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Lenovo LOQ 15 Gen 9 review: a solid if unspectacular 1080p gaming laptop
6:13 pm | July 3, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Computing Gadgets Gaming Computers Gaming Laptops | Tags: , , | Comments: Off

Lenovo LOQ 15 Gen 9: Two-minute review

If you're looking to get into the portable PC gaming scene without breaking the bank then the Lenovo LOQ 15 Gen 9 is a viable option to consider in 2024. It's not going to give the best gaming laptops a run for their money in terms of leading performance, battery life, display, and design, but it does enough to stand out from a price-to-performance perspective. 

While the manufacturer has made waves in the mid-range and premium end of the gaming laptop market, its budget offering favors function over form. My review unit features a 13th Gen i7 CPU, Nvidia RTX 4060 GPU, 16GB RAM, and a 512GB NVMe Gen 4.0 SSD - all of which is more than enough to play today's games in 1080p. You won't always be maxing everything out in the graphical settings, due to the GPU's limited 8GB GDDR6 VRAM, but Nvidia DLSS 3's Frame Generation or AMD FSR can help ease the stress. 

There's also the LOQ 15 (AMD) to consider if you would rather go for a Team Red rig instead of a Team Blue offering. Regardless of CPU choice, the GPU is decidedly mainstream, so there's no great power differential. It means that the same problems largely apply, meaning a so-so display, lacking battery life, and a port placement that may be cumbersome. 

That battery life really does leave a lot to be desired. Web browsing and media playback achieved just under two hours with battery saving modes and the screen brightness halved. It's not great, and this extends to battery gaming which can't even manage an hour. You'll want to keep this gaming laptop plugged in to enjoy a lengthy gaming session, or when used as a desktop replacement when hooked up to one of the best gaming monitors

So yes, while the Lenovo LOQ 15 Gen 9 is unlikely to wow you, it is entirely serviceable at providing a solid 1080p gaming experience.  It's ultimately going to come down to the pricing of the unit; if you can find an RTX 4060 variant around the $1,000 / £1,000 / AU$1,300 mark then it's worthwhile, but I can't really recommend splashing out upwards of $1,300 / £1,300 / AU$2,000 when RTX 4070 rigs offer more power for the money. 

Lenovo LOQ 15 Gen 9: Price and availability

1080p 144Hz refresh rate display on the LOQ 15

(Image credit: Future / Aleksha McLoughlin)
  • How much does it cost? Starting from $999 / £1,049 / AU$1,297
  • When is it available? The Lenovo LOQ 15 Gen 9 is available now 
  • Where can you get it? US, the UK, and Australia 

The Lenovo LOQ 15 Gen 9 is available with a starting price of $999 / £1,049 / AU$1,297 for a variant running an RTX 4050 GPU. Alternatively, there's a more powerful version running the more capable RTX 4060 discrete graphics for around $100 / £100 / AU$300 more depending on the retailer's availability - and I'd recommend springing for that slightly more powerful GPU.

In terms of price, the Lenovo LOQ 15 is one of the more affordable gaming laptops on the market at the budget end of the spectrum. Whether you're considering an RTX 4050 or RTX 4060 version, these aren't powerhouse machines, but they are priced as such. It's less aggressive when considering you can pick up some RTX 4070 laptops such as the MSI Katana 15 and Asus TUF A15 from $1,199 to $1,349 nowadays. 

  • Price: 4 / 5

Lenovo LOQ 15 Gen 9: Specs

The Lenovo LOQ 15 Gen 9 is available in a variety of configurations from Lenovo itself or found from retailers in the US, the UK, and Australia. As touched upon above, you can find the budget rig with either an RTX 4050 or RTX 4060 GPU. A major difference is the choice of GPU, depending on price, you can get a Ryzen 7000 or Intel Raptor Lake variant. 

Lenovo LOQ 15 Gen 9: Design

Lenovo LOQ 15 Gen 9 keyboard

(Image credit: Future / Aleksha McLoughlin)
  • Durable build quality 
  • Thick bezels around the 1080p display 
  • Lovely full-size RGB keyboard

Display-wise, the Lenovo LOQ Gen 9 is primarily plastic with a rugged build quality. It's a far cry from the single-sheet aluminum of premium gaming laptops but feels considerably better than some budget models available. The cracks begin to show, however, when looking further into the screen. With a peak brightness of 350 nits and a 1080p IPS screen, things are serviceable but dull. The 144Hz refresh rate is smooth enough but the bare minimum for machines in 2024. 

The exposed hinges and thick bezels aren't the most pleasing to look at, as Lenovo has opted for function over form here. Simply put, it's not sleek or stylish, but it gets the job done. This utilitarian approach can also be seen in the protruding rear I/O as the hinged screen is around an inch ahead. It's done to maximize airflow, sure, but it's quite an outdated idea that was common on rigs from around 10 years ago.

The design of the Lenovo LOQ Gen 9 gets a lot of things right with its excellent array of connectivity options on the left, right, and rear of the device. You're fully equipped with a full-size HDMI 2.1 port, USB-C, and USB 3.2 ports so there are no complaints here. This extends to the keyboard which features four-zone RGB backlighting with its full deck size. It's lovely to type and game on. Unfortunately, this doesn't extend to the trackpad which is small and feels cheap, but that's not a huge concern as you really should be be utilizing one of the best gaming mice instead. 

  • Design: 3 / 5

Lenovo LOQ 15 Gen 9: Performance

Image 1 of 3

Side of the Lenovo LOQ 15 Gen 9

(Image credit: Future / Aleksha McLoughlin)
Image 2 of 3

Rear I/O of the Lenovo LOQ 15 Gen 9

(Image credit: Future / Aleksha McLoughlin)
Image 3 of 3

Rear fans of the Lenovo LOQ 15 Gen 9

(Image credit: Future / Aleksha McLoughlin)
  • Solid gaming performance in 1080p 
  • The fans are very loud under stress 
  • The 13th Gen i7 CPU is still powerful
Lenovo LOQ 15 Gen 9 benchmarks

Here's how the Lenovo LOQ 15 Gen 9 got on in our suite of industry-standard benchmarks and game testing. 

PCMark10 - 7,328
3DMark:
Night Raid - 57,918
Port Royal - 5,532
Time Spy - 10,117
Fire Strike - 22,507
Geekbench 6:
Single - 2,358
Multi - 13,144
Cinebench R23:
Single - 1,652
Multi - 15,698
CrossMark - 1,572
Productivity - 1,500
Creativity - 1,699
Responsiveness - 1,439
Cyberpunk 2077
RT Ultra - 88fps
Ultra - 84fps
Low - 114fps
Total War: Three Kingdoms
Ultra - 80fps
Low - 246fps
Red Dead Redemption II
Ultra - 67fps
Low - 159fps
TechRadar Battery Test: 59 mins

For the most part, the Lenovo LOQ 15 Gen 9 delivers on its promise of providing playable framerates at 1080p. The 144Hz Full HD display is fast enough seeing as you'll be getting around 60 to 90fps when maxing out games such as Red Dead Redemption II, Cyberpunk 2077, and Total War: Three Kingdoms. For the best possible experience, you're going to want to enable DLSS 3 Frame Generation and Ray Reconstruction to take the strain off of the native hardware. 

While there are versions of the Lenovo LOQ 15 Gen 9 with 14th Gen processors, our review unit with the Intel Core i7-13650HX still impresses. This can be evidenced by the CPU-bound title Total War: Three Kingdoms, reaching a staggering 246fps with the settings dialed down to low. The single-core and multi-core performance through Geekbench 6 and Cinebench R23 is also solid, even though these figures have recently been eclipsed by Meteor Lake and Ryzen 7000 models. 

As mentioned further up the page, the display here is what sets the side down to an extent. Yes, it's fast enough with a 144Hz refresh rate being smooth with no screen tearing or artifacting. With that said, the colors are washed out, there's no HDR support, and the peak brightness leaves a lot to be desired. It's not an issue that's unique to the LOQ 15 Gen 9, but it also doesn't break from convention here either. 

What you will notice is just how loud the fans are on this gaming laptop. It's particularly noticeable at start-up, or when under any level of moderate stress. The LOQ 15 is easily among the loudest machines I've ever tested, distractingly so at times, even drowning out gameplay and media playback from the otherwise fine 2x 2W stereo speakers. 

  • Performance: 3.5 / 5

Lenovo LOQ 15 Gen 9: Battery life

  • Poor battery life whether gaming or media playback
  • Battery can be quick-charged to full in just over an hour

Battery life can make or break a laptop and, unfortunately, the Lenovo LOQ 15 Gen 9 falls into the latter category. In our battery test, the machine was able to achieve just under two hours of media playback when prioritizing the battery life and reduced screen brightness. Simply put, you're going to want to keep the 135W power adapter close at hand to get through a lengthy film or take your gaming experience on the go. Granted, that's the case for many gaming laptops, but I'd expect a bit better from a lower-powered unit like this - there's not an RTX 4090 guzzling down power here.

The Lenovo LOQ 15 Gen 9 features a 60Whr battery that supports quick charging, but it drains almost as quickly so it's a double-edged sword. The manufacturer claims a full charge from completely flat about 80 minutes, and my testing can verify this. It can reach 50% in about around half an hour, which is solid enough, even if the battery retention is far from impressive.

  • Battery life: 3 / 5 

Should you buy the Lenovo LOQ 15 Gen 9?

closed lid of the Lenovo LOQ 15 Gen 9

(Image credit: Future / Aleksha McLoughlin)

Buy it if...

You can find it discounted 
There are regular deals on the Lenovo LOQ 15 Gen 9 available from both the manufacturer and major retailers in the US, UK, and Australia. For the right price, it offers a ton of value. 

You play a range of less-demanding PC games 
The RTX 4060 and 1080p display are a good pair for entry-level PC gaming. 8GB GDDR6 VRAM should be enough to play most titles at 60fps for the next few years, even if you won't be maxing out all settings settings. 

Don't buy it if...

You can find an RTX 4070 machine for around the same price 
Some variants of the Lenovo LOQ 15 Gen 9 may be nearly as expensive as some other budget RTX 4070 models. This graphics card is considerably more powerful in 1080p and can be found inside 1440p machines, too. 

You want a more powerful gaming laptop 
Regardless of which variant you consider, the Lenovo LOQ 15 Gen 9 isn't a very powerful machine. It's available with an RTX 4050 or RTX 4060 which are far from leading offerings. 

Lenovo LOQ 15 Gen 9: Also consider

MSI Katana 15
The MSI Katana 15 is the most comparable alternative to the Lenovo LOQ 15 Gen 9 with its 144Hz refresh rate and Full HD  resolution. It's available with either the RTX 4050, RTX 4060, or RTX 4070 so the pricing may be more of what you're looking for. 

Read our full MSI Katana 15 review

Asus TUF Gaming A15
The Asus TUF Gaming A15 combines excellent 1080p gaming performance with a stellar battery life and a solid design. It also has a wonderful RGB keyboard and a fast refresh rate, while being available in several different configurations. 

Read our full Asus TUF Gaming A15 review

  • First reviewed July 2024
Honor MagicBook Pro 16 laptop review
7:42 pm | July 1, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Pro | Tags: , , | Comments: Off

Honor MagicBook Pro 16: 30-second review

Specs

CPU: Intel® Core™ Ultra 5 processor 125H
Graphics: Intel® Arc™ graphics
RAM: 24GB
Storage: 1TB
Rear Ports: USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 ports, HDMI 2.0
Front Ports: USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 port, Thunderbolt 4
Connectivity: 2x2 MIMO antennas, Wi-Fi 6 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax, 2.4GHz and 5GHz, and Bluetooth 5.1.
Audio: 3.5mm
Camera: webcam
Size: 354 x 242  x 19.9mm
Weight: 1.79kg
OS installed: Microsoft Windows 11 Home
Accessories: None

The Honor MagicBook Pro 16 2024 is an impressive-looking laptop from the outset, with sleek black lines and sharp edges, instantly giving it an ultra-stylish and modern look. 

Like the many of the best business laptops we've reviewed, the build quality of the Aluminium Alloy case highlights the MagicBook Pro as something more than your average Windows work laptop, giving it both a premium and robust feel. When closed, the laptop exterior is kept simple with a sleek, subtle wedge-like design that makes it easy to slip into a laptop bag, while when open, that design gives the keyboard a subtle yet comfortable angle when in use. Likewise, the rest of the exterior is plain, with just two USB ports on the side along with a 3.5mm audio socket and two USBs on the back with an HDMI - just what you want for business use. 

The unusual positioning of the two USB Type-A ports and HDMI at the back enables easy connection to multimedia docs, making it an ideal solution when giving a presentation from a lectern or board room. With wires clear of the sides of the machine, additional notes, drinks, and props can be placed back onto the surface without being obstructed by wires, helping to keep things neat and professional.

Opening the lid and the large 16-inch screen is clear and bright, with plenty of scope for adjustment. Starting the test with a little office work, the high-resolution screen of 3072 x 1920 gives plenty of space for laying out windows and flicking between office apps. If you need more screen real estate then there's the HDMI or Thunderbolt 4 port to connect up to additional monitors. Used for standard office applications such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint, along with a browser for research, the laptop handles all with ease, with the AI working unnoticed in the background to allocate resources when and where needed. 

The actuation of the full keyboard is decent enough with a good feel to the keys and responsiveness. However, some of the keyboard feels a little crammed in, and miss types are easy with the "Enter" and right-hand "Shift" keys, both reduced in size and surrounded by the number pad and cursor keys without the usual gap. The touchpad is of a decent size and, again, responsive, but there's a slight tinniness to the feel, and it lacks some of the quality you expect with premium laptops. However, this is mid-range.

Switching the laptop's use to creative apps such as Photoshop, the machine is able to handle files with relative ease and is powerful enough to build up multi-layer projects from files from the Canon EOS R5. When using Photoshop, additional storage is a good idea as there's only 1TB internally, and with the option of USB or Thunderbolt 4 ports, you have two speedy connection options.

Taking a look at video editing, the laptop does start to struggle with 4K footage - so this won't replace the best video editing laptops any time soon. Straight editing is handled, but complex compositions start to see the system slow, although it still impresses with what it is able to handle. As with photography, when video editing, an external SSD can be connected to boost storage, and again, the Thunderbolt 4 or USB 4 ports make a big difference to the overall performance.

Finally, used in a lecture theater, the rear port connection makes connection easy, and the space around the machine is welcome. The long battery life is also welcome, as the machine happily remained self-powered through a three-hour lecture running a presentation without pause. 

Overall, this is a powerful laptop with plenty of flexibility for use in and out of the office. While creatives may find the size of the internal SSD a little limiting, most will find this space more than adequate, and the balance of the power and abilities are finely tuned for everyday work from spreadsheets and documents to larger-scale presentations. 

Honor MagicBook Pro 16: Introduction

Honour makes several variants of the MagicBook Pro 16, and in this review, we'll be looking at the Honor MagicBook Pro 16 2024, with the mid-range Intel Core Ultra 5 CPU and Intel Arc GPU. While the internals of the various models may be different, the external aluminium alloy casing is much the same and gives the machine a stylish high-quality look and feel. This model is also available in two colour variants, either white or purple, although the purple is closer to grey, making it an ideal solution for everyday office use.

The Core Ultra 5 is the entry-level of the new range of Intel CPUs and features built-in AI abilities and far more processing power than we've seen in previous entry level CPUs. The CPU's performance when coupled with integrated graphics is impressive, especially when pushed to handle larger documents and files across multiple different apps, a task previous generations of the processors at this level might have struggled with, however here, this machine is it's able to intelligently allocate resources where needed and run those applications smoothly.

While this laptop only features integrated graphics, the Intel Arc GPU is surprisingly powerful and can handle creative tasks and applications that are well beyond the capabilities of many laptops in this price range. Both Photoshop and Premiere Pro can run and handle relatively complex projects, although an external SSD is a good idea for additional storage.

The Honor MagicBook Pro 16 is an interesting laptop designed as a powerful mid-range solution with a premium build and solid hardware that should offer most professional users the power and features they need.

Honor MagicBook Pro 16: Price & availability

Honor MagicBook Pro 16

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)
  • How much does it cost? 1299,90 EUROS
  • When is it available? Available now
  • Where can you get it? Available in France and China

The 2024 Honor MagicBook Pro 16 is available in France for €1299 and in China for ¥6299. This laptop is designed for professionals and features an Intel Core Ultra 5 processor and Intel Arc graphics, a 16-inch 3K display with 100% DCI-P3 colour gamut, and TÜV Rheinland certifications for eye protection. The sleek, aluminium alloy design ensures durability and style, while its performance supports both office and light creative use. With a 75Wh battery offering up to 12 hours of use and fast charging capabilities, it is ideal for both office and creative work.

For more details, visit the Honor product page by clicking here.

  • Price: 4/5

Honor MagicBook Pro 16: Design & build

Honor MagicBook Pro 16

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

The Honor MagicBook Pro 16 features a sleek aluminium alloy outer casing that gives the laptop a durable, stylish, and modern look. The materials and finish give it a solid build quality that surpasses that of many laptops in this price range. The subtle slim wedge shape design gives the laptop an ergonomic feel and not only makes it comfortable to carry but also easy to slip into a laptop bag. When it comes to doing some work and the laptop is opened, this shape subtle slant provides a comfortable platform when typing over longer periods.

When it comes to weight, the two colour variants are weighted differently which is slightly strange. The Purple version, which is more grey, is the lighter of the two options at 1.79 kg, while the white comes in at 1.83 kg. Both models feel reassuringly premium when it comes to build quality and this feeling of quality continues as you open the lid to reveal the screen. The 16.1-inch display is bright and crisp, featuring 100% DCI-P3 colour gamut coverage, 500 nits brightness, and a 3072 x 1920 resolution. 

The overall design feels premium; however, while this is an expensive machine, in real terms, it's in the mid-range of professional laptops suited for everyday office use rather than home gaming or intensive creative work. As such, the design is simple, and this simplicity is evident through the layout of ports: a 3.5mm audio socket, USB-C 3.2 Gen2 (10Gbps), and Thunderbolt 4 (40Gbs) are on the side. On the back, which is an unusual position, are two USB-A 3.2 Gen1 and an HDMI 2.1, which supports 4K @ 60Hz, making it ideal for presentations and multimedia connections.

The ports' rear positioning is an interesting design choice, making them ideal for connecting to presentation systems and docks. 

Another interesting feature is the full keyboard with a 1.5mm actuation distance and a 134.2mm x 81.2mm touchpad that supports multi-touch. When it comes to biometric features, there is a fingerprint power button with a touch sensor, but the small camera doesn't allow Windows Hello. The 1080P FHD front camera supports video recording and video chat and is equipped with an indicator for privacy.

As you'd expect, audio is well covered with six speakers delivering Spatial Audio and DTS effects, along with two microphones, all designed to give you the best quality for video streaming and online meetings. 

When it comes to power, there are the usual options, AC through the Thunderbolt 4 port, which enables a 65w fast charge to the laptop's 75Wh battery. In normal use this battery offers approximately 12 hours of usage on a single charge, and fast charging can boost the charge to about 55% in 30 minutes.

Ultimately, this laptop is designed for professionals who need a reliable machine for the workplace. It is capable of plugging into a docking station, supporting intensive work on the go, and connecting to projectors and multimedia with ease and neatness. The size and weight, combined with a robust build, all come together to ensure that it can withstand being carried around safely in a suitable laptop bag.

  • Design: 3.5/5

Honor MagicBook Pro 16: Features

Honor MagicBook Pro 16

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

The Honor MagicBook Pro 16 is a laptop aimed at working professionals and combines looks with ability. However, whereas other manufacturers boost the basics with additions such as card readers, discrete graphics, and more, this version of the MagicBook Pro 16 2024 focuses its abilities on those who need a powerful laptop for work.

As such, it offers a large 16-inch 3K display with a 3072 x 1920 resolution and a 165Hz refresh rate, which means that it can display spreadsheets, word documents, and multimedia presentations smoothly. Backing up the resolution is 100% DCI-P3 colour gamut support and 500 nits of brightness, all helping to ensure accurate and bright colour, making it a decent choice for creative professionals. It also includes TÜV Rheinland certifications for low blue light and flicker-free viewing, protecting your eyes during prolonged use.

Inside is one of the latest Intel Core Ultra 5 processors 125H with a base frequency of 1.2 GHz, boosting up to 4.5 GHz. Intel Arc graphics complements this 14-core processor. While this isn't a separate GPU, this integrated graphics chip is still capable of delivering substantial power for multitasking and graphics-intensive applications such as Illustrator and Photoshop. In this review, our laptop features 24GB of LPDDR5X RAM and a 1TB SSD, all helping to ensure fast load times and a decent amount of storage for general use and applications. If you are looking at using this for more creative endeavours, then an external SSD would be a good idea.

One of the most interesting features of the Honor MagicBook Pro 16 is the all-new AI NPU chip integrated with the Intel processor. This AI chip has been designed to support a variety of applications, including real-time translation and automated reasoning, and this is all down to the large language model of up to 20 billion parameters. These AI capabilities enable the laptop to perform sophisticated tasks without requiring an internet connection, significantly improving efficiency. These additional features are handled through the Honor Software offerings that are pre-installed.

When you set up the laptop, you have two Honor applications that feature some of the AI abilities, such as Honor Connect, which enables you to switch tasks intelligently between devices; Smart Reminders, which enhance the more you use them, and the ability to tether with your smartphone when needed easily. Most of these features are based on preserving battery power as well as being exteremly useful. The other app is Honor PC Manager, and this keeps an eye on the health and performance of your machine, depending on how you're using it. One of the main features here is the Smart Mode that adjusts the power settings depending on what you're doing, or if you just want full power, then you can switch to the high-performance option, although this does create more noise from the cooling system and shorter battery life. There's even a keyboard short cut of Fn + P to make the switch manually if you need a power boost, but you need to be on the desktop for this to work rather than within an App. 

In other applications, such as Microsoft Office, the AI chip can optimize system resources to ensure a responsive experience. Even with large documents and complex spreadsheets, the idea is that you can work on multiple applications simultaneously without experiencing slowdowns. In all cases the AI works in the background handling the resources and allocations and ultimately helping to avoid slowdowns.

The most impressive angle for the AI chip is the ability to manage resources, especially for intensive creative applications used for photo and video editing. In Photoshop and Lightroom, the AI can assist in automated tasks like selecting subjects or applying filters. In Premiere Pro, AI-driven enhancements can speed up rendering times and general performance with 4K resolution footag

As always, connectivity options are incredibly important, especially for a work laptop. Here, there's Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.1, and support for HONOR Magic-link for integration with Honor smartphones and tablets. The port selection around the laptop is minimal, with a USB-C 3.2 Gen2 port, a Thunderbolt 4 port, two USB-A 3.2 Gen1 ports, an HDMI 2.1 port, and a 3.5mm audio jack.

The laptop's battery, 75Wh, keeps it powered away from AC power. Honor quotes this battery as being able to supply up to 12 hours of usage on a single charge. A good feature is support for fast charging, which means that it can reach a 55% battery capacity in 30 minutes and a full charge in 70 minutes.

The MagicBook Pro 16's keyboard is quite unusual. It's a full-size keyboard with a 1.5mm actuation distance and a large touchpad supporting multi-touch gestures. Regarding security, there's a convenient fingerprint power button, making it quick to access the laptop when needed.

Finally, audio is covered with a six-speaker sound system that enables Spatial Audio and DTS effects. Dual microphones help ensure clear voice capture when you're making video calls and recordings, and the 1080P FHD front camera handles visuals.

  • Features: 4/5

Honor MagicBook Pro 16: Performance

Honor MagicBook Pro 16

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)
Benchmarks

3DMark Wild Life:
Graphics Score: 21257
Fire Strike:
Overall: 7867
Graphics Score: 8467
Physics Score: 21629
Combined Score: 3166
Time Spy:
Overall: 3341
Graphics Score: 3009
CPU Score: 8958
Night Raid: 27643
Graphics: 35347
CPU: 12369

Cinebench R23:
Multi-Core Score: 12605
Single-Core Score: 1602

GeekBench 5:
Multi-Core Score: 11361
Single-Core Score: 2189
GPU: 27070

CrystalDiskMark:
Read Speed: 4998.81
Write Speed: 3509.50

PCMark 10:
Score: 6980

Windows Experience Index:
Score: 8.2

Display 

sRGB Accuracy: 100%, Adobe RGB: 88%, P3 99%
Gamut: 5 out of 5
Tone response:  3.5 out of 5
White Point: 4.5 out of 5
Contrast: 5.0 out of 5
Luminance: 4 out of 5
Colour Uniformity: 4.5 out of 5
Colour Accuracy: 3.5 out of 5
Overall: 4 out of 5

The Honor MagicBook Pro 16 2024 is aimed at professionals who need a well-made, high-quality laptop that will enable fast loading of applications and documents as well as the ability to easily link into systems and adapt to a variety of work situations. The style of the laptop reflects this with a sleek, professional design that will look at home in any city office, workplace meeting or presentation.

The machine is powered by the Intel Core Ultra 5 processor 125H, which has a base frequency of 1.2 GHz and automatically boosts up to 4.5 GHz when needed, such as when multitasking or using more power-intensive applications such as Photoshop or DaVinci Resolve. When used for day-to-day work, such as switching between various Microsoft Office applications like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, the machine handles all programs with ease, and there's no lag or hesitation as you switch from one to the other

Taking a look at the benchmark tests, the MagicBook Pro 16 mirrors the real-world performance with the results from the tests. Using Microsoft Office applications, the laptop is fast and responsive, with large Word documents loading quickly and mid-sized Excel spreadsheets with multiple formulas and data points being easy to open and navigate. When it came to more graphics-intensive applications such as PowerPoint, the laptop's Intel Arc graphics handled the stock transitions and animations through the presentations that were tested well.

One of the points that will interest many creative professionals is the P3 display. In Photoshop, the high-resolution 3K display with 100% DCI-P3 colour gamut coverage does help to ensure that images are vibrant and colours look accurate on screen. We used a DataColor Spyder X2 to calibrate the monitor prior to testing. With the latest version of Photoshop loaded, editing high-resolution photos taken on a Canon EOS R5 proved to be a fluid process with fast reaction times for the dodge-and-burn, selection and Generative AI tools. When enhancing the images, even when working with multiple layers and complex effects the machine was able to handle the work with ease. In Lightroom, the laptop handles large photo libraries effortlessly, making it easy to sort, edit, and export images quickly.

Video editing in DaVinci really put the Intel Core Ultra 5 processor, Intel Arc graphics, 24GB of LPDDR5X RAM, and a 1TB SSD to the test. Here, the laptop handles multiple video tracks, effects, and transitions with relative ease. However, it is possible to see the limitations of the hardware and the Windows operating system with codecs and multiple other bits of software required to play back native Canon RAW video files. 1080p video edits smoothly and easily, 4K up to 5 minutes with a couple of tracks and effects is fine, but as you build the complexity of the production, the machine does start to slow down, which is expected.

One surprising aspect, as the machine's abilities are pushed, is the effectiveness of the cooling system, which keeps temperatures in check even during intensive tasks. During video editing, the machine stayed quiet due to the cooling system, which seems to show that the 12mm composite pipe system works.

Honor states that the 75Wh battery is able to provide approximately 12 hours of usage on a single charge. In our real-world test, we ran the various benchmark tests, Photoshop, DaVinci, and the Microsoft Office apps. At that time, we had around five hours of intensive use with around 20% left. With the fast charge, you can get the level back up within 30 minutes, and just over an hour sees you back at full power. It's worth noting that the charger needs to be the correct type, and not all USB Type-C chargers will work in the Thunderbolt 4 port.

In general performance, the laptop proved ideal for office and presentation-based work, with the power of the hardware more than capable of handling almost any document or presentation you could wish to throw at it. When it came to creative tasks, again, this is a powerful, if understated, laptop. The P3 display is good, and our test proved 88% Adobe RGB accurate, which is a consideration for photographers. Videographers will be happy with the colour profiles and accuracy as well. For basic onsite editing with an external SSD, this laptop with the correct codecs installed will happily enable you to edit basic video productions ideal for work and social.

Considering the laptop's cost, its performance is exceptional. It handles Office applications with absolute ease, and Photoshop proved well within its limits. But using one of the best video editing software we've tried, DaVinci Resolve, admittedly started to push the machine's limits, but for general editing of short corporate videos and social posts, this machine will be more than happy to handle that type of work.

AI is a big part of this new chipset and you are aware that AI processing is going on in the background, and holding down the Fn button and P enables you to switch between the power modes when needed. In this test, that boost was when dragging new 4K footage into the Premiere Pro sequence.

  • Performance: 4/5

Should you buy the Honor MagicBook Pro 16?

If you're looking for a laptop that blends stylish looks, high-performance and price, then Honor MagicBook Pro 16 is an excellent choice. The sleek design, mid-range yet powerful internals, and AI-driven enhancements that come with the latest chipset and Honor software make this a great all-rounder. However, if you require extensive internal storage or a dedicated GPU for video or 3D work, possibly a bit of high-end gaming then opt for the version with the dedicated NVidia graphics. Also, while the full keyboard is great for general office work, it does take some getting used to the smaller enter and shift keys surrounded by the number pad. 

Honor MagicBook Pro 16

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...


We've tested the best laptops for photo editing - and these are our top picks

Minisforum V3 3-in-1 tablet review
7:11 pm |

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Pro | Tags: , | Comments: Off

Minisforum V3: 30-second review

MinisForum V3

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)
Specs

CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 7840U
Graphics: AMD Radeon 780M
RAM: 32GB LPDDR5
Storage: Up to 2TB M.2 PCIe SSD
Rear Ports: None specified for the rear
Front Ports: Dual USB4, USB-C, SD card slot, 3.5mm headphone jack
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3
Audio: Built-in speakers, 3.5mm headphone jack
Camera: Front-facing camera with Windows Hello facial recognition
Size: 311.7 x 220.8 x 9.8 mm
OS Installed: Windows 11 Pro
Accessories: 4096-level pressure stylus, keyboard cover (Optional)

The Minisforum V3 AMD Tablet instantly stands out with its high-end specifications, which are more typically found in gaming mini PCs. The AMD Ryzen 7 7840U processor delivers exceptional performance, making it suitable for demanding tasks like 4K video editing and photo editing in applications such as DaVinci Resolve, Photoshop, and Lightroom Classic. This power is complemented by a vibrant 14-inch display that supports a wide P3 colour gamut and 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity, again making it ideal for creative professionals and a challenge to the excellent Wacom Screens, even with that lower range of sensitivity. The tablet's ability to switch seamlessly between laptop and tablet modes, thanks to its optional keyboard cover, is another advantage.

Despite its impressive performance - a hybrid of the best mini PCs and the best business tablets - the V3 has a couple of drawbacks. The battery life is shorter when gaming or video editing, and the device tends to get hot under pressure. The optional keyboard, while functional, feels a bit flimsy compared to the premium build of the tablet itself. This generally isn't an issue; however, when using it on your lap, it starts to feel a little disjointed due to the cover-style connection between the keyboard and tablet.

When it comes to the design and build quality, the V3's magnesium alloy body makes it relatively lightweight at 946 grams and exceptionally thin at 9.8mm thick. Hence, it tucks neatly into a backpack slot. The overall design is sleek and modern, with the front mostly covered by the screen, which includes a front-facing camera with Windows Hello facial recognition.

When it comes to value for money, the V3 is competitive, especially when compared to similar devices like the Microsoft Surface Pro. It offers superb performance thanks to its AMD Ryzen processor and high-quality display. However, the Surface Pro may have an edge when it comes to the quality of the optional keyboard.

Minisforum V3: Price & availability

  • How much does it cost? $1,199
  • When is it available? Available now
  • Where can you get it? Available now

The Minisforum V3 AMD Tablet features specifications more commonly found in Mini PCs, with the AMD Ryzen 7 7840U processor for tasks like 4K video editing and photo editing. Its 14-inch 2.5K display supports a wide P3 colour gamut and 4096 pressure sensitivity levels, perfect for creatives. 

The V3, priced at $1,199 in the US and approximately £999 in the UK, is competitive with devices like the Microsoft Surface Pro.

  • Value: 4 / 5

Minisforum V3: Design & build

Minisforum V3

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

The Minisforum V3 AMD Tablet features a sleek design with flat edges and rounded corners. It is constructed from a magnesium alloy that feels both durable and relatively lightweight. The tablet weighs 946 grams and measures 311.7 x 220.8 x 9.8 mm, making it easy to carry around at home, in the office, or out on-site. After using the tablet extensively, it's obvious that the build quality is very high.

During the test, the V3 was coupled with the cover, keyboard, and touch-sensitive pen, which helped protect it and added to its versatility. The keyboard, while good, doesn't quite meet the quality of finish of the V3, and a slightly more solid version of the keyboard in a future release would be a welcome addition. The pen, in contrast, is superb, adding to the abilities of the tablet, especially incompatible applications.

One issue that a tablet with this amount of power will have is heat, and across the top of the tablet, there are two sectioned vent slots. Inside is a dual fan system and four heat-conducting copper pipes, all helping to ensure the inner workings remain as cool as possible.

The V3 also incorporates some other nifty features, including a dual-function power button with an integrated fingerprint sensor and Windows Hello facial recognition. 

When it comes to battery life, inside is a high-capacity 50.82Wh battery that enables over eight hours of normal use on a single charge; gaming and high-demand apps will, of course, dramatically reduce this time. As well as running on the battery, there is, of course, main support, and the V3 utilises a 65W PD for fast charging.

An interesting feature is the Minisforum Space application, which enables you to monitor the computer and its performance. It also enables you to switch modes, so if you prefer battery life over performance, you can switch to the Power Save mode in the system manager; if you need more power for video editing or gaming, you can use the Power Premium mode, and for more general use, you can use Power Balance.

Optional extras include a 4096-level pressure stylus and a detachable keyboard cover. The stylus is perfect for drawing, note-taking, and enhancing photos, while the keyboard is a great addition if you want the tablet to double up as a laptop.

  • Design: 4.5/5

Minisforum V3: Features

Minisforum V3

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

The Minisforum V3 AMD Tablet is packed with features that will appeal to power users and creatives, especially photographers and videographers looking for a sleek computing solution. At the heart of the V3 is the AMD Ryzen 7 7840U processor with 8 cores and 16 threads. The CPU is partnered with 32GB of LPDDR5 RAM and an AMD Radeon 780M GPU.

The tablet's large 14-inch display fronts it, offering a 2.5K resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels and a 165Hz refresh rate. Its support for a wide P3 colour gamut and 500 nits of brightness makes it ideal for video and photography and enables it to be calibrated for professional use.

Other additions include AI features made possible through AMD Ryzen AI, which enable functionalities like eye contact correction and automatic framing. Again, in the software is the Minisforum space, which enables you to access a range of impressive software features that tune the machine to the way you use it and also enable you to monitor its health.

When it comes to connectivity, the V3 has dual USB4 ports, a USB-C port, an SD card slot, and a 3.5mm headphone jack, alongside Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3 support.

Enhanced security features are always important, especially for any portable devices, and here, the V3 includes Windows Hello facial recognition and a fingerprint sensor, all helping to ensure quick access once you register your details. Beyond the tablet, there are a series of accessories, including a 4096-level pressure stylus and a keyboard cover.

  • Features: 4/5

Minisforum V3: Performance

Minisforum V3

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)
Benchmarks

Crystal Disk Read: 4805.85MB/s
Crystal Disk Write: 3894.29MB/s
GeekBench CPU Single: 10290
GeekBench CPU Multi: 2471
GeekBench Compute: 27288
PC Mark: 6525
CineBench CPU Multi: 9052
CineBench CPU Single: 730
Fire Strike Overall: 6819
Fire Strike Graphics: 7328
Fire Strike Physics: 20690
Fire Strike Combined: 2650
Time Spy Overall: 2394
Time Spy Graphics: 2133
Time Spy CPU: 7843
Wild Life: 15011
Windows Experience: 8.2

Through the test, the Minisforum V3's performance has impressed for a variety of different uses and applications, proving that it is a solid tool for professionals who need a powerful tablet device. This power, coupled with the outstanding screen, makes it a perfect solution for creatives who need to run the Adobe suite of apps such as Photoshop, Premiere, and Illustrator. The powerful AMD Ryzen 7 7840U processor not only enables these apps to run as if they were on a far larger desktop machine but this performance is also reflected in the benchmark scores.

During the test, the machine was mainly used on the Power Balance setting, which gave the best of both power and performance for a range of tasks, including creative, office, and gaming. When testing the gaming features, the performance was increased to Power Premium, which gave the machine a slight yet noticeable boost in graphics smoothness.

In terms of general productivity, the V3 handles Microsoft Office applications with ease, with the 14-inch screen providing a decent amount of real estate to the interface for both Word and Excel. For everyday use, when you switch between apps and countless browser tabs, the GeekBench CPU Single score of 10290 and PC Mark score of 6525 reinforce this performance.

When it comes to use for creative professionals, the graphics and processing capabilities powered by the AMD Radeon 780M GPU enable the apps to work quickly with multi-layer images in Photoshop, handling high-resolution images from the Canon EOS R5 C well. The GeekBench Compute score of 27288 is a good indicator of the performance in Adobe Photoshop and DaVinci Resolve. Tasks such as photo editing, applying filters, rendering videos, and real-time previews are all handled well - it might not replace the best laptops for photo editing or the best video editing laptops, but performance is better than you might expect. Backing up the power of the CPU and GPU is the 1TB internal SSD, which, when tested, produced impressive scores from CrystalDiskMark: read and write speeds of 4805.85MB/s and 3894.29MB/s, respectively. This is at the top end for mini PCs and tablets.

One thing to watch when using more demanding applications is the heat. The frame of the tablet becomes hot to the touch after a couple of hours of intensive video editing with external accessories such as hard drives connected. When switched to the Power Premium mode, the fans really start to kick in to help keep things cool under demanding processing

3D applications and CAD software also benefit from the V3's capabilities. The CineBench CPU Multi score of 9052 and CPU Single score of 730, combined with the Fire Strike Overall score of 6819 and Time Spy CPU score of 7843, show the ability to handle 3D modelling, rendering, and simulation tasks well, although not quite with the ease of larger desktop machines. This would make the V3 a great choice if you are an architect, engineer, or designer looking for a portable solution for work.

Although not in the professional remit of use, if you did want to dive into a little gaming after some graphics-intensive work, the Fire Strike Graphics score of 7328 and Wild Life score of 15011 reflect the tablet's ability to provide a smooth gaming experience and high frame rates in less demanding titles. Higher-demand games such as Red Dead Redemption and Cyberpunk 2077 will also run well, although the heat does rise through extended play. Plugging into a power source is a good idea, as you'll only get a couple of hours of gameplay on a single charge.

  • Performance: 4 / 5

Should you buy the Minisforum V3?

If you are a creative professional or are looking for a portable device that offers close to desktop-level performance, the Minisforum V3 is an excellent choice. The AMD Ryzen 7 processor, high-resolution display, and connectivity options make it a great choice for a range of demanding applications.

However, if you prioritise long battery life for creative applications, then a full-blown laptop might be a better option. 

As Windows tablets go, the power, function and features of the V3 are impressive considering the price, making it a great all-around option if you need a tablet with the power of a PC. 

Minisforum V3

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

We've tested the best photo editing PCs - and these are our top picks

HP Spectre Foldable 17 review: a flagship screen and hugely versatile device, but it’s fatally flawed
6:07 pm | June 25, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Computing Gadgets Laptops | Tags: , , | Comments: Off

Two-minute review

HP’s Spectre Foldable 17 is, on the surface, an interesting device. If you were to look at the product page or any of the marketing material for the Foldable 17, no doubt you’d be impressed with the folding OLED panel, its crisp resolution, and the insane versatility that comes with it. 

That magnetic keyboard, shifting the display up and altering the resolution automatically, and the fact you can use it as a fully-fledged all-in-one PC, or a 17-inch tablet at the drop of a hat, is no word of a lie – and incredibly enticing. But really, that’s all a mirage, a ghostly silhouette of what – at its core – is a significantly flawed product.

Right now, there’s one spec available for the HP Spectre Foldable. It’s priced at $5,000 retail in the US (£4,850 in the UK, or AU$8,499 in Australia), and features an Intel Core i7-1250U processor, 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM (running at 5200MHz), a 1TB M.2 PCIe 4.0 SSD, and a 94.3Wh battery.

That’s honestly all there really is to say about it. You get a pen, a USB dock, along with a (fairly average) detachable Bluetooth laptop substitute keyboard-and-mouse-combo-thing, and that’s it. And it’s the hardware that really drives the nail into the coffin.

Yes, the screen is good – it’s a beautifully crisp OLED panel that recreates colors to an exceptional degree. It’s stunning to look at, bright at 500 nits, and can even shift its resolution from 1,920 x 2,560 to 1,920 x 1,820 depending on how you position that keyboard. But, here’s the thing: you’re paying effectively $5,000 for a screen with a bit of hardware attached. And that hardware doesn’t perform as well as laptops that are a fifth the cost of this HP offering. Huawei’s MateBook D 16 for example, or Dell’s XPS 13 Plus, or literally any other laptop really, will outperform this device. And that’s a problem.

If all you need is a laptop to edit documents on (and I’ll caveat that with “not large spreadsheets”), watch a bit of Netflix, and stream a touch of YouTube, then yes the HP Spectre Foldable will fit the bill. Yes, you can technically use it as an all-in-one or a tablet to do that as well, but then you’re paying $5,000 for that privilege when, to be frank, you could probably get as much, if not better, performance out of an OLED TV for half the cost.

HP Spectre Foldable 17: Price and availability

HP Spectre Foldable review

Windows still isn’t quite set up for tablets as well as it should be (Image credit: Future / Zak Storey)
  • How much does it cost? $5,000 / £4,850 / AU$8,499
  • When is it out? It’s available right now
  • Where can you get it? In the US, UK, and Australia

The price for the HP Spectre Foldable 17 is eye-watering. There is only one model available, priced at $5,000, or £4,850 in the UK, or if you live in Australia, AU$8,499.

This device goes by different names dependent on the region (Foldable in the US and Australia, or just Fold in the UK), but they are effectively the same model. All of them feature that 17-inch OLED panel, 16GB of soldered LPDDR5 RAM, and an Intel Core i7-1250U at their heart.

As to where you can buy the Spectre, the places to go are Amazon and Best Buy in the US, Amazon in the UK, and the HP store directly in Australia. There’s another big problem with the price, though, and that’s the fact that the Asus Zenbook 17 Fold OLED exists, certainly in the UK anyway. 

On paper, and to be honest, even at a quick glance, these two products are pretty much identical. The one difference being the Zenbook 17 Fold comes in (for the exact same spec) at a much lower £3,299 as standard (although we’ve seen it as low as £2,299). You can buy the Asus Fold in the US, but only from eBay sellers at this point, for similarly low prices.

  • Value: 1.5 / 5

HP Spectre Foldable 17: Design and Features

HP Spectre Foldable review

HP’s auto-keyboard detecting tech shifts the screen resolution depending on where you place the keyboard (Image credit: Future / Zak Storey)
  • Beautiful display
  • Materials are solid
  • Port selection is disappointing

So we’ve established that this is a premium product. The Foldable certainly doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to that price tag, but the same can’t quite be said for the overall design, however. 

Let’s start by addressing the good points. That OLED display is incredible. As standard it’s a 17-inch foldable screen that comes with a 2.5K resolution, 500 nits of brightness in HDR mode, and a ton of the usual features (including low blue light and brightview modes). It packs 1.07 billion colors into that array and produces a phenomenal 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio to back it up.

HP Spectre Foldable 17 specs

CPU: Intel Core i7-1250U
GPU: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM: 16GB LPDDR5-5200
Storage: 1TB PCIe 4.0 SSD
Display: 17-inch 1920 x 2560, OLED, 500 nits

It is only a 60Hz panel, however, unlike some of the OLED screens now available, so it’s not quite as buttery smooth as some of the competition with fixed-screen displays. However, we have seen bendable OLED panels go well beyond 60Hz, with Corsair’s Xeneon Flex being perhaps one of the better examples of what’s possible with the tech in terms of refresh rate at least.

The real party trick, however, is that fold, and how it incorporates into the design of the device. Namely, this isn’t technically one product. It’s a laptop, an all-in-one PC, and a tablet, depending on how you configure it. In the rear of the unit, there’s a kickstand that you can fold out to turn the Foldable into a pure 17-inch screen. You can then use the keyboard-trackpad combo to operate it like a standard desktop PC. Or alternatively, drop that kickstand, and convert it into a 17-inch tablet instead. 

Create a slight bend in the screen and place it on your desk, then attach the keyboard to it (via the power of magnetism), and you’ve turned it into a laptop. Interestingly, with laptop mode HP has some nifty software installed that detects the keyboard’s position, and adjusts the screen size and resolution accordingly, depending on where you place the keyboard, which is pretty neat. 

Rotation is supported as well: you can rotate the entire unit horizontally, one way or the other, and the display will twist to the correct orientation accordingly (although bear in mind that kickstand only works one way). In portrait mode, however, you are limited to one orientation.

That is mildly awkward, as this does place one of the only two USB-C ports on the top-left of the display. If you plug in the included USB dock on the bottom-right side of the screen, then your only option, if you want power in as well, is to have the cable trailing out of the top-left of the display, which looks pretty ghastly.

HP Spectre Foldable review

The included kickstand is great if you want to use the device as an all-in-one PC, although it does only work in one orientation (Image credit: Future / Zak Storey)

And it’s the ports that are the most frustrating to deal with. As standard, HP does include a USB hub with the foldable, but otherwise, you only get two USB-C Thunderbolt ports on here and nothing else. That’d be fine on a super-thin, small form factor device, but the Foldable is quite thick at 0.85cm, as that’s necessary to house all of that internal hardware.

HP Spectre Foldable review

The Spectre Foldable is thick - seriously thick - and only has two USB-C ports as standard (Image credit: Future / Zak Storey)

Then we get to the keyboard. It’s small, foldable, with fairly standard keys that feel okay touch-wise. It has a trackpad, a small amount of Spectre branding on there, and a soft-touch leather cover. It connects only via Bluetooth and has a 330-hour battery life. You can charge it wirelessly off the display (when it’s fully on the device), but otherwise you’re stuck with a proprietary charging cable instead. 

HP Spectre Foldable review

For the money, the keyboard experience isn’t great (Image credit: Future / Zak Storey)

HP also reckons it should automatically pair with the Foldable 17 as well, but we consistently found that to be a weak point of the unit, particularly after restarting Windows, or letting the keyboard battery go flat. The one saving grace is you can magnetically stick the keyboard on the display, leave it there, and close the device without worry.

  • Design: 3.5 / 5

HP Spectre Foldable 17: Perfomance

HP Spectre Foldable review

The keyboard-trackpad combo has a phenomenal battery life, and wirelessly charges off the device, but connectivity can be an issue (Image credit: Future / Zak Storey)
  • Fine for light usage
  • Gaming and heavy productivity isn't possible

So, the design side of the equation, except for a few minor or indeed more major pitfalls depending on your perspective, is pretty okay to be fair. There are a few foibles, particularly with the keyboard and placement of ports, but generally speaking, disregarding the price, the HP Foldable is an awesome product.

However, coming to its performance, this is where things take a turn for the worse. Now let’s be clear, you have to look at this with that price in mind: $5,000 is no small sum, particularly for a laptop like this.

I took it for a spin, benchmarking it across all manner of tests, just to see how the Foldable would perform. My test conditions were strict, and it was plugged in, and on the high-performance power plan in Windows, with all of the latest updates applied, and chipset/drivers installed. I ran a number of tests, including Crossmark, Geekbench 6.2.1, Blender, and some limited gaming benchmarks as well.

Now, Intel’s integrated Iris graphics has come a long way, but it’s still nowhere near the calibre of the Alchemist architecture found in the Arc graphics cards. It’s just not going to be one of the best gaming laptops, and that’s fine, it’s not meant to be. However, when you’re spending $5,000 you do expect a modicum of performance.

In Geekbench 6.2.1 the Foldable scored 2,210 in single-core and 6,635 in multi-core. By comparison, the Huawei Matebook D 16 scored 2,605 in single-core and 12,568 in multi-core. That’s double the multi-threaded performance in comparison, from a laptop that clocks in at 25% of the price. The Foldable did have a slight edge when it came to CrystalDiskMark clocking in at 6,739MB/s for reads and 4,524MB/s for writes (sequential), but then we came to the gaming, or lack thereof. 

No matter what I tried, not one single benchmark would complete. In 3DMark Wildlife Extreme and Extreme Unlimited (tests designed for mobile gaming), the Foldable didn’t meet the minimum requirements, and Solar Bay (mobile ray tracing) was the same. I also tried Borderlands 3 and Total War: Warhammer III, on their lowest settings, and despite making it to the main menu, neither game would load the benchmark without crashing.

HP Spectre Foldable review

Is it a tablet? A plane? No, it’s a foldable screen (Image credit: Future / Zak Storey)

Blender performance was pretty dire too, at 26.81 for scene one, 17.14 for scene two, and 11.69 for scene three – less than half the performance of our comparative Huawei Matebook D 16. Likewise, Crossmark also got a pummelling across all four results, with scores ranging anywhere between 30-40% worse than the £1,200 Huawei notebook.

Clearly, when it comes to PC games this HP device isn’t going to be as capable as any of the best gaming desktops out there right now. Something like a dedicated gaming PC packing an Nvidia RTX 4080 Super, and maybe Intel Core i9-14900K, is obviously going to run rings around the Foldable 17.

However, the problem goes beyond this, as you could literally go out right now, and spend $3,500 to pick up a PC with a Ryzen 9 7900X, RTX 4070 Super, 64GB of DDR5 RAM, a 2TB PCIe 4.0 SSD, and a 32-inch 4K OLED screen, and still have $1,500 left over to get a good laptop. Or alternatively, if all you want is a powerhouse laptop with a stunning screen, you could spend $2,500 on something like an Asus Zenbook Pro 16X OLED and save yourself a ton of cash while getting way, way better performance levels.

If all you care about is streaming content on Netflix, or doing some light document work, and browsing the web, the HP Spectre Foldable is more than capable of that. But then, so is practically every laptop at every price point, even the budget ones, and for that crazy four-figure investment, you should expect more.

  • Performance: 1.5 / 5

HP Spectre Foldable 17: Battery life

  • Solid 11-hour battery life

For battery life, the HP Spectre Foldable performed well enough and pretty much met our expectations across the board. It wasn’t phenomenal by any means, but lasted a full day of working remotely, with wireless and Bluetooth devices connected to it.

As standard, the Foldable comes with a 6-cell 94.3Wh Li-ion polymer battery and is rated in its folded mode, with keyboard attached, at around 12.5 hours, which is roughly what I saw during my time testing.

If you detach the keyboard entirely and run the Foldable as a display, that time does drop, as you’re effectively enabling more pixels to be active as you are running a higher resolution – but otherwise, it’s still fairly consistent in that regard.

HP also has fast charging support on the Foldable as well, and with any 100W USB-C charger, you’ll get around 50% charge in 40 to 45 minutes, with a full charge taking a little over two hours in my testing.

  • Battery life: 4 / 5

Should you buy the HP Spectre Foldable 17?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

HP Spectre Foldable: Also Consider

HP Spectre Foldable 17: Report card

  • First reviewed June 2024
Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 (GU605) review: a sleek Intel gaming laptop with creator appeal
9:30 am | June 21, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Computing Gadgets Gaming Computers Gaming Laptops | Tags: , | Comments: Off

Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 : Two-minute review

Thinner and lighter than it looks, the ROG Zephyrus G16 packs some serious hardware in a stylish 16-inch frame. While there are multiple configurations available, the G16 that was sent to me for this review features an Intel Core Ultra 7 155H CPU paired up with a Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 that can boost up to 100W. Sadly the 16GB of LPDDR5X 7467MHz RAM is soldered in and not upgradeable, and 32GB is only available on the Ultra 9 with RTX 4070/4080/4090 configuration for a significantly higher price. The 16-inch IPS screen has a 16:10 ratio, with a 2.5K (2560 x 1600) resolution, up to 500 nit brightness, a 3ms response time and a 240Hz G-Sync compatible refresh rate. You also get a 1TB M.2 NVMe SSD, Wi-Fi 6 and a large 90Wh battery. 

The G16 has two USB-C ports (one on each side), and while both support PD spec 100W charging and DisplayPort output, the left one is Thunderbolt 4 spec (40Gbps) and the right is USB 3.2 Gen 2 spec (10Gbps). You also get USB-A 3.2 ports on both the left and right, as well as HDMI 2.1, an SD card slot, and a 3.5mm audio jack. The G16 includes an array of customizable RGB lighting in the keyboard backlight, as well as “slash lighting” option that runs across the back of the display. 

Performance is excellent, and the G16 has the cooling capacity to let the Intel Ultra 7 CPU sustain high performance. Even with the GPU joining in, heat dissipation isn’t an issue in most scenarios. The RTX 4060 GPU means you will need to turn the details down for most intensive games if you want to take advantage of the high refresh rate – especially at the native resolution. Dropping back to 1080p makes it easy to keep the details high, but still achieve 120+ fps. The laptop scales back performance on battery or USB-C, but it’s still plenty good enough for plugging into a dock at work, without needing to bring along the monster 200W PSU. 

The 2560 x 1600 display is vibrant and bright, while G-Sync, the 240Hz refresh rate and 3ms response time makes for very smooth gaming. Moreover, the 100 DCI-P3 color reproduction will satisfy creators as well. The 90Wh battery is on the larger side and can be charged to 50% in 30 minutes, but the G16 isn’t too keen to run efficiently when unplugged. In silent mode (and half screen brightness) it struggles to last 4.5 hours for productivity tasks on default settings.

The keyboard is well spaced with deep 1.7mm travel, and the trackpad is large and accurate. The 1080p webcam quality is nothing special but gets the job done, and is equipped with IR that works well for facial recognition. The speakers provide better than expected sound considering the form factor.

Asus Zephyrus G16 displaying Red Dead Redemption II home screen

(Image credit: Future)

Asus ROG Zephyrus G16: Price and availability

  • How much does it cost? from $2,899 / £2,299 / AU$3,299
  • Where is it available? Available in different configurations in most markets

Asus gives a price tag of $2,899 / £2,299 / AU$3,299 for the base configuration of the G16, but what hardware is included at that price varies across different markets. 

It's hard to judge the value of the G16, as the base spec (in some regions) isn't overly appealing, and opting for higher-specced models can make the G16 much more expensive and reduces the overall value. I tested a G16 with the bang for buck RTX 4060, but you can opt for a lesser RTX 4050, or bump up to an RTX 4070, RTX 4080 or RTX 4090. While the other options are appealing, the RTX 4060 is well suited to the G16 form factor.

Depending on your location, the specific configurations available vary and can include an OLED or IPS screen, and Intel Core Ultra 7 or 9 CPUs. For example, the G16 tested is available in Australia with an RRP of AU$3,499 (RTX 4060) but, at the time of writing, isn’t available in the USA or the UK. In comparison, the higher end Core i9, RTX 4090 model costs $3,499 / £3,999 / AU$6,999.

Asus also announced a new ROG Zephyrus G16 (GA605) at Computex on June 3, 2024, which will be available later in the year. The new model brings increased AI focus with an AMD CPU and Copilot+ support, but is unlikely to improve gaming performance by a significant amount. The good news is that the new model should help drive down prices of the current Zephyrus G16 (GU605) and make it an even better deal. 

  • Value score:  4 / 5

Asus Zephyrus G16 keyboard side angle

(Image credit: Future)

ASUS ROG Zephyrus G16 review: Specs

Availability varies widely depending on your location, but overall the G16 has a large number of configurations that include AMD and Intel CPUS, and GPUs from the RTX 4050 all the way through to the mighty RTX 4090. 

The specs listed below are for the G16 model tested for this review.

Asus Zephyrus G16 right-hand side ports

(Image credit: Future)
  • Specs score: 4 / 5

Asus Zephyrus G16 left-hand side ports

(Image credit: Future)

ASUS ROG Zephyrus G16 review: Design

  • Balanced hardware
  • Customizable lighting
  • Surprisingly portable

The Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 is sold as a gaming machine that can also fly under the radar and make for a capable workstation. At 35.4 x 24.6 x 1.62 – 1.72 cm (13.94 x 9.69 x 0.64 – 0.68 inches) and 1.85kg (4.08 lbs) the G16 is pretty slim for a 16-inch, discrete GPU-sporting laptop. It’s worth noting that while Asus claims the thickness is up to 1.72cm, I measured the laptop at up to 1.79cm at the thickest point and 2.1cm off the table when including the feet. On the plus side, the width, depth and weight are accurate.

The G16 chassis is CNC-machined (a computerized manufacturing process) from aluminum, then anodized, which makes it stiff and robust without adding to the weight. Overall, the G16 is very portable, but keep in mind it does come with a monster 200W PSU that is needed for full performance. That said, the 100W USB-C charging is relatively capable (more on that later), so the G16 does well plugged into a dock.

I tested the mid-range model featuring a Intel Ultra 7 155H CPU and a Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 8GB GPU that features a 100W TGP. The 16GB (2x8GB) of DDR5 is low profile, so soldered to the board and sadly not upgradeable. My G16 also had a 1TB Pcie 4.0 NVMe M.2 SSD, which is upgradable if needed down the track. The problem here is that if you want 32GB of RAM, then you need to opt for the higher-end Ultra 9 185H-powered G16, with either RTX 4070/4080/4090 and an OLED screen. This is a shame, because 32GB of RAM is well suited to the Ultra 7 and RTX 4060 variants – especially for use as a high-powered workstation. Whereas the RTX 4080 and RTX 4090 GPUs are overkill for the cooling capacity of the laptop, and as they are capped at 115W TGP, don’t offer a huge amount of additional gaming performance considering in relation to the price increase. 

On the plus side, the cooling setup is great – and fresh air is drawn in from below and vented out the rear of the laptop, meaning there are no vents on the sides aimed at your hand.

The G16 has a 16-inch 16:10 ratio (2560 x 1600) IPS panel with a very fast 240Hz  G-Sync compatible refresh rate and a solid 3ms GTG response time for smooth gaming at high or low frame rates. The display has up to a 500 nit brightness and covers 100% of the DCI-P3 gamut, so has vibrant, accurate colors. While I wish the OLED was also available on the RTX 4060 variant, the IPS panel is a good match for the laptop overall. 

Wireless connectivity is good, with Wi-Fi 6E (802.11ax, triple band 2x2 antennas) and Bluetooth 5.3. The selection of ports is also excellent, and we really appreciate having USB-C PD 100W charging and DisplayPort capable USB-C ports on both sides of the laptop – again making the G16 well suited to use with a dock or USB-C charging.  The full complement of fast USB-C and USB-A ports, HDMI 2.1, SD card slot and 3.5mm audio jack mean the G16 is very versatile without needing to carry any extra dongles.

Asus Zephyrus G16

(Image credit: Future)

The G16 has a Windows Hello-ready 1080p IR webcam with an array of three microphones and noise-canceling tech. It’s a perfectly serviceable setup and better than lower-end laptops, giving about average performance for the price point the RTX 4060 G16 is targeting, but it would be a touch underwhelming on the much more expensive configurations. A fingerprint reader would have been a nice addition rather than the “Premium Glass” power button. The upwards and downwards firing speakers are quite good (for a laptop) and the Asus woofer setup gives noticeable kick to lower frequencies.

The G16 has a large RGB backlit keyboard with 1.7mm keyboard that opts to do without a numpad in favor of larger keys. The keyboard is very pleasant to type on, and we had no trouble with extended work sessions or gaming. The trackpad is also very large, and the premium feeling surface was very accurate – even with clammy hands. I just wish it included the fantastic light-up numpad in the trackpad as featured on some other Asus models. 

The keyboard RGB lighting has a reasonable amount of customization and can be turned white to blend in. The rear of the laptop screen has what Asus calls Slash Lighting – a strip of LEDs that can be used to create customized lighting that can run through 15 different animations, match sounds or give notifications. The latter is not very useful when using the laptop (as you can’t see the lights) and isn't very bright. While I liked the concept, the Slash Lighting could have done with more options for customization.

  • Design score: 4 / 5

ASUS ROG Zephyrus G16 review: Performance

  • Excellent RTX 4060 performance
  • High sustained CPU wattage
  • Impressive cooling system
ASUS ROG Zephyrus G16: Benchmarks

Here's how the Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

3DMark: Speed Way: 2,602; Port Royal: 5,912; Time Spy Extreme: 5,058; Fire Strike Ultra: 6,222.
GeekBench 6.2: 2,324 (single-core); 13,546 (multi-core)
Cinebench R24: 996 (multi-core); 102 (single-core)
PCMark 10: 7,690
CrystalDiskMark 8 NVMe: 5,046 MB/s (read); 3,638 MB/s (write)
Red Dead Redemption II: (Ultra 1080p) 65 fps
Cyberpunk 2077: 1080p, (Ultra) 51 fps; QHD, (Ultra) 39 fps
F1 2023: 1080p (Ultra): 50 fps
PCMark 10 Battery Life: 4 hours and 45 minutes
1080p video playback battery life: 6 hours and 27 minutes

As a thinner and lighter laptop, the G16 faces some minor cooling restrictions that mean it doesn’t run the GPU or CPU as hard as possible. When using the 200W AC adaptor, the Intel Ultra 7 155H is limited to 80W (down from 115W) and the RTX 4060 has a 100W TGP (Total Graphics Power, reduced from a possible 140W). These limits tend to have very little impact on gaming performance, as the CPU isn’t running at full load, and the 100W GPU TGP is plenty to reach the point of diminishing returns on RTX 4060 performance vs power use.

The overall result is a gaming laptop that gives performance just as good as most other RTX 4060-based machines, but in a thinner and lighter form factor. The G16 will happily run any modern game at high frame rates, but you will need to turn down the details (or reduce the resolution) if you want to push beyond 100 fps or try to make use of the full 240Hz screen refresh rate. Intense games such as Cyberpunk 2077 will push the RTX 4060 to its limits, but turning on Nvidia DLSS can give a big boost – taking frame rates from 51 fps to 83 fps at 1080p Ultra settings. With a bit of tweaking it's possible to get reasonable quality results at over 100 fps, but a higher-end GPU would be needed to go much further without major reductions to quality.

The Zephyrus G16 is available in configurations equipped with high-end RTX 4080 or 4090 GPUs. While these models will give improved performance, the GPUs are capped at 115W, and so won’t give the same result as the same GPU in a thicker gaming laptop using a higher TGP.

Asus Zephyrus G16 underside

(Image credit: Future)

The G16 is positioned as a gaming machine that is also a very capable creator or productivity workstation. Thanks to the high-power cooling system, the G16 can run the CPU at the full 80W TPD (Thermal Design Power) most of the time, and even under extended heavy load can sustain 70W. This means performance in CPU-heavy tasks that is as good as, or better than, most productivity-only focused laptops. 

On battery, Asus limits the CPU and GPU to 40W. If plugged in via 100W USB-C (such as a charger or dock), the G16 uses the same power limits. For most productivity work this doesn’t have much of an impact, but sustained CPU or GPU heavy workloads do suffer a little. For example, I saw about a 10% reduction in PCMark10 score on USB-C or battery vs AC. But in sustained Cinebench24 testing or long encodes, CPU performance can be up to 30% lower if not plugged in with the AC adapter. GPU-heavy loads suffer similar reductions if using the RTX 4060.

I would have preferred to see the G16 use smarter power profiles when on battery or USB-C that could route more than 40W to the CPU or GPU, depending on the total load. For example, if the RTX 4060 is not in use, making 70W available to the CPU would give near identical performance on USB-C or battery compared to the AC PSU. While it’s reasonable that gaming needs the AC PSU plugged in, plugging into a 100W PD dock (or using a power bank if away from the wall socket) is very common for productivity work. While performance is still good, it could have been even better.

At full tilt, the G16 does have to vent a lot of heat (I pulled 160W from the AC PSU when running flat out), requiring the fans to run at a dull roar. Scaling back the performance settings gives relatively quiet usage with less than a 15% hit to performance or game frame rates. The G16 has a large rear vent, which can reach a toasty 50ºC / 122ºF. The underside of the laptop peaks at 46ºC / 115ºF, whereas the keyboard is a warm but not uncomfortable 37ºC / 98ºF, and the trackpad a cool 24.1ºC / 75ºF.

  • Performance score: 4 / 5

Asus Zephyrus G16 keyboard

(Image credit: Future)

ASUS ROG Zephyrus G16 review: Battery life

  • 4 hours and 45 minutes of use when unplugged
  • 6 hours and 27 minutes of video playback

The G16 has a large 90Wh battery but the power-hungry hardware takes a toll even on efficiency mode. I could manage 4 hours 45 minutes of work unplugged, or about an hour of gaming. If playing video with the screen brightness set to 50%, I could make it 6 hours and 27 minutes before needing to charge. This is a below-average result and, as a comparison, the Alienware m16 R2 with the same 90Wh battery (but a Ultra 9 CPU) can reach over 8 hours of video playback or light office use, and the Gigabyte Aorus 16X manages similar. At the time of writing, Asus does not give any battery life figures on the G16 product page, but I'm hopeful that a future software update will improve power management and help extend the battery life.

If charging from the AC PSU, the G16 can hit 50% in just 30 minutes, making quick top-ups easy. Charge speed drops as you approach 80% and a full charge takes around 1 hour and 15 minutes. I saw up to 93W of power when using a 100W USB-C charger, and total charge times around 1.5 hours. 

  • Battery life score: 3.5 / 5

Should I buy the Asus ROG Zephyrus G16?

Buy it if...

You want solid gaming performance in a very portable package
The G16 is all about being slimmer than most gaming machines, which makes it ideal for those who need portability without sacrificing too much performance. 

You want a workstation as well as a gaming machine
The design and spec of the G16 makes for a great gaming laptop, but it’s even better if you need a powerful laptop for productivity or creative needs. 

You want to stand out but also blend in when needed
The G16 has plenty of customizable RGB lighting options to satisfy your inner gamer, but can also quickly tone it down to hide in plain sight. 

Don't buy it if...

You want bang-for-buck gaming
The Zephyrus G16 is a standout premium option but, for pure gaming, the FPS per dollar lags behind chunkier dedicated gaming laptops.

You want an unplugged productivity laptop
Over 4 hours on battery is useful, but if you want to make it through a work day without a charger, the G16 is not the right choice. 

You want to be able to upgrade your laptop in the future
The slim nature of the G16 means it uses low profile RAM soldered to the motherboard, limiting future upgrades to just the SSD. 

Also consider

If this Asus Zephyrus G16 review has you considering other options, here are some other gaming laptops you can take a look at.

How I tested the Asus ROG Zephyrus G16

  • I tested the Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 for two weeks
  • I used it both on a desk, and put it in a backpack for travel
  • I used it for gaming, as well as office productivity work and video editing

I ran the Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 through our usual comprehensive array of benchmarks, as well as using it for actual day-to-day work.

I used a range of synthetic gaming and productivity benchmarks, real-world gaming benchmarks, and battery and power testing.

I used the TechRadar movie test for assessing battery life during video playback, as well as productivity battery benchmarks. I logged power use in a variety of scenarios, including when charging from USB-C. I also tested charging the G16 with a power bank. 

Read more about how we test

[First reviewed May 2024]

Acer Predator Triton 17 X: a premium gaming laptop that packs a punch
2:59 pm | June 4, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Computing Gadgets Gaming Computers Gaming Laptops | Tags: , , , | Comments: Off

Acer Predator Triton 17 X: Two-minute review

There's an argument to be made for packing in as much power as possible when it comes to the best gaming laptops, and that's the space the Acer Predator Triton 17 X occupies. For the most part, it forgoes being the sleekest and smallest of its kind to go all-in on pushing boundaries for those with deep enough pockets to take the plunge. 

Priced at $3,599.99 / £3,299.99 / AU$7,999, the Acer Predator Triton 17 X isn't a budget pick by any means, but that's the cost of packing in enough horsepower to give even the best gaming PCs a run for their money. While the mobile RTX 4090 doesn't exactly rival what its desktop counterpart can do, the performance margin is within an acceptable ballpark range; you can think of it as similar to an RTX 4080 desktop GPU.  

Where this rig stands out from competitors is with its display. The Triton 17 X features a staggering 250Hz refresh rate with a 1600p resolution screen. That 16:10 aspect ratio means you get more real-estate for gaming, and the results are impressive. Fortunately, the components inside this Predator laptop mean you'll be able to push even the latest and most demanding games to superfast frame rates. 

No corners have been cut with the quality-of-life features here, either. This laptop is armed with a six-speaker setup, an excellent keyboard, and a healthy port selection, so even when you're not gaming, you'll have a good experience. Just keep in mind that the Triton 17 X is not the most practical notebook with its 3kg / 6.6lbs heft, so it might not be your daily runner to work or school on the side. 

Compounding this is the majorly disappointing battery life. The Acer Predator Triton 17 X lasts around two hours at best when enjoying media playback or browsing the web, and about an hour when getting stuck into one of the latest games. You'll want the charger nearby, but if you can overlook these issues then there's a stellar machine underneath it all. 

Acer Predator Triton 17 X: Price and availability

MSI Triton 17 X screen

(Image credit: Future)
  • How much does it cost? $3,599.99 / £3,299.99 / AU$7,999
  • When is it available? It's out now
  • Where can you get it? In the US, UK and Australia

The Acer Predator Triton 17 X is one of the pricier gaming laptops on the market, coming in above the $3,000 / £3,000 mark (and at AU$8,000). Considering the hardware inside, that shouldn't come as a huge surprise, though. Acer isn't pulling any punches from the choice of CPU and GPU, through to the display, RAM, and storage. Simply put, it's far from a cheap gaming laptop, but if you want to be on the bleeding edge and have the cash to splash then it could be worthwhile. 

As a frame of reference, the price of entry for the Predator Triton 17 X puts it in league with other top-end offerings such as the Origin EON 16SL when fully specced out, or the Alienware M16 and Razer Blade 16 (2023) in higher configurations. You aren't getting the best value for money on the market, nor the strongest price-to-performance ratio, but in terms of sheer raw power, the Triton 17 X has it in spades. 

  • Price: 3 / 5

Acer Predator Triton 17 X: Design

Design of the MSI Triton 17 X

(Image credit: Future)
  • Stunning 250Hz mini-LED display 
  • Packed with ports 
  • A bit heavy at 3kg / 6.6lbs
Acer Predator Triton 17 X: Specs

Here's what's inside the Acer Predator Triton 17 X supplied to TechRadar. 

CPU: Intel Core i9-13900HX
GPU: Nvidia RTX 4090
RAM: 64GB LPDDR5
Storage: 2TB NVMe Gen 4.0
Display: WQXGA (2560 x 1600) 16:10 IPS 250Hz
Ports: 2x USB 3.2, 2x USB-C, 2.5Gb Ethernet, 3.5mm audio jack, microSD card slot
Wireless: Wi-Fi 6E; Bluetooth 5.1
Weight: 3kg / 6.6lbs
Dimensions: ‎‎28 x 38.04 x 2.19cm (LxWxH)

The most notable thing about the Acer Predator Triton 17 X at first glance is the display which is certainly a leading model as far as gaming laptops go. This portable powerhouse packs in a 16:10 WQXGA (2,560 x 1,600 resolution) screen meaning more real-estate is available for gaming than 16:9 can offer. It's bolstered by a 250Hz refresh rate and is Nvidia G-sync compatible, so there's no screen tearing. 

It's not the first laptop to feature a mini-LED display, but it is an excellent example of the panel tech in action. While not quite as vivid as OLED, it is considerably brighter, and the 1,000 local dimming zones do a solid job of standing in with similar black levels. Considering the hardware inside, an RTX 4090 mobile GPU backed up by an Intel 13th-gen Core i9 processor, you'll be able to take advantage of that high refresh rate, too. 

Acer's design philosophy for this machine is "excellent in excess" and that's clearly demonstrated with the hardware packed into a portable form factor. Mind you, this rig weighs in at 3kg / 6.6lbs making it one of the heavier models on the market. With a 17-inch screen, it's fairly large as well, and while technically portable, the 17 X is unlikely to be something you'll commonly be slinging into a bag. It's more of an out-and-out desktop replacement. 

While you're likely to plug in one of the best gaming keyboards and best gaming mice, the Acer Predator Triton 17 X features a solid keyboard and trackpad for casual web browsing and typing. It offers pleasant multi-zone RGB lighting which looks the part when playing in darker environments. The trackpad isn't as nice as some of the glass ones you'll find on a similarly priced Razer Blade, but it gets the job done. Again, a dedicated mouse will do the trick better.

No expense was spared on the connectivity front here, either. There are two USB-C ports, two USB 3.2 ports, 2.5Gb Ethernet, an SD card reader, and a 3.5mm audio jack. You'll have no shortage of options for either work or play, and it's good that the manufacturer chose function over form in this respect, as some thinner laptops can sacrifice port selection to achieve their svelte nature. 

  • Design: 4 / 5

Acer Predator Triton 17 X: Performance

Keyboad of the Triton 17 X

(Image credit: Future)
  • Unparalleled 1080p and 1440p gaming performance 
  • Silky smooth refresh rate 
  • Gets very hot and loud

You won't be surprised to learn that a gaming laptop powered by the Intel Core i9-13900HX and Nvidia RTX 4090 with 64GB of LPDDR5 RAM absolutely mowed through our suite of benchmarks and games. The display for the laptop tops out at 250Hz, and you'll have all the horsepower necessary to achieve those kind of frame rates in 1080p, and drive very smooth gameplay at 1440p as well.

Acer Predator Triton 17 X benchmarks

Here's how the Acer Predator Triton 17 X got on in our game testing. 

Total War: Three Kingdoms (1080p) - 364fps (Low); 140fps (Ultra)
Total War: Three Kingdoms (1440p) - 290fps (Low) ; 92fps (Ultra)
Cyberpunk 2077 (1080p) - 118fps (Low); 107fps (Ultra)
Cyberpunk 2077 (1440p) - 129fps (Low); 89fps (Ultra)
Cyberpunk 2077 RT Ultra - 85fps (1080p); 83fps (1440p)
Red Dead Redemption 2 (1080p) - 147fps (Low) ; 128fps (Ultra)
Red Dead Redemption 2 (1440p) - 108fps (Low); 86fps (Ultra)
Geekbench 6:
Single - 2,720
Multi - 17,308
3DMark:
Night Raid - 72,575
Fire Strike - 31,498
Time Spy - 16,866
Port Royal - 11,261
PCMark10: 8,069
CrystalDiskMark: Read - 6,441.97; Write - 4,872.65
Cinebench R23:
Single - 1,941
Multi - 25,624
TechRadar battery test: 1 hour 8 minutes

It's comparable to what the MSI Titan 18 HX can do, albeit without the 4K resolution, not that you'll necessarily need 4K in such a small display anyway. It wasn't uncommon for the demanding games tested, such as Cyberpunk 2077 or Red Dead Redemption 2, to exceed 100fps when maxed out in 1440p. Even CPU-bound titles such as Total War: Three Kingdoms were no sweat for the 13900HX, as this game could exceed a lightning-fast 300fps.

Synthetic figures are equally strong as evidenced by 3DMark's range of GPU benchmarks alongside PCMark 10. Acer hasn't skimped on the choice of Gen 4.0 NVMe SSD either, with a strong performance of 6,441MB/s for reads and 4,872MB/s for writes. All told it's a very encouraging package showcasing the prowess of the hardware, but not without a few drawbacks.

While the RTX 4090M is roughly equivalent to the desktop RTX 4080 with its 16GB GDDR6 VRAM and lower power draw, the combination of CPU and GPU here does result in excess heat and loudness. It wasn't uncommon for the rig to reach upwards of 90 degrees when under stress, with the fans drowning out the otherwise impressive six-speaker surround setup. This could be counteracted by employing the use of one of the best gaming headsets, but it's worth noting all the same.

Using the HDMI 2.1 port, you'll be able to hook up the Acer Predator Triton 17 X to one of the best gaming monitors for that big screen experience should the 17-inch display not be enough for you. You may also want to invest in a dedicated laptop riser to keep the fans of the machine elevated to aid cooling, too. 

  • Performance: 4 / 5

Acer Predator Triton 17 X: Battery life

Closed lid of the MSI Triton 17 X

(Image credit: Future)
  • Lasts around two hours when web browsing or for media playback
  • About an hour of gaming on battery power  

What's most disappointing about the Acer Predator Triton 17 X is the battery life which just about manages two hours on a single charge with media playback or casual browsing. When gaming, you can expect about an hour or so, give or take, so you'll need to keep a charger handy if you want to have a full session of gaming for the evening.

Keeping the Acer Predator Triton 17 X plugged in at all times isn't ideal in terms of its portability factor, obviously, but as we already observed, it's a little too large and bulky for that anyway. The battery life is a shame considering there's a 99.98Wh four-cell power pack inside, but it's not too big a shock when factoring in that there's 175W of power drawn by the RTX 4090M GPU alone.

Simply put, if you're after excellent battery life for a portable machine then the Acer Predator 17 X won't be for you. Instead, we recommend considering one of the best Ultrabooks, even if you won't get anywhere near the same level of processing power.

  • Battery: 2 / 5

Should you buy the Acer Predator Triton 17 X?

Buy it if... 

You want a no-compromise gaming experience 

The Acer Predator Triton 17 X packs a punch with its RTX 4090 GPU and 13th-gen Core i9 CPU backed with a staggering 64GB of RAM. All that power translates to commonly getting over 100fps in 1440p with maxed out details. 

You want an out-and-out desktop replacement 

With its powerful hardware and generous port selection, you'll be able to hook up the Triton 17 X to an external monitor for a big screen gaming experience. 

You're in the market for a productivity powerhouse 

While the Acer Predator Triton 17 X is geared towards gamers, its 250Hz refresh rate and cutting-edge hardware make it a good choice for creatives who need all the VRAM and raw performance grunt they can get.

Don't buy it if... 

You want the best value for money 

There's no getting around the eye-watering MSRP of the Acer Predator Triton 17 X at $3,599.99 / £3,299.99 / AU$7,999. If you're on a tighter budget, you'll clearly want to consider a more mid-range model instead.

You want a laptop with a good battery life 

Despite its 99.98Wh battery, you can expect only around an hour of gaming when not plugged in. Media playback doubles that to around two hours based on our battery test (conducted at 50% battery with half max brightness). Whatever the case, don't expect much longevity with the Triton 17 X.

Also consider

  • First reviewed June 2024
Asus ExpertBook BR1204F review
2:23 pm | May 17, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Pro | Tags: , , | Comments: Off

Asus ExpertBook BR1204F: 30-second review

Specs

CPU: Intel® Processor N1000, 0.8 GHz (up to 3.4 GHz, 4 cores)
Graphics: Intel® UHD Graphics
RAM: 8GB DDR5 onboard (Max up to 16GB)
Storage: 128GB UFS, expandable via 1x M.2 2280 PCIe 3.0x4 slot
Rear Ports: Not specified
Front Ports: 1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C (supports display/power delivery), 1x USB 2.0 Type-C, 2x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, 1x HDMI 1.4, 1x 3.5mm Combo Audio Jack, 1x RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) Dual band 2*2 + Bluetooth® 5.2 Wireless Card
Audio: Audio by Dirac, built-in speakers, built-in array microphone, Cortana support
Camera: 720p HD camera with privacy shutter, 13.0M world-facing camera
Size: 12.2-inch touchscreen, WUXGA (1920 x 1200) 16:10, glossy display with Corning Gorilla® Glass
OS installed: Windows 11 Pro Education
Accessories: Optional MPP 2.0 garaged stylus

The Asus ExpertBook BR1204F is a robust and flexible laptop specifically designed for educational facilities. It provides students and teachers with workstations that meet standard academic course criteria while allowing easy upgrades and repairs.

From the ground up, this laptop is crafted with its intended audience in mind, resulting in a functional, if slightly unexciting, design. We've tested out loads of the best student laptops, and unlike many sleek modern devices with high-end CPUs, GPUs, and storage, this Asus model offers a more traditional word processing-focused approach, at least on first look.

The Intel Processor N200 easily handles Windows 11 Pro for Education and standard word processing applications. It even supports applications like Tinkercad without issues, making it one of the best laptops for engineering students and 3D modellers - but only if your needs are pretty simple or you're just starting out. While Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom can run, performance could be enhanced with a slight HD and RAM upgrade from our review unit.

While it looks like a traditional laptop, the BR1204F features a flip-over design that sees the keyboard flip under the screen, transforming the machine into a tablet and very capable creative tool. It features an outstanding touch screen protected by Gorilla Glass, ideal for less delicate students. Apps such as Microsoft's garage project Sketch360 and the native drawing app function smoothly.

Overall, this machine is designed with a focus on education. For educational-based fun and games, it performs well, though it's not intended for video or image editing. However, some graphics and creative applications are feasible with its flip screen design. It's a well-made, and designed educational tool, with straightforward maintenance requiring just a few tools.

Asus ExpertBook BR1204F: Introduction

The Asus ExpertBook BR1204F is a laptop specifically designed for education as part of Asus's Education product line. Consequently, many high-end features typically promoted are not the focus here. The Intel N200 CPU and standard Intel graphics are sufficient for office applications and academic study, rather than multimedia playback or overly distracting games.

The machine is tailored to meet classroom demands, equipped with Windows 11 Pro for Education, a stylus, and a flip screen design, enabling students to use it as a screen, tablet, or laptop, offering versatility.

When used with Microsoft Teams, the whiteboard feature is invaluable, allowing students to interact with the class by drawing directly on the board without leaving their seats. Class materials and formative and summative feedback can be easily distributed through the Teams Classroom environment.

Of course, the classroom is just part of what an education laptop needs to address. With decent battery life in use and standby mode, the system has enough power to last through a day's worth of lessons between charges. Charging is quick via a standard USB Type-C connector, and the machine offers a good array of other connection options for connecting devices such Lego Mindstorms, 3D printers, Laser Engravers and networks.

One of the most appealing features for education is the ease of maintenance, with a five-point procedure for maintaining, repairing, and upgrading, making it quick and easy for any IT technician or anyone with basic IT hardware skills.

The Asus ExpertBook BR1204F is fully geared toward education, and in that environment, the choice of hardware makes complete sense. Outside that world, the limited storage space and processing power might be restrictive.

Asus ExpertBook BR1204F: Price & availability

ASUS ExpertBook BR1204F

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

The ExpertBook BR1204F is designed for education and is part of the Asus Education Solution program. For more information on purchasing the machine please visit your local education supplier.

  • Price: 4/5

Asus ExpertBook BR1204F: Design & build

ASUS ExpertBook BR1204F

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

The laptop's size is compact, measuring 297mm x 213mm x 22mm and weighing 1.47kg, making it easy to carry or fit into most bags or backpacks. Its relatively flat shape allows easy stacking of several BR1204Fs in a secure cupboard or custom computer stand.

Designed for classroom use by students, the laptop’s overall construction is tough, though not to the standards of a tough book, so it will withstand knocks and far more abuse than most but will not survive submersion in water or drops from significant heights.

The robust construction is evident when picking up the laptop, as it feels more solid than similar general-use laptops. Aside from the stylus integrated into the case design, there are no protective doors or components that can be easily dislodged. Additionally, access to the inner electronics is secured by cross-head screws to prevent young engineers from making hardware alterations in class.

Once the lid is lifted, the robust build is clear, with large, thick monitor hinges designed to be extremely strong. If a student wants to walk around with the laptop open, held by the monitor, it should withstand this handling, although it is obviously not ideal.

The general layout includes a small touchpad, a keyboard, and a 12.2-inch monitor. While the touchpad and keyboard are standard, the monitor stands out as a full touch screen toughened with Gorilla Glass, making it more resilient in a classroom.

The laptop’s left and right sides feature connection ports, including 1x RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI 1.4, USB 2.0 Type-C, USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, and the stylus on the left, and USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C (supporting display/power delivery), USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, and a 3.5mm Combo Audio Jack on the right.

An interesting feature are the two cameras: one above the screen and another above the keyboard. This second world-facing camera can be used with applications like Microsoft Office Lens. When the keyboard is flipped under the screen the now rear-facing camera can scan documents or students' work with the preview appearing on screen, essentially think mobile phone. The captured image can then be cast to a whiteboard or stored for portfolio work.

The flip screen means that the laptop can be used as a touch screen tablet or part open can be used as a stand so the laptop can sit on a desk as a handy screen, enabling class materials to be cast during presentations and the Teams Whiteboard feature to be used by the entire class for interactive sessions.

Using the laptop reveals more to its design compared to standard off-the-shelf machines, with features updated to ensure better functionality within a classroom environment.

The final aspect of the design is crucial for education IT engineers. The BR1204F is modular, meaning it can be purchased as is and expanded as needed for each intended use. Our review unit was suitable for most office applications, but with upgraded RAM and storage, it could edit HD footage and images. More importantly, the modular design simplifies maintenance.

The Panel, I/O ports, Keyboard, Thermal Module, and Battery are all quickly accessible, serviceable, and replaceable. Unlike other laptops, where removing these parts can be time-consuming and delicate, requiring specialist intervention, the modular design of the BR1204F simplifies the process significantly.

  • Design: 5/5

Asus ExpertBook BR1204F: Features

ASUS ExpertBook BR1204F

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

The BR1204F is designed from the outset as a durable and versatile laptop, tablet, and screen for educational environments. It may not be the best rugged laptop we've tried, but built for its intended use, it's more durable than most devices of its size and specifications, meeting MIL-STD 810H US military durability standards, with a fingerprint-resistant finish, full rubber bumper, and spill-resistant keyboard.

The display is a 12.2-inch touchscreen, protected by scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass for durability, with a 16:10 aspect ratio and TÜV Rheinland certification for low blue-light emissions.

Standard storage options are relatively small at 128 GB of integrated UFS 2.1 storage, ideal for educational environments where multiple students use the same machine and files are stored in the cloud. For additional storage, there is an expansion slot for up to 1TB. The laptop also features advanced AI-powered noise-cancellation technology to isolate background noise during video calls, enhancing call quality.

Connectivity is well-catered for, with Wi-Fi 6E and 4G LTE ensuring fast connections for online learning, whether in the classroom or remote. An essential feature for tablet use is the inclusion of a garaged stylus, held on the left side of the machine and charged while docked, providing a more accurate tool than a finger for using and drawing on the touchscreen.

Beyond student use, the Asus BR1204F's design is fully serviceable, with a modular design allowing easy access and upgrades to internal components.

  • Features: 4/5

Asus ExpertBook BR1204F: Performance

ASUS ExpertBook BR1204F

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)
Benchmarks

Crystal Disk Read: 1709.58MB/s
Crystal Disk Write: 923.20MB/s
GeekBench CPU Single: 2754
GeekBench CPU Multi: 1220
GeekBench Compute: 3891
PC Mark: 2824
CineBench CPU Multi: 2300
CineBench CPU Single: 794
Fire Strike Graphics: 1204
Fire Strike Physics: 379
Fire Strike Combined: 379
Time Spy Overall: 430
Time Spy Graphics: 376
Time Spy CPU: 2444
Wild Life: N/A
Windows Experience: 8.0

Ordinarily, processing power is a primary concern for any computer, but within an educational environment, you just need a machine that works, runs the necessary apps, is durable, and can be fixed when the inevitable happens. With the BR1204F, Asus has provided exactly that, and if more is needed, the RAM and storage can be upgraded.

In use for all Microsoft Office applications, the BR1204F works smoothly, handling word processing and all the features of Teams with ease. Most importantly, the connection to a wireless network is robust, and the ability to link to the wired network as a backup adds resilience compared to some alternatives.

Outside of office apps, the lack of storage at 128GB is somewhat restrictive, allowing only small additional apps to be installed before running low on space. A base of 256GB would have been better, given the size of the Windows installation.

The integration with Teams is the major advantage here, with classroom apps enabling interactive sessions, and the touchscreen allowing all class members to engage with the lesson. The touchscreen also adds flexibility to the laptop’s use, and while drawing apps are not super quick, they are fluid enough to be enjoyable.

The benchmark results for the Asus BR1204F highlight its capabilities in handling educational tasks. The 3DMark Fire Strike graphics score of 1109 and a combined score of 379 suggest it can handle basic graphics and interactive classroom applications smoothly. Time Spy's overall score of 430, with a graphics score of 376 and CPU score of 2444 highlights its ability to run multi-threaded tasks, ideal for applications like Tinkercad and Lego Mindstorms.

Cinebench R23's multi-core score of 2300 and single-core score of 794 indicate moderate performance for multitasking and single-threaded applications like Microsoft Office, so just running one possibly two applications at a time is advisable. GeekBench 5 scores, with 2754 for multi-core and 1220 for single-core, underscore its ability to handle general computing tasks and most educational software well. The CrystalDiskMark read and write speeds of 1709.58 MB/s and 923.20 MB/s respectively ensure quick data access and saving, beneficial for handling large files and applications. 

PCMark 10's score of 2824 and a Windows Experience Index score of 8 reflect the laptop's robust performance for productivity tasks, again highlighting all Office applications, making it well-suited for extensive use with Microsoft Teams and classroom features.

  • Performance: 3/5

Should you buy the Asus ExpertBook BR1204F?

The Asus ExpertBook BR1204F is a solidly built, education-focused laptop offering a robust and versatile solution for students. Its durable design, coupled with a flexible touchscreen and easy maintenance, makes it ideal for the demands of a classroom environment. While the base model's storage is limited, the device's modular design allows for easy upgrades, enhancing its longevity and utility in education. Overall, it's a superb educational tool that prioritises function and durability over high-end specs, making it a worthwhile investment for schools and educational institutions.

ASUS ExpertBook BR1204F

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

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We've tested the best laptops for photo editing - and these are our top picks

ZimaBlade review
9:35 am | May 15, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Pro | Tags: , , , | Comments: Off

The ZimaBlade single-board computer looks surprisingly similar to an old-school portable cassette player. 

Specifications

CPU: Entry-level Dual-Core N3350, High-Performance Quad-Core J3455

GPU: Entry-level 650MHz, High-performance 750MHz, 12 execution units

RAM: Upgradable up to 16GB of DDR3L, none supplied in the box

FLASH: 32GB eMMC

USB: 1 x Type-C, 1 x USB3.0, 2 x internal USB2.0

Display: 1 x 4K MiniDP, 1 x DP over Type-C, 1 x eDP internal

PCIe: Four lanes 2.0

SATA: 2 x SATA3.0

Ethernet: 1 x Gigabit LAN

Power Consumption: About 15W

Size: 107mm x 80mm x 32mm

It competes with the Raspberry Pi 4, being in the same price bracket while offering an Intel x86 architecture. The SBC has plenty of connectors, which makes this hacker-friendly platform versatile and unique. The built-in PCIe 2.0 x4 connector accepts various cards out-of-the-box, and with two SATA3 ports, the board can morph into a portable NAS storage device.

Since the ZimaBlade supports up to 16GB of DDR3L, it can run applications requiring large amounts of memory, such as databases and VMs. The main let-down is the outdated CPU, with the speediest version of the board based on a Quad-Core 2.3GHz Apollo Lake CPU. The SBC features a single USB Type-C, which supplies power and drives a DisplayPort output.

IceWhale Technology, the maker of the ZimaBlade, held a Crowdsupply campaign to finance the board's new version. Various perks are available; the most basic, containing a Dual-Core Intel Celeron N3350, is available for $64. The ZimaBlade 7700, built around a Quad-Core J3455 CPU, sells for $96. Except for the CPU, both have the same hardware and require a DDR3L memory module to boot. 

ZimaBlade front view.

(Image credit: Future)

ZimaBlade: Design

The ZimaBlade computer comes with a male-to-male Type-C and one SATA cable. The passively cooled unit measures 107mm x 80mm x 32mm and weighs 175g. The small case sits perfectly flat on a desk, with no mounting holes and only four tiny rubber pads on the bottom. Being very light, connecting various cables can become problematic as the case can topple easily.

The Zimablade designers have worked hard to produce an enclosure that showcases the computer’s internal components. A transparent plastic top displays the SODIMM memory but not the CPU. With no power button available, the hardware turns on when plugging a Type-C cable. A single status LED, barely visible from the side of the case, indicates if the board is powered. The PCIe socket location does not allow easy card insertion. The card’s metal bracket has to be removed before use.

Under the hood, the ZimaBlade sports a J3455 quad-core Intel Celeron CPU clocked at 2.4GHz for the highest performance board variant. Geekbench shows the ZimaBlade handily outperforms the Cortex A72 ARM CPU found in the Pi4 but scores well below the new Pi5’s Cortex A76 CPU. One aspect not found on similar-priced platforms is expanding the memory to 16GB using DDR3L SODIMM.

The ZimaBlade targets an audience that strives for high-speed interfaces. Seven connectors provide connectivity for many use cases with throughputs above the gigabit mark. Two SATA6 and one Gigabit Ethernet socket turn the ZimaBlade into a redundant storage server. One USB3, a USB Type-C with DP, and a mini-DP connector capable of 4K at 60Hz complete the list of external ports. Three internal connectors, two USB 2.0 connectors, and one eDP socket allow additional peripherals.

ZimaBlade side view.

(Image credit: Future)

ZimaBlade: In Use

The owner can use the ZimaBlade simply by plugging a USB Type-C cable into a screen supporting a Type-C display. The computer then boots CasaOS, a lightweight cloud-accessible platform with an ever-increasing number of applications. ZimaBlade is extremely fast at booting, taking just five seconds to display the Linux login.

After entering the default username and password, the user has root access to the Linux-based OS stored in 32GB eMMC storage, with 24GB left for user applications. A lean OS means a lowly 20% RAM utilization with an 8GB memory module. With the 1G LAN connected, software updates run automatically and keep the platform secured.

In addition to being affordable, the ZimaBlade builds on a user-friendly OS where the UI is viewed entirely through a web browser. This cloud concept could have been a miss, but thanks to modern technologies like Docker containers, using the desktop is very snappy. The installed software includes a file explorer and an app store containing forty applications ranging from a retro emulator to home automation. 

Running Geekbench6 on the ZimaBlade involves installing through SSH. The board's power consumption reaches 15W, with the case becoming 

hot at more than 60 degrees Celsius, and decreases to 6W when idle. With a score of 300 in single-core and 911 in multi-core benchmarks on Geekbench6, the J3455 CPU won’t blow you away with its computing prowess but will be sufficient for everyday basic tasks.

ZimaBlade top view.

(Image credit: Future)

ZimaBlade: The competition

Thanks to the ZimaBlade, finding an affordable x86 single-board computer with lots of connectivity and expandable memory has become more accessible. Hardkernel’s Odroid H3+ is very similar to the ZimaBlade, being passively cooled and possessing various high-speed connectors. The H3+ costs more than twice as much, with the Odroid H3+ being bigger with an oversized heatsink and consuming more power. The quad-lane PCIe connector on the ZimaBlade makes it a valuable testbed for PCIe cards, something not found in the Odroid H3+. 

ZimaBlade: Final verdict

IceWhale’s ZimaBlade makes a tremendous entry-level computer with many options for adding extra hardware. The PCIe slot is the product's standout feature, allowing the use of high-end gaming graphics cards, for example. The single SODIMM socket gives the user an upgrade path to more memory. The onboard eMMC storage memory turns the unit into a self-contained product. Finally, a price below $100 tilts the balance, making the ZimaBlade a must-have gadget this year. 

We've listed the best business computers.

OWC Jupiter Mini review
9:17 am | May 8, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Pro | Tags: , , | Comments: Off

OWC Jupiter Mini: 30-second review

Specs

CPU: 2.2 GHz Intel Xeon D-1518 4-Core
Graphics: VGA
RAM: 32GB ECC RAM.
Storage: 5 x 4TB 3.5" 7200 rpm SATA HDDs
Rear Ports: Includes 2x 10GbE and 2x 1GbE network connections, USB-A 3.2 Gen 1.
Front Ports: 2 x USB-A 2.0
Connectivity: 2x 10GbE and 2x 1GbE network connections
Audio: n/a
Camera: n/a
Size: 325 x 220 x 230mm
OS installed: TrueNAS SCALE.
Accessories: n/a

In the background of most offices and studios, there's usually some form of server with access to mass storage working away. This storage is typically found in a secluded area and accessed only by a qualified IT professional. While such network systems are complex and can be tricky to administer, their functionality is essential for any business, essentially supplying a centralised resource where all staff can access shared files of all types. 

The OWC Jupiter Mini is a Network Attached Storage (NAS) system that, while not a fully integrated server, performs all the storage jobs that larger enterprise technology handles in large institutions. The Jupiter Mini, though smaller and easier to administer, still offers the potential for a substantial amount of storage, up to 100TB and can be accessed by multiple users without the system slowing down, making it an ideal solution for small to medium-sized businesses and professionals working with TB of photos or video files and needing a professional storage solution.

The Jupiter Mini integrates with your network and can be subdivided into network drives (datasets) that can then be accessed by anyone on that network or remotely, given the correct permissions.

While there are many alternative NAS systems on the market, which may seem considerably cheaper, the Jupiter Mini offers incredible value, considering the performance, storage, and support provided. Unlike many consumer units designed for occasional access, this NAS can connect to the network with a 10GbE connection and is supported by powerful internal hardware capable of handling substantial data flow and multiple concurrent connections without faltering.

We've tried out plenty of the best NAS devices, and in our tests, the speeds over the wired connection were impressive. 140 GB was transferred to three machines in around 30 minutes, which is significantly faster than a consumer unit used to compare.

The speed of the connection makes a considerable difference when storing files, allowing multiple users easy access over the network in a small studio setting using smb shares. This means project folders and files can be quickly downloaded to a working drive and restored once finished. Additionally, equipment forms, risk assessments, and other regularly accessed files are easily reachable on-site, which is invaluable when internet connectivity is unreliable.

Ultimately, if you're a small to medium-sized business and need an easy mass storage device that is fast and easy to access with great support, then there is little to fault with the OWC Jupiter Mini.

OWC Jupiter Mini: Price & availability

OWC Jupiter Mini

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

The OWC Jupiter Mini is available directly from OWC and from many technology outlets. However, buying directly ensures that you get the exact specifications and build you require, whether for personal use or your business. Units start at the base level of 20TB, which we've examined in this review, and begin at $2,999.

  • Score: 4/5

OWC Jupiter Mini: Design & build

OWC Jupiter Mini

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

NAS boxes typically have a functional style with quick-access drive slot doors on the front and various ports around the back, often resembling an enlarged external hard drive. OWC, however, has enhanced this design principle with the Jupiter Mini, adding aesthetic touches such as blue anodised door lever locks on the front, giving the drive a stylish edge over competitors.

Despite its aesthetic appeal, this unit's true value lies in its features and functionality. The drive is available pre-configured from OWC and many other retailers, saving at least a couple of hours of setup time. This means it can be quickly integrated into your network and ready for use, providing instant, high-capacity storage without much fuss.

For many small businesses, this easy access to large storage capacity will be more than enough, having a drive that you can simply plug in and then browse the network located the drive login, and the Jupiter Mini network drive just appears on your desktop, ready to use, all very simple. However, the Jupiter Mini is far more, and the appeal of the machine isn't just the simplicity of connection but the ease of use when it comes to the administration of that storage for the people accessing the drive. Administration is handled by the TrueNAS interface, which is pre-installed and enables an administrator to log in and allocate different storage areas to groups or individuals in the form of datasets, as well as enable external sharing and check drive health. 

The drive also offers future expansion options, so you can start with the 20TB version and then expand the storage as needed. Drive replacement is made possible in a couple of ways, either by replacing the drives physically in the mini and then creating a new pool/dataset/share with the new drives. Or replace one drive in the pool with the larger one, let it resolve, replace another, let it resilver, and continue until you have replaced all 5 drives. Once this is done, you can then expand the pool to take up additional space on the drives, which is done with a single button press in TrueNAS.

If you like to explore the system, you can connect to the Jupiter Mini directly. It has a VGA port at the back and can be connected to a keyboard and mouse. This approach is far more akin to enterprise-level solutions, and for most users, the GUI of the TrueNAS browser version will be a far easier environment to navigate.

  • Score: 4/5

OWC Jupiter Mini: Features

The hardware of the Jupiter Mini is designed to meet the needs of creatives and support the large file types that tend to be handled in these environments, which is where similar capacity but lesser-powered NAS boxes struggle. The Jupiter Mini base capacity is 20TB (expandable to 100TB) and uses ZFS RAID for data protection; this leaves 16TB of usable space. The box comes pre-configured as RAIDZ1 (similar to RAID 5). One of the advantages of this is that the ZFS automatically caches your most frequently used and recent files in RAM, providing faster access to files at flash-like speeds. It also features a high-speed 10GbE network connection, providing faster file access compared to standard NAS drives, with all the processing down to its enterprise-grade Xeon Processor and 32GB of ECC RAM. Using the Jupiter Mini as part of a studio or office setup allows multiple users to access the NAS simultaneously, with automatic file caching for swift retrieval of frequently accessed files.

The system comes preloaded with the TrueNAS SCALE, which enables the easy management of the drive and its storage. This allows different network drives to be created and access permissions granted, ensuring a straightforward setup and management and a system that is fully compatible with both Mac and PC systems.

While the drive's overall handling is quite straightforward, if you do get stuck, there's plenty of documentation online, as well as a comprehensive single-source warranty and outstanding Pro Support from OWC. This support offers assistance during the setup and beyond, ensuring that help is just an email away if you have any questions or issues that may arise.

  • Features: 4.5

OWC Jupiter Mini: Performance

OWC Jupiter Mini

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

Network storage is a significant asset in any studio or office environment. It enables the sharing of large-format files among colleagues. In a studio setting, this is particularly beneficial for transferring large video files across the network, eliminating the need to copy everything onto portable hard drives and move them from one person to another.

While there are plenty of NAS solutions available, the Jupiter Mini stands out as one of the few options tailored for small to medium-sized businesses, boasting ease of use and operation, power, and scalability without requiring extensive IT experience.

The initial setup and use of the Jupiter Mini were notably straightforward, with the device connecting to the back of the EERO 6 wifi router and becoming accessible throughout the studio and home. This centralised resource proved its value by allowing quick access to essential video and image files for projects. The speed of file transfers was instantly impressive over the wifi connection, with 140GB of data downloading in about an hour and a half, compared to six hours with our existing NAS. 

However, when connected to the studio's wired network, the download time for the same files dropped to less than 30 minutes as the files were transferred to the OWC ThunderBlade X8. The OWC ThunderBlade X8 was used as a local working drive and enabled the fast transfer speeds required by the best video editing software for cutting and grading. 

In the test, the network here is not the fastest 10GbE network at 2.5GbE. However, the speed was impressive for a self-managed system. After a week, the potential of faster network storage became obvious, and TrueNAS was used to create additional datasets for different groups and users. This enabled different areas of the storage to be assigned as a network drive, with permissions to users and groups assigned. Once the dataset is created, it can then be shared through smb. Another nice feature is that you create a zvol, which then enables you to format that segment of the drive in another file format. There is also a host of apps that can be downloaded and used if you need an on-site web development environment, and again, you can assign part of the storage to this. 

Through the test all administration was managed through the browser TrueNAS GUI. While there was a learning curve, it proved to be a powerful tool with plenty of documentation to support its use. As previously mentioned, if you do want a little more, then you can access the command-line version of TrueNAS by using a VGA monitor, keyboard, and mouse, a setup more common in server environments than in small offices.

One key consideration was whether the OWC Jupiter Mini could serve as shared network editing storage for software like Final Cut Pro, DaVinci Resolve, or Premiere Pro. While technically possible with the correct setup and network speed, this NAS is not specifically designed for such intensive tasks, a role better suited to more powerful and expensive solutions like the OWC Jellyfish. However, lighter tasks, such as a centralised resource for photo or graphic design, are well within the Jupiter Mini's remit.

The OWC Jupiter Mini offers an easy-to-maintain, out-of-the-box NAS solution that provides enterprise-level performance, far surpassing what is achievable with consumer models and is scalable up to 100TB to meet the growing data storage needs of home, office, or studio environments.

  • Performance: 5/5

Should you buy the OWC Jupiter Mini?

The OWC Jupiter Mini is designed for creative professionals and small businesses that require a commercial network storage solution with substantial storage potential without the need for extensive IT know-how. Commercial NAS boxes, although ideal in functionality, often become completely impractical due to their design, cost, and often complex command-line administration. Conversely, smaller consumer models may offer ease of use but rarely offer the speed or power for multiple concurrent connections, capacity, connection features or ready support. These are all areas where OWC and the Jupiter Mini excel.

As a basic NAS, the Jupiter Mini is straightforward and efficient, making it particularly attractive to videographers and photographers needing reliable storage for projects and files. Its compatibility with the ThunderBlade X8 as a local working drive enhances its functionality. In a home environment, investing time in TrueNAS allows for segmenting the storage and providing dedicated areas for network or shared storage needs within the office or household.

The real advantage lies in its appeal to those seeking commercial-grade network storage that is both high-performing, expandable and reliable. The system includes a built-in support email system to alert users of potential issues with the hardware, preventing drive failures or other significant problems. In an office or studio setting, this single unit can be configured to provide various storage spaces for different groups, with tailored allocations and access, mirroring the capabilities of a large company's IT system.

Although the initial investment in the OWC Jupiter Mini is significant, the value it offers in storage capacity and the ability to self-manage—backed by OWC's excellent support—makes it a great choice. For studios or small offices in need of a network storage solution, the OWC Jupiter Mini stands out as one of the fastest, easiest-to-use, and most versatile systems available.

OWC Jupiter Mini

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

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We tested the best business computers - and these are the ones we recommend.

Geekom XT Series XT12 Pro mini PC review
9:57 am | May 7, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Pro | Tags: , , | Comments: Off

Geekom XT Series XT12 Pro: 30-second review

Specs

CPU: Intel Core i9-12900H
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM: Up to 64GB Dual-channel DDR4-3200MHz
Storage: Up to 2TB M.2 2280 PCIe 4.0 SSD and up to 1TB M.2 2242 SSD SATA
Rear Ports: 2x HDMI 2.0, 1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A, 1x USB 2.0 Type-A, 2x USB 4 Gen 3 Type-C (supports Power Delivery), 1x RJ45, 1x DC in
Front Ports: 2 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A, 1x 3.5mm front stereo headset jack
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2
Audio: 3.5mm front stereo headset jack
Camera: N/A
Size: 117 x 111 x 38.5 mm
OS Installed: Windows 11 Pro
Accessories: VESA mount included

Geekom is one of the big players in the mini PC field, and the XT12 highlights exactly why. Firstly, the small machine features an understated design with a high-quality metal surround topped with a matte white plate. It's all incredibly small and neat and will suit any stylish office or home.

However, the internals are less discreet. They boast a powerful Intel Core 12th Gen Alder Lake i9-12900H CPU. Our review sample packs in 32GB of RAM and a 1TB ultra-fast SSD, with the option to boost this to a maximum of 64GB of RAM and 2TB of ultra-fast M.2 SSD storage. That's not all; there's also the option to install an additional M.2 2242 SSD SATA up to 1TB, which can be further complemented by external network or USB 4 storage options.

Out of the box, this compact machine can handle office software, multimedia, and creative apps without breaking a sweat, but where this small machine differs from some of the best mini PCs we've tested is the inclusion of USB 4 ports. This lets you expand on storage capacity as well as giving you the ability to link into a powerful eGPU. This means that if you are fully accessorized, you'll essentially have a very compact and powerful machine that is a fraction of the size of most desktop machines. However, that optional eGPU will challenge desktop space.

eGPU and expansion options aside, the base unit's overall performance is superb, even over extended periods of use when editing standard 4K video from the Sony A7 IV. The cooling system kicks in to keep things ticking over and running smoothly.

While as a standard mini PC, this machine is impressive, enabling Office, creative use, and moderate gaming, it's when it's plugged into an eGPU that you can really unlock its potential and extend its use.

As it stands, the XT12 Pro is without accessories and packs a great deal of power for its size and will suffice for all office applications, photo editing, and even running some of the best video editing software. If video editing gets more advanced, then the addition of an eGPU along with the ability to upgrade the RAM, main SSD, and a small additional 1TB M.2 2242 SSD SATA slot along with USB 4 expanded storage means that this Mini PC has serious potential and options for expansion.

Geekom XT Series XT12 Pro: Price & availability

GEEKOM XT Series XT12 Pro

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

The Geekom ST Series XT12 Pro is widely available in the standard configuration, which consists of a Mini PC with 32GB of RAM and a 1TB HD. The machine is available for $699 directly from the Geekom website, most electronics stores, and Amazon.com.

  • Score: 4/5

Geekom XT Series XT12 Pro: Design & build

GEEKOM XT Series XT12 Pro

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

Despite the small size, you can instantly tell that the Geekom XT Series XT12 Pro sits in the mid to premium range of Mini PCs. Firstly, the look of the machine is understated, with a metal surround featuring honeycomb cut-outs to enable plenty of air to flow through the system. Then, the plastic top is finished in a high-quality matte white but moulded into the ergonomic design of the casing.

That casing, with the venting and high-quality detail, all helps to ensure that the inner workings remain as cool as possible during operation and keep on top of the power of the Intel Core i9-12900H. Thankfully, unlike some other high-powered Mini PCs, Geekom has opted to go for the Intel CPU coupled with the Intel Iris Xe Graphics, which offers decent but not outstanding performance, enough for moderate gaming but definitely not to be pushed.

On the front are two Type-A USB ports, a 3.5mm headphone socket, and a power button. Around the back are the main HDMI, USB 4, USB Type-A, and DC power socket. While the layout is neat, it is quite cramped due to this Mini PC's compact nature.

One of the big features of this small PC is the upgradability, and access to the inside is made by removing the four screws on the base of the machine. Once loosened, the bottom of the machine can be removed, and the top flipped over to reveal the RAM and SSD slots, adding a small M.2 2242 SSD up to 1TB in capacity.

The design of the XT12 Pro makes it a very powerful PC in its own right. Still, with the addition of the USB 4 ports, this also gives you the ability to make a lot more of this machine than many other Mini PCs as it firstly enables you to plug in high-speed and high-capacity external storage such as the OWC Thunderblade X8 or attach an eGPU to boost the graphics processing performance.

As a Mini PC, this is one of the smallest, but the build quality and weight highlight that this is something a little more than the usual compact computing solution.

  • Design: 4.5/5

Geekom XT Series XT12 Pro: Features

GEEKOM XT Series XT12 Pro

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

The Geekom XT12 Pro Mini PC features a powerful 12th Gen Intel Core i9-12900H processor, with 14 cores and 20 threads, making it a great choice for heavy-duty tasks such as 4K video editing and 3D modeling software. The XT12 Pro comes with 32GB of RAM as standard and supports up to 64GB of dual-channel DDR4-3200MHz RAM. Although this is the older DDR4 rather than DDR5, it should still ensure decent performance for multitasking and handling large files and applications. The XT12 Pro offers several storage expansion options beyond the 1TB M.2 PCIe 4.0 SSD that comes pre-installed. This slot can be upgraded to a 2TB M.2 PCIe 4.0 SSD and an additional 1TB M.2 SATA SSD slot for extra storage.

Display capabilities support office and creative work, with the possibility of attaching up to four 4K displays simultaneously or a single 8K display. Connectivity options include USB 4 Gen3 ports that support power delivery and external GPU connections, enhancing its use in gaming and professional video and modelling applications. The XT12 Pro also includes dual HDMI 2.0 ports and 2.5G Ethernet for high-speed networking.

The compact unibody aluminum chassis helps ensure that the XT12 Pro is not only aesthetic but also durable and resistant to scratches and fingerprints. Although it is heavier than many mini PCs at 546g, it's still a viable comp[act alternative to the best business computers (or even the best business laptops). To ensure that everything stays cool, the XT12 Pro features the innovative IceBlast 1.0 cooling system, which employs copper pipes and a large silent fan to ensure the unit operates coolly and quietly under load.

  • Features: 4.5/5

Geekom XT Series XT12 Pro: Performance

GEEKOM XT Series XT12 Pro

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)
Benchmarks

Crystal Disk Read: 5095.80MB/s
Crystal Disk Write: 4406.81MB/s
GeekBench CPU Single: 9925
GeekBench CPU Multi: 2300
GeekBench Compute: 14235
PC Mark: 5692
CineBench CPU Multi: 10132
CineBench CPU Single: 1714
Fire Strike Overall: 5031
Fire Strike Graphics: 5513
Fire Strike Physics: 21822
Fire Strike Combined: 1791
Time Spy Overall: 1793
Time Spy Graphics: 1573
Time Spy CPU: 8732
Wild Life: N/A
Windows Experience: 8.3

The Geekom XT12 Pro mini PC delivers impressive performance through real-world tests with Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite, multimedia, and some moderate gaming. From the outset, the fast boot into Windows 11 Pro sets a precedent for the use of this machine. Benchmark tests show strong results, with a PC Mark score of 5692, reflecting how the XT12 Pro handles tasks from the outset.

Checking a few easy tasks to start, streaming 4K content through Netflix, Apple, and Amazon Prime is seamless and showcases the strength of its Wi-Fi connection. Checking the disk speed, the Crystal Disk Read and Write scores are 5095.80MB/s and 4406.81MB/s, respectively, more than enough for simple multimedia playback tasks. What this transfer rate highlights is the machine's ability to handle large files for creative applications. However, while the XT12 Pro handles Photoshop and Lightroom Classic with ease, Adobe Bridge strains under high-resolution image scrolling, revealing the limitations of the integrated Intel Iris Xe Graphics, reinforced by the GeekBench Compute score of 14235.

Video editing in DaVinci Resolve is manageable for 1080p and basic 4K projects. For more complex tasks involving RAW video, the system reaches its limits, corroborated by the Fire Strike Graphics score of 5513 and a Time Spy Overall score of 1793, indicating moderate graphical processing power. Gaming is feasible at 1080p for Red Dead Redemption II and Cyberpunk 2077, albeit with reduced settings necessary for smooth gameplay. For both video editing and gaming, connecting an eGPU can significantly enhance performance in both disciplines.

Overall, the XT12 Pro is versatile, handling a range of tasks from office work to creative projects and light to moderate gaming at lower resolutions. Its array of benchmark scores from GeekBench, CineBench, and 3D Mark highlights its capacity to balance performance across various uses, making it a suitable choice for professionals and creatives who require a compact computing solution.

  • Performance: 4/5

Should you buy the Geekom XT Series XT12 Pro?

The Geekom XT12 Pro Mini PC offers robust performance, versatile connectivity, and strong upgrade potential, making it a great choice for professionals and creatives. Its Intel Core i9-12900H processor and dual storage options cater to demanding tasks, while its compact design does not compromise on power. With USB 4 ports for expansion and eGPU compatibility, it delivers excellent value for its price and is a scalable solution.

GEEKOM XT Series XT12 Pro

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

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