Laptops

Newly discovered bugs leave two decades of devices vulnerable

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Are you using a machine made after 1995? Chances are, your computer is vulnerable to two newly discovered security exploits that can steal all your information.

On the bright side, you’re just as vulnerable as every single user on the planet. Plus, every major hardware and software company is scrambling to patch the exploits before they get out of hand.

Just as the fireworks from the new year died down, researchers from Google Project Zero announced the discovery of these two exploits — named Meltdown and Spectre. The vulnerabilities can cause attacks on the device’s physical memory, rather than just its kernel memory. This indicates that practically all the microprocessors manufactured by Intel from 1995 onwards are vulnerable.

The first one, Meltdown, allows malignant applications to access a system’s entire library of sensitive files. The second one, Spectre, tricks secure programs to leak their sensitive information to an end user. Both exploits affect offline hardware and cloud computers.

Despite its universality among devices, security measures can’t detect or block any Meltdown or Spectre exploits. They don’t leave any traces of their execution. Antivirus software, likewise, can’t distinguish the exploit from safe programs.

Tech giants like Windows, Google, and Intel are already issuing statements and patches to combat Meltdown. Cloud computing companies are also upgrading their servers to plug the exploit from being abused.

Spectre, however, is a harder nut to crack. While the exploit is harder to abuse for hackers, it’s also harder to patch. Concrete patches have not been released for Spectre yet. In fact, the exploit is so-named because researchers believe that Spectre will haunt them long after its discovery.

As consumers, the only thing we can do is implement the respective patches when they come out.

SEE ALSO: Your foolproof password isn’t good enough

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First Look

ASUS ZenBook S (UX393): Unboxing and First Impressions

Sleek, gorgeous, and sexy!

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There’s a premium laptop in town, and it’s worth your every attention. Meet the ZenBook S (UX393) — one of ASUS’s most premium headliner laptop.

In case you didn’t know, ZenBooks got all the coolest features that you can find on a laptop today. While looking fancy.

Without further ado, let’s unbox this beaut!

Bringing that sexy black

The ASUS ZenBook S UX393 landed in my home in a black box. You’ll know it’s not the usual laptop seeing how most laptops use a brown box made with sustainable materials.

Taking a peek inside, you’ll see two black boxes: one that carries the laptop and one that contains the peripherals.

There’s also a sleek, laptop sleeve!

But first, let’s take the smaller, rectangular box out. Inside, you can find a long, 65W fast charger in USB-C.

There’s also a USB-C to 3.5 mm headphone jack adapter. Yes, you read that right. This gorgeous notebook doesn’t have a headphone jack anymore.

Moving on, the bigger box carries the ever-gracious ZenBook S. But first, let’s admire how sleek and sexy the box is — in and out. With its minimal Zen-like pattern, it’s easy to be astonished at first sight. It also looks posh with its sexy black and copper-red combination, the same colors utilized by the beautiful ZenBook S.

Upon opening, you’ll find ASUS’s stamp regarding its commitment to sustainability, honoring its promise to using environment-friendly materials despite using a different color for its packaging.

Underneath the laptop, you can find the usual product guide and warranty card tucked inside a discreet envelope.

Gorgeous and stunning

Looking at the ZenBook S is like staring at a Valentino coat and Burberry underwear. You’re not sure if you need it, but you know you want it.

It maintained the iconic, off-centered logo on its lid, with a spun-metal finish, embellished with its prominent Zen-like concentric circular patterns.

Its luxurious Jade Black finish is accentuated with subtle Red-Copper diamond-cut edges, certainly leaving quite an impression — whether it’s you looking or the one showing it off.

On its sides, the ZenBook S demonstrated a design made for people on-the-go. It has a full-size HDMI, USB Type-A ports, MicroSD card reader, and Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports.

These Thunderbolt ports support fast charging, 4K UHD external displays, and up to 40Gbps of data transfers.

First impressions

The ZenBook S embodies ASUS’s philosophy when it comes to premium laptops. Just the way it looks, it’s pretty clear that it’s meant to be fancy, smart, and glamorous.

ASUS also brings in innovative features — an ergonomic backlit keyboard design, function keys that make navigating easier, and the NumberPad 2.0 which makes the touchpad work as an LED numeric keypad, too.

For the price it commands, it’s certainly convenient and secure to use. With Windows Hello, your face is your password! The front infrared (IR) camera recognizes your face in seconds and lets you log in instantly and securely.

The ZenBook S also sports ASUS’s proprietary NanoEdge display albeit with a taller 3:2 aspect ratio and a 3300×2200 resolution touchscreen.

Its screen has a Pantone-validated color accuracy, as well, making it an excellent choice for budding creatives. Coupled with Intel’s Evo platform powered by an Intel Core i7 processor, it runs any software seamlessly while you multitask for an efficient workflow.

Price and availability

The ASUS ZenBook S (UX393) is like meeting someone and falling in love at first sight. There’s so much to explore, and you can’t keep your hands off it. That’s what the experience with the ZenBook S felt like.

And for a flagship headliner, we know this laptop still has a lot of surprises on its sleeves. It currently retails for PhP 99,990.

More details on the ZenBook S here.


This feature is a collaboration between GadgetMatch and ASUS Philippines.

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Laptops

ASUS ZenBook Flip S (UX371EA) Unboxing & First Look

Premium 2-in-1

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ZenBook Flip S

ASUS is always coming out with head-turning devices, but the ASUS ZenBook Flip S might just be the one that really grabs your attention. Let’s take a look at it!

There’s nothing particularly striking about the box. 

And this one’s pretty beat up when we got it, but that happens. Everything on the inside is fine.

Jumping straight to the contents — here’s the power brick.

It’s USB-C so it can also charge your smartphone — so long as it also has a USB-C port.

You also get a USB to LAN cable and a USB-C to 3.5mm audio jack cable. 

ZenBook Flip S

Opening the inner box reveals the laptop plus some product information. 

ZenBook Flip S

Digging in a little further, you’ll see it comes with a pen. 

It’s worth noting that there’s no holster on the laptop for the stylus. You’re gonna have to keep it safe at all times and store it somewhere in your bag or your pocket to make sure you don’t lose it.

And the usual manual and warranty card. 

ZenBook Flip S

Ta-dah! Here’s the ASUS ZenBook Flip S. 

With that patented concentric circle design originating from the ASUS logo. Nice and sleek.

Like plenty of ASUS laptops, the screenpad also doubles as the numpad. 

ZenBook Flip S

Over on the right side are the power button and the USB-A port. 

And on the left, an HDMI port along with two USB-C ports. 

The fun thing about 2-in-1s is that you can spread it out like this. 

ZenBook Flip S

It’s a bending ability that we recently realize can come in handy.

You can, of course, use it as a regular laptop. 

ZenBook Flip S

But there’s also this tent mode perfect for consuming media.

ZenBook Flip S

Then, there’s tablet mode which works nicely for something like this that’s relatively light. 

Shin Ryujin 💗

You are working with an OLED touch screen so that’s fantastic for your eyes. 

ZenBook Flip S

Not Shy about stalking ITZY’s IG page.

The keys on the keyboard though are a tad smaller than we’d like. 

ZenBook Flip S

It might take a few hours to a few days to really get used to the keys. They just seem off by a fraction of a millimeter but it does make a difference. No complaints on key travel though, just the size of the keys.

Inside it is the latest 11th Generation Intel Core i7 processor and Intel Iris X graphics, combined with up to 16GB of RAM and up to a 1TB PCIe 3.0 x4 SSD. That means it can practically handle most regular office tasks. It’s actually overpowered for that kind of work.

After about a week of usage, we can say this can power through a regular workday and then some. You’ll have enough juice to watch an episode or two as you wind down for the day.

It retails for PhP 94,995 and could possibly be the sexiest piece of tech you can own.

More details on the ZenBook Flip S here.


This feature is a collaboration between GadgetMatch and ASUS Philippines

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Laptops

Microsoft bashes MacBook Pro in Surface Pro 7 ad

“Why can’t they just give me a whole touchscreen?”

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Though the company is still one of the bestselling smartphone brands in the world, Apple is often at the butt of many jokes over the years. Most recently, Samsung and Xiaomi mocked the latest iPhone 12 for not having a free charging adapter in the box (that is, before the mockers eventually copied Apple’s decision, but that’s another story). Now, Microsoft is joining the Apple mock party in a recent ad for the Surface Pro 7.

In the ad, a young boy compares the many pros of the Surface Pro 7 against the current MacBook Pro’s many cons. First and foremost, he celebrates Microsoft’s free stylus and decries Apple’s “little bar.” You might recognize this tiny feature as the controversial Touch Bar. “Mac gave me this little bar, but why can’t they just give me a whole touchscreen,” the boy asks.

Compared to the Surface Pro 7’s fully touchscreen display, the MacBook Pro only has a thin strip of touchscreen functionality. The feature was so controversially received that Apple is already pondering on a future redesign without the Touch Bar.

Besides the Touch Bar, the ad also praises Microsoft’s detachable keyboard versus Apple’s static keyboard. It also calls the device a “much better gaming device.” (Weird flex, but okay.)

Finally, the ad compares the two’s vastly different price tags: US$ 1,299 for the MacBook Pro and only US$ 890 for the Surface Pro 7.

SEE ALSO: Surface Pro 7 and Laptop 3: Price in Singapore

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