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Review: ASUS VivoBook 15 OLED (K513 OLED)

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ASUS recently announced the updated VivoBook 15 with the latest 11th Generation Intel Core processors, ASUS Intelligent Performance Technology, and an OLED display. The company is calling it the VivoBook 15 OLED (K513 OLED) and it comes in stylish colours aimed at the younger crowd.

DESIGN AND DISPLAY
The ASUS VivoBook 15 OLED is made from a combination of aluminium alloy and plastic to create a lightweight but durable design. The laptop is available in Indie Black and Transparent Silver colour options. The laptop also measures less than 20 mm in thickness and weighs only 1.8 kgs.

You also get a Full HD NanoEdge display on the new VivoBook 15 OLED with a narrow bezel on the top and on the sides. The display offers up to an 85% screen-to-body ratio, wide viewing angles at 178-degrees, and very good colour reproduction. The OLED panel used in the display are also TÜV Rheinland-certified for eye care, with low blue-light emissions and flicker-free visuals.

The display measures 15.6-inches and offers a resolution of 1920-by-1080 pixels. You also get a 0.2 ms response time and the OLED panel also supports HDR. If you are a content creator, you will be thrilled to know that the display offers an ultrawide colour gamut of 100% DCI-P3, which is widely used in the motion picture industry and is PANTONE Validated to provide the most precise colour accuracy.

The VivoBook 15 OLED also comes packed with an advanced video tuning system called ASUS Tru2Life Video technology that works like those found in high-end TVs. According to ASUS, Tru2Life Video enhances clarity, colour, and contrast in the video. It intercepts image and video signals being sent to the panel, then analyses every single pixel in every frame to optimise the brightness, contrast, colour and sharpness.

HARDWARE AND I/O PORTS
Under the hood, the VivoBook 15 OLED rocks an 11th Gen Intel Core i5-1135G7 processor, running at a clock speed of 2.40GHz. You also get 8GB of RAM and 512GB of PCIe SSD storage. The laptop also offers space for a 2.5-inch SATA 6Gbps drive, which will allow you to match the 2.5-inch SATA HDD with a maximum 2TB drive or upgrade to a larger capacity in the future.

The graphics is handled by NVIDIA MX350 with 2GB of GDDR5 memory. Wireless connectivity is handled by Intel WiFi 6 with Gig+ (802.11ax) and Bluetooth 5.0. The battery on this laptop is rated at 42Wh. In terms of the I/O ports, you get plenty, such as a USB-C, a USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A port, two USB2.0 for data transfers, a full-sized HDMI that supports 4K video output, 3.5mm combo audio jack, and a MicroSD card reader.

Despite its compact form factor, the VivoBook 15 OLED also features a full-sized keyboard with keys that have an almost 19 mm wide pitch. This is a pitch similar to those found on desktop PC keyboards – so it helps with comfortable and accurate typing. The keyboard is also backlit for convenient typing in dark environments and it is also spill-resistant.

The keys of the VivoBook 15 OLED feature a subtle 0.15 mm dish-shaped indentation and 1.4 mm key travel. The dish-shaped indentation on the keys helps to guide fingers, and the long key travel provides for better feedback. The TouchPad meanwhile has a fingerprint sensor for added security. The audio on the VivoBook 15 OLED is powered by Harman Kardon and it has been tuned by ASUS’ very own Golden Ear team.

COLLABORATION FEATURES
By using the Link to MyASUS feature, you can now seamlessly integrate your laptop with your smartphone. This feature is part of the MyASUS software and it allows you to use the full phone functionality on a connected laptop or PC, via mouse, keyboard or touchscreen.

By Screen Mirroring, you can check phone messages, make a call, send message replies or perform other smartphone functions — all via Bluetooth with a linked PC. You can also instantly share files between a linked smartphone and PC by simply tapping the share icon.

You can also easily share a URL from a PC by simply tapping the share icon in the browser and then clicking MyASUS. The link will instantly be sent to the linked mobile device, where it will open automatically. With Link to MyASUS you can seamlessly make or receive phone calls using a linked PC. In addition, you can remotely access files, and use any Android device as an extended screen to drag images, play videos or open documents.

PERFORMANCE
The overall design and build quality is very good. On top, the lid has a textureless metallic finish which I really loved. The OLED HDR screen on this one is brilliant and everything looked sharp and vivid. In terms of performance, the VivoBook 15 OLED holds its ground. Whether it is a day to day computing, productivity applications or tasks such as video editing, it does a very good job.

Gaming is an area where the VivoBook 15 OLED aces – we were able to play games such as Fortnite, GTA V and Watch Dogs, without any issues at all. Battery life is very good, too, at around 10.5 hours on a single charge. For a price of AED 3199, the ASUS VivoBook 15 OLED (K513 OLED) sounds like a very good deal, if you are looking for a dependable laptop on a budget.

Price: AED 3199 (as tested, Intel Core i5-1135G7), AED 4599 (Intel Core i7-1165G7)

ASUS VivoBook 15 OLED (K513 OLED) AED 3199

Summary

The ASUS VivoBook 15 OLED is made from a combination of aluminum alloy and plastic to create a lightweight but durable design. The laptop is available in Indie Black and Transparent Silver colour options. The laptop also measures less than 20 mm in thickness and weighs only 1.8 kgs.

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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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