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Review: WD Elements SE SSD (480GB)

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WD has launched one of the cheapest portable SSD drives on the market under the moniker Western Digital Elements SE external solid-state drive (SSD). This new portable SSD comes in a pocket-sized design and is very compact.

The packaging of the product is quite attractive and once you open it up, you get a small squarish device that is quite feather-light.

The WE Elements SE SSS drive is clad in an all-black body with a subtle WD branding at the top left corner.

You will also find a USB 3.0 port on the device that uses a micro B connector instead of a more modern USB Type C. Inside the packaging, apart from the Elements SE SSD drive, you also get a USB 3.0 cable, and a booklet that includes the safety instruction and the warranty info.

The Western Digital Elements SE features write speeds of up to 400MBps and with up to 2TB of storage capacity. Western Digital says that the portable SSD drive is also drop-resistant up to 2 meters, though we didn’t have the heart to perform a drop test!

The SSD drive is also compatible with Windows 10 and macOS Big Sur, Catalina, and Mojave. We tested the SSD drive on a Windows 11 gaming laptop and it performed really well.

We ran the CrystalDisk benchmark on the device and we came away really impressed.

We clocked around 451 MB/s in read speeds, which is more than the advertised 400 MB/s read speed. The device is very light and tiny to be carried around without any hassle.

For a price of AED 339, the WD Elements SE SSD (480GB) comes across as pocket-friendly. If you are on the lookout for a dependable external SSD drive that is affordable, yet offers good performance, you should definitely check out the WD Elements SE SSD drive.

Price: AED 339

WD Elements SE SSD (480GB) AED 339
  • Final Rating
4

Summary

WD has launched one of the cheapest portable SSD drives on the market under the moniker Western Digital Elements SE external solid-state drive (SSD). This new portable SSD comes in a pocket-sized design and is very compact.

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Review: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano

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A ThinkPad workhorse that weighs only 907-gms – that, ladies and gentlemen, is the new Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano. The laptop is based on the new Intel Evo platform and is powered by the latest Intel has to offer – the 11th Gen Intel Core processor.

While it is slim and featherlight, it does not compromise performance and battery life. The ThinkPad X1 Nano features a familiar design language seen on Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 series. It is ultraportable made for professionals and everyday laptop users.

The overall body of the laptop is made using a mix of carbon fiber and magnesium, to make it think and light, and at the same time sturdy enough for day-to-day use.

Even though it has been slimmed down, the X1 Nano features a very nice and comfortable keyboard, a very responsive touchpad, left and right touchpad clickers, and a fingerprint sensor just next to the touchpad. You also get the red pointing stick that ThinkPads are known for and top-firing speakers, just above the keyboard.

The only thing I wished Lenovo worked harder towards was to slim down the bezels surrounding the display. Nevertheless, it is good to know that the X1 Nano is also built on military-grade standards for durability. This means that the ultraportable laptop can withstand shocks, vibrations, high altitudes, and so on.

As mentioned earlier, you get a fingerprint sensor just next to the touchpad and an IR camera to log into your laptop using Windows Hello. And when the web camera is not in use, you can slide the lens privacy cover over it with your finger. On the left edge of the device, you will find the 3.5mm audio combo jack, and two USB-C Thunderbolt 4 ports.

On the right edge, you get the power button, along with the cooling vents. The back edge of the device is flush with anything. This means you will have to carry a dongle around if you need ports such as USB-A, HDMI, SD card readers, and so on.

The laptop comes with a 13-inch, 2K anti-glare display that offers a resolution of 2160-by-1350 pixels. The display supports Dolby Vision. You also get an aspect ratio of 16:10, which offers a larger area when you are working on spreadsheets or productivity apps.

The ThinkPad X1 Nano is powered by an 11th Gen Intel Core i7-1160G7 processor, running at a clock speed of 1.2-GHz. You also get 16GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD storage onboard. Performance is very good, considering how thin and light the X1 Nano is. You will have no problem irrespective of whether you use it for day-to-day computing tasks, video editing, or even an occasional gaming session.

The laptop comes with a tiny power brick, though it offers 65W of power. The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano’s battery lasted around 13 hours before it needed recharging. The laptop will easily last you a day’s work at the office, without having to plug the power adapter in.

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano proves that size does not matter. While it comes in a very petit form factor, it offers incredible performance, excellent portability, and outstanding battery life. Sure, it does disappoint in the I/O ports department.

However, if you don’t mind carrying a dongle around with the laptop, then the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano is a very good choice for a business laptop. The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano thus walks away with the Gadget Voize Editors’ Choice award!

Price: AED 7999 onwards

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano AED 7999 onwards
  • Final Rating
4

Summary

Even though it has been slimmed down, the X1 Nano features a very nice and comfortable keyboard, a very responsive touchpad, left, and right touchpad clickers, and a fingerprint sensor just next to the touchpad. You also get the red pointing stick that ThinkPads are known for and top-firing speakers, just above the keyboard.

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Review: Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE

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So, way back in June 2021, we reviewed Xiaomi’s Mi 11 Lite smartphone, which was available for a price of AED 999. A couple of weeks ago, the company also announced the new Mi 11 Lite 5G NE… NE, for New Edition. This one is powered by a completely different chipset but comes with similar features seen on the original Mi 11 Lite.

The reason why brands relaunch their existing smartphones under a different model name is due to a shortage of chipsets. So, when companies run out of chipsets, they usually tend to relaunch their phones under a different model number, powered by a different chipset, but with similar feature sets.

However, that does not mean the performance is similar. Nope. In fact, the performance of the phone, its cameras, and overall UI may vary, sometimes for the better. That is the case here with the Mi 11 Lite 5G NE. This one comes with 5G capabilities and the phone and its cameras’ performance has improved a lot – we can say that after using the phone for a whole week at the region’s largest IT extravaganza, GITEX Global 2021.

In terms of the design, both the Mi 11 Lite and the Mi 11 Lite 5G NE are very identical. The phone is quite sleek, measuring 6.81mm in thickness and it weighs just 158g. On the right edge of the device, you will find the volume rockers and the power button which also doubles up as the fingerprint scanner.

The left edge is flush, while on the top edge, you will find the dual noise-cancelling microphones. On the bottom edge, you will find the dual SIM tray which also offers space for either a second SIM or a microSD card to expand its internal storage space. There is also a USB-C charging port, a noise-cancelling microphone, and a speaker grille.

Sample 1: Indoor Shot

The phone does come with a stereo speaker setup, with the earpiece acting as a second speaker. On the front, you get a 6.55-inch 10 bit AMOLED display, that offers a Full HD+ resolution. The display supports a refresh rate of 90Hz and Dolby Vision HDR10+. The display is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 5 and you also get IP53 dust and water protection on the Mi 11 Lite 5G NE.

Sample 2: Indoor Shot

Turn the phone around and you come face to face with the triple camera module. Now, this includes a 64MP main camera with an aperture of f/1.79, an 8MP ultra-wide-angle camera with an aperture of f/2.2, and a 5MP telemacro camera with an aperture of f/2.4.

Sample 3: Outdoor Shot

The phone also comes with a 4250mAh battery that supports 33W fast charging. In our battery life tests, it did manage to impress us. It offered a bit more than a day’s worth of battery life before it needed recharging, which isn’t a task, thanks to the 33W Super Charger bundled with the phone. We were able to charge from 0% to 60% in about 30 minutes.

Under the hood, the phone is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G 5G processor. You also get 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage space, which can be further expanded, by inserting a microSD card of up to 1TB of storage space, into one of the compartments of the dual SIM slot. There are also two other variants of this phone – one with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, and the other with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.

Sample 4: Indoor Shot

In terms of software, the phone runs on the Android 11 operating system with MIUI 12.5 running on top of it. Inside the box, you get the Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE, a 33W fast charger, a USB Type-C cable, a clear protective case, a SIM ejector tool, and the quick start guide. The phone is available in four different colour options including Bubblegum Blue (our review unit), Truffle Black, Snowflake White, and Peach Pink.

The overall performance was excellent. The phone runs butter smooth and gaming sessions were lag- and jitter-free. Camera performance is also on point. We were able to take some amazing shots, both indoors and outdoors, and we were pleased with the overall quality of photos and videos.

For a price of AED 1399, the Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G NE sounds like a very good investment. The phone also comes with a free Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 Basic. If you are on the market for an affordable 5G smartphone, that offers great features, excellent UI, and outstanding camera performance, the Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G NE will not disappoint.

Price: AED 1399 onwards

Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE AED 1399 onwards
  • Final Rating
3.5

Summary

Under the hood, the phone is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G 5G processor. You also get 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage space, which can be further expanded, by inserting a microSD card of up to 1TB of storage space, into one of the compartments of the dual SIM slot. There are also two other variants of this phone – one with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, and the other with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.

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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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