CPU: Intel 12th Core i5 12450H, 8C/12T, up to 4.4 GHz Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics (48 execution units, up to 1.20 GHz) RAM: DDR4 3200MHz, SO-DIMMxxx2, max 64GB Storage: M.2 2280 PCIe 3.0, Up to 2TB, supports PCIe 4.0 Rear Ports: USB3.2 (Gen1x1 5Gbps)*3, USB2.0x1, HDMIx2, 2.5G Giga LAN (RJ45)xx1 Front Ports: Type-C (DP/DATA)x1, 3.5mm headphone jackx1 Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2 Audio Output: Via HDMI, 3.5mm headphone jack Camera: Not specified Size: 106mmx115mmx44mm OS installed: Windows 11 Pro, supports Linux
The GMKtec M3 mini PC, featuring an Intel 12th Core i5 12450H processor, presents itself as a powerful yet budget-friendly mini PC. Priced at $479 for the 1TB HDD and 32GB RAM configuration, it's one of the best mini PCs we've tested if you're after great value for both professional and home users. With an 8-core, 12-thread setup and a max turbo frequency of 4.4 GHz, the M3 is well-equipped to handle a range of tasks from Microsoft Office to moderate gaming.
Performance-wise, the GMKtec unit shows solid results. In the Crystal Disk benchmark, it achieves read and write speeds of 3501 MB/s and 3195 MB/s, respectively; this is impressively quick data transfer, and 1TB is decent enough capacity for everyday use. Its GeekBench scores, with 2108 in single-core and 7684 in multi-core tests, demonstrate its capability to handle everyday and multitasking demands with ease. The Compute score of 8805, though not top-of-the-line, is respectable for a mini PC in this price range and will enable video editing and some light gaming.
In gaming benchmarks, the GMKtec M3 delivers moderate performance. The Fire Strike scores, including an overall score of 2902 and a graphics score of 3085, suggest that while it can handle less demanding games, it may struggle with high-end gaming. This is further evidenced by the Time Spy scores, where it achieved an overall score of 986 and a graphics score of 859. The Wild Life score of 7172 and a Windows Experience Index of 8.1 corroborate its suitability for casual gaming and multimedia tasks.
One of the standout features of the M3 is its support for triple screen display, offering versatility for workspace setups. Additionally, its array of ports, including USB 3.2 and 2.5G Ethernet, enhances its connectivity options, making it a suitable choice for both office and home use. Its design allows for DIY upgrades, adding to its appeal for users who may want to expand its capabilities in the future or buy the barebones version.
The GMKtec M3 is a great option for anyone seeking a mini PC that balances performance, upgradeability, and affordability. Its solid performance in standard benchmarks, combined with its triple display support and ample connectivity options, make it a practical choice for a variety of computing needs. While it may not cater to high-end gaming demands, its overall package offers great value, especially for users looking for a compact solution for everyday computing tasks.
GMKtec M3: Price & availability
The GMKtec M3 Mini PC, with a 1TB HDD and 32GB RAM, is competitively priced at $479, offering a cost-effective solution for those in need of a reliable, high-performing mini PC. Available directly from GMKtec, this model is also accessible through various other retailers, providing buyers with multiple purchasing options.
Its affordability, paired with the powerful Intel 12th Core i5 and ample storage options, make the M3 an attractive proposition for both professional and personal use, and other configurations can be spec'd to your requirements.
GMKtec M3: Design & build
The GMKtec M3 Mini PC boasts an elegant and compact design with dimensions of 105mm x 115mm x 44mm. The silver metal body feels and looks premium with the white top, making it look a little like a compact first-generation Mac Mini.
The mounting options for this Mini PC are versatile and space-efficient. Its compact size allows it to comfortably sit on a desk without occupying much space. Additionally, the integrated mounting provisions on the back facilitate easy attachment to a wall or various types of brackets and mounts, offering flexibility in positioning and saving valuable desk space.
The front of the M3 maintains a clean, minimalistic look, with only the power button and two USB Type-A ports. The sides of the unit feature ventilation slits that contribute to its cooling system, an essential aspect given the machine's size and power. The rear is arranged with additional ventilation, two HDMI ports, one Type-C USB, two more Type-A USB ports, audio out, and a network port.
Upgradability is a key strength of the M3. By simply removing four screws from the base, you can gain access to the internals, where RAM and SSD slots are readily available for upgrades. This ease of access will be of particular interest if you opt for the barebones version or plan future enhancements.
GMKtec M3: Features
At the heart of the GMKtech M3's performance is the Intel 12th Generation Core i5-12450H processor, an 8-core, 12-thread that achieves a max turbo frequency of 4.4 GHz, backed by a substantial 12 MB of Intel Smart Cache. This processor is tuned for efficiency, with a TDP of 45W, ensuring a blend of power draw and processing power.
Graphically, the M3 is equipped with Intel UHD Graphics featuring 48 execution units that can reach dynamic frequencies up to 1.20 GHz, providing enough to handle most graphic tasks and support triple-screen displays, which is handy for creatives as well as anyone working on office-based tasks. The machine's graphic outputs are capable of 4K resolution at 60Hz across dual HDMI ports and a DisplayPort 1.4.
The system's memory and storage configurations feature dual SO-DIMM slots supporting up to 64GB of DDR4 memory at 3200 MHz; in our review sample, the machine has come equipped with 32GB, which is more than enough for most tasks. Storage comes in the form of the ultra-fast M.2 2280 slot with PCIe 3.0 interface, compatible with up to 2TB of NVMe SSD storage.
The GMKtec M3 comes equipped with the latest Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2 for a wide range of connections. Wired connectivity is also possible through the 2.5G Ethernet port.
When it comes to upgradeability, the bottom cover is easily removable, secured by four screws, providing access to the RAM and SSD slots.
The cooling system is also impressive, with the large venting along the sides of the case and internally dual copper heat pipes. This cooling mechanism is designed to sustain performance while keeping operational noise to a minimum.
GMKtec M3: Performance
Crystal Disk Read: 3501 Crystal Disk Write: 3195 GeekBench CPU Single: 2108 GeekBench CPU Multi: 7684 GeekBench Compute: 8805 PC Mark: 4945 CineBench CPU Multi: 1505 CineBench CPU Single: 1528 Fire Strike Overall: 2902 Fire Strike Graphics: 3085 Fire Strike Physics: 18520 Fire Strike Combined: 1071 Time Spy Overall: 986 Time Spy Graphics: 859 Time Spy CPU: 6148 Wild Life: 7172 Windows Experience: 8.1
The GMKtec M3 Mini PC powers through everyday computing tasks such as office applications, web browsing, and 4K video playback. But if you were looking for the best photo editing PC or the best video editing PC - and one that really saves on space - the M3 proved itself as an excellent performer here.
Its capability extends impressively to more demanding software like Photoshop and DaVinci Resolve, where the Intel i5-12450H's multi-threading capability comes to the fore, managing complex image processing and video editing tasks.
The test results echo this operational competence. With a PC Mark score of 4945, it demonstrates a strong capacity for general productivity tasks. The GeekBench scores — 2108 for single-core and 7684 for multi-core — further confirm its ability to handle a variety of workloads smoothly. For creative professionals, this translates to reliable performance in applications such as Adobe Premiere Pro, where processing speed is essential for rendering and exporting video content. An attached storage drive is available for larger files and projects.
However, the GMKtec M3's limitations become apparent with graphically intensive gaming. While the Intel UHD Graphics (48EU) can support light gaming, its performance isn't quite up to par for the latest AAA titles. Games like Red Dead Redemption II and Cyberpunk 2097 require more graphical horsepower than the M3 can muster, as indicated by the Fire Strike and Time Spy scores. The graphics scores of 3085 in Fire Strike and 859 in Time Spy highlight the GPU's limitations in rendering complex gaming graphics at high resolutions.
Nevertheless, by adjusting the game settings — lowering the resolution and effects — the M3 makes mid-weight gaming possible, as reflected by the Wild Life score of 7172. This suggests the mini PC can provide an enjoyable gaming experience with older or less demanding titles.
The M3 is an impressive performer for productivity and creative software, making it an excellent day-to-day work machine. Its performance in Microsoft Office is excellent, and its handling of creative applications like Photoshop and Premiere Pro is also good. However, you do have to wait when rendering in the latter. The limitations in gaming can be mitigated with settings adjustments, making it suitable for casual gaming rather than a dedicated gaming setup.
Should you buy the GMKtec M3?
The GMKtec M3 Mini PC is an impressive Mini PC, capable of handling day-to-day tasks and proving its power with processor-intensive applications like Photoshop and Adobe Premiere Pro. As an ultra-compact alternative to some of the best laptops for photo editing or the best video editing laptops, it's a capable if slow performer. The mini PC's Intel i5-12450H processor delivers reliable performance for productivity and creative tasks, although it stumbles with high-end gaming. Lighter games run smoothly, but titles like Red Dead Redemption II demand compromises in settings.
Overall, the M3 is a solid performer for professional and general use, with limitations for advanced gaming. It's an ideal workhorse for those who need a potent, all-around PC in a small footprint.
Value: Exceptional value for performance and features offered. (4/5)
Design: Sleek, compact, and minimalistic with efficient cooling. (4/5)
Features: Well-equipped for multitasking and casual gaming. (4.5/5)
Performance: Strong in productivity tasks, moderate in gaming. (4/5)
Total: A solid, all-around mini PC at a great price. (4/5)
CPU: AMD Ryzen™ 7 7840HS, 8 Cores/16 Threads, up to 5.1 GHz Graphics: AMD Radeon™ 780M RAM: DDR5 Dual channel, upgradable to 96GB Storage: Dual M.2 2280 PCIe4.0 SSD slots Rear Ports: Dual RJ45 2.5G Ethernet, USB3.2 Gen2 Type-A, USB4, Oculink, HDMI2.1, DP1.4 Front Ports: USB3.2 Gen2 Type-A, USB4, Audio Jack, Clear CMOS Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5 Audio Output: HDMI, DP, Audio Jack Camera: None Size: 130mmx125mmx62mm OS installed: Windows 11 Home (64-bit)
The Minisforum UM780 XTX is a mid-range mini PC that packs a significant punch, courtesy of its AMD Ryzen 7 7840HS processor and AMD Radeon 780M graphics. With an affordable price-tag, it stands out for its blend of performance, connectivity, and innovative features. The addition of the OCulink interface for external graphics support, alongside its efficient cooling system, makes it a versatile machine suitable for demanding gaming, creative work, and general productivity.
We've tested out loads of the best mini PCs, and the UM780 XTX certainly catches the eye. It sports a sleek, compact design with a magnetic top cover that allows for personalisation. Its versatility extends to mounting options, including vertical and wall mounting, making it a fit for any workspace. The full-metal build aids in cooling, and its internal components are easily accessible for upgrades.
This mini PC targets gamers and creatives - making it a fair alternative to some of the best video editing laptops - highlighted by its OCulink interface that enables significant graphics enhancements via an external GPU. The heart of this machine is the AMD Ryzen™ 7 7840HS processor, boasting 8 cores and a 5.1GHz max clock speed, making it adept at handling tasks like video editing and 3D rendering. The AMD Radeon™ 780M GPU is suitable for graphic-intensive tasks, including gaming and creative applications like Photoshop and Adobe Premiere Pro if you're trying to figure out whether to opt for the best laptop for photo editing or a mini PC.
DDR5 memory, along with PCIe 4.0 SSD slots, provides ultra-fast data access and storage, which is essential for handling large files in creative tasks. The cooling system, featuring liquid metal CPU material and an intelligent fan, ensures smooth operation under load, which is crucial for long gaming sessions or heavy-duty applications.
Dual 2.5G RJ45 ports offer fast, stable network connections, vital for collaborative work and online gaming. The metal casing not only enhances the mini PC's aesthetics but also plays a crucial role in heat dissipation.
The UM780 XTX excels in performance across various benchmarks, indicating its capability in office applications, graphic design, photo editing, and gaming. It effortlessly handles Adobe Photoshop tasks with RAW files from high-end cameras like the Canon EOS R5 C and Sony A7 IV. Video editing with RAW Lite footage is smooth, though additional SSD storage is recommended for large video files.
In gaming, the mini PC performs well at high framerates and can be further boosted with an external GPU through the OCulink interface. Benchmark results, including a Crystal Disk Read of 4747 and a GeekBench CPU Multi of 12139, underscore its robust capabilities.
The Minisforum UM780 XTX is an excellent choice for professionals and gamers who need a compact yet powerful machine. Its versatility, performance, and design make it suitable for a range of tasks, from office work to creative projects and gaming.
The UM780 XTX redefines the potential of mini PCs, offering a powerful, versatile, and expandable solution. Its premium price is justified by its capabilities, making it a standout choice for those who need compact power and versatility in their computing needs.
Minisforum UM780 XTX: Price & availability
WIth 1TB SSD and 32GB RAM model, the Minisforum UM780 XTX positions itself as an appealing choice in the mid-range segment of high-end mini PCs. This pricing is quite competitive, especially considering the UM780 XTX's combination of an AMD Ryzen 7 7840HS processor and AMD Radeon 780M graphics, which together deliver desktop-level performance in a compact form.
This blend of power and portability, offered at a reasonable price, makes the UM780 XTX an attractive option for a broad spectrum of users, from professional creatives to gaming enthusiasts. Available for purchase through both the Minisforum website and Amazon.
Minisforum UM780 XTX: Design & build
The Minisforum UM780 XTX boasts a sleek, compact design with a magnetic top cover that enables you to personalise the top with engraved plates. It's a nifty purely antithetic feature that certainly has appeal, especially if you couple this with the XTOOLS P2 or a similar high-end laser engraver.
When it comes to mounting options, this mini PC offers a good amount of versatility, including vertical and wall mounting, fitting neatly into any workspace or desktop. The overall design is slick and high-end with a distinctive design; while not ultra-compact compared with some Mini PCs, it encases an impressive amount of power and expansion options.
When it comes to connectivity, this is where the Minisforum UM780 XTX really stands out, with two Type A and one Type C USB on the front alongside the audio out and CMOS reset. All the main connectors have a good choice of video-out options with HDMI, DPI, and USB 4 alongside two network sockets and two USB Type-A.
With a full metal build that helps to keep things cool when under pressure and the ability to quickly access the inner workings through the top with simple tools and one slightly fiddly to remove and attach cable, this Mini PC offers great performance out of the box, but is designed to be upgradable if you feel the need.
Minisforum UM780 XTX: Features
The Minisforum UM780 XTX is designed to cater to gaming enthusiasts, creative professionals or anyone looking for a Mini PC that has a bit of power. One of its standout features is the OCulink interface, which allows users to connect an external graphics card, significantly boosting the system's graphical capabilities. This makes it a flexible solution for users who may need extra graphical power for high-end gaming or GPU-accelerated tasks such as Premiere Pro (or any of the best Adobe Premiere Pro alternatives for that matter).
At the heart of the UM780 XTX is the AMD Ryzen™ 7 7840HS processor, which boasts 8 cores and 16 threads, with a maximum clock speed reaching an impressive 5.1GHz. This high-performance CPU ensures that the system can handle demanding applications, multitasking, and advanced gaming scenarios with ease. The processor's speed and efficiency are particularly beneficial for tasks that require significant computational power, such as video editing, 3D rendering, and running complex simulations.
Complementing the powerful CPU is the AMD Radeon™ 780M GPU. With its maximum frequency reaching 2700 MHz, it offers substantial graphics processing power. This GPU is well-suited for creative tasks like photo editing in Photoshop, video editing in Premiere Pro or DaVinci Resolve, and using the best graphic design software.
Throughout, it provides smooth rendering and quick previewing capabilities. Essentially, paired with any of the best video editing monitors or the best monitors for graphic design, you'll be an unstoppable creative force. When it comes to gaming, the GPUs are able to handle the latest titles with the option to add an external GPU if you need a little more graphics processing power.
Inside is the dual-channel DDR5 memory support, which, when combined with the system's two M.2 2280 PCIe 4.0 SSD slots, provides exceptionally fast data access and storage speeds, again a feature for both gaming and creative tasks. This configuration is ideal for professionals who deal with large files and require quick data transfer rates, such as video editors working with 4K RAW high-resolution footage or graphic designers handling large design files.
The Minisforum UM780 XTX also boasts an advanced cooling system to maintain optimal performance. The CPU is made of liquid metal material, and the system includes a high-silence intelligent cooling fan. This setup ensures that even under heavy workloads, the device operates smoothly and without overheating. Effective heat dissipation is crucial for maintaining the longevity of the components and ensuring stable performance during extended gaming sessions or while running resource-intensive applications.
Additionally, the dual 2.5G RJ45 ports provide versatile connectivity options, enabling fast data transfer and a stable network connection. This feature is particularly useful for collaborative work environments where quick file sharing and stable internet connections are essential. It also benefits gamers who require a high-speed, lag-free online gaming experience.
Finally, the Minisforum UM780 XTX metal casing not only adds to its aesthetic appeal but also plays a crucial role in heat dissipation, further enhancing the system's cooling efficiency. The durable build quality also means that it's highly portable, making it a great onsite solution for video plugged into an electric power generator or easy to transport for network gaming.
Minisforum UM780 XTX: Performance
Crystal Disk Read: 4747 Crystal Disk Write: 3842 GeekBench CPU Single: 2460 GeekBench CPU Multi: 12139 GeekBench Compute: 33198 PC Mark: 7310 CineBench CPU Multi: 1691 CineBench CPU Single: 1722 Fire Strike Overall: 7719 Fire Strike Graphics: 8377 Fire Strike Physics: 28203 Fire Strike Combined: 2883 Time Spy Overall: 3130 Time Spy Graphics: 2798 Time Spy CPU: 9565 Wild Life: 16725 Windows Experience: 8.2
The performance of the Minisforum UM780 XTX is exceptional, reflecting the quality of the build and hardware specifications. In office environments, this mini PC excels, easily keeping pace with the demands of various software suites. Its swift processing capabilities ensure that applications like Microsoft Office run seamlessly, and you can switch between Word, Excel and other applications without any lag or slowdown. As a space-saving alternative to the best business laptops (and certainly the best business computers), this mini PC is easily ready for business.
When it comes to more demanding tasks like graphic design and photo editing, the UM780 XTX demonstrates that extra level of power. Yes, you will want the best monitor for photo editing for best results. But we found testing with Adobe Photoshop, particularly with RAW image files from high-resolution cameras like the Canon EOS R5 C and Sony A7 IV, the mini PC handles the enhancement of these images singularly and in batch well.
The mini PC's performance extends impressively to video editing as well. Working with RAW Lite footage from the Canon EOS R5 C, the UM780 XTX manages the data-intensive task with relative ease. However, it's worth noting that the built-in storage capacity can fill up quickly when dealing with such high-level video files. Fortunately, the USB Type-C port enables a large SSD storage platform to be attached while maintaining superb transfer speeds.
Gaming on the UM780 XTX is also a good experience, with most games running smoothly at decent framerates, thanks to the combined power of the AMD Ryzen 7 7840HS processor and AMD Radeon 780M GPU.
The integration of the OCulink interface, which allows the connection of an external GPU, helps boost gaming and video rendering. By plugging in an external GPU, you can run games at higher framerates and resolutions.
Should you buy the Minisforum UM780 XTX?
The Minisforum UM780 XTX stands out as a high-performance mini PC suitable for a wide range of applications. From everyday office tasks to graphic-intensive gaming and professional creative work, it offers a level of versatility and power that is rare in compact PC solutions. Not only that, but you can fully customise the look and style of this Mini PC with the addition of the magnetic engraved top plate!
Whether it's seamless multitasking, handling large RAW image files, editing high-resolution video, or enjoying high-end gaming, the UM780 XTX consistently delivers top-notch performance.
Its blend of high-performance components, expandable memory and storage, and versatile connectivity make it a top contender in its class. However, its price point and design might limit its appeal to a niche market of enthusiasts and professionals.
Value: High-end performance at a reasonable price. (4.5/5)
Design: Compact, stylish with a customizable top cover. (4/5)
Features: Advanced technology, expandable, with innovative connectivity. (4.5/5)
Performance: Stellar in both professional and gaming use. (4.5/5)
Total: Powerful, versatile mini PC for diverse applications. (4.5/5)
As we are waiting for the global iQOO 12 series release, the company announced that it's getting rid of the annoying bloatware with the arrival of Funtouch OS 14, based on Android 14. The new version of the software was announced a couple of months ago and even shared a list of devices eligible for the update.
Anyone who has used Funtouch OS knows that iQOO likes to include a set of "Hot Apps" and "Hot Games" with its devices out of the box. With Futnouch OS 14 going forward, there won't be any of those. In other words - iQOO is getting rid of the bloatware.
The king was on his last legs – Symbian once ruled the smartphone world, but the introduction of the iPhone followed by the arrival of Android spelled the end for the platform. However, it would not go gentle into that good night.
Symbian is the core of the OS and there were several user interfaces built on top of it. Series 60 is perhaps the best-known among them – it made its debut with the Nokia 7650, which was not only Nokia’s first camera phone, but also the first mass-market Symbian phone (there were some niche phones before it).
Nokia 7650, the first mass-market Symbian...
I really like the Huawei Watch GT 4. It’s an impressive-looking device with a wide variety of materials and colorways available, and every one of these iterations looks fantastic. The big AMOLED screen’s refresh rate is nice and smooth, colors pop, and the speaker is loud – embarrassingly loud, if you leave workout notifications on during a class.
It’s functional too, with highly accurate metrics. TruSleep tracking was accurate and the metrics in the Huawei Health app were pleasantly detailed, although I was missing some actionable advice on that front. Huawei’s TruSeen 5.5+ algorithm offers great heart rate tracking that extends to workout tracking, too, and the GPS was comparable to the best smartwatches (we tested it against an Apple Watch Ultra 2), so you’ll get great results on runs and rides.
Having said all that, I won’t be using it again. Under normal circumstances, I’d be giving such a watch a glowing review, perhaps even full marks, but it’s languishing on 80% here. The watch itself is fantastic, but it’s impossible to ignore the frustrations that come with it being saddled with Huawei’s baggage.
The limits imposed by the US and every smartphone manufacturer, and Huawei’s refusal to abandon its AppGallery store, which most phones will only support in-browser, means you have a watch that can’t interface with lots of popular apps. Apple Pay, Google Wallet, Spotify, and more are on the no-go list, although others like Strava were fine.
However, if you can get over these flaws, you’ll find a gorgeous watch waiting to be loved. If you already have a Huawei phone and are used to a few workarounds, it’s probably the best smartwatch for you.
Huawei Watch GT 4: Specifications
Huawei Watch GT 4: Price and availability
From £229.99 in the UK
From €249.90 euros in the EU
Unavailable in the US and AU
For starters, let’s address the elephant in the room: Huawei technology is unavailable in the US or Australia, due to ongoing disputes with the Chinese telecoms manufacturer (and the Chinese government) over security concerns.
The UK has removed Huawei devices from its 5G network but hasn’t banned the sale of these devices entirely. The EU still allows Huawei devices to be sold. While UK and European fans can access Huawei tech, some functionality, such as NFC contactless payments, is limited.
It’s a shame because the Watch is terrific value. Both the 46mm with silicone black strap and the 41mm with silicone white strap cost just £229.99 in the UK and €249.90 in the EU, which is a great price for a chunky fitness watch with a stainless steel case. Prices rise with a variety of different options, including a rose gold version with Milanese straps or leather straps on the 46mm.
The most expensive is the 41mm steel-and-gold edition watch, which costs £349.99 / €399.90 euros, followed by the stainless steel 46mm with stainless steel strap, which costs £299.99 / €369.90 euros. It’s a very well-priced watch that looks gorgeous and could be an absolute powerhouse with the right support; it’s just a shame about the lack of availability. Unless you’re an existing Huawei user, there’s almost always a better option.
Value score: 3/5
Huawei Watch GT 4: Design
Seven different looks
Beautiful, premium designs belying price
OS is simple enough to use
From an external style standpoint, Huawei watches as a whole have virtually no consistency. When comparing the Watch GT 4 models to the thick, boxy, plastic cases on the gimmicky Huawei Watch Buds and Huawei Watch D, it’s like night and day. Whereas the Watch D and Watch Buds were quirky at best and unsightly at worst, Huawei Watch GT 4 models look fantastic, with in-built microphones and speakers allowing you to take and receive calls on-wrist.
These watches evoke different styles of traditional watches, from delicate circular fashion and dress watches to field and diving units. The unit I tested, the 46mm with stainless steel strap, looked very much like an analog dive watch when I picked the right face. Like all the GT 4 models, it has a circular digital crown on the top right and a secondary button on the bottom right, which combined with the very responsive touch-screen, made it easy to navigate around the watch. It was a pleasure to use.
The screen gets a lot of real estate, and it’s a fantastic screen on both sizes of the watch. The full-color AMOLED screen offers a fantastic refresh rate, ensuring a smooth swiping action, and pops with color. The AMOLED screen was better than many Garmins (although not quite up to Apple’s Retina Display) and output around 600 nits of brightness. This is enough for most people, though it’s a far cry from the Apple Watch Series 9, which can output an impressive 2,000 nits.
Some watch faces (the free ones, at least) are pretty dross, but I found one I liked that echoed an analog watch face and carried several on-face complications, including step count, the moon’s current phase, and a calendar. It echoed a classic chronograph and complemented the stainless steel aesthetic.
Speaking of the stainless steel, I have to share a grievance about changing the band. It might be because of my short nails, but after removing the silicone band, applying the stainless steel band to the watch took 15 minutes of effort, accompanied by lots of grunting and profanity. It was not a painless experience, but the watch looks ace with it on.
Design score: 5/5
Huawei Watch GT 4: Features
Lots of workout profiles
Lacking payments in many regions
Forced to sideload apps
The Huawei Watch GT 4 is entirely dependent on the Huawei Health app, which isn’t available on the iOS or Google Play store, but can be easily downloaded via your browser and the QR code provided. From there, you can customize your watch faces, toggle various notifications streams on and off, and view all your health data in greater detail. The Huawei Health app is excellent at what it does, showing you comprehensive information and offering actionable advice on your workout and sleep.
For example, I am a light sleeper, so Huawei Health recommended I cut out caffeine in the evening before bedtime – not groundbreaking advice, but nice to have. The Watch GT 4 has a load of workout profiles, from outdoor and indoor cycles to pool and open-water swims that count your strokes and lengths as you go.
The workout profiles interact with Huawei Health nicely and offer bonus features like AI-generated plans to help you train for specific goals in common exercises such as running, which you can follow along on your watch. TruSleep and TruSeen 5.5+ sensors offer advanced heart rate monitoring and ECG functionalities. A temperature sensor, blood oxygen measurement, and a stress metric round up the useful suite of health features on offer here.
All the Huawei-native stuff is great: it’s the lack of compatibility with other phones and operating systems that’s the problem. You can get WhatsApp and email notifications, but not respond to them, and good luck trying to use apps like Gmail without considerable sideloading jiggery pokery. Want Google or Apple Maps on your watch? Tough, you’re stuck with Huawei’s own Petal Maps. Unless you live in a country that supports Huawei NFC payments, you won’t be able to use contactless cards on your watch either. As I used the watch, I noticed more and more features either missing or not gelling, and while getting a Huawei phone would go some way towards solving this (if you don’t live in the US or Australia), in the UK you can’t use Huawei telecoms devices on a 5G network, so the phone won’t live up to its potential.
Features score: 3/5
Huawei Watch GT 4: Performance
Great battery life
Excellent sleep/workout metrics
GPS matched an Apple Watch Ultra 2 for accuracy
During my time testing the Huawei Watch GT 4, the battery life performed as expected. I tested it over five days, and each day the watch depleted between five and 10 percent, depending on GPS usage. I’m very satisfied the watch lives up to its bold claims of up to 14 days, and I can see the average user getting 10 days out of the watch with a few GPS workouts thrown in.
Sleep and workout metrics held up very well, and I was happy with the results I got. Running Ability index, Training Load and Training index metrics take a lot of your stats (if you’re a runner, of course) and boil them down into simple numbers. Running Ability will tell you if you’re running, for example, 44% better than users of a similar age, gender, height, and weight. Huawei is good at condensing complex statistics into easily accessible nuggets of information – it’s reminiscent of the best Fitbit watches in this way.
When I tested the GPS tracking against an Apple Watch Ultra 2, the main noticeable difference was that the Huawei Watch GT 4 took far, far longer to connect to a network. The Apple Watch Ultra 2 was almost instantaneous, while the GT 4 took at least two and a half minutes, during which it encouraged me to be in an open area, probably at the place the workout is starting. It doesn’t sound like much to ask, but you either stand stationary for around 150 seconds in front of your house before you start running, or you just run and the watch starts tracking you halfway through your first kilometer.
Other than that, the Watch GT 4 matched the Ultra 2 closely in terms of both heart rate and distance covered when I wore them simultaneously, so I’m satisfied with the watch’s accuracy.
The Google Pixel 8 is less like a smaller version of the larger and more expensive Pixel 8 Pro than a true subset, with lesser camera capabilities, less RAM, and a somewhat less impressive screen. It's still attractive, and a lot more affordable, and it should appeal to those who want the Pixel aesthetic, but at a more pocketable size and price.
Like the larger Pixel 8 Pro, the 6.2-inch Pixel 8 got a subtle body redesign and new new Tensor G3 chip (plus, all the on-board AI that comes with it). Unlike that larger flagship, though, the Pixel 8 has just two rear cameras that appear virtually unchanged from those on the Pixel 7. A 50MP main camera and 12MP ultrawide is nothing to sneeze at, but the Pixel 8 Pro has more lenses and more pixels across the board.
At least you don't lose much on the display side. It's still a high-resolution screen that's capable of impressive brightness, although lacks the Pixel 8 Pro's LPTO capabilities, which means its variable refresh rate can bounce between 60Hz and 120Hz, but never really goes low enough for an always-on display.
The new Tensor G3 chipset, and both local and cloud-based Tensor processing units (TPUs), should, though put the Pixel 8 on equal footing with the 8 Pro when it comes to some impressive AI photo, text, and automation prowess.
And there's something to owning a much lighter and more pocketable Android phone that still manages to pack in an impressively large battery and virtually match the larger phone's promised battery life.
Overall, if you don't prize a telephoto lens, and can live with fewer ultra-wide pixels, you won't sacrifice too much if you choose the Pixel 8 over the Pixel 8 Pro. Is this an serious rival to Apple's pricier iPhone 15? It's soon to tell.
Google unveiled the 6.2-inch Pixel 8 and 6.7-inch Pixel 8 Pro at its October 4 Made by Google event, at which it also launched the new Google Pixel Watch 2.
The Pixel 8 starts at $699 / £699 / $1,199 for the 128GB model. While there's also a 256GB option that costs $759 / £759 / $1,299, you can't buy the Google Pixel 8 in the 512GB or 1TB variants that are options if you get the Pixel 8 Pro and in Australia, you can only buy the larger capacity 256GB model in Obsidian, while the 128GB version can be had in all three colorways.
Preorders started October 4, and the phone ships on October 12.
Of course, if you've heard enough and are ready to snag yourself a new Google Pixel 8, you can check out our Google Pixel 8 preorders page, which we're constantly updating with the best offers available.
Google Pixel 8 preview: Specs
Google Pixel 8 preview: Design
Softer, familiar look and feel
There's now more of a size difference between the Google Pixel 8 and its bigger sibling, the Pixel 8 Pro, and it's also noticeably different to the Google Pixel 7.
While the Pixel 7 has a 6.3-inch display, is 155.6mm tall, 73.2mm wide and 8.7mm thick, and weighs in at 197g oz, the Pixel 8 has a 6.2-inch display, is 150.5mm tall, 70.8mm wide and 8.9mm thick, and weighs 187g.
It feels great in the hand, even if it did get just a tiny bit thicker. Compare this phone to the ample specs of the Pixel 8 Pro, which is 162.6mm tall, 76.5mm wide and 8.8mm thick, and weighs 213g.
Aside from the dimensions, and a slight softening of the curves (and some nice color choices), the Pixel 8 does still look a lot like the Pixel 7. The body is again IP68-rated, which means it should handle a dunk in the pool and some dust.
It has a polished metal frame (the Pixel 8 Pro is specified as aluminum), and Gorilla Glass Victus covering the screen. The buttons and ports (USB-C for charging, SIM slot) are unchanged from the Pixel 7.
On that now-iconic metal band (some love it, some not so much) is the dual camera array and flash. Unlike on the 8 Pro, there's no thermometer on this model.
Google Pixel 8 preview: Display
Google shrunk the screen just a tiny bit compared to the Pixel 7, but maintained the resolution while updating the peak brightness to 2,000 nits and increasing the max refresh rate to 120Hz (the minimum is 60Hz).
While I didn't spend a lot of time with the phone, the Pixel 8's 6.2-inch OLED display did look bright and sharp. As before, it accommodates an under-screen fingerprint reader and a single drill-through hole for the 10.5MP selfie camera.
Google Pixel 8 preview: Cameras
The pair of rear cameras and the front-facing camera on the Google Pixel 8 are largely unchanged from the Pixel 7. They are:
Main: 50MP f/1.68
Ultrawide: 12MP f/1.95
Front-facing: 10MP f/2.2
I didn't get to take any pictures with the phone, but you can expect image quality that at least matches what you got from the Pixel 7 – and with the backing of a new Tensor G3 CPU and updated AI capabilities, your photos, and your options for editing and enhancing them will likely be better. Google has also redesigned the Camera app, with a new layout and access to more pro-level tools.
Want a telephoto camera as well? You'll have to upgrade to the Google Pixel 8 Pro for that.
As you would expect from Google, AI features throughout the phone, and it's employed to impressive effect in photos.
The new Magic Editor is an evolution of Google's Magic Eraser tool. It lets you tap and drag on subject in a photo to move it, with the AI processing intelligently filling in the space where the subject was.
I watched as a Google exec opened a photo of his son shooting a basketball, tapped his son, and moved him to within inches of the basket to make it look like he was executing a dunk. The exec told me that while the child’s shadow now looked out of place, he could use Magic Editor to move that too.
In a similar fashion, Best Take can take a collection of photos shot in succession and, with your guidance, find the best expression for each person across all the photos, and then create one photo in which everyone is looking at the camera and smiling. I saw it, and thought it was wild – and maybe a little disturbing.
Video, which you can shoot at up to 4K 60fps, gets an upgrade as well, with Google processing every frame of video through its HDR pipeline for better low-light performance. There’s even a new Audio Eraser to help you remove distracting noises from your videos.
I'll know more about the quality of these cameras when I put them through their paces for my full review.
Google Pixel 8 preview: Performance and specs
A dedicated Titan M2 security coprocessor
Maximum of 256GB storage
While I'm excited to see what kind of performance Google has squeezed out of its new Tensor G3 GPU, on the Pixel 8 this is backed by only 8GB of RAM, as opposed to the 12GB you get with the Pixel 8 Pro.
It's probably safe to assume that the more affordable Pixel 8 will perform some tasks a little more slowly, but again, it's hard to know without conducting more thorough testing.
The Pixel 8 has similar AI capabilities to the Pixel 8 Pro, but I only saw some of these demoed, and only on the Pixel 8 Pro, which means I can't say for sure that the Pixel 8 will perform similarly.
Those capabilities, some which are available out of the box and some of which are coming post-launch, include onboard large language model (LLM) capabilities in Google Assistant. It’ll be able to summarize web pages (like a recipe), or read aloud from a variety of text sources, even translating to another language on the fly.
Google’s Call Screening also gets an update, with a much more natural-sounding voice. In a demonstration, a Google rep, acting as a delivery person, called a Pixel 8 Pro that was set to screen calls. The Pixel 8 Pro answered, and we explained that we had a package to deliver. On the Pixel 8 Pro, we were able to type a note telling the delivery person they could leave the package by the door, and the Pixel 8 Pro relayed that message in its normal-sounding voice. If the voice hadn’t identified itself as a personal assistant, I would never have known it was an AI.
Google Pixel 8 preview: Software
7 years of OS and security updates
If the looks and specs don't tempt you, perhaps Google can turn your head with its impressive new support promises, which now include seven years of security and OS updates.
Not only will the Pixel 8 Pro come running Android 14 out of the box, it will have a lengthy lifespan thanks to more than half a decade of operating system updates. Seven years of updates beats the likes of Apple, Samsung, and OnePlus.
Google Pixel 8 preview: Battery
A big battery for its size
Fast wireless charging
The Google Pixel 8's 4485mAh battery is fairly large considering the phone's diminutive size. It's rated for 24 hours of life, although we won't know what kind of battery life performance it offers until we're able to do more testing.
The Pixel 8 (and Pixel 8 Pro) supports Qi-based fast wireless charging and Battery Share.
Google Pixel 8 preview: Early verdict
If you want the essence of Google's new Pixel phone experience in a small package and for an affordable price, and if you can live without the Google 8 Pro's telephoto camera, and don't mind having less storage and less memory compared to the 8 Pro, the Google Pixel 8 might be a promising choice.
We'll know a whole lot more when we're able to spend more time Pixel 8 and put it through our full review process – watch this space.
Sony's Xperia 5 line started life as a low-compromise alternative to the Xperia 1 series – the first three packed the exact same camera systems as their flagship counterparts, with the Xperia 1 III being a serious high-point with its continuous zoom periscope camera.
In recent years, the compromises seem to have been creeping in, and the Xperia 5 V is the most compromised in its line. But does not being a carbon copy of the Xperia 1 V make the 5 V a bad phone? Absolutely not.
After a couple of weeks of testing, the Xperia 1 V's solid build, comfortable size, excellent battery life, consistently good performance, and fantastic primary camera really do help it shine. But it isn't without some shortcomings.
Firstly, design. The Xperia 5 V may feel great and be hardy – with its IP65/68 water resistance being a particular highlight – but from the front, the phone looks far more mid-range than it ought to. I understand Sony doesn't subscribe to that notch or punch-hole life, so its Xperias have bookends above and below the screen. Whereas the Xperia 5 IV was almost borderless either side of the screen, though, the 5 V has chunky bezels, making it look almost like a cheaper Xperia 10 series phone.
Next, it's the Xperia 5 V's storage. To my knowledge, only a 128GB version will be launching, at least in the UK. With 33GB filled up after pre-installed apps are updated, that leaves just 87GB for all your apps, games, and WhatsApp backups. This might be plenty for some, but it isn't enough for me, and likely you, if you consider yourself a power user.
The Xperia 5 V's screen is also weak when it comes to color-integrity off-angle, with the display suffering more than any other high-end panel from low-end, OLED color-shifting. Not something we'd expect from a Sony device. While you probably won't notice this in isolation, alongside a premium device, the 5 V clearly falls behind.
There is a microSD card slot – and that's the Xperia 5 V's saving grace – so video, offline movies and songs can be loaded up on it. But most apps don't support offloading files to the SD card nowadays, as such you'll likely still run out of space soon enough, if you download loads of offline content through an app. And, as an example, if you want to install Genshin Impact, you're losing 27.25GB of space with just one install.
So, despite plenty of highlights, especially for camera fans who like total control over their photography and filming experience, Sony hasn't made the Xperia 5 V a winner across the board, even if it is still a good phone.
Sony Xperia 5 V review: Price and availability
Available from late September
Priced at £849 / €999 (approximately $1,075 / AU$1,665)
Cheaper than the Xperia 5 IV and 5 III on launch in the UK
The Xperia 5 IV is the lowest-cost Xperia 5-series phone since 2020's Xperia 5 II, at least in the UK. Costing £849 / €999 (approximately $1,075 / AU$1,665) – £100 less than the Xperia 5 IV at launch – the slightly more affordable positioning goes some way to explain some of Sony's decision to pare some specs and styling back for 2023, even if I'm not happy about that.
The Xperia 5 V also costs a lot less than the flagship Xperia 1 V, which comes in at a pricey $1,399 / £1,299 / AU$2,099. For anyone who wants to experience Sony's new, Exmor T for Mobile stacked camera sensor, therefore, the Xperia 5 V is now the lowest-cost way to do so.
Compared to other phones on the market, Sony's pricing starts to look a little less affordable. The Google Pixel 7 Pro, which has a periscope telephoto camera and a much more striking design and display, costs the same as the Xperia 5 V. And if you want a small phone with wireless charging, a headphone jack, and even more storage, the Asus Zenfone 10 is a great shout – though you'll be taking a hit on the camera.
Value score: 3.5 / 5
Sony Xperia 5 V review: Specs
Sony's Xperia 5 V sits in that awkward is-it-isn't-it-a flagship space. Some of its specs are as good as they get as a result – that Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset and the superb Exmor T for Mobile primary camera sensor – but other specs let it down.
The biggest culprit holding the Xperia 5 V back is its 128GB storage and 8GB RAM combo. While I'm not too concerned about the modest amount of RAM – I had no performance issues with the phone in my time with it – the 128GB storage is a bit of an issue at the phone's price. The aforementioned Zenfone 10 starts at 256GB, matches most of the Xperia 5 V's specs, and costs a fair bit less.
Sony also opts for slower charging than much of the competition, and it hasn't included a telephoto camera for this series of Xperia 5. Both these factors work against the phone at its premium price, but neither is a deal breaker.
What you do get, though, is IP65/68 water and dust resistance, expandable storage, a headphone jack – which should please wired audio lovers, a decent OLED screen, and novel Sony highlights, like a SIM tray that can be pulled out with a fingernail (i.e. without any tools).
Sony phones definitely have their charm, but a couple of weak areas limit the Xperia 5 V's full-package factor.
Sony Xperia 5 V review: Design
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Gorilla Glass Victus 2 back and front
IP65/68-certified water resistance
Feels clunkier than Xperia 5 IV
The Sony Xperia 5 V looks like a fine phone in a bubble. Forget about all past Xperia 5s, and forget about all the low-on-bezel Honor 90-a-likes launching with all-screen, curved, immersive displays, and the Xperia 5 V's design nails it.
Of course, no phone is an island, and the Xperia 5 V starts to look chunkier and clunkier when you compare it with its predecessors and its competition.
Specifically, the one element that makes Sony's latest phone feel less than competitive alternatives are those chunky bezels on either side of the screen. When it comes to phones, small bezels equate to a flagship look, and bigger bezels to a budget look, and the Xperia 5 V has big, budget bezels.
What's really interesting is that no phone shows the 5 V up more than its predecessor, the Xperia 5 IV. Side by side, the latter looks like the newer model – so anyone thinking of upgrading from another 5 series phone will likely be underwhelmed on the design front. This feels like a move that could alienate Sony Mobile's die-hard following.
Everything gets a lot better once you get past the Xperia 5 V's bezelly fascia. It's IP65/68 water and dust-resistant, so you can submerge it in water for 30 minutes at 1.5 meters, without fear of wrecking it.
The Xperia 5 V also feels solid. Its metal frame is easy to grip – likely owing to its profile being thicker than past Xperia 5s, and the blasted matte texture also feels great. I also love the fingerprint-resistant finish around the back, and Corning's Gorilla Glass Victus 2 on both sides is a fitting addition for added peace of mind.
Sony favorites are back, including a headphone jack for wired audio fans, a SIM and microSD card tray that can be pulled out without any tools, and a physical camera button. The Xperia 5 V doesn't have that rich, textured shutter button as on the Xperia 1 V, but it's still a dual-detent photography tool that fans of the series will appreciate.
With the 6.1-inch screen's modest size helping the phone feel very manageable, despite its extra heft over past Xperia 5 phones, the 5 V is comfortable to use and didn't pull up any red flags in our time with it. I just wish it looked a bit more Xperia 5 and a little less Xperia 10.
Design score: 3 / 5
Sony Xperia 5 V review: Display
6.1-inch Full HD+ OLED display with 120Hz refresh rate
Bright and sharp, but color shifting off-angle is noticeable
21:9 aspect ratio and plenty of display options to customize
The Xperia 5 V's screen is fine, but it isn't excellent. At 6.1 inches, it's small compared to most modern-day flagship phones, but I still found it wide enough for comfortable typing and swiping, and being an OLED panel, colors look vibrant, and contrast levels are high. This combo makes for a manageable, pleasing, high-impact watching and messaging experience, but there are some quality shortcomings.
The Xperia 5 V's OLED color shifting is much more pronounced than on most high-end phones out now, including its predecessor. In fact, the visual characteristics of this pricey phone more closely resemble those of the Xperia 10 V than the Xperia 1 V off-angle. While they probably aren't using the exact same display – one is 60Hz and one is 120Hz – they both suffer from exceptionally bad color shifting.
If you aren't familiar with the term color shifting, some OLED screens take on a slightly blue or magenta tint when you aren't looking at them head-on. This varies from display to display, and the Xperia 5 V I tested showcases some of the worst performance on this front outside the budget and mid-range space I've seen in a while. Tilt the phones almost totally side-on, and both the 10 V and the 5 V screens turn totally blue.
This color shifting is particularly visible when looking at white or very light content, but on the plus, it doesn't affect viewing angles – content is easy to see and read head-on or off-angle – but it does impact color integrity.
Even much cheaper phones like the RedMagic 8s Pro outperform the Xperia 5 V in this respect, which we wouldn't have expected, given Sony's Xperia line is so focused on creators and content consumption.
If you dive into the settings, Sony gives you plenty of control over how your Xperia 5 V screen performs, including complete manual white balance.
There are two color gamut and contrast modes to choose from: creator mode and standard mode, with the prior designed to work perfectly with HDR and 10-bit content. A Real-time HDR drive option boosts visibility when playing back HDR content, and Sony's X1 image enhancer is also back, adding a little extra zing and pop to video.
You can choose between two refresh rates, 60Hz and 120Hz, with the Xperia 5 V screen set to 60Hz by default. There's no third option to activate dynamic or variable refresh rate, so the phone can't automatically choose based on what's on-screen, and it can't drop the refresh rate to save power. These refresh rate limitations seem like a missed trick, as both features are now commonplace in much more affordable devices.
Weak peak brightness levels have hamstrung Sony phones in the past, but the Xperia 5 V beamed brilliantly on a hot summer day, making for easy reading in direct sunlight with auto-brightness fired up. Manual brightness doesn't shine quite as dazzlingly, but it never left me wanting.
Old favorites like an always-on display are back, and there's a really intuitive one-handed mode – swipe down from the gesture bar in the bottom center of the display – so navigating all 6.1 inches of the Xperia 5 V is plain sailing.
So, yes, the Xperia 5 V nails the basics – it's bright, sharp, responsive, and has loads of customization options – but the excessive color distortion off-angle is just too much of a compromise for a phone that costs this much.
Display score: 3 / 5
Sony Xperia 5 V review: Software
Runs Android 13 with Sony's relatively light UI
2 years OS updates + 3 years security updates
Floating windows and split-screen working customizations
Sony phones have almost always looked clean and fuss-free, and that tradition carries forward to the Xperia 5 V in virtually every respect, including its user interface (UI).
For the most part, the Xperia 5 V's experience is stock Android 13, though Sony's added highlights. These include Side Sense – a menu that pops up on the side of the screen for shortcuts to frequently used apps. This also makes it easy to quickly launch split-screen app combos; a fun, handy customization.
Swipe right from the main home screen to activate the Google App and news feed, swipe up from the bottom to pull up an apps tray, and swipe down anywhere on a home screen to bring down your notifications menu.
Sony has also upgraded its Game Enhancer for 2023, with the Xperia 5 V debuting its new look. This gaming portal congregates all your games in one place, and when you fire one up, it overlays a host of options to help level up your gameplay.
You can launch an app in a floating window, access a browser to pull up a walkthrough, or access YouTube alongside your gameplay. It's also where you can toggle performance mode, customize your display settings, and make other changes on a game-by-game basis.
Perhaps the most confusing aspect of the Xperia 5 V UI relates to the camera – there are three camera apps. That said, with the upgraded Photography Pro now supporting vertical capture and a fantastic auto mode, not to mention perfectly respectable video capture, non-filmmakers and creatives should be more than happy to just live in Photo Pro and ignore Cinema and Video Pro; an option that wasnt always as easy to recommend.
The main drawback of the Xperia 5 V's software isn't what it's like to use, it's the lack of future-proofing Sony commits to. While other brands like Oppo offer four years of major OS and five years of security updates, Sony only commits to two and three years, respectively.
Sony charges a premium for its phones and is vocal about its commitment to reducing e-waste and focusing on battery longevity. Its innovation when it comes to eco-friendly packaging materials is also part of its sustainability narrative, making limited OS and security support the clear weak link in Sony's commitment to long-lasting smartphones.
Software score: 3.5 / 5
Sony Xperia 5 V review: Cameras
52MP primary camera
12MP ultra-wide camera
12MP selfie camera
Updated bokeh (portrait) mode
The Xperia 5 V has a 52MP primary camera with a 1/1.35-inch sensor and an f/1.9 aperture lens. Unlike past Xperia 5 phones, it misses out on a telephoto camera, but it does have a 12MP ultra-wide with an f/2.2 aperture and autofocus.
It's worth talking about the main camera first, as thanks to the sensor's novel dimensions – 4.3:3 – versus traditional 4:3 sensors, the camera only uses a 48MP, 4:3 portion to capture photos. That's why you might have seen the Xperia 5 V marketed as a 48MP camera phone, but technically, it has a 52MP sensor.
Even calling the 5 V a 48MP phone is a stretch, as the photos are pixel-binned down to 12MP, whether captured in JPG or RAW. So while some phones, including the iPhone 14 Pro, support full-res, 48MP photos, Sony caps all photos from all cameras to 12MP; an odd move to be sure.
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The Xperia 5 V also carries forward the Sony tradition of including no less than three camera apps. The default app, Photography Pro takes you from full automatic camera – a la iPhone – through to full manual, controlling every aspect of your shot other than the aperture.
Video Pro is one for online video creators who shoot in 16:9. It has extensive slow-motion shooting options with maximum control over frame rates and also offers an 'S Cinetone for mobile' look, which Sony Alpha shooters will appreciate.
Finally, Cinema Pro is a 21:9 lover's jam. Ideal for filmmakers, this is where you'll find terms like shutter angle, manage recording projects rather than files, and access the super-flat Venice look that shoots with almost log-grade low contrast.
The Xperia 5 V shoots video at up to 4K, 120fps, and also benefits from a microphone around the back, so you can choose to prioritize voices captured on it, or general sound from all three microphones on the phone.
All this might sound like a lot of features, but I haven't scratched the surface when it comes to all the manual control Sony makes possible.
One aspect of the Xperia 5 V we didn't get to test out was a new Video Creator app, which can be used to manually edit videos or create an auto-generated montage, similar to GoPro Highlight Clips.
Sony Xperia 5 V camera samples
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If you aren't a fan of heavily processed photos – shadows boosted to within an inch of their lives, backlit subjects brighter than their background, and nighttime photos that look like they were taken in the day – Sony's natural, realistic styling will be a breath of fresh air.
I found the Xperia 5 V's shots to be nuanced, detailed, and low in noise. Sony's conceded a little when it comes to computational photography when compared to the Xperia 5 IV. Now, shadows are richer in detail than ever, and night shots look great.
For anyone who's concerned about the lack of a telephoto camera on the Xperia 5 V, I've created some examples of how well its zoom fares when compared to its predecessor and its 2.5x optical zoom:
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In bright environments, the optical zoom does edge ahead, but when the lights drop, the Xperia 1 V's larger sensor nails it. In fact, even in middling light – which is more common than bright or near-night ambient light – the quality of the Xperia 5 V photos won out for me.
As a result, in the case of the Xperia 5 V, two cameras really are better than three, if the third is a mediocre telephoto camera. Were it a quality periscope camera, though, that would have been a different story.
Unsurprisingly, the ultra-wide camera doesn't perform as well as the primary camera. Sony's processing helps it along with night shots, but it can't keep up when it comes to exposure when the lights drop. That means its photos will usually look a little darker when set against the primary camera in a low light environment, and it will also be a bit noisier.
It's great to see the ultra-wide lens feature autofocus, and that offers some versatility, but with a nearest focus distance of around 20cm, there's no ultra-wide macro option. Nevertheless, ultra-wide group shots and selfies should look a bit crisper than generic fixed-focus snaps.
Sony's improved its Bokeh (portrait) mode, apparently for the Xperia 5 V, however, I still experienced the same crunchy subject masking as on old Sony phones in more challenging scenes. Simple, head-on, posed portraits look great. But get a bit further back or load up the scene with complication, and it can't stack up to a Pixel or iPhone.
Video captured on the Xperia 5 V's main camera looks fantastic, and stabilization is strong across resolutions. The ultra-wide camera is the weak link, so you'll want to lean on the main camera, especially when the lights drop, but if you do, the 5 V serves up a best-in-class primary camera across both photo and video.
As for the selfie camera, it’s a solid snapper, especially when the light is right. Benefiting from Sony’s balanced processing, photos look natural, detailed, and we had more success with the bokeh mode on it than when using the rear camera mix. It also captures night photos too, and if you hold still, results are impressive even when the lights drop, and with 4K video, it’s one of the more versatile front cameras on the scene.
Camera score: 5 / 5
Sony Xperia 5 V review: Performance
Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
One memory option: 8GB RAM
Global storage options TBC with one in the UK: 128GB
The Xperia 5 V is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, which is a mighty chipset that's tried and tested to run cool and fast for the most part. Sony's struggled with heat management before, but with its slightly thicker chassis and superior internals, the Xperia 5 V does a decent job of keeping heat in check.
The phone benchmarks brilliantly, scoring a Geekbench 6 score of 5140 multi-core and a 3D Mark Wildlife Extreme score of 3600, putting it in the upper echelon of non-gaming phone performance alongside the OnePlus 11 5G and Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra.
The biggest challenge I faced when gaming was that I cycle eight games when testing a phone: Diablo Immortal, DragonBall Z, Genshin Impact for performance, Injustice 2 and Sky for some mid-tier, relatively demanding gameplay, and TMNT: Shredder's Revenge, Streets of Rage 4, and Marvel Snap for 2D gaming.
It wasn't gaming performance that left me wanting on the Xperia 5 V, even though Sony's phones won't stack up to gaming phones; GSM Arena found that throttling occurs to keep the temperature in check. That said, 128GB is too little storage for a phone of this price. Genshin Impact alone fills up 27.25GB, Diablo Immortal over 4GB, and DragonBall a similar amount. Add the 33GB of pre-installed software, and between three games, you're over halfway to filling up your Xperia 5 V.
The Xperia 5 V does have a microSD card slot, which is a saving grace, though more and more for Android phones, its value is limited. Apps can't be installed onto SD cards, and big storage hogs like WhatsApp backups have to be installed on internal storage. So, yes – your massive 4K video files can be recorded to a huge 1TB SD card – but that doesn't mean a power user won't have to watch how many movies and games they download. That's fine for a midrange phone but not for one as pricey as the Xperia 5 V, which has already seen cutbacks to design and screen quality.
With Samsung and other brands scrapping the 128GB entry-level storage capacity in their premium phones, it's time Sony did the same if it wants to compete.
What the Xperia 5 V does exceptionally well is sound great – both from the front-firing dual speakers and headphone jack – and it offers up plenty of audio settings. These include control over the Dolby sound profile – you can choose from Dynamic, Movie, Music, Custom and advanced (full EQ control) – toggle on 360 Reality Audio or 360 Upmix, as well as DSEE Ultimate for audio upscaling, and Effect Priority to pick which feature to prioritize. The phone also supports Spatial audio across the phone speaker and wired headphones.
Performance score: 4 / 5
Sony Xperia 5 V review: Battery life
5,000mAh battery (same as Xperia 5 IV)
Almost double the screen-on time versus the Xperia 5 IV in tests
The Xperia 5 V has excellent battery life. For the screen-on battery test, I calibrated the Xperia 5 V and 5 IV to the same brightness level with a lux meter and streamed a one-hour clip from YouTube over Wi-Fi, then ran identical benchmarks. Last year's Xperia 5 IV discharged almost double as quickly, dropping to 92 percent, versus the Xperia 5 V, which was at 96 percent – very impressive – and possibly owing to the different (visually inferior) display used in the newer model.
The phone easily lasted a whole day, even with some tethering, gaming, watching, and a fair amount of camera use. It's also great to see wireless charging back, so quick top-ups throughout the day means you could get two days out of the Xperia 5 V if you're more conservative with it.
The fact the Xperia 5 V's charging caps out at 30W and the phone misses out on a USB-C cable and a power brick will matter more to some than others. For me, the relatively slow charging isn't an issue – the phone powers up from 0-100 percent in around 90 minutes, which is competitive with iPhones.
As I'm a wireless charger who tops up rather than plugs in overnight or on the go, and have a number of cables and plugs already – the potential battery health benefits of slower charging, smaller packaging, and reduction of e-waste mean the Xperia 5 V's setup is great for me. If you know you rely on fast charging and are short on cables and power bricks, then the Xperia 5 V might not fare so well for you.
Battery score: 4.5 / 5
Should you buy the Sony Xperia 5 V?
Buy it if...
You're a photo and/or video enthusiast The Xperia 5 V's main camera combines excellent hardware with balanced photo processing and more manual control than any other camera phone at its price.
You want all-day battery life If you want a relatively compact phone that lasts for ages, the Xperia 5 V is it, and its wireless charging is also a nice-to-have not seen on alternatives like the OnePlus 11.
You're an audiophile If you don't want to carry a DAC like the excellent Chord Mojo 2 but still want wired audio, the Xperia 5 V is one of the best-sounding phones around, and its speakers are mighty as well.
Don't buy it if...
You're on a tight budget The Xperia 5 V is best-in-class in some areas, but it's expensive, and you can get a better-looking design, superior screen, more versatile camera system, and more power for less.
You prioritize watching and screen quality 21:9 screens may be good for cinematic movies, but they aren't great for 16:9 or 4:3 TV shows, putting the Xperia on the back foot. The 5 V's new screen isn't as high-quality as we've come to expect from the brand either, so web pages and content with a white background suffer from off-angle color shifting.
You want loads of internal storage With just one storage option available on launch – 128GB – and games needing to be installed on internal storage, eight or so titles could end up zapping 30-40 percent of your internal capacity. Yes, there's a microSD card slot, but most apps can't offload to external storage.
Sony Xperia 5 V review: Also consider
The Sony Xperia 5 V is an excellent phone for a certain kind of user, but there are plenty of alternatives that might check more of your boxes.
Google Pixel 7 Pro It's a much bigger phone, but costing the same, and with an optional 256GB version and a periscope camera, not to mention a superior screen and much more standout design, the Pixel 7 Pro is a fantastic flagship choice, if you can handle its extra size.
Asus Zenfone 10 It costs less but arguably offers more, at least when it comes to storage, the Asus Zenfone 10 packs in much of what makes the Xperia 5 V great – compact size and a headphone jack – but with double the storage, faster charging, and a superior screen, could edge ahead for a certain type of user.
How I tested the Sony Xperia 5 V
Review test period = 2 weeks
Testing included = Everyday usage w/ web browsing, social media, photography, video calling, gaming, streaming video, music playback
I started using the Xperia 5 V a week before flying out to Berlin for IFA 2023, so had a week of using it in the UK, and three days of roaming with it in Berlin before wrapping up my review back in the UK.
Initially, I was eager to put the camera through its paces, so went out and about in London to try out all the modes and capture most of the photos you're seeing in this review. I then gamed on the Xperia 5 V on a hot summer day to check if the heat issues that plagued its predecessor were resolved – and they are – and made calls, messaged, listened to music wirelessly, and wired to give it a 'lifestyle test'.
When I had the phone in test conditions, I ran benchmarks and in-depth screen tests. I knew outdoor viewability was solid, but I picked up on the weak off-angle color integrity only when conducting indoor tests alongside other phones.
The battery tests were also done indoors, which supplemented my real-world use, and a direct camera comparison was carried out between the Xperia 5 IV and 5 V, so users looking to upgrade could gauge how much zoom they're be sacrificing.
The rest of the review findings were the result of using the phone as my primary device for two weeks and making notes as I went along, matched with almost 15 years of industry experience as a technology journalist and phone reviewer.
CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 7840HS (Base: 3.80 GHz, Boost: 5.10 GHz) Graphics: AMD Radeon™ (12 Cores, 2700 MHz Frequency) RAM: Dual SO-DIMM 32GB DDR5 (Upgradeable) Storage: PCIe 4.0 M.2 NVMe 2280 1TB SSD (Expandable with additional M.2 slots) Rear Ports: USB 2.0x2, USB 3.2x2, USB4x2, DPx1, HDMx1, LAN 2.5Gx2, 3.5mm Audio Jackx2 Front Ports: Not specified Connectivity: WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.2 Audio: Realtek ALC897 Camera: Not specified Size: Not specified OS installed: Windows11 Accessories: Power Adapter, User Manual
The Beelink GTR7 7840HS stands out against other mini PC with its high-quality build, quick, hassle-free setup, and superb gaming performance. Inside, the M.2 storage steals the show with transfer speeds that are rare to find on machines at this price point and helps ensure that this machine can hit well above its weight regarding video and gaming performance.
Most notably, that speed comes into play when used as a 4K video editing solution; despite its size, it provides substantial power to edit 4K Log3 footage with relative ease, effects and all.
Essentially this is an incredibly well-rounded machine that will appeal as one of the best mini PCs for gaming enthusiasts and creative professionals.
Price and Availablity
The Beelink GTR7 7840HS is available for purchase at the top end of the price scale from this style of Mini PC, but the specifications and performance justify the price. Considering its features and performance, this pricing is relatively budget-friendly, especially as a longer-term investment.
However, it's important to note that the package includes the PC itself; essential peripherals like a monitor, keyboard, and mouse must be purchased separately.
Additionally, while the system comes with 32GB DDR5 RAM and a 1TB PCIe 4.0 M.2 NVMe SSD, users looking for more memory and storage can opt for additional upgrades. Despite these considerations, the GTR7 7840HS provides a comprehensive and appealing option for many users.
The Beelink GTR7 7840HS boasts a compact form that hides its powerful internals. The casing, composed of high-quality metal, feels durable and of a premium build, perfect for carting around if you need it, although it does come with a monitor mount in the box.
Alongside the standard 1TB M.2 PCIe 4.0 NVMe, there's a space slot for you to expand the onboard storage. The RAM is also expandable from the standard 32GB to 64GB of DDR5 memory for more intensive tasks, and upgrading is a great idea if you're considering using this for video editing.
On the front is a straight set of standard USB connections with a Type-A and C alongside a 3.5mm headphone jack and power button. The main ports with USB, HDMI and Network options are on the back.
The box is small and well-designed, if slightly unambitious, with easy but secure access to the internals using a screwdriver. In use, the commonly used ports are accessible on the front of the machine, with further ports neatly at the back. The style is tried and tested when it comes to design, and there's no doubt that it all works.
The GTR7 is powered by the AMD Ryzen™ 7 7840HS processor at its heart. With a base frequency of 3.80 GHz and a turbo boost reaching an impressive 5.10 GHz, this CPU delivers swift performance across various tasks, from browsing to video editing. Complementing this is the integrated AMD Radeon™ GPU with 12 cores, clocked at 2700 MHz. This GPU handles graphics-intensive tasks and, through the test, renders high-quality visuals in gaming and creative applications.
As standard, the GTR7 has 32GB DDR5 memory installed across dual SO-DIMM slots. The machine's potential is further enhanced by the possibility of upgrading to a maximum of 64GB.
The mini PC features dual M.2 PCIe 4.0 NVMe slots. The pre-installed 1TB PCIe 4.0 M.2 NVMe SSD boasts transfer speeds of up to 7000MB/s. The storage is expandable up to 4TB in each slot, which is impressive for such small machines.
Regarding connection ports on the rear, there are USB 2.0 and 3.2 ports, USB4 ports, DisplayPort, HDMI, and dual 2.5G LAN ports. The front features a 3.5mm audio jack, USB 3.2, Type-C and CLR CMOS.
In real-world scenarios, the GTR7 impressed. Its powerful AMD Ryzen™ 7 7840HS processor, combined with the capable GPU, enabled multiple applications to run smoothly without issue, video editing was possible, and gaming was smooth. The machine excelled in handling 4K video editing software, swiftly rendering edits and minimising wait times when rendering.
Gaming performance is the focus of this machine, and it performed superbly. I tested Titles, such as Assasins Creed Valhalla and Red Dead Redemption, and all worked fine with a slight tweak of some of the Graphic settings to enable smooth gameplay. Games like Assassin's Creed Remastered played at 4K, and Red Dead Redemption II, while slightly adjusted in resolution and effects, proved very playable.
Despite the demands of multitasking and gaming, the GTR7 maintained a commendably cool temperature, no doubt helped by the combination of the MSC Technology-Vapor Chamber and System Fan. While you can hear the fans, they're not overly loud.
The CrystalDiskMark results translated to impressive real-world speeds. Application launches were swift, and data transfers were nearly instantaneous, thanks to the PCIe 4.0 M.2 NVMe SSD. Large files, including 4K videos, were transferred with lightning speed, meaning I had to double-check that the files had transferred.
Should you buy a Beelink GTR7 7840HS
The Beelink GTR7 7840HS design embraces sleek aesthetics and practicality, housing impressive internal technology like dual M.2 NVMe slots boasting speeds of up to 7000MB/s on paper and 5000MB/s in the real world.
The AMD Ryzen 7 7840HS processor and 12-core GPU ensure exceptional gaming and multitasking. With expandable RAM, storage, quad-display support, and efficient cooling, this mini PC caters to creative professionals and gamers. While the price is competitive, it may not fit every budget, and its robust capabilities could be more than some require. A versatile powerhouse for those demanding more from their compact setup.
Value: Priced competitively for its features and performance. (4/5) Design: Stylish yet functional, with excellent build quality and compact size. (4/5) Features: Impressive technologies, expandability, and connectivity options. (4.5/5) Performance: Outstanding benchmark results translate to real-world power. (4.5/5) Total: A high-performing, feature-rich mini PC with good value. (4.5/5)
CPU: AMD Ryzen™ 9 7940HS Processor, 8 Cores/16 Threads (16M Cache, up to 5.2 GHz) Graphics: AMD Radeon 780M RAM: DDR5 Dual channel 32GB installed (SODIMM Slots×2, Up to 5600MHz, Max 64GB) Storage: M.2 2280 PCIe4.0 SSD ×2 Slots, 1TB Installed Rear Ports: RJ45 2.5G Ethernet Port×1, USB3.2 Gen2 Type-A Port ×4, HDMI 2.1 ×2 Front Ports: USB 4 x2, 3.5mm Headphone Connectivity: M.2 2230 WIFI Support (Wi-Fi 6E， BlueTooth 5.3) Audio: HDMI 2.1 ×2, Audio Jack ×1 Camera: (Not specified) Size: 130mmx126mmx52.3mm OS installed: Windows 11 Pro Accessories: DC 19V(Adapter Included)
The Minisforum UM790 Pro impresses with its compact size and impressive performance. While its design is simple and somewhat boring, the setup is easy and efficient, and the ports and connectors are all where you would want them to be for pure practicality.
The machine shines in gaming and 4K video editing tasks, making it an ideal choice for creative professionals. Marketed as a desktop replacement, it delivers exceptional power for its size and will appeal to anyone looking for versatility and performance, so ideal for creators. Despite its slightly mundane design, its capabilities as a compact power PC and its focus on gaming and content creation set it apart as an attractive choice and make it one of our choices for the best mini PCs.
Price and Availablity
The Minisforum UM790 Pro is priced in the midrange for a high-end mini PC, so any way you look, it's one of the best PC purchases out there. Considering its impressive specifications and desktop-level processing power, this price point makes it a budget-friendly option for anyone needing high performance in a compact form.
While the UM790 Pro offers powerful performance akin to a desktop PC, its limited upgradability should be considered. However, external GPUs and Hard drives can be attached, so it's not a huge issue when considering the RAM and internal storage option upgrades. The midrange price tag and simple design make this a strong and sensible choice.
The Minisforum UM790 Pro is everything a compact Mini PC should be and offers a simple space-saving solution ideal for desktop and creative setups. While its exterior design appears fairly standard, its true capabilities lie inside. The machine is built with an emphasis on practicality, allowing it to easily mount to the back of a monitor, thereby maximising desk space. Its integrated metal body enhances durability while ensuring that it stays cool under intensive workloads.
While the UM790 Pro might not be as upgradable as traditional desktops, its dual-channel DDR5 memory slots allow for a maximum of 64GB RAM, catering to multitasking needs. Moreover, dual PCIe 4.0 SSD slots empower users to expand storage capacity and enhance data performance through RAID0 and RAID1 configurations.
The Minisforum UM790 Pro employs cutting-edge technologies, housing an AMD Ryzen™ 9 7940HS processor with up to 5.2 GHz boost and an AMD Radeon™ 780M GPU, delivering remarkable performance for gaming and intensive tasks.
The UM790 Pro's AMD Ryzen™ 9 7940HS processor boasts 8 cores and 16 threads, while the AMD Radeon™ 780M graphics card ensures smooth visuals and seamless gaming, as well as sufficient for video and image editing tasks.
Backing up the processing is dual-channel DDR5 memory slots and support for frequencies up to 5600MHz; the UM790 Pro offers fast data access, a major consideration for content creators dealing with large files.
Those large files are perfectly catered for by the M.2 2280 PCIe 4.0 SSD slots, of which there are two, although only one is filled off the shelf.
Ensuring connection options, there's a good range of ports, including USB3.2 Gen2 Type-A and USB4 ports and supporting high-resolution displays, there's HDMI 2.1 and USB4 video outputs.
Measuring 130mm x 126mm x 52.3mm, the UM790 Pro's compact size makes it suitable for limited desk spaces, and it's compatible with VESA mounting, which is a nice touch, especially in studios where you want the surface to be clear of cables and machines.
Regarding the network connections, there's a 2.5G Ethernet port and Killer™ AX1675 Wi-Fi 6E network card; in the test, this all seemed more than fast and reliable enough for most workshop and studio tasks and gaming.
The Minisforum UM790 Pro proves to be a solid performer through our series of benchmark tests, translating into outstanding real-world performance when used with Premiere Pro and Photoshop. Its AMD Ryzen™ 9 7940HS processor, coupled with the AMD Radeon™ 780M GPU handled games, images and video with relative ease.
In 3DMark Wild Life, the UM790 Pro achieved a Graphics Score of 15402, reflecting the gaming performance. Fire Strike yielded a Graphics Score of 7351, with additional scores highlighting its CPU and combined performance.
Time Spy recorded a Graphics Score of 2674 and a CPU Score of 10862, illustrating its multifaceted capabilities. In Cinebench R23, the machine showcased a Multi-Core Score of 15874, affirming its computational strength and this was again reflected in the video editing.
GeekBench 5 reflected the other results with a Multi-Core and Single-Core Scores of 12387 and 2714, respectively. CrystalDiskMark revealed read and write speeds of 3905.29 MB/s and 1970.44 MB/s, demonstrating a decent but not remarkable transfer speed.
PCMark 10 returned a Score of 7110, reinforcing the well-rounded performance which was topped off with a Windows Experience Index with a score of 8.2.
Should you buy a Minisforum UM790 Pro
The Minisforum UM790 Pro presents a powerful solution in a compact form. With exceptional performance that outshines its peers in this price range, it proves itself as a reliable and mini PC and desktop replacememnt. Its unassuming design might lack flair, but it's a testament to functionality, easily fitting into any professional environment.
From solid gaming capabilities to smooth video editing, the UM790 Pro delivers on multiple fronts. While it might not be the choice for those seeking a design that pops or offers a multi coloured light show, its performance-focused approach and simplicity make it a great option.
Value: Priced affordably for its capabilities, providing desktop-level power. (5/5) Design: Simple and practical, but lacking visual flair. (3/5) Features: Cutting-edge technologies, versatile CPU, GPU, RAM, and storage options. (4.5/5) Performance: Impressive benchmark scores translate to exceptional real-world performance. (4.5/5) Total: A solid mini PC with powerful performance and practical design, suited for various tasks. (4/5)
CPU: AMD Ryzen™ 5 5500U, 2.1-4.0GHz Graphics: AMD Radeon™ Graphics 7 RAM: 16GB DDR4 Storage: 512GB M.2 NVME 2280 SSD Rear Ports: 1 x Type-C, - 1 x DP Port, - 1 x HDMI, 2 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0, 1 x Audio Jack, 2 x RJ45 2.5G Front Ports: N/A Connectivity: WiFi6 -802.11AX, Bluetooth BT5.2, LAN Support RJ45 2.5Gx2 Audio: Not specified Camera: Not specified Size: Product Size (L x W x H): 16.2 x 16.2 x 19.8cm OS installed: Windows 11 Home Accessories: 1x Power Adapter, 1x SATA Cable, 1x User Manual
The T-BAO MiniPC + NAS R3 stands out from many of the best mini PCs by being an extremely versatile option that has been tailored for the needs of day-to-day use. Less boxy and more Air Purifier by design T-Bao has deliberately focused on seamless integration into home aesthetics, as well as computing functionality.
Crafted to cater to everyday computing demands, the T-BAO MiniPC + NAS R3 presents a cheap and easy-to-use solution for anyone wanting something other than pure gaming performance. Its compact form and stylish if slightly plasticy design means it looks equally in place on your desk or living room.
The big selling point of the T-BAO MiniPC + NAS R3 is its integrated NAS system. This integration isn't an afterthought but a fundamental design of the machine. It's only an entry-level NAS but still, in a machine of this size, it's impressive with the capacity for two 3.5-inch HDDs. Essentially with two drives installed, this machine transforms a compact daily computer into a hub for all your multimedia and files which is why we consider it one of the top mini PCs in its class.
Powering the system is an AMD Ryzen 5 5500U processor which is an excellent balance between price and performance for this style of machine.
Price and Availablity
The T-BAO MiniPC + NAS R3 arrives at an affordable price and is designed to cater to a wide range of users. The machine is positioned for day-to-day use with a specification and design that will cater to most word processing, web browsing, multimedia and the occasional use for games.
One of the most enticing aspects of the T-BAO MiniPC + NAS R3 is its budget-friendly price point. If you're looking for a cost-effective option, this machine really does pack in quite a bit for the price and with features such as the NAS and Network hub that aren't that common at this level.
While the machine primarily focuses on day-to-day tasks, its design seamlessly slots into your home design with a far more aesthetic look than the small box design of most other mini PCs. Its compact dimensions ensure it doesn't occupy too much space.
The T-Bao MiniPC + NAS is available for a reasonable amount and the versatile design and the inclusion of a simplified NAS system make it a compelling option if you're looking for an all-in-one solution that caters to day-to-day computing, multimedia enjoyment, and mass storage.
The T-BAO MiniPC + NAS R3 impresses with a design that seamlessly blends functionality and aesthetics. Its small footprint makes it an unobtrusive addition to any workspace. The standout feature for this small machine is the provision for two 3.5-inch HDDs, enabling easy storage expansion without compromising on elegance. In this test I popped in two inexpensive 500GB WD Green Drives effectively quadrupling the storage size in a little under two minutes without the need for any tools.
The through-type cooling design, supported by a generously-sized base fan, ensures excellent heat dissipation for consistent performance while maintaining nice quiet operation even when some of the task such as basic video editing push the resources of the machine.
The MiniPC + NAS R3 also excels in connectivity, offering a range of connection options including USB, HDMI, DP, and more, making peripheral integration simple. The distinctive design is reminiscent of an air purifier which may appeal to some people, it also makes it more at home when trying to blend it into a living area rather than a home office.
While the overall design is good the quality of the materials does let it down and some flexing of the outer case was initially required to align all ports correctly. The other issue is the caddy loading system for the two 3.5-inch HDDs, while a great idea the caddies are a little fiddly and cheap feeling, however, they;re simple to use.
The T-bao R3 Mini PC brings together a collection of features that elevate both performance and convenience. At its core, the device is powered by an AMD Ryzen 5 5500U processor and AMD Radeon Graphics 7. This combination ensures solid performance for most day-to-day tasks, including multimedia.
The standout feature is its built-in NAS functionality, which transforms the Mini PC into a centralized storage hub. The NAS system is designed to accommodate two 3.5-inch hard drives, allowing you to quickly expand your storage beyond the basic 512GB that comes preinstalled.
This makes the machine an ideal solution if you're seeking to store an extensive collection of media libraries, files, and more. What truly stands out is its ease of use; even someone with no prior experience can navigate this simple NAS functionality, especially with the support of the Windows Storage Spaces application.
The T-bao R3 Mini PC boasts fast network connectivity, powered by WiFi 6 and two 2.5G Ethernet ports. In terms of other connections, a bank of connectors adorns the rear, including USB 2.0, USB 3.0, HDMI, DP, and Type-C ports.
The T-Bao MiniPC + NAS R3 strikes a balance between performance and practicality. While it might not be a powerhouse, it proves itself as a versatile day-to-day performer.
In 3DMark Wild Life, the graphics score of 6903 showcases the machine's capability to handle multimedia tasks and casual gaming without any issue. It comfortably accommodates everyday graphic demands and even ventures into light gaming territory with decent visuals.
The Fire Strike benchmark yielded a graphics score of 3491, with the physics score hitting 14818 and the combined score reaching 1131. These scores underline the machine's ability to handle various tasks, from graphics-heavy applications to multitasking, albeit within reasonable boundaries.
The Time Spy benchmark presented a graphics score of 1006 and a CPU score of 4519, reflecting the MiniPC + NAS R3's aptitude for multimedia playback, productivity, and light content creation. It performs well in various scenarios, such as photo and video editing, offering smooth multitasking capabilities.
Cinebench R23 showcased a multi-core score of 3270 and a single-core score of 1152, reaffirming the machine's suitability for handling multiple tasks simultaneously and its efficiency in single-threaded processes. Editing video in Premiere Pro showed it sailed through 1080p edits but started to stuggle with more demanding 4K.
GeekBench 5 revealed a multi-core score of 5820 and a single-core score of 1479 again a middle-of-the-road score.
CrystalDiskMark demonstrated a read speed of 2078.72MB/s and a write speed of 1665.39MB/s, showing the device's storage speed, which aligns well with its intended use as a day-to-day computing solution. While this speed is slower than some, for almost all tasks this is still an impressive result.
Finally with a PCMark 10 score of 4948 and a Windows Experience Index score of 8.1 this all comes together to further emphasise the device's practicality for everyday work, multimedia and a bit of gaming.
Should you buy a T-Bao MiniPC + NAS R3
The T-Bao MiniPC + NAS R3 offers a great blend of convenience and functionality. Designed with day-to-day users in mind, its sleek form seamlessly integrates into home setups with a design that's more air purifier than PC.
The MiniPC + NAS R3 is a versatile multimedia hub, thanks to its AMD Ryzen 5 5500U processor, ample RAM, and expandable storage. The built-in NAS functionality, while simple, is the standout feature, streamlining file storage. However, the device may not suffice for demanding gamers or graphics-intensive tasks. Affordably priced, this mini PC presents an attractive solution if you're looking for a compact, stylish computing solution with storage versatility.
Value: A versatile hybrid at an attractive price point. (4/5) Design: Compact and efficient, but average build quality. (3/5) Features: Impressive NAS integration and storage potential. (4/5) Performance: Moderate processing and graphics capabilities. (3/5) Total: A well-rounded choice for multitaskers and storage enthusiasts. (4/5)