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Review: Huawei MatePad Pro 12.6 (2021)

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Huawei announced a slew of new devices under its “Super Device” lineup and one of those was the Huawei MatePad Pro. This is the first tablet from Huawei that runs on the company’s new HarmonyOS. The 12.6-inch Huawei MatePad Pro is the company’s flagship tablet and it comes packed with the powerful Kirin 9000E Chipset. This is a 5nm processor that offers impressive performance and at the same time, an extended battery life.

DESIGN
Once you take the device out of the packaging, you will be surprised with the top-notch build quality. It looks and feels premium.

The Huawei MatePad Pro is slick and well built. The tablet is available in two variations – an Olive Green variant that comes with a vegan leather finish at the back of the device, and the classic Matte Grey. We received the Olive Green variant for this review.

DISPLAY
The Huawei MatePad Pro weighs just 609-gms and measures 6.7mm in thickness. On the front, you get a gorgeous 12.6-inch OLED FullView Display that offers a resolution of 2560-by-1600 pixels, and a 90% screen-to-body ratio. It also supports DCI-P3 Wide Colour Gamut, achieves a professional-grade colour accuracy level of ΔE<0.5, and offers a high contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1.

HARDWARE
As mentioned earlier, the Huawei MatePad Pro runs on the 5nm Kirin 9000E processor. You also get 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. On the left edge of the device, when holding in landscape format, you will find the power button and the grilles of the stereo speakers.

On the right edge, you will find the USB-C port and the grilles of the stereo speakers. On the top edge, you will find the volume rockers and noise-canceling microphones and on the bottom edge, you will find a Nano Memory Card slot to expand the storage capacity on the device.

CAMERA
On the front, just above the display, you will find an 8MP camera that offers an aperture of f/2.0. At the rear, you will find a triple camera setup – it’s a combination of a 13MP wide-angle primary camera that offers an aperture of F/1.8, and an ultra-wide angle 8MP camera that offers an aperture of f/2.4. And then there’s a 3D depth-sensing lens. In terms of video capture, the rear cameras can do 4K@30fps and 1080p@30fps, while the front camera can do 1080p@30fps.

BATTERY AND SPEAKERS
The MatePad Pro comes with a 10,050 mAh battery that offers a longer battery life and supports 40W HUAWEI SuperCharge. In addition, you also get 27W wireless charging and 10W reverse wireless charging. Now, that’s impressive.

In terms of audio performance, the Huawei MatePad Pro comes built-in with a total of eight speakers hidden behind four grilles. Huawei has used one large speaker for low and mid-tones and one smaller for high-tones – and this combo is repeated four times – two on each side.

The speaker setup has been tuned by Harman Kardon, and during our review, we found the audio quality to be outstanding. The Huawei MatePad Pro is possibly of the best sounding tablets out there on the market right now.

HARMONY OS
The Huawei MatePad Pro is the first tablet from the company that runs the new HarmonyOS 2.0. Many may be skeptical about a new operating system, after being accustomed to either the Android or iOS platforms on mobile devices. I was, too.

However, the overall user experience on the Huawei MatePad Pro running HarmonyOS felt outstanding. There’s no learning curve involved – the transition from Android to HarmonyOS felt like a walk in the park. The interface is very similar and is in fact, quite refined in some ways.

Everything felt snappier and lag-free – whether it was browsing between multiple app windows, gaming, productivity tasks, online browsing, watching videos, playing music, you name it. The only thing that you may need to get used to is installing apps on the MatePad Pro. However, even that may feel effortless, thanks to Petal Search.

PERFORMANCE
As I mentioned before, I was impressed by the overall performance and experience of using HarmonyOS. Everything felt butter-smooth and tasks were accomplished lag-free. The MatePad gorgeous OLED FullView display is a treat to your eyes. Colours pop out of the screen and everything looked excellent, whether you are watching a movie, playing games, or even editing photos on Photoshop Express.

The MatePad Pro’s eight-speaker system, tuned by Harman Kardon, produces impressive bass and clarity whether you’re gaming, streaming music, or watching a movie. I was equally impressed with the lack of distortion even at higher volume levels.

HarmonyOS works really well, too. It offers a dock at the bottom, home screens you can populate with shortcuts and widgets, app drawers, and lots more. You also get separate Notification and Control centers and Huawei offers plenty of new services such as Cross-OS Multi-Device collaboration, Super Device hub, Snippets, pop-up previews, intuitive multitasking, and so on.

The MatePad Pro 12.6 supports Multi-Screen Collaboration. It’s a mode you activate from the Control Center. Here you have three choices – Mirror Mode, Extend Mode, and Collaborate Mode. Mirror Mode mirrors your Huawei laptop screen on your tablet, and you can use the M-Pencil and the touchscreen for drawing, writing, and sketches.

Extend Mode makes your tablet screen an extension to your Windows desktop on your Huawei laptop. Like having a second monitor. Finally, the most interesting one is the Collaborate Mode. It is a cross-platform collaboration – you can drag and drop content (files, texts, links) between both devices in both directions with your mouse.

You can also connect a Huawei phone and have its screen appear on your tablet display. Drag and drop file exchange works flawlessly; you can also use the tablet to make calls or write texts, no need to unlock and use your smartphone. It’s a handy feature, but you’d need a Huawei smartphone running EMUI 10 or later for that feature to work.

Having said all of that, the Huawei MatePad Pro 12.6 is an excellent tablet that offers a gorgeous design, great OLED screen, very good performance, powerful speakers, incredible battery life, and outstanding HarmonyOS. If you are on the market looking for a very good tablet, that offers all of the above-mentioned features, you should definitely take a look at the Huawei MatePad Pro.

Price: AED 3399 onwards

Photography by Ranbir Sen

Huawei MatePad Pro 12.6 (2021) AED 3399 onwards
  • Final Rating
4

Summary

The Huawei MatePad Pro runs on the 5nm Kirin 9000E processor. You also get 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. On the left edge of the device, when holding in landscape format, you will find the power button and the grilles of the stereo speakers.

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Gadgets

Long Term Review: Huawei nova 8

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Huawei’s new nova 8 was launched in the UAE in August 2021 and the company promptly sent us a device for a long-term review. We have been using the Huawei Nova 8 for the past two months and the overall experience has been so awesome, that we even forgot it didn’t come with GMS pre-installed!

The nova 8 is a beautiful device, both inside and outside. The phone uses a curved glass design while retaining the physical buttons on the side for functionality and aesthetics. The curved edges from the front and back perfectly fit into the metal mid-frame, making it feel smooth and sleek.

On the right edge of the device, you will find the volume and the power buttons, while the left edge is flush. On the bottom edge, you will find the USB-C charging port, a speaker grille, and a noise-cancelling microphone. On the top edge, you will find the dual-SIM tray and another noise-cancelling microphone.

Inside the box, you get the Huawei nova 8, a SIM ejector tool, a clear jelly case, a USB-C charging cable, and the compact 66W supercharger. The nova 8 has also gone through a series of aesthetic changes. While the nova 8i looked more like Huawei’s Mate series, the nova 8 comes with a large camera module that sits on the top left corner on the rear of the device.

The unit we received for this review is the Gold Blush colour variant priced at AED 1799. On the front, you get a 6.75-inches Full HD OLED Edgeless display that offers a resolution of 2340-by-1080 pixels, a 90Hz refresh rate, and support for HDR10. On the top in the middle of the screen, you will find a cutout that houses a 32MP selfie shooter.

Turn the phone around and you come face to face with Huawei’s quad-camera Nebular Camera System. Now, this setup includes a 64MP HD Main Camera, 8MP Ultra-Wide angle Camera, 2MP Macro Camera, and a 2MP Bokeh Camera. Huawei says that the nova 8 uses a 4-in-1 light fusion technology, which makes it easier for people at all skill levels to take pictures in crystal-clear quality.

Indoor Shot Sample

The phone also comes with a Super Night Mode that makes photos sharper and brighter. The Huawei nova 8 also makes wide-angle photos look more natural with its 120° Ultra Wide Angle Camera and anti-distortion AI algorithm. The Bokeh Camera creates natural Bokeh effects for portraits, while the Macro Camera takes up-close shots in clear and minute details, with a focus distance of just 4cm.

Then there’s a Dual-View video feature that helps vloggers record HD 1080p videos in a playful way. In this mode, the display splits in two, with one showing a close-up shot captured by the Ultra-Wide Angle Camera, and the other displaying the whole picture shot by the Main Camera. This mode is great for shooting events or locations, such as visiting a park or zoo.

Outdoor Shot 1

Outdoor Shot 1

The 32MP front camera also offers a Super Night Selfie 2.0 mode, which uses the phone’s AI algorithm to removes flares reflected from glasses. The phone also supports Huawei’s Multi-screen Collaboration feature. Using this feature, the nova 8 can be connected with a PC to form a “Super Device”. Once connected, you can open up to three windows on the PC and the PC can access mobile files, while the smartphone can function as the PC’s thumb device, making cross-device file management easier than ever.

Outdoor Shot 2 (1X)

Outdoor Shot 2 (1X)

Under the hood, the phone is powered by the Kirin 985 5G processor. You also get 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage space. No provision for expandable storage is included in the nova 8 though. The nova 8 runs on EMUI 11, which is based on Android 10. The phone does not come with GMS pre-installed, though you do get Huawei’s AppGallery for all your app needs.

Outdoor Shot 2 (Wide Angle)

Outdoor Shot 2 (Wide Angle)

You also get Petal Maps for navigation, Petal Search to search and install apps, Huawei Health, Huawei Music, Huawei Video, and lots more. We found Petal Maps to be a great alternative to Google Maps and the directions and routes were very accurate every time we used them.

With Petal Search and AppGallery you can install almost any app you ever wanted to use on the nova 8. The phone also comes with a 3800mAh battery that supports supercharging at 66W, which can reach from 0% to 100% battery capacity in less than 35 minutes.

Night Shot

Night Shot

In terms of performance, the Huawei nova 8 delivers. Multi-tasking through multiple open app windows worked like a charm. We also used the multi-screen collaboration feature by pairing the nova 8 with the Huawei Matebook 14, and everything felt butter smooth. Gaming sessions turned out to be very good, thanks to the nova 8’s solid specs.

The camera on the nova 8 is something to look out for – it performs brilliantly. Whether it is indoors or outdoors, the camera performed quite consistently. The focusing is quite fast, which is a welcome addition, considering situations when you do not want to miss a great moment. The selfie camera also performed very well.

The Huawei nova 8 is priced at AED 1799, which puts it right at the top in the mid-range smartphone section. However, what you get at a mid-range price point are lots of premium bells and whistles. The overall design is eye-catching, the specs are top-notch, the camera performance is excellent, and the overall UI experience is really very good.

If you are into content creation such as vlogging and want to start off with a solid mid-range smartphone, available at an affordable price point, you can’t go wrong with the Huawei nova 8.

Price: AED 1799

Huawei nova 8 AED 1799
  • Final Rating
3.5

Summary

Under the hood, the phone is powered by the Kirin 985 5G processor. You also get 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage space. No provision for expandable storage is included in the nova 8 though. The nova 8 runs on EMUI 11, which is based on Android 10. The phone does not come with GMS pre-installed, though you do get Huawei’s AppGallery for all your app needs.

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GITEX 2021: Toshiba Gulf FZE to Highlight Surveillance, Enterprise HDD and KIOXIA SSD Storage Solutions

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Toshiba Gulf FZE will be offering a complete 360 of Data storage solutions for Consumers and Enterprise at Hall 4, Stand H4-B2 at GITEX 2021 held at DWTC from 17th to 21st October 2021. On display will be Toshiba range of Storage products and KIOXIA (formerly Toshiba memory) NAND Flash memory products.

Visitors to Gitex can view a wide range of innovative hard disk drive (HDD) products to meet the varied demands of the diversified storage marketplace. Products displayed will include high capacity power-efficient storage for Cloud Data Centers, capacity and performance HDDs for Enterprise IT, client HDDs for PC/Desktop, and specialty drives for Surveillance, NAS systems, set-top box video, gaming, and external storage for Windows and Mac PCs.

The 18TB MG09 Series Hard Disk Drives, 3rd-generation 9-disk Helium-sealed design, and innovations in energy-assisted recording helps customers achieve new levels of storage density and power efficiency. With 12.5% more capacity than prior 16TB models, 18TB MG09 CMR drives are compatible with the widest range of applications and operating systems.

For KIOXIA various flash memory such as NAND flash, BiCS FLASH and Solid State Devices (SSD) will be displayed. Flash memory has become a standardized memory device and KIOXIA, the inventor of flash memory, has carved out a path to a new era in which we are able to carry videos, music, and data with us wherever we go.

Kioxia puts great emphasis on retaining the same excellent quality, performance, and reliability standards, that consumers are used to expecting from the formerly known Toshiba Memory product line-up, dedicated to the development and production of innovative class-leading flash storage solutions.

Santosh Varghese, Vice President, Toshiba Gulf FZE said, “With our competence and experience combined with our value chain of highly driven and proven channel partners and distributors, we look forward to the visitor response to our new products at Gitex 2021. Our 18TB MG09 Series delivers new levels of storage density and power efficiency to our cost-conscious cloud-scale and storage solutions customers and it is compatible with the widest range of applications and operating environments.”

Also highlighted at GITEX will be Canvio portable storage lineup with new applications and designs, adding new Canvio Flex and Canvio Gaming models along with new colors and textures. The next generation of Canvio designs delivers seamless portability, high storage capacity, and broad compatibility for various USB devices. It meets the evolving needs for storage solutions suited for a broad range of users, including multi-platform users, gamers, business professionals, outdoor photographers, and students. There’s a model that fits everyone’s needs.

Toshiba Gulf FZE will be in Hall 4, Stand H4-B2 at GITEX 2021. Activations on the stand include a photo booth competition where winners can walk away with attractive prizes.

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Audio Devices

Review: Sennheiser CX True Wireless Earbuds

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Sennheiser has entered into the affordable wireless earbuds category with the launch of the new CX True Wireless earbuds. This pair of wireless earbuds are part of the company’s CX range and are a bit similar-looking to the CX 400BT. However, one area where it differs is the fact that the company has equipped each bud with its own homemade TrueResponse transducer.

While the earbuds lack active noise canceling (ANC) feature, they do impress with the sheer quality of audio they offer. In terms of size, the earbuds do feel a bit bulky, but they are quite lightweight nevertheless. They also fit snuggly into the ears and do not slip out even during an intense head-banging session!

Sennheiser also offers a Smart Control App that lets you control, personalise, update and configure the Sennheiser CX True Wireless earbuds or any Sennheiser headphone, headset, or soundbar for that matter. Through the Smart Control App, you can also adjust the EQ to your liking. The earbuds support wireless connectivity through Bluetooth 5.2, along with aptX for lag-free connectivity with Android smartphones.

The charging case of the CX True Wireless is also very similar to those that accompany the CX 400BT. While the earbuds offer a battery life of up to 9 hours, you do get two additional full charges in the case, making it a total of 27 hours of battery life.

Once out of the box, you do need to perform a firmware update, which then provides you with a touch-sensitive interface on each of the earbuds to customise the commands. You can use it to control audio, answer calls or even launch your phone’s assistant.

The earbuds also come packed with dual microphones, which optimizes voice pick-up for calls and voice assistant access even when using just one earbud. Each earbud can also be used individually via a simple ‘role switching’ feature. Using the Smart Control app, you can allow the Sidetone feature to enable their own voice to be heard during calls.

The Sennheiser CX True Wireless earbuds are also IPX4 rated – so you don’t need to worry about sweat or splashes of water. During our tests at a consistent volume level of 70dB, the earbuds offered a total battery life of 8 hours and 27 minutes, before they needed a recharge.

Audio quality was fantastic – it offered very nice and deep bass, very natural-sounding mids, and very clear highs. The quality of audio on calls was also very impressive. The earbuds fit very comfortably into the ears and you really do get a very tight seal to eliminate outside noise to some extent.

While the CX True Wireless is available in both matte black and matte white for a price of AED 549, it does not accompany any bells and whistles such as ANC, wireless charging, and so on.

What it does however offer is a comfortable fit, excellent audio quality, and very good battery life. If you are looking for an excellent pair of wireless earbuds and do not really care about the bells and whistles, the Sennheiser CX True Wireless earbuds could very well turn out to be a great choice.

Price: AED 549

Sennheiser CX True Wireless Earbuds AED 549
  • Final Rating
4

Summary

While the earbuds lack active noise canceling (ANC) feature, they do impress with the sheer quality of audio they offer. In terms of size, the earbuds do feel a bit bulky, but they are quite lightweight nevertheless. They also fit snuggly into the ears and do not slip out even during an intense head-banging session!

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