it remains switched off during the whole flight. Regardless, some European airlines — like Air Italy — have still banned the model from their flights.
Naturally, fixed units are exempt from the ban. Unfortunately, none of the regulating groups have explained the enforcement procedures. Unlike the blatantly obvious Note 7 design, affected MacBook Pro units declare their identities using their serial number. Enforcers must cross-check the serial numbers from Apple’s own database. Enforcing the ban might turn into a nightmare.
Regardless, Apple invites affected users to turn in their units as soon as possible. You can check your unit’s status on this link. If your unit is faulty, sign up for a free battery replacement as soon as you can.
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