Here I am again, reviewing another laptop. Like smartphones, most laptops have little differences from each other. While the premium line of notebooks battle to have the best build and beastly specs, the mid-tier laptops try to offer the best value for your hard-earned money.
What I have here is the Dell Vostro 5370. It’s a 13-inch laptop designed for business — small businesses to be specific.
If the Latitude line of business notebooks from Dell is top-notch and great for enterprise use, the Vostro sits below it. If you’re familiar with Dell’s portfolio, the Vostro series is on par with the Inspiron family. Now, onto the review.
The Vostro 5370 is a formal-looking notebook with a two-toned chassis. At first glance, one might think it has a single-piece aluminum build, but only the inner casing gives the cold touch of metal while the outer chassis has a matte finish.
Nevertheless, it’s lightweight and pretty thin for its class. The sleek Silver with Nocturnal Blue interior combination gives off a professional vibe.
As already mentioned, the laptop has a 13-inch display with a Full HD IPS panel. I never had any issues with its viewing angles and color reproduction, but the brightness levels could be better. Good thing the anti-glare coating keeps the display viewable even on a sunny day or when you’re in a cafe surrounded by windows.
The keyboard here is not as great as the one I used on the Latitude 7390 2-in-1. The key travel is decent while the spacing and overall layout are easy to get used to.
As for the touchpad, it’s got a pretty rough surface as opposed to the smooth glass touchpad of premium notebooks. It’s fairly accurate and, most importantly, it recognizes Windows 10’s touchpad gestures. The left and right buttons are integrated to the touchpad as well, and they’re a bit shallow.
Sitting quietly on the upper-right corner is the power button which also doubles as the fingerprint reader. This makes logging in very easy with Windows Hello, just like on the more premium XPS 13.
What’s great about mid-tier notebooks is that they don’t sacrifice ports just to have a slimmer profile. The Vostro 5370 has all the ports you’ll need to get through everyday work life.
On its right are the charging port, a USB-C Gen 1 which also doubles as the DisplayPort, a full-size HDMI, and a 3.5mm audio jack.
To the right are the Noble lock slot, two full-size USB 3.1 (one with PowerShare), and the microSD card reader. It could have been great to have a full-size SD card slot so I can actually use it to quickly transfer images from cameras.
The speakers of this notebook are nothing to write home about. They’re tinny and don’t get loud enough even for indoor use. If you’re alone in a quiet room, you’ll hear what you’re playing on this laptop. But, as soon as you open the windows or when there are people talking around you, you’re better off with a pair of headphones.
As for the notebook’s specs, I was able to use the 8th-gen Intel Core i5 variant with 8GB of RAM. With this kind of power, you can do any everyday task without any hiccups. It even has more than enough power to handle Photoshop and maybe even some casual video editing. The M.2 SSD that can have up to 512GB of storage is able to read and write files very quickly.
With no discrete video card, this notebook is not a gaming machine. While it can do some light gaming like Dota 2 or League of Legends, it’ll not be enough for AAA titles even in low settings. It’ll be hard to appreciate graphics-intensive games with low frame rates and minimal quality.
There’s nothing to worry about the laptop’s fan noise. It never got loud even if I already have more than twenty tabs open in Chrome with Photoshop working in the background. Perhaps the only time I can remember hearing the fan is late at night when my surroundings were really quiet.
Since it’s a business-oriented device, the laptop’s webcam will be used a number of times. The Vostro 5370 doesn’t have thin bezels, so the webcam remains on the top where it should be. The quality is okay when under bright light and it’s perfectly usable for Skype.
Is this your GadgetMatch?
If you’re looking for a decent mid-tier notebook, the Dell Vostro 5370 will be able to provide great everyday performance and ample oomph to get all your multimedia work done. It’s not designed for gaming, but it can handle some titles when you want to have fun.
It’s not the ideal business machine for enterprise users because it lacks certain specs, but it’ll do for small businesses that need a quality laptop. It never felt cheap or lacking for what it’s designed to do.
The Dell Vostro 5370 is priced at PhP 50,800 in the Philippines.
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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