It is quite noticeable that more and more smartphone brands have been venturing into the laptop scene. This isn’t surprising. Since the pandemic, demand for laptops have seen a large increase for remote work and online classes.
Moving into this direction, it was just a matter of time for brands like Xiaomi’s Redmi to also take this on. Being one of the top brands offering the finest value-for-money smartphones, the question remains. Can they do the same with their laptops?
That’s what we’re finding out in this review of the newest laptop from Redmi — the RedmiBook 15.
Design and Build quality
The design of the RedmiBook 15 is pretty straightforward. You can tell that it gets its inspiration from the unibody design and looks rather basic. That said, it was still given much thought. With just a plain top lid engraved with a subtle Redmi branding, this fashion is surely one that minimalists will appreciate.
There’s no large sticker carrying the specs of the laptop and instead there are only two case badges placed on the palm rest.
Straight away you will feel that the body is indeed plastic with its smooth and flat finish. Fortunately, it’s not one that feels like it would break on you easily as it does seem like it can withstand daily use.
One handed opening of the top lid does open about 90 percent of the way and with practice, it is possible to get through entirely.
It also has a fairly slim footprint and weighs acceptably light as it even fits my bag which is designed for 14-inch laptops but without much headroom left.
For the ports, we do appreciate that we are getting a lot on this laptop but the selection could have done a bit better. There are three USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port, RJ45 LAN port, 3.5mm combo audio port and a full size SD card reader. Sadly, there is no USB-C port.
Keyboard and trackpad
The RedmiBook 15 comes equipped with a full sized keyboard that looks a bit ordinary without any sort of backlighting or fancy features. The plastic keycaps feel relatively rough which is similar to what we would feel on other entry level laptops.
Thankfully, key spacing is pretty substantial and each key press feels satisfying. A bit of a surprise on my part but this indeed feels great to type on. I actually did write this review on it and I didn’t run into any issues that I was expecting to experience like hitting the power button accidentally.
People who don’t prefer connecting an external mouse are also likely to enjoy using the trackpad on the RedmiBook 15. The one we have here is huge and it tracks cursor movement nicely. Tap and swipe gestures are also responsive, making navigating the Windows user interface effortless.
A 15.6-inch, Full HD display is what we’ll mostly be looking at on the RedmiBook 15. This display has a matte anti-glare coating and is wrapped around some fairly slim bezels with a 720p web camera on top.
It’s a pretty average display for an entry level laptop. However, colors on this display just leaves much to be desired. Oftentimes it looks washed out and it’s difficult to discern what color you are looking at as it suffers from undesirable viewing angles.
It took me a while to find the sweet spot but I discovered that the best way to view this is to push the display far back between 100 to 110 degree angle. And even that does not make the whole screen perfectly clear. To add, just getting slightly off axis would make it even harder for your eyes to see.
I couldn’t really suggest doing photo editing or color grading on this but web browsing and other non-screen dependent tasks would be okay.
Specs and Performance
The RedmiBook 15 comes in two variants. The one that we have is running on the 11th gen Intel Core i5 11300H processor with 8GB DDR4 RAM and 512GB PCI-E SSD while the base model runs on the Intel Core i3 1115G4 with 8GB DDR4 RAM and 256GB SATA SSD storage
On paper, the Core i5 variant that we have has the upper hand over its competition in this price range. The Core i5 11300H being a high performance processor, this can presumably handle a fair amount of processor intensive software that the average person would use. This means everyday tasks, like Zoom meetings and online classes along with heavy web browsing, wouldn’t be a problem on the RedmiBook 15.
During our test, the performance we experienced was superb and everything was smooth as we had hoped it would be. This also comes preloaded with Windows 11 and I do appreciate that it doesn’t seem to have bloatwares installed.
Despite not having a discrete graphics card, I was still curious on how this laptop would perform running games. And to satisfy my curiosity, l went on to test some. Quite surprisingly, this is able to run Bioshock: Infinite at very high settings at very acceptable frame rates. It may not be a recent title, but keep in mind that this is still a AAA game. Running the game at high settings is still commendable.
It’s also nice to know that running games didn’t raise the temperatures too high as the laptop only managed to reach a peak of 84 degrees celsius in game.
For the sound, we are getting two 2W down firing speakers below the device that come with DTS tuning. Sound quality wise, I find that these speakers sound tinny especially with music playback but it does sound alright for spoken dialogue.
It’s more on the quieter side of the spectrum but the panning of the sound from left to right when playing games is noticeable.
Battery and Charging
Running on battery, I was able to reach approximately six hours on balanced battery mode. I think this is a pretty okay result for a laptop this size. But we could probably squeeze in around an hour or more if we ran on power saving mode or if we held back on some tasks but that would depend on your use case.
For its charging, the included 65W charger was able to juice up the RedmiBook 15 from 11 percent to 22 percent in 15 minutes. While the whole charging time took two hours and forty six minutes which is also nothing out of the ordinary.
Is the RedmiBook 15 your GadgetMatch?
Despite some of its flaws, I think the RedmiBook 15 gets a lot of things right. The minimalist design plus the large trackpad, good keyboard and the powerful performance are, no doubt, its main selling points.
I can easily see professionals like app developers, writers, teachers and even students really appreciating this. It almost has most of the things it takes to be a powerful and affordable contender for creative work that it’s just unfortunate that it is greatly held back by its display.
At the price it’s going for, there are other options with less powerful hardware that have better displays which I personally would be more inclined to choose.
Then again, if your priorities fit in the categories we mentioned, I think the RedmiBook 15 will still perform well for you.
The RedmiBook 15 is priced at PhP 37,999 for the Intel Core i5 11300H, 8GB, 512GB SSD variant and PhP 26,999 for the Core i3-1115G4, 8GB, 256GB SSD variant.
The ROG Zephyrus G14 (2023) is my top choice
If I HAD TO switch to Windows
Where do I even begin? ASUS ROG’s Zephyrus G14 has been one of my personal favorite gaming laptops ever since it first came out. And a few years later, it just keeps on getting better.
If I absolutely had to switch to a Windows laptop, the ROG Zephyrus G14 is easily my top choice. It’s an all-eggs-in-one-basket machine that can keep up with you in play, work, and everything else in between.
In a nutshell, here are the top specs and features you’re getting, taken straight from ASUS ROG’s product page:
- Up to an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 Laptop GPU with 125W max TGP, NVIDIA Advanced Optimus, and DLSS 3.
- ROG Nebula HDR. Up to 16:10 Mini LED QHD 165Hz Display, Pantone® Validation, 100% DCI-P3, & Dolby Vision.
- ROG Intelligent Cooling. A custom vapor chamber and liquid metal support 0dB Ambient Cooling.
- Fast charging up to 50% in 30 minutes, 100W USB Type-C charging, and Wi-Fi 6E support.
- Windows 11 Home. Up to an AMD Ryzen 9 7940HS CPU.
- AniMe Matrix, 14,969 CNC milled holes, 1,449 LEDs, and custom animations.
Signature Zephyrus G look
Looks-wise, the ROG Zephyrus G14 hasn’t changed much. That’s great because you don’t touch perfection. The Moonlight White variant that we reviewed looks as immaculate as ever. If you’re not feeling it, it also comes in Eclipse Gray.
The Zephyrus name looks bad-ass on the back side.
The left side is home to the power adapter port, HDMI port, a UBS-C port, and the 3.5mm audio jack.
Meanwhile, the ride has the microUSB slot, another UBS-C port, and a pair of USB-A ports.
The ErgoLift Hinge, which has largely been an afterthought, is present and is still as sleek as ever.
And you can personalize it with the AniMe Matrix feature which we didn’t really bother with during our time with the laptop.
Beyond console-level graphics for gaming
Perhaps the biggest draw of the ROG Zephyrus G14 (2023), in combination with its looks, is the beyond console-level gaming visuals.
We ran Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart PC on this thing and the visual fidelity nearly looks better than the one on the PS5. Let’s face it, graphics is definitely one of the things a lot of gamers consider when choosing what to play.
We tried many other titles just to see how they would look on the laptop and everything looked absolutely divine. Starfield was immersive, Lies of P looked fantastic, and even NBA 2K22 looked amazing.
In terms of the overall gaming experience, it’s also console-level and even beyond depending on what you’re playing. Going back to Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart PC, this game was made specifically for the PS5. And one of its flexes is the loading speed going from one rift to another. While the PS5 still feels faster, the ROG Zephyrus G14 wasn’t too far behind.
In other games that weren’t specifically optimized for console, the difference in performance is negligible. Third party titles like Lies of P, NBA 2K22, and even the recently released Like A Dragon: The Man Who Erased His Name played absolutely amazing.
Take note, this is without much tweaking done on our part. One of the advantages of PC gaming is how you can have specific configurations for whatever game you’re playing. But as primarily a busy console player, tweaking settings isn’t exactly something I personally enjoy. Despite that, I absolutely enjoyed playing using my GameSir T4 Cyclone Pro controller seamlessly paired with the quick launch capabilities and steady high performance of the ROG Zephyrus G14 (2023).
Most of my gameplay sessions were with the laptop hooked up via HDMI to my LG C2 TV. When I took it out and gamed outside of my place, that’s where the laptop showed its one weak link. The speakers just aren’t loud enough for what I’m used to with laptops (I daily drive a MacBook Pro 13” M1). It’s best used with headphones or a speaker whether connected via bluetooth or the 3.5mm audio jack.
Workhorse even for your multimedia needs
I wasn’t able to push the ROG Zephyrus G14 to the limit work-wise. I mostly did the usual stuff here like answering emails, writing parts of this review among other articles, and just casual social media browsing.
Thankfully, my colleague MJ served as photographer in one of the races he usually participates in. He used the laptop to process the hundreds of photos he took (some of which you can view here).
All of the post-processing of the photos he took, he did on the ROG Zephyrus G14. The laptop handled all of it with ease. If I’m not mistaken, I believe he used the Adobe Suite in touching up the images.
So, if you work as a creative and a AAA gamer outside of it, this laptop is built to handle your needs.
Everything else in between
Naturally, you can do more than just play and work on this machine. The display is so damn good I used it a lot to get my steady dose of K-Pop content. Everything from TWICE Ready To Be Tour fancams, MISAMO showcase videos, and LE SSERAFIM Perfect Night videos. If you’re a K-Pop enjoyer, the bursts of color is something you will definitely enjoy.
I also had fun catching up on a handful of shows using this laptop. Naturally, I did so using my Sony Headphones to get better audio.
Clearly, I enjoyed my time with the ROG Zephyrus G14. And while this will get a glowing recommendation from me, the laptop isn’t exactly perfect.
I’ve already mentioned the audio as a clear weak link. The laptop is best enjoyed with headphones on or paired with nice external speakers.
Another gripe I have with it, and this is true for most gaming laptops, is the HUGE power brick. It really does feel like a BRICK and adds to the already hefty weight you have to take on. The laptop is light for what you’re getting but it is by no means an easy carry.
But these are good things still. That means this laptop line still has room to grow. For instance, its first iteration didn’t even have its own webcam. But this 2023 version is now equipped with one. I’m fairly confident that over the years, we will see improvements in these areas ℅ ASUS ROG.
Is the ROG Zephyrus G14 (2023) your GadgetMatch?
I have already said this at the start of the article, but it bears repeating. The ROG Zephyrus G14 is an all-eggs-in-one-basket machine that can keep up with you in play, work, and everything else in between.
What I mean by that is if you absolutely had to invest in a single machine to handle your work, gaming, and general entertainment needs, this is a great value pick-up. I say that considering that some of its top-specced variants retail for PhP 122,000 (around US$ 2,195). That’s fantastic value considering some of the truly top-of-the-line laptops now cost north of PhP 200,000 (around US$ 3,600).
That’s a significant difference price-wise while still offering a more than competitive gaming graphics and performance, ease-of-use for work things, and considerably good entertainment presentation.
If I, a long-time Mac user, absolutely HAD TO switch to Windows, this is the laptop that I will go for.
More info and where to buy links here: https://ph.rog.gg/ZephyrusG14xGadgetMatch
New AMD chips are smaller but pack just as much power
Introducing the Ryzen 5 7545U
Chipsets are getting smaller and smaller. Now, the new architecture is more than just a flex. Making things smaller also allows companies to pack in more components into a single device. AMD is doing just that. Called the new Phoenix 2, AMD’s new chipsets are built to accomplish what more powerful processors can, but for much less space.
Like other chipsets, the new ones under the Phoenix 2 will use the regular Zen 4 CPU cores but mixed with new Zen 4c cores. The new cores will do much of what the current lineup already does. They are, however, smaller. Devices with the new chipset can save space, allowing them to have more features or have lither form factors.
More specifically, the Phoenix 2 chipsets will have two high-performance Zen 4 cores and four efficiency Zen 4c cores. AMD already has a chipset out: the Ryzen 5 7545U.
It’s not the only new kid on the block, though. Besides the full package, AMD is also releasing a lighter version of the Phoenix 2. The also-new Ryzen 3 7440U will have one Zen 4 core and three Zen 4c cores.
Technically, the new architecture isn’t new. AMD’s contemporaries have also released chipsets with similar architectures. However, AMD’s new entries should give the thin laptop market more options going forward.
M3 chip-powered MacBook Pros now official
Comes in Space Black
Apple keeps updating its MacBooks where it matters. Today, Apple just introduced MacBook Pros powered by the M3 family of chips — M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max.
The M3 family
The M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max are the first chips for a personal computer built using the industry-leading 3-nanometer technology. It comes with a faster, more efficient next-generation GPU.
It features a breakthrough technology called Dynamic Caching where the GPU allocates the use of local memory in hardware in real time. This means only the exact amount of memory needed is used for each task. This dramatically increases GPU utilization and performance for the most demanding pro apps and games.
The GPU also brings new rendering features. This includes hardware-accelerated mesh shading for greater capability and efficiency with geometry processing, enabling more visually complex scenes. And hardware-accelerated ray tracing comes to the Mac for the first time. This enables games to render more accurate shadows and reflections to create more realistic environments.
14-inch MacBook Pro with M3
From students and business owners to aspiring musicians and video editors, the MacBook Pro with M3 is the ideal laptop. The 14‑inch MacBook Pro with M3 is up to 60 percent faster than the 13‑inch MacBook Pro with M1.
Its advanced thermal system lets it unleash the full potential of M3 for sustained performance. Price starts at US$ 1,599/ SG$ 2,299.
With MacBook Pro with M3:
- Render performance in Final Cut Pro is up to 7.4x faster than the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Core i7. And it’s up to 60 percent faster than the 13‑inch MacBook Pro with M1.2.
- Code compilation in Xcode is up to 3.7x faster than the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Core i7. And up to 40 percent faster than the 13‑inch MacBook Pro with M1.2.
- Spreadsheet performance in Microsoft Excel is up to 3.5x faster than the 13‑inch MacBook Pro with Core i7. And up to 40 percent faster than the 13‑inch MacBook Pro with M1.2.
14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro with M3 Pro
For users with more demanding workflows like coders, creatives, and researchers. The MacBook Pro with M3 Pro provides even greater performance, supports more unified memory, and is now up to 40 percent faster than the 16‑inch model with M1 Pro.
MacBook Pro with M3 Pro:
- Filter and function performance in Adobe Photoshop is up to 3x faster than the fastest Intel-based MacBook Pro. And up to 40 percent faster than the 16‑inch MacBook Pro with M1 Pro.
- Basecalling for DNA sequencing in Oxford Nanopore MinKNOW is up to 20x faster than the fastest Intel-based MacBook Pro. and up to 36 percent faster than the 16‑inch MacBook Pro with M1 Pro.
- Text-based editing in Adobe Premiere Pro is up to 1.7x faster than the 16-inch Intel-based MacBook Pro. And up to 30 percent faster than the 16‑inch MacBook Pro with M1 Pro.
14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro with M3 Max
The MacBook Pro with M3 Max provides performance and capabilities for those with extreme workflows like machine learning programmers, 3D artists, and video editors. It is up to 2.5x faster than the 16-inch MacBook Pro with M1 Max. And up to 11x faster than the fastest Intel-based MacBook Pro model. It also supports up to 128GB of unified memory, enabling creators to easily work on large and complex projects spanning multiple pro apps and plugins. They can also compose huge film scores where entire orchestral libraries are instantly available from memory.
MacBook Pro with M3 Max:
- Simulation of dynamical systems in MathWorks MATLAB is up to 5.5x faster than the fastest Intel-based MacBook Pro. And up to 2x faster than the 16‑inch MacBook Pro with M1 Max.
- Render performance in Maxon Redshift is up to 5.3x faster than the fastest Intel-based MacBook Pro. And up to 2.5x faster than the 16‑inch MacBook Pro with M1 Max.
- Noise reduction in Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve Studio is up to 2.7x faster than the fastest Intel-based MacBook Pro. And up to 65 percent faster than the 16‑inch MacBook Pro with M1 Max.
Now in Space Black
MacBook Pro models with M3 Pro and M3 Max are available in space black. M3 Pro and M3 Max models are also available in silver, and the 14‑inch MacBook Pro with M3 is available in silver and space grey.
macOS Sonoma brings a rich set of features to the Mac for work and play. Watch our video.
Price and availability
Customers can order the new MacBook Pro starting Wednesday, November 1, on apple.com/store and in the Apple Store app in 27 countries and regions, including the U.S.
It will begin arriving to customers, and will be in Apple Store locations and Apple Authorized Resellers, starting Tuesday, November 7.
- The 14-inch MacBook Pro with M3 starts at US$ 1,599/ SG$ 2,299 and US$ 1,499/ SG$2,159 for education.
- 14-inch MacBook Pro with M3 Pro starts at US$ 1,999/ SG$ 2,899 and US$ 1,849/ SG$ 2,679 for education.
- The 16‑inch MacBook Pro starts at US$ 2,499/ SG$ 3,599 and US$ 2,299/ SG$ 3,309 for education.
Additional technical specifications, configure-to-order options, and accessories are available at apple.com/mac.
With Apple Trade In, customers can trade in their current computer and get credit toward a new Mac. Customers can visit apple.com/shop/trade-in to see what their device is worth.
SEE ALSO: 24-inch iMac gets the M3 chip treatment
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