Asus Zenbook 14 OLED Review Q415MA / Q425MA

My latest video takes a look at a pretty affordable 14″ Asus laptop that comes equipped with an OLED display and starts at $799 (compensated affiliate link).

The review loaner I received came equipped with an Intel Core Ultra 5 125h processor, 8GB of DDR5 RAM and a 512GB NVME SSD. Given what these new Intel chips are capable of, I would recommend the 16 GB variant that will make the most of the processor’s capabilities. For light duty work this model is fine, but if you’re looking to do casual gaming and moderate video editing the $1049 (affiliate link) version is going to perform better.

The laptop’s OLED display, a highlight of the device, didn’t disappoint. Like most OLEDs it has a great contrast ratio and vivid colors along with meeting 100% of the DCI-P3 color space for creative work. It’s running with a 1080p equivalent resolution at 1920 by 1200 pixels at 60hz.

While the display’s brightness peaks at 380 nits it has a peak brightness of 500 nits in HDR mode. ASUS implemented several features to mitigate the OLED’s inherent burn-in risk which I detail in the video review.

Weighing in at a comfortable 2.82 lbs and constructed from aluminum, the Zenbook 14 OLED feels both lightweight and durable. The laptop’s design facilitates easy opening with one hand which is a nice bonus. The onboard 1080p webcam, with its privacy shutter, delivers clear imagery, while the speakers offer surprisingly rich sound quality.

The keyboard and trackpad are decent providing a comfortable and responsive input experience. Port selection on the Zenbook is adequate, featuring two full service Thunderbolt 4 ports, an HDMI output, and a USB-A port.

Performance-wise, the Zenbook 14 OLED navigates everyday tasks quite well, from web browsing to streaming video, thanks to its Core Ultra processor and Wi-Fi 6E radio. While the 8GB RAM model manages basic video editing and playing older games, those seeking to push the device’s limits should consider the 16GB variant, especially for more demanding games and creative work. In addition to the extra RAM capacity the 16GB version’s RAM also runs at a faster clock speed.

Battery life is good, with the laptop handling 8 to 10 hours on a single charge for standard use.

The Zenbook 14 OLED got a failing grade on the 3DMark Stress Test at 93%, which means that under heavy sustained load it’ll lose about 7% of its overall performance. The fan though isn’t too noisy and under most standard use cases it is not even audible.

Linux enthusiasts might face challenges with the latest version of Ubuntu failing to detect most of the hardware. This will likely improve with bios and driver updates in the future. .

In wrapping up, the ASUS Zenbook 14 OLED emerges as a compelling option for those in search of a mid-range laptop that doesn’t compromise on display quality or build. While the base model serves well for general use, investing in the variant with enhanced RAM and processing power unlocks the full potential of this versatile device.

Disclosure: the laptop was provided to the channel on loan from Asus. They did not sponsor the video nor did they review or approve the review before it was uploaded.

Legion Pro 5i Gen 8 16″ Gaming Laptop Review

We haven’t looked at gaming laptop in awhile! I’ve been meaning to get to this Lenovo Legion Pro 5i laptop that’s been on my to-do list for awhile. You can see it in action in this video review.

Lenovo positions their Legion 5 series of laptops in the mid-range market, leaving out features like Thunderbolt ports and more premium build materials. Their higher end Legion 7 devices bring those features. But much like the automobile market if raw horsepower is all you’re looking for, a Camero can often bring the performance at a price lower than that of a Corvette.

These start at around $1,200 for the base Intel i5 configuration and often go on sale especially as we get closer to the fall. Check out the latest pricing at Best Buy and direct from Lenovo (compensated affiliate links).

Our review loaner is a slight step up from the base model, featuring an i7-13700 HX processor but the same Nvidia RTX 4060 GPU. The loaner had 16GB of dual-channel memory and a 512GB NVMe SSD.

Like prior models the Legion Pro 5i prioritizes upgradeability and ease of maintenance. It’s not hard to get inside and once there you’ll find an additional NVMe slot for storage expansion and user-replaceable DDR5 RAM.

Its 16-inch 2560×1600 IPS display, with a 165Hz refresh rate and Nvidia GSync support, offers vibrant colors and smooth gaming experiences, although its brightness peaks at 300 nits, which is adequate but not exceptional. Lenovo’s higher end models will have better display options, but for the price point this is a nice compromise.

Weighing in at 5.1 pounds, the laptop is not the lightest on the market, but it is to be expected for a device packing this level of hardware. The build quality is solid, predominantly plastic but sturdy, with minimal flex. The keyboard and trackpad are responsive and comfortable, with the keyboard featuring a pleasant amount of key travel and a customizable zoned backlight.

Port selection on the Legion Pro 5i is generous, with most ports located at the rear for a cleaner setup. It includes a full-service USB Type-C port that supports DisplayPort 1.4 and power delivery, although it’s not Thunderbolt or USB 4 compatible. Battery life varies significantly with use, but in more power-efficient modes, it can last through a workday on lighter tasks.

Gaming performance is where this laptop shines, handling demanding titles like Starfield and Red Dead Redemption 2 with ease at its native resolution. The cooling system is effective, keeping performance steady under load, albeit at the cost of noticeable fan noise.

One aspect that caught my attention was its Linux compatibility, which was mostly seamless except for some fan control issues that kept the fan running loudly even under light loads. This is a minor hiccup in what is otherwise a versatile and capable machine.

Lenovo Legion Pro 5i Gen 8 might not have the bells and whistles of its higher-end counterparts, but it delivers where it counts, making it a solid choice for gamers and professionals alike who need performance at a reasonable price.

Disclaimer: This laptop was provided on loan from Lenovo. They did not review or approve this video before it was uploaded. This is not a sponsored post.

Intel Core Ultra is a Big Improvement! HP Spectre x360 14 Review -14t-eu000

My latest video explores the HP Spectre x360 14, featuring Intel’s new Core Ultra processor. This device and its new processor has impressed me with its performance leap, especially in graphical capabilities.

The Spectre x360 14, a two-in-one device, starts at a price of $1,449 (compensated affiliate link). The unit I reviewed has a new Intel Ultra 7 155h processor with an integrated Arc GPU. The new processor has 16 cores – 6 designated for high performance activites, 8 for power efficient tasks, and another 2 “NPU” cores designed for machine learning activities.

The Spectre x360 line sports a 14-inch OLED display with a resolution of 2880 by 1800. The display’s brightness peaks at 500 nits in HDR mode and supports a variable refresh rate up to 120Hz, making it useful for a range of tasks from document editing to media consumption.

Weighing in at 3.19 pounds, the laptop feels premium with its all-aluminum build. Unique to HP Spectres, a Thunderbolt 4 port and a headphone jack are placed on the corners. Other ports include a compact USB-A port, and an addition Thunderbolt 4 ports. HP also includes a small dock in the box with additional ports.

The keyboard offers a comfortable typing experience with well-spaced, backlit keys and decent key travel. The haptic trackpad, while innovative, does present some responsiveness issues, often misinterpreting gestures or clicks. This is an area that could benefit from software refinement.

Equipped with a high-resolution webcam, the Spectre x360 delivers clear video quality, enhanced by Intel AI features for background blurring and other image effects. The webcam has a physical lens cover, operable via a keyboard shortcut.

Audio quality from the built-in speakers is satisfactory, though best experienced in the laptop mode due to some muffling when in display orientation.

Performance-wise, the HP Spectre x360 excels in everyday tasks like web browsing, and media streaming. Its Wi-Fi 7 capability should deliver solid wireless performance in most environments. The included pen provides a responsive and pressure-sensitive drawing experience, though the smooth screen might feel a bit slippery to some users.

Battery life has seen improvement with the new Intel chips. Under normal use, the laptop can last 9-10 hours in my testing, a notable increase from previous models.

In terms of heavier tasks like video editing and gaming, the Spectre x360 14 holds up remarkably well. Editing 4K videos at 60fps was smooth and efficient, thanks to the new Intel chip. Gaming performance showed significant improvement, running games like Red Dead Redemption 2 and Doom Eternal at significantly better framerates than the prior generation of Intel chips running on integrated graphics.

The laptop remained cool and quiet throughout my testing, demonstrating the balance between power and efficiency in this new generation of Intel processors.

However, I did encounter some limitations with Linux compatibility, suggesting this model is best suited for Windows users.

The Spectre x360 14 is a promising indication of what’s to come in the laptop market. Intel really upped the game here so it’ll be fun to see what AMD cooks up to respond.

$449 Dell Inspiron 7435 Review

In my latest review, I took a closer look at the Dell Inspiron 7435 2-in-1 laptop, currently priced at $449 (compensated affiliate link). This device is a solid one thanks to its versatility, functioning both as a laptop and a tablet. It’s powered by an AMD Ryzen 7530U processor. It’s well suited for casual computing and even some light gaming.

The loaner unit I reviewed was the entry-level model. It came equipped with 8GB of dual channel DDR4 RAM, and 512GB of NVME storage. One note is that the RAM is soldered onto the motherboard, limiting upgrade possibilities. However, Dell does offer a 16GB variant for those needing more memory. The laptop also features a MediaTek Wi-Fi 6E radio, enhancing its connectivity options.

Its 14-inch IPS display, with a resolution of 1920×1200, is satisfactory for everyday use. The screen offers touch functionality, essential when using the device in tablet mode, but isn’t all that bright at 250 nits. I was particularly impressed with the 1080p webcam – its quality is a significant plus for video calls and remote work.

Despite its weight of 3.48 lbs and plastic construction, the Inspiron 7435 doesn’t feel cheap. The backlit keyboard has nice well spaced keys but has a bit of a shallow key depth. The trackpad’s responsiveness met my expectations, consistent with other Dell models I’ve tested. The 7435 also has a fingerprint reader attached to its power button for quick access.

In terms of ports, the Inspiron 7435 has two full service USB-C ports, a full-size SD card reader, a USB-A port, and a headphone/microphone jack. It also has an HDMI port but it’s only meeting the 1.4 specification – this means it will only output 30hz at 4k. The USB-C ports do support DisplayPort output for greater video options, however. The speakers, while not exceptionally loud, deliver clear audio quality, especially in laptop mode.

Battery life should come in around 10 to 11 hours of usage for basic tasks. However, this duration shortens with more intensive activities like gaming or heavy processing.

Performance-wise, the laptop handles basic tasks like web browsing and document editing nicely. It supports Dell’s pen input but is not compatible with the USI standard. While it can handle basic video editing, it’s not cut out for more complex tasks due to its limited RAM.

Gaming performance on the Inspiron 7435 is modest but adequate for casual gaming. Titles like Red Dead Redemption 2, Fortnite, and GTA V run smoothly at around 30 fps at 1280×800 at low settings.

I also tested the laptop’s compatibility with Linux, specifically the latest version of Ubuntu. Everything worked seamlessly, from audio to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, making it an affordable choice for those who prefer alternative operating systems.

Overall, my experience with the Dell Inspiron 7435 2-in-1 laptop was positive. It’s a well-rounded device that offers good value for its price point. While it’s not a high-end laptop, it provides satisfactory performance and quality for everyday users and casual gamers.

HP’s Black Friday Laptop Review – The Pavilion 15 15t-eg300

A few days ago I reviewed HP’s Pavilion 15 laptop as it is currently on sale at a large Black Friday discount. HP is taking $450 off any configuration of this model (compensated affiliate link). The specific configuration I examined is priced at $529, I think a decent price for someone looking for a nicely performing laptop who doesn’t need many bells and whistles. You can watch my video review here.

The HP Pavilion 15 features a 15.6-inch 1080p display, although it’s not the brightest at about 250 nits. The model I reviewed had a TN display, which I found to have limited viewing angles. However, the Black Friday deal includes an IPS display option, which I would recommend for better viewing quality.

Internally, the laptop is equipped with an Intel i7-1355U processor, Intel Iris XE Graphics, 16 GB of dual-channel DDR4 RAM, and a 256 GB NVMe SSD. The RAM is socketed, but it’s unclear if it can be expanded beyond 16 GB. The SSD can be replaced for more storage, offering some flexibility for future upgrades.

The build quality is mostly plastic, and the laptop weighs 3.86 lbs (1.75 kg). While it’s not the most robust construction, the performance does make up for it. The keyboard is decent with large, well-spaced keys, and the trackpad is functional. A notable feature is the fingerprint reader, which adds convenience for logging in.

Port selection is good, with an HDMI 2.1 port, a USB-A port, a USB-C Gen 2 port (which supports power, display port 1.4 out, and data devices), a combined headphone/microphone jack, another USB-A port, and a barrel connector for power. However, there’s no card reader for additional storage or camera cards.

The webcam is only 720p, suitable for basic video calls but not exceptional. Battery life is estimated between 6 to 8 hours, depending on usage, which is reasonable for a laptop in this price range.

Performance-wise, the HP Pavilion 15 excels in basic tasks like web browsing and video streaming. It handles 1080p videos well and is equipped with Wi-Fi 6 for a smooth online experience. The speakers are average, but external headphones or speakers can enhance the audio experience.

For more demanding tasks like video editing, the laptop’s i7 processor and 16 GB of RAM allow for smooth operation in applications like DaVinci Resolve, especially for basic to moderate editing tasks. Gaming performance is adequate for casual gaming, with the ability to run demanding titles like Red Dead Redemption 2 at lower settings at around 30-35 frames per second.

In benchmarks, the laptop scored well, indicating it can keep pace with other laptops in its generation. However, it does experience some thermal throttling under heavy load, which is common in laptops at this price point.

Lastly, I tested the laptop with the latest version of Ubuntu Linux, and it performed well, with all hardware components being detected correctly. This makes it a viable option for those looking to run alternative operating systems.

The HP Pavilion 15, especially with the Black Friday discount, offers a solid value proposition. It’s a practical choice for those needing a capable laptop without breaking the bank. While it’s not the top-end in terms of build quality or features, its performance for the price is commendable.

Asus Chromebook Plus CX34 Review

My latest video is of the Asus Chromebook Plus CX34, the second Chromebook Plus we’ve looked at since the new Plus standard was announced by Google.

The Chromebook Plus CX34 is part of Google’s initiative to define a new hardware specification, ensuring that devices carrying the ‘Chromebook Plus’ label offer more than just basic functionality. This includes mid to upper-range performance and the promise of future OS updates incorporating generative AI features, which are not available on lower-end models.

Priced at around $399, with occasional discounts bringing it lower, the CX34 is an entry-level Plus configuration featuring an Intel i3-1215U processor, 8 GB of RAM, and 128 GB of storage. The display, its standout feature, is a 14-inch IPS panel with a matte finish. It offers a 1080p resolution at 250 nits of brightness, delivering a satisfactory viewing experience for its price range. However, it’s important to note that it covers only about 45% of the NTSC color gamut, making it less suitable for creative professionals.

The build quality of the CX34 is decent, with a plastic body that feels sturdy enough for everyday use. The pearl white color is enhanced by a speckled finish. Although it’s not a two-in-one device, the laptop’s display can fold flat, offering some flexibility in how it’s used.

The keyboard and trackpad are surprisingly comfortable for a device in this price range. The keyboard is backlit although the backlight can sometimes wash out the keycaps in brighter settings. The trackpad is responsive and supports smooth navigation.

In terms of connectivity, the CX34 is well-equipped. It features two USB-C ports (one on each side of the laptop), USB-A ports, an HDMI output, and a headphone/microphone jack. The USB-C ports support power delivery, display output, and data transfer, although at a lower speed of 5 Gbits per second, which is adequate for a Chromebook.

The webcam is compliant with the Chromebook Plus requirements, offering 1080p resolution and operating system-level image enhancement features, such as blurring and lighting adjustments. These enhancements are compatible with various applications, including Zoom and Google Meet. However, the device lacks facial recognition and fingerprint sensors for quick unlocking.

Audio quality is average, with downward-firing speakers that provide decent stereo separation but are not exceptional, especially for music. Battery life is reasonable, with about 8 hours of usage on basic tasks like web browsing and video watching.

Performance-wise, the CX34 handles web browsing and media playback smoothly, thanks to its Wi-Fi 6 capability. It scores well on browser-based benchmarks, indicating its competence in handling everyday tasks. However, it’s important to note that streaming services like Netflix or Disney Plus should be accessed via the web browser for optimal resolution, as the Android versions on Chrome OS are limited to DVD quality.

For gaming, the CX34 is not a powerhouse but can handle Android-based games like Roblox and Minecraft satisfactorily. It also supports game streaming services like Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, offering a way to enjoy high-end games without the need for powerful hardware.

In conclusion, the Asus Chromebook Plus CX34 represents a solid choice for those seeking a mid-range laptop. It balances performance, build quality, and price, making it a viable option for everyday computing needs, from web browsing to light gaming. While it may not satisfy the demands of power users or creative professionals, it stands as a competent and affordable option in the Chromebook market.

Value Packed Laptop: HP Pavilion Plus 14 (2023 / 14z-ey000) Review

In my latest review, I take a look at the HP Pavilion Plus 14, a laptop that I think has a nice balance of cost and features.

This laptop, which has just been released, starts at $799 (compensated affiliate link), with the model I reviewed priced at $919 (compensated affiliate link). It boasts a vibrant 14-inch OLED display with a 2.8k resolution (2880 by 1800) and a variable refresh rate of up to 120Hz. The display’s 16:10 aspect ratio provides ample screen height for web browsing and document editing, although it lacks touch capabilities.

Inside, the HP Pavilion Plus 14 loaner we received is powered by a Ryzen 7 7840U processor, accompanied by 16GB of DDR5 RAM, which is soldered onto the motherboard. The entry level version also has 16GB of RAM but has a lower performing but still very capable Ryzen 5 7540U.

The model I explored comes with a 1TB NVMe SSD, which is upgradable. Weighing in at 3.19 lbs and featuring an all-metal design, the laptop feels lightweight yet fairly sturdy. The keyboard is comfortable for typing, with well-spaced backlit keys. It lacks a finger printer sensor but it does support facial recognition through its 5-megapixel webcam.

Speaking of the webcam, the onboard Ryzen processor supports some of Windows’ AI driven “studio effects” that bring OS level enhancements to the webcam image. This includes “eye contact” that attempts to nudge your eyes up higher when looking at the screen instead of the camera. You can see that in action in my review.

In terms of connectivity, the laptop offers a modest selection of ports, including two USB Type-C ports, two USB-A ports, and an HDMI 2.1 port. The speakers deliver a surprisingly rich sound, and the laptop supports Wi-Fi 6E for fast and internet connectivity.

During my testing, I found the laptop’s performance to be great for both work and casual gaming. Web browsing was swift, and the device handled basic video editing tasks smoothly in DaVinci Resolve.

Gaming, too, was a pleasant experience, with titles like Red Dead Redemption 2 and No Man’s Sky running adequately at lower settings. The laptop’s 3DMark TimeSpy benchmark score was 2,712, indicating a performance level comparable to some dedicated GPUs from a few years ago.

The laptop’s battery life is reasonable, offering 8 to 10 hours for basic tasks on the OLED model, although this can be significantly reduced during more intensive activities or with higher screen brightness. The LED display on the lower models might have slightly better battery life.

The fan noise is minimal and usually only noticeable during heavy loads. It’s not very loud, especially compared to similar performing gaming laptops from a few years ago!

I also tested the laptop’s compatibility with Linux and found that it ran Ubuntu seamlessly, with all key components such as Wi-Fi, video, Bluetooth, and audio being detected and functioning properly.

In my experience, the HP Pavilion Plus 14 offers a solid value, especially considering its higher-end Ryzen processor, 120Hz OLED display, and portability. While it may not be categorized as a budget laptop, it finds its place as a reasonably priced mid-range option. Whether you opt for the base configuration or the higher-end model, you’re likely to find a device that balances performance and price effectively.

Disclosure: HP loaned to the laptop to the channel for review. They did not review or approve the video before it was uploaded.

A $379 Windows Laptop – Lenovo’s Ideapad Slim 3i Review

As the year winds down, we’ll be seeing more and more laptops getting reduced in price ahead of holidays. I came across this Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 3i the other day that is currently selling for $379 at B&H (compensated affiliate link). For those on a budget, this 15.6-inch display laptop seems to offer a lot of bang for the buck. Lenovo let us borrow the laptop for this review.

The first thing that struck me about the IdeaPad Slim 3i was its display. While it’s not tailored for creators seeking impeccable color accuracy, the matte finish IPS 1080p panel with 300 nits of brightness is impressive for its price. The review loaner they sent us was equipped with a touch display as well, but I’m not sure if all configurations at this price point will have one.

Under the hood, the laptop is powered by an Intel i3-1315U processor with 8 GB of RAM. A potential downside is that the RAM isn’t upgradeable, which might limit some high-end tasks. Storage-wise, it boasts a 256 GB NVMe SSD, which can be upgraded if needed.

In terms of build, the laptop is predominantly plastic, which means it lacks the polish of pricier Lenovo models. It’s not a 2-in-1, and the display can be a tad wobbly. Weighing in at 3.57 lbs, it’s also on the heavier side vs. more expensive devices. Battery life is decent, clocking in at around 6 to 8 hours, depending on usage.

It does have a backlit keyboard, which is a pleasant surprise for a laptop in this price range. The inclusion of a number pad is a bonus, although the number keys are slightly smaller than the letter keys. The trackpad, however, feels a bit springy and doesn’t match the quality of Lenovo trackpads found on their mid-range and premium devices.

In terms of connectivity, the laptop offers a decent array of ports, including USB-A HDMI port, and a full-service USB-C port. The USB-C port can also deliver power to the laptop if using a docking station. Additionally, there’s a headphone jack, a full-size SD card slot, and another USB-A port on the other side. For added security, a fingerprint reader is integrated for biometrics.

The 720p webcam is serviceable but not spectacular. It struggled slightly with LED lighting, but it’s adequate for basic video calls. A manual shutter allows users to block the lens when not in use, ensuring privacy.

Performance-wise, the laptop handles basic tasks with ease. Websites load quickly, and videos stream smoothly. However, when it comes to more demanding tasks like video editing, the limited RAM becomes a bottleneck. Gaming performance is decent for less demanding titles, but newer, resource-intensive games might pose a challenge.

The Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 3i offers a mix of pros and cons. Its display and keyboard are standout features, but the non-upgradeable RAM is a limitation. For those on a tight budget, it’s a viable option, but it’s essential to weigh the trade-offs.

ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 3 Review

I recently reviewed the ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 3 from Lenovo. This as its name suggests is the third generation of Lenovo’s most portable ThinkPad device. The target market for these are business executives who need something lightweight but full featured. This was provided on loan from Lenovo for this review. You can find the purchase page here (compensated affilate link).

When I first picked it up, it felt as if there was nothing inside. It weighs 2.18 lb (or 991.5g) – not much more than iPad with a keyboard attached. Like the prior generations its casing is made from magnesium and carbon fiber. The material blend gives it a rigid and premium feel, much like other ThinkPad products. The balance is pretty good too – when I lift the display lid, the keyboard stays mostly in place.

The 13.3-inch display offers a 2K resolution with touch capabilities. It’s an IPS display with great viewing angles and an anti-glare matte finish. The laptop is powered by an i7-1360P processor, but its small size does affect its overall performance due to thermal constraints.

The keyboard, while not as deep as some traditional ThinkPads, is still comfortable to type on. It comes with the signature ThinkPad nub for navigation and a fingerprint reader for added security. In terms of ports, it offers two Thunderbolt 4 ports and a headphone/microphone jack. The webcam is of high quality, shooting at 1080p, and is perfect for workplace video calls.

Performance-wise, for basic tasks like web browsing, watching videos, and office tasks, it’s swift and responsive. However, when I tried video editing and gaming, I noticed some performance drops, likely due to thermal throttling. Games like Fortnite and Red Dead Redemption 2 were playable but not optimal. The laptop’s fan is quiet, even under load, which is a plus for those who value a silent working environment.

Battery life is decent, with around 8 hours for basic tasks. The speakers provide clear and crisp sound, suitable for conference calls or casual listening. I also tested it with Linux (Ubuntu), and it ran smoothly with all features detected properly.

In conclusion, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 3 is a good choice for those who prioritize portability over high-end performance. It’s well suited for corporate executives and anyone who needs a lightweight yet capable laptop for everyday tasks.

Robo & Kala Windows Tablet Review

My latest review is of a new Windows ARM device, the Robo & Kala tablet/laptop. This product is the only one this new company is currently manufacturing.

While they call it a laptop, it’s essentially a detachable tablet with an OLED display. The tablet boasts some intriguing features, but I couldn’t help but feel that the Windows ARM experience still has some way to go.

The tablet is priced at $799, which includes the keyboard and trackpad component. One of the standout features is its 12.6-inch OLED display with a resolution of 2560 by 1600. The display is vibrant and offers a brightness of 600 nits. But it doesn’t support HDR video.

Under the hood, the tablet is powered by a Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 processor, paired with 16GB of RAM and 512GB of solid-state storage. Weighing in at 2.34 pounds with the keyboard attached, it’s relatively lightweight and portable. However, I did notice an issue when using it as a tablet. Often, my hand resting on the tablet would result in inadvertent inputs due to its very thin bezels, which was a bit frustrating.

In terms of build quality, the tablet feels premium with its all-metal design. The kickstand at the back is reminiscent of the Surface devices, allowing for adjustable viewing angles. A unique feature is that the detachable keyboard switches to a Bluetooth keyboard/trackpad when detached, allowing for continued use.

The keyboard itself feels pretty nice. The keys are large, well-spaced, and offer a good amount of travel. The trackpad is responsive and offers a firm click. For security, there’s no fingerprint reader, but an infrared camera facilitates facial recognition for logging in.

When it comes to ports, the tablet is equipped with two USB Type-C ports. However, there’s no headphone jack, so you’ll need to rely on Bluetooth headphones or a USB dongle. The speakers, unfortunately, left much to be desired. They sounded tinny and lacked depth. The tablet’s webcam offers decent quality with a 5-megapixel camera on the front and a 13-megapixel camera on the back.

In terms of performance, basic tasks like web browsing felt smooth, especially on an ARM-optimized browser like Edge. Video playback on platforms like YouTube was also satisfactory.

Like most ARM devices battery life here is excellent. This tablet can easily hit the 10-12 hour mark for basic tasks and video watching if display brightness is kept low. The OLED does consume more power than LED displays so other 8cx Gen 3 laptops may do a little better.

When it came to gaming, the experience was mixed. Older games like Half-Life 2 ran smoothly, but more demanding titles like GTA 5 struggled to maintain consistent frame rates. This is a reminder that while the ARM architecture offers benefits like improved battery life, it still lags behind Intel and AMD in terms of raw performance at this price point.

In conclusion, the Robo & Kala tablet is a well-constructed device with a beautiful display. It’s ideal for basic tasks and offers impressive battery life. However, the ARM architecture still has compatibility limitations, especially when it comes to more demanding applications and gaming. If you’re looking for a device primarily for office applications and light tasks, this could be a good fit. But for more intensive tasks, you might want to consider other options.

The Return of Budget 15″ Laptops? Ace Magic Laptop Review

My latest video looks at an inexpensive laptop from Ace Magician, a company that produced some impressive mini PCs I’ve reviewed over the last couple of weeks. While the laptop has its merits, there are a few caveats to consider.

The Ace Magic 15″ is currently available for around $310. However, it’s worth noting that the company frequently offers discounts and coupon codes, so it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for deals. For the price, the hardware is pretty good. The laptop boasts a 1080p 15.6-inch IPS display, which offers decent viewing angles with no noticeable backlight bleed. The brightness might not be the highest (I estimate around 250nits), but the quality of the display was a pleasant surprise.

Under the hood, the laptop is powered by an Intel N95 processor. While this might not be the most powerful chip on the market, it’s sufficient for basic tasks like web browsing, movie watching, and word processing. The laptop also comes with 16GB of DDR4 RAM and a 512GB NVMe SSD, both of which can be upgraded if needed.

However, not everything is great. I encountered some issues with the laptop’s Wi-Fi, which is a 1×1 AC Wi-Fi radio. The data transfer rates were not impressive, and I had compatibility issues with the Unifi Wi-Fi hardware I use here at the house. The Wifi/Bluetooth radio is socketed so it’s easy enough to swap out later. Another area where the laptop falls short is the webcam. The quality is subpar, making it unsuitable for professional video calls.

On the brighter side, the keyboard is decent, with well-spaced but springy keys that offer good travel distance. The trackpad, while functional, can be a bit tricky due to its dual-button design. The laptop also offers a variety of ports, including USB 3, HDMI, and a micro SD card slot. There are two USB-C ports, however one is only for power and the other only works with USB data devices.

When it comes to performance, the Ace Magic 15″ handles basic tasks without issue. Web browsing is smooth, and video playback, especially on platforms like YouTube, is seamless. However, if you’re into gaming, this might not be the best choice. While older games run smoothly, modern titles are not playable, even at lower settings. You’ll need to stream those games from another PC in the house or a game streaming service.

Interestingly, the laptop excels in emulation. I tested it with the PCSX2 emulator, and it managed to run Burnout Revenge at a solid 60 frames per second.

As far as battery life is concerned, I managed to get around six to seven hours on a single charge while performing basic tasks.

For those interested in running alternative operating systems, the laptop can boot up the latest version of Ubuntu and have most of the hardware recognized. Unfortunately the laptop’s audio was not detected properly.

All in the Ace Magic 15″ laptop offers decent value for its price. While there are some shortcomings, especially with the Wi-Fi and webcam, the overall experience is positive. If you’re on a tight budget and need a laptop for basic tasks, this might be a good option to consider.

HP Dragonfly G4 Review

My latest video is a review of the HP Dragonfly G4 is a 13.5 inch laptop. It’s designed for portability but also checks the boxes for performance and battery life. It weighs in at 2.2 pounds (about one kilogram) and comes in a number of different configurations and price points.

In terms of pricing, the review loaner I was sent is priced at $2,279. However, HP provides a variety of customization options, so take a look at their configurator (affiliate link) and see what it might cost based on your specific requirements.

The display of this model has a resolution of 1920 by 1280, with a 3:2 aspect ratio. While this particular model does not feature a touch panel, HP offers other configurations, including some with OLED panels and touch displays.

Internally, the laptop is equipped with an Intel i7-1365U processor, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of NVMe storage. The RAM is non-upgradable, but the storage can be replaced if needed. Battery life is estimated at around 12 hours, depending on usage and what kind of display the laptop has. The display on our review loaner is the most power efficient but lacks color calibration for creative tasks and comes in at 400 nits of brightness vs. 1,000 on some other display options.

The Dragonfly G4 features a backlit keyboard and a large trackpad that functions quite nicely. In terms of connectivity, it offers two Thunderbolt 4 ports, a full-size HDMI port, a full size USB-A port and a headphone jack.

The webcam on this model is notable for its clarity and the accompanying HP video control software. This software can switch between multiple webcams automatically and pipe the output to Zoom and other popular conferencing applications. This might be ideal for those who are lecturers who may need to get up and switch to a different viewpoint during a webinar. While this capability is something OBS and Vmix can do, it’s much simpler to set up and use here.

The HP video software also has an automatic keystoning feature that will look for documents placed in front of the camera and will automatically rotate them into the proper perspective.

Performance tests indicate that the laptop handles web browsing, office documents and light 4k video editing efficiently. It can also run some demanding AAA games like Red Dead Redemption 2 at around 30 frames per second at 1920×1280 using the lowest settings. So while it’s primarily a work machine it is also a decent casual gaming device too.

When tested with Linux, the laptop had some compatibility issues with the most recent version of Ubuntu, particularly with audio and the webcam.

In summary, the HP Dragonfly G4 checks all the boxes for a decent laptop: it’s lightweight, has great performance and has excellent battery life.

Lenovo Yoga 9i (2023) Review 14IRP8

As the back-to-school season approaches, I will be exploring various sent to the channel on loan for review. The new Lenovo Yoga 9i is the first of a few you’ll see over the next couple of weeks and the subject of my latest review. This 2-in-1 laptop, powered by an Intel i7 1360p processor, offers the flexibility of flipping into a tablet or a display mode.

The upper-end configuration with a 4k display is currently $1,400 at Best Buy (affiliate link). The laptop I reviewed looks to be similar to the Best Buy configuration with a 14-inch 4K OLED display, 16GB of non-upgradable RAM, and a 1TB nvme SSD for storage. The display, with its deep blacks and vibrant colors looks great but is not as bright at 400 nits as other premium displays I’ve looked at.

The build quality of the Yoga 9i feels nice and premium. Weighing about 3 pounds, it has a sturdy metal design that feels very well balanced. The integrated speaker bar in the hinge delivers great sound quality, suitable for both music and spoken word. The keyboard, a typical Lenovo strength, is backlit and comfortable to type on, although the key travel is slightly shallow. The trackpad is responsive, and the laptop offers a decent array of ports, including two Thunderbolt 4 ports.

The 1080p webcam will look nice for Zoom meetings and an improvement over 720p cameras in older laptops of this class. The camera also has a built-in physical shutter for privacy.

The battery life isn’t spectacular, however. Part of this is due to the high-resolution OLED display that will draw a lot of power. I estimate you’ll get about seven hours of battery life on basic tasks.

Performance-wise, the Yoga 9i didn’t disappoint. Web browsing was smooth, and it handled video editing tasks efficiently. The pen experience was also noteworthy, offering pressure detection and a natural writing feel. On the gaming front, I tried out Fortnite and Red Dead Redemption 2. While it’s not a gaming laptop, it handled these games decently.

I also experimented with Ubuntu on this laptop, and everything ran smoothly.

All in all, for someone heading to college and looking for a Windows laptop, the Lenovo Yoga 9i is a solid choice. It offers a blend of performance, design, and versatility, although one might need to keep the charger handy.

Lenovo ThinkBook 14s Yoga Gen 2 Review

I am finally beginning to get caught up on my backlog of laptop reviews! My latest one is of another Lenovo Thinkbook – the 14s Yoga Gen 2. You can watch it here.

This one is a middle of the road 2-in-1 with an i7-1255U processor, 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. This is the kind of laptop that goes on sale frequently on Lenovo’s website so definitely keep an eye on their product page (affiliate link) if you’re looking for a deal. It’s currently starts at $840 and the one we’re looking at is around $1000.

Performance and battery life are pretty good on this one. It scored well on benchmark tests and in line with other laptops running with this generation of Intel processors. Cooling is efficient and quiet with very little throttling happening under sustained processor loads.

Like other Yoga’s we’ve looked at they have a small pen that “garages” itself on the side of the case. I noticed the pen feels a little more natural than prior iterations, with the screen introducing a little more resistance to make writing feel less slippery.

For upgradeability the Yoga 14s Gen 2 has a second NVME SSD slot that allows for the installation of a second drive. This might be a fun way to dual boot a linux operating system. There is a single RAM slot on the motherboard for memory upgrades, however half the RAM (8GB) is soldered on the main board. So the best you’ll do with this one is 16GB max by adding an 8GB module.

I recommend either purchasing a 16GB configuration or upgrading to 16GB yourself to ensure the system runs in dual channel memory mode – without that RAM slot occupied you won’t get the max performance out of this machine.

My only complaint on this machine is its display. It’s dim at 300 nits, only 1080p, and runs with a narrow 16:9 aspect ratio (most laptops these days have a taller 16:10 ratio).

New Video : Lenovo Slim 7 Pro X Review

Every once and awhile Lenovo puts together the perfect “all rounder” laptop that offers a great mix of price, performance and utility. The Slim 7 Pro X is that machine for 2022.

It incorporates a Ryzen 6900HS processor (the first time machine I’ve reviewed with one) along with an Nvidia RTX 3050 GPU running at 55 watts. It’s just a little over 3 pounds, well built and has a nice 14″ 120hz display. It’s great for gaming, light VR, video editing, and other types of basic work.

I ran a few gaming tests with the GPU disabled to see how the Ryzen graphics worked on their own. Red Dead Redemption 2 ran much better on this vs. prior Ryzen generations which was also confirmed in our 3Dmark benchmark tests.

You can see more in the full review up on my YouTube channel.