Reviews

Honor View 20 review: No notch, no problem

Alternative to the Huawei Mate 20

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If 2018 was all about smartphones adopting the notch, 2019 will be focused on eliminating the black cutout entirely. Brands like OPPO, Vivo, and Xiaomi jump-started the anti-trend by hiding the front camera behind sliders or pop-ups, but Honor has something more straightforward, and it’s on the flagship View 20.

There’s no standardized name for it yet — some call it a punch-hole camera and others named it hole-punch — but all you need to know is that the implementation is more visually pleasing than any form of notch.

For one, it’s much smaller than any other cutout and it’s placed in a more ideal spot — to the far left and not in between top-bar icons. In addition, the space around it is still LCD, eliminating any black space normally left behind by a notch.

Huawei and Samsung raced to get this type of phone out first, but even though Sammy launched ahead of the Nova 4 with the Galaxy A8s, it’s the Huawei sub-brand that brought it to international markets first. In addition, the View 20 is by far the most powerful of the three and arguably the most attractive.

While the Huawei Nova 4 looks a lot like the P20 Pro, the Honor View 20 goes for a more unique V-shaped pattern on the rear that shifts as you angle it differently towards a light source. Although it doesn’t help the ergonomics in any way, I can say that the phone is a pleasure to hold thanks to its curved glass rear.

The 6.4-inch 1080p LCD may seem overwhelming in size at first, but the tall aspect ratio helps provide a more manageable grip even for small hands. The fingerprint scanner’s rear placement is well-positioned, too. Combined with the fast face scanning, not once did I experience failed unlocking on the first attempt.

The View 20 is simply so enjoyable to play content on, whether it’s a movie from Netflix or game you’re addicted to. You’ll just have to deal with the different ways apps cover up the 4.5mm camera hole.

In some cases, the entire screen is filled up and you only have the black dot to ignore; other times, a big black bar can take up the entire edge, making the sides asymmetrical while viewing in landscape orientation. It’s not pretty, but you can get used to it.

Entire screen is utilized

Here are the asymmetrical black bars

You could argue that the placement isn’t ideal because it pushes the signal bar and notifications to the right, but Honor claims that this position is optimal. The basis is the Gutenberg Diagram, which says that eyes naturally fall to the top-left corner of an area called the primary optical area (POA). Eye motion then goes across and down to other sections. I’ll save my judgement for when I try Samsung’s upper-right positioning.

Design-wise, the only thing that really disappointed me was the lone speaker. Having gotten used to loud stereo speakers from recent smartphone reviews, going back to a cheap-sounding output to the right of the USB-C port feels like such a downgrade.

Fortunately, there’s a 3.5mm audio port for wired headphones; and if you already jumped on the wireless bandwagon, Bluetooth 5.0 is available for hassle-free audio. Both were vital to me in replacing the disappointing loudspeaker.

USB-C and the only loudspeaker

A rare 3.5mm port beside a set of sensors

The model I have is blessed with some of the best specs I could ask for in any smartphone to date: the same Kirin 980 chip found inside the Huawei Mate 20 series, a whopping 8GB of memory, and a total of 256GB of storage. Once you know how much this thing costs, you’ll be even more impressed.

Combined with Honor’s Magic 2.0.1 UI based on Android 9 Pie, this has to be one of the most fluid Android experiences for me. Of course, the software’s quirks are still present — such as the awkward double-press of the volume-down button to turn on the camera app and the lack of a swipe-up gesture to open the app drawer — but everything else from the updated volume adjustment to Digital Balance from Pie are available.

It goes without saying that the View 20 can tackle any app you throw at it, and thanks to the abundant memory and storage, you rarely have to worry about running out of space or having too many apps operating at once. It’s stable too, with no crashes for me so far. The navigation keys might randomly shift their location, but a restart always fixes that.

Yeah, they move to the left sometimes

As for gaming, GPU Turbo 2.0 is in place, applying itself to the following games: PUBG, Arena of Valor, Rules of Survival, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, Vainglory, and Asphalt 9: Legend. I was only able to test and compare with Asphalt 9; the gameplay was certainly buttery smooth, but I can’t say if it’s due to the latest version of GPU Turbo or because the Kirin 980 chip is simply that fast.

It helps that liquid cooling is built in so the View 20 doesn’t throttle and slow down under heavy load. In fact, I noticed how cool the phone was while gaming. There’s only one spot near the rear camera that gets noticeably warm during gameplay, though not enough to stop me from playing.

The only other time the handset heats up is while charging; however, that’s only because it charges so fast. It comes with a 22.5W SuperCharge adapter that brings the unit from zero to 55 percent in 30 minutes, 94 percent in an hour, and a full charge with an additional 15 minutes. These are fantastic numbers, especially since the View 20 can easily last over a day of usage with six hours of screen-on time on a single charge.

What I would say is missing, however, is wireless charging. It may be Honor’s way of cutting down on costs, but it’s something I miss nonetheless after having it on the Mate 20 series.

Finally, I have to talk about the cameras. While you could easily mistake the front shooter as the highlight — it’s inside a screen hole with 25 megapixels to its credit — it’s the 48-megapixel rear camera and its partnered 3D ToF (Time of Flight) sensor that do most of the magic.

By default, the built-in camera app outputs at 12 megapixels using data from the 48-megapixel sensor. While this may seem like a downgrade at first, the pixel cramming actually improves the detail and sharpness you get out of each photo. This also keeps the file size down to a much friendlier number.

However, if you want to maximize the potential of the image sensor, there’s a 48MP AI Ultra Clarity option which combines multiple shots into a more detailed picture. It’s a lot like the night mode Huawei pioneered, except it’s for daytime scenarios.

I tried it a few times, and to be honest, it’s not that useful. It takes longer to complete an exposure and moving objects become blurry during the process. On a smartphone screen, you can’t even appreciate the 8000 x 6000-pixel photos. It doesn’t help that the camera app goes back to the default 12MP setting each time you restart.

There are other features that take advantage of the 3D ToF sensor, but they either aren’t available yet or are exclusive to the Chinese market. You aren’t missing out though if you’re simply after good-looking photos.

As usual, there’s an option to activate AI for smarter scene detection. This is something I normally turned off on other Honor/Huawei phones because of how often the artificial intelligence would wrongly recognize an object or slow down the processing, but the View 20’s application is surprisingly good at this.

Not only can it detect more than one scene at a time — simultaneously optimizing for outdoor, beach, and sunset, for example — there’s no delay before or after taking the shot. Of course, you may still adjust settings even while AI is on. There were times when I would rather turn portrait mode off so I could keep the background blur-free around my subject.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

With the Huawei P30 coming soon and new flagships arriving during Mobile World Congress next month, now’s not a good time to invest in a premium smartphone.

However, the Honor View 20 is jam-packed with so many high-end specs and features that it’s difficult to resist. With a starting price of EUR 569 for the 6GB+128GB variant, it’s a steal compared to the Mate 20 series’ asking price.

It lacks a few things, specifically dual speakers, wireless charging, and proper water resistance, but those are negligible shortcomings if you apply the workarounds: use headphones or a speaker, take advantage of the incredible wired charging instead, and simply don’t use your phone near a pool or toilet.

If this is the standard Honor is setting in terms of design, performance, and price at the start of 2019, rival brands have to stay on their toes. Honor isn’t messing around.

Reviews

adidas UltraBoost 21 review: More boost, more fun

Casual and performance hybrid

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It’s a new year which means it’s time for a new UltraBoost and this one’s the best one yet. Today we’re checking out the adidas UltraBoost 21.

The UltraBoost 21 dropped globally this January 28th priced at US$ 180, with a full release of more colorways on February 4th.

Here in Malaysia, the UltraBoost 21 is now available in physical stores as well as our lockdown opens up slightly.

Brief Ultraboost history

Ever since they were announced in 2015, the Ultraboost has always been my go-to everyday sneaker because they’re just so comfortable to wear.

In the last two years adidas has been pumping out two different series of UltraBoost. On one side we have the older, UltraBoost 1.0 to 4.0 retro-ing and releasing in a few newer colorways under the “UltraBoost DNA” branding.

Initially, adidas just kept making small changes to the shoe every year from the UltraBoost 1.0 to the 4.0. They were mostly just changing the knit pattern of the upper which wasn’t really that big of a deal.

However, the DNA models are more for people like me who want the retro style of the OG UltraBoosts and want the comfort of the Boost midsole and Primeknit upper, but just as casual everyday wear sneakers.

But, on the other side we have the UltraBoost year models which are more performance oriented as running sneakers. This started in 2019 when adidas redesigned the Ultraboost to create the Ultraboost 19 which was a huge change in the line and created a lot of controversy with Ultraboost fans at that time.

Unwelcome change?

This is because, initially, the Ultraboost was more of a casual lifestyle pair first, casual running sneaker second. But this changed with the UB19 when adidas decided to focus on making a more performance oriented running sneaker. It created a bit of drama amongt Ultraboost fans because the silhouette of the shoe really changed compared to previous UltraBoosts.

UltraBoost 20

So we saw the Ultraboost 19 in 2019, the UltraBoost 20 last year, and this year, 2021, it’s the UltraBoost 21.

And boy, has adidas really evolved the silhouette here, with even more Boost than ever before and a LOT of major tech improvements as well, including a new Torsion system, also making use of more sustainably sourced materials in the upper.

With all of that, you have to admit, the UltraBoost21 looks like an aggressive running sneaker through and through.

We got the launch colorway to check out which is Cloud White / Core Black / Solar Yellow. It’s a sweet colorway with these hits of neon yellow on the upper and pink on the sole.

PrimeBlue

Coming to the shoe itself and starting with the upper, adidas is using a brand new knit material called PrimeBlue —  a new version of adidas Primeknit which uses recycled materials like Parley Ocean Plastics in the yarn.

According to adidas, over 50 percent of the upper is made from textiles and over 75 percent of that textile is made up of the PrimeBlue yarn. adidas has also said that they didn’t use any new polyester materials on this shoe so this might just be the most sustainably made UltraBoost so far.

I love that adidas is focusing on using recycled materials more, we saw them work with Parley for years now but it was mostly for special limited edition sneakers or apparel. This is the first time we’re seeing adidas work with Parley on general release sneakers, so to see them stick to this sustainability philosophy for one of their most high-profile shoes, that’s awesome.

So every one of the UltraBoost 21s you buy will be using recycled plastics from the ocean. I love that adidas is doing this.

But of course, the next logical question would be — if the knit here is made out of plastics, how does it feel?

Honestly, it feels the same as standard primeknit. It’s just as soft and stretchy, and just as breathable. It  is a little bit thicker but I think that’s by design. It’s your usual sock-like fit UltraBoost upper.

Some design updates

Coming to the toe-box area, you’ll see the new knit pattern that is similar to previous UltraBoosts except that the knit pattern and the ventilation holes marked by the neon yellow here kind of extends along the upper towards the mid-foot of the shoe.

You’ll also see these heat-pressed details that outline the ventilation holes. I assume these are just aesthetic but they might also add some structure to the upper.

Coming to the midfoot area, you’ll see the semi-translucent TPU midfoot cage that looks similar to the one on the OG Ultraboost. It now has a more aggressive, updated design with these three individual opaque black stripes to make the adidas three stripes symbol.

Instead of being sown into the midsole, this time around the midfoot cage has been shown into the lower part of the upper instead. I’m not too sure why adidas decided to do this, but I do think it looks really cool, and hopefully we won’t see it affect the structure of the upper after a year or two of wearing these.

On-feet, it doesn’t really feel any different on the sides vs older UltraBoosts.

Lacing

Moving upwards, weaving through the midfoot cage are these flat white laces. What I thought was interesting is that out of the box, the laces come laced up through all but the top row of eyelets. I’m not sure why adidas did that, it does feel more comfortable laced that way, but my OCD made me lace them up all the way when I wore them.

I think the top row is for people who want a more snug fit. If you want a more comfortable fit, stick with the way it’s laced out of the box.

Underneath the laces, there’s the PrimeBlue upper. It’s a one-piece booty construction so there’s no separate tongue here. And at the top of the tongue area, is this white patch with the adidas Performance branding debossed in black.

Cups your feet nicely

Coming to the inside of the shoe, you’ll see the exposed knit edge of the collar of the shoe which is surprisingly comfortable and doesn’t rub against the back of your ankle, even with low no-show socks.

This is mostly thanks to that padded neoprene portion at the back of the shoe. This extra padding around the heel feels great against your foot but also makes your foot feel more secure in the sneaker as it pushes it forward.

Apart from that your foot is up against the raw primeknit of the upper in a sock-like fit, which is in this neon yellow color here. Using a thicker primeknit material here means the shoe contains your foot a lot better. You won’t have any moments where your foot slips over the midsole.

At the bottom is a neon yellow insole, which says PrimeBlue in a hot pink color.

Ankle-friendly

Moving along, coming to the back of the shoe, the upper extends upwards to act as a pull-tab, just like we’ve seen on UltraBoosts previously. And just like previous versions, this is really comfortable and doesn’t rub against or irritate your achilles which is super appreciated.

Coming to the heel counter, this has also changed dramatically vs the UltraBoost 19 and 20. Instead of being just an outline, it’s a solid TPU element like on OG UltraBoosts, but it is much smaller and doesn’t spill over onto the Boost midsole.

On the lateral side you’ll see the new UltraBoost branding embossed in all-caps. Except for the “r” which is lowercase technically, which is definitely triggering my OCD.

On the medial side there’s no branding but you’ll see this “Primeknit” branding debossed into the upper material. I dont think I’ve ever seen adidas actually put their primeknit branding anywhere so that’s interesting.

More. Boost.

The UltraBoost 21 features a full-length Boost midsole, with this kind of speed-line running along the side of it. But, what’s new here is that there is 6 percent more Boost used than the UltraBoost 20. That already had 20 percent more Boost than the Retro UltraBoosts, so that’s a lot more Boost.

But if it’s just 6 percent more than the UltraBoost 20 from last year, why does it look so much more?

This is kind of a bit of visual trickery by adidas. With the UltraBoost 21, you’ll see that the back of the midsole curves up a lot more dramatically, which makes these easier to run in.

But when you slide your feet into this shoe, it actually sits deeper in the midsole, so that the heel of your foot is kind of surrounded by the Boost all around it. The Boost is not just under your foot but more like cupping your foot.

This is for just the heel area, while the midfoot and fore-foot of will still have Boost primarily underneath it.

So what does this mean? While there is more Boost used here than any UltraBoost before, don’t expect it to be dramatically more comfortable.

It’s definitely the most comfortable UltraBoost ever, especially because of the improvements to the upper and the shape of the midsole. The extra Boost does make a difference, but all I’m saying is don’t expect something a HUGE difference with these.

Just saying that because I know a lot of people are going to see this chunky midsole and the way the Boost is sculpted here, and they’re going to expect a LOT. UltraBoost is already one of the most comfortable sneakers out there and this takes it forward a bit, but don’t expect something crazy.

Boost is a must try

In case you haven’t tried out a sneaker with Boost yet, I encourage you to go on over to an adidas store and try one out as soon as possible.

The big deal here is the cushioning and energy return. You can feel it absorb the impact as you run, and then spring back to return some of that energy to help you take off.

It’s this reason why Boost, and the Ultraboost series in particular is so popular amongst runners and gym goers. It’s not only one of the most comfortable shoes around but it also really helps with casual running or just every day walking around.

Moving downwards, you still have a continental rubber outsole but it’s an entirely new design. The rubber panels are in the usual black, along with this translucent white, and pink panels made up of continental rubber,  which add a bit of pop to the outsole.

Instead of the usual Torsion Bar, adidas is using a new Torsion System called adidas LEP. This new redesigned ‘Linear Energy Push’ torsion system has a stiffer, reinforced material in the midsole to provide runners with less flex in the forefoot and increased responsiveness. You’ll see it here in this wishbone shaped neon yellow element.

This basically means that this shoe should give you more of a spring to your step than before and propel you forward on your runs.

Apart from that, you can see the exposed Boost, with the Boost branding towards the heel area.

I gotta admit, adidas did something pretty drastic with changing up the outsole and I love what they did with it.

Sizing

Coming to sizing and fit, the UltraBoost 21 feels like it runs true to size. If you have regular narrow feet you can go true to size, but if you have wide feet like I do, you might want to go up half a size.

That being said, I’m a size UK 11 and adidas sent me a size UK11 and it fits great provided I dont lace up the top eyelets.

It’s always best to try the shoe on in a store first to make sure you get the best fit possible.

Performance 

Coming to performance, I still think the UltraBoost is a great neutral running shoe. And the UltraBoost 21 is by far the most comfortable and responsive one yet.

Now, this is not really meant for elite runners, but if you’re looking for a comfortable pair of shoes to run in, or do any sort of workout that requires the cushioning and the responsiveness of the Boost midsole, this is a great shoe

The thing is, visually, it’s a huge difference in terms of design and materials but when you compare it to last year’s UltraBoost 20 in terms of performance, it’s just a marginal improvement in terms of cushioning and responsiveness.

That’s understandable because the UltraBoost 20 itself was also already a super comfortable, great neutral running shoe. And I’m not really sure what else adidas could have done to improve among it apart from the visual updates that the Ultraboost 21 brings.

There’s only so much Boost they can add before things get too bouncy and it feels like you’re talking on a trampoline, so I think adidas kept the balance well here with the 6 percent increase.

Is this your SneakerMatch?

At the end of the day, the UltraBoost 21 is an iterative but meaningful improvement to the Ultraboost performance line in comparison to the UB19 and 20 before it.

Visually, it’s a huge dramatic change while still looking like an UltraBoost, but also looking way more aggressive at the same time.

It is even more performance oriented, and even more comfortable at the same time. Honestly just go into an adidas store and try them on — I’m pretty sure you’ll walk away impressed. Maybe you’ll walk away wearing these.

If you have an UltraBoost 20, or a pair of UltraBoost 19 you might not see a huge difference when you try these on. But, if you have a much older pair of UltraBoosts or never tried on a pair of Boost shoes before, you will definitely appreciate how comfortable a shoe this is.

When it comes to casual running, or general exercise where you need to move a lot, I still think UltraBoost is a must-have shoe.

But even if you just want a comfortable pair of casual wear lifestyle shoes, these are just so darn comfortable that they’re perfect as all-day shoes as well.

And that has always been the beauty of the UltraBoost. It’s a shoe that adidas pitches as performance shoes for casual running and they work great for that. But, it’s also a shoe that’s just so comfortable that it just became a shoe people wore casually as well.

And the UltraBoost 21, checks all those boxes. Definitely recommended.

adidas Malaysia Tips from their adidas Running KL Captain

In case you pick up a pair or just need advice on getting started, here’s a few running tips by Awan, Captain of adidas Runners Kuala Lumpur.

For new runners

  1. Educate yourself on proper warm up & cool down steps through certified individuals. Warm ups are important to prepare your body and gradually increase the heart rate to propel yourself into the rhythm. Often mislooked by most runners, cool downs are equally important as it relaxes your muscles and lowers heart rate to return to your normal breathing rhythm.
  2. Start small by doing easy runs to build endurance over time and slowly increase your weekly mileage.
  3. Strengthen muscles and joints to improve race time and reduce risk for injuries by conducting simple body weights.

For avid runners

  1. Set a milestone for your training sessions, i.e setting a half year or full year objective and tracking your progress by monitoring running pace via device tracking systems.
  2. Understand one’s own running ability to improve performance by diligently doing running drills and weight lifting.
  3. Last but not least, follow a structured training plan to ensure a wholesome workout targeting each aspect of your body i.e nutrition, strength, recovery.

In case you’re a bit nervous about heading outside now, you can tune into the adidas Runner’s  ARKL FB Page, where the adidas Runners Kuala Lumpur Core Team will be conducting Virtual Live Workouts to help improve your running journey.

Each month they have different workouts to cater to the demand of the ARKL members, so do keep an eye out on the announcement posting!

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Gaming

Lenovo Legion Slim 7i review: How light can you go?

Apparently, lighter yet just as powerful

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Legion Slim 7i

A few months ago, I took a look at the Lenovo Legion 7i, which was one of Legion’s top gaming laptops when it was released. In my opinion, it had the hardware to rival its contemporaries — even in the RGB department, but some things got in the way. A few months later, a slimmer option arrived into the market.

The Lenovo Legion Slim 7i, on paper, doesn’t particularly change a lot of things from its bulkier counterpart. It still comes in a similar build design, roughly the same set of hardware (with a GPU change), and less RGB. Even on this device, there are less ports to plug in your peripherals and it has the same cooling setup.

So, is this laptop really any different? For starters, here’s what you’re getting with the Legion Slim 7i:

It has a 15.6-inch FHD, anti-glare display with a 144Hz refresh rate

Legion Slim 7i

It comes with an NVIDIA RTX 2060 Max-Q inside

The device features a full-size RGB-backlit keyboard

It only comes in a Metal Gray colorway

Legion Slim 7i

Handy-dandy performance for the chill times

This device comes with a 10th generation, Intel Core i7-H processor inside, with 16GB of RAM to boot. For every other thing you can possibly do with this device, it obviously stacks up pretty well. From social media browsing and doing some presentations to watching True Beauty and playing games casually, it just worked smoothly.

Legion Slim 7i

As far as photo and video editing goes, the NVIDIA RTX 2060 Max-Q helps out quite a lot. Along with a 144Hz refresh rate, anti-glare display, I was able to take the work outdoors without having to reach for shade. Render times were just around how I expected them to, clocking in at around 40-50 minutes for 5 minutes of gameplay.

Now that I’m looking back at how the Legion 7i was, I couldn’t see or feel any difference in this regard — and that’s a good thing. Even in a much slimmer chassis and less RGB, the hardware held up pretty well for anything you throw at it. Honestly, it’s something I love to see when brands scale it down without sacrificing performance.

Gaming performance meant for competition

Much like the Legion 7i, this is a gaming machine after all, and the hardware certainly had its work cut out for it. While I threw some casual games in there, I also wanted to see how well it handles competitive titles especially for 2021. Surely, the Legion Slim 7i didn’t disappoint even with an RTX 2060 Max-Q:

Title and Settings Avg. Frame Rate
VALORANT (Max. Settings) 223 FPS
Fortnite: Battle Royale (Epic w/ DLSS) 103 FPS
Apex Legends (High) 99 FPS
Star Wars Battlefront II (Max. Settings) 95 FPS
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (Max. Settings) 255 FPS
Cyberpunk 2077 (High, DLSS at Quality, RTX on) 42 FPS

Now to be fair, I wasn’t expecting full 60 FPS when trying to run Cyberpunk 2077 on this GPU. However, with RTX on, it was a great lighting experience to have through and through. For the rest of the games, I honestly felt no drops in frame rates even with longer play times. If there were any drops, it’s probably my internet’s fault.

Legion Slim 7i

For more competitive titles, it brings a ton of power to the table. I’m seeing above 200 FPS for games like VALORANT, CS:GO, and even Rocket League (given the frame rate cap at 259 FPS). I felt that this device surely provides the performance necessary for Esports players to compete at a high level.

Improved cooling in some areas

Another improvement I noticed between the Legion 7i and Legion Slim 7i was in how the device remained cooled down. Unlike the Legion 7i, this device doesn’t come with a Vapor Chamber cooling system. Instead, it makes use of Lenovo’s Coldfront cooling system with the four exhaust points at the rear end of the laptop.

Power button with an LED indicator for different fan modes; usually, the first part that feels a ton of heat during gameplay

Throughout my entire usage of the device, I still felt some uncomfortable levels of heat when playing for longer hours. However, it takes a little longer to warm up unlike the Legion 7i, which is a big improvement all things considered. Plus, it cools down a little faster after you exit the game so you can proceed with work as you please.

However, it doesn’t necessarily reduce the amount of noise the fans produce under Performance Mode. In fact, during gameplay, I felt the fans blasting out more air on this device than the Legion 7i. So, I honestly believe it would have helped to ship this device with a dedicated set of headphones to cancel out the noise. Trust me, the fan noise is a little distracting.

Alas, performance that doesn’t last long

Of course, one of the expected disappointments with gaming laptops involves the battery life. With the Legion Slim 7i, I got about six hours using it normally — you know, social media, Netflix, and just gaming on it casually. When you game full time (and you want frame rates above 60 FPS), I was looking at about an hour and 45 minutes before it lost all power.

Charging the laptop didn’t take too long, as it took me about an hour and 35 minutes with Rapid Charge on. Obviously, the upside here is that you can get back to your work or your game quickly. Still, with such an abysmal battery life, I’d rather bring the charging brick around. 

Is this your GadgetMatch?

For PhP 99,995, the Lenovo Legion Slim 7i poses nothing spectacularly different from its bulkier predecessor. It manages to provide highly effective and flexible performance for work and play. Plus, it manages to remain a little cooler than the bulkier Legion 7i. If you think it’s a bad thing that it’s not that different, it isn’t.

Legion Slim 7i

Of course, there are things that would drive you away from this gaming device like the short battery life. I could even argue that the loud fans blasting out air is a nuisance when trying to play well. Looking past these, however, you still get a gaming device that’s certainly worth your hard-earned money

It isn’t as flashy, nor as colorful, but the Legion Slim 7i gives you power in a lighter form factor. How light can this device go? Apparently, just light enough but just as powerful!

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Laptops

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon review: Power from a new generation

More business-focused than ever before

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ThinkPad X1 Carbon

Young and established professionals go through a lot day in and day out. Even under work-from-home conditions, a lot of people require devices with great, long-lasting power to keep them going. Fortunately, a lot of companies tend to provide such business-centred devices to their employees unless you already have a powerful laptop to use.

For Lenovo, their ThinkPad lineup serves as that dedicated list of business-oriented products that offer long-lasting power. With every generation and iteration of this legacy sub-brand, there are more business-centered features added to enhance the work experience. This is how the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 8 shapes up to be, in my eyes.

So, does the new generation ThinkPad X1 Carbon stack up? Here’s what you’re getting with the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 8:

It has a 14-inch FHD, anti-glare display

ThinkPad X1 Carbon

There are sets of USB-A, HDMI, and USB-C ports with the device

A 10th generation Intel Core i7 powers the device

It comes in a classic Black finish with a carbon fiber lid

ThinkPad X1 Carbon

Excellent build quality, as expected

I have to admit that it’s been a while since I’ve looked at a ThinkPad device. I’ve seen other people rock the device in most coffee shops and work areas, but never experienced using one. Still, looking at the 8th generation of the ThinkPad X1 Carbon, I’ve seen how far this legacy has come while maintaining some key features.

For instance, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 8 is just a kilo in weight, which is pretty damn light. It was easy to carry around, and it’s sleek in its own right with the carbon fiber lid. Now, when I had oily hands, I did get some of my fingerprints on it — relatively visible to the naked eye. It’s kind of a fingerprint magnet, but it easily blends in every time.

Apart from these, another key feature of the overall build is its retention of the red-dot mouse and mouse buttons. While I wouldn’t necessarily use it more than the precision trackpad, I found it a nice touch to keep around. As someone with an affinity towards the past, something as classic as this small red dot took me back. But, enough nostalgia and let’s focus on the now.

Superb performance for business tasks and activities

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon comes with a quad-core, Intel Core i7-10610U processor inside that powers everything underneath the hood. Despite being a quad-core CPU, it provides great performance for business-related tasks, especially on the go. Of course, it also helps that this device also comes with 16GB of RAM to manage the load, as well.

ThinkPad X1 Carbon

I used this machine on occasion for some of my tasks for my day job, and it held up pretty well. From handling tons of data entries in Excel to conference calls on Microsoft Teams, it showed no signs of slowing down. Also, I was working at such an efficient rate (by my standards) with my files loading up quickly thanks to the SSD inside.

I felt that a lot of thought and work was given to a business-centered device like this. In essence, it’s a device designed to reduce bottlenecks from your workflow while also giving you more features to enhance the experience. Even if you’re using this device casually, I think it holds up well. But, more on those features later on.

One long-lasting battery fit for the long work hours

This device comes with a built-in 51Wh battery inside, and such battery made this device last long without charging. While I was working on all my data reports, presentations, and even some articles, it still had about 50 to 55 percent left. To exhaust one full charge, I took around 14 hours without reaching for the charger.

Within that 14-hour span, I managed to get some work done plus watch a few videos on YouTube and Netflix. For the most part, I didn’t have to put the battery in Power Saving Mode to supposedly extend my hours by a few tick marks. I felt that you can seriously go on a full work day, and then some.

If you manage to exhaust this long-lasting battery, the 65W USB-C charging brick charges the device almost instantly. I say almost since it took an average of an hour and 45 minutes to go from zero to 100 percent. When you think about it, this device brings you back into your work without any interruption. That is, if you count reaching for the charger an interruption to your workflow.

None of that excruciating heat in the way

At first, I thought that something this thin and light meant that cooling the device was difficult. As with most business laptops, these devices tend to feel some heat every time you run complicated data queries on Excel. At least, that’s how my work laptop went every single time I open an Excel file with a size greater than 200MB.

With the ThinkPad X1 Carbon, however, I didn’t feel any heat as much as I thought I would. To its credit, it doesn’t have any fancy dedicated GPU on board, so one possible source of heat is gone. Still, even under long and intense workloads, the laptop didn’t heat up as much.

On the times it did heat up, it wasn’t as excruciating as it would be on, let’s say a gaming laptop. Every time I use this on my lap for long workloads, it feels warm around the upper portions where the battery is housed. Still, I didn’t experience as much heat on the keyboard nor on my lap, which makes this device comfortable to use.

How about those business-oriented features?

I mentioned earlier that this laptop came packed with nifty business-oriented features, and there are some I applaud Lenovo for including. For instance, I loved the addition of dedicated function keys for voice and video calls integrated for Teams and/or Zoom. If you want to avoid the hassle of dragging your mouse to answer the call, now it’s possible to do so with a simple key press!

Also, the Dolby Atmos speakers at the bottom and top were a nice touch. Along with an active noise-cancelling microphone during calls, it made for a great sound system every time I had an online team meeting. For everything else like music and movies, it provided deep levels of sound.

ThinkPad X1 Carbon

As for the HD camera, it was decent when I was using it for video calls. It’s not particularly great, however, in image quality, especially if you’re just using it to take selfies while on call. At least, you still get the privacy shutter when you’re not using it, so I give it a pass.

Is this your GadgetMatch for WFH?

ThinkPad X1 Carbon

Starting at PhP 129,990, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 8 provides the ease of a business experience. Apart from a well-built device, it comes with the hardware and the features dedicated to business professionals of all kinds. Also, it lasts long enough to get you through the entire work day, and even a little bit past that.

Sure, it’s not as versatile as ultrabooks or gaming laptops in terms of the tasks you can throw at it. It doesn’t have the flashiness of RGB, or capable graphics drivers for gaming and video rendering. For what it’s worth and for what it’s target consumer is asking, this device is more than enough.

At such a high price point, it’s not an easy investment for multiple employees in any given company (especially now while we’re still in pandemic mode). However, its power and longevity certainly make it a device worth considering for a WFH setup.

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