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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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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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Review: Huawei MateBook 14s

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Huawei has been churning out one awesome laptop after another in quick succession. We recently reviewed the company’s brilliant MateBook 14 which offered a 2K eye-comfort full-view display and metal unibody, 11th Gen Intel Processor, super device features, up to 16GB RAM+512GB SSD ROM, long battery life, and 65W SuperCharge and Shark-fin cooling fan tech. And today, we are reviewing the new 14s, which was launched a couple of weeks ago, and comes in at a price point starting at AED 5,299.

Huawei has used aluminium-alloy to construct the MateBook 14s and it comes in two colour variants – Space Gray and Spruce Green. The MateBook 14s packs in lots of features – it offers a 2.5K HD Huawei Fullview touch Display that offers a 90hz refresh rate and a 90% screen-to-body ratio. It also offers a 100% sRGB (typical) colour gamut.

The display of the MateBook 14s can also render 1.07 billion colours to show vibrant colours and smooth transition, and the aspect ratio is rated at 3:2. The display is also certified by TÜV Rheinland for low blue light for improved eye protection with zero colour cast. It is also TÜV Rheinland Flicker Free Certified. The display can also automatically adjust the brightness to fit every situation.

The MateBook 14 also offers a new keyboard layout. And unlike the MateBook 14, where the web camera was built into the keyboard as a popup camera, this time around, the web camera has moved to the top center of the display. The overall footprint of the laptop is quite compact.

Huawei packs in a 14-inch display into a slim bezel with the overall weight of the laptop tipping the scales at 1.43-kgs. In terms of connectivity, you get plenty!

On the left edge, you will find two USB-C ports that support data, charging, and DisplayPort. In addition, you also get one HDMI port, and a 3.5mm audio jack. On the right edge, you get one USB3.2 Gen 1 port.

As mentioned earlier, the web camera, which offers a resolution of 720p, is now built into the top center area above the display. Under the hood, the MateBook 14s variant we received was powered by Intel’s Core i7-11370H processor. There is also a variant that runs on Intel’s Core i5-11300H processor. You also get Intel Iris Xe Graphics.

In terms of memory, you get to choose between 8GB or 16GB LPDDR4x Dual Channel, while storage options include either 512GB or 1TB NVMe PCIe SSD. The battery is rated at 60Wh and Huawei packs in a 90W supercharger, too. When it comes to wireless connectivity, the Huawei MateBook 14s supports IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax, and Bluetooth 5.1.

The full-size keyboard is quite nice to use – it offers a 1.5mm key travel and it is backlit, too. The touchpad support multi-touch and you also get Huawei Share built-in. The power button also comes with a built-in fingerprint reader for added security. The laptop is equipped with four speakers and four microphones.

The Huawei MateBook 14s runs on Windows 10 operating system and you will be able to upgrade to Windows 11.

Since the Huawei MateBook 14s is part of the company’s Super Device, multi-screen collaboration between your laptop and smartphone is seamless. Just tap your phone on the touch board, and your Huawei smartphone and the MateBook will transform into one super device even without an internet connection. By this, you will be able to transfer to and from your smartphone to your MateBook with ease.

You can also take advantage of the PC and tablet multi-screen collaboration feature. If you own a Huawei MatePad 11 or a MatePad Pro, you can use the multi-screen collaboration feature in three different scenarios. In Mirror Mode, you can mirror the Huawei MateBook 14s screen to a tablet’s display, thus allowing you to directly work on files and annotate documents, or draw/sketch with the Huawei M Pencil of the tablet.

In Extend Mode, you can transform your Huawei MatePad Pro into a second screen, providing extra screen space to display more content. This can be very useful for online shopping or when you are browsing the internet and there are so many items to explore. The Collaborate Mode enables cross-platform interactions, allowing you to transfer content such as text, images, and documents between connected devices with a simple drag and drop.

The laptop also supports Pop Up Pairing which can be used for seamless pairing between your Huawei MateBook 14s and your Huawei wireless earbuds such as Freebuds 4, Freebuds 4i, and Freebuds Pro. As mentioned earlier, the MateBook 14s comes with a high capacity 60Wh battery. According to Huawei, you get around 13 hours of continuous 1080p video playback on a single charge.

And since the MateBook 14s also comes with a nifty 90W power adapter, you can get up to 3 hours of battery life with just a 15-minute charge. During our review, we clocked almost 12 hours of battery life on a single charge, which is excellent. Another stand-out feature of the MateBook 14s is the “Personal Voice Enhancement” function. This feature filters out your surrounding ambient noises and other people’s voices during meetings and calls, to ensure you’re always crystal clear.

The Huawei MateBook 14s is a very powerful device considering it packs in an H-series i7 processor and 16GB of RAM. Even though it offers a tiny footprint, it can easily handle graphics-heavy workloads such as rendering videos on applications such as DaVinci Resolve, and even the occasional gaming sessions.

If you are one of those who want stellar performance but don’t want to lug around a heavy laptop, then the Huawei MateBook 14s is just for you.

Price: AED 5299 onwards

Huawei MateBook 14s AED 5299 onwards
  • Final Rating
4

Summary

Since the Huawei MateBook 14s is part of the company’s Super Device, multi-screen collaboration between your laptop and smartphone is seamless. Just tap your phone on the touch board, and your Huawei smartphone and the MateBook will transform into one super device even without an internet connection. By this, you will be able to transfer to and from your smartphone to your MateBook with ease.

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