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Review: ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (GA401Q)

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The new ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (GA401Q) is a 14-inch laptop that offers portability without sacrificing overall performance.

DESIGN
The laptop measures only 17.9mm thin and weighs around 1.7-kgs. Available in two different colour options such as Moonlight White or Eclipse Gray, the G14 boasts 6,536 precision-milled perforations on its lid with tiny LEDs. These light up in patterns that can be programmed using the AniMe Matrix settings.

The laptop has been built using magnesium-aluminum alloy with honeycomb reinforcements to keep the chassis both strong and light. If you opt for the Moonlight White variant, you also get a Prismatic Effect on the Lid and on the logo. ASUS has also thrown in a virtual pet called Omni bot from the ROG universe, which reacts to system usage, battery level, and so on, on the AniMe Matrix lid.

I/O PORTS
The Zephyrus G14 is also the first ROG laptop to feature an ErgoLift hinge that tilts the keyboard at a more comfortable angle. The bottom of the display lifts the back of the machine when you open the lid, giving the vents in the base more room to breathe. In terms of I/O ports, you get plenty!

On the left edge, you will find ports such as the power, HDMI 2.0b, USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C with DisplayPort 1.4 and power delivery, and a 3.5mm audio jack. On the right edge, you will find ports such as the USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C, two USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A, and a Kensington Lock.

COOLING
The laptop also comes with a new heat pipe design that includes four heat pipes beneath the surface to pull heat away from not only the CPU and GPU but also the circuitry supplying them with power. The CPU, GPU, and VRM also have their own heat pipes connected to shared heatsinks that ensure efficient cooling for any workload, including those that light up only one of the two chips.

ASUS has also used a liquid metal compound from Thermal Grizzly on the CPU to increase performance by up to 10% compared to the standard thermal paste. This option was only available for Intel-based CPUs. However, it is now available for AMD CPUs as well and can decrease CPU temperatures by up to 10 degrees Celsius.

The G14 also features upgraded Arc Flow fans that accompany 84 blades shaped to increase airflow by up to 10% and reduce noise by up to 2dB below previous-gen designs. The laptop’s self-cleaning thermal module also helps maintain strong cooling performance over time.

SPECS
Under the hood, the G14 is powered by an AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS processor with Radeon Graphics and running at a clock speed of 3.30GHz. It also comes with 32GB of RAM and 1TB of storage space. Inside the box, you get a bunch of accessories along with the G14. This includes a ROG 14-inch Laptop Sleeve, a 100W Type C PD Charger, and some paperwork which includes the warranty info and the quick start guide.

DISPLAY
The review unit we received, came with a 14-inch 1080p 120Hz display. The display also offers 1440p WQHD resolution with a 60Hz refresh rate. The panel offers very good colours and brightness levels. You get around 323 nits of brightness, which is very good for most setups.

What’s missing though is a webcam on the top of the display. This was possibly done by ASUS to keep the overall package thin and light. But, it’s no biggie since you can now buy very capable external web cameras on the market that usually perform much better than built-in webcams.

AUDIO
The audio performance on the G14 is powered by Dolby’s Atmos technology, which also handles the audio processing. The laptop comes with a Dolby Atmos app that lets you pick from several preset audio modes, optimized for gaming, movies, and voice-centric media. Preset options include Dynamic, Game, Movie, Music, and Voice. You can also create custom presets using the graphical EQ options to fine-tune the audio to your preference.

GRAPHICS
And now, we have reached the area that matters the most when it comes to gaming laptops – the graphics capabilities. The Zephyrus G14 is armed with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Max-Q GPU with 6GB of VRAM. This literally translates into a gaming beast packed into a 14-inch chassis.

PERFORMANCE
What we experienced was judder-free gameplay throughout. We did not find any lags or stutters while gaming. Even tasks such as video rendering were a walk in the park as the Zephyrus G14 was able to handle everything we threw at it with aplomb!

The touchpad and the keyboard were both great. The Windows Precision Trackpad is a good size and very easy to press. The keys are clicky with decent travel, without being loud enough to annoy those seated around you.

At the end of the day, the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 can handle all the multitasking you need it to. It comes with a great keyboard, touchpad, battery life, and overall performance. If you are on the market for a highly portable gaming laptop that you can use while on the road without any compromise to performance, you’ll be happy with the G14 as your primary computing and gaming device.

Price: AED 7,999

Product photography by Ranbir Sen

ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (GA401Q) AED 7,999
  • Final Rating
4

Summary

The laptop has been built using magnesium-aluminum alloy with honeycomb reinforcements to keep the chassis both strong and light. If you opt for the Moonlight White variant, you also get a Prismatic Effect on the Lid and on the logo. ASUS has also thrown in a virtual pet called Omni bot from the ROG universe, which reacts to system usage, battery level, and so on, on the AniMe Matrix lid.

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Huawei Pura 70 Review: A Feature-Packed Smartphone Experience

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Huawei’s Pura 70 lineup boasts a flagship phone for every need, and the base model Pura 70 stands as a compelling option for users who prioritise camera prowess without the extravagance of the “Ultra” version.

Design and Build Quality
The Pura 70 eschews the flamboyant curves of its pricier sibling for a more traditional, yet still elegant, design. The phone boasts a flat, high-resolution display protected by Huawei’s scratch-resistant Kunlun Glass. While not as visually striking as the curved panels on some flagships, this design choice offers a more secure grip and potentially less accidental damage.

The sleek aluminium frame adds a touch of premium feel, and the back, available in a variety of glossy or matte finishes, exudes a classic smartphone aesthetic. The phone is IP68 rated, making it water and dust-resistant, ensuring it can withstand everyday spills and splashes. Overall, the Pura 70 feels solid and well-built, catering to users who value practicality and a timeless design.

Display
The Huawei Pura 70 comes packed with a 6.6-inches LTPO OLED display, that offers a resolution of 2760-by-1256 pixels. You also get 1-120 Hz adaptive high dynamic refresh rates, 1440 Hz high-frequency PWM dimming, and up to 300 Hz touch sampling rate. The pixel density is rated at 460 ppi. As mentioned earlier, the display is protected by scratch-resistant Kunlun Glass.

Camera
The Pura 70’s camera system, while not quite reaching the heights of the Ultra model, still packs a powerful punch. The main attraction is a 50MP Ultra Lighting Camera that offers an aperture of F1.4~F4.0 and support for Optical Image Stabilisation. It delivers excellent image quality with sharp details and impressive low-light performance. While lacking the massive sensor of the Ultra, the Pura 70’s offering still excels in capturing vibrant colours and clear nighttime shots, as seen in the samples below:

Accompanying the main sensor is a 13 MP Ultra-Wide Angle Camera with an F2.2 aperture for capturing expansive landscapes without sacrificing detail. A dedicated 12 MP Telephoto Camera offering an F3.4 aperture and OIS. The 13MP front-facing camera boasts autofocus and a wide field of view, catering to selfie enthusiasts and video calls.

While the camera system might not boast the same headline-grabbing specs as the Ultra, it delivers excellent photo and video quality for everyday users and mobile photography enthusiasts alike. The lack of a 1-inch sensor might be noticeable for professionals seeking the absolute best low-light performance, but for most users, the Pura 70’s camera setup will be more than sufficient.

Software
The Pura 70 runs on Huawei’s EMUI 14.2 operating system. This homegrown operating system offers a clean and user-friendly interface with smooth animations and a focus on customization. EMUI 14.2 builds on the foundations of EMUI 14, introducing more dynamic and interactive elements such as touch-responsive themes and mini-games on the lock screen. It enhances the degree of personalization and interaction you can have with the Huawei Pura 70. Huawei’s AppGallery offers most of the popular apps and their alternatives.

Specifications and Performance
The Pura 70 boasts a flagship-worthy Kirin 9000S1 octa-core processor, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of onboard storage, ensuring smooth performance for everyday tasks, multitasking, and even demanding games. This combination delivers a fast and responsive user experience. The Pura 70 delivers a smooth and lag-free experience. The onboard storage, however, cannot be expanded further.

Verdict
The Huawei Pura 70 is a compelling smartphone for users prioritising a powerful camera system in a sleek, well-built package. The 50MP main sensor, versatile ultrawide and telephoto lenses, and capable front camera deliver excellent photo and video quality for most users. The phone itself is fast and responsive, with a beautiful display and a comfortable design. The Huawei Pura 70 boasts a top-tier camera system, making it a dream come true for mobile photographers.

Price: AED 2599 (12GB+256GB variant)

Huawei Pura 70 AED 2599
  • Final Rating
3.5

Summary

The Pura 70 eschews the flamboyant curves of its pricier sibling for a more traditional, yet still elegant, design. The phone boasts a flat, high-resolution display protected by Huawei’s scratch-resistant Kunlun Glass.

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Xiaomi Intros Redmi 13 Smartphone

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Xiaomi has launched the Redmi 13, setting a new standard for entry-level smartphones. Crafted for users seeking style and substance, it boasts a sleek design, a powerful 108MP main camera, and a large AdaptiveSync display with up to 90Hz refresh rate. With a stylish glass back and 33W fast charging, the Redmi 13 exemplifies Xiaomi’s commitment to value and innovation. Redmi 13 introduces the first-ever 108MP main camera in the Redmi series, featuring 3x in-sensor zoom for exceptional detail. With the advanced Samsung ISOCELL HM6 sensor and 9-in-1 pixel binning technology, it captures clear night shots and vibrant HDR images effortlessly, empowering users to capture stunning moments with ease.

In addition to its exceptional main camera, Redmi 13 appeals to selfie lovers with its upgraded 13MP front camera and soft-light ring for natural lighting. In addition, users can enhance their photography with vintage filters and frame designs, allowing for creative expression while documenting travels or sharing experiences. Redmi 13 presents a refined glass back design, elevating the Redmi series with its elegance. Available in Midnight Black, Sandy Gold, Pearl Pink, and the captivating Ocean Blue, it caters to users seeking sophistication. At just 8.3mm slim, Redmi 13 offers a lightweight yet quality feel, along with IP53 certification for protection against wet conditions. The device seamlessly blends style, performance, and reliability, complementing users’ lifestyles effortlessly.

Featuring a spacious 6.79-inch FHD+ display with AdaptiveSync, Redmi 13 dynamically tunes its refresh rate up to 90Hz according to usage, delivering smooth performance while conserving battery. Boasting excellent colour depth and a peak brightness of 550 nits, the screen ensures vivid, clear visuals, even in sunlight.
Designed with user convenience and durability in mind, Redmi 13 comes with a Corning Gorilla Glass display for resilience against bumps and knocks of daily life, and optimization for enhanced touch recognition and control, effectively preventing accidental triggers from water droplets. Users can enjoy a comfortable viewing experience with Redmi 13, which holds triple TÜV Rheinland certifications for Low Blue Light, Flicker Free, and Circadian Friendly attributes. With DC dimming, it minimizes eye strain in low-light settings, ensuring added peace of mind.

Redmi 13’s 5030mAh battery provides all-day performance, with 23 hours of calling or 28 hours of music after just 60 minutes of charging. A five-minute charge offers two hours of calling. With 33W fast charging, it reaches full capacity in 62 minutes. Powered by Xiaomi HyperOS, Redmi 13 offers an enhanced interface with improved home screen options and notification management. Its MediaTek Helio G91-Ultra platform ensures smooth gaming and multitasking, with up to 8GB RAM and 256GB storage. Adding convenience, the Redmi 13 features a 3.5mm headphone jack, a side-mounted fingerprint reader, and Flash notifications via a rear LED light.

The Redmi 13 was launched in the UAE on June 8th and is available through all official Xiaomi sales outlets. It comes in Midnight Black, Sandy Gold, Pearl Pink, and Ocean Blue colour options. The storage variants are 6GB+128GB priced at AED 537, 8GB+128GB priced at AED 579, and 8GB+256GB priced at AED 619.

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ASUS NUC 14 Pro Review: A Compact Powerhouse?

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The ASUS NUC series has carved a niche for itself in the PC market, offering miniature powerhouses ideal for space-constrained environments or those seeking a minimalist desktop setup. The latest iteration, the NUC 14 Pro, boasts the latest Intel Core Ultra processors and promises desktop-caliber performance in a tiny footprint. But is smaller truly better in every situation? Let’s check out the NUC 14 Pro’s strengths and weaknesses, helping you decide if this pint-sized PC packs the punch you need.

Design and Build Quality
The NUC 14 Pro maintains the familiar compact design synonymous with the series. Its sleek black chassis is constructed from a lightweight yet sturdy plastic, making it both portable and unobtrusive. While some might yearn for the premium feel of metal, the plastic keeps the weight down to a mere 1.2kg, perfect for tight spaces or frequent travel.

The front panel provides easy access to two USB-A ports and a single USB-C port with Thunderbolt 4 support. The inclusion of Thunderbolt 4 is a welcome addition, opening doors to high-speed data transfer, external displays, and even powerful external graphics cards. The rear houses additional USB-A ports, two USB-C ports, two HDMI 2.1 ports, an Ethernet jack for wired connectivity, and a power port.

While the design is minimalist and functional, some users might find the lack of an SD card reader inconvenient. Additionally, the internal layout, while accessible for RAM and storage upgrades, requires some disassembly.

Performance
The NUC 14 Pro comes in various configurations, with the 12th Gen Intel Core Ultra processors ranging from the i5-1550U to the i7-1585H. In everyday tasks such as web browsing, document editing, and video streaming, the NUC 14 Pro shines. It handles these tasks with ease, delivering a smooth and responsive experience.

However, pushing the limits exposes some limitations. Content creation applications like photo editing and video rendering require more processing power. While the NUC 14 Pro can handle them, expect longer render times compared to bulkier desktops with dedicated graphics cards. The integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics are sufficient for casual gaming but struggle with demanding titles.

Upgrading the RAM and storage is a possibility, with the NUC 14 Pro supporting up to 96GB of DDR5 memory and two M.2 SSD slots. This allows for customisation based on your specific needs, but it’s worth noting that these upgrades can add to the overall cost.

Thermals and Noise
The NUC 14 Pro utilises a small internal fan to keep things cool. Under typical workloads, the fan noise is minimal and unobtrusive. However, under heavy load, the fan can become noticeably audible. While not a dealbreaker, it’s something to consider if silence is paramount in your workspace. Thermally, the NUC 14 Pro manages heat adequately. The chassis can get warm under heavy processing, but it never reaches concerning temperatures.

Connectivity and Features
As mentioned earlier, the NUC 14 Pro boasts a good selection of ports, including the versatile Thunderbolt 4 port. This allows for a plethora of connection options, from external displays and high-speed storage to docking stations and even external graphics enclosures for a performance boost.

Wi-Fi 6E ensures a fast and stable wireless connection, while Bluetooth 5.3 provides seamless pairing with wireless peripherals. The included Kensington lock slot adds a layer of security for those concerned about physical theft in public spaces. The lack of an integrated DVD drive is unsurprising given the miniaturized form factor. However, for those who still require a physical disc drive, external options are readily available.

Software and Upgradability
The NUC 14 Pro ships with Windows 11 pre-installed, allowing you to hit the ground running immediately. Bloatware is minimal, and ASUS provides its own utility for managing system updates and monitoring performance. Upgradability is a double-edged sword. While the NUC 14 Pro allows for RAM and storage upgrades, the process involves some disassembly.

Verdict
The ASUS NUC 14 Pro is a compelling option for users seeking a powerful yet miniature PC. Its sleek design, excellent port selection with Thunderbolt 4, and the option for powerful Intel Core Ultra processors make it ideal for space-constrained environments or minimalist setups.

The ASUS NUC 14 Pro succeeds in delivering desktop-calibre performance in a compact form factor. For those who prioritise a small footprint, powerful performance for everyday tasks, and excellent connectivity, the NUC 14 Pro is a strong contender, especially for those who can take advantage of the Thunderbolt 4 capabilities for further expansion.

Price: AED 2000 onwards

ASUS NUC 14 Pro AED 2000 onwards
  • Final Rating
3.5

Summary

The NUC 14 Pro comes in various configurations, with the 12th Gen Intel Core Ultra processors ranging from the i5-1550U to the i7-1585H.

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