You’re not reading that wrong: Huawei has entered the world of desktop PCs. Everyone is pretty much aware of the company’s expansion into more platforms other than smartphones. From smart watches to the MateBook laptops, they’re simply just adding more products to the portfolio. This time around, it’s not a portable device they’re launching.
Meet the Huawei MateStation S, the company’s latest workstation system designed for students and young professionals. It comes with a variety of work-centric features mixed in with Huawei’s technologies to provide the ultimate work experience. Also, Huawei integrated smart features for full utility with their smart devices.
So, how exactly does this entire system look like when you bring it all together?
Stacks of boxes lined up
When the entire workstation arrived, I immediately pulled out all the Huawei boxes lying around my house. I decided to take one big family photo that will make some of you think I did a Huawei device haul or something. In many ways, this was what they were going for with the smart integration for the workstation — something we’ll get to later on.
As you can already tell, the packaging seems quite simple — three boxes for the monitor, desktop PC, and keyboard. Unboxing all of them was also straightforward, and needs some level of care in the process. In no particular order:
The Huawei Display
This one was in the largest box among the three boxes that arrived, and rightfully so because of the 23.8-inch display it comes with. Along with the main display, you also get the monitor stand, the power adapter and an HDMI cable. It’s pretty standard stuff for any typical monitor in the market.
What stood out to me, at least, was the sleek and simple design of the Huawei Display. Sure, it comes in a shiny, subtle black color; the gold Huawei brand name was a nice touch. It’s not a flashy color option, but it didn’t have to be. Upon booting it up and attaching it to a laptop, it’s actually pretty bright.
Although I’m curious about that little bit of flare at the right side of the display. When the screen is black, it’s something incredibly obvious to the eyes. Now, I’m not entirely sure if something happened in shipping, but once you boot the PC, it’s not that big of a bother.
The Huawei MateStation S PC itself
I decided to put the last two boxes here, which were dedicated to the PC and the keyboard. Admittedly, I thought that the MateStation S would be roughly as big as the box it came in. For something you need for working long hours, I thought it would be a wide tower placed inside. When I got it out of the box, I was pleasantly surprised at how compact the form factor was.
Now, it comes in a Space Gray type of finish, similar to its MateBook laptops with a Star Trail design etched in front. Personally, it’s a nice aesthetic choice but it’s not something you will continually notice every time you use the PC. I thought it was going to be another way for hot air to come out of the system.
In the longer yet thinner box, you have Huawei’s Ultra-Slim Keyboard in Space Gray, as well. What’s nice about it is that it comes with both a fingerprint sensor and a Huawei Share button on the keyboard. Supposedly, it provides a faster and easier log-in option with Windows Hello, plus easy file transfer from your phone.
Setting it up and making it work
Piecing everything together didn’t necessarily take that long, especially on a relatively small table. The fact that the MateStation S is relatively compact allows for more space for the display and other peripherals to fit nicely. Once everything was in its place, the system booted up relatively quickly.
The Huawei MateStation S comes with a 4th-generation AMD Ryzen 5 processor inside, along with 8GB of RAM. For average office work, this is a great list of hardware for most tasks and applications you throw at it. Along with a 256GB SSD inside, all of these applications will ideally load up quite fast.
From initial tests and usage, I fully agree with what they had in mind with all of these hardware inside. Working on Word documents and Excel spreadsheets was a breeze, even with some complicated data in there. Also, it comes with a dual-band WiFi card inside so you can place this system anywhere you want.
How far will the Huawei PC go?
For the most part, I’ve showered Huawei’s newest system with praises on its design and performance. Obviously, it’s much different from their laptops in terms of portability, but offers the same smart technologies in the process. Plus, it’s a form factor that brings more benefits than distractions while you’re working.
Of course, this is only scratching the surface of what the Huawei MateStation S can actually do. While it is fast, responsive, and handles most Office applications, let’s see how the system handles, well, everything else.
Why owning a mechanical keyboard is worth it
Even for non-gamers
The first time I came across a mechanical keyboard, I thought I didn’t need it. A gamer friend made me try it once, and although I was impressed with how smooth my typing was, I thought: spending more than a thousand bucks for a typing device is too expensive.
Back then, I was actually eyeing a flat, minimalist wireless keyboard to add to my ~aesthetic~ work-from-home set-up.
It was not until my Discord friends–who even sent me video links of ASMR typing sounds and did live typing demos during our video calls–that I actually gave in and considered buying one.
After days of researching to find the perfect fit for me, I finally decided to get the Royal Kludge 71 with blue switches. The brand is popular among enthusiasts because it’s beginner-friendly, and has good specifications for a budget–friendly price.
I even bought a Gateron sampler (a keyboard sampler where you can try different switches) online to help me decide between blue and brown.
It can increase your productivity
As a writer who literally types words for a living, there’s added pleasure in typing when I started using a mechanical keyboard. There’s this illusion that you are using a modern typewriter, and I admit it somehow increased my productivity.
Of course, the typing feel can be subjective for everyone, but the click-y sound suited my preference well that it gave me added motivation whenever I type.
Another thing I love about these keyboards is the programmable RGB lighting feature. When I bought my personal laptop, the only thing that was missing for me was the backlit keyboard, since I have tendencies to write in the dark.
Owning a mechanical keyboard with an RGB feature has become very helpful, since it keeps me up when I do my work at night. Not to mention, the different RGB modes are actually entertaining–I tend to watch the lights dance whenever I’m bored.
It’s kind of therapeutic
Apart from the satisfying beauty of RGB lighting and click-y sound, another thing I love about mechanical keyboards is the therapeutic feeling whenever I clean the keycaps.
Since I bought the white version, my keyboard is a magnet for dirt and can be easily stained so it needs consistent cleaning. Removing the keycaps one by one is oddly satisfying that it has become one of my therapeutic hobbies every weekend.
Definitely worth the investment
As of this writing, I have only tried three keyboard brands and I can say that the Royal Kludge has a higher actuation force compared to the others, so it can be tiring after long periods of time.
The RK71 white variant looks very clean and minimalist, especially in photos. I haven’t bought any keycaps to customize my keyboard (I am very tempted, though), but maybe that’s for another time. I am willing to save up for another keyboard with new switches, since the blue ones can be annoying especially if you don’t work alone.
Is mechanical keyboard a match for you?
If you’re like me who spends lots of time typing in front of the computer, then it’s a resounding yes.
There are lots of mechanical keyboard variants–there are ones with and without number pads, and there’s the click-y and silent switches. There are also cheaper ones compared to the one I got, so make sure to read and watch reviews. For those with higher budget, aim for the big guns like Anne Pro and Keychron–these are highly recommended by most enthusiasts.
Looking for “the one” can be overwhelming at first, but trust me, it’s fun and interesting. It can be addictive, too. (Don’t say I didn’t warn you.)
Dell launches SafeShutter webcam for convenience, privacy
No more sticky notes for webcam privacy
With video conferencing becoming a staple in everyday work lives, Dell has announced SafeShutter — an automatic webcam shutter that knows when to open or close by syncing with users’ video conferencing applications, enabling them to work securely and confidently from anywhere.
Many remote workers today have resorted to permanently affixing a sticky note to computer cameras to ensure webcam privacy while working. It doesn’t need to be this way.
SafeShutter was created with remote working scenarios in mind — to strike the right balance between the convenience of seamlessly joining video calls and the privacy and the safety of knowing the camera is secure.
Human error is inevitable when it comes to video conferencing, be it speaking while still on mute or thinking the camera is turned off when it isn’t. SafeShutter creates an audible “click” that lets users know the camera has closed. The webcam also comes with a privacy LED light that turns on when the camera is in use. Paired with the keyboard indicator lights that denote if the camera and audio are on or off, users can rest assured they are in full control of their audio and video settings. No sticky note needed!
SafeShutter also factors in the need for added security aimed at limiting malicious surveillance and hacking. The security-hardened, hardware-controlled circuit allows users to control their privacy with camera disable (F9) and mic mute (F4) keys to override software settings. This provides extra assurance at the hardware level and ensures users can regain control with just a simple touch of a key, should the unexpected occur.
SafeShutter is available on the industry’s most secure commercial PCs and the new Latitude 9420 and 9520 devices. Combined with AI-based features that provide intelligent background noise-cancelling, auto-mute and smart connectivity features (like ExpressConnect, that prioritises bandwidth to your conferencing apps to prevent dropped calls), the Latitude 9420 and 9520 devices offer one of the best video conferencing experiences on a PC.
Pricing and availability
- Dell Latitude 9420 — April 2021 — Pricing TBD
- Dell Latitude 9520 — Available now — SG$ 2,629
All products are available for purchase online at dell.com.sg and the Dell exclusive stores in Funan Mall, NEX and Plaza Singapura.
This is a press release from Dell Singapore.
Private browsing doesn’t hide your browsing activity – research
Always browse with caution
Many people think that private browsing modes guarantee extra safety and privacy from potential snoopers and other malicious actors. However, this is far from the truth. If you’re not careful, third parties can still know your browsing activity even when you are using your browser’s private browsing mode.
Private browsing, with an asterisk
Researchers at VPNOverview checked some of the popular browsers and analyzed how much browsing data leaks when using private browsing modes. These popular browsers include the Google Chrome with its “Incognito Mode”; the Apple device-exclusive Safari with “Private Mode”; the up-and-coming Microsoft Edge with “InPrivate”; and of course, the reliable Mozilla Firefox with “Private Mode”.
For each of these browsers, the researchers analyzed what browsing data does their private browsing modes hide. They also analyzed what browsing data can still be looked up by others on each browser’s respective modes.
The biggest takeaway from the research is that all private browsing modes are good enough for hiding your browsing history and files that you downloaded. Some browsers go the extra mile to keep you protected as you browse the web. Firefox, Edge, and Safari all have tracking protection that blocks intrusive trackers as you browse the web.
Cookies are one area of concern when browsing privately. Most websites use these to provide sign-in functionality and more, but they can also track you as you browse other sites on the internet. Fortunately, browsers don’t keep these cookies as you exit your private browsing session.
However, private browsing isn’t foolproof. The same researchers found that all private browsing modes fall short of hiding browsing activity from third parties. Internet service providers or whoever runs the network that you’re connected to can still see what you are browsing online. The same goes for the websites that you visit and sign in to, which can even know your exact location if you’re not careful enough.
What’s saved: IP address, bookmarked websites, and more
The reason why these third parties can still see your browsing activity is due to IP addresses. Remember, each device connected to the internet all have their own unique IP addresses. Devices have these addresses so they can send and get content from web servers. Relying on private browsing will not stop your computer from giving away your IP address to third parties such as the website you visit.
Then, there are also other browsing activities that get saved even in private browsing. Websites bookmarked during a private browsing session are saved even after browsing. While your browser won’t keep track of the files you downloaded, the actual downloaded files will remain on your PC. Not to mention, many browsers today offer extra features that will save any relevant data even when you use those features in private browsing.
Use a VPN and an ad blocker
The best solution for most users is to download and use a virtual private network (VPN). VPNs work by creating a proxy between your device and the servers that serve web content. Instead of your device directly connecting to different servers on the internet, your device connects to another server that does the job of connecting you to other servers. This has the effect of hiding your IP address from any third parties including your internet service provider.
VPNs are more popular than ever since they also let you access geo-restricted websites. For example, a VPN may let you browse films and shows on Netflix that aren’t available in your country yet.
There are many VPNs out there, so you can easily pick one to suit your needs. Examples of popular VPNs include NordVPN, SurfShark, TunnelBear, Private Internet Access, and ProtonVPN. However, you also need to be mindful of the VPN service that you may want to use. Not all VPNs are created equal, and there have been multiple examples of providers leaking sensitive data.
Using ad blockers can go a long way too in making sure that your browsing activity is safe from third parties. Ad blockers do more than just remove ads from most websites nowadays. They also block trackers that profiles and collects information such as device information and more as you browse different websites.
As mentioned above, Safari, Firefox, and Edge have built-in tracking protection so you can rely on these instead for blocking trackers. For those not satisfied with their browsers’ tracking protection, they can rely on established ad blockers such as uBlock Origin, AdGuard, AdBlock Plus, and the likes.
Private browsing doesn’t simply cut it
For many, private browsing is their go-to for doing sensitive work on the internet. As the researchers from VPNOverview have pointed out, however, your browsing activity can still be inferred even as you use your browser’s private browsing mode. To make sure this doesn’t happen, you can rely on VPNs and ad blockers for total peace of mind.
As always, be mindful of what and how you browse online. Remember, your browsing habits reveal a lot about you. Companies who buy and sell data for profit will always want to get a hold of your browsing data so it is better if you exercise caution online.
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