Laptops

Meet Apple’s new M1 Pro and M1 Max chips!

Going even further

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M1 Pro

The next generation of MacBook processors is here. Despite recently launching the lineup’s M1 chip, Apple isn’t slowing down. During Apple’s October event called Unleashed, the company unveiled two powerhouse processors to power the latest lineup of MacBook Pros. Let’s meet the new workhorses now.

Meet the M1 Pro

Featuring ten cores (configured with eight high-performance cores and two energy-efficient ones), the M1 Pro boasts masterful performance with 33.7 billion transistors. It can reportedly perform 70 percent better than the M1 chip. With double the width, it can fit up to 32GB of unified RAM. Additionally, the chipset’s GPU packs in 16 cores inside.

Meet the M1 Max

Pushing further than the M1 Pro, the M1 Max features 57 billion transistors inside its lithe frame. Though touting the same 10-core setup as the M1 Pro, the Max can pack up to 64GB of unified RAM. Likewise, the chipset’s GPU comes with 32 cores.

With the new chipsets, Apple is pushing its notebook lineups in the performance department. Both can supposedly perform several times better than a PC laptop’s integrated and high-end graphics cards. And despite the boost in performance, they can still deliver by using considerably less power. For example, the M1 Max can reportedly perform with 70 percent less power than PC laptops.

Both the M1 Pro and M1 Max are available in the new 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros.

SEE ALSO: 2021 iMac M1 Review: Your Best Work From Home Setup

Gaming

ASUS ROG Zephyrus M16: Big power in a compact form factor

Exceptional specs, solidly built body

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ROG Zephyrus m16

Whenever I see any device with the ROG branding, I automatically get the impression of how good the device may be even without actually knowing what its features are. I guess it’s true with others too as sending my friends a photo of the hefty ROG box containing this device, garnered excited reactions.

That’s because ROG devices actually live up to its reputation of being amazing gaming devices. A proof of that is in my recent visit to a PC store in Makati where I asked the salesperson which among their gaming laptops is their current best offering in their store and the response I got is a confident, ROG Zephyrus.

Get ready to be blown away as we take a closer look at the ASUS ROG Zephyrus M16.

What comes in the box

ROG Zephyrus m16

The whole package came in a large ROG box containing three main items.

First, we get the ROG Zephyrus backpack. Then, there’s a black box which contains the ROG Delta gaming headphones. Lastly, there’s the white Zephyrus box which contains the star of the show — the Zephyrus M16 along with the ROG Chakram Core gaming mouse, the 240W charger and the 100W USB-C charger.

Tough build with a small footprint

Going straight for the laptop, just as I laid my hands on the actual unit, I could already tell how solidly built this device is. The outer shell is made of aluminum with machine cut holes that looks elegant with just a slight hint of being a gaming laptop with its branding.

Some people might prefer laptops with a bit more flare, but I’m personally inclined towards this more serious look. This could easily pass n a corporate setting without getting too much attention for being a gaming laptop.

On their website, ASUS markets the Zephyrus M16 as a laptop with a 16-inch display fitted in a 15-inch chassis. And it’s true. It’s relatively compact with its length measuring only 13.98 inches. This would actually fit laptop bags designed for 15-inchers and placing it beside my old 15-inch Dell G3 made the latter look jurasically huge.

ROG Zephyrus m16

For the bottom half, you might want to get your cleaning cloths ready as the soft matte finish is an easy smudge magnet. While this design decision adds to the premium feel of the unit, it does require a bit of maintenance to keep it from looking like a nasty mess.

Good port selection but placement could do better

ROG Zephyrus m16

A vast amount of ports are also present here on the Zephyrus M16. On its right we can find the charging port, HDMI, RJ45, USB-A, two USB-C Thunderbolt 4 ports which doubles as a charging port and a 3.5mm combo audio jack. On the left is a microSD card reader and another USB-A port.

I do, however, have mixed feelings with the placement of these ports

None of the ports are placed at the rear portion of each side. The location of the charging port in the middle of the left side sets the wire of the charger to partially cover the exhaust vents of the device when plugged in.

If you then decide to use the 100W charger, you’ll have to bear with having to plug it on the USB-C port near the front of the device.

The USB-A port on the right would have also been nice if it were placed around the back as its current placement feels a bit intrusive when plugging an external mouse.

I understand that the designers might have had to give some room for ventilation or make use of that space around the rear part of the chassis, but the positioning could have been better for at least the essential ports for an obstruction-free experience.

Big, bright and vibrant display

ROG Zephyrus m16

The display is actually the first thing that wowed me on the M16. It’s a 16-inch 2560 X 1600 IPS panel with a 165Hz refresh rate and an aspect ratio of 16:10. It’s vibrant and punchy because it’s an IPS and while not as fast as a TN panel, it’s still relatively fast at 165Hz. 

Plus, this being a WQXGA panel, we’re adding more screen real estate vertically and when we combine that with the 100% DCI-P3 color gamut and the Pantone validation, we’re seriously getting ourselves a productivity beast.

ROG Zephyrus m16

This also gets close to being bezel-less with this display as it’s bezels are really thin but still manages to house a 720p webcam.

Let’s also take time to appreciate the Ergo Lift hinge on the M16 that seamlessly hides the chin of the display panel as the bottom half of the device is raised upon opening the lid. Very clever.

A good keyboard, a massive trackpad and an external mouse

ROG Zephyrus m16

For its keyboard, we have an RGB lit keyboard which has a nice tactile feedback and it feels phenomenal. It doesn’t feel mushy, the key travel is a bit more pronounced than others and the typing angle brought by the Ergo Lift hinge makes it comfortable and satisfying to use.

We’re also getting a massive trackpad on the M16. I could say it does perform great as I never found myself reaching for the external mouse for tracking and touch gestures are easily executed without much errors.

However, I don’t know if this is caused by the size of the trackpad or just poor palm rejection but this is the first time I’ve ever experienced a trackpad that gets in the way of my typing. Because my palms often touch the trackpad when typing, this often results in accidental key presses.

We do get a toggle to disable the trackpad in one of the function keys so I guess that could also be a solution.

As an alternative, we have the bundled ROG Chakram Core which is a right-handed wired gaming mouse that features a programmable thumb joystick.

It’s a full sized mouse that fits comfortably in my medium sized hand. I think this would fit best for palm grip users but from the perspective of a claw grip user, I didn’t have any issues with this as well.

Unquestionable performance

ROG Zephyrus m16

Onto the most exciting part, the Zephyrus M16 packs an 11th gen Intel Core i9 11900H processor paired with the RTX 3070 with 32GB of DDR4 RAM and 2TB SSD internal storage. 

This is so far the beefiest specced laptop I’ve experienced.

As expected, games like Valorant won’t be a problem running on these specs and that’s exactly what we experienced. Very fluid movement and zero lags even without boosting the Armoury Crate to performance mode.

For a more challenging and graphically demanding game like Control though, the game ran well on its default settings, but maxing out everything including ray tracing and other effects at 1440p did show some stutter. So for this one, we’re still gonna hold back a bit on the settings and resolution for the smoothest experience.

Do note that Control is a very heavy game and most of its additional graphic settings don’t give much difference visually anyway, so keeping some settings on medium or high is still looks stunning on the M16.

On my Shadow of the Tomb Raider test, I ran the benchmark maxing out every setting and got a 64 FPS average at 1440p resolution which are pretty amazing results for a laptop. This would go even higher if we’re playing on 1080p so if more FPS is your thing, you can opt to go for that.

We also experienced pretty decent temperatures on this unit as according to the ROG Armoury Crate, we’re getting around 69 to 73 degrees Celcius in game and would only occasionally hit the 80 degree mark during intense scenes. That’s very respectable for an Intel Core i9 in a compact laptop but it did come at the expense of being noticeably loud.

Speakers and the ROG Delta Headphones

ROG Zephyrus m16

According to ROG, the Zephyrus M16 actually has a six speaker setup. I didn’t really hear the benefits of this but it does sound pretty decent and clean but that’s about it. It won’t be able to fill up a room as its volume just isn’t very loud.

It had to turn on subtitles for games I’m playing as I was having a hard time hearing the dialog audibly. So for a more immersive experience, the ROG Delta headphones is what you’ll want to use for your long gaming sessions.

It’s a USB-C powered pair of headphones that are stylish and solidly built. It sports an ROG logo with breathing RGB lighting, a digital volume rocker and a switch for the RGB light.

ROG Zephyrus m16

Sound-wise, I do believe this sounds close to neutral and does seem balanced which isn’t what I usually experience on a pair of gaming headphones but it’s actually what I prefer.

I was expecting it to be boosted on the bass as gaming headphones often have this characteristic but that isn’t the case on this one. In fact, I did feel that it was rolled off a bit on the low end which gives us more clarity and less rumble.

All in all, this pair does give a pleasurable experience for gaming as the closed back and its noise cancellation forces you to focus on tackling your adventure.

Battery life and charging

It’s pretty common for gaming laptops not to have very good battery life as we do have a lot of power hungry components running. With the Zephyrus M16, we’ve experienced pretty similar results with other gaming laptops at around six hours of normal use.

Gaming on battery only got us about 45 minutes on Shadow of the Tomb Raider before everything became unplayably laggy just as power saving mode kicked in at 20 percent of battery remaining.

As for its charging, considering that this is a 240W charger, the results aren’t very fast getting us from empty to full in 1 hour and 45 minutes. With the 100W charger, it took us from ten percent to full in 2 hours and 8 minutes which is acceptable especially if we consider its pocket friendly size.

Is the ASUS ROG Zephyrus M16 your GadgetMatch?

Despite some minor inconveniences, there’s nothing in particular that I could say we would really hate with the Zephyrus M16.

It’s definitely a laptop designed for gaming enthusiasts who’d really want to get the best experience in a compact package and I don’t think they would be disappointed with gaming on this one.

The price tag of PhP 159,995 may sound too steep for many of us but the exceptional specs, solidly built body, a beautiful 16-inch 16:10 display, great keyboard, huge trackpad and a superb bundle of accessories, are a mouthful to say but these in itself says we’re not getting ripped off.

But if you’re not willing to shell out that much, a slightly less powerful variant with an RTX 3060, 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD is also available for PhP 139,990 while a variant with a Core i7, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD and an RTX 3060 is available for PhP 129,990.

ROG Zephyrus m16

So to sum it all up, at the level where it competes, the Zephyrus M16 is definitely a beast of a gaming laptop in a compact form factor that easily stands out as a great contender.

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Computers

Mediatek, AMD collaborate on new Wi-Fi 6E Modules

Starting with the Filogic 330P Wi-Fi 6E chipset

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File Photo: ROG Flow X13

Mediatek and AMD will co-engineer the AMD RZ600 Series Wi-Fi 6E modules containing MediaTek’s new Filogic 330P chipset. These will power will power next-gen AMD Ryzen-series laptop and desktop PCs in 2022 and beyond.

The focus of the collaboration is to deliver seamless connectivity experiences for customers. The the optimization process included stress testing and ensuring compatibility standards, which may ultimately reduce development time for OEM customers.

Filogic 330P supports the latest connectivity standards of 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 (2.4/5GHz) and 6E (6GHz band up
to 7.125GHz), along with Bluetooth® 5.2 (BT/BLE). The high throughput chipset is ultra-fast with support
for up to 2.4Gbps connectivity, including support for the new 6GHz spectrum at 160MHz channel
bandwidth.

The chipset also integrates MediaTek’s power amplifier (PA) and low noise amplifier (LNA)
technology to help optimize power consumption and reduce design footprint which enables the Filogic
330P chipset to be embedded in laptops of all sizes.

The AMD RZ600 Series Wi-Fi 6E modules expand AMD’s Wi-Fi capabilities, bringing excellent
connectivity solutions to OEMs and end users, whether they are playing the latest interactive games,
working remotely, or completing a big project.

AMD RZ600 Series Wi-Fi 6E Modules specs are as follows:

AMD RZ616 Wi-Fi 6E module

  • Wi-Fi 6E 2×2
  • 160MHz Wi-Fi Channels
  • PHY rate up to 2.4Gbps
  • M.2 2230 and 1216

AMD RZ608 Wi-Fi 6E module

  • Wi-Fi 6E 2×2
  • 80MHz Wi-Fi Channels
  • PHY rate up to 1.2Gbps
  • M.2 2230
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Laptops

ASUS launches new Vivobook 13 Slate OLED (T3300)

It’s a detachable laptop

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vivobook slate 13

ASUS could probably do better than the mouthful that is Vivobook 13 Slate OLED (T3300) when it comes to naming. It doesn’t even clue you in its most eye-catchy quality — that it’s a detachable laptop. That said, this is looking like ASUS’ answer to the Microsoft’s Surface Pro.

The Vivobook 13 Slate OLED (T3300) is a 2-in-1 Windows 11 powered device. It comes with a full-sized keyboard and support for the ASUS Pen 2.0 stylus.

Your personal OLED TV

The notebook has a 13.3-inch, 16:9 aspect ratio, OLED Dolby Vision touchscreen — definitely not your run-of-the-mill display. It’s also PANTONE Validated with a cinema-grade 100 percent DCI-P3 gamut for accurate, vivid colors. It’s DisplayHDR True Black 500 is certified for deep blacks and brilliant highlights.

The OLED display has a fast 0.2-millisecond response time. Its eye protection is TÜV Rheinland-certified with blue-light levels that’s up to 70 percent lower than an LCD display.

Of course, no viewing experience is complete without quality audio. Thankfully, the Vivobook 13 Slate OLED (T3300) comes with a quad-speaker Dolby Atmos sound system. It uses a smart amplifier to safely drive the four wide-range speakers at their maximum possible distortion-free volume for rich and clear audio.

Note or sketch

Creatives and avid note-takers will have a field day using the Vivobook 13 Slate OLED (T3300). Its compatible with the ASUS Pen 2.0 which has 4096-level pressure sensitivity, 5-350 gram pen-tip force and 266 Hz sampling rate, and comes with four interchangeable pen tips that mimic 2H, H, HB and HB pencil.

Charging is easy via any USB-C charger. When paired via Bluetooth, the shortcut button provides intuitive one-click functions, such as taking screenshots or navigating to the next page of a presentation.

Your versatile PC

Naturally, it’s also a productivity tool. Just clip on the detachable full-size keyboard, and you can immediately get down to business. The magnetically-attached marvel has keys spaced for comfortable typing, the mega-sized touchpad is engineered for maximum responsiveness and accuracy, and it has a special coating with a silky-smooth feel.

Inside it has a quad-core 3.3 GHz Intel processor, and Intel Bridge technology allows any Android app[iii] to run on Windows 11.

There are also two USB-C ports, an audio jack, and a microSD card reader. For fast one-touch login, there’s an optional fingerprint sensor on the power button.

With USB-C Easy Charge, it can be charged from a power bank or almost any USB-C charger. The bundled charger will juice it up to 60 percent in around 39 minutes.

Exclusive Artist Editions

In addition to the standard model, Vivobook 13 Slate OLED will also soon be available in two exclusive Artist Editions.

Available in early 2022, the Artist Editions are designed in collaboration with artists Steven Harrington and Philip Colbert. Steven Harrington is a Californian contemporary artist, and his Artist Edition offers a unique design inspired by his quirky art pieces. The Philip Colbert Artist Edition is a surrealist take by this London-based contemporary artist.

All special editions include a special cover stand, wallpaper, a special box, a sleeve, a keyboard, a hard cover case and keyboard stickers. The Philip Colbert Artist Edition also comes with a pair of limited-edition shoelaces. Every standard edition Vivobook 13 Slate OLED comes bundled with a keyboard, cover stand, and ASUS Pen 2.0.

Pricing and availability

In the US, the ASUS Vivobook 13 Slate OLED will be available in the 4GB+128GB variant in November. In the Philippines, it’ll be available soon.

 

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