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Intel Arc A750 review: a great budget graphics card with major caveats
9:48 pm | May 22, 2023

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

Intel Arc A750: Two-minute review

The Intel Arc A750 is probably the one graphics card I've most wanted to get my hands on this year, and now that I've put it through a fairly rigorous testing regime, I can honestly say I am very impressed with Intel's first effort at a discrete GPU. At the same time, it's also not an easy card to recommend right now, which is a tragedy.

First, to the good, namely the great price and stylish look of the Intel Limited Edition reference card. The Intel Arc A750 Limited Edition card has an MSRP of just $249.99 (about £200 / AU$375), and the limited number of third-party cards out there are retailing at roughly the same price. 

The Arc A750 I tested also looks spectacular compared to the reference cards from Nvidia and AMD, thanks to its matte black look, subtle lighting, and silver trim along the edge of the card. It will look great in a case, especially for those who don't need their PCs to look like a carnival.

When it comes to performance, I was most surprised by how the Arc A750 handled modern AAA games like Cyberpunk 2077 and Returnal, both of which put a lot of demands on a graphics card in order to maintain a stable frame rate. The Arc A750 handled them much better than the RTX 3050 it is ostensibly competing against. It even outperformed the RTX 3060 in many cases, putting it just under halfway between the RTX 3060 and the RTX 3060 Ti, two of the best graphics cards ever made.

The Arc A750 manages to pull this off while costing substantially less, which is definitely a huge point in its column.

An Intel Arc A750 running on a test bench

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)
Test system specs

This is the system we used to test the Intel Arc A750:

CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D
CPU Cooler: Cougar Poseidon GT 360 AIO
RAM: 32GB Corsair Dominator Platinum @ 5,200MHz & 32GB G.Skill Trident Z5 Neo @ 5,200MHz
Motherboard: ASRock X670E Taichi
SSD: Samsung 980 Pro 1TB NVMe M.2 SSD
Power Supply: Corsair AX1000
Case: Praxis Wetbench

The thing about the Arc A750 is that the things it does well, it does really well, but those areas where it flounders, like older DirectX9 and DirectX10 workloads, it does so pretty badly. 

It's a tale of two halves, really. Nothing exposes the issues with the Arc A750 more than its synthetic performance scores, which on average trounce the RTX 3060, 23,924 to 20,216. In that average though is its PassMark 3D score, a good measure of the card's ability to render content that wasn't just put out within the last couple of years. Here, the Arc A750 scored a dismal 9,766 to the RTX 3060's 20,786 - a 10,000 point deficit.

The story is similar when gaming, where the Arc A750 generally outperforms its rival cards, even in ray tracing in which Intel is the newcomer behind mature leader Nvidia and fiesty, determined AMD. In fact, when gaming with ray tracing at 1080p, the Intel Arc A750 comes in a close second behind Nvidia's RTX 3060 8GB, 37fps on average to the 3060's 44fps.

Bump that up to 1440p, however, and the Intel Arc A750 actually does better than the RTX 3060 8GB - 33fps on average to the 3060's 29fps average. When running Intel XeSS and Nvidia DLSS, the Arc A750 averages about 56fps on max settings with full ray tracing at 1080p, while the RX 6600 can only muster 46fps on average.

These are much lower than the RTX 3060's 77fps, thanks to DLSS, but getting roughly 60fps gaming with full ray tracing and max settings at 1080p is a hell of an accomplishment for the first generation of Intel discrete graphics. The Arc A750 can even run even with the AMD Radeon RX 6650 XT in ray tracing performance with upscaling at 1440p, getting 42fps on average. 

If only this performance were consistent across every game, then there would be no question that the Intel Arc A750 is the best cheap graphics card on the market. But it is exactly that inconsistency that drags this card down. Some games, like Tiny Tina's Wonderland, won't even run on the Arc A750, and it really, really should. How many games are there out there like Tiny Tina's? It's impossible to say, which is the heartbreaking thing about this card.

I really can't recommend people drop $250 on a graphics card that might not play their favorite games. That is simply not a problem that AMD or Nvidia have. Their performance might be rough for a few days or weeks after a game launches, but the game plays. The same can't be said of the A750, and only you, the buyer, can decide if that is worth the risk.

In the end, the Intel Arc A750 is a journeyman blacksmith's work: showing enormous potential but not of enough quality to merit selling in the shop. Those pieces are how craftspeople learn to become great, and I can very clearly see the greatness that future Arc cards can achieve as Intel continues to work on lingering issues and partners with more game developers.

It's just not there yet. As Intel's drivers improve, a lot of these issues might fade away, and the Intel Arc A750 will grow into the formidable card it seems like it should be. If you're comfortable dropping this kind of cash and taking that chance, you will still find this card does a lot of things great and can serve as a bridge to Intel's next generation of cards, Arc Battlemage, due out in 2024. 

Intel Arc A750 Price & availability

An Intel Arc A750 graphics card on a pink desk mat next to its retain packaging

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)
  • How much does it cost? MSRP of $249.99 (about £200 / AU$375)
  • When can you get it? It is available now
  • Where can you get it? It is available in the US, UK, and Australia, but stock may be an issue

The Intel Arc A750 is available now, starting at $249.99 (about £200 / AU$375). There are a limited number of third-party partners who also make the A750, though these tend to sell at or very close to Intel's MSRP from what I've seen.

This puts the Arc A750 on the same level price-wise as the Nvidia RTX 3050, but it definitely offers better performance, making it a better value so long as you're ok with the varying compatibility of the Arc A750 with some PC games out there.

  • Value: 4 / 5

Intel Arc A750 Specs

An Intel Arc A750 graphics card on a pink desk mat next to its retain packaging

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

Should you buy the Intel Arc A750?

Buy it if...

You're looking for a cheap GPU
At $249.99, this is one of the best cheap GPUs you're going to find.

You want a stylish looking card
This card is very cool looking in a way that Nvidia and AMD reference cards simply aren't.

You want strong ray tracing and upscaling
Not only do Intel's AI cores make XeSS upscaling a serious contender, the Arc A750's ray tracing performance is quite strong.

Don't buy it if...

You are concerned about compatibility
While only one game I tested wouldn't work, that's one game too many for many gamers out there.

You're concerned about power consumption
At 225W TGP, this card soaks up way more power than a card in this class reasonably should.

Intel Arc A750: Also consider

If my Intel Arc A750 has you considering other options, here are two more cards to consider...

How I tested the Intel Arc A750

An Intel Arc A750 graphics card on a pink desk mat next to its retain packaging

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)
  • I spent several days with the Intel Arc A750
  • I used the A750 in my personal PC playing games and doing creative work
  • I ran our standard battery of tests on the Arc A750

I spent several days with the Intel Arc A750 to test its gaming and creative performance, including at 1080p and 1440p. In addition to gaming, I ran our standard suite of GPU tests at it using the same system set up I use for all our graphics card tests. 

Besides my extensive computer science education or practical experience, I have been a hardware reviewer for a few years now, and a PC gamer for even longer, so I know how well graphics cards are supposed to perform with a given set of specs.

Read more about how we test

First reviewed May 2023

Dimensity 9200+ brings higher CPU and GPU clocks, promises lower power usage
2:31 pm | May 10, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Mobile phones news | Tags: , | Comments: Off

MediaTek is on a roll and has unveiled its third chipset this month. Today’s item is the Dimensity 9200+, which schooled the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 in preliminary Geekbench 6 tests. As the name suggests, this is a boosted version of the Dimensity 9200 chipset from last year. It’s still fabbed on TSMC’s N4P node (4nm, second gen) but is able to run its CPU and GPU at higher clock speeds. This includes all three CPU clusters, which promises a 10% uplift over the original version of the chip. The new Dimensity 9200+ chipset at a glance As for the ARM Immortalis G715 GPU, MediaTek...

Dimensity 9200+ brings higher CPU and GPU clocks, promises lower power usage
2:31 pm |

Author: admin | Category: Mobile phones news | Tags: , | Comments: Off

MediaTek is on a roll and has unveiled its third chipset this month. Today’s item is the Dimensity 9200+, which schooled the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 in preliminary Geekbench 6 tests. As the name suggests, this is a boosted version of the Dimensity 9200 chipset from last year. It’s still fabbed on TSMC’s N4P node (4nm, second gen) but is able to run its CPU and GPU at higher clock speeds. This includes all three CPU clusters, which promises a 10% uplift over the original version of the chip. The new Dimensity 9200+ chipset at a glance As for the ARM Immortalis G715 GPU, MediaTek...

Acer Chromebook Enterprise Vero 514 Review
2:31 pm | May 2, 2023

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The Chromebook Vero 514 Enterprise edition is an impressive Chromebook with some serious power under the keyboard, hindered only by the limitations of ChromeOS. 

This Chromebook performs exceptionally well as a business laptop and has a keyboard we enjoy using for extended periods. Our model had the Enterprise upgrade from Chrome, showcasing Acer's drive to be a proper business computer through fleet management and more included in the enterprise upgrade, compared to the standard Chromebook Vero 514.

Unboxing and First Impressions

Initially, unboxing the computer was a typical process involving a box within a box and some packaging around the computer. However, upon examining the packaging, we discovered that all the packing materials were recyclable and made from recycled materials, which is an excellent to see.

On the same track, the box that Acer wrapped around the power brick and cable to charge this Chromebook can fold together to create a laptop riser, fitting wonderfully under the back of the Vero 514, giving it a lift.

Another thing we noticed right away was the unique texture and coloring of the Chromebook Vero 514. The speckled grey color looks better in person than in pictures, and rather than looking cheap like we have seen with some past recycled computers, this one seems intentional. Acer calls this chassis its "Cobblestone Gray Finish," which includes 30% PCR plastic, and we don't mind it. Granted, it doesn't look like a luxury item, but it still looks well-built and of high quality.

Acer Chromebook Vero 514 Enterprise

Acer Chromebook Vero 514 Enterprise PCR (Post Consumer Recycled) badging (Image credit: Collin Probst // Future)

Design and Build Quality

The focus on recycled materials continues throughout the Vero 514. The keycaps are made of 50% PCR (post-consumer recycled) content, the screen itself is 99% recyclable, and the trackpad is 100% ocean-bound plastics. Acer calls this trackpad its OceanGlass touchpad, and we found it quite responsive and enjoyable to use. The overall chassis of this laptop is entirely paint free, giving it a unique look and feel. 

While we initially expected the build quality of the Vero 514 to allow for some flex and cheap-feeling materials, we are pleasantly surprised with just how sturdy this laptop is with daily use. We can use this laptop, not keep it carefully placed on a desk, afraid to take it to work or on the go.

In Use

Having used this Chromebook for the last few weeks, we have been wildly impressed with its speed. While somewhat hindered by ChromeOS, the Vero 514 is snappy for those who only need a Chrome browser to complete their work. In addition, we were pleasantly surprised with the battery. While we couldn't run our standard benchmark software of choice due to this computer not having a full version of Windows, we tested through daily use, and we were able to achieve 8-10 hours of use regularly with standard settings and doing basic work - nothing too demanding.


Display: 14-inch (1920 x 1080), 16:9

Brightness: 300 nits

CPU: 12th Generation Intel Core i7

GPU: Intel Iris X Graphics

Memory: 16GB

Storage: 256GB SSD

Ports: 2x USB-C 3.2 (10Gb/s), 1x USB-A 3.2, 1x HDMI, 1x 3.5mm headphone/speaker/line-out port

Battery: 56Wh (10hrs)

OS: ChromeOS

Weight: 3.09lb / 1.4kg

Dimensions (W x D x H): 12.81 x 8.83 x 0.80in / 325.4 x 224.3 x 20.4mm

We found the Vero 514's 14-inch screen to be an excellent size for an enterprise laptop. We could see all the content we wanted to (understanding that it's a laptop and not one of our large ultrawide monitors) and, at the same time, did not feel like we were carrying around anything that was ridiculously large.

While using the Vero 514, we noticed the audio quality could have been better. It got the job done for virtual meetings or the occasional quick video. We frequently reached for headphones for music or any time we were in a long meeting, and there was a decent amount of background noise.

Acer Chromebook Vero 514 Enterprise

Acer Chromebook Vero 514 Enterprise Left side ports (Image credit: Collin Probst // Future)

We chose the Enterprise Vero model, which includes an i7 upgrade, 16GB RAM, an anti-glare Corning Gorilla Glass touch display, and more. This bump-up in specs shows that Acer is genuinely trying to become a reasonable and quality option for a business fleet of computers. That could be possible depending on the workforce and the employees' tasks.

Acer Chromebook Vero 514 Enterprise

Acer Chromebook Vero 514 Enterprise right side ports (Image credit: Collin Probst // Future)

The last thing we will mention about the Vero 514 is the overall display experience. It could have been better, but not great. It is a good enough screen for indoor use, but the brightness can't quite keep up once you get outside, and it gets tough to see. Again, if you or your business use these indoors, the 1920 x 1080 displays will be fine for most tasks.

Acer Chromebook Vero 514 Enterprise

Acer Chromebook Vero 514 Enterprise fully opened (Image credit: Collin Probst // Future)

Final Verdict

The Vero 514 is a snappy Chromebook model that is a solid contender for writers, web browsers, email responders, and Google Workspace lovers. Essentially, anyone who works from the web could look into this Chromebook as a wonderful option to upgrade their old laptop or find one that works better for what they do.

Samsung Exynos 2400 to bring a massive increase in GPU performance
8:08 am | April 19, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Mobile phones news | Tags: , | Comments: Off

Samsung is reportedly working on a new flagship chipset, expected to be called Exynos 2400. According to a leakster on Twitter, the SoC will incorporate a new RDNA2-based graphics unit with 6WGP. This has four times the compute units of the Xclipse 920 GPU in the Exynos 2200. Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra WGP stands for “workgroup processor” and is part of the RDNA architecture developed by AMD. One WGP encompasses 2 compute units in the new RDNA2 solution, which means we get 12 in total. Meanwhile, the previous GPU had only 3CU. Obviously, things like clock speed and architecture will...

Acer Travelmate P2 review
12:27 pm | April 14, 2023

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Acer Travelmate P2: 30 second review

If asked, most users would like the sleekness and portability of an Ultrabook but at an affordable price point. They’re unlikely to get that combination, but they might get a system like the Acer Travelmate P2 and at least feel that its technology is comparable with those more expensive laptops.

The Acer Travelmate P2 (TMP215-54), is a general-purpose machine with a powerful processor, NVMe storage, upgradable memory and a good selection of ports.

At the volume point in the Acer laptop model, the Travelmate P2 comes in a very wide range of SKUs, starting with Intel Core i3 models. Moving up from the popular I5 machines, Acer also makes Core i7 variants for those that need even more power.

Alternatively, Acer has AMD Ryzen 3, 5 or 7 options for those that don’t want Intel hardware.

Depending on the spec, and if they have a 14” or 15.6” display, they range in price from around $400 to over $1000 and can come with up to 16GB of RAM and 512GB of NVMe SSD space.

That relatively low pricing hints that these machines aren’t sophisticated designs, constructed largely of plastic and polycarbonate, and the components, such as the screen, aren’t of the highest specification.

The weakness of this model is that the integrated GPU isn’t anything special (on Intel), but if you’re not editing video or connecting to a 4K external monitor, the Travelmate P2 is a decent daily driver.

The Travelmate P2 might not be the best budget laptop we’ve seen, but it is far from the worst.

Acer Travelmate P2: Price and availability

Acer Travelmate P2 TMP215-54

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)
  • How much does it cost? $400-$1500
  • When is it out? It is available now
  • Where can you get it? You can get it in most regions direct from Acer or through an online retailer.
Travelmate P2 TMP215-54 Specs

The Acer Travelmate P2 that was sent to us for review came with the following hardware:

Model: TMP215-54 (NX.VVSEK.004)
CPU: Intel Core i5-1235U
GPU: Iris Xe 80EU Graphics
RAM: 8GB DDR4 (single DIMM)
Storage: 256GB Hynix NVME
Screen: 15.6" LED backlight 1920 x 1080 @ 60 Hz
Weight: 1.9 kg
Dimensions: 35.97 x 24.425 x 2.07 cm
Camera: Webcam (1280 x 1024)
Networking: WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.0
Ports: 1x HDMI, 2 x USB 3.2 Gen 1, 1x USB 3.2 Gen 1 (with power off charging), 1x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2, 1x Ethernet LAN, Headphone/microphone combo jack, 1x MicroSD card reader
OS: Win 10 Pro 64-bit + Windows 11 Pro Licence
Battery: 56 Whr 3-cell Li-ion battery

Our review machine, the Travelmate P2 TMP215-54 (NX.VVSEK.004) isn’t one of those sold directly in the UK, but is available through Curry’s business channel and other retail outlets.

The pricing of this machine can vary wildly depending on the SKU, and in the UK alone Acer sells 28 different specifications. It has a UK cost of £764.38 inclusive of VAT.

The closest equivalent US customers have to that model is the TMP215-54-52X7 (NX.VVRAA.001), which has the same processor as our review hardware, but 16GB of RAM and 512 GB SSD, all for $949.99.

With this wide selection of potential hardware, it's probably the best plan to decide what your budget limits are and then see what options Acer has for that money.

As we’ll talk about later, upgrading the SSD and RAM on these machines is possible, which might save you money over having lots of either item pre-installed.

  • Value: 4 / 5

Acer Travelmate P2: Design

Acer TravelMate P2

(Image credit: Acer)
  • Black is not optional
  • Excellent port selection
  • On the heavy side

This laptop is a by-the-numbers design in that there isn’t anything exotic or special to talk about, either inside or out. It comes only in black, and this colour scheme inherently attracts dust the moment after it comes out of the box.

A feature we appreciated most was that it came with an Ethernet port, although Acer was forced to make one that expands to accommodate the cable end in this case. That’s useful, especially getting the system over the tsunami of updates that any new Windows machine will be subjected.

We also liked the keyboard, which is big enough to have a numeric pad, even if it’s a little narrow, and the touchpad is also well-sized, but because of the numeric pad offset, it’s not very central.

One curiosity is the screen hinges that tease that they might be fully reversible but aren’t. These hinges do allow the screen to fold flat, travelling 180 degrees from the close position to fully extended. Not sure what the value is in this much rotation, but it’s what it can do.

Ports are mostly along either side, other than a MicroSD card slot on the front edge. The rear edge is exclusively allocated to an exhaust vent, and the underside has extensive vent holes for bringing air in to be expelled rearwards.

One slight disappointment is that the webcam doesn’t have a physical privacy cover, instead opting for a software solution. The Acer Spin 714 Chromebook had a physical cover, so why not this PC?

Acer Travelmate P2 TMP215-54

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

Considering that this laptop is designated a ‘Travelmate’, the mass of this machine is on the high side at 1.9 kg or over 4 lbs. That’s plenty to be carrying around, and this isn’t the machine you can practically hold with one hand and operate with the other.

With so much mass involved, at least those designing it kept a reasonable balance between the display and base so that it's stable even if the screen is angled extremely.

However, for those that travel extensively with their machine, the Travelmate P2 probably isn’t ideal from a portability perspective.

Where it might be better fitted is in a home office where it operates as a desktop replacement system connecting to the house router with ethernet and peripherals with its many ports.

Though, as we’ll cover later, the battery capacity of this model does enable a working day away from a power socket if required.

In short, the Travelmate P2 was built to a price, but that cost looks reasonable value for money when you look at the part specifications.

  • Design: 4 / 5

Acer Travelmate P2: Hardware

  • 12th Gen CPU
  • Cheap SSD
  • User upgrades possible

The highlight of this P2 SKU is undoubtedly the 12th Gen Intel Core i5-1235U processor, a design we’ve seen previously that sports ten cores and can process 12 threads simultaneously.

What’s slightly odd about this intel design is that instead of balancing the performance and efficiency cores, it has just two P-cores and eight E-Cores. That makes it good for both multitasking and power efficiency, but it lacks performance punch for the most demanding applications.

We’ll talk about raw performance below, but for general use, this is a good processor.

Where this machine is less impressive are some of the OEM parts that Acer chose to install on it, and the SK Hynix SSD is one of those. The 256GB capacity seems on the modest side of capacity, and we found this model being sold on retail for only $25.

It doesn’t cost much to boost the SSD to something much more suitable, and thankfully with this machine, that type of enhancement is possible.

To gain access inside requires the removal of 12 screws and a small plastic spudger to free the back. Once inside, both the DDR4 memory slots and the M.2 NVMe drive are both accessible. As the P2 isn’t one of those stupidly thin Ultrabook designs the memory is slotted, it could easily be enhanced beyond the 8GB it came with. The maximum memory of this processor is 64GB, but even 16GB by adding another 8GB module would enhance operations.

Acer Travelmate P2 TMP215-54

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

Included in the box was a small tray and ribbon cable that allows a SATA SSD or hard drive to be mounted inside, and this could be very useful if only for cloning the existing drive to temporary storage before upgrading the M.2 drive. The M.2 slot will take Gen 3 drives that don’t have a heatsink attached, and those can be found with capacities up to 4TB.

One side note to our internal investigations was the battery, the one that Acer claims is 56 Whr. Based on a quoted voltage and amperage printed on the battery, our maths says 54.5 Whr is a more accurate number.

That said, whatever it is, the battery in this laptop is undoubtedly one of the best aspects.

If that’s one of the best, the worst is undoubtedly the screen. We’re unsure what the exact technology used in the display is, but it is not bright, and the viewing angles aren’t great, suggesting that it isn’t an IPS screen.

To make it workable, we were forced to use full brightness, and even then, the colours it produced were subdued. Like the SSD, this looks like another cost-saving choice on Acer’s part.

  • Hardware: 4 / 5

Acer Travelmate P2: Performance

Acer Travelmate P2 TMP215-54

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)
  • Good processor
  • Lower spec Iris Xe GPU
  • User upgrades possible
Acer Travelmate P2 Benchmarks

This is how the Acer Travelmate P2 performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

3DMark Wild Life: 6891; Fire Strike: 2525; Time Spy: 1123;
Cinebench R23 CPU pts: 1596 (single-core); 6869 (multi-core)
GeekBench 5: 1557(single-core); 6356 (multi-core), 11369 (OpenCL)
CrystalDiskMark: Sequential Read: 3395MB/s; Sequential Write: 1988 MB/s
PCMark 10 (Office Test): 4995
PCMark 10 (Battery Test): 10h 43m
Windows Experience Index: 8.0

The performance offered on this machine is something of a mixed bag. We’ve previously tested other machines using the same Core i5-1235U and got better scores than these, and the difference may be down to the memory specs.

While the Iris Xe 80EU GPU is better than the dire UHD Graphics that older Intel processors offered, the 96EU version used on the Intel Core i7-1260P and Core i7-1195G7 is twice as fast when pushed by a Core-i7 class processor.

The graphics performance is acceptable for web use and even video playback, but it isn’t anything we’d recommend trying to game with or is ideal for using CAD applications.

The SK Hynix SSD is reasonably quick at reading, allowing the laptop to boot smartly, but its write speed is less compelling. As already mentioned, a higher-performance SSD with greater capacity would be a good upgrade for this SKU.

What’s interesting is that the Windows Experience Index number and the PCMark 10 scores are decent, and with a faster SSD, these would be even better.

What doesn’t need any help is the battery score as tested by PCMark10. At over ten hours, with the screen brightness turned down to 120 nits, that’s more than a working day of use.

To summarise, the processing power of this model is probably overkill for general office use, but the GPU isn’t anything special.

In the American SKUs of the Travelmate P2, we noticed a few machines with discrete Nvidia GeForce MX330. That would make a modest difference to graphics performance, and probably a better choice would be an AMD Ryzen-based P2 with its faster integrated Radeon RX Vega 7 or 8 Graphics.

But, these specification machines are at the higher end of the cost spectrum.

Acer Travelmate P2 TMP215-54

Both the storage and the memory can be upgraded on the P2 (Image credit: Mark Pickavance)
  • Performance: 4 / 5

This version of the Travelmate P2 had some highs and a few lows, but most models are good value for money, considering the functionality and performance offered and the price asked.

Our review machine using a 12th Gen Core-i5 processor looks like a sweet spot where you get the best deal without spending excessively.

However, there is one aspect of the P2 we didn’t care for, and that was the liberal plastering of bloatware on the Windows 11 installation.

Users don’t want to have Norton leap up five seconds after the first boot to tell them the sky is falling or some of the other dubious software installed on this machine. If users want those things badly enough, they will install them, and to assume otherwise is just rude.

Customers should therefore budget an afternoon to strip the machine of everything they didn’t pay for so they can use the one thing they did.

Not sure why some brands seem so unwilling to accept most customers don’t want bloatware, but Acer remains one of them.

Acer Travelmate P2: Report card

Should I buy a Acer Travelmate P2?

Acer Travelmate P2 TMP215-54

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Also consider

Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 review: the GPU you’ve been waiting for is finally here
4:00 pm | April 12, 2023

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

Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070: Two-minute review

The Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 is here at long last, and for gamers who've been starved for an upgrade, go ahead and pick this one up. It can do just about everything.

It's hard to follow up the RTX 3070, one of the best graphics cards of all time, and in our Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 review, we praised that card for being an outstanding performer at 1080p and 1440p — which is where the overwhelming number of PC gamers game at — while also being a much more affordable option over the other two launch cards for Nvidia's Ampere lineup. We especially noted how the RTX 3070 offered comparable performance to the RTX 2080 Ti for half the price.

Everything we said about the RTX 3070 applies just as easily to the RTX 4070, only now it doesn't just dabble in 4K; it can competently game at every resolution, making it a graphics card that everybody can fall in love with without spending a fortune.

A lot has changed since the RTX 3070 launched towards the end of 2020, and unfortunately, not everything changed for the better. Things are more expensive pretty much everywhere you look, and the Nvidia RTX 4070 isn't immune. At $599 (about £510 / AU$870), the RTX 4070 is fully 20% more expensive than the RTX 3070 was at launch.

The Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 graphics card standing on top of its retail packaging

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

I'm not happy about this at all, and you shouldn't be either, but all you have to do is look at the scores the RTX 4070 puts up on the board and you'll be as hard pressed as I am to dock it any points for this. It consistently puts out RTX 3080-level performance more or less across the board and even manages to bloddy the nose of the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti, and while the RTX 3080 beats out the RTX 4070 at native 4K, turn on DLSS and the RTX 3080 simply gets blown out. 

On the other side of the aisle, the AMD Radeon RX 7900 XT is Team Red's nearest real competition, and it struggles to justify itself in the presence of the RTX 4070. While the RX 7900 XT solidly outperforms the 4070, it's also 50% more expensive, and the benefits of the RX 7900 XT get quickly drowned out by the power of DLSS, especially in titles with DLSS 3.

Moreover, the RTX 4070 makes for a pretty competent creator GPU, offering indie developers and artists who don't have the funding to get themselves an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 a handy option for getting some work done within a more limited budget. It's not going to power a major movie studio or anything, but if you're dabbling in 3D modeling or video editing, this card is great compromise between price and performance.

Finally, wrap this all into a package that feels like a downright normal graphics card from ye olden days, back before you needed to include support brackets and balast to keep your gaming PC from tipping over, and you end up with a graphics card that can easily power some of the best gaming PCs that can actually fit into your PC case and your budget.

This graphics card has its issues, which is inevitable, but given what's on offer here, it's easy enough to look past its shortcomings and enjoy some truly outstanding performance at at a reasonable enough price.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 review: Price & availability

An Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 graphics card seated inside its retail packaging

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)
  • How much is it? $599 (about £510 / AU$870)
  • When is it out? April 13, 2023
  • Third-party cards retail prices will match or exceed Nvidia's MSRP

The Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 is available starting April 13, 2023, with an MSRP of $599 (about £510 / AU$870). Third-party partners will have their own versions of the RTX 4070 that will vary in price, but they will always have a matching or higher regular retail price than the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 Founders Edition.

Notably, the RTX 4070 is getting a 20% price increase over the card it's replacing, the RTX 3070, which had a launch price of $499 in the US (about £425 / AU$725). While we'd have loved to see the price stay the same gen-over-gen, this should come as no surprise to anyone who has been watching GPU price inflation recently.

The Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080, for example, has a ludicrously high MSRP of $1,199 (a roughly 72% jump over the RTX 3080), while the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 also increased its price over the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 to $1,599 from the 3090's $1,499.

Meanwhile, we haven't seen AMD's direct RTX 4070 competitor yet, the AMD Radeon RX 7800 XT, but the AMD Radeon RX 7900 XT is the closest AMD has this generation with an $899 / £799 (around AU$1,350) MSRP, putting it 50% more expensive than the RTX 4070.

This card is also the same price as the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti, for what it's worth, and considering that the RTX 4070 punches well above the 3070 Ti's performance, you do at least get a better sense of value out of this card than anything from the last generation.

  • Price score: 4 / 5

Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 review: Features & chipset

The power connector for an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 graphics card

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)
  • DLSS 3 with full Frame Generation
  • Third-gen Ray Tracing Cores and fourth-gen Tensor Cores
  • Lower TGP than RTX 3070

The Nvidia RTX 4070 doesn't change too much on paper over its last-gen predecessor, featuring the same number of streaming multiprocessors, therefore the same number of CUDA cores (5,888), ray-tracing cores (46), and tensor cores (184).

It does bump up its memory to the faster GDDR6X and adds an additional 50% VRAM for a total of 12GB. With a 192-bit bus and a memory clock of 1,313MHz, the RTX 4070 has an effective memory speed of 21 Gbps, equal to that of the Nvidia RTX 4070 Ti, for a memory bandwidth of 504.2 GB/s.

It has a lower base and boost frequency than the 4070 Ti, clocking in at 1,920MHz base and 2,475MHz boost (compared to 2,310MHz base and 2,610MHz boost for the 4070 Ti), but this is a substantial bump up from the 1,500MHz base and 1,725MHz boost frequency of the RTX 3070.

This is owing to the 5nm TSMC process used to fab the AD104 GPU, compared to the Samsung 8nm process for the RTX 3070's GA104. Those faster clocks also power next-gen ray tracing and tensor cores, so even though there are the same number of cores in both the RTX 4070 and the RTX 3070, the RTX 4070's are both much faster and more sophisticated.

Also factor in Nvidia Lovelace's DLSS 3 with Frame Generation capacity, something that Nvidia Ampere and Turing cards don't have access to, and what looks like two very similar cards on paper turns out to be anything but in practice.

Finally, thanks to the 5nm process, Nvidia is able to squeeze more performance out of less power, so the TGP for the RTX 4070 is just 200W, making it a fantastic card for a lower-power, sub-600W build.

  • Features & chipset: 5 / 5

Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 review: Design

The RTX 4070 logo etched into the trim of the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 graphics card

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)
  • Same size as the RTX 3070
  • 16-pin power connector
  • Same design as RTX 4090 and RTX 4080

With the RTX 4070 Founders Edition, Nvidia finally delivers a next-gen graphics card that can actually fit in your case without requiring a construction winch to hold it in place.

OK, the previous cards weren't that bad, and even at the reduced form factor and weight, you'll still want to toss a GPU bracket into your case for good measure (there's no harm in protecting your investment, after all).

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An Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 graphics card

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)
Image 2 of 6

An Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 graphics card on its retail packaging

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)
Image 3 of 6

The output ports of an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 graphics card

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)
Image 4 of 6

An Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 graphics card standing upright on a pink desk mat

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)
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An Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 graphics card standing upright next to the RTX 3070

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)
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An Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 graphics card sitting in front of a much larger Nvidia RTX 4080 graphics card

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

But holding the RTX 4070 in my hand, this is the first card of this generation that doesn't feel like a piece of machinery. Even the more modestly-sized AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX and RX 7900 XT feel substantial, while the RTX 4070 feels like an old school GeForce graphics card from a couple years back.

The RTX 4070 Founders Edition keeps the same fan design as the RTX 4090 and RTX 4080 that preceeded it (a fan on the front and back), but it shrinks everything down to a dual-slot card about two-thirds the size of those monsters. The RTX 4070 also features the same outputs as previous RTX Lovelace cards (so no USB-C out), and a 16-pin power connector with an included adapter for two 8-pin leads to power the card.

With a TGP of 200W, Nvidia could theoretically have just gone with a single 8-pin connector, but Team Green seems absolutely committed to the 12VHPWR cable, it seems. I'll never stop complaining about this, but it is what it is. If you have an ATX 3.0 power supply, you won't need to worry about that, but the rest of us will have to deal with additional cable management.

  • Design score: 4.5 / 5

Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 review: Performance

An Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 graphics card slotted into a motherboard

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)
  • Phenomenal gaming performance
  • Can easily push 60 fps in 4K gaming with DLSS
  • RTX 3080 performance at 60% of the power

Right out the gate, let's just say that the Nvidia RTX 4070 is the best 1440p graphics card on the market right now, and it's likely to remain at the top of that list for a good long while.

Its performance prowess isn't limited to just 1440p, mind you, and when I get into the gaming performance, you'll see that its 4K gaming potential is exciting (with caveats), but for starters, we can dig into its synthetic performance in tests like 3DMark to see how the fundamentals stack up.

General Performance

As you can see, the RTX 4070 outperforms the RTX 3070 by about 21% overall, while underperforming the RTX 3080 by about 1.37%, which is close enough to effectively tie the last-gen 4K powerhouse, and underperforms the RTX 3080 Ti by about 6%. Considering that the RTX 3080 Ti's MSRP is nearly twice that of the RTX 4070, this is an astounding result. 

The RTX 4070 does lag behind the RTX 4070 Ti and the RX 7900 XT by quite a bit, averaging about 22% worse performance than the RX 7900 XT and about 13.5% worse performance than the RTX 4070 Ti. These current-gen cards also have substantially better hardware, so this isn't unexpected.

Creative Performance

When it comes to creative performance, well, we have a more limited dataset to work with since Blender Benchmark 3.5.0 decided it only wanted to test half the cards I tried to run it on (including failing to run on the RTX 4070), so we'll have to come back to that one at a later date once the benchmark is updated.

In the meantime, the tests I was able to run really showcased how well the RTX 4070 can handle creative workloads. On Adobe Premiere and Adobe Photoshop, the RTX 4070 performed noticeably better than the RTX 3080 across both apps and fell in very close behind the RTX 4070 Ti for an overall second place finish.

In lieu of Blender's Benchmark, V-Ray 5 is a fairly good stand-in, as well as an excellent benchmark in its own right. Here, the RX 7900 XT wouldn't run, since it doesn't use CUDA or Nvidia's RTX, but we can see the RTX 4070 coming in a respectable runner up to the RTX 4070 Ti.

One of my recent favorite workloads, Lumion 12.5, renders an architectural design into either a short movie clip at 1080p or 4K at 60 fps, making it one of the best benchmarks for creatives to see how a graphics card handles production level workloads rather than synthetic tests.

It requires the same kind of hardware as many of the best PC games in order to light a scene, create realistic water effects, and reproduce foliage on trees, and it's the kind of real-world benchmark that tells more about the card than a simple number devoid of context.

Considering that it can take a five-second, 60 fps movie clip an hour to render at production quality, I switched things up a bit and rather than calculate frames per second, like I do with Handbrake's encoding test, I use frames per hour to give a sense of how long a movie clip you can produce if you leave the clip to render overnight (a common practice).

In the case of the RTX 4070, it rendered a five-second movie clip at 60 fps at draft (1-star) quality 13% faster than the RTX 3080, about 7% faster than the RTX 3080 Ti, and nearly 23% faster than the RX 7900 XT. 

It lagged behind the RTX 4070 Ti, though, by about 8%, a deficit that grew wider at 1080p production (4-star) quality, where the RTX 4070 rendered the movie 25% slower than the 4070 Ti and 6.78% slower than the RX 7900 XT. 

For Handbrake, the RTX 4070 manages to pull out its first clean win on the creative side, though not by a whole lot. Still, 170 frames per second encoding from 4K to 1080p is not bad at all.

Overall then, the RTX 4070 puts in a solid creative performance, besting the RTX 3080, the RX 7900 XT, the RTX 3070 Ti, and the RTX 3070, while barely losing out to the RTX 3080 Ti.

Gaming Performance

An Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 graphics card on a pink desk mat

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

As good of a creative card as the RTX 4070 is, in its bones, this is a gamers' graphics card, so gaming performance is definitely where I spent most of my time testing the RTX 4070. I want to note that the included figures here are a representative sample of my testing, and that not all test results are shown.

When it comes to gaming performance, the RTX 4070 offers some of the best you're going to get at this price, though there are some stipulations to bring up right out the gate.

First, broadly speaking, this card can game at 4K on most games not called Cyberpunk 2077 or Metro: Exodus using max settings natively, so long as you keep things within reasonable limits. Or, really, one limit: keep ray tracing turned off.

Overall, the RTX 4070 gets about 58 fps on average at 4K when not ray tracing, with a floor of 45 fps at 4K, which is eminently playable. Turn ray tracing to the max and your get an average fps of 34 with a floor of 25, which is just better than a slideshow. 

The RTX 3080 doesn't fare too much better on this metric, managing 40 fps on average with a floor of 29 fps at max settings with ray tacing turned on, while the RTX 3080 Ti averages about 36 fps and a floor of 19 fps. This does put the RTX 4070 just behind the 3080 Ti in terms of average fps and with a higher fps floor than the 3080 Ti.

If you're dead set on ray tracing, the RTX 4070 can certainly deliver, thanks to DLSS, which can bump those numbers back up to 79 fps on average with a floor of 55 fps. Compare that to the RTX 3080's 80 fps average with a 58 fps floor in our tests and the RTX 4070 can definitely go toe to toe with the RTX 3080 when ray tracing on max settings if DLSS is on. 

In addition, the RTX 4070 gets about 10% less fps on average than the RTX 3080 Ti at 4K with ray tracing and DLSS on, (79 fps to the 3080 Ti's 88 fps), and a roughly 14% lower fps floor than the RTX 3080 Ti (55 fps to the 3080 Ti's 64 fps). 

Overall, the RTX 4070 manages an average 57 fps at 4K, with a floor of 41 fps, across all the settings I tested. This is about 28% lower than the RTX 4070 Ti (79 fps average, overall), about 10% lower than the RTX 3080 (63 fps average, overall), the RX 7900 XT (64 fps average, overall), and the RTX 3080 Ti (64 fps average, overall).

These numbers skew a bit against the RTX 4070, since the RTX 4070 Ti, RX 7900 XT, RTX 3080, and RTX 3080 Ti all handle native 4K gaming much better, but so few people play at native 4K anymore that is a fairly meaningless advantage. 

Meanwhile, the RTX 4070 actually beats the RX 7900 XT by about 20% when using DLSS (versus the RX 7900 XT's FSR) at 4K with max settings and ray tracing; 79 fps on average to 66 fps on average, respectively. It also manages to strike a dead heat with the RTX 3080 (80 fps average) and come just 10% short of the RTX 3080 Ti's average RT performance at 4K with ray tracing. 

It's important to note as well that these don't factor in DLSS 3 Frame Generation, to make it a fair comparison.

As for the RTX 3070, the RTX 4070 manages about 39% better average 4K performance, with a 53% higher fps floor (57 fps average with a 43 fps floor for the RTX 4070 compared to the RTX 3070's 41 fps average and 28 fps floor).

When it comes to 1440p gaming, the RTX 4070 is on much more solid footing, even if some of the bigger cards definitely perform better in absolute terms. The RTX 4070 underperforms the RTX 3080 by about 8% in non-ray-traced, non-upscaled 1440p gaming, on average (105 fps to the RTX 3080's 115 fps), though they both have a very similar floor around 80-85 fps. 

Meanwhile, the RTX 4070 falls about 12% short of the RTX 3080 Ti's 119 average fps at non-ray-traced, non-DLSS 1440p.

Both the RTX 4070 Ti and RX 7900 XT kinda clobber the RTX 4070 with roughly 25-29% better performance at non-ray-traced, non-upscaled 1440p gaming, and this carries over into gaming with ray tracing settings maxed out, though the RTX 4070 is still getting north of 60 fps on average (67 fps, to be precise), with a relatively decent floor of 51 fps.

The real kicker though is when we turn on DLSS, at which point the RTX 4070 beats out everything but the RTX 4070 Ti and RTX 3080 Ti, including the RX 7900 XT, which it outperforms by about 29% on average (125 fps to 97 fps), with a much higher floor of 88 fps to the RX 7900 XT's 60 fps, a nearly 49% advantage.

The RTX 4070 also beats the RTX 3080 here too, with about 5% better performance on average and a 7.5% higher fps floor on average than the RTX 3080. Incredibly, the RTX 4070 is just 3% slower than the RTX 3080 Ti when both are using DLSS at 1440p with max ray tracing.

As for the RTX 3070, the RTX 4070 gets about 35% better performance at 1440p with ray tracing and DLSS 2.0 than the card it replaces (125 fps to 93 fps), with a nearly 53% higher fps floor on average (87 fps to the 3070's 57 fps), meaning that where the RTX 3070 is setting the 1440p standard, the RTX 4070 is blowing well past it into territory the RTX 3070 simply cannot go.

The story is pretty much the same at 1080p, with there being essentially no difference between the RTX 4070, the RTX 3080, the RTX 3080 Ti, and the RX 7900 XT, with the RTX 3070 languishing about 30% behind and the RTX 4070 Ti off on its own out ahead of everyone else.

There has been a lot of talk about the RTX 4070 ahead of its launch as benchmarks have leaked and people have looked at numbers out of context and downplayed the performance of the RTX 4070 based on one or two tests. They've even pointed to the price increase to say that this card is a disappointment.

Granted, I'm not thrilled about the 20% price increase either, but there's no getting around the fact that you're getting a graphics card here with just 200W TGP that's putting up numbers to rival the RTX 3080 Ti. And I haven't even touched on the new features packed into Lovelace that you can't get with the last-gen Nvidia graphics cards.

The numbers are what they are, and the RTX 4070's performance is simply outstanding across every resolution in all the ways that matter.

  • Performance score: 5 / 5

Should you buy the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 ?

A man's hand holding the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 graphics card

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

Buy it if...

You want next-gen performance for less than $600
The Nvidia RTX 4070 offers performance on par with the RTX 3080 and even the RTX 3080 Ti for a good deal less.

You don't want a massive GPU
Graphics cards are starting to resemble transformers nowadays (both the autobot and power plant variety), so it's nice to get a graphics card that's just normal-sized.

You want next-gen features like DLSS 3
Nvidia's hardware is often on the bleeding edge of the industry, but things like DLSS 3 and Nvidia Reflex are Nvidia's not-so-secret force multiplier here.

Don't buy it if...

You can get an RTX 3080 cheap
Generally, the RTX 4070 is going to outperform the 3080, but if you don't care about the advanced features and can grab the 3080 in a bargain bin, you could save some money.

You're looking for Nvidia's next budget card
The RTX 4070 is a lot cheaper than the rest of the current-gen graphics card lineups from Nvidia and AMD, but at $600, it's still too expensive to truly be a "budget" GPU.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 review: Also consider

If our Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 review has you considering other options, here are two more graphics cards to consider...

How I tested the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 Ti

An Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 graphics card slotted into a motherboard

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)
  • I spent about 50 hours with the RTX 4070 in total
  • Besides general benchmarking, I used the card for everyday gaming and creative work
My test bench specs

Here is the systems I used to test the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070:

CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D
CPU Cooler: Cougar Poseidon GT 360 AIO Cooler
DDR5 RAM: 32GB Corsair Dominator Platinum @ 5,200MHz & 32GB G.Skill Trident Z5 Neo @ 5,200MHz
Motherboard: ASRock X670E Taichi
SSD: Samsung 980 Pro SSD @ 1TB
Power Supply: Corsair AX1000 80-Plus Titanium (1000W) Case: Praxis Wetbench

When I test a graphics card, I start by making sure that all tests are performed on the same test bench setup to isolate GPU performance. I then run it through a series of synthetic benchmarking tools like 3DMark as well as in-game benchmarks in the most recent PC games I can access like Cyberpunk 2077 and F1 2022. 

I run everything on the maximum settings possible without upscaling tech, and I run all tests at the resolution a reader is most likely to use a given card at. In the case of the RTX 4070, this meant testing at 1080p, 1440p, and 2160p.

I also make sure to install the latest relevant drivers and rerun tests on any competing graphics card that I might have already reviewed and tested, like the RTX 4070 Ti, RX 7900 XT, and RTX 3080 to make sure that I have the most current scores to account for any driver updates. All of these scores are recorded and compared against the card's predecessor, its most direct rival, and the card directly above and below it in the product stack, if those cards are available. 

I then average these scores to come to a final overall score and divide that by the card's MSRP to see how much performance every dollar or pound spent actually gets you to find how much value the card actually brings to the table.

Finally, I actually use the card in my own personal computer for several days, playing games, using apps like Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator, and watching for any anomalies, crashes, glitches, or visual disruptions that may occur during my time with the card. Having extensively covered and tested many graphics cards over the years, I know what a graphics card should do and how it should perform, and can readily identify when something is not performing up to expectations and when it exceeds them. 

Read more about how we test

First reviewed April 2023

Acer Spin 714 Chromebook review
11:27 am | April 1, 2023

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

Acer Spin 714 Chromebook: Two minute review

Chromebooks started their rise by being popular with students, who liked their web-based nature and long battery life, but eventually, businesses realised its virtues.

The Acer Chromebook Spin 714 (CP714-1WN) isn’t a low-cost plastic Chromebook for students but an elegant Ultrabook concept with a 14-inch HD touchscreen and an aluminium body.

Designed as a web-based workhorse, Acer gave it a durable, full-size keyboard with a backlit design that makes it easy to type in low light.

Even with a lightweight metal and plastic exterior, the Spin is a hefty  3.09 lbs (1.4 kg) and is 0.7 inches (18.05 mm) thick. That’s an almost identical weight to its predecessor and not so heavy that you would have trouble carrying it.

Acer has previously released two versions of its 713 design, and the new 714 builds on that legacy by providing more power and functionality while retaining much of the form factor and styling that made the 713 series so popular.

However, in this transition to 12th Gen technology, Acer managed to misplace the MicroSD card slot from the previous model, lost the terrific 2256 x 1504 resolution screen, and the battery life of 10 hours hasn’t gotten any better.

What you do get here is a much better Intel 12th Gen processor with more powerful graphics, HDMI out, a Thunderbolt 4 port and a stylus that is neatly housed in the chassis.

The jury is still unsure if this constitutes a significant improvement over the 713, but it’s a classy piece of hardware and a notch above most hybrid Chromebooks.

Acer Spin 714 Chromebook: Price and availability

Acer Spin 714 Chromebook

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)
  • How much does it cost? $730/ £799
  • When is it out? It is available now
  • Where can you get it? You can get it in most regions direct from Acer or through an online retailer.
Acer Spin 714 Chromebook Specs

The Acer Spin 714 Chromebook that was sent to us for review came with the following hardware:

Model: CP714-1WN
CPU: Intel Core i5-1235U
GPU: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
Storage: 512GB PCIe Gen 3, 8Gb/s, NVME
Screen: 35.6 cm (14") Touch screen
Resolution: 1920 x 1200
Weight: 3.09 lbs (1.4 kg)
Dimensions: 312.6 x 224 x 18.05 mm
Robustness: MIL-STD 810H
Camera: FHD MIPI webcam (1920 x 1080),1080 HD video at 60fps
Networking: WiFi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2
OS: ChromeOS
Battery: 56Wh 3-cell Li-ion battery

At more than $700, the Spin 714 is at the more expensive end of the Chromebook spectrum, but it is cheaper than ASUS CB9400CEA Chromebook and the Google Pixelbook.

Acer also makes an Enterprise edition of this model that costs £1,099.99 in the UK and is priced specifically for Corporate customers in the USA at around $1049.99.

The Enterprise versions typically come with more RAM, up to 16GB, and business administration tools are preinstalled on them for easier rollouts.

T1here are cheaper Chromebook options from Acer and other brands that can offer a similar specification for much less. Intel, Lenovo, HP, Asus and Acer all make ARM-based designs that are less than half this cost.

As a good example, the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i is closer to $500 for a similar if less powerful design.

  • Value: 3 / 5

Acer Spin 714 Chromebook: Design

Acer Spin 714 Chromebook

The Spin 714 has an unbuilt stylus for easier tablet mode use (Image credit: Acer)
  • Attractive styling
  • Excellent port selection
  • Inbuilt stylus

We’ve seen enough broken Chromebooks to know that they can be abused by their owners, so being able to take a few knocks is essential for a business tool like the Spin 714.

The Spin 714 uses a very similar physical design to the 713, and given how successful that machine was, that Acer stuck with a similar plan isn’t a big surprise.

However, the devil is most certainly in the detail here, and the Spin 714 has arguably lost as much as it gained from the 713.

For those unsure about the ‘Spin’ aspect of this design, this Chromebook has a fully extensible hinge that allows the screen to go from fully closed to 360 degrees open, allowing the machine to operate as a tablet. It can do all the positions between those extremes to provide tent mode for watching a presentation or streamed content.

This flexibility allows for a hybrid use model, where the 714 can be a conventional laptop or a tablet, depending on the demands.

Mostly for tablet mode, the screen is touch-sensitive, and Acer does include an integrated stylus if smudgy fingerprints annoy you as much as they do us. The stylus isn’t a pressure sensitive one or has any buttons, but it's better than using your finger.

A nice touch is that the slot it lives in is also the charger for the stylus, and just 15 minutes inserted in its home is enough to recharge power for four hours of use.

Acer Spin 714 Chromebook

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

If it wasn’t running ChromeOS, the same hardware could run Windows or Linux happily since it has all the ports and Intel x86/64 parts needed for a good computing experience.

On the left side is a Thunderbolt 4 USB-C port, a full-size HDMI out, the 2.5mm audio jack and a power button. And on the right is another Thunderbolt 4 port, a USB 3.0 Type-A port and a volume rocker.

We’ve seen some poor USB-C implementations on Windows laptops, where the port used for charging is exclusive to that job and can’t be utilised for any other purpose. But here, the Thunderbolt 4 ports on each side are interchangeable, allowing charging on whichever side is most convenient.

This isn’t the biggest keyboard we’ve seen on a machine this size, but it is backlit and has a pleasant key travel for typing. We’re less convinced about the touchpad. It’s small, but as you have a touch screen, you’re not forced to use it without a mouse.

A fingerprint sensor below the keyboard and to the left of the touchpad, and a 1080p webcam at the top centre of the screen with a physical privacy cover (hooray).

Probably the most significant difference over the 713 is the display, which is a less bright and less impressive resolution than what came before.

For those that never saw the lovely 400 nit panel on the 713, the one on the 714 is fine, but it doesn’t offer the same refined experience, sadly.

  • Design: 4 / 5

Acer Spin 714 Chromebook: Hardware

  • 12th Gen CPU
  • Thunderbolt 4 port
  • Same battery size as 713
  • No LTE or SIM slot

Where the 713 used 10th and 11th Gen Intel parts, the 714 has the Intel Core i5-1235U, a 12th Gen CPU with ten cores. Depending on the 713 model, that machine either had a Core i7-1185G7, i5-1135G7, i5-10210U or i3-1115G4, but the i5-1235U used in the 714 is probably better than all of those options.

Because of the way ChromeOS works and its inherent web functionality, seeing the processing power in this machine in action is challenging. But, we did notice that when using the machine for standard tasks, it didn’t run the fans, something the 713 did, irrespective of the processor model.

Keeping cooler has advantages for power consumption and the life expectancy of the chips, so we’re all for those changes.

A major selling point on the Acer website for this model is that it offers a Thunderbolt 4 port, which has backward compatibility with USB 3.2. On a Windows laptop, this would be a desirable feature, as it would allow the connecting of external Thunderbolt or USB-C SSD storage and high-speed transfers.

However, moving files on and off the device is a 20th-century approach to problems. Because the advantage of a Chromebook is that everything is stored on the Cloud and not shuffled around using file managers.

The deeper we delved into the different strategies that a Windows PC and a Chromebook have to file management, the more we wondered why does this machine have a 12 Gen Core-i5 class processor? Can its power never be effectively used on web-based applications or data? This high-end class of Chromebook ends up wanting to be one thing but acting much more like a Windows PC, and the inclusion of Thunderbolt 4 only highlights this contradiction.

If you’re an IT person who has a user that has a Chromebook that insists on moving files from the system to external storage and back, they evidently don’t understand how to use it.

There are some exceptions to this, like video editing and graphics design, and it could be useful for bringing a media movie collection along on a trip, but the majority of owners that understand Chromebooks are unlikely to use it, ever.

Acer Spin 714 Chromebook

The Spin 714 has a Thunderbolt 4 port on each side, and either can be used for charging the machine (Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

While we did see less fan activity and a cooler running processor, we didn’t notice that this machine lasted any longer on battery.

The 56Wh 3-cell Li-ion battery seems the same as was in the 713, and the quoted ten hours of operating lifespan is effectively the same.

That the battery doesn’t go further with a 12th Gen processor onboard hints that other factors, like the NVMe storage and the new screen, are consuming the extra power that the Core i5-1235U efficiency provides.

Whatever the power consumption equations are, it provides enough power for a good working day, and a 65W Liteon branded USB-C charger is provided that can give you four hours of running time for 30 minutes of charging.

A bigger battery would have been appreciated, but it might have made the 714 heavier than a Chromebook should be.

The missing part of the 714 hardware ensemble is mobile comms because when they’re not connected to the Internet, Chromebooks aren’t at their best.

Why Acer didn’t include a SIM slot to allow for LTE and 5G connections on the move is a genuine head-scratcher, and it forces owners to use a phone as a WiFi access point to get it connected away from the office. That they didn’t even offer this in the Spin 714 Enterprise edition (that has more RAM and preinstalled remote admin tools), is even more bemusing.

Removing the MicroSD card slot from the 713, we’ll forgive, but not including any mobile comms options is less defensible.

  • Hardware: 4 / 5

Acer Spin 714 Chromebook: Performance

Acer Spin 714 Chromebook

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)
  • ChromeOS
  • Too powerful for some benchmarks
Acer Spin 714 Chromebook Benchmarks

Here's how the Acer Spin 714 Chromebook performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

Mozilla Kraken: 488.5ms
Speedometer: 202 runs/minute
JetStream 2: 214.896
GeekBench:  Single (1398), Multi (5555), Compute (10773)
3DMark Wild Life: 7830
PCMark Work 3.0: 12135

Chromebooks are difficult to judge from a performance perspective as they don’t typically run predefined executables like Windows machines. This Chromebook can run Android applications, but this is done using hardware emulation. Making it not an apples-for-apples comparison with an ARM-based phone or tablet.

We ran PCMark for Android and 3DMark, with varying results. 3DMark refused to run most tests declaring the system to be too powerful, but we did extract a Wild Life result from it.

What scores we did get told us that this is a powerful machine, which isn’t much of a shock. The performance of a Chromebook is dependent on many things that aren’t internal hardware in most scenarios, so does the power in this one ever get fully exploited? We have our doubts.

The Acer Spin 714 Chromebook desperately wants to be a Windows PC, and that’s somewhat at odds with running ChromeOS and being designated a Chromebook.

Acer Spin 714 Chromebook

Tent mode is helpful for presentations or watching streaming shows (Image credit: Mark Pickavance)
  • Performance: 5 / 5

The Acer Spin 714 Chromebook is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a high-quality Chromebook and is prepared to pay for a refined experience. It has a sleek design, excellent performance, and works effectively with ChromeOS.

It is significantly cheaper than other Chromebooks in its class, but its special features, such as the 360-degree hinge, stylus, and Thunderbolt ports, make it more appealing to power users.

However, as this is a Chromebook and not a Windows PC, will the power in this machine ever be effectively leveraged? And, if it isn’t, then what is the point of such a high specification?

The new 714 design does offer a few new twists over the 713, but owners of the previous generation might miss its superior screen and MicroSD card slot. But the technology that this design most needed was LTE/5G comms, and for whatever reason, Acer engineers didn’t consider that to be something worth including.

Acer Spin 714 Chromebook: Report card

Acer Spin 714 Chromebook?

Acer Spin 714 Chromebook

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

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Lenovo ThinkPhone by Motorola review
1:25 pm | March 22, 2023

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

30-second review

This phone isn’t a ThinkPad computer, but it has been themed to look similar and work alongside Windows systems.

However, there are a few big reasons why you might want to deploy this Android phone in business, the first being security.

Alongside the usual protections offered by Android 13 (not 12), Motorola put a special security module in this device that isolates encryption keys and other security information from main memory, making them much more difficult to access nefariously.

When you combine that with a centralised management service that allows phones to be wiped, locked, and specific software to be installed remotely, then this is a device that the IT department will hopefully like and not curse.

And, sporting the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 SoC, this is easily one of the most powerful phones we’ve ever tested. In short, it can handle computing tasks that would crush other designs.

We should also mention that it is drop, dust and water resistant (freshwater, not salt), has a fantastic camera that can shoot 8K video, and is dual SIM.

While it has a few minor omissions, the only significant caveat here is the price. But considering the technology that Motorola stuffed inside, the ThinkPhone might well be worth that inflated asking price.

Lenovo ThinkPhone by Motorola

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

Lenovo ThinkPhone price and availability

  • How much does it cost? $900/ £899
  • When is it out? It is available now
  • Where can you get it? You can get it in most regions direct Lenovo, Motorola or through an online retailer.

Business phones often aren’t expected to be cheap, and the ThinkPhone isn’t. At almost £900 in the UK, and the same number in dollars in the USA, that’s more than a 256GB Apple iPhone 14 and slightly less than the iPhone 14 Plus.

Alongside the phone, Motorola has designed a wireless charging stand, but the pricing for that accessory isn’t currently available.

Lenovo ThinkPhone by Motorola

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)
  • Value score: 4/5

Lenovo ThinkPhone design

  • Thin and lightweight
  • Rugged without rubber plugs
  • Narrow screen border

When the term ‘rugged’ is used for a phone. It is normal to expect chunky and heavy designs that look destined for life on a building site or farm. The ThinkPhone isn’t remotely like that, yet it still achieves the same drop standards and waterproofing as those with industrial styling.

Weighing only 188.5g, this is half the mass of a typical rugged Chinese phone and should easily fit inside a jacked or even a trouser pocket.

Yet, it still has a 6.6-inch display, is dust and waterproof according to IP68 without rubber plugs, and it can handle being dropped 1.5m.

However, there are a few caveats about the robust side of this design that Motorola placed in the copious notes on its product page.

These include the fact that liquid damage isn’t covered by the warranty and that the water immersion of 1.5m for up to 30 minutes is only for fresh water and not the ocean. And, that last detail explains why the camera has all manner of photographic modes, but underwater photography isn’t one of them.

The button layout is predictably Android, with the power and volume controls on the right and a user-customisable button on the left. We should complement Motorola on the user-assignable button, as we’ve seen plenty of implementations that weren’t as flexible as the one in the ThinkPhone.

The SIM slot isn’t on the left side but on the bottom next to the USB-C port. The phone accepts Nano-sized SIMs but has no place for a MicroSD card.

Given how new this design is and the cutting-edge technology in it, that it didn’t use eSIMs or have any MicroSD card reader was disappointing.

Lenovo ThinkPhone by Motorola

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

The camera cluster is on the top left, and it stands proud of the flat underside of the phone, causing it to rock when placed on a flat surface. The flat base is designed to make charging the ThinkPhone wirelessly easier, but the camera cluster does the complete opposite.

One other design curiosity with the ThinkPhone is that the screen has a very narrow border minimising the chassis of the phone noticeably. As nice as this looks, we had a few occasions when the phone didn’t react to a finger press. We eventually realised that another fingertip had inadvertently made contact with the screen due to the thin border, which interfered with the touch sensor.

For those curious, the fingerprint reader is embedded in the screen, making it equally accessible for right and left-handed owners.

Once we realised this, it was relatively easy to counter, but a new owner might think the phone isn’t working correctly and send it back.

Lenovo ThinkPhone by Motorola

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

Design score: 4/5

Lenovo ThinkPhone hardware

  • Ultra powerhouse
  • Amazing camera specs
  • Modest battery size

The Lenovo ThinkPhone that was sent to us for review came with the following hardware:
CPU: Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1
GPU: Adreno 730
Storage: 256GB
Screen: 6.6-inch pOLED 144Hz HDR10+
Resolution: 1080 x 2400 FHD+ (402ppi)
SIM: Dual Nano SIM
Weight: 188.5g
Dimensions: 158.76 x 74.38 x 8.26 mm
Rugged Spec: IP68, IP69K and MIL-STD-810H
Rear cameras: 50MP Sensor, 13MP ultrawide
Front camera: 32MP Sensor (wide)
Networking: WiFi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3
Comms: 2G, 3G, LTE, 4G, 5G
OS: Android 13
Battery: 5000 mAh 

With Chinese phone makers pressing more powerful SoCs into their rugged designs from MediaTek, the Qualcomm SoC in the ThinkPhone takes phone performance to a whole new level.

The details of how powerful the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 is are further documented in the performance section, but this is easily the most powerful phone this reviewer has tested.

What makes it so powerful is the tri-cluster core arrangement, headed by a single Cortex-X2 core that runs at a blistering 3.0GHz. To that headline act are added three fast Cortex-A710 cores at 2.5GHz, and the final cluster has four efficiency Corex-A510 at 1.8GHz.

The supporting GPU is an Adreno 730, a notch up from that used in the Snapdragon 888 and 865. The icing on this architectural cake is that the SoC connects to 3.2GHz LPDDR5 memory, with 8GB in this model.

That power level will eat most phone tasks for breakfast, but it’s also critical in the camera functions that require that performance.

Lenovo ThinkPhone by Motorola

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

Another standout choice in this phone is the pOLED display technology that’s rated for HDR10+ presentation. The natural resolution of 1080 x 2400 allows for 1080p video to be fully shown and allows extra pixels for the interface.

The quality of this panel is remarkably high, but it would all be just window dressing if the video encryption technology wasn’t onboard to allow the best streaming quality. Thankfully this phone, unlike so many others, does support Widevine L1, meaning that streaming Netflix, Disney+, or Amazon should result in the best quality images with a good connection.

The ThinkPhone is one of the few phones that is HDR10+, Amazon HDR Playback, and YouTube HDR Playback certified that we’ve seen.

The review phone came with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, but it may be that Motorola will make versions of the ThinkPhone with 128Gb or 512GB depending on demand. Memory can be bumped to 12GB by subverting some of the storage into what appears to be RAM to the system, a feature we’ve seen on Android 12 phones.

Other hardware features include dual Dolby Atmos capable speakers, WiFi 6E networking, and 5G comms.

There are only blemishes on this hardware tour de force, and those are the lack of any support for a MicroSD card and that it doesn’t support eSIMs.

Lenovo ThinkPhone by Motorola

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)
  • Hardware score: 5/5

Lenovo ThinkPhone cameras

  • Rear cameras: 50MP f/1.8 primary, 13MP f/2.2 ultrawide, 2MP, f/2.4, (depth)
    Front camera: 32MP f/2.5 (wide)

Lenovo ThinkPhone by Motorola

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

With so many cameras using the Samsung HM2 108MP sensor, it's refreshing to see one that goes for fewer pixels and instead focuses on the delivery of high quality images and video.

The best video resolution we’ve seen from the HM2 is 4K, but the sensor on the ThinkPhone (and we believe it is an Omnivision OV50A) offers 8K at 30fps, 4K at 60fps and slow-motion video of up to 960 fps for 1080p captures. And, its gyro-EIS stabilised to help with getting those smooth shots.

For portrait work, the camera can use Phase detection autofocus (PDAF) to keep the objective in focus while allowing the background to blur. And there is also a continuous shooting mode that’s ideal for getting sporting events or similar.

But even without the special modes, and there are plenty, the results from this camera are excellent, almost irrespective of lighting conditions.

The output is almost certainly the result of a four-way pixel binning algorithm that reduces chromatic aberrations and clarity but still manages images of a good resolution.

And, for those wanting the very best results, it can shoot in RAW mode.

Overall, the camera on the ThinkPhone is excellent, and the photo application has, with a few small exceptions, got all the special modes and manual controls for those that use them.

Camera samples

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Picture taken with the Lenovo ThinkPhone

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)
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Pictures taken with the Lenovo ThinkPhone by Motorola

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Pictures taken with the Lenovo ThinkPhone by Motorola

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Pictures taken with the Lenovo ThinkPhone by Motorola

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Pictures taken with the Lenovo ThinkPhone by Motorola

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Pictures taken with the Lenovo ThinkPhone by Motorola

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Pictures taken with the Lenovo ThinkPhone by Motorola

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Pictures taken with the Lenovo ThinkPhone by Motorola

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Pictures taken with the Lenovo ThinkPhone by Motorola

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Pictures taken with the Lenovo ThinkPhone by Motorola

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Pictures taken with the Lenovo ThinkPhone by Motorola

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Pictures taken with the Lenovo ThinkPhone by Motorola

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Pictures taken with the Lenovo ThinkPhone by Motorola

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)
  • Camera score: 4/5

Lenovo ThinkPhone performance

  • Benchmark breaking performance
  • Game capable SoC

This is how the Lenovo ThinkPhone performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

Geekbench: 1314 (single-core); 4259 (multi-core); 6357 (OpenCL)
PCMark (Work 3.0): 16474
Passmark: 16535
Passmark CPU: 8080
3DMark Wild Life Extreme: 2840
GFXBench Aztec Ruins OpenGL: 1080p Offscreen 117fps, 1440p Offscreen 45fps, 4K Onscreen 21fps.
GFXBench Aztec Ruins Vulkan: 1080p Offscreen 126fps, 1440p Offscreen 48fps, 4K Onscreen 22fps.

Having an SoC fail to run a test is usually down to a missing feature, but with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, several of our standard benchmarks refused to execute because it was ‘Maxed Out’. When trying to run Slingshot and Wild Life on 3DMark, the benchmark declared that “Your Motorola ThinkPhone is too powerful for this test”. And, the only 3DMark bench we managed to run successfully was Wild Life Extreme.

As a result of these issues, we’ve included a selection of GFXBench results to represent better the performance envelope that the ThinkPhone is capable.

This phone strongly suggests that we need a whole new slew of testing tools for phones because the performance of the new Snapdragon SoCs is on a whole new level.

However, Qualcomm also has the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 with its Adreno 740 GPU that has been seen previously in the Samsung Galaxy S23 and the Xiaomi 13. Tests on those devices show that the Gen 2 and Adreno 740 silicon is marginally faster than Gen 1 and Adreno 730 combination.

Unless you already have a Samsung S23 or an iPhone 14, the speed and power of the ThinkPhone should impress you.

  • Performance score: 5/5

Lenovo ThinkPhone battery

  • Decent 5000 mAh capacity
  • 68W Fast charging
  • 15W Wireless charging

As rugged phones go, 5000 mAh is a modest amount of battery capacity, and realistically the most you can expect from this platform is a couple of working days of use.

But because of the modest-for-a-rugged-phone battery capacity and the 68W charging from the included TurboPower charger, charging is rapid, and you are soon ready to go.

Alternatively, for those that like to charge overnight, the Qi-compliant 15W wireless charging will work equally well and saves the USB-C port from wearing out.

The only aspect of the battery and charging of the ThinkPhone that is mildly disconcerting is how warm the phone can become when rapidly charging over USB. It doesn’t get excessively hot, but it is noticeable when you pick it up.

While all batteries do heat up charging, we’d be wary of this one if it suddenly started to get any warmer than normal.

There is a balance here that Motorola is making about keeping the ThinkPhone light and thin and having enough battery to operate for long enough. The ThinkPhone should get you through two working days unless you play games, but it isn’t enough time for an extended adventure holiday or hiking expedition.

  • Battery score: 4/5

Lenovo ThinkPhone by Motorola

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

The hardware in the ThinkPhone is exceptional, and when combined with management tools like Moto OEMConfig and Moto Device Manage, this becomes more than just another Android phone.

There are a few minor issues, like the lack of a MicroSD card slot, but mostly the phone's specification is excellent.

More of an issue is the price because being more expensive than Apple isn’t a notoriety that most phone makers wish to have. With the high quality of the hardware and software platform, we appreciate that Lenovo sees the ThinkPhone as a premium solution. But more aggressive pricing might have been a better choice as it would have attracted more customers not having a business pay for their phone.

Lenovo ThinkPhone score card

Should I buy a Lenovo ThinkPhone?

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Ulefone Power Armor 18T review
1:19 pm | March 8, 2023

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

Two-minute review

In recent months we’ve covered the Ulefone Armour 16 Pro, 17 Pro and here now, the 18T.

It would be easy to conclude that the numerical progression was a ladder of performance specifications, but that would be an oversimplification.

There aren’t many similarities between this and the 16 Pro and the 17 Pro, although the 18T does borrow some features from its predecessor.

For those curious, there is a cut-down Power Armor 18 and also a new Power Armor 19 design, but the 18T is still the flagship of this series, in our opinion.

Where the 16 Pro was a relatively inexpensive design with an underpowered SoC, the 18T is a high-powered solution with a premium phone price tag.

With a retail cost of $570, phone buyers expect plenty for their money, and the 18T has the best specification we’ve seen from Ulefone so far. 

Where the 19 uses the less expensive MediaTek G99 SoC, the 18 and 18T use the 5G capable MediaTek Dimensity 900 SoC, delivering more processing power and double the GPU performance of the G99.

The choice to go with the Dimensity 900 is probably more about 5G coms than anything else, but having this power is also helpful for the FLIR thermal imaging sensor.

We’ve seen thermal imaging before on the Cat S63 Pro, and this is the same FLIR 3.5 that is on that phone. Very often, rugged phone makers use the cheaper FLIR 2.5 sensor, which was on the CAT S60, Ulefone Armor 11T 5G and Blackview BV9800 Pro, to mention just a few.

On this phone, the newer FLIR 3.5 sensor offers a better resolution, achieving greater detail and clarity in the images it captures.

The other notable feature of this design is that it has the same accessory port as the 17 Pro, and through that, there are various specialist accessories available, including an endoscope.

When you combine the ability to detect temperature distribution and having an endoscope to look at difficult-to-reach areas, the 18T starts to look like it might be ideal for those in automotive repair or similar businesses.

The downside to having such a powerful SoC and feature set is that this is the most expensive rugged design that Ulefone makes. The 18T is priced as a premium phone, and the customer mostly gets premium parts for their investment.

As this is most likely to be a second phone for most customers, is that just too much to be a practical consideration?.

Ulefone Armor 18T

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

Ulefone Armor 18T price and availability

  • How much does it cost? $570/ £620/ $AU $880
  • When is it out? It is available now
  • Where can you get it? You can get it in most regions direct from AliExpress or on

In addition to the phone, Ulefone has a selection of accessories that can be bundled. A case increases the cost by another $25, a Wireless charging base by $25, an Endoscope by $50, and a 1000x Digital Microscope is another $50. The cheapest upgrade is a tempered glass screen protector that costs just $10 when bought with the phone.

Considering that the Power Armor 16 Pro costs just $160, the official $699.99 that Ulefone is asking for the Power Armor 18T does seem a bit shocking.

However, if you don’t get it directly from Ulefone and are willing to wait for delivery from AliExpress, it can be had for around $570.

Not available on currently, but we found it on for UK customers for £619. However, that’s a good £120 more than AliExpress charges for the same phone.

Ulefone Armor 18T

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)
  • Value score: 4/5

Ulefone Armor 18T design

  • Solid construction
  • By-the-numbers buttons
  • Accessory Port

As rugged phone designs go, the 18T is rather stylish, avoiding some of the travel case aesthetics emblazoned on other products.

By bevelling the edge all around, the 18T is easy to pick up, and the angled slots on the underside make it easy to hold even when wet.

To achieve waterproofing sufficient for submersion, two rubber plugs protect the USB-C port on the bottom edge and a 3.5mm audio jack on the top.

You can avoid disturbing the USB-C one if you use wireless charging, and the audio jack one can also be avoided if you have Bluetooth headphones.

The button selection and positions are what we’ve come to expect on rugged Chinese designs, with a combined thumbprint reader/power button and volume rocker on the right and a user-customisable button together with the SIM tray on the left.

The SIM tray can take either two NANO SIMs or a single SIM and a MicroSD card, which isn’t ideal.

Ulefone Armor 18T

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

The one special external feature that it shares with the 17 Pro is an accessory pogo-pin style connector, designated as the uSmart connector, on the bottom left. Previously we criticised this aspect because attaching an accessory requires the removal of a screw that can be easily misplaced.

This mechanism is implemented exactly the same on the 18T, and it makes the likelihood that once an accessory is attached, like the endoscope or microscope, it will be left connected permanently. This needs a redesign so accessories can be snapped on and off easily and without needing a screwdriver.

Our only other comment about the design is related to the camera cluster, as it is positioned to the very left on the back. For those used to not having the camera in the middle, this is probably fine, but we did have some issues with fingers straying into the shots.

Overall, the accessory port aside, the design of the 18T is good, and it sells the go-anywhere ethos of this device admirably.

At just over 400g, it’s also one of the lighter designs, especially when compared to some of the big battery designs we’ve seen recently.

Ulefone Armor 18T

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

Design score: 4/5

Ulefone Armor 18T hardware

  • High spec platform
  • Decent battery size
  • Endoscope option

The UleFone Power Armor 18T that was sent to us for review came with the following hardware:

CPU: MediaTek Dimensity 900
GPU: Arm Mali-G68 MC4
Storage: 256GB
Screen: 6.58-inch IPS LCD
Resolution: 1080 x 2408 FHD+
SIM: Dual Nano SIM, or single SIM and microSDXC
Weight: 409g
Dimensions: 175.2 x 83.4 x 18.8 mm
Rugged Spec: IP68, IP69K and MIL-STD-810H
Rear cameras: 108MP Samsung HM2, 5 MP Samsung S5K5E9 Macro sensor, FLIR Lepton 3.5 Thermal camera, 5MP Auxiliary Imaging Camera
Front camera: 32MP Samsung S5KGD1 Sensor (wide)
Networking: WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.0
Comms: 2G, 3G, LTE, 4G, 5G
OS: Android 12
Battery: 9600 mAh

There is a schism developing in rugged phone designs, where the lower budget phones are using the Helio G series SoCs, and then devices like the 18T are moving to the next level with the Dimensity chips, all made by MediaTek.

The 18T uses the Dimensity 900, an SoC with a great combination of performance and efficiency cores blended with a capable GPU and 5G comms.

While this is great compared to the Helio G99, for example, it doesn’t quite meet the performance levels of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G, but it is substantially better than the 765G.

In short, for most users, the 18T has more than enough power for the majority of applications and provides a smooth user experience. To make moving between apps, the 18T comes with a very healthy 12GB of RAM, and this can be expanded by another 5GB borrowed from storage by enabling ‘memory expansion’ mode in the settings.

The screen is a good quality 6.58-inch IPS panel with a natural resolution of 1080 x 2408, a size that Ulefone decided to market as FHD+, despite that being 2220 x 1080 pixels.

We’ve seen many odd screen resolutions recently aimed at providing extra vertical pixels to accommodate the inclusion of the forward camera or Android interface elements.

It’s enough to show 1080p videos without borders. If the software has been configured to offer that in ‘full screen’ mode, it can also operate at 120Hz.

Ulefone Armor 18T

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

With rugged phones, battery life is usually of interest to the customers, and here Ulefone gave the 18T a decent 9600 mAh of capacity. Some phones around have more than twice this amount of battery, but they’re much heavier and less convenient to carry.

Compared with other Ulefone designs, this is more than the 17 Pro offers (5380 mAh) and identical to that in the 16 Pro.

The quoted standby is 524 hours, 39 hours of calling, 22 hours of video and 15 hours of gaming. Those numbers are fractionally down on those of the 16 Pro, but the processing power in the 18T is substantially greater.

This capacity is enough battery for at least four days of use, and with curation, a week is a plausible objective.

But what elevates this design is that Ulefone gave this phone 66W charging, allowing it to recover 52% of its battery capacity in 30 minutes. Wireless charging is four times slower.

Using the OTG technology in the USB-C port, the 18T can supply up to 5W charging to other devices, which is useful for earbuds and other chargeable accessories.

We should also mention that the WiFi 6 support is much better than WiFi 5 if you have a router that supports the newer technology. The dual Band GPS is also very accurate, but the real stand-out technology in the 18T is the cameras that we’ll cover next.

Ulefone Armor 18T

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)
  • Hardware score: 5/5

Ulefone Armor 18T cameras

  • 108MP sensor on the rear
  • Wide-angle, macro and night vision
  • Four cameras in total

Ulefone Armor 18T

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

The Ulefone Power Armor 18T has four cameras:

  • Rear cameras: 108MP Main Samsung HM2, 5MP Macro Samsung S5K5E9 sensor, FLIR Lepton 3.5 Thermal camera.
    Front camera: 32MP Samsung S5KGD1 (wide)

The HM2 is a very popular choice for rugged designs now, as it’s a massive 108MP 1/1,52” sensor that includes Samsung’s ISOCELL Plus and Smart-ISO technology.

It is possible to take massive 108MP images if you are prepared to forego any special modes. But where this sensor really shines is when you drop to 12MP mode. In this reduced resolution, the sensor uses 9-in-1 pixel binning technology to effectively enhance the sensor pixels from 0.7μm to 2.1 μm, providing remarkably clear and colour-accurate results.

In this phone, it can also take 4K video, although all video is restricted to 30fps, sadly.

Alongside that sensor is a 5MP microlens camera that has a 60x super magnification mode. Our only reservation about this feature is that it is rather difficult to use if the item you wish to look at in detail isn’t flat, as it can’t autofocus. Our examples include a couple of macro shots, one of a coin and the other of a banknote, and the coin was much more difficult to achieve.

However, the flagship camera feature on this phone is the FLIR Lepton 3.5 sensor, and it has a separate application to grab thermal imaging data as photos or videos.

It can also take thermal time-lapses if you need to see how the temperature of something changes over time. There is even a feature that allows the FLIR sensor to stream a live video over YouTube, which might be useful for remotely monitoring an experiment.

While not the most important part, the front 32MP camera is decent quality and can capture 1080p video

Overall, the camera side of the 18T has some remarkably strong aspects, and the results are usually excellent.

Camera samples

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Photos taken with the Ulefone Armor 18T

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Photos taken with the Ulefone Armor 18T

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Photos taken with the Ulefone Armor 18T

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Photos taken with the Ulefone Armor 18T

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Photos taken with the Ulefone Armor 18T

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Photos taken with the Ulefone Armor 18T

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Photos taken with the Ulefone Armor 18T

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Photos taken with the Ulefone Armor 18T

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Photos taken with the Ulefone Armor 18T

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Photos taken with the Ulefone Armor 18T

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Photos taken with the Ulefone Armor 18T

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Photos taken with the Ulefone Armor 18T

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Photos taken with the Ulefone Armor 18T

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Photos taken with the Ulefone Armor 18T

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Photos taken with the Ulefone Armor 18T

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Macro images taken with the Ulefone 18T

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Macro images taken with the Ulefone 18T

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)
  • Camera score: 4/5

Ulefone Armor 18T performance

  • Game capable SoC
  • Lacks Widevine L1 encryption
  • Power and efficiency

This is how the Ulefone Armor 18T performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

Geekbench: 688 (single-core); 2090 (multi-core); 2622 (OpenCL)
PCMark (Work 3.0): 11250
Passmark: 10741
Passmark CPU: 5244
3DMark Slingshot: 5135 (OGL)
3DMark Slingshot Extreme: 4041 (OGL); 3791 (Vulkan)
3DMark Wild Life: 2198

We’ve seen these numbers on the Doogee V30 that uses the same SoC, and they looked very good then.

It eclipses the Helio G99-powered phones and is remarkably close to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 chips used in the Nokia X30 and Huawei Honor X9a.

Octo-core SoCs are usually strong at multi-thread tests but less impressive at single-task challenges. But in the Dimensity 900, the dual 2.5GHz Cortex-A78 performance cores deliver excellent single-thread performance. And, for power efficiency, it has

six lower-clocked Cortex-A55 cores built to achieve excellent results in multi-threaded scenarios.

Compared to the MediaTek Helio G99 phones like its Power Amor 17 Pro brother, the 18T is around 30% faster at single-thread tests and up to 25-30% better at multi-threaded.

Probably the biggest difference is created by the Mali-G68 MC4 GPU,  as it is at least 40% faster than the Mali-G57 MC2 used in the G99 designs and up to 80% in the 3DMark Wild Life benchmark.

This makes the Dimensity 900 in the 18T much more suitable for gaming and smooth video playback of even 4K files. However, this phone doesn’t support Widevine L1 encryption, and the best resolution you will get from Netflix and Disney+ will be 480p, unfortunately.

  • Performance score: 4/5

Ulefone Armor 18T battery

  • Decent 9600 mAh capacity
  • 66W Fast charging
  • 15W Wireless charging

People expect a rugged phone to have a decent battery capacity since the great outdoors doesn’t usually have power sockets on each tree.

The built-in lithium-ion polymer cell offering 9600mAh is enough for a weeklong trek with some restraint and last at least four days of normal use.

That is the same capacity as the 16 Pro, but given this device's performance and 5G capability, it doesn’t quite go as far when used in the 18T. The 524 hours of standby is just four hours less than the 16 Pro manages, but the talk time drops more dramatically from 52 hours to 39 hours, confusingly.

But conversely, the 16 Pro only had 18W charging (10W on the pogo pin base), whereas the 18T has 66W over USB-C and 15W wireless charging.

That makes it much easier to get the 18T fully charged, and overnight it can happily use wireless charging, something the 16 Pro didn’t offer.

For those wanting a massive battery, like the 22000 mAh on the Doogee V Max or Unihertz Tank, the 9600 mAh in the 18T might seem relatively modest. But it's more than enough for most jobs, and including it didn’t make this phone excessively heavy.

  • Battery score: 4/5

Ulefone Armor 18T

(Image credit: Mark Pickavance)

There is plenty to like in the Ulefone Power Armor 18T, as this is easily the most impressive rugged phone from this brand we’ve seen so far.

It’s well made, able to take the knocks and environment, has enough battery for days away from civilisation and has some remarkably high-quality sensors.

Our only concern is that in adding all the wonderful features that Ulefone included that they’ve elevated the price to a point where it’s beyond the budget of many 2nd phone buyers.

If you can budget this much for a phone specifically for wilderness trips, working on a construction site, or vehicle repair, then the Ulefone Power Armor 18T is worth some proper consideration.

Ulefone Armor 18T score card

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