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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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Review: BenQ GV30 Portable Projector

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After televisions, it’s time for projectors to get smart. BenQ’s new GV30 is one such smart portable projector that comes packed with the goodness of Android TV. This means you get access to Google Play’s entire suite of apps – which includes apps such as YouTube, Amazon Prime, Disney+, and lots more.

The GV30 also is one of the first projectors to accompany a 2.1-channel Bluetooth speaker setup. This setup includes one speaker each on either side of the projector and a subwoofer. This is brilliant since the speakers offer that extra bass and punch to take your viewing experience to a whole new level.

In terms of design, the projector offers a very modern design that fits perfectly into the overall décor of your living room. The overall build quality is top-notch, something we have come to expect from a brand like BenQ.

Once you remove the outer packaging the device comes packed in, you come across a very good quality carry case. This carry case includes everything – the GV30 projector, the remote control, and the power adapter. The inclusion of the carry case is quite thoughtful since it lets you securely stow away the projector after each use.

On the side of the projector, you will find all the ports. This includes the power port, a USB-C DisplayPort, a full-size HDMI port, and the 3.5mm audio jack. Since this is an Android TV projector, you get an Android TV dongle included in the packaging.

To install the Android TV dongle, you need to remove the cover from one side of the projector. You will then find a separate compartment within to install the dongle and connect it to a dedicated power outlet within the projector. Doing all of this takes just minutes.

Once you are done, switch the projector on, and you are now ready to watch content immediately. The BenQ GV30 also offers automatic focus and keystone correction. So, once you switch on the projector, it will automatically set up everything for you – no need to mess around with the setting menu or manually adjust the keystone and the focus.

The BenQ GV30 is an LED projector – the LED bulb offers around 30,000 hours of watch time, which roughly translates to about 8 years of use if you were to watch around 10 hours of content every day. The projector also comes with a built-in battery that offers a battery life of 2.5 hours. Of course, it can also be powered using the bundled power adapter.

The projection size offered by the GV30 ranges between 30-inches and 100-inches, depending upon the distance between the projector and the projection area. The resolution offered by the GV30 is 720p – it would have been nice if it were at least 1080p. The projector also offers an aspect ratio of 16:9 and a brightness of 300 lumens.

Even though the resolution supported is only 720p, the quality of the projection by the GV30 is quite good. Whether it is watching movies, playing games, or even browsing through YouTube, everything looked good. Since this is an Android TV-based projector, it supports casting through Android phones and AirPlay on iOS devices.

The BenQ GV30 is also probably the first projector we have come across that supports 135-degrees of projection angle. This means, while the GV30 supports projection on walls, it also supports projection on the ceiling if you were to watch a movie lying down on your bed, for instance.

This is made possible by the magnetic base of the projector which makes changing the angle of projection, a child’s play. On the top of the projector, you get four buttons, which include the power on/off, volume controls, and the Bluetooth selector button.

The projector offers a good overall picture and sound quality. For a price of AED 2499, the BenQ GV30 isn’t cheap. However, if you are on the market that offers portability with a good selection of features and great performance, the BenQ GV30 could match your needs.

Price: AED 2499

BenQ GV30 Portable Projector AED 2499
  • Final Rating
3.5

Summary

The GV30 also is one of the first projectors to accompany a 2.1-channel Bluetooth speaker setup. This setup includes one speaker each on either side of the projector and a subwoofer. This is brilliant since the speakers offer that extra bass and punch to take your viewing experience to a whole new level.

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Review: Nokia XR20

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The words “rugged” and “smartphone” usually do not go well together. This is because most rugged smartphones you see on the market are bulky and brick-like with low-end features. But, Nokia is changing all of that with the new XR20. This thing is not only rugged but also comes with very good specs and features to boot.

The Nokia XR20 comes with a 6.67-inch touchscreen display on the front with a resolution of 1080-by-2400 pixels. The display also offers an aspect ratio of 20:9. Under the hood, the Nokia XR20 rocks a 2GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 processor that features 4 cores clocked at 2GHz and 4 cores clocked at 2GHz.

You also get 6GB of RAM and 128GB of built-in storage. The phone itself runs on the Android 11 operating system under the Android One program. The phone is powered by a 4630mAh battery. That’s not all – the XR20 also comes with a bunch of features that are hard to find on rugged devices. For one, the Nokia XR20 supports wireless charging, as well as Quick Charge 4.0 fast charging!

In terms of look and feel, the phone is a bit bigger than regular phones that comes with a 6-inch plus display. However, it is quite easy to hold in one hand and use. The back of the phone has a textured finish that helps with the grip when holding the XR20. On the front, the display is protected by Gorilla Glass Victus.

The phone is also protected by IP68 dust and water resistance, for a worry-free user experience. There’s also a rubberised strip that runs along the edges of the phone to protect the screen from drops or bumps. On the left edge, you get a Google Assitant shortcut button – it’s a bit large for my liking because I kept pressing it by accident, every time I wanted to put the phone into my pant’s pocket.

On the right edge, you get the volume rockers and the power button which also doubles up as a fingerprint reader. The phone also offers face unlock feature for added security. On the top edge, you get a programmable emergency key in red colour, and a dual SIM slot. One of the slots can also be used to bump the internal storage to up to 512GB using a microSD card.

On the bottom edge, you get a speaker grille, a noise-canceling microphone, a 3.5mm audio jack (yes!), and a USB-C charging port. As far as the cameras are concerned, the Nokia XR20 on the rear packs a dual-camera setup featuring a 48-megapixel primary camera, and a 13-megapixel camera. The rear camera setup also has autofocus. You also get an 8-megapixel front camera for all your selfies.

Connectivity options on the Nokia XR20 include Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/Yes, GPS, Bluetooth v5.10, NFC, USB Type-C, 3G, 4G and 5G support. Sensors on the phone include an accelerometer, ambient light sensor, compass/ magnetometer, gyroscope, proximity sensor, and fingerprint sensor.

The Snapdragon 480 used on the Nokia XR20 is usually used on mid-range devices. Having said that, however, the overall performance of the Nokia XR20 is quite good – we did not find any lags or stutters when using the device. Swiping across multiple open app windows was quite smooth and gaming on the device was also pretty good.

Camera functionality is quite good, too. Under good lighting conditions, the phone was able to take some very good shots. Under low light conditions, the XR20 did struggle sometimes. The phone also comes with a Night Mode which did a decent job at clicking pictures under low light conditions.

HMD Global also promises 3 years’ worth of software upgrades and 4 years of security upgrades with the Nokia XR20. That makes it a worthwhile investment if you are looking for a smartphone that can go on and on for years. For a price of AED 1849, the Nokia XR20 may seem a bit expensive, considering there are better alternatives available on the market if you are looking for a smartphone.

However, if you are on the market for a smartphone that offers good overall features and at the same time is also rugged, Nokia XR20 comes across as a value for money device.

Price: AED 1849

Nokia XR20 AED 1849
  • Final Rating
3.5

Summary

The phone is also protected by IP68 dust and water resistance, for a worry-free user experience. There’s also a rubberised strip that runs along the edges of the phone to protect the screen from drops or bumps. On the left edge, you get a Google Assitant shortcut button – it’s a bit large for my liking because I kept pressing it by accident, every time I wanted to put the phone into my pant’s pocket.

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Dynabook Updates its AR Smart Glasses Solution

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Dynabook Europe GmbH has announced an update to its dynaEdge AR (Assisted Reality) solution with the launch of the dynaEdge DE200, the next generation of its high-performance Windows 10/11 Pro mobile edge computing device. The edge computing market has accelerated substantially over the past year, driven by factors including Covid-19, and as a result over half (52%) of IT decision-makers regard purchasing decisions around edge computing to be more important now than pre-pandemic. At the same time, most employees (70%) believe that AR will cause either slight or significant disruption to their industry.

It is perceived as the most disruptive emerging technology, ahead of AI, the IoT, and cybersecurity (GlobalData). This in turn is driving innovation and adoption around edge infrastructure, with IDC projecting an 800% increase in the number of apps at the edge by 2024. The new dynaEdge AR solution is designed to provide lightweight, hands-free functionality for mobile working, and improve efficiency, connectivity, and security for the enterprise in today’s constantly evolving working environments. It accelerates diagnostic and repair scenarios, information sharing and collaboration, information capture, and data processing – even in the most remote locations. 

The new enhancements – including 4G LTE, latest 11th Gen Intel Core Processors, and Edge AI – enable full mobility while maintaining security for the corporate environment with the device’s secure operating system: 

  • Faster connection with 4G LTE integration: Wherever there’s a 4G signal, the worker can be connected – without tethering to a phone or relying on a WiFi signal. 
  • Smart vision with Edge AI: Edge AI Engine improves camera visuals with image stabilisation, brightness compensation, and object tracking. It also enables the processing of video streams to be completed before the recipient receives visuals. Furthermore, the AI engine processes the camera stream to the DE200 and runs the software as a virtual camera. Edge AI can be incorporated into customers’ own developed software solutions.   
  • Improved charging and battery life: Offers up to 6.5 hours of battery life and includes a universal Type C charging connector which can be extended with an optional power bank, enabling front-line workers to achieve all-day operation.
  • Advanced power: Provides enhanced power and full performance through a choice of the latest 11th Gen Intel Core i3, i5, and i7 processors. 
  • Maximum endpoint security: Running on Windows 10/11 Pro, the dynaEdge DE200 supports Active Directory, in conjunction with two-factor authentication including PIN and fingerprint to secure end-user data. On-device data classification can be used to determine, how data is shared, addressing a major concern for many industries.  

dynaEdge AR was developed for industries with a strong focus on the frontline and field-based workers, including manufacturing, inspection, logistics, maintenance, emergency services,  healthcare, and education. Now with 4G LTE integration, the solution provides a significant opportunity to drive digital transformation in even more remote working environments such as first responders, field service, visitor attractions, and national parks. 

“Over the last 20 months, mobile edge computing and smart glasses solutions have become integral to many industries,” said Damian Jaume, President, Dynabook Europe GmbH. “Indeed, our latest research has found that 63% of IT decision-makers plan to deploy smart glasses in their organisation over the course of the next three years, suggesting that widespread adoption will continue to rise. Work trends are evolving rapidly, and the latest dynaEdge AR solution is evidence that we understand what our customers need to operate in a hybrid working world.”

The new dynaEdge AR solution includes a host of accessories, including various mounting options for the AR100 wearable device, plus different carry cases, shoulder sling, and holster options for the DE200. The new dynaEdge AR is available now across the Middle East and Africa (pending certification). 

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