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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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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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