The pandemic has brought about major changes on how we depend on our gadgets. We stay glued to our smartphones for hours to stay connected. Most of us also continue with our work from home setup, causing the demand for laptops to continue to rise and opening the market to new players.
realme tries to steal the scene as they make their laptop debut with the realme Book, aimed at competing at the midrange level where many brands have already made their mark.
Let’s check out if the realme Book can be a great contender in the laptop arena.
Familiar yet better
Having a first look at the realme Book, the similarity of its design is undeniable with the MacBook though I don’t really think it’s a bad thing. Its sleek and stylish minimalist design actually makes me feel like I’m using a premium laptop.
Compared to its smartphones that have those flashy labels, realme veered away from that with their first laptop as they kept the label subtle and you can barely see the “Dare to Leap” mark on one of its rubber feet.
Its 14-inch sleek aluminum alloy body with matte finish really feels solid and has little or no flex on its slim chassis.
If you’re someone who likes to work in different corners of your home or at al fresco shops, the realme book can easily fit in your bag with its 14.9mm width and 1.38kg weight. When working on a flat surface, the rubber feet on the back actually help the laptop stay stable.
In terms of port options, you get one USB-A port, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and two Type-C ports, one being a Thunderbolt 4 for the core i5 variant.
The USB port was a bit too tight that it required me to exert effort to pull out my USB device. Also, this laptop lacks an SD card slot and HDMI port. It doesn’t bother me that much but it may be a deal-breaker for other users.
One thing that the realme Book can really boast about is its display. As full HD display is common in laptops from its competition, the realme Book takes it up a notch with its 2K Ultra-HD screen with 2160 x 1440 pixel resolution delivering stellar image quality with sharp detail.
The realme Book also packs in 100 percent sRGB wide color gamut that enables true-to-life visuals and a peak brightness of 400 nits which maintains high quality image even under direct sunlight.
What also sets it apart from other laptops is its 3:2 aspect ratio, giving you more vertical room compared to most laptops that are either 16:10 or 16:9. This feature is an advantage when it comes to your productivity especially if you usually work on documents, spreadsheets or social media content for work.
However, this becomes a disadvantage when you’re watching videos since you’ll have wider black bars at the top and bottom of the screen due to movies and series being usually formatted with 16:9 ratio.
Another impressive feature of this laptop is that realme was able to fit its web camera on its narrow bezels, unlike Huawei that had to sacrifice a good camera angle with their Matebook’s hidden camera placed on its keyboard.
Comfortable for work
Speaking of the keyboard, typing on the realme Book is satisfying thanks to its 1.3mm key travel and the sound of its clicks is just right for my preference.
The keyboard also comes with a 3-mode backlit option which you can activate and adjust by pressing the F7 key. This is convenient especially when you have to work or use the laptop for a while during the night. It is also interesting since this is a feature that you barely get to experience on laptops at this price.
Compared to other laptops, the trackpad on the realme Book is pretty huge but doesn’t get in the way of typing. It is also very responsive to the touch and works precisely with all gestures and clicks.
And similar to the Huawei Matebook devices, it also has a fingerprint-sensor embedded power button to boot it up which is actually a handy feature to have in a laptop.
As for breezing through tasks, the realme Book is highly capable to give you the best experience being powered by the 11th Gen Intel Core processor. Paired with this is the Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics, 8GB DDR4 memory and 512GB PCIe SSD storage.
Aside from writing and creating social media content, I sometimes do photo and basic video editing for my side hustles. With the power combo under this laptop’s hood, it didn’t come as a surprise that the realme Book actually handled my tasks smoothly.
Even with games such as Valorant, I was able to play it at 2K resolution at high settings and it didn’t feel laggy at all. Of course, if you’d want a faster frame rate, you can always lower down your settings to improve your gaming experience.
I also noticed that while playing games, the laptop didn’t feel heated up at all. I checked via HWMOnitor and its temperature was just hovering a little over 60 degrees. This is actually cool for its slim body. I guess we can attribute this to its efficient cooling system with dual 8mm heat pipes and high speed, high airflow fans.
Quick juice up
When working, I usually take short breaks in between major tasks to refresh my mind. So it’s actually enough for me that the realme Book’s 54 Wh battery can support up to 9 hours of work and leisure, keeping me powered and connected.
And once the battery already ran out, the 65W fast charger got me to a 50 percent charge in just 30 minutes so I was able to conveniently continue with whatever I’m doing.
It’s also a plus that the charger of the realme Book is small and just slightly heavier than a smartphone charger so it’s an easy carry in the bag. It also has the same USB-C cable used to charge our smartphones so you won’t have to carry another charger for your smartphone when traveling.
For a laptop this slim, I was quite surprised that the sound coming from its down-firing Harman speakers is considerably loud and well defined.
When I tried listening to my playlists, I did notice that while it did not have as much bass as I would have preferred, it does sound fuller compared to others. When it comes to binging series and playing games, the speakers did a great job of simulating space that sounds pleasant and immersive. I guess I can say, it does sound better than many of the laptops I’ve tried.
Is the realme Book your GadgetMatch?
As a new player in the laptop market, the realme Book makes a pretty great attempt at laptops and definitely challenges competing and more established brands.
Sure this laptop may not be perfect but realme has brought their expertise in creating attractive smartphones to this laptop that definitely looks premium for its price. Also with its 2K Ultra-HD display, sleek and sturdy aluminum build, premium design, powerful performance and immersive audio, this laptop is definitely a solid deal for its price.
ASUS ROG Zephyrus M16: Big power in a compact form factor
Exceptional specs, solidly built body
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Mediatek, AMD collaborate on new Wi-Fi 6E Modules
Starting with the Filogic 330P Wi-Fi 6E chipset
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
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
ASUS launches new Vivobook 13 Slate OLED (T3300)
It’s a detachable laptop
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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