Laptops

Dell XPS 13 (2019) Review: It’s always about the little things

Power-packed, premium-looking

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Dell’s XPS 13 remains as one of the top premium laptops in the market. While this is my first time using an XPS 13, I was constantly in awe with how people revere it as one of the crown-holders for the best laptops you can buy.

Of course, I’m not in any way an expert to say anything about this laptop, but as an everyday user whose career relies heavily on the hands of a laptop, I have a lot of things to say. Without any further ado, here’s my review of the Dell XPS 13 (2019).

Fine details that scream premium

When I first saw the XPS 13, I was awestruck. Gorgeous is an understatement to describe how I was stunned with its sleek and premium look. It’s even more captivating when your fingers run across the silver outer shell. Touching it felt like touching a Ferrari Pininfarina Sergio. You literally get lost in a daydream.

The unit I have is the black/silver variant and I hope Dell kept a pure silver finish. Seeing a black interior takes away the astonishment I found upon first seeing this laptop. It’s like meeting someone hot and totally gorgeous on Tinder based on their profile photos, only to be disappointed seeing them in person since it’s not what you expected. Lesson learned: Temper Expectations.

But using it for a long time, I learned to accept it just the way it is. On some occasions, I still feel the black carbon fiber makes the XPS 13 look like an ordinary laptop, and I kinda wish I opted for the Frost or Rose Gold with Arctic White woven glass fiber.

Thankfully, the keyboard is a joy to use. It’s firm but also soft that my finger is happy typing on it. I actually enjoyed writing my stories and getting things done.

Also, the touchpad works smoothly despite being small. Unlike every Windows laptop, its touchpad doesn’t lag, and it can match the speed of your fingers to ensure you get your tasks finished on time.

To further prove that this touchpad is a joy to use, here’s my testament: I’m not accustomed to touchpads and I use a mouse. (Thanks to my younger years in gaming, I forgot how to let go of it.)

However, using it made me forget the existence of the mouse, at least for the time when I’m just browsing and writing. Using it for creative projects made me still want to wish there’s a mouse I can use.

There are things I still can’t let go of yet

Here’s my thing against the latest laptops coming out: Why do you have to scrap USB 3.0 ports? Sure, turning everything into USB-C makes it future-proof, however not all peripherals have adapted to this technology, and I’m pretty sure not everyone is privileged to have the latest accessories possible.

I still use a gaming mouse worth PhP 400 (US$ 7) that I bought in 2013. I was in my college years and yes, it’s still working. Unlike other people, I don’t buy stuff to replace my stuff just because it’s outdated. Fortunately, the laptop came in with a dongle. To be exact, it’s a USB-A to USB-C adapter. At the very least, I was able to use my trusty mouse.

On another note, the Dell XPS 13 (2019) has two Thunderbolt ports, one USB-C port, a headphone jack, and a microSD card slot.

It’s always the little things that make a big difference

Whoever thought of embedding the fingerprint reader on the power button is a genius. Using it was pretty convenient since I don’t need to exert any effort in pressing the button. When you think about it: Opening your laptop seems like a common task, but finding a way to make it even more convenient for you makes this laptop the premium that it claims to be.

The laptop’s bottom is horrendous to look at, but it definitely serves a purpose: For ventilation and maintenance. There are also two parallel rubber feet to keep your laptop still when you place it on a surface.

Lastly, everyone was enraged about last year’s camera placement. This year, Dell got it right by making the camera smaller, tiny enough to fit in a little space between those ultra-thin bezels. I’m ready to take video calls now!

Entertainment just got even more entertaining

The XPS 13 has an edge-to-edge design on the top, left, and right which is a sight to behold. The thick bezel on the bottom (which only contains the logo) should have been removed and Dell could’ve placed their logo elsewhere.

A 13.3-inch screen might be small for some, but it compensates with a gorgeous 4K Ultra HD display with Dolby Vision support, providing rich contrast and colors for a cinematic experience.

It’s also equipped with an anti-reflective screen so you don’t have to worry about bright light when watching or working on something. Furthermore, its IPS panel offers a wider viewing angle so you can use this laptop to enjoy movies with your friends during pajama nights.

It has a responsive touchscreen, too, which is only available for the 4K display variant. Touchscreens may not be a staple for laptop users, but it’s helpful for someone who has used touchscreen laptops for a long time. It’s not easy to take away some habits you’ve grown accustomed to.

Overall, the 4K display was a total treat, especially if you love streaming 4K content on YouTube and Netflix. Normally, people can live without 4K, however, adding this option makes it feel like 4K is a must for those going after premium laptops.

I don’t care if it’s small as long as it performs

Despite being small, the Dell XPS 13 (2019) packs so much power. It carries the 8th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, equipped with 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD for internal storage. It’s a capable laptop for an everyday user — and for people working on creative projects to an extent. Everything loads quickly, and my impatient self is quite happy with its performance.

It doesn’t have a powerful graphics card, which makes it an unfit choice for heavy video editing. Given that I don’t edit videos regularly, it didn’t bother me that much since I mainly use Photoshop, Lightroom, and Illustrator. The built-in Intel UHD Graphics 620 is enough to handle my basic editing needs.

The XPS 13 has etched its name on the forefront of top-performing laptops. It offers style, portability, and reliability. It might even be the MacBook of Windows!

We all need something that lasts (and won’t give up on us)

A lot of laptops I’ve used had issues with loose and overheating batteries. Aside from that, those laptops usually don’t last long throughout the day. What’s even the point of calling it a laptop if it needs to get charged all the time?

Thank heavens, the XPS 13 lasts long on a single charge. Despite being a heavy user, the laptop proves its batteries have enough juice to last for the day. It’s even better when I only browse, surf, and write throughout the day like a normal user.

On a mixed heavy and normal usage, I lasted for six to seven hours. Even if the battery drains, the XPS 13 uses a USB-C adapter for its battery and only needs roughly two hours to fully charge with its bundled 45W charger. I can attest: The XPS 13 won’t give up on you even if you have given up on your deadlines.

Go for something (or someone) who knows how to care

If you care about the environment, you’d be happy to hear this: 90 percent of the laptop’s parts can be recycled, and Dell is taking a step in minimizing our ecological footprint to save the environment.

Technology might help us in our daily lives, but our convenience shouldn’t come at the cost of our planet’s well-being.

Is the Dell XPS 13 (2019) your GadgetMatch?

If you’re looking for the best Windows laptop out there, the Dell XPS 13 (2019) won’t disappoint. It’s so sleek you’ll take pride in bringing it wherever you go. Think: Bringing your very own Lamborghini or Mercedes-Benz, but in the form of a laptop.

And by wherever you go, I mean wherever you really want to go. It’s so portable that it can fit in my Pacsafe anti-theft sling crossbody bag. It can even rival the MacBook Air in terms of size!

Having a small frame doesn’t hinder the XPS 13 from bringing so much power and performance, too. The only dealbreaker is the lack of full-size ports but dongles are here to save the day, especially in a time when laptops are being sported with USB-C and Thunderbolt  3 adapters.

The Dell XPS 13 (2019) costs PhP 100,990 (US$ 1986) in the Philippines. It might be a lot of cash to shell out, but it’s a fair price to pay for one of the best premium laptops in the market. I told you, it’s like touching a Ferrari Pininfarina Sergio. If you can’t afford it, then you can just daydream about it!

CES 2021

ASUS unveils its new ZenBook Duo 14

Improved design, powerful internals, and a dynamic ScreenPad Plus

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ASUS continues to push the boundaries of its innovative products. Last year, they introduced the ASUS ZenBook Duo 14, a one-of-a-kind laptop which introduced the ScreenPad Plus. Essentially, you get a laptop with two screens that allow you to multitask and have more creative control. This year, the company is launching its latest iteration of the device, with some changes.

In terms of the overall design, the new ZenBook Duo 14 comes in a magnesium aluminum alloy chassis for a more sophisticated look. As soon as you open the laptop, it will still come with the patented ScreenPad Plus but with a hinge change. This time, the hinges that the ScreenPad Plus rest on are much stronger and incorporate ASUS’s ErgoLift in the process. As a result, this allows more airflow while you run strenous tasks like photo and video editing.

Also, the ScreenPad Plus’ UI gets an upgrade in terms of functionality with ScreenXpert 2.0. With this new Control Center, you can customize the flow of the applications on the second screen with ease. Apart from ASUS utilities and a dedicated Launcher, it also comes with a Control Panel that supports Adobe products like Photoshop, Premiere, and After Effects. Basically, you have more tools and settings to tinker with, to your liking.

All of these comes with powerful hardware to suit the creative mind or the young professional. Inside, the ASUS ZenBook Duo 14 sports up to an 11th generation Intel Core i7 CPU and 32GB of RAM. With up to 1TB of SSD storage, you can keep all your work files and projects up and running in no time. Also, you can opt to get the device with a dedicated NVIDIA MX450 GPU.

Pricing and availability have yet to be announced.

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Hands-On

ASUS ZenBook Duo (2021) Unboxing and Hands-on: Double The Fun!

Is it still the laptop of tomorrow?

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ASUS launched their first first dual-screen laptop, the ZenBook Pro Duo last 2019 at Computex Taiwan.

This 2021, the Full HD LCD display might be a drawback from the 4K OLED display. Still, it has a new and improved ErgoLift Hinge that ASUS is proud of. And with power-packed specs, pen support, and dual displays, this laptop might just be for a creative or content creator like you.

More of ASUS’ latest ZenBook Duo in our latest unboxing and hands-on video right here.

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CES 2021

Honor Band 6 and MagicBook Pro 2021 unveiled at CES

Launching soon in international markets

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Honor is now an independent company and does not have any ties with Huawei. Despite the recent transition, the brand is back at CES and has announced two new products in its global portfolio — Honor Band 6 and MagicBook Pro.

The Honor Band 6 has a massive 1.47-inch AMOLED display with 2.5D curved glass on the top. The band looks like a watch due to the large display, finding a sweet spot that isn’t too small or too big. The left edge of the device has Honor branding embossed into the shell.

The fitness tracker has five health monitoring features, which include SpO2, heart rate, sleep, stress, and menstrual cycle. There are ten workout modes, with six of those detected automatically.

The Honor Band 6 leverages Bluetooth 5.0 and packs a 180mAh battery capable of delivering up to 14 days of battery life on a single charge. It’s priced at CNY 249 (US$ 39), and sale is limited to China right now. However, we expect a gradual launch in other markets soon.

The MagicBook Pro has a 16.1-inch display, and Honor claims it has 100 percent sRGB coverage for color accuracy. Powering the laptop is Intel’s Core i5-10210U processor, coupled with the NVIDIA GeForce MX350 GPU. Everything else remains the same as last year’s offering, including 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD storage.

The battery is rated at 56Wh, and a 65W charger is provided along. It can go from zero to 50 percent within half an hour. And Honor says the laptop can deliver 11 hours of usage on a single charge. Honor has revealed its price yet, but we expect it to be around US$ 1,000. The company will announce availability details based on regions.

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