Reviews

HP Spectre X2 Review: Form over function?

It’s beautiful but there are some sacrifices

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Can a tablet actually replace your laptop? If it has a detachable keyboard, a couple of standard ports, good-sounding speakers, and runs a full version of Windows 10 with top-of-the-line specs packaged into a slim body, it could. Everything I mentioned is found on the HP Spectre X2. Although, the company doesn’t really market it towards power-hungry users, but rather to anyone who is looking for a new portable computer with style.

One of the best-looking PCs

When I first saw the Specter X2 in person, I thought that it’s probably the most handsome Windows 2-in-1 I’ve seen in a while. Who can blame me? After bringing it to the office and cafes, everyone around me stared at the Spectre X2 for a bit. The body of the device is crafted from a single piece of aluminum with a matte finish. My review unit comes in black with gold accents — a staple HP Spectre line color combination that looks elegant and sophisticated.

The new HP logo fits the Spectre X2’s body perfectly

The Spectre X2 is primarily a 12-inch tablet with a 3:2 aspect ratio and a pixel density of 293ppi. Its display is as sharp as a smartphone thanks to its high-resolution panel with 3000 x 2000 pixels.

Since it’s a tablet, it’s got to have a stand to make it usable on a desk. The device has a gold kickstand (not actual gold, of course) neatly tucked into the body of the tablet when not in use. Unlike with other similarly designed detachables though, the kickstand of the Spectre X2 is slim and looks like a jewelry accessory for the tablet due to its color.

The kickstand stays in its position thanks to its firm hinge, but it doesn’t prevent the tablet from sliding across the tablet since it has no rubber feet

There are two USB-C ports on both sides of the tablet; either can be used for charging the tablet, connect external displays, and attach peripherals with support for USB 3.1 speeds. The pin-ejectable microSD card slot and 3.5mm audio port are on the left while the volume keys are on the right. The power button sits lonely on the top side and there’s virtually nothing at the bottom — just the magnetic latch for the keyboard.

It’s best to work with the Spectre X2 on a table or a desk

Speaking of, the detachable keyboard also has an aluminum body and acts a protective cover for the tablet’s display when closed. It attaches magnetically to the slate and has two typing angles: flat and inclined. It has a white backlight to help while working in the dark and it’s a full-sized keyboard with function keys and shortcuts. If you’re familiar with HP’s island-style chiclet keys, you’ll feel at home. The glass trackpad is fairly smooth and responsive even with multi-finger gestures, but it doesn’t use Windows Precision drivers.

Thin and light, yet fast and responsive

It sure is a good-looking piece of hardware and also a grand engineering feat. The Spectre X2 is purely a tablet, just like the Surface Pro from Microsoft, yet it has the horsepower of a typical Ultrabook. Despite the 7.7mm thinness (13.2mm with the keyboard cover), the tablet has two spinning fans inside which means it uses the same processor as a normal laptop and not a fanless, under-powered processor like with other ultrathin devices.

The Spectre X2 can still be used on my lap, although it’s not that comfortable

The heat dissipates upwards, so you don’t feel the stress of the tablet when it’s standing on a table or your lap. Even though you can occasionally hear the fan when the tablet is under heavy load, it’s not as loud as a regular laptop’s. When it’s time to pick it up though, the top portion of the tablet gets pretty warm.

The configuration of my Spectre X2 is the highest with a seventh-generation Intel Core i7 processor and 16GB of memory. It also has a spacious 512GB SSD to store all my documents, videos, and applications. I use it mainly for work which mostly involves typing all day, browsing with multiple tabs open, and photo editing. Suffice to say, the specs I have are quite an overkill for my everyday tasks but I am not complaining.

The HP Pen works with well Windows Ink

I never had any issues performance-wise. The Spectre X2 boots up quickly and Photoshop loads fast whenever I need it without hiccups. Windows 10 is also a breeze to use even in tablet mode, but the learning curve is still cumbersome compared to using an iPad or any Android tablet.

What’s up with the battery life?

Before the Spectre X2, I’ve been using an ultra-slim notebook to get stuff done wherever I go. Despite the notebook’s slim waistline, I never had an issue with its battery performance. With the HP Spectre X2 though, I am surprised that it can only last as long as a typical Windows notebook.

You can work with the Spectre X2 on the go, but not for long

During my first week of use, I could do four straight hours of writing with Wi-Fi turned on and brightness set at around 50 percent on a single charge. I expected to get at least six hours with it since I’m just using the browser (specifically Microsoft Edge to get the most out of the battery life) to get stuff done. When I used the tablet offline, it was able to last almost eight hours with mixed usage from Word processing and binge-watching downloaded episodes on Netflix.

There are also some issues with the charging times of the Spectre X2. Using the included 65W charger, it would take three hours to fill up to 100 percent. Not exactly the best charging times around, but charging via USB-C makes it future-proof.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

Going back to the initial question, I’d say the HP Spectre X2 can hold its own. It’s a great option if you’re due for an upgrade and have extra cash to spare. If you’re bored with the usual laptop form and want something more than just a work tool, the Spectre X2’s detachable keyboard instantly transforms it into a tablet you can easily carry and place on a table.

Thanks to its wonderful stereo speakers, I don’t always need a pair of headphones when watching Netflix

It’s also pretty handy for those who need a Windows 10 machine for sketching. The HP Pen comes bundled in the box at no additional cost. I wasn’t able to fully test the stylus to create a masterpiece, so I can’t say how good it is compared to an actual Wacom tablet for making art.

All in all, the HP Spectre X2 is a complete package that can battle the Microsoft Surface Pro in terms of value. It’s also more widely available than the Surface Pro since Microsoft doesn’t sell their hardware in many markets.

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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 Review: Ahead of Its Time!

Experience the future for $1999

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The first Galaxy Fold may have encountered several issues, but this year’s Fold is all about polishing and revamping things.

With a more durable hinge mechanism, maximized screen, improved materials, better cameras, and the fastest internals around, the Galaxy Z Fold2 is an impressive engineering feat.

$1999 isn’t cheap, but this device is meant for those who want to experience the future in their hands today.

Head over to our in-depth Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 review here.

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Huawei Watch Fit review: Great for getting you moving

A fantastic wearable that comfortably sits between smart bands and full on smartwatches

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Our friends over at Huawei must’ve noticed that I have slowly been gaining weight over the duration of the community quarantine. That’s why they sent over the Huawei Watch Fit for me to try.

To be honest, I was very reluctant at first knowing how my habits tend to generally lean more towards getting fat vs getting fit. But our Huawei friend *coughs* Dezza *coughs* convinced me, so here I am giving it a go.

The timing was rather unfortunate as it was going to be a rather busy week. For me, that means being glued to my chair as I type away articles for various launches and coordinate for a handful of projects. There wasn’t really time for me to get in a headspace to want to workout. Especially since the only workout I actually enjoy — basketball — is still prohibited due to the pandemic.

These may or may not have contributed to my stress levels as measured by the smartwatch.

I realize these all sound like excuses, and perhaps they are. But this is my reality as I slapped on the Huawei Watch Fit and went on with my days.

Before I go on any further, let’s first take a look at the watch.

It has a 1.64-inch colored display

At first I thought this would be too small. However, the screen size sits nicely between smart bands and those round 42mm smartwatches. After using it for a while, the display starts to look larger than it actually is.

A silicone strap that feels nice on your wrist

We got the mint green version (which comes with a silver body). The other variants are Black body with Graphite Black silicone strap, and Rose Gold with Cantaloupe Orange Silicone strap.

If you’re not happy with those options, the Huawei Watch Fit is supposed to work with standard straps so you can mix it up depending on the occasion. I’ll ask Huawei if they will launch more strap options in the future and will update this accordingly.

Magnetic charging

Flip it over and you’ll find the magnetic charging things. You’ll want to keep the charger that comes with the box as there isn’t really any other way to fast-charge this wearable. Getting all you juiced up from zero should take about an hour.

While we’re at it, Huawei claims it’ll last for 10 days. This isn’t the case if you use the Always-On screen option. But the raise to wake function is so good, you can just completely disregard always-on. I’m currently on my 4th day from charging it up to 100% and I’m sitting at 56% at the moment.

A sh*t ton of watch faces to choose from

It comes with a HUGE selection of watch faces. You can go for sleek and subtle, loud and colorful, or just flat out cute.

For good vibes, I stuck with the cute option (the Shiba Inu one).

Full screen touch and side button 

Navigation is easy. You simply swipe through the screen for a quick look at the different stats like heart rate, stress level, weather, and steps.

The side button gives you deeper access to the smart watch’s other functions like Settings and all the different workouts.

Plenty of workouts, can really get you moving

The Huawei Watch Fit has 96 workout modes. These vary from indoor and outdoor runs, swimming, yoga, dance, martial arts, and various other sports (scanned real quick for basketball and it wasn’t there. Sad).

Point is, there’s most definitely something here that would fit your workout routine. I haven’t found mine. Instead, I’ve been using the quick re-energize activities.

The Huawei Watch Fit makes it easy to follow the workouts as it has visual cues on how to execute them. I found these extremely helpful. The watch will buzz to signal you to start and will buzz again to wrap up your first set of a particular movement.

The re-energize routine takes about two minutes and 30 to 40 seconds to complete. I try to do it every time the watch prompts me to “get active.” It’s helped me be more mindful about taking breaks in-between tasks. And the quick routine really did a lot in re-energizing me for a few more rounds of sitting on my ass while typing away on the laptop.

A friend has invited me to try a dance class and while I have two left feet, I am considering taking that challenge on for the workout. I will update this article should that push through.

Overall tracking seems accurate

I didn’t have another device to compare with it in real time, but based on my previous experiences with other smart bands and smartwatches, the tracking on the Huawei Watch Fit has been fairly accurate.

My heart rate hasn’t really changed much from when I was using other smartwatches so that was an easy benchmark to check.

My sleep habits, unfortunately, have also pretty much remained the same. Which isn’t exactly a good thing as I rated low on deep sleep and late on time of hitting the sack. But I figure this is true for most people ever since we’ve been in community quarantine.

I walked around our compound over the weekend and really observed the step counter, and while it may record one step too many at certain times, it rarely happened to cause any real concern.

It also has a blood oxygen sensor — a key feature that health experts have pointed to in determining whether you should seek medical attention or not. I tried it and I may be due for a consultation. 😬

Other helpful features

The Huawei Watch Fit is also home of other staple smart watch features. These include: Find my phone, Remote camera shutter, music player control, and many more.

There’s also a Cycle Calendar that should prove useful. Too bad I’m not female so I couldn’t try it out. It’s also only available in certain markets, which is a little puzzling because I’m pretty women everywhere go through a menstrual cycle.

Is Huawei Watch Fit your GadgetMatch?

At PhP 4,999/ EUR 129 (US$ 153), the pricing seems on point. The Huawei Watch Fit’s health and fitness features are robust, there’s a decent selection of variants at launch, and it will seamlessly blend in your workout and casual fits.

The materials used also feel premium and the smart watch doesn’t look half bad at all. It’s certainly something I wouldn’t mind flaunting to other people.

When you’re ready to step up from a smart band but aren’t quite ready to splurge on a full on smart watch, the Huawei Watch Fit sits comfortably in that middle ground, ready to be your health and fitness companion.

BUY HERE

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ASUS ZenFone 7 Pro Review: A Surprising Contender!

Flipping camera isn’t a gimmick after all

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ASUS’ newest ZenFone 7 Pro may still look like last year’s ZenFone 6, but it has gotten totally bigger and better.

It may have a similar design language but the larger form factor houses all the speedy internals — a full-screen display, Snapdragon 865+ chipset, 8GB RAM, 256GB storage, and an enormous 5000mAh battery. But that doesn’t end there. The large flipping camera mechanism that houses a trio camera setup makes this a suitable smartphone for shooting and vlogging.

With a price tag of just under EUR 699 (US$ 830), is the ZenFone 7 Pro a worthier flagship choice?

Watch our ASUS ZenFone 7 Pro review (with a lot of photo samples and comparison) here.

SEE ALSO: ASUS ZenFone 7 Pro: Unboxing and Hands-On

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