Xiaomi, contrary to what you’ve been hearing lately, isn’t just a smartphone company. (Company executives are keen to point out that they’re a software or internet company.)
It’s built all sorts of stuff, from accessories to TVs to rice cookers and bags. Recently, it debuted a cool electric scooter that eagerly folds with the touch of a button.
Today, Xiaomi went the boring route and unveiled a MacBook Pro killer with LTE connectivity similar to a smartphone. Dubbed the Mi Notebook Air 4G, the Windows 10 laptop boasts great specs, and is capable of speeds of up to 150Mbps over a mobile data network. This is Xiaomi’s second foray into the PC industry, following the unveiling of the Mi Notebook Air, which launched in July this year.
To sweeten the deal, Xiaomi said users would receive 4GB of free data per month for 12 months from China Mobile, which has been tapped as its carrier partner. The state-owned operator boasts the most users in the world with about 835 million subscribers as of May 2016.
The Mi Notebook Air 4G retains the same full-metal design of the previous model (again, in silver or gold). Like the original, it also comes in two sizes: there’s a 12.5-inch variant powered by an Intel Core M3 processor and 4GB of RAM, the same processing package you’d find on many entry-level ultrabooks; the bigger 13.3-incher gets bumped up to a sixth-generation Core i7 CPU, alongside an Nvidia GeForce 940MX graphics chip and 8GB of RAM for improved gaming performance.
Storage options go as high as 256GB for the 13.3-inch model, while the resolution maxes out at 1080p on all screens. Connectivity options include up to two USB 3.0 ports, a Type-C port, an HDMI port, and a standard headphone jack. Battery life is rated between 9.5 and 11.5 hours, depending on the screen size. Both laptops run Windows 10 (presumably of the Single Language variety).
Besides the free monthly data, there’s really no upside to upgrading to either notebook if you already own the previous Notebook Air. Worse still, the inclusion of the data plan appears to have bloated the price considerably. Earlier this year, the smaller Mi Notebook Air sold for 3,499 yuan, or around $500, at launch. By contrast, the new Mi Notebook Air 4G starts at 4,699 yuan (about $680), whereas the bigger version is priced at 6,999 yuan ($1,000).
ASUS ROG Phone gets everyone hyped, Memoji is a thing: Weekend Rewind
ASUS wows, as Lenovo disappoints
Here are this week’s top stories on GadgetMatch.
1. ROG Phone gets everyone buzzing
Even if you hid under a rock over the past week, you still might have heard all the noise that the ASUS ROG Phone made right before Computex 2018. This is a phone built with gamers in mind. The design is distinctly ROG with specs that match today’s top-of-the-line flagships. However, what sets it apart are the accessories available for purchase right when the device launches. These include a controller by GameVice, a desktop dock similar to what we’ve seen with Samsung DEX, and a TwinView dock that adds not only physical buttons but also another display.
2. Dual screen laptops are coming
Speaking of dual displays, ASUS wasn’t done making noise. They also also launched the ZenBook 15 Pro with the ScreenPad. Screen what now? Instead of the usual trackpad, ASUS put a display on its new ZenBook and it can do anything from being a second screen to enhancing the experience for certain apps.
It doesn’t end there. ASUS also showcased Project Precog — a laptop that completely takes away the physical keyboard and replaces it with another screen. Not to be outdone, Lenovo announced the Yoga Book Generation 2 which will also sport dual screens. Unfortunately, Lenovo’s next announcement was a dud.
3. Where’s the “all-screen” phone at, Lenovo?
People swooned as teasers of an “all-screen” Lenovo Z5 spread online but those swoons quickly turned into sighs as Lenovo revealed a Z5 that sports a notch. Lenovo took the “expectation versus reality” meme to heart. If you can get past the disappointment of not getting an all-screen phone, what you get with the Z5 is a midrange phone that promises AI-integration on its cameras.
4. Pixel 3 XL will look a lot like its predecessor
In yet another uninspiring smartphone design news, XDA Developers showed a leak of the Pixel 3 XL. The rear remains unchanged and you will be forgiven if you think this is the Pixel 2 XL. What’s different though is that it’s rumored to have two front-facing cameras that’s housed inside — can you guess? — yes, a notch.
5. Memoji, Dark Mode, and more awesome Apple-made OS things
Rounding up this week is a sort of encouraging news. While there was no hardware announcement at this year’s WWDC, we were peppered with a bunch of new features coming to iOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS.
iOS 12 will now feature tongue tracking on Animojis and AR Emoji killer (if you think it was ever really alive) Memoji which is an Animoji version of yourself. The next macOS is called Mojave and it introduces a slew of new features including a Dark Mode, stacks for decluttering your desktop, and more. You can read about the 18 most notable WWDC updates here.
Weekend Rewind is our roundup of top news and features you might have missed for the week. We know the world of technology can be overwhelming and not everyone has the time to get up to speed with everything — and that includes us. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the rewind.
Lenovo’s next Yoga Book will come with dual screens
A successor to the polarizing Yoga Book from 2016
Shortly after the announcement of Intel’s limited edition processor, Lenovo surprised the audience (and yours truly) by revealing the Yoga Book Generation 2. This is a successor to the original Yoga Book from 2016 which had a unique touch panel in place of a physical keyboard.
Not much was disclosed by Lenovo during the keynote, but the representative promised that it’ll launch later this year. And since it’s smaller and presumably less powerful than Project Precog, we can assume that this Yoga Book will be more affordable, too.
What crossed everyone’s mind, however, was how intuitive the touch keyboard will be. The first Yoga Book experienced mixed reviews with some praising the innovative input method, while others found it way too difficult to type with. Although we’ve become accustomed to touch typing on smartphones, the design doesn’t automatically translate to a user-friendly one on laptops.
Lenovo’s solution for this, according to the slide seen above, is to integrate artificial intelligence. This probably means predictive input from the computer side, as well as better haptic feedback so you know you’re pressing the right keys.
Could this be the direction all laptops are headed? Possibly so, but we’d like everyone to take this news with a grain of salt. After what happened to the disappointing Lenovo Z5 buildup, we wouldn’t get too excited just yet.
ASUS announces the dual-screen, AI-powered Project Precog laptop
Knows where your hands are at all times
Before, stuffing two separate screens into one laptop seemed like a farfetched dream. Now, that dream is finally a reality.
Fresh off a series of blockbuster announcements at Computex 2018, ASUS has revealed a new laptop concept that puts the premium on both AI and dual screens.
Despite launching as just a prototype, the ASUS Project Precog laptop is as real as it gets. Most notably, it features another screen set in place of a traditional keyboard. As such, it looks like two screens sandwiched together.
However, don’t be fooled. The laptop is anything but just a pair of screens.
Both screens boast of Intel’s new Movidius Myriad 2 visual processing unit, the world’s first always-on visual processor. With the new tech, the Project Precog automatically detects which screen you are currently using as an input device based on where your fingertips are.
Alternatively, the laptop can switch to stylus on the fly when it detects that you’re about to use a stylus pen.
Despite the always-on nature, Intel promises that both screens can power through a day easily.
As for form factor, the Project Precog functions similar to Lenovo’s well-known Yoga line. The laptop can fold and bend to accommodate various viewing angles — laptop, tent, book, or tablet.
Despite its unique form factor, the Project Precog isn’t even ASUS’ first foray into the dual-screen computing market. Along with the Precog, ASUS has also launched the ZenBook Pro UX580, a laptop that replaces the traditional touchpad with another screen.
Currently, ASUS has not revealed much of what powers the Project Precog under the hood. During their press conference at Computex, the company only unveiled and displayed a prototype unit without giving actual specs. However, more details should come out as ASUS brings this prototype into reality.
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