Laptops

Huawei MateBook D 15 2021: An all around solid choice

It’s no ‘beast’ because iit’s not trying to be

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Being a dominant player in the smartphone scene, I’ve always been curious about how Huawei’s laptops perform.

Having forged their name onto the spectrum of smartphone enthusiasts with their premium Mate series, we know that Huawei has the ability to craft the same caliber for their laptops.

Carrying the Mate branding with its name, let’s take a look if the Huawei MateBook D 15 2021 11th Gen also has the right to be called premium and carry on this reputation.

Performance you didn’t see coming 

The MateBook D 15 2021 is running on the 11th generation of Intel’s Core i5 processor, the 1135G7. Paired with this is the Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics, 16GB DDR4 RAM, and 512GB of SSD internal storage.

On paper, the specs of the 2021 D 15 isn’t really something many of us would consider sensational, but surely this would be more than enough for online classes or even light to heavy work.

I tend to do a lot of photo editing on Adobe Lightroom so I could say that my power requirements do demand a bit of muscle power. The 11th gen Core i5 on the D 15 is able to handle this quite smoothly even with some headroom for web browsing and other multitasking tasks thanks to the considerable amount of RAM.

As you power on the device, you’d immediately notice the swift performance of the D 15.

A surprising contributor to this is its Smart Fingerprint power button which has been carried over from the previous generations of MateBooks.

Automatically tagging your biometrics upon pressing the power button, this move eliminates the need to input your login details which drastically decreases the boot time. I understand this may vary from other users but having recorded the BIOS time at only 2.5 seconds, this has been the fastest boot up time I’ve ever encountered on a laptop.

Classic never goes out of style 

“It looks like a MacBook” was the first comment I’ve heard from the people I was with as soon as I took out the D 15 from the box. Yes, you’ll definitely see the resemblance with Apple’s MacBook line but that’s not to say that it’s a bad thing especially if there are things that Huawei has improved on. Thankfully, this is exactly the case with the MateBook D 15’s body.

The MateBook D 15 2021 has smoother and rounded edges compared to that of a MacBook Pro which makes it more comfortable for your wrists to rest on while still bringing with it that sleek and professional look that we’ve grown to love.

For a 15-inch body, you’d notice that this MateBook is incredibly thin and light weighing in only at 1.56kg and just 16.9mm thin. An easy carry to coffee shops or even just transferring from room to room at home.

Kind of a nitpick on my part though but one comment I do have with this build was it had a very slight body flex on the right hand portion of the palm rest. I don’t know if this was an issue on the particular unit I’m using but whenever my hand lands on that part, it does feel like it sinks down a tiny bit.

More screen for work and play 

Mentioning the size earlier, the MateBook D 15 2021 has a 15.6-inch FHD IPS display panel. A bit bizarre though, is that at only 250 nits this display felt a lot brighter. I mostly stay just around two or three notches above the lowest brightness setting to keep it at comfortable reading levels.

I wasn’t very concerned with eye strain however, as this display has been certified under TÜV Rheinland’s reduced blue light and Flicker-free qualifications.

With super-narrow 5.3mm bezels and a rating of 100% on its sRGB color gamut, this display is just a tempting movie companion. The large size, almost bezel-less screen and accurate color reproduction truly makes video consumption an immersive experience.

No cramps for your fingers here 

Looking at the D 15, you’d notice immediately that the keyboard is decently sized and its spacing is quite substantial. Key travel on this however, wasn’t very long. While I personally would prefer keyboards with longer key travel over one with a bigger size, the key travel on the D 15 was where it somewhat fell short for me. That being said, I do think this is a matter of personal preference so this isn’t really something that would ruin the MateBook experience. 

You’ll also notice that for a 15.6-inch device, this doesn’t have a number pad on the side of the keyboard which I think contributes to how Huawei managed to extend the spacing of its keys and incorporate a decently sized trackpad below.

Speaking of the trackpad, I really appreciate its size as it’s able to accommodate my multi-finger gestures with precision and with only very minimal input errors.

Still placed between the F6 and F7 keys on the top is the iconic recessed 720p camera that the MateBook line pioneered.

 Power overwhelming

I personally see the battery and charging features of the D 15 to be its main strength. It took me a good 9 hours and 30 minutes running off of its 42Wh battery before it shifted to power saving mode. Meaning, this laptop can easily run you for more than 10 hours under controlled conditions and once you’re able to plug it in an outlet, its fast charger would only take you about an hour to charge it back up.

The 65w charger is quite comparable to a size of a smartphone charger that would barely add weight to your everyday carry. The charger also uses a detachable USB-C to USB-C cable. This makes it easy to replace if ever it gets worn out.

Also, this same cable can be used to charge our smartphones either from the charger or from the laptop as the 2021 D 15 also has support for reverse charging.

Next level of connectivity

A neat addition also on the MateBook D 15 is the inclusion of the new Wi-Fi 6 technology. This gives the D 15 the ability to connect to more frequency ranges for a cleaner and less interrupted connection. While this does require that we connect to a Wi-Fi 6 capable wireless network to fully take advantage of it, it does give us some sort of complacency with some future proofing. Giving us more reasons to hold on to our device for a few more years from our purchase.

In this category we also have quite a selection of ports with the inclusion of a USB 3.2, HDMI and USB-C port on the left side and two USB 2.0 and a 3.5mm audio port on the right.

Tap and drop files? Yes please!  

A handy feature for people who already belong in Huawei’s ecosystem is the Huawei Share with Multi-screen collaboration.

This feature enables Huawei smartphones to connect and share files, apps and even your phone screen with the D 15 by just tapping it on the dedicated Huawei Share portion of the laptop.

Gimmicky as it may sound at first, I have to say, it really does work. And if transferring files from other devices is something you do often, this might be a feature that you could maximize.

Is the HUAWEI MateBook D 15 2021 11th Gen your GadgetMatch?

The MateBook D 15 2021 isn’t what we may call a “beast” of a device as it really isn’t trying to be one. This is mainly designed with professionals in mind or simply people who’re looking for convenience, comfort and just an overall pleasant user experience and it does that very well.

A decent performer, sleek looker, ultraportable 15.6-inch device with a lot of nifty features with the Huawei ecosystem, Wi-Fi 6 and its smart fingerprint power button, the MateBook D 15 2021 is what we could really call a versatile machine.

But here is where it gets a little bit tricky. The MateBook D 15 2021 with the older Intel 10th Gen processor is also currently an available option from Huawei. A less powerful alternative but one that could set you back a few pesos which also gets you most of what the 11th Gen version offers.

If you’re willing to spend a little more for better performance though, the D 15 11th Gen is no doubt a solid choice.

The Huawei MateBook D 15 2021 11th Gen with 16GB RAM is available in Mystic Silver for PhP 59,999.

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Laptops

ASUS Vivobook 15 OLED Hands-On

A chunky, OLED infused, daily companion

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Vivobook 15 OLED

ASUS has been known for stylish laptops, especially for their Vivobook lineup. But it is choosing reliability and function over grandeur looks for the Vivobook 15 OLED.

It sports a 15.6-inch FHD OLED Pantone validated display giving it extra punch over traditional LCD displays. This means it’s better whether it’s for play or for watching your favorite video over and over again.

It’s also great for video calls on the go and getting work done while being pleasing to the eyes.

The Vivobook 15 OLED is thick, sturdy, and powerful. It’s equipped with several USB ports and an HDMI port for your presentations, a microSD card reader, and a headphone jack. This is all so you can have a faster, more seamless workflow.

The keyboard has an iconic design along with a classic number keypad. It’s powered by Intel’s 11th Gen processor along with 4GB DDR4 RAM and 512GB SSD.

Thus laptop is a reliable daily companion and it could very well be your GadgetMatch.

Vivobook 15 OLED pricing are as follows:


This feature is a collaboration between GadgetMatch and ASUS Philippines.

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Gaming

Lenovo Legion S7 review: Is it too slim for your liking?

A continuation of power, performance, and portability

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Legion S7
Is the Lenovo Legion S7 too slim?

Every gaming laptop out there just seems typical, complete with the RGB and the hefty design. Yes, there have been other laptops that are starting to break the mold. However, they did so while sacrificing some huge features in the process. Although, that hasn’t stopped most manufacturers like Lenovo from trying their hardest.

What we have here is the Lenovo Legion S7, with the “S” literally standing for “slim.” On paper and by design, it’s possibly one of the slimmest gaming laptops currently available. Just from the unboxing experience alone, it raises a few eyebrows design-wise and the hardware inside it. Beneath its slim chassis, there lies the beast, as they say.

But is this a gaming laptop worth considering given its potential sacrifices? Let’s find out.

Ticks all the boxes for general performance

 

Every gaming laptop brings impeccable performance for most day-to-day tasks, and the Lenovo Legion S7 is no exception. Of course, the biggest contributor to great performance lies within the hardware, and this machine certainly brings the firepower with an AMD Ryzen 9 CPU inside.

As advertised, the Legion S7 provides performance suitable for any task thrown at it. Whether you’re working on work documents or creating your next gameplay video, the laptop handles these things with relative ease. Also, you can effectively multitask on this device no problem with 32GB of RAM to support.

Now, the Legion S7 comes with Windows 10 pre-installed, which was alright. However, seeing how most people were hopping onto Windows 11 at the time, it made sense to upgrade the software first since it’s possible. In the three weeks that the laptop was tested, software issues didn’t occur so that’s a good start!

Decent competitive gaming performance

Legion S7

When talking about gaming performance, there’s two things to factor in: the GPU, and the display. For the Lenovo Legion S7, an NVIDIA RTX 3060 with a 165Hz anti-glare FHD display seems like the ideal combo for a gaming device suitable for casual and competitive gamers out there. In reality, this lived up to expectations quite well.

For casual and competitive titles, the Legion S7 provides great performance and frame rates with a smoother feel to them. Sure, a FHD display limits the full dynamic color range compared to the 4K option for this device. But when playing competitively, that hardly ever matters. Games like VALORANT and Halo Infinite felt pretty smooth and looked vibrant when playing.

Legion S7

With RTX on, some games look pretty good but with the obvious frame rate sacrifice, especially with cranked up settings. Although, unlike other RTX mobile GPUs, the frame rate sacrifice isn’t as much, which was pretty good. For example, games like Fortnite and Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy had about an 8 to 10 percent drop in FPS with RTX on vs. RTX off.

Battery life is just good enough for mini breaks

Legion S7

Much like every other gaming laptop out there, this device doesn’t last particularly long when used for casual or competitive play. On average, the Legion S7 lasts about 6-7 hours just on productivity and casual gaming on the side. When cranked up to perform at competitive levels, it cuts the lifespan to just 2-3 hours, which was expected.

To its credit, the Legion S7 comes with a 230W battery pack that will nest it back to full health in at most 3 hours. With Rapid Charge Pro turned on through Lenovo Vantage, it cuts the charge time by just an hour. Still, it doesn’t change the fact that it’s quite fast and would actually give you a short break after playing your heart out.

Some questionable design features

 

As much as the Lenovo Legion S7 boasts impressive gaming performance, there are a couple of things that hold it back from its true potential. For one, it’s quite slim and has the potential to get quite hot when playing too much. Sure, Coldfront 3.0 will do what it can to keep things cool, but it still gets warmer quite fast so it’s something worth noting.

Second is in port selection, particularly with what they gave up for this machine. Fortunately, they kept the charging port and two USB Type-A 3.0 ports at the back so nothing got in the way. However, for a gaming laptop to exclude an Ethernet port and an HDMI slot is quite alarming. 

Sure, it’s to highlight the WiFi 6 capabilities along with using the Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports at the right side of the device. However, having a Gigabit Ethernet port significantly improves network performance especially for competitive play. Also, most external gaming displays still come with HDMI ports so it was a missed opportunity.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

For what it’s worth, the Lenovo Legion S7 is an ideal gaming device for both casual and competitive gamers. It’s slim form factor combined with powerful hardware provides the power and portability that the Legion brand consistently delivers. With a high refresh rate display and RTX-capable GPU, it even provides a solid boost to gaming performance.

Of course, even the Legion S7 has some hits and misses in there. From questionable exclusions to just decent battery life, it fails to maximize its potential to be truly something better than before. Still, with what it has going for it as presently constructed, it’s still a great gaming device on-the-go.

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Features

7 reasons why the ASUS Vivobook Pro 14 OLED is perfect for creators

It’s the ASUS Vivobook Pro 14 OLED

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In my review of the ASUS Vivobook Pro 14 OLED, you can tell that I really liked my experience. But having the device with me for a while longer, there are still quite a few more things I’ve come to realize about it.

You see, content creators and creative professionals have very specific requirements when choosing a laptop. Settle for less and you’re sure to get nightmares. That’s either with not being able to deliver the task at hand on time or doubtful of your creative output.

That’s why ASUS came up with the Vivobook Pro 14 OLED. It’s designed for creators with everything one would need to unleash creativity.

And I think it might just be the perfect option for every creator out there.

Suitable design for creators with quality that matches it

It’s evident that laptop designs have become pretty unoriginal in recent years with brands merely copying whichever is in the mainstream spotlight.

ASUS goes against this by truly designing their own from the ground up. With their approach on the Vivobook Pro 14 OLED, they seem to be going for a more serious and less playful design. I think it’s a welcome decision for professionals.

I believe in the saying that “first impressions lasts.” For people who do creative work professionally, the last thing you want is for your client to think you’re not taking your job seriously.

With this one, you can flex your stylish laptop in meeting rooms or briefings without feeling awkward. The design isn’t flashy but it isn’t generic either with subtle hints of the device being tailor-made for creators.

Having said that, the Vivobook Pro is not only serious with its looks but also it build quality. Despite being the more affordable line from ASUS, the Vivobook Pro’s build quality says otherwise. It’s so similar to the higher end ZenBook line that I honestly couldn’t tell the difference.

So portable you won’t even realize it’s in your luggage 

If you’ve seen a photographer arrive on set, chances are you’ve also seen how much gear they lug around. So, just imagine the convenience the Vivobook Pro 14 OLED brings with its ultraportable size and weight. At only 1.45kg, it greatly reduces the whole package one needs to carry for on-site editing.

It’s so light that I personally wouldn’t mind carrying this with me in my bag wherever I go. And with the thickness being only 17.9mm at its thickest point, this would probably fit most bags you already have laying around.

It may not sound as exciting as the next item in this list, but if we consider the hardware that is packed in this device, it’s just mind-blowing how everything fits in it.

Specs that can handle anything 

In most creative softwares like the Adobe Creative Cloud apps, the CPU mostly carries the bulk of the task for running these software unhampered. With the Vivobook Pro 14 OLED, you won’t have to worry about the capability of this device to handle the most demanding software. Powering this laptop is a top-tier CPU — the Ryzen 9 5900HX. This is a seriously powerful processor that is already even considered as an enthusiast level of a CPU that you’ll only mostly see running on other top-of-the-line gaming laptops.

But if that isn’t impressive enough, this CPU is even paired with another commendable performer — the very capable Nvidia RTX 3050 GPU.

So, you bet this laptop can take on anything you throw at it. Especially the ones that are designed to take advantage of hardware encoding like Adobe Premiere Pro. 

To further validate my claim, I was able to export a five-minute 4K timeline in Premiere Pro in under seven minutes. It’s not the fastest I’ve used but that is exceptional performance especially coming from a laptop this small.

And of course, this machine is very much capable of handling games as well for the casual work break that you very much deserve.

Performance that gets more things done at the same time

Complementing the eight cores and 16  threads that are running inside this CPU are 16GB of DDR4 RAM. 

Sure, 16GB of RAM may not sound like a lot nowadays but that doesn’t mean it’s not enough either. To give you an idea how capable and sufficient this mix of hardware is, I was editing on Lightroom, Premiere Pro and Photoshop all at the same time. I was even browsing multiple tabs on Google Chrome and I barely felt them running in the background.

Even running the heaviest apps, I never had the urge to close any of it just to make room for another. As a result, it got me finishing everything I had to do ahead of time.

Very cool, yet very silent operations

With a lot of distractions around us, it’s easy to lose focus of what we’re doing. Even the simplest things can get in the way. And if you’ve used a gaming laptop, you probably know that fan noise can get pretty loud when doing demanding tasks.

However, despite having similarly powerful specs as you would on gaming laptops, the Vivobook Pro 14 OLED still runs very quietly. You can hardly hear it running which is quite impressive since I’ve had significantly lower specced laptops that are far noisier than this.

Thankfully, the quiet performance also doesn’t trade off its cooling as I barely see the temps go higher than 80 degrees celsius.

You don’t even need that much power all the time. So, we can adjust the hardware performance to make it run even cooler and quieter than it already is. This is done through the preloaded ASUS ProArt Creator Hub. This is ASUS’ control hub for their content creator products, allowing you to monitor the performance and tune the settings of your creator laptop.

Surprisingly good sound quality

I’ve used quite a number of laptops already and to be honest, I barely use the built-in speakers. I would always have a headset or an external speaker connected. Poor sound quality really ruins the experience for me.

To my surprise, this isn’t the case with the Vivobook Pro 14 OLED. It’s loud, crisp and clear and it actually sounds pretty good. I guess this is thanks to the collaboration with Harman Kardon that’s going on here.

It managed to fill up our tiny condo and I was even holding back from maxing out the volume. It didn’t sound distorted or annoying to listen to.

One of the best displays you could get — OLED Display

Saving the best for last, I think one of the main highlights of this device is this stunning display panel. It’s a 14-inch, OLED display with a 2.8K max resolution, a 16:10 aspect ratio and a 90Hz refresh rate.

In case you’re not familiar with different display technologies, OLED displays are among the best in terms of image quality. It doesn’t really get much better than this, and on the Vivobook Pro 14, it looks amazing.

The 2.8K resolution paired with the 16:10 aspect ratio didn’t make me feel that the 14-inch size was actually smaller than what I personally use. 

It’s so good that using this display made me wonder how I was editing with my old laptop. I feel like my eyes have just gotten used to trying to compensate for inaccurate colors and poor dynamic range.

It kind of makes me feel like going back to an IPS display is like going back to an old CRT TV. LOL Okay, a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the point.

Creators’ GadgetMatch

Without a shadow of a doubt, the ASUS Vivobook Pro 14 OLED is definitely an outstanding device. It has a lot of aspects that would make any creator including myself drool over it with admiration.

I think ASUS may have, once again, set a higher standard for other players in the market. Packing so much power in the quietest and one of the most portable bodies we could find with the breathtaking and quite possibly best looking display I’ve experienced.

And being offered at a relatively attainable price point is truly icing on the cake.

The Vivobook Pro 14 OLED comes in three available variations — the one we reviewed being the highest varian. It has the R9 5900HX, RTX 3050, 16GB with 512GB SSD priced at PhP 74,995. The R5 5600H, RTX 3050, 8GB RAM with 512GB SSD is priced at PhP 59,995. And the R5 5600H, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD with the AMD integrated graphics variant is priced at PhP 47,995.

Sure, it’s not perfect for everyone. But for creators who are starting in content creation or a well experienced creative professional, the Vivobook Pro 14 OLED definitely comes close.


This feature is collaboration between GadgetMatch and ASUS Philippines.

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