Laptops

Lenovo ThinkBook 13S review: Balance is everything

Be stylish at work

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“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”

You may have heard this famous proverb from the 1980 horror movie The Shining, but it really makes a fair point — if you don’t balance your work-life activities, you’ll get bored. Or worse, you yourself get boring.

In comes Lenovo’s ThinkBook 13S. A business laptop when it comes to its durable form factor and security but is equipped and poised to deliver an enhanced entertainment experience with its features.

We’ve previously given you a rundown of its headlining features during our unboxing and hands-on. For this article, we go straight to how it fares as a daily driver.

Being clad in an all-aluminum chassis, the ThinkBook 13S really feels robust when you hold it. There’s no surface that bends when you apply pressure and its metallic finish reinforces the sturdy look that it gives off.

The display spans 13.3 inches across which is just the right size for finishing up reports and working remotely. Plus, its entire form factor doesn’t take up much space inside a bag so that’s always a point for portability.

With its Full HD display with Dolby Vision, a noticeable improvement in dynamic range is seen while colors are pleasantly vibrant. A minor gripe is that glares are still an ongoing nuisance when you attempt to watch videos outside on a sunny day.

Its narrow 5.5mm bezels do make the display pop out a little bit, but it still has a slightly thicker forehead and a chin that, for me, visually cancels out the efforts of having slim side bezels.

Another interesting thing to note is that the laptop is protected from external factors that may damage it. The 13S has anti-spill protection for up to 60cc of water in case you accidentally tip over your drink beside the laptop while working.

Coming from Lenovo and its famous Yoga line, the ThinkBook 13S also received the capability to be able to open its lid all the way back thanks to a special hinge made with zinc-alloy. As such, it’s able to endure 25,000 open-and-close cycles so wear-and-tear isn’t something you’d have to think of.

Due to its capability to flip all the way, sharing content while giving a presentation to a colleague, for example, just got a lot easier.

We mentioned that this particular laptop values security and if so do you, you’d be glad to know that it comes with a fingerprint sensor embedded in its power button. It works as advertised and setting it up only takes a few minutes.

The built-in dual Harman speakers with Dolby Audio also performed well for a small laptop. It’s enough to fill a small room when you play music, but a set of external speakers would work best if you plan on binge-watching movies using this.

After you’ve taken your break from writing and are ready to go back to work, its Modern Standby feature kicks in to let you resume where you left off in less than 0.5 seconds — no more waiting for long periods just for the software to load your files and whatnot.

For a quick rundown on specs, it has an 8th generation Intel chip that can be bumped up to an i7 processor, up to 16GB RAM, and a choice between discrete AMD Radeon 540X or integrated Intel UHD graphics. It also runs on Windows 10 Pro.

The keys have good travel that allows for comfortable typing and are spaced apart just right so it doesn’t feel cramped up. Its touchpad, although not as wide as we’d want it to be, gives good response and doesn’t demand an additional mouse to be able to accomplish tasks efficiently.

According to Lenovo, the battery on the ThinkBook 13S can last up to 11 hours under optimal circumstances. As for us, we used it to work at cafes as well as during meetings and it was able to last the entire day with a little less than 20% left when we get home. It’s safe to say that it can go for a day’s work even if you left your charger back home by accident.

Overall, the ThinkBook 13S offers the needed characteristics to be able to get work done efficiently outside the house. It has a subtle, yet sleek physique, has a robust form factor to withstand the beatings of traveling with it, and an ergonomic layout of buttons, ports, and other physical elements.

It’s also secure for those sensitive or confidential files at work. It comes with a fingerprint sensor built-in as well as software features that prevent unwanted access to your device.

Of course, when you need to take a break from work, the laptop’s HDR display together with its Harman speakers will make your binge-watching and sound trip more enjoyable.

Based on our experience, the Lenovo ThinkBook 13S doesn’t make Jack a dull boy. Rather, it makes him sharper than ever before.

Pricing starts in the Philippines at PhP 54,990 (roughly US$ 1050) for the discrete AMD graphics while the model with integrated Intel UHD 620 starts at PhP 58,990 (around US$ 1126).

Apps

Microsoft could bring Android support to Windows in 2021

Feeling the heat from Apple’s move to ARM

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Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system is widely used globally and has remained the laptop and PC segment’s undisputed leader. However, Linux, as well as macOS, have gained considerable traction in the last few years. To maintain its edge, Microsoft could bring Android support to Windows soon.

According to a Windows Central report, internal discussions are ongoing over the possibility of bringing Android runtime to Windows 10. Currently, you can install a third-party emulation software like Bluestacks to run Android apps on a Windows device. But the experience is far from perfect and still requires a bit of a learning curve.

Apple has a significant lead in this regard because its move to an ARM-based M1 processor allows it to run iOS apps on macOS seamlessly. This ideally helps in bridging the software gap between two very different devices.

Microsoft has tried to achieve a similar goal with the Universal Windows Platform. But the results are still limited because there are barely any devices with a smaller form factor leveraging the operating system.

More importantly, Microsoft wants to bring Android apps to its Microsoft Store. While there’s no information on how it intends to achieve this, the report does say the release is expected by Fall 2021.

Microsoft no stranger to cross-platform apps

Microsoft has whole-heartedly adopted cross-platform compatibility and has a host of apps on iOS as well as Android. If it’s able to bring Android apps to Windows, it’ll challenge the status quo of Chromebooks, which has long been a pain for the Redmond giant in the affordable segment.

This isn’t the first time a company is trying to incorporate Android within its proprietary operating system. BlackBerry 10 supported Android runtime, and the brand leaned on it to make apps easily available. While the move was too late for BlackBerry, it isn’t the same for Microsoft.

It’s worth noting that the idea is in a very nascent stage right now. We don’t know how Microsoft intends to distribute Android apps or whether it’ll start supporting Google Play Services. Although one thing’s for clear — Microsoft is feeling the heat from Apple.

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Computers

Exclusive freebies up for grabs with ASUS laptops this holiday season

It’s the best time to buy at ASUS!

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This year has proven the importance of reliable laptops as companies switch to a remote working setup for their employees. For those looking to upgrade their current laptops, now may be the right time to do so. ASUS has launched its Share 2020 Christmas promo where customers can snag exclusive freebies on a vast number of laptop models from the brand.

From November 25 until December 31, 2020, buyers can snag up to PhP 27,490 worth of bundled items when they purchase any ASUS laptops from concept stores and resellers nationwide. Laptops from different price ranges will receive the following items for free:

  • TUF H3 Headset worth PHP 2,100 for laptops worth PhP 30,000 to PhP 59,000
  • ZenScreen Portable Monitor worth PHP 13,390 for laptops worth PhP 60,000 to PHP 99,000
  • ZenBeam S2 Projector worth PHP 27,490 for laptops worth PhP 100,000 and up

To redeem the bundled items, register on this website.

Exclusive bundles for gamers at heart

Bundles are also up for grabs for ROG and TUF Gaming laptops this November 25 to January 26, 2021. More than PhP 53,000 worth of bundled items can be had when one purchases the ROG Zephyrus 15 Duo with the latest 10th-gen Intel Core i9 processor and ScreenPad Plus secondary display. Included in these bundled items is the ROG Chariot Core gaming chair which is worth PhP 18,000.

Steam credit vouchers, ROG gaming monitors, and more will also be given away for purchases of select ROG and TUF Gaming laptops.

Just visit this website for more information on the promo. Meanwhile, the mechanics for item redemption can be found here.

Professional gear for business laptops

With the opening of the ASUS for Business laptop store on Shopee, the brand is giving away up to PhP 196,000 worth of prizes on purchases done from January 1 to December 31, 2020.

Nope, that’s not a mistake — those who purchased their laptops from the start of the year are still eligible to win a brand-new ASUS all-in-one PC, ExpertBook laptops, and ZenWifi routers. Furthermore, the first 30 customers who will purchase from the store will also get the chance to receive an ASUS Wi-Fi Router worth PHP 4,250.

Customers can register from November 25 to December 31 on this website to redeem their prizes.

More exciting freebies and exclusive perks await laptop buyers this Christmas. Visit ASUS Philippines’ website for more information on their Share 2020 holiday promo. Follow ASUS Philippines, ROG, or ASUS for Business Facebook page for more updates and developments.

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Laptops

Apple could launch redesigned MacBooks with new silicon in 2021

Will it be even more powerful?

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Apple’s transition to custom ARM silicon began this month with the launch of the new MacBook Air. The new iteration sports Apple’s proprietary M1 chipset, but the exterior remains the same. New leaks suggest that its successor will be way more powerful and not too far.

According to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo’s research note, the Cupertino giant is planning to launch redesigned MacBook models with its in-house silicon in the second half of 2021. First obtained by MacRumours, the note says Apple will populate its laptop lineup with new models powered by the ARM-based M1 chipset, but those models will look different.

Due to the ARM architecture, Apple is also able to make flexible apps. Hence, apps designed for iOS can seamlessly run on macOS. The current Apple M1 chip is seen on the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro 13-inch.

The design changes that Kuo mentioned might include changes in display sizes and other minor design changes. Kuo has previously suggested that redesigning is in plans for the 13- and 16-inch MacBook Pro models.

It’s also worth noting that Kuo’s second half of 2021 means it’ll be announced practically one year after M1’s debut. It’s a fair assumption that Apple has followed the yearly cycle for its A-series processors and would follow a similar timeline for MacBooks as well.

According to LeaksApplePro, the M1’s successor could be called the M1X and would debut on the next 16-inch MacBook Pro iteration. Originally introduced in 2019, it is yet to get a successor and is due for a refresh.

Apple has proven it can make bleeding-edge chips that can deliver maximum performance along with thermal management. A-series processors currently power the iPhone and iPad, and they’ve delivered exceptional numbers. Building on its existing expertise, Apple intends to shift its MacBook lineup to in-house silicon completely.

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