Reviews

Xiaomi 11T Pro review: Is it really “Pro” enough?

What sets it apart from the non-Pro Xiaomi 11T though?

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Xiaomi has been in the radar for launching the latest 11T series. Other than that, this is also one of their firsts smartphones to eliminate the “Mi” branding completely.

For the past two years, I’ve held both Xiaomi’s Mi 9T Pro and Mi 10T Pro — which both got mixed bags of praises and complaints. Fast forward today, it’s the time of the year again to review their latest successor, the 11T Pro.

But what makes this “Pro” versus its Mi 11T(win)? Let’s find out!

Not-so-“Pro” packaging

Despite having the “Pro” branding, the packaging of both the 11T and 11T Pro looked so similar in a plain white box. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with white. It’s just that it would’ve been better if it at least had a distinction by having black accessories and box instead.

It would’ve also been nice to include a better case in contrast to that typical transparent jelly case that even budget smartphones have nowadays. Again, the less premium packaging and accessories felt like it’s not a “Pro” smartphone at first glance.

But the star of the show has got to be its 120W fast charger — which thankfully is included in the box. That might’ve been where the additional cost went into.

Pro-ctacular design

Speaking from the perspective of someone who held a lot of Xiaomi phones, the 11T Pro looks like a pro device with the right amount of elegance and sophistication. Thanks to that brushed metal back, it looked more distinct compared to the Mi 10T Pro’s lackluster glossy back.

If you take a closer look at the camera cutout, it’s pretty similar to what Xiaomi did with the Mi 11X Pro as well as other POCO F3. I’m not complaining. I like this layout better than what they did last year with the Mi 10T Pro.

Looking at the bottom part of its semi-matte aluminum frame shows us the SIM card tray, microphone, USB-C port, and speaker grilles.

At the top, we’ll find an IR blaster (a rare feature in smartphone nowadays and can’t be found on the Mi 10T Pro) as well as another set of speakers powered by Harman/Kardon. That’s actually the easiest way to differentiate it from the Xiaomi 11T as that one doesn’t have the same audio technology.

One thing I should point out though is that despite having that textured brush metal design, it’s still coated with glass so fingerprint smears and smudges will still show. I just wish they’ve used a matte coating  — but I guess that could’ve added more to the phone’s overall cost.

Pro-level display

One thing I wished that came with the Mi 10T Pro is an AMOLED display instead of IPS-LCD. Well, I think Xiaomi has listened. The Xiaomi 11T Pro packs a 6.67-inch AMOLED display with a Full HD+ resolution.

IU’s visuals stand out even when you watch her from afar #IUsupremacy

While not the best smartphone display I’ve ever seen, its still exceptional in its own. I enjoyed the content I see especially because it displays better colors, contrast, dynamic range with deeper blacks and whiter whites. That’s in comparison to the Mi 10T Pro.

More heart reacts for STAYC’s Seeun

Its 120Hz refresh rate is also a feast in the eyes especially when switching between apps and scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Liking Olivia Hye is still illegal at this point

As nostalgic as it gets, it brings back the memories of using a Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro two years ago with that gorgeous Super AMOLED display — and I’m glad that Xiaomi ditched last year’s display tech to bring back AMOLED once again.

Cinema and music hall within your fingertips

That might sound like a bold claim but the audiovisual experience using the Xiaomi 11T Pro is unparalleled compared to other smartphones I’ve tried.

Han So-Hee looking more fierce and fearless in #MyName

Paired with its AMOLED display is the inclusion of Dolby Vision (that the Xiaomi 11T doesn’t have) and HDR10+. I wouldn’t consider these special features as “software gimmicks” especially when Dolby is around the audiovisual technology space for years.

If you want to mess up your mind, I suggest you to binge-watch Extracurricular on Netflix

If you’re fond of watching Netflix flicks and series, those will be helpful in displaying content that’s more color accurate with vast dynamic range levels that other regular smartphones don’t possess.

Another feature that makes the Xiaomi 11T Pro an ultimate Pro-tertainment device other than the Harman/Kardon-powered stereo speakers is the inclusion of Dolby Atmos.

Although it may not work on most music and video streaming apps, it worked well with iQiyi especially that I can tell the difference when Dolby Audio is on or off. You have to be a VIP member in the streaming site though to enjoy this particular feature.

The Kep1er center we never had #ShenterXiaoting #션터샤오팅

This Dolby Atmos feature actually reminds me of the Xiaomi Mi TV P1 I recently reviewed. It goes hand-in-hand as it also supports Dolby’s special sound enhancement there. Having the 11T Pro is like having a home cinema within the reach of your fingertips.

If you’re a huge Apple Music user like I am, Dolby Atmos is also supported. It works wonders especially since I prefer listening to hi-res, lossless versions of tracks I listen to instead of the typical 128kbps AAC versions. Turning on Dolby Atmos in Apple Music’s settings delivers fuller and richer sound than average.

Pro-formance

This wouldn’t be a “Pro” device without flagship-grade specs. On paper, it packs the latest Snapdragon 888 chipset. The review unit I have is a 6GB + 256GB variant but there’s a configuration with a maxed out RAM of 12GB.

If you’re into hardcore mobile gaming, the Xiaomi 11T Pro will never disappoint. Not only it heats less than the Mi 10T Pro, it’s also responsive even when you max out your game settings in Genshin Impact, Call of Duty: Mobile (CoDM), PUBG, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, Asphalt 9, and more.

So whether you’re aiming to defeat small enemies or learning how to combat tougher enemies in Genshin Impact, you’ll pretty much enjoy the game not only with its spectacular display, but also with its speedy performance.

The weight of the phone is actually helpful for that added gaming grip that you can’t do with (slim and slippery) smartphones. This helps you aim precisely and shoot faster especially in FPS games like CoDM.

Similar goodies

These goodies aren’t limited to the 11T Pro but I need to mention them anyway.

Despite having an AMOLED display, the Xiaomi 11T Pro has a side-mounted fingerprint scanner on the power button like the Mi 10T Pro. The differences are that, the power button is now raised instead of being recessed and it’s actually faster and more responsive than last year’s predecessor. I actually prefer this over the slouchy under-display sensor that was originally equipped in the Mi 9T Pro.

When you open the phone, MIUI looks clean enough that I decided to slap on my overlooking shot with fog and clouds somewhere in Rizal.

This phone runs on the Android 11-based MIUI 12.5 out of the box and got updated to a more stable MIUI 12.5.5 after setting up the phone.

If there’s true 5G connection around your area, the Xiaomi 11T Pro is a capable smartphone that can give you a stable data connection as long as your network carrier supports blazing-fast upload and download speeds. I turned this into a portable hotspot when I was around the Metro and didn’t disappoint me in a single bit especially with its large battery capacity.

Fastest charging speeds ever?

As I’ve already mentioned battery, the Xiaomi 11T Pro packs a 5000mAh battery that can last you up to a day of standby with a light to moderate usage. As a moderate user who uses socials and streaming content more often, it was able to last me around five hours.

Karina we love you! — as much as how you love nævis

With a nine percent (9%) charge, I was able to watch seven (7) three-minute 1080p videos on YouTube at 75% brightness before it actually died down.

If you’re the type of user who spends more time in gaming than an average user, you might end up having shorter usage times even if the AMOLED display and the chipset are supposed to be “power-efficient”.

Don’t fret! The 120W charger saves the day. According to Xiaomi, charging from zero to 100 percent will only take 17 minutes.

I used the bundled USB-C cable from its packaging. I didn’t intend to discharge the 11T Pro down to zero. But that was the perfect time to test out not just the real-time battery life, but also its promised turbo charging speeds. It turned out that a full charge from zero takes around 35 to 40 minutes. Xiaomi blew it out of proportion.

Using a timer, I conducted these basic charging speed tests:

1st charging test (0~100%)

  • 5 minutes = 9%
  • 10 minutes = 35%
  • 15 minutes = 50%
  • 20 minutes = 58%
  • 25 minutes = 79%
  • 28 minutes = 88%
  • 30 minutes = 95%
  • 35 minutes = 100%

2nd charging test (0~100%)

  • 5 minutes = 13%
  • 10 minutes = 29%
  • 15 minutes = 46%
  • 20 minutes = 59%
  • 25 minutes = 76%
  • 28 minutes = 82%
  • 30 minutes = 87%
  • 35 minutes = 99%
  • 37 minutes = 100%

I don’t have any type of dissatisfaction with Xiaomi’s new turbo charging. As a matter of fact, I want this charging tech on other smartphones as well. My only problem is how they advertised it. I haven’t even seen major disclaimers about it. And this isn’t limited to Xiaomi. It also applies to every other company who wanted to lure consumers with something that isn’t based on reality.

Nevertheless, I’m still grateful that Xiaomi made it possible. If you’re not time-restricted and is always busy (like I am), 35 minutes is quick AF. You won’t even notice it’s fully-charged that fast.

Just to prove how Xiaomi improved their fast charging tech in a span of a year, I used the same 120W charger and USB-C cable when the Mi 10T Pro died of exhaustion. Compared to 11T Pro’s total charging time of 17 minutes, the Mi 10T Pro took double the time at around 80 minutes (or 1 hour and 20 minutes). Here’s my detailed charging test notes:

Mi 10T Pro charging test (0~100%)

  • 10 minutes =  20%
  • 15 minutes = 26%
  • 20 minutes = 33%
  • 25 minutes = 39%
  • 30 minutes = 46%
  • 35 minutes = 52%
  • 40 minutes = 59%
  • 50 minutes = 73%
  • 60 minutes = 85%
  • 70 minutes = 96%
  • 80 minutes = 100%

Aside from the improved charging speeds, I’ve noticed that the 11T Pro also ran cooler when charging. The Mi 10T Pro heats up easily like you’re holding a mug with coffee.

It’s safe to say that even if the 120W charging brick didn’t go well with its promised charging speeds, it’s still a big improvement and a must-have feature in a smartphone. Its 120W charger and charging support is also one of the biggest distinctions to differentiate the 11T Pro from the regular 11T.

SEE ALSO: Xiaomi 11T Pro vs Mi 10T Pro: 11 changes in 1 year

Pro-grade cameras? Hmmm…

On paper, the Xiaomi 11T Pro literally packs the same camera sensors as the regular 11T: A 108MP f/1.8 wide camera, an 8MP f/2.2 ultra-wide camera with a 120-degree FoV (Field of View), and a measly 5MP f/2.4 macro camera. While the wide sensor has Phase Detection Autofocus (PDAF), all of these lenses lack OIS (Optical Image Stabilization).

With that being said, video recording heavily relies on gyro-EIS — which stands for ‘Electronic’ and runs through software. Another thing is that, the 11T Pro can record 8K/30p videos with HDR10+ support while the 11T is only limited to 4K/30p — which might be a hardware limitation due to a different chipset used.

There are “Pro”-oriented camera hullabaloos too like VLOG mode, Dual video, Time-lapse, Clone , Short Video, and even Movie effects — features that we did with the Xiaomi Mi 11 earlier this year.

While I can’t show you any video samples in this review article, photo samples are enough to justify that having OIS should be a vital hardware piece for any phone manufacturer that doesn’t do software magic that much unlike what Google does with the Pixels’ cameras.

Great-looking daylight shots

Especially when you just always use the wide lens. Regardless of any subject, the Xiaomi 11T Pro doesn’t disappoint as long as there’s ample light (whether natural or artificial).

The warmer White Balance (WB) may be evident in most shots. That can still be fixed easily through post-processing.

It’s more evident when you take food shots. Maybe that’s because of AI.

Ultra-wide should’ve looked consistent enough

Not that the ultra-wide shooter is lackluster. It’s just that the contrast, white balance, saturation, and exposure aren’t paired up well with its wide lens companion.

It’s so evident especially when you look at the greenery.

Moreover when you also look at the skies in each photo.

But avoid shooting against the sunlight

Portrait Mode

Or else you’ll have a blown-out shot with lack of sufficient dynamic range. Other phones defied this photography principle though (in frame: vivo’s X60 Pro+ — not directly comparin’, just sayin’)

Shooting in 2x zoom is a hit-or-miss

As previously mentioned, none of these lenses have OIS and zooming in relies on the wide sensor through digital cropping/zooming. You’ll have to rely on your own hands’ stabilization magic — if that thing even exists in reality.

No matter how much shots you take, Xiaomi’s post-processing techniques simply won’t cut the slack off.

Even if you’re trying to be firm and stable enough (and I don’t have any shaky hands), it doesn’t do any magic.

But cats surprisingly look good and sharp despite the small movements they make

Like this stray cat I found while eating outdoors at a popular chicken joint.

Even my cats at home were captured clearly using the digital 2x zoom functionality.

Food shots actually looked better

Xiaomi 11T Pro vs Mi 10T Pro (2x)

It might be the 11T Pro’s post-processing techniques but it sure is sharper and retained more details in the steak, vegetables, and mashed potato in comparison to the Mi 10T Pro’s photo on the right.

Xiaomi 11T Pro vs Mi 10T Pro (2x)

Even the Red Velvet Cake looked more mouthwatering and appetizing compared to the Mi 10T Pro’s lack of enough contrast, saturation, and sharpness.

Portrait Mode is different

With both having a dedicated “telemacro” lens, it’s responsible for giving depth information between the foreground and the background. Although it’s pretty evident that the Mi 10T Pro only relied with radial blur — which was something I pointed out in my review.

Meanwhile, the Xiaomi 11T Pro didn’t fake the depth this time by having a more natural background blur — enough to distinguish the ramen from the Gyudon and Gyoza while still making the subject detailed and in-focus. The Mi 10T Pro failed to do that with all the blur at the closer part of the ramen.

Xiaomi’s Night Mode processing in 11T Pro looked worse…

Chances are slimmer when capturing post-worthy night time and low-light photos — even if there is a dedicated Night Mode in the camera app.

Xiaomi 11T Pro vs Mi 10T Pro (Night 3s)

One of the best examples would be this first comparison photo: Xiaomi’s 11T Pro against the Mi 10T Pro.

While the photo of the Mi 10T Pro looked overly-exaggerated compared to what I’ve seen in reality, it’s still sharper with better details like the stars in the sky and contrast. The 11T Pro failed to show that. Color accuracy is also closer to the Mi 10T Pro with gray skies and warmer highlights due to the lamp posts behind me when I captured these.

Night Mode ON | OFF

There are times when the 11T Pro’s Night Mode does nothing. Literally just brightening up the shot and sharpen it a li’l bit.

Night Mode ON | OFF

Now is the best time to compare a 2017 flagship from Google versus 2021’s latest flagship killer.

Xiaomi 11T Pro vs Google Pixel 2 XL (Wide)

In this particular scenario where you’ll see a lot of people lining up outside a Jordan store, I shot the 11T Pro’s photo twice (left side) whereas the Pixel 2 XL clearly captured the shot after seconds of processing.

Xiaomi 11T Pro vs Google Pixel 2 XL (Wide)

Not convinced enough that Xiaomi could’ve done better night mode processing techniques through software algorithm? Well in this shot, despite the presence of grain in Pixel 2 XL’s photo, it’s still closer to reality with those warm lights. Most of all, it preserved all details with the right amount of sharpness and contrast.

Xiaomi 11T Pro vs Google Pixel 2 XL (2x)

And finally! After taking three consecutive night shots of this building at 2x, Google’s Pixel 2 XL was still able to shoot the building properly. That’s a stark difference over 11T Pro’s shaky and blurry photo. A dedicated telephoto zoom lens instead of a “telephoto macro” camera would’ve been handy on this particular scenario.

Albeit, night shots are still commendable if you have enough room for light (and utmost patience)

Just an added bonus, that macro camera doesn’t make sense at all

Portrait vs 2x

I mean look at these pan de sal in triple chocolate, milky cheese, and ube cheese flavors. Not only it showed minor differences between a macro and a zoomed food shot, it also proves that Xiaomi could’ve ditched the lens in favor of a dedicated one. That would’ve been a nice differentiating factor over the Xiaomi 11T.

Selfies are preferential

As someone who barely flips the front camera and takes selfies, the selfies taken with the Xiaomi 11T Pro looked okay to me.

If you rely heavily on beauty mode, it has some slimming and whitening effects just like any other Android smartphone out there. You’d be more familiar if you’re coming from a Xiaomi and planning to upgrade.

There are just times that it looked washed-out and overexposed. But you also have to consider the environment your taking selfies at. Shooting against the light wouldn’t guarantee anything especially that it only has a 16MP f/2.5 punch-hole camera.

SEE ALSO: Xiaomi 11T Pro vs Mi 10T Pro: Camera Shootout

Is this your GadgetMatch?

If you want an Android smartphone that has the latest Snapdragon chipset with blazing-fast 5G and charging speeds, plus an overall multimedia powerhouse, the Xiaomi 11T Pro isn’t a slouch.

But if you’re the user like me who values cameras a lot in a smartphone, consider looking for another smartphone you might want to buy. The 11T Pro simply isn’t it even if they heavily advertise it as a phone with “Cinemagic” capabilities a la Xiaomi Mi 11.

Other than Meteorite Gray that I have, Xiaomi 11T Pro is also available in Moonlight White and Celestial Blue colorways. The 8/256GB variant sells for PhP 27,990 while the 12/256GB configuration retails at PhP 29,990 — which is PhP 2000 more.

Xiaomi Philippines has an open sale today, October 30, 2021, where buyers of the Xiaomi 11T and Xiaomi 11T Pro will get a free Xiaomi 11T Series Edition Bluetooth Speaker worth PhP 3,250. An open sale will also be happening starting October 30 where every purchase of the Xiaomi 11T and Xiaomi 11T Pro will entitle buyers to a free Xiaomi Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 Basic.

Meanwhile, the Official Xiaomi Philippines Shopee store will also be including a free Mi Robot Vacuum  and eco bag with every purchase of the Xiaomi 11T. Each purchase of the device comes with a 1+1 year limited warranty and free screen replacement within six months.

Reviews

OPPO A55 review: Just the basics

Will teach you resource management

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OPPO A55

I did something pretty stupid while setting up the OPPO A55 for review. I copied all the settings and apps from my main Android phone which is the flagship OPPO Find X3 Pro. Predictably, the phone slowed down. But there’s one thing I realized — I had been living in excess.

Perhaps this is the most important lesson I learned during my time with the OPPO A55 — that I can get plenty of the things I need even with just a budget phone.

To get the OPPO A55, which is powered by the MediaTek MT6765G Helio G35 (with 4GB RAM, 64GB storage), to optimum performance, I proceeded to uninstall apps I barely use. It took a while but I was able to narrow down the apps I normally use. They are as follows:

Work/Productivity: 

  • GMail
  • Google Docs
  • Google Keep
  • Slack
  • Messenger
  • Telegram

Yes, three messaging apps under productivity because I handle plenty of comms for work both internally and externally. It’s this part of my job that saps my social battery the most.

Entertainment/Leisure:

  • YouTube
  • Netflix
  • TikTok

TikTok has become the app I use the most as I try to tire myself to sleep. It’s not the healthiest of habits but it’s been keeping me sane. There’s plenty of content here that’s littered with misinformation but that’s a topic for another time. Like most other social feeds, you can teach its algorithm to show you only the stuff you want to see. For me, that means an abundance of videos about K-Pop super group TWICE.

OPPO A55

I’ve also been taking a trip down memory lane and started rewatching Season 1 of The Flash CW TV Series as well as the Cowboy Bebop animé as a palate cleanser from the unsavory after taste of the Netflix live action adaptation of the show.

Social Media: 

  • Twitter
  • Instagram

OPPO A55

Notably missing is Facebook. I’m sure most people use the app and you’ll have no trouble running it on top of all the apps I’ve already mentioned. It was a conscious decision on my part to skip Facebook for my sanity’s sake.

On Instagram I mostly just browse photos related to the K-Pop girl groups. And on Twitter, I’m mostly on my burner account ranting about life. All activities just to keep myself sane, somehow.

Just the apps I need

OPPO A55

Our set of apps could look very different, but I feel like the ones I mentioned above are pretty common and should resemble most people’s most used apps. I didn’t really do much mobile gaming on the phone but the games I play most — Call of Duty: Mobile, Marvel Future Revolution, and Dragon Quest Dai were all installed and ran smoothly albeit on low graphics settings.

There are some pre-installed apps and there’s not a lot you can do about them. Regardless, it’s still a fine exercise in managing resources whenever you’re using a budget smartphone. You can get a lot done, but you have to keep an eye out on your memory and storage, lest you run the risk of slowing the phone down.

Looks pretty basic too

Not that basic is a bad thing. In fact, plenty of people still prefer this “classic black” look. On the right hand  side you’ll find the power button.

OPPO A55

Over on the left side are the volume buttons as well as the SIM tray.

OPPO A55

On the bottom are the usual speaker grilles, USB-C port, and 3.5mm jack.

OPPO A55

Nothing too fancy, it’s pretty easy to grip, and just has the OPPO logo at the back.

OPPO A55

Decent snappers

OPPO A55

The OPPO A55 has a 50MP main camera and almost negligible 2MP for macro, and another 2MP for depth. You also have a 16MP selfie camera which I also didn’t get to use.

That said, I mainly stuck to using the main camera. Like most phones today, you won’t have many issues shooting under bright natural light. It’s also not gonna wow you with super detailed images, but I never expected it to.

OPPO A55

This was taken with on just normal mode. Even the camera sensors on budget smartphones are good enough to produce clean, bokeh-licious shots like this.

OPPO A55

Food shots don’t look as appetizing but it’s easy to make this pop with the right post-processing which you should do. “No-filter” is overrated.

Too much oil for my liking, but it this does look kinda appetizing.

The struggles come in night and low-light scenarios.

OPPO A55

라면 먹을래? Want to have ramyeon?

I never really expected much from the cameras. In fact, I’d say what you see with the samples above are par for the course for any budget smartphone no matter the megapixel count they slap on it.

Battery life and everything else

Sporting a 5,000mAh battery with support for 18W wired charging, while not supporting any exorbitant features, you’ll squeeze out a decent usage time from the OPPO A55.

Its 6.51-inch IPS LCD screen doesn’t demand much, and the processor is pretty efficient as well. You should be able to go through your usual day with the phone and not need to charge during the day unless you’re a heavy mobile gamer.

For general usage, it’s perfectly normal and delivers on your needs and basic wants.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

OPPO A55

The OPPO A55 nails the basics. There’s nothing exceptionally good or terribly bad about the phone. It’s the type of device you pick up because you just have to have a smartphone these days.

It’s fairly limited in what it can do and will force flagship users like myself to learn to manage a phone’s resources better. But if budget or lower midrange is all you’ve known, this is a pretty decent pick-up.It retails for PhP 9,999 and is available in OPPO retail stores, partner dealers and e-commerce platforms Shopee and Lazada.

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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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Accessories

realme Beard Trimmer: Getting that sexy stubble

For that stylish, cool, and attractive lewk

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“Is he attractive? Or he just has sexy stubble?” That’s a question my friends wonder when they meet someone new. And a question I pose for myself as well.

Stubble is sexy. Period. Every time I look at the mirror, I find myself alluring when I have stubble. Though they look cool, and they help separate men from boys,  keeping your facial hair at a certain length takes time, skill, and precision.

The art of trimming your facial hair

You can easily trim your facial hair when you have a manual shaver or trimmer. But that might be time-consuming to use and master to achieve the desired result.

Contrarily, going to a grooming salon can help you get that peg you’ve been wanting for your face instantaneously. Albeit, quite expensive. In addition, it’s difficult to maintain when you have a hectic lifestyle. Unless your preferred barbershop does both of your regular haircut and beard styling.

Precisely why the likes of smart, grooming tools rose through the past few years, aiming to help men redefine what’s sexy, groomed, and stylish. But in their own way.

You might think of a few brands to consider, but some could be taken aback by an expensive price tag. Moreover, it’s scary to invest in something expensive especially when it’s your first time. So if it’s indeed your foray to grooming and styling, the realme Beard Trimmer might be worth a try.

Looks sleek for the sleek-looking

Having a beard trimmer opens up possibilities for your personal care. Most accessories come with nifty features to help you achieve your desired result e.g. a sexy stubble. And realme’s very own Beard Trimmer can surely deliver, too.

At a glance, it looks like a hefty device at a size of a regular gigglestick. Thick, sturdy, and a design that piques someone’s curiosity. It comes with a stainless steel blade, whereas its head and motor are fixed and lubricated.

It’s skin-friendly, and it definitely feels premium with that matte finish. It can rival the likes of trimmers from Philips, especially with the materials used. More importantly, it’s ergonomically designed so it can be gripped easily while you groom yourself.

Style on your own

The package comes with a 10mm comb that you can place over the head, so you can trim your hair properly. The realme Beard Trimmer comes with 0.5mm precision and 20 length settings that can be adjusted using the adjustment knob.

To turn it on, you just have to press the power button and a green light will indicate it’s ready. And of course, the motors would be buzzing by then.

I personally prefer using the lowest length setting — 1cm to be exact — since I keep my facial hair short enough to be trimmed easily. But preferably, you’d have to grow the hair for at least 3 cm for a more flexible approach. Nevertheless, having a lot of length settings offer versatility to define your facial hair.

Just remember to shave with light, gentle strokes. And don’t forget to even the hair out and edge it accordingly. More importantly, rinse it properly since the metal head is washable. Just don’t let the liquids run through the charging port.

On another note, what I like about the realme Beard Trimmer is the low-noise operation when trimming my hair. Its minimal noise sounds like the buzz from my stylist’s clipper, coursing through my head in a quiet barbershop. It’s somewhat pleasing to my ear; a new beginning awaits as I shed old parts of myself.

Charging

The realme Beard trimmer is equipped with an 800mAh battery capacity. While it seemed pretty small, it can last for an hour and 20 minutes of cordless use on a single charge. If you run out of battery, you’ll have to charge it for at least two hours.

I, however, didn’t get to drain the battery down to zero. But I did use the trimmer four times now, and it’s still up and running. Previously, I charged it after unboxing and it reached full battery capacity after 45 minutes. That’s average, but the battery might be long-lasting considering I haven’t charged it for two weeks now.

But if you can’t wait for two hours to fully charge the device, you can always trim while charging. The Beard Trimmer will still work even if it’s plugged — and you don’t have to worry about it since the heat dissipates easily with its stainless steel and metal properties.

What’s amusing, though, is the Beard Trimmer sporting a Type-C port. I literally sighed “Amen”, seeing a lifestyle product that doesn’t use a micro USB port. Most gadgets I own now use a Type-C cable and I appreciate it when more devices are equipped with this port. It just makes my life easier.

Travel-friendly

If you travel frequently — either for leisure or business — then you might love the trimmer’s travel lock feature. With just a single long press on the power button, you can lock the trimmer to avoid accidental touch while traveling. Or so it doesn’t buzz while inside your carry-on.

The yellow light will indicate that the trimmer is locked. If you try to open it by pressing the power button softly, the LED indicator will prompt that it’s locked by blinking the yellow light. You can unlock it easily though: Just long-press the power button and voila!

Furthermore, the realme Beard Trimmer is easy to fit in on your carry-ons. Or in your luggage, if you’re going on a trip that doesn’t require an x-ray scanning machine and doesn’t prohibit combustible devices.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

If you’re out in the market for a grooming accessory, and if it’s your first time to shop for a personal care tool — the realme Beard Trimmer is worth considering as your GadgetMatch. It ticks the right boxes that first-time groomers would look for: affordable, sleek and premium-looking, easy-to-use, and offers precise cutting.

Meanwhile, seasoned groomers would probably look elsewhere. Something like Panasonic and/or Philips; household brands that we know all too well.

The realme Beard Trimmer retails for PhP 1,090. For a few more upgrades like an extra 20mm comb and engraved metal, the realme Beard Trimmer Plus costs PhP 1,990.

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