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The vivo X60 Pro+ was launched not too long ago as one of the successors of the X50 Pro series. But unlike its older siblings, it includes a brand new partnership with ZEISS.

After many months of waiting, vivo brings another smartphone on the plate. This time around, it’s the X70 Pro+ — which might just be a direct competitor of the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra.

Not only it packs the latest and greatest hardware, it also keeps the ZEISS optics for that picture-perfect and glare-free snaps.

But is it really worth considering over the S21 Ultra and even the iPhone 13 Pro Max?

Here’s our in-depth review of the vivo x70 Pro+.

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realme GT 2 Pro review: GT Master Edition mastered

A bold step for realme

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realme gt 2 pro

Since coming into the Philippine smartphone market in 2018, realme has focused on the midrange and budget segments. With this focus came considerable success. The company posted number one sales on multiple occasions. Now, they’re extending their reach, flying close to the premium territory with the realme GT 2 Pro. Question is, is it worth taking a look at considering the stiff competition in this stratosphere? 

Based strictly on the merits of this phone, the short answer is yes. However, there’s more to the smartphone market than simply what a phone can do. But let’s start with that anyway. 

General performance

realme gt 2 pro

Powering the realme GT 2 Pro is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor. Already, with that information, you know that it’s ready to tussle with the heavyweights. Flanking that is 12GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage. On paper, looking good so far. But what about in actual usage?

Well, it performs every bit as good as any other 8 Gen 1 equipped device. It also helps that the realme UI based on Android running on it makes your entire experience relatively smooth. 

Apps stay running in the background even after a prolonged period of inactivity. It learns which apps you regularly use and devote RAM and processing power accordingly. Daily activities like browsing socials, checking emails and messages, and whatever else you regularly do on your phone simply just works. And that’s a hallmark of a good device. 

The 5,000mAh battery normally lasts more than a day on regular use. It also has support for 65W fast charging which realme says will get you from zero to 100% in 33 minutes. We never let the phone drop to zero and would normally charge at around 20% left. Using a 65W wired charger, it does juice up quickly — right around the 30 minute mark. Unfortunately, it does not support wireless charging.

Mobile gaming

realme gt 2 pro

realme has its fair share of mobile gaming focused devices. So, it comes as no surprise that the realme GT 2 Pro, while not being marketed as such, still performs admirably in this department. 

Granted, we didn’t really do plenty of mobile gaming on the phone. Just some occasional sessions of Call of Duty: Mobile here and there, and a couple of afternoons testing its graphical capability by playing Genshin Impact.

A Stainless Steel Vapor Cooling System kept the device humming despite extended hours of playing the demanding game from MiHoyo/Hoyoverse. It never, at any point, felt too hot to hold. 

Media consumption

realme gt 2 pro

It has a 2K AMOLED Flat Display with LTPO 2.0 Technology that measures at 6.7 inches. That last detail is a little surprising considering the overall footprint of the device. It certainly didn’t feel that humongous but the display is, indeed, great for consuming content. 

Watching your favorite shows, YouTubers, TikToks, and what-have-you is an overall enjoyable experience. The speakers are about what you expect from a flagship. It can get loud. And while the sound doesn’t exactly feel rich, it also isn’t distorted when you turn it up to max. 

Worthwhile cameras

realme gt 2 pro

The realme GT 2 Pro has a triple camera setup. You get the following: 

  • 50 MP, f/1.8, 24mm (wide), 1/1.56″, 1.0µm, multi-directional PDAF, OIS
  • 50 MP, f/2.2, 15mm, 150˚ (ultrawide), 1/2.76″, 0.64µm
  • 3 MP, f/3.3, 20mm (microscope), AF, 40x magnification

It performs just about as well as you’d expect. Detail retention is top-notch and color reproduction is just right. The software post-processing isn’t doing too much. Just enough to make photos look extra appealing without going ham on saturation. 

 

It has a 32MP selfie shooter which is alright in daylight and is a hit or miss at night. 

All told, the cameras are good enough to carry around and capture worthwhile memories for your own enjoyment or for posting on social media. 

Unique back material 

realme’s efforts to be more sustainable is well noted. For this smartphone, specifically, they used the industry’s first bio-based polymer design inspired by the concept of paper art. The exterior of the realme GT 2 Pro Master Edition is made of sustainable Sabic bio-based materials extracted from renewable raw materials. The company says these “can reduce carbon emissions by up to 63% per kilogram and can reduce potential fossil feedstock consumption by up to 35%.”

realme gt 2 pro

Collaborating once more with industrial designer Naoto Fukasawa, the back of the realme GT 2 Pro will remind you of their midranger – the realme GT Master Edition. In fact, it very much feels like a direct upgrade of the phone. 

The back is nice to hold and look at. And unlike most flagship phones, you won’t feel the need to cover it with the significantly less premium material case included in the packaging. 

realme gt 2 pro

The usual stuff are found at the bottom: speaker grille, USB-C port, and SIM Card tray slot.

The power button is on the right side while the volume rockers sit on the left. Pretty standard stuff.

Is the realme GT 2 Pro your GadgetMatch? 

realme gt 2 pro

Smartphones are more than just the thing we use daily to connect with our friends, loved ones, and the rest of the world. The reality is, they’re also a status symbol. And if you’re spending quite a hefty amount of money for a premium product, you wouldn’t want the people asking you what your phone is to go “huh?” when you tell them the brand name. 

The realme GT 2 Pro is a fantastic phone, no doubt. But realme, as a brand, has its work cutout for itself if it truly wants to compete in the premium flagship space.

Based solely on its technical merits, though, the realme GT 2 Pro is worth every penny. The general performance is undeniably flagship-grade, the back material is unique and premium, and the cameras are pretty good. Retailing for PhP 34,990 (around US$ 640 at the time of writing), the phone is definitely good value-for-money. 

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Laptops

RedmiBook 15 review: Focused on Performance

Is it worth your while?

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RedmiBook 15

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

RedmiBook 15

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.

RedmiBook 15

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

RedmiBook 15

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.

Display

RedmiBook 15

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

RedmiBook 15

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.

Sound Quality

RedmiBook 15

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

RedmiBook 15

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?

RedmiBook 15

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.

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Laptops

Apple M2 MacBook Pro review: Affordable, powerful

Looks the same outside, more powerful inside!

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I love talking about new Apple hardware and I’m excited about the arrival of the new MacBook Air. It’s probably the most exciting news to come out of this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC).

But what some folks might not have known is that another M2-powered Mac was also announced.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro.

A new 13-inch MacBook Pro?!

Because there are many different MacBook Pro models, let’s first take a look at how this new 13-inch MacBook Pro stands in Apple’s current lineup.

Think of this model as the entry-level MacBook Pro. It sits alongside the 14-inch MacBook Pro and the 16-inch MacBook Pro — which Apple unveiled late last year.

The 13-inch and 14-inch models are of a roughly similar size, but the 14-inch has a larger screen thanks to thinner bezels.

In some ways, the 13-inch model is like the iPhone SE is to the Mac. It sports an older design but comes with new insides and a lower price.

There are plenty of differences between both models, which we’ll also discuss, but TL;DR, the reason Apple is keeping this model around is choice.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro starts at $1299. Meanwhile, the 14-inch MacBook Pro starts at $1999, and the 16-inch MacBook Pro starts at $2499. So, if you want to go pro and don’t want to break the bank, this here is your much more affordable option.

Unboxing

Alright, we might have gotten ahead of ourselves there. Let’s do a quick unboxing before we move on to our review.

Our MacBook Pro shipped in this brown box. But obviously, if you pick one up from the store it might not have this outside layer.

You know the drill by now, just look for the arrow, and rip to break the seal.

Inside here is the actual 13-inch MacBook Pro box.

Up front, there’s a white box with a photo of the laptop.

Tug here to break the seal…

And from here we can now lift up this lid.

Inside is the new 13-inch MacBook Pro wrapped in environment-friendly paper instead of plastic.

Also in the box are a USB-C to USB-C cable.

There’s a packet with some paperwork.

And two space gray stickers.

And underneath, a 67W adapter.

Still the same on the outside

Last year when Apple unveiled the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros, they came with a major redesign. Chamfered edges were traded in for softer, rounded ones. Four feet lifted the laptop up from surfaces and provided more airflow for cooling.

Inside, the keyboard was black on black with full-sized function keys and the display got slimmer bezels. More real estate. And a notch.

Now unlike those models though, the new 13-inch MacBook Pro sports the same design as its predecessor from 2020. What does this mean?

Well, to start, the chassis is pretty much similar to unibody MacBook Pros from the last five years or so.

The keyboard looks like this.

There’s still a Touch Bar up top instead of physical function keys.

There’s no notch but it’s got thicker bezels.

Having used the new 14-inch MacBook Pro for more than half a year, I don’t wanna go back. But that’s not to say there’s anything wrong with this older design. It’s truly a work of art and one that has stood the test of time, and it’s still a stunner.

I actually like this keyboard better — particularly being able to see the aluminum frame in between the individual keys.

Also, if you’re a fan of the Touch Bar this is the last remaining Mac that has one. Like all MacBook Pros, it’s available only in either Space Grey or Silver.

A more powerful Mac inside

While its outsides look the same, on the inside, the new 13-inch MacBook Pro is more powerful than ever. The transition from Intel to Apple Silicon was a huge jump for the Mac in terms of performance.

Apple’s M1 chip was and is groundbreaking. Without getting too technical, picture this: My first M1 machine was an entry-level MacBook Air. A thousand-dollar machine that ran circles around my US$6000 top spec Intel-based 16-inch MacBook Pro.

The new MacBook Pro runs the even newer M2 chip, which offers even more power and better efficiency. The M2 can handle even heavier workloads much better. It also now supports up to 24GB of Unified Memory, with 8GB being the starting configuration.

Apple is promising nearly 40% faster video editing performance as compared to the M1 MacBook Pro. But of course, you’re most likely not upgrading from an M1 MacBook Pro to an M2 MacBook Pro. And in that case, Apple says to expect a 6x performance boost.

To showcase that, we exported a 10-minute, 4K, GadgetMatch video on a 2019 Intel-based 13-inch MacBook Pro and the new 2022 model.

A 10-minute and 12-second video with a 45.65GB file size gave different results. For instance, the 13-inch M2 MacBook Pro exported the video for only 3 minutes and 23 seconds. Meanwhile, the 13-inch 8th-generation Intel Core i5 MacBook Pro took 13 minutes and 16 seconds.

Clearly, from these results, you can see how much of a performance improvement the M2 chip delivers. But perhaps even more impressive is how much more power-efficient Apple Silicon is.

Apple is promising about 20 hours of battery life and in our tests, we were getting close to that.

While usage may vary depending on what you’re doing, what’s more important to note is that even if you’re working on something more resource-intensive — the laptop requires less power to complete those tasks.

So, your laptop lasts longer even if you’re pushing the system a bit harder. Compare that to a 12-core PC laptop and you’re getting about 75% less power consumption.

A simple way to illustrate this is by taking a look at the bundled power adapter of the 13-inch MacBook Air.

This 67W power brick is all that’s needed for the Mac to run at full performance.

Meanwhile here’s the massive 180W power brick that comes with the new Asus ZenBook Pro 14 Duo that runs off the latest Intel i9 chip.

The size of the bricks illustrates how much more power is needed by a Windows machine and how much more power is consumed when you’re on battery.

MacBook Air 2022 vs MacBook Pro 13 2022

Since both the 2022 MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro have M2 chips, which one should you get?

Let’s take a look at what differentiates the two: The M2 MacBook Air starts at US$ 1199, and the M2 13-inch MacBook Pro starts at US$ 1299.

Specs-wise they are nearly identical — apart from a larger battery on the Pro which Apple says delivers two hours more battery life. What sets the MacBook pro apart and gives it a performance edge are its built-in fans.

The MacBook Air doesn’t have fans. Frankly, fans come in handy for sustained workloads. What does this mean? Well, if you’re exporting a video and it’s taking a long time, say 30 minutes, the presence of fans will mean that once your laptop starts to get warm because the workload is pushing your computer to its limits, fans can kick in to keep things cool.

It allows the laptop to perform at max capacity for longer. That in its essence is the case for the MacBook Pro.

Apple MacBook Air M2

That said, the MacBook Air also has its pros. The most obvious is portability. Its updated design makes it feel more current. It has a bigger, better screen with more colors, higher max brightness, curved corners, slimmer bezels, and a 1080p FaceTime camera.

Apple MacBook Air M2

The new MacBook Air also now has MagSafe which offers fast charging as well as safety. For instance, if someone trips on your chord it won’t take the Mac down with it.

It also frees up that second USB-C port. Sans MagSafe, when the 13-inch MacBook Pro is plugged in, it effectively only has one free USB-C port. All for US$ 100 less.

Is the 13-inch MacBook Pro your GadgetMatch?

If you’re the kind of user who needs a Pro Model but doesn’t want to spend a lot of money then this is the device for you. Also, if you’ve been holding off from upgrading to Apple Silicon and wanted to wait for Gen 2, now is the time.

With an educational discount, you can get a new M2-powered Pro for US$ 1199. That said, I am of the belief that the upcoming M2-powered MacBook Air is a better value.

Apple MacBook Air M2

It is the Mac that most people should buy, even if, caveat, I have not reviewed one yet. So, maybe, you should wait for its release later next month.

Pro users needing more power need not worry. The M1 Pro and M1 Max-powered 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros from last year are still more powerful computers. Get them if you need even more performance power, more USB-C ports, and more connectivity options overall.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro will be available in stores starting June 24th.

Here is its official pricing:

  • USD 1299
  • EUR 1599/1629*
  • GBP 1349
  • SGD 1879
  • PHP 74,990
  • RUP 129,900

*countries that belong to the European Union (EU) have varying prices from region to region.

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