Laptops

Infinix Zero Book Ultra review: A beast in familiar clothing

Not just a familiar face

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The world of notebooks is a lawless wasteland especially if you don’t know what to look for. Though the market offers an endless variety of configurations tailored to your needs, how do you know if you’re paying the best price for a new daily driver? For example, is US$ 999 a good price for a notebook with an Intel Core i9 processor?

Last month, Infinix launched the Zero Book Ultra, a new notebook that isn’t shy about packing some power beneath its lithe frame. As you’ve probably gathered, the laptop sports quite an eyebrow-raising chipset and an attractive price tag. Let’s find out if an impressive spec sheet translates well to a final product.

 

A familiar but welcome design

At first glance, the Zero Book Ultra’s head will turn heads but not for the reasons a new laptop might have. There’s no beating around the bush for this one. It looks like a MacBook Pro, down to the two speakers at each end of the keyboard.

Separating it from Apple’s fare, the notebook’s back panel has an illuminated Zero logo and a subtle crisscross design spread throughout. Also, right where Apple puts the “MacBook Pro” text, the Zero Book Ultra has an Infinix logo right below the screen.

For heft, the notebook doesn’t have a lot of weight to it. I carried it in my backpack for a day, and it wasn’t a pain at all. It was also pleasant sitting on my lap.

A screen that Apple can be jealous of

The Zero Book Ultra’s similarities with a MacBook go beyond the chassis. As it puts out a barrage of movies, the notebook’s screen reminds me of Apple’s Retina displays. Armed with a 15.6-inch FHD IPS display, it can reproduce colors accurately, brightly, and in dazzling fashion, especially with up to 400nits of brightness. Naturally, it’s a step behind Apple; however, for what you’re paying for, it is a remarkable beast.

As an entertainment console, the Zero Book Ultra is a joy to watch movies with. Coupled with how light the entire device is, it’s so easy to whip it out during a flight or in bed to watch a few episodes or a film before landing or going to bed. Also, with a 178-degree viewing angle and capable speakers, it was a treat for watching with others.

Except for time when the sun is directly behind me, the notebook’s display worked well on sunny days. The brightness compensated enough for the shiny screen’s reflections.

Power built for the everyday user

For a lithe laptop, the Zero Book Ultra is deceptively powerful. Armed with an Intel Core i9-12900 and 32GB of RAM, the notebook packs a wallop. It’s not the top of the line, but it’s impressive, nonetheless. It can easily handle everyday use, including a session which simultaneously runs a word processor, Photoshop, and a movie in the background. Except for the switch to battery saver mode, the system barely hiccupped. It also comes with 1TB of SSD storage, a big plus for power users.

However, amid how impressive the processor is, the notebook might not be the best at unlocking the processor’s potential. Instead of a Radeon or a GeForce, it has Intel’s integrated Iris Xe GPU. Naturally, an integrated chip isn’t the best thing to pair with a powerful processor. At the very least, the Iris Xe in in Intel’s upper tier of integrated graphics.

Though you might not be able to play the new Call of Duty at a competitive pace, the combination is enough to play less demanding titles. Games which don’t need as much GPU power, such as Super Animal Royale and Hollow Knight, run well on the laptop without any performance boosters.

If you’re in it for some light gaming, attaching an external keyboard and mouse might help a lot. Though the notebook has a chiclet keyboard inspired by Apple, it isn’t as tactile as I would have hoped. With a 75 percent keyboard, it does take some getting used to, if you’re not familiar with the layout. Plus, while it’s responsive most of the time, the trackpad does skip every now and then, especially during battery saver.

If you want more out of the machine, the notebook comes with an Overboost mode, toggled with an external switch. While it’s on, it ramps up performance to 54W. The Zero Book Ultra played Overwatch 2 on high settings without problem. Unfortunately, enabling the feature puts a lot of strain on the battery. Even when plugged, Overboost mode sucked out more battery than the charger could provide. On the bright side, the ICE STORM 2.0 cooling system saved the laptop from heating up to unbearable levels.

A variable battery

Though the laptop performed well under a variety of circumstances, the battery remained a constant problem. With a 70Wh battery, the Zero Book Ultra leans more towards the lighter side of the spectrum. Under regular use, it can eke out six hours of battery life on a full charge. Battery saver only partially helped, squeezing out an extra hour before shutting down.

However, things shake up once more intensive tasks are started. For example, a light gaming session lasting half an hour sapped 20 percent of the battery. (For reference, this was tested with Super Animal Royale, a 2D battle royale with light requirements.) Meanwhile, a 2-hour Overwatch 2 Overboosted session grabbed the same amount of battery even when plugged.

For charging, the notebook uses a USB-C cable instead of the traditional adapters. The package also comes with a 100W power adapter. Though the port offers convenience, it takes around 2 hours to fully charge the machine.

Is the Zero Book Ultra your GadgetMatch?

Looks can be deceiving. While the notebook’s MacBook-inspired design can hint at an Apple copycat, the Zero Book Ultra offers more than just a wannabee. It offers exactly what it promises on paper: a powerful slate of hardware capable of almost everything, even some decent gaming. Though the battery prevents it from becoming a perfect device, it’s still more than worthy of its price tag.

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What can you do with a big screen that folds?

Featuring the Zenbook 17 Fold OLED

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Zenbook 17 Fold OLED

You’ve likely seen videos and articles here and there about this COLOSSAL foldable. The Zenbook 17 Fold OLED is, as of writing, a one of a kind device. But what’s it like to actually use one? And what can you really do with a screen this big that folds? 

We vibed with this device months ago but that was with an engineering unit. And THE Michael Josh showed us the many useful things you can actually do with it. 

You can watch this video for the full rundown: 

In case you couldn’t be bothered to watch the video, here’s a quick summary: 

Laptop Mode 

  • Can be used with or without the included bluetooth keyboard. 
  • Great for working in tight spaces. 
  • Keyboard is great. It’s clickety and has great travel. 

Extended Mode

  • One long vertical slate.
  • Unli-scroll on websites like GadgetMatch.
  • Good for video calls with split screen function. 

Desktop Mode

  • Yours truly’s favorite mode. 
  • Huge 17.3-inch display even while on the go. 
  • Great for work. 
  • Fantastic for media consumption. 

Tablet Mode

  • Use it like a really big book. Works even when semi-folded.
  • Works as a large chess board. 

At home daily usage 

Zenbook 17 Fold OLED

I’m mostly working from home these days and I didn’t know I needed a big screen until I started using the Zenbook 17 Fold OLED. Everything felt closer and larger without feeling overwhelming. It’s a stark contrast to the 13-inch screen that I use more regularly. 

I don’t typically push my machine to the limit on the daily. My days regularly consist of writing, copy editing, some light photo editing, and jumping between one chat app to another. 

Being an Intel EVO laptop, the Zenbook 17 Fold OLED is certified to last for long work sessions. The device is optimized for all these tasks making it perform much more efficiently. 

I was also most pleasantly surprised with the bluetooth keyboard included in the package. My expectations for inclusions like this are usually low. To my delight, the keyboard felt really nice to type on. Parts of this article were written using that keyboard specifically. 

For the next iteration, though, it would be nice if the keyboard had some backlighting to make it easily usable even in darker setups. 

Working at a café 

Zenbook 17 Fold OLED

If you don’t want to draw attention to yourself, the laptop mode turns the Zenbook 17 Fold OLED into a discreet notebook. As already mentioned, the keyboard feels nice and will keep you typing as long as your brain can keep churning out words. 

It is chunkier when in this mode. That means the keyboard has a higher elevation from the desk which is something I personally prefer. 

Zenbook 17 Fold OLED

If you don’t mind eyes glancing over to where you are, you can totally prop it up in Desktop Mode or Extended Mode. I’ve only really used it outside twice and in both situations, I didn’t feel the need to look for a power outlet. 

That said, I only typically work outside for about 3-4 hours. Any longer rapidly depletes my social battery. Thankfully, the same isn’t true for the Zenbook 17 Fold OLED’s battery. 

Indoctrinating friends to the church of Chaewon 

Zenbook 17 Fold OLED

LE SSERAFIM Chaewon is EVERYTHING.

This is a joke, in case that wasn’t clear. That said, the Zenbook 17 Fold OLED is perfect for showing off your current K-Pop obsession to friends, family, and what-have-you. 

The large screen makes it easy to showcase photos and other media. Say, you prepared some sort of presentation, you can easily face the screen to the person you’re speaking with and still control it using the keyboard. 

Zenbook 17 Fold OLED

It’s top-notch for consuming media too. That huge display is perfect for watching (and sharing) fancams or whatever shows or movies you’re currently into. The Harman Kardon speakers are okay, but if you want a more immersive experience, I suggest you use earphones – wired or otherwise. 

Bottomline is, the Zenbook 17 Fold OLED is a great screen for presentation and media consumption. And the fact that you can fold it makes it easier to bring around wherever. 

Featuring the Zenbook 17 Fold OLED

Oh and much like ASUS’ other laptops, at least in the Philippines, the package comes with a nice carrying pouch to keep the thing protected.

Big (screen) things coming 

Zenbook 17 Fold OLED

ASUS wasn’t coy in saying that this 17-inch foldable display is a sign of bigger things to come in 2023. If you’re into big screens, you can expect ASUS to deliver more of it soon. 

Personally, using the 17-inch screen was such a revelation for me. I’m lowkey hoping we get a similar implementation for a ZenScreen – ASUS’ own mobile external display. 

Is this your GadgetMatch? 

Zenbook 17 Fold OLED

At PhP 219,995, the Zenbook 17 Fold OLED isn’t for everyone. And only 100 units will be sold in the Philippines. If you want to be on the cutting edge of tech and are inclined to have the notoriety of owning a truly one-of-a-kind device, this is certainly for you. 

Naysayers will say it isn’t a practical purchase. That’s true. But practicality isn’t the point. The Zenbook 17 Fold OLED is a showcase of ASUS’ commitment to experiment and push the limits of hybrid laptop form factors. What you have here is a first generation device that feels a lot more polished than it has every right to be.


The Zenbook 17 Fold OLED is also available for purchase at 0% interest with up to 12 months of installment over at Home Credit.

Every unit comes with ASUS Platinum Warranty. Any physical damage within the first year, ASUS will cover 100% of the labor cost and 80% of the parts replacement cost of the repair.

More information
Where to buy


This feature is collaboration between GadgetMatch and ASUS Philippines.

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Deals

MSI holiday promo: Up to 28K in discounts, giveaways

‘Tis the season

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MSI is entering the holiday season by offering customers up to PhP 28,500 in total discounts and giveaways through its MSI Joy-Full Christmas Sale happening until December 31.

The brand’s high-end gaming laptop options MSI Vector GP, Katana GF, Stealth 15M, Crosshair 15, and GF63 Thin, and the productivity tools MSI Modern 14 and 15 are all part of the holiday promotion.

Participating laptops will get up to PhP 22,000 in price cuts, while buyers can also score included bundles worth up to PhP 6,500.

For the discounted price tags and corresponding bundles, check the list below.

Bundle A

Free MSI H991 gaming headset, thermos bottle, and thumb drive USB

  • Vector GP66 – PhP 145,995 (from 167,995)
  • Crosshair 15 – PhP 117,995 (from 135,995)
  • Stealth 15M – PhP 102,995 (from 114,995)
  • Katana GF66 – PhP 59,995 (from 69,995)

Bundle B

Free MSI M88 gaming mouse and mousepad

  • GF63 Thin (11UD-016PH/022PH) – PhP 61,995 (from 69,995)
  • GF63 Thin (11UD-243PH/418PH) – PhP 57,995 (from 63,995)
  • GF63 Thin (11UC-018PH/029PH) – PhP 55,995 (from 64,995)
  • GF63 Thin (11SC-031PH) – PhP 44,995 (from 49,995)

Bundle C

Free MSI Prestige wireless mouse and mousepad

  • Modern 15 (A5M-200PH) – PhP 42,995 (from 47,995)
  • Modern 14 (B5M-206PH) – PhP 40,995 (from 45,995)
  • Modern 15 (A5M-232PH/249PH) – PhP 37,995 (from 41,995)
  • Modern 15 (A5M-088PH) – PhP 37,995 (from 41,995)
  • Modern 14 (B5M-084PH/096PH) – PhP 35,995 (from 38,995)
  • Modern 14 (B11MOU-1004PH) – PhP 29,995 (from 33,995)
  • Modern 14 (B11MO-1078PH) – PhP 29,995 (from 33,995)
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Deals

ASUS and ROG’s Share 2022 Christmas promo is here

Bundles worth up to PhP 23,000

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ASUS

Christmas season has officially started for ASUS and ROG! The electronics brands are offering bundles of up to PhP 23,000 in savings from November 15 to December 31 as part of their Share 2022 promo.

Selected computers, smartphones, and peripherals from the ASUS, TUF, and ROG lines will all get corresponding exclusive bundle packages worth up to PhP 23,000.

ASUS and ROG laptops are also made more affordable with Home Credit’s up to 12 months installment at 0% interest, making this season truly the perfect time to score on one’s dream device.

Here are a few of the premium items getting their unique bundles:

Zenbook, Vivobook get free JBL speakers

ROG, TUF laptops get free accessories

  • ROG Zephyrus Duo 16 2022: Free ROG Chakram X gaming mouse and ROG Claymore II aura RGB gaming keyboard bundle (worth PhP 23,000)
  • ROG Zephyrus G14 2022: Free JBL Pulse 4 portable Bluetooth speaker (worth PhP 11,999)
  • ASUS TUF Dash F15 2022: Free JBL Flip 5 portable Bluetooth speaker (worth PhP 6,999) 
  • ASUS TUF Dash F15 2021: PhP 2,000 worth of Steam credits

ROG Phone 6 gets discount

  • PhP 3,500 discount on both 12GB+256GB and 16GB+512GB variants

Additionally, a PhP 10,000 purchase of any of ASUS and ROG’s products entitle customers to free exclusive merchandise.

For the full list of participating products and more information on ASUS and ROG’s Share 2022, click here.

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