Laptops

Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro announced as alternative to MacBook Pro

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Xiaomi announced their own line of Windows-powered laptops last year, but those models mainly target casual users who want something portable. This time around, the company wants to attract power users with the Mi Notebook Pro.

Before launching their new bezel-less flagship and a larger Mi 6, Xiaomi announced a new laptop that’ll battle the latest MacBook Pro from Apple (no surprise). We see the design of the Mi Notebook Pro as a hybrid between the MacBook and Surface Book with its minimalist industrial design.

It sits as a multimedia notebook with its 15.6-inch narrow-bezel display topped with Gorilla Glass 3. It’s powered by an 8th-gen Intel Core i7 processor with up to 16GB of DDR4 memory and 256GB NVMe SSD. It also comes with an NVIDIA GeForce MX150 as its dedicated graphics card.

The body is made out of magnesium alloy with a symmetrical cooling system, which allows double inbound and outbound air flow. The keyboard area has backlighting and is larger compared to the MacBook Pro’s (Xiaomi likes to compare during the presentation).

As for ports, the Mi Notebook Pro doesn’t lack any. It has two full-size USB 3.0, two USB-C, HDMI, and an SD card reader.

This premium notebook doesn’t come with a high price tag despite its premium features. The highest-end model with a Core i7 processor and 16GB memory is priced at CNY 6,999 (US$ 1075), while the lower 8GB memory model costs CNY 6,399 (US$ 980). A Core i5 variant with 8GB memory will also be available for CNY 5,569 (US$ 855).

SEE ALSO: Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 improves on predecessor in every way

[irp posts=”19993″ name=”Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 improves on predecessor in every way”]

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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Laptops

Dell launches new Inspiron laptops in Singapore

Inspiron 16 Plus, 14, 16, and 14 2-in-1

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Dell Inspiron

Dell is launching four new Inspiron laptops to cater to professionals needing powerful devices for more flexibility at work.

They are the Inspiron 16 Plus, Inspiron 14, Inspiron 16, and Inspiron 14 2-in-1, which are equipped with the latest processors, graphic cards, and thermal solutions.

All four are either powered by up to the latest 12th Gen Intel Core or AMD Ryzen processors plus options for NVIDIA GeForce RTX graphics cards – on top of a wide-range of features to benefit their users.

They will be available in both physical stores and online in Singapore, starting at SG$ 1,099.

Inspiron 16 Plus

Headlining the new batch of laptops is the Inspiron 16 Plus that is made specifically for creators.

It comes with either an 12th Gen Intel Core i5-12500H or i7-12700H processor plus up to an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 graphics.

It can support up to 64GB of DDR5 4800MHz memory for faster multi-tasking and up to 2TB of M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD storage.

The laptop’s up to 3K display comes with an immersive 16:10 aspect ratio, complemented by quad speakers for an even better audio experience powered by Dolby’s Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision technologies.

Inspiron 14 and 16

Not far behind the Inspiron 16 Plus are the Inspiron 14 and 16, which have similar specs and features.

They come with up to a 12th Gen Intel Core i7-1260P or AMD Ryzen 7 5825U (with Radeon graphics) processor.

There’s an optional WiFi 6E for both, to connect you even faster. You may also opt for the NVIDIA discrete graphics for boosted visuals.

The laptops also come with ExpressCharge that can power the device up to 80 percent in just an hour.

When it comes to memory and storage, the Inspiron 14 and 16 can support up to 32GB DDR4 memory and 1TB SSD storage.

Inspiron 14 2-in-1

Lastly, for those looking for a touchscreen laptop, the Inspiron 14 2-in-1 offers versatility on the go. 

It has a 1920 x 1200 FHD+ display which likewise has a 16:10 aspect ratio. There are four different modes to this device, and its lid-open sensor lets you turn on the laptop in a snap.

Like the three other Inspiron laptops, the 14 2-in-1 has the ExpressCharge feature, large memory and storage capacities, and the latest 12th Gen Intel Core processor and option for an NVIDIA GeForce MX graphic card.

Pricing, availability

Check the table for the corresponding prices of the four new Dell Inspiron laptops.

Laptop Color Starting price
Inspiron 16 Plus Dark Green SG$ 1,999
Inspiron 14 (AMD) Platinum Silver SG$ 1,099
Inspiron 14 (Intel) SG$ 1,199
Inspiron 16 SG$ 1,299
Inspiron 14 2-in-1 SG$ 1,399

 

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