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GMKtec NucBox M4 mini PC review
9:11 pm | December 5, 2023

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

GMKtec NucBox M4: 30-second review


CPU: Intel Core i9-11900H, 8C/16T, up to 4.9 GHz
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics for 11th Gen Intel Processors
RAM: 16GB DDR4 3200 MT/s (expandable to 128GB)
Storage: 1TB M.2 PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD (expandable to 2TB)
Rear Ports: 4/ x USB3.2 Gen 1, 1 x HDMI, 1 x DP 1.4, 2 x RJ45 (2.5G), 1 x Kensington Lock Slot
Front Ports: 2 x 6 x USB3.2 Gen 1, 1 x USB-C (DP/Data), 1 x 3.5mm CTIA
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2
Audio Output: 3.5mm jack
Camera: Not included
Size: 180mm x 175mm x 36mm
OS Installed: Windows 11 Pro
Accessories: Power Adapter, HDMI Cable, User Manual

The Intel NucBox M4 mini PC features an Intel 11th Gen Core i9-11900H processor, which instantly outlines the potential of this small machine. Aimed at professionals who require a machine that can handle multiple apps and screens, the M4 balances power and portability. With 8 cores and 16 threads, this mini PC boasts a top clock speed of 4.9 GHz, enough to ensure that most applications will run fast and smoothly.

When it comes to graphics, the power of the CPU isn't quite matched by the GPU, although this is a perfectly respectable Intel UHD Graphics chipset. While the GPU might not be suitable for high-end gaming, it can comfortably handle light gaming and graphic-intensive professional tasks, as well as the use of up to three monitors. The NucBox M4 excels in multitasking, thanks to its 16GB DDR4 RAM and 1TB M.2 PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD, ensuring ample space and speed for storing and quickly accessing large files.

Connectivity is a strong suit of the GMKtec M4, featuring six USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports, dual RJ45 ports for stable high-speed internet connections, and support for triple display setups – an advantage for professionals who multitask Office and web browsing across multiple screens. Additionally, its compact form factor, measuring only 180mm x 175mm x 36mm, makes it a space-saving solution for any desk.

Having tested plenty of the best mini PCs, we can say the GMKtec M4 puts in a steady performance in various benchmark tests. With Crystal Disk Read speeds of 3438MB/s and Write speeds of 2723MB/s, it highlights its capability in fast data processing, essential for tasks like video editing or handling large databases. GeekBench scores of 2227 (single-core) and 6175 (multi-core) further demonstrate its competence in handling both everyday tasks and more demanding applications.

CineBench scores, especially the multi-core score of 9923, indicate its strength in CPU-intensive tasks, making it suitable for 3D rendering and video editing. In gaming performance, the Fire Strike and Time Spy scores suggest that while they can manage light gaming, the machine might struggle with the latest, most demanding games.

The GMKtec M4 is not just a work-oriented machine; its ability to support up to three screens at high resolution adds a layer of utility for multimedia as well as that all-important office work. However, those looking for a mini PC primarily for high-end gaming will find its graphics capabilities limiting.

GMKtec NucBox M4: Price & availability

GMKtec NucBox M4 review

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

The GMKtec M4 is accessible for purchase through GMKtec's official website, Amazon, and various other online retailers, making it widely available. 

  • Score: 4/5

GMKtec NucBox M4: Design & build

GMKtec NucBox M4 review

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

The GMKtec M4 takes quite a different approach to the compact mini PC format compared with other mini machines on the market, including the GMKtec M3 and GMKtec NucBox G3. The M4 offers a unique blend of traditional desktop styling and compact mini PC convenience. Its slightly larger footprint offers a slimline design that feels more like a miniature version of a standard desktop PC, providing a high-quality feel and robust Build. This design choice not only enhances its aesthetic appeal but also contributes to improved heat dissipation, which is crucial for maintaining performance stability in a professional environment.

Aesthetically, the GMKtec M4 takes a minimalist style, offering a sleek design that fits seamlessly into any workspace without the flashy design details that can often be featured on Mini PCs. The design is also versatile when it comes to how it can be placed on your desk, with the option to either place it flat or vertically on a desk. However, its size might make it less suitable for tucking away under a monitor. 

The front panel of the GMKtec M4 is well-designed for accessibility and ease of use, featuring two USB Type-A ports, a USB Type-C port, an audio output, and a power button; all other ports are round the back. This layout ensures that essential peripherals can be connected easily.

Internal access for upgrades is straightforward, thanks to a user-friendly design that requires removing just two screws to slide off the top section. This feature allows for easy upgrades and maintenance of the main SSD and RAM, adding to the overall practicality of the device.

The cooling system of the GMKtec M4 deserves mention. It is well-equipped to handle the heat generated by the powerful Intel Core i9 processor, and when the machine is put under load, you can hear the fan start-up, but the size means that it is quieter than other powerful Mini PCs. 

  • Design: 4/5

GMKtec NucBox M4: Features

GMKtec NucBox M4 review

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

The GMKtec NucBox M4 Mini PC manages to distinguish itself from other Mini PCs in several ways; first and foremost, the larger design but also uses a power CPU for swift office work and a less powerful GPU, making it less suitable for gaming. The powerful Intel Core i9-11900H processor, characterized by 8 cores and 16 threads, which delivers exceptional performance for various computing tasks, especially when handling large databases and files. This processor, coupled with Intel UHD Graphics, offers a balance of power for multitasking, content creation, and some moderate gaming.

A feature that will appeal to those wanting a machine for day-to-day office work is the ability to hook up to three screens, with the machine offering HDMI, DP, and Type-C outputs. 

In terms of connectivity, the GMKtec M4 isn't short of options with six USB 3.2 ports, facilitating high-speed data transfer and seamless connection of multiple peripherals. The inclusion of dual RJ45 ports with 2.5G Ethernet ensures high-speed, stable internet connectivity, which is essential for online gaming streaming and has been especially useful during the review for network-connected 3D printers and laser engravers.

The M4 includes an i9 processor, which can pack a lot of power but also generate a considerable amount of heat when under load. The M4 has been design with a super cooling fan system, ensuring efficient heat dissipation. This feature is crucial, given the power of that i9 processor, as it maintains optimal operating temperatures and helps to maintain the processor speed when being worked hard. 

Memory and storage options are pretty decent, with support for up to 128GB of DDR4 RAM and 2TB of M.2 PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD storage. This expandability is worth taking into consideration if your computing needs expand or the applications you use become more processor-intensive. 

  • Features: 4/5

GMKtec NucBox M4: Performance

GMKtec NucBox M4 review

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

Crystal Disk Read: 3438MB/s
Crystal Disk Write: 2723MB/s
GeekBench CPU Single: 2227
GeekBench CPU Multi: 6175
GeekBench Compute: 6687
PC Mark: 4673
CineBench CPU Multi: 9923
CineBench CPU Single: 1571
Fire Strike Overall: 1911
Fire Strike Graphics: 2121
Fire Strike Physics: 19757
Fire Strike Combined: 617
Time Spy Overall: 659
Time Spy Graphics: 573
Time Spy CPU: 4521
Wild Life: 4556
Windows Experience: 7.7 

The GMKtec M4 is powered by an 11th Gen Core i9-11900H, which, through the tests, showed impressive performance across various benchmarks, highlighting its capability as a high-performance mini PC. The Crystal Disk Read and Write speeds of 3438MB/s and 2723MB/s, respectively, highlighted its ability to handle data-intensive tasks efficiently, making it ideal for applications requiring fast data access and transfer, such as video editing or large file management.

GeekBench scores, with 2227 in single-core and 6175 in multi-core tests, confirm the M4's ability to handle a range of tasks from everyday computing to more demanding applications. This aligns with its potential for creative tasks, multitasking, and even light gaming. 

CineBench scores, particularly the multi-core score of 9923, indicate the M4's strength in rendering and other CPU-intensive tasks, making it suitable for creative professionals working with the best 3D modeling software or best video editing software. Through the test, I utilised Blender and Fusion 360 to design a couple of tripod leg holders, with the modeling handled well by the power of this processor.

In gaming performance, the M4 showed capability for light to moderate gaming, and the Fire Strike and Time Spy scores evidenced this. While it may not cater to the most demanding modern games at high settings, it's certainly capable of handling less graphics-intensive titles smoothly. Through the test, I tested Cyberpunk 2077 and Red Dead Redemption II, and whilst both ran, the graphics meant that the gameplay was sluggish. However, less graphically intensive games were handled well. 

The Windows Experience Index score of 7.7 further validates the overall solid performance of the M4, indicating it is a reliable and robust machine for a variety of uses.

The benchmark results, alongside the real-world tests using Microsoft Office, Photoshop, DaVinci Resolve, and loading a few games, showed the M4 is well-suited for professional and creative work and other processor-intensive applications like the best graphic design software

A solid, space-saving, if unspectacular, alternative to the best video editing laptops or the best laptops for graphic design. Its ability to support triple displays is a bonus, although, in this test, I only expanded that to two. Overall, this is a great machine for processing and work. 

  • Performance: 3/5

Should you buy the GMKtec NucBox M4?

the GMKtec M4 stands as an impressive mini PC that bridges the gap between compact design and high-performance computing. Its main selling points are its powerful Intel Core i9-11900H processor and the capability to support up to three displays, making it one of the best business PCs in a small-form factor (or an alternative to the best business laptops if space is at a premium). An ideal choice for professionals engaged in multitasking and content creation. Additionally, its ample connectivity options, generous storage and RAM expandability, and effective cooling system make it a versatile choice for a wide range of users. 

While it may not be the go-to choice for ultra-high-end gaming or those seeking the smallest possible footprint, the NucBox M4 excels in providing robust performance in a relatively compact form. Its blend of power, functionality, and design makes it a standout option for anyone looking for a mini PC that can handle demanding tasks with ease.

Value: Exceptional performance at a competitive price. (4/5)
Design: Slimline, traditional design; versatile, accessible ports. (4/5)
Features: Ample connectivity, easy internal access, effective cooling. (4/5)
Performance: Strong CPU, decent GPU; suits moderate gaming. (4/5)
Total: A powerful, well-designed mini PC with great value. (4/5)

GMKtec NucBox M4 review

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

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GMKtec NucBox G3 mini PC review
8:53 pm |

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

GMKtec NucBox G3: 30-second review


CPU: Intel 12th Alder Lake-N100, 4C/4T, up to 3.4 GHz
Intel UHD Graphics (750MHz, 24 execution units)
RAM: 8GB DDR4 3200 MT/s (expandable to 32GB)
Storage: 512GB M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0 SSD (expandable to 2TB)
Rear Ports: 2 x USB3.2 (Gen1*1 5Gbps/S), 2 x HDMI (4K@60Hz), 1 x 2.5G Giga LAN (RJ45)
Front Ports: 2 x USB3.2 (Gen1*1 5Gbps/S)
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2
Audio: 1 x 3.5 mm headphone jack
Camera: Not included
Size: 115mm x 108mm x 44mm
OS Installed: Windows 11 Pro
Accessories: Power adapter (DC IN 5.5/2.5mm, 12V/3A)

The GMKtec NucBox G3 is definitely priced to attract entry-level users, those on a budget or just want a compact machine that will enable them to browse the internet and carry out office and some multimedia tasks. 

Powering the small box is an Intel 12th Alder Lake-N100 processor, an ideal choice for this style of mini PC as, while not a top specification processor, it is still designed to handle everyday tasks efficiently. With its 4 cores and 4 threads, it reaches a maximum speed of 3.4 GHz. We've tested plenty of the best mini PCs, and while not groundbreaking, there's sufficient power here for basic office applications, web browsing, and light multimedia tasks such as watching videos and streaming music.

The GMKtec NucBox G3's performance in benchmarks like Crystal Disk, GeekBench, and PC Mark underscores its suitability for light to moderate use. The Crystal Disk scores of 1763 MB/s read and 1692 MB/s write speed indicate impressive speeds with the handling of data transfer and storage tasks. GeekBench scores, with 933 in single-core and 2303 in multi-core tests, highlight its capacity to manage day-to-day applications smoothly, although it does rule out more processor and graphic-intensive tasks. 

In terms of gaming, the G3's limitations become apparent. Its Intel UHD Graphics, while adequate for basic graphical tasks, is not cut out for high-end gaming or even mid-range, as evidenced by Fire Strike and Time Spy scores. This Mini PC caters well to casual gamers who are content with less demanding titles, but for those seeking a device for intensive gaming, the G3 might not be the ideal choice

The design of the G3 is another highlight, featuring a lush green colour variant that adds a touch of uniqueness to its compact form. The build quality is solid, and it is remarkably lightweight at just 0.79 lb (361g), making it highly portable. The option for DIY upgrades is a welcome addition, with easy access to RAM and SSD slots, ensuring that the device can grow with the user's needs.

Connectivity options on the G3 are ample, with multiple USB 3.2 ports, dual HDMI supporting 4K at 60Hz, and a 2.5G Ethernet port for faster internet connectivity. Its Wi-Fi 6 capability ensures speedy and reliable wireless connections. The audio output is limited to a single 3.5mm headphone jack, which is standard for most mini PCs.

Running on Windows 11 Pro, the GMKtec NucBox G3 offers a familiar and intuitive user experience, with added support for Linux for those who prefer an open-source environment. If you're running any of the best 3D printers or best laser engravers, then this could make a great workshop choice.

GMKtec NucBox G3: Price & availability

GMKtec NucBox G3 review

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

The GMKtec NucBox G3 Mini PC, already attractively priced at $279 for the 8GB RAM and 512GB SSD variant, can often be found discounted through various retailers, including directly from GMKtec or the Amazon Store. This aspect of affordability enhances its value proposition significantly. 

  • Score: 4/5

GMKtec NucBox G3: Design & build

GMKtec NucBox G3 review

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

The GMKtec NucBox G3 might be at the budget end of the market, but it still models a sleek, modern mini PC design, combining both form and function in a compact and lightweight package. Weighing in at just 265g and with dimensions of 115mm x 108mm x 44mm, it's both a great desktop space saver with its small footprint and small and lightweight enough to make it portable if needed. 

As with other NUCs and thin clients of this type, it also offers a good range of alternative mounting options, enabling you to monitor, stand or wall mount if needed

The exterior of the G3 is made from high-quality plastic, which balances the lightweight construction with portability and durability. Despite its all-plastic construction, the unit feels robust and well-built. The design also makes it incredibly easy to upgrade if needed with the top cover, which can be easily pried open, providing hassle-free access to the internal components. This feature is particularly beneficial if you purchase the barebones version or want to upgrade the hardware in the future, as it enables quick modifications.

The layout of the ports around the case helps to enhance the G3's usability. On the front are two USB Type-A ports, and then there's a well-arranged selection of ports at the back, all of which help when setting up the Mini PC. The G3's port design is really well thought out, especially the two HDMI ports, one on either side of the rear of this small machine.

  • Design: 4/5

GMKtec NucBox G3: Features

GMKtec NucBox G3 review

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

The G3 boasts a rich array of ports, including USB 3.2 for high-speed data transfer, HDMI for 4K@60Hz Ultra HD output, and a 2.5G Giga LAN port for fast-wired network connectivity. This variety of interfaces caters to diverse needs, allowing connections to monitors, TVs, audio systems, NAS, printers, and projectors. The inclusion of a Kensington lock port also adds a layer of security if needed. 

At its core, the G3 features the Intel 12th Gen Alder Lake N100 processor, which offers increased performance and energy efficiency compared to its predecessors like the N95 processor. This processor is equipped with 4 cores, 4 threads, and a 6 MB cache, operating at a speed of 3.4 GHz. The micro-sized chip's 7nm lithography and 6W TDP (Thermal Design Power) make it an energy-efficient yet fast processor, suitable for multitasking and everyday computing tasks such as Microsoft Office and web browsing.

The G3 is equipped with 8GB DDR4 RAM at 3200MHz, which is expandable up to 32GB. It supports M.2 2242 SATA (not included) and comes with a 256GB SSD M.2 2280, expandable to 2TB. The inclusion of Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2 technology ensures fast wireless connectivity, being three times faster than Wi-Fi 5. The cooling fan and vents incorporated into the design help maintain optimal operating temperatures.

The G3 offers advanced networking capabilities with super-speed Wi-Fi 6, allowing for dual-band speeds of up to 2400Mbps and high-speed Ethernet capable of 2.5Gbps. These features ensure faster and more stable internet connections, whether wirelessly or through a wired connection, so there are plenty of connection options depending on your needs.

With dual HDMI 2.0 ports, the G3 supports two 4K displays at 60Hz, which can again be useful in a work environment where you may want your work documents on one screen and a web browser on the other. 

Other notable features include Auto Power On and Wake On LAN, and compatible with multiple operating systems, including Linux, Windows 10, and Ubuntu.

  • Features: 3.5/5

GMKtec NucBox G3: Performance

GMKtec NucBox G3 review

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

Crystal Disk Read: 1763
Crystal Disk Write: 1692
GeekBench CPU Single: 933
GeekBench CPU Multi: 2303
GeekBench Compute: 3276
PC Mark: 2711
CineBench CPU Multi: 362
CineBench CPU Single: 683
Fire Strike Overall: 1080
Fire Strike Graphics: 1138
Fire Strike Physics: 6252
Fire Strike Combined: 413
Time Spy Overall: 373
Time Spy Graphics: 326
Time Spy CPU: 2163
Wild Life: 2699
Windows Experience: 6.4

The performance of the GMKtec NucBox G3 Mini PC, as indicated by the test results, positions it as a reliable performer for everyday computing tasks, though with limitations in more demanding applications.

For standard tasks like web browsing, document editing, and basic office applications, the G3 proves more than capable. Its Crystal Disk Read and Write scores indicate that it can handle data transfers and system operations swiftly, contributing to a smooth user experience for everyday tasks such as web browsing, transferring files and using Microsoft Office applications. We found it's also perfectly suited to handling 3D printing Slicing Software.

When it comes to creative applications like Photoshop, the G3's performance is modest. This is hardly the best photo editing PC out there - not even close. While it can handle basic photo editing and light graphical tasks, the CineBench scores suggest limitations in handling more processor-intensive creative work, such as complex image processing or running the best video editing software. While basic editing is possible, the speed of rendering on video footage above 1080p can quickly get jittery with dropped frames through playback, so we can't recommend this to anyone looking for the best video editing PC or a space-saving alternative to the best video editing laptops.

In our experience, the gaming performance of the G3 is best described as suitable for casual gaming. The Fire Strike and Time Spy scores reflect that while it can manage some light gaming, it struggles with more graphics-intensive games. Games like Red Dead Redemption II and Cyberpunk require more than this machine can provide on the graphics front. 

The GeekBench CPU scores showcase that the G3 can handle multitasking, making it a solid choice for productivity tasks that don't demand intensive CPU usage, such as working on both Office and web browsing applications. However, for multi-threaded tasks or heavy multitasking, it may not be the most efficient choice.

With its dual HDMI ports supporting 4K displays and fast Ethernet and Wi-Fi 6 capabilities, the G3 is well-equipped for multimedia consumption and online activities. Its ability to support dual screens at high resolution is a great feature, considering the price point. It does enable you to split applications across two screens, which gives you far greater room to manoeuvre. 

For an entry-level machine, the performance is solid. When in use, it's quick for everyday tasks and will handle Microsoft Office and other similar applications with ease. When it comes to anything more processor-intensive, while it can handle some tasks, it will struggle with others, but it is still impressively powerful for its intended market. 

  • Performance: 3/5

Should you buy the GMKtec NucBox G3?

The GMKtec NucBox G3 Mini PC is an excellent choice for anyone seeking a budget-friendly, compact computing solution. Its Intel N100 processor handles everyday tasks and basic multimedia applications with relative ease, making it one of the best business computers for everyday office and browser-based use. 

While it falls short in high-intensity gaming and creative tasks, its design, featuring a rich array of connectivity options and upgradability, adds significant value. 

Priced at $279, it offers great value for money, perfectly suiting budget-conscious consumers, students, and anyone needing a reliable, no-frills computer. Overall, the G3 is a practical, cost-effective mini PC for everyday use and light multimedia activities.

  • Value: Exceptionally priced for basic computing needs. (4/5)
  • Design: Compact, lightweight, with practical connectivity options. (4/5)
  • Features: Adequate features for everyday use and upgrades. (3.5/5)
  • Performance: Satisfactory for general tasks, limited for gaming. (3/5)
  • Total: A cost-effective, efficient choice for basic usage. (3.5/5)

GMKtec NucBox G3 review

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

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Brother MFC-J6540DW review
6:51 pm |

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

Type: 4-in-1 color A3 inkjet printer 

Functions: Print, scan, copy, fax 

Connectivity: Ethernet, USB, Wi-Fi 

Data storage slots: USB Host    

Print speed: 28ipm (mono)  

Paper capacity: 250 + 50 sheets  

Print quality: 1,200 x 4,800 dpi 

Scan quality: 600 x 600 dpi  

Apple AirPrint: yes  

Consumables included: 4x standard cartridges (550 mono pages, 550 color)  

Dimensions/Weight: 576 x 477 x 305 mm (WxDxH)/28.6kg 

The Brother MFC-J6540DW is the entry-level A3 model in Brother’s Business Smart Series, and an office printer  that can handle 11 inch by 7 inch paper, the price is pretty low, depending where you shop. Pitching itself as one of the best all-in-one printers for businesses, this is a four-in-one with a fast print speed, touchscreen interface, an ADF (automatic document feeder) and fax. The duty cycle is given as 2,500 pages per month, making it one of the best small business printers for everyday office use, and should satisfy most general needs.  

The suggested retail price including tax is around $280 with Brother USA, or £430 from Brother UK - or roughly $540. That’s a big difference. So, assuming you don’t buy direct from Brother UK, you will be getting a lot of printer for your money. 

It’s also one of Brother’s first EcoPro ready printers. EcoPro in Europe, or Refresh EZ Print as it is branded in the US, is a subscription service that provides discounted ink and full service for a monthly fee appropriate to your needs. It’s Brother’s answer to HP+ and you get four months of it free when you purchase this model. This is all good news, but never forget that this is a cartridge-based inkjet. And even with the best inkjet printers, running cartridge costs can be high, so you’re probably going to need that ink discount to keep your consumables cost competitive.  

Brother MFC-J6540DW: Design & build

Brother’s latest Business Smart Series resembles the previous generation of big desktop office inkjets, but in fact they have all been re-engineered from chip to print-head. The latest MAXIDRIVE inkjet technology is said to improve speed and quality. 

Brother MFC-J6540DW during our printing tests

(Image credit: Brother)

Outwardly, the Brother MFC-J6540DW looks a little top heavy with the tapering base being smaller than the overhanging scanner bed and ADF, but if that odd shape buys you a little more desk space, then that’s a good thing. It actually has the same footprint as the big banner-printing Brother MFC-J6959DW. Another nice design touch is the way your USB and Ethernet cables connect inside the printer rather than via ports at the rear where they might get pulled out by mistake.

This is the smallest multifunction model in the range with just one 250-sheet paper tray. The touchscreen display is also a little smaller at 6.8cm in diameter. The ink cartridge compartment is large enough to hold the XL carts that are twice the capacity of the bundled standard carts. Much of the bulk of this all-in-one belongs to the ADF which can handle an impressive 50 sheets of A3 or Ledger-size paper. The rear multipurpose tray is also A3 size, but you can only load one sheet at a time.

Brother MFC-J6540DW during our printing tests

(Image credit: Brother)

Brother MFC-J6540DW: Features & specifications

This is a well-specified four-in-one aimed at the small business user or home office worker who needs the best A3 printer without breaking the bank. As such, we were delighted to see this comes with all essential business features. That includes auto-duplex color printing, a decent ADF, wi-fi, a front USB port and a fax modem. It also has a decent colour touchscreen interface and a very fast print rate, for an inkjet. The speed is given at 29ipm (images per minute) in the US and 28ipm in the rest of the world. The only reason for that discrepancy is the slight difference in size between Letter and A4 paper. Both the print resolution and the scan resolution are respectable, which should make this unit a fine photocopier.  

Brother MFC-J6540DW during our printing tests

(Image credit: Brother)

As the entry-level multifunction model, however, a few features have been withheld to keep the price down. There’s no NFC module, for example, and no single pass dual scan feature. And it’s a pity the Brother MFC-J6540DW cannot take the really big INKvestment Tank cartridges that can yield up to 6,000 pages from a single black cartridge. The maximum capacity here is half that, which makes the ink cost per page higher.

Instead of oversized ink cartridges, Brother is offering customers discounted ink through its new subscription service called EcoPro, or Refresh EZ Print and including a free four month trial with this printer. Just like the HP+ sub, you estimate how many pages you’re going to print each month and choose the appropriate subscription fee. 

Your replacement cartridges should arrive just before you run out of ink, so long as your printer keeps communicating with Brother online, and the old cartridges can be returned for recycling. Your warranty will also be extended throughout your subscription period. 

Brother MFC-J6540DW during our printing tests

(Image credit: Brother)

Hopefully Brother’s service is easier to get out of than HP’s when you want to give it up. Personal experience puts me off signing up to such subscriptions unless I’m sure I’m going to print regularly with that printer. 

The key feature of the Brother MFC-J6540DW is its ability to print, copy and fax any size of paper up to A3 or Ledger. It can hold 250 sheets in the main tray and another 50 in the ADF. It can flip a sheet of A3 in auto duplex print mode, but it can’t automatically duplicate a double-sided document. It does have two-sided copy mode, but you have to turn the paper over yourself. Another limitation is the single paper tray. Pay more for the step-up MFC-J6940DW and you get two drawers that can be filled with both A3 and A4 paper.

Brother MFC-J6540DW: Setup & operation

The Brother MFC-J6540DW comes with a very clear 13-step quick start manual, but you probably won’t need it. It’s a simple case of turning it on, loading your paper and following the prompts that appear on the touchscreen display. My advice is shake the ink cartridges before you load them and then print out both of the test pages suggested by the setup procedure. The print head test shows you if the nozzles are firing, while the alignment test page can be scanned to automatically detect any alignment issues.  

Brother MFC-J6540DW during our printing tests

(Image credit: Brother)

The four bundled LC422 cartridges are the standard size with a claimed yield of 550 color pages and 550 monochrome. However, with this being the first installation, some of that ink is needed to prime the delivery tubes and so you will only get around 358 pages of CMY and 358 of BK.

You can download Brother’s Mobile Connect app onto your Apple or Android device and use that to get your new printer onto your wi-fi network without having to type in any passwords. The same companion app also makes it very easy to print and scan from and to the cloud. When you’re operating the Brother MFC-J6540DW remotely, or at the printer, the sensitive touchscreen ensures this is a painless process either way.

Brother MFC-J6540DW: Performance

The Brother MFC-J6540DW passed all of our tests without any misprints or paper jams and it achieved its promised print speed with ease. Brother’s latest Business Smart inkjets are blessed with print rates that rival and even overtake laser printers, which usually dominate the business sector. In this case, the FPOT (first print out time) of 4.4 seconds is the fastest in class and our twenty page Word document was churned out quickly and quite quietly at around 5dB.

Brother MFC-J6540DW during our printing tests

(Image credit: Brother)

The quoted print speed is for simplex printing, but it doesn’t slow down much for duplex printing. That figure is 21ipm. And duplexing with A3 paper was equally impressive. Printing in draft mode is the fastest and it’s more economical on ink too, but be warned; I found text documents were so pale in draft mode that they were quite hard to read in low light. Switch to standard quality and your black text looks suitably dark and well defined, even at very small point sizes. The best laser printers still generally make a better job of text documents thanks to their clinical application of black toner, but this inkjet with its pigment black ink comes very close.  

Inkjets always win when it comes to the best photo printers, though, and the Brother MFC-J6540DW does a great job, considering that this is an office AOI (all-in-one) and not a dedicated photo printer. The advantage here is that it can print on almost any size photo paper from 4x6 inch up to borderless A3. While the black ink is pigment based, the coloured inks are dye based and this results in bright and detailed photos. However, a printer using all dye inks, which bond especially well with coated photo paper, would deliver a more natural and vivid finish. Suffice to say, this is a business printer that does a good job with text and mixed colour documents, while also turning out a reasonable photograph.  

Brother MFC-J6540DW during our printing tests

(Image credit: Brother)

The Brother MFC-J6540DW makes a fine photocopier too, thanks to its large Ledger-sized scanner glass and its competence with large format paper. I found it easy to blow up and reduce my duplications by any percentage. When you select 2-sided copy, the printer holds the first page in its 256MB memory and prompts you to turn the page over. It’s the next best thing to single pass dual-scanning.

Brother MFC-J6540DW: Final verdict

If you need a fast office all-in-one that can print, copy and fax A3 or Ledger-sized paper, the Brother MFC-J6540DW is a great place to start. It might not be the very best large-format printer out there, but the very reasonable price includes essential features, such as automatic two-sided colour printing, wi-fi and a 50-sheet ADF (automatic document feed) plus a few extras. There’s a convenient touchscreen interface and a front USB Host port, for example, and this printer boasts the fastest first page out time in its class. Print performance is strong with text and colour documents, while photos look pretty good too. 

Downsides? There’s no NFC module and no single pass dual scan function, but the bigger problem is the cost of replacement inkjet cartridges. This model is not compatible with the extra large INKvestment Tank cartridges and its XL cartridges can only manage 3,000 prints maximum. But the best Brother printers now support its new subscription service, which does make up for this shortcoming by offering discounted ink and giving away a four month free trial with this purchase. If you are prepared to commit to the monthly payments, this affordable A3 printer could also be economical to run. 

Samsung Portable SSD T5 Evo (8TB) review
1:34 pm |

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

Samsung T5 Evo: One-minute review

Samsung T5 Evo portable SSD during our tests

(Image credit: Samsung)

The Samsung T5 Evo 8TB portable SSD is the first of its kind, a storage device that has been designed from ground up to support this capacity - and potentially more in the future. It is very well designed - a clever mix of metal and rubber - especially with the integrated carry handle (Samsung calls it a ring) that makes it instantly likable.

It feels modern compared to its direct competition, eschewing the flat Kit-Kat shape design adopted by other players like Vectotech, Oyen Digital or Glyph, a legacy from the days of 2.5-inch SSDs. I like its long Type-C cable, the Samsung’s Magician SSD management software (with hardware encryption) and its three-year warranty but that’s where the good bit ends. This is a slow portable SSD and is especially poor value at the lower capacities (2TB and 4TB) with Samsung’s own T series, SanDisk and many others delivering far, far better value for money.

And speaking of price, its suggested retail price is shocking to say the least but Samsung has cleverly positioned the 8TB as an external HDD replacement. The marketing literature reads “T5 Evo is an optimal product to replace external HDDs in all aspects, including performance, durability, compatibility, compact design and high capacity”. So, with the 8TB model at least, the T5 Evo delivers just enough value for money in order for the target audience, creative professionals. 

Bear in mind as well that it doesn’t carry any IP or MIL-STD ratings; so make sure it doesn't get wet, it is not a water resistant device. While it may not act as the best rugged hard drive, it still feels reasonably solid but be aware of this limitation. It is difficult to recommend the T5 Evo at this price, just under $650, about twice that of the 8TB Samsung 870 QVO (albeit internal) and there are other cheaper alternatives that will perform just as well. As such, the drive won’t enter our best portable SSD buying guide without a significant drop in price. 

Samsung T5 Evo: Pricing and availability

  • How much does it cost? $650
  • When is it available? Now
  • Where can you get it? In the US, UK, Australia and other territories

Ultra large capacity SSDs are far and few between because they tend to be far more expensive and the market for such drives is very small compared to smaller capacities (2TB or 4TB). 

Samsung T5 Evo portable SSD during our tests

(Image credit: Samsung)

Samsung T5 Evo: Design

The components inside the T5 Evo are housed in a metal enclosure (unibody aluminum) and wrapped in a rubber sleeve. There’s a blue LED indicator and a Type-C port. The portable SSD itself is heavier than expected at 102 grams (0.23 pounds) and far larger as well. At 17mm (0.67 inches) thick and 95mm (3.74 inches) long, I’d find it a bit more difficult to slip in my jeans’ pockets. The package includes a 46cm Type-C to Type-C cable and there’s no adaptors should you want to use it with a traditional Type-A connector.

A tear down carried out by our sister publication, Anandtech, showed that the drive looks like a repackaged 870 QVO, which costs about half the price and uses cheaper QLC NAND chips (as opposed to more expensive but more resilient TLC). Check out the review carried out by another of our peers, Tomshardware

Samsung T5 Evo portable SSD during our tests

(Image credit: Samsung)

Samsung T5 Evo: Benchmark

The T5 Evo is one of the slowest portable SSD we’ve tested in recent times. It is something Samsung is very open about unlike some of its competitors.  

Samsung T5 Evo portable SSD during our tests

(Image credit: Samsung)

Samsung T5 Evo: Specs

Should I buy the Samsung Portable SSD T5 Evo?

Samsung T5 Evo portable SSD during our tests

(Image credit: Samsung)

Samsung Portable SSD T5 Evo alternatives

There are at least three other 8TB SSD, widely available on the market - the Oyen Digital U32, Vectotech, and Titanium One - all being cheaper than Samsung’s T5 Evo. The Titanium One is the one we’d go for since it comes with an IP rating. If you need a faster SSD, you can either build one yourself (using a compatible NVMe enclosure and an off-the-shelf SSD) or go for a PCIe-based model that will cost you nearer to $1,000. 

Samsung T5 Evo portable SSD during our tests

(Image credit: Samsung)

How I tested the Samsung Portable SSD T5 Evo

After having formatted the T5 Evo to exFAT, I test it the same way I test other storage components (external HDD, microSD cards etc) using my trusty Honor Magicbook 14 2022. I use the latest versions of CrystalDiskMark, Atto, AS SSD and AJA benchmarks, noting the best scores achieved in each. They are all free and can be downloaded by anyone. I then transfer a folder of files, roughly 10GB in size, to get a rough idea of real life performance. 

GMKtec M3 review
10:09 pm | December 4, 2023

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

GMKtec M3: 30-second review


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

GMKtec M3

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

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. 

  • Score: 4/5

GMKtec M3: Design & build

GMKtec M3

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

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. 

  • Design: 4/5

GMKtec M3: Features

GMKtec M3

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

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.

  • Features: 4.5/5

GMKtec M3: Performance

GMKtec M3

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

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. 

  • Performance: 4/5

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)

GMKtec M3

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

GoPro Quik review
9:50 pm |

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Pro Software & Services | Comments: Off

It may be pitched as one of the best video editing apps for GoPro wearers, but there’s more to Quik than meets the eye. With unlimited cloud storage, an automatic highlights reel, and even the option to remote-control devices, the app has a lot of potential for habitual photographers, streamers, and video-makers.  

We wanted to see whether Quik is just a cute companion for the best GoPro cameras, or whether the mobile video content creation tool stands up on its own. So, we took the iOS app, identical to the Android version, out for a spin.  

GoPro Quik: Pricing & plans

Cutting content using the GoPro Quik mobile video editing app during our testing process

Quik's trimming tool makes video editing very simple (Image credit: GoPro)
  • Cheap subscription and deals squarely aimed at GoPro users

You can download the app for free, and even start using it without having to register an account. But there are serious limitations to this ‘free’ app, because GoPro really wants you to subscribe.

There are two subscription levels: ‘Quik' costs $2 a month or $10 a year. It unlocks all of the app’s editing features, and lets you upload your Murals to the cloud as a backup option. It’s not a high price to pay by any measure, but we do think it’s quite a lot compared to the best free video editing software (like Apple iMovie or DaVinci Resolve), or those you can get for a low one-off cost, like the excellent LumaFusion

‘GoPro’ is the second subscription tier, which is priced at $25 for the first year and $50 thereafter. This plan offers more goodies, especially for GoPro fans - and frankly that will describe most users of this app. Alongside the Quik subscription features, it adds discounts for GoPro gear, auto uploads, some of the best cloud storage if you want unlimited space for GoPro footage. There's even guaranteed faulty camera replacement, and 1080p live streaming. The discounts on cameras, mounts, accessories alone might make this a very attractive proposition: at last, a subscription to an app that offers way more than just the app itself. 

  • Pricing & plans: 3.5/5

GoPro Quik: Interface

Cutting content using the GoPro Quik mobile video editing app during our testing process

Quik works well on a phone, but it's excellent on the tablet (Image credit: GoPro)
  • A simple interface, focused on your phone’s portrait orientation - more versatile on a tablet

The interface is designed to be worked solely in a phone’s portrait orientation. Tablets are more versatile and the interface will resize itself in any orientation. This is not the only mobile video editor that works like this, and although it could be argued to make sense on a phone, some might prefer to work in landscape, but can’t with Quik.

The app is actually well designed, with all the tools available at the bottom of the screen, which you can swipe through, with the main preview taking up most of the top half, and your edit filling up the rest of the available space in between.

In order to keep the visible tools to a minimum, the bottom bar is contextualised, changing depending on what’s selected. It makes it very convenient on a phone. You have more space on a tablet, but for the sake of consistency, the layout is the same as for the phone, whichever way you’re holding your device.

But Quik is more than just a video editor. It’s also a link to your GoPro equipment. You can use it to access the media stored in your camera and upload it to your phone or tablet, and you’ll also find tools in the edit section that are designed to work exclusively with shots taken with specific GoPros. That level of access and control makes Quik most interesting, and as it can also see your phone’s media library, you can easily mix and match shots from different devices within a single edit. Just as the top subscription is very attractive to GoPro users, this side of Quik is also chiefly focused on GoPro users.

  • Interface: 3/5

GoPro Quik: Video editing

Cutting content using the GoPro Quik mobile video editing app during our testing process

Editing is intuitive - just tap and move clips around, although some actions do require more tapping than necessary (Image credit: GoPro)
  • Two different ways of editing, depending on how involved you wish to get

Quik offers you two different types of projects to create: Murals and Studio. You give away most of your control with Murals, but we did find it a great choice if you just need something done at lightning speed. 

If you’re a rookie looking for the best video editing software for beginners, this is about as gentle an introduction as you could hope. You select the clips you wish to work with, give your project a title, and the app will create everything else for you, editing, effects, transitions, the works. 

You do have some editing control, but if you prefer a more hands on approach, we recommend using the Studio which is more fleshed out, although here too, there are limits. Set appropriate expectations. This isn’t (and doesn’t aim to be) the best video editing software. It won't help you work with chromakey green screen effects for instance, or let you build complex multi-layered edits. This is for quick, simple jobs, with a few flashy effects. 

  • Video editing: 4.5/5

GoPro Quik: Tools

Cutting content using the GoPro Quik mobile video editing app during our testing process

Apply effects, colour correction, etc, all from the contextual tools at the bottom of the screen (Image credit: GoPro)
  • Limited tool, good for beginners but may constrain experienced editors - and the ‘free’ option is only a trial

Playing with the app you’ll notice quickly that it’s designed for simplicity. The fact each clip is represented by a thumbnail of the exact same size no matter how long a particular clip might be, makes that clear. This makes the app great for beginners, but more cumbersome for more experienced editors as you don’t really get a feel for the length and flow of your project.

Even still, performing basic edits like trimming feel more involved than they should be, as you need to tap on a clip to select it, tap on the edit button at the centre of the thumbnail, tap on the trim tool, then trim your clip. That’s a lot of tapping, when competing editing apps let you do that directly from the Timeline.

Having said that, you have a nice number of options, such as good color correction. It’s never going to hit the accuracy of the best monitors for video editing, but for the small screen, it’s excellent. There’s also a series of themes you can choose which set your project’s fonts, music, transitions, all for you, greatly speeding up the creation process.

Cutting content using the GoPro Quik mobile video editing app during our testing process

Retiming is surprisingly easy to use, and powerful to boot (Image credit: GoPro)

Any effect, theme, music, and so on, sporting a blue lightning bolt icon, means this is a premium subscription-only feature. You can certainly select it and work with it, but you won’t be able to save your work unless you’re a subscriber.

It is possible to find a few that are free and create a project without having to pay for anything but there’s a huge caveat here: the ‘free’ option is only free for a limited time. In fact, you can only work on a few Murals and even fewer Studio projects before Quik prevents you from working on anything else. Making a change after you’ve saved your project doesn’t work. Deleting it doesn’t reset the count either. Think of ‘Free’ as a very limited trial run. If you want to continue to edit with Quik, you’ll need to give them your money in a recurring way, each year.

The best thing Quik has going for it, is its integration with GoPro’s hardware. In that respect, it’s a great fun app, with loads of simple features, and ways to quicken the edit for you while you get on with taking your next awesome shots. The video editing capabilities are simpler than we were expecting, but they may well suit many people who can’t be asked to get down and dirty in the minutia of video editing. 

A subscription makes perfect sense if you use a lot of GoPro gear. You get great discounts and even replacement protection, with the app just being a bonus at that stage. However, if you don’t own GoPro equipment, there are undoubtedly many other editors out there that would suit you better.

  • Tools: 3/5

GoPro Quik: Scorecard

Should I try?

Cutting content using the GoPro Quik mobile video editing app during our testing process

Some tools will only work with footage taken with a specific GoPro camera (Image credit: GoPro)

Try it if...

You own GoPro equipment, need to transfer your media from your camera to your phone or tablet, and don’t mind limited editing options.

Don't try it if...

You don’t own GoPro equipment, and in that respect the options and deals are not relevant to you.

GoPro Quik: Alternatives

We've tested, reviewed, and rated a massive range of video editing tools. For alternatives to GoPro Quik, we recommend the iOS version of Apple iMoviem and the mobile video editing apps CapCut and our favorite, LumaFusion.  

CapCut review
6:26 pm |

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Pro Software & Services | Comments: Off

Since its release in 2020, CapCut has taken the short-form video world by storm. The fact it’s owned by ByteDance Ltd, the same company which also owns TikTok, might have helped in that regard. 

Starting life on iPhone and Android devices, it quickly became one of the best video editing apps out there, adding a web-based editor, and most recently, a desktop video editor for both Mac and Windows. For this review, we’re looking at where it all began: mobile video editing.  

CapCut: Pricing & plans

  • It’s free for most tools, but some advanced features are locked behind a subscription

The basic CapCut editor is free, although this might make you think you don’t get much for nothing. Quite the contrary: CapCut is a very capable and feature-rich editor, as we’ll explore further below. You don’t even need to create an account in order to start using it: just launch the app, import some footage and away you go.

There is however a ‘Pro’ version of this video editor, but to explore its capabilities, you need to register. Pro offers you 100GB of online storage, and grants you access to a variety of advanced features, such as improving the quality of old photographs, upscaling video, removing flicker, image noise, and a bunch of transitions.

You can get all of this through an ongoing annual or monthly subscription - but it’s not especially cheap. Considering LumaFusion offers you a pro-level mobile video editing experience for a one-off price of $30, maybe CapCut are relying on their market penetration to convince people to subscribe to their business model.

  • Pricing & plans: 3/5

CapCut: Shortcuts

CapCut mobile video editing app during our testing

Use some shortcuts to commonly used features, or simply tap on ‘New Project’ to start from scratch (Image credit: Bytedance)
  • A useful list of ready-made templates and actions to help you speed up the creation process… but why does CapCut demand access to our entire Photos library to allow you to do this?

When you first launch CapCut you’ll find the interface filled with icons to take you to commonly performed actions, such as Ad Maker, Product Photo and Retouch. The Ad Maker grants you access to templates you can use to create adverts in seconds, applying your own clips on top of the chosen template. It lets the software do a lot of the work for you, but there is a puzzling request.

Usually, you can instruct apps to gain access to all your Photos library, or choose the select few it can view. All pretty straightforward, and leaves the user in full control of what the software can see. Here, although you can manage the shots you wish CapCut to use, this only applies when creating a project from scratch. 

If you want to use one of these shortcuts, CapCut puzzlingly needs to see your entire library. Now this might concern only a handful of people, but we thought it worthwhile for the privacy-conscious among you, to know those shortcuts and templates may be worth avoiding. There is no technical reason for this request, and it makes us wonder what else the software might do with your photographs and video clips. 

  • Shortcuts: 2/5

CapCut: Interface

CapCut mobile video editing app during our testing

Even on a tablet the interface restricts you to the portrait orientation (Image credit: Bytedance)
  • A simple interface, stuck in one orientation, but everything you need to get working is there

Whether you choose one of these template shortcuts, or wish to start a new project from scratch, you’ll eventually end up in CapCut’s main editing interface. 

It’s solely designed for your device to be held in portrait orientation. If you turn your phone horizontally, the interface won’t budge. The same happens when working on a tablet. There’s also no way to change the layout - you’re stuck with it, whether you like it or not. But frankly, there’s little to dislike. The top third is devoted to a preview of your project. Beneath that is your timeline, and at the bottom, is a row of tools for you to use.

There’s a button to let you preview your work in full screen (and in landscape), but no editing is possible in that orientation. You don’t even have access to any tools, aside from a playback button.

CapCut mobile video editing app during our testing

There’s a wealth of transitions for you to use - some are ‘Pro’ but most are free, and look great (Image credit: Bytedance)

You’ll notice a sign, top right, showing you the resolution you’re working in. By default it’s set to 1080p, but you can change that from as low as 480p to as high as 2K/4K. This is where you can also alter the frame rate from 24fps to 60fps. When some apps restrict 4K editing behind a paywall, it’s nice to see it’s available here for free.

You can also tell this app is aimed at, shall we say, those with sharp eyesight. The icons’ labels, especially those for the tools at the bottom, are in an extremely fine print, making it a challenge for the less visually acute. We did find the size is perfect on a tablet though.

  • Interface: 4/5

CapCut: Tools

CapCut mobile video editing app during our testing

The green screen cut-out tool is very effective and so simple to use (Image credit: Bytedance)
  • Very easy to use, with surprising quality and accuracy, with a direct upload to TikTok

You’ll find it’s incredibly simple to edit, trim, and split footage. It’s just as easy to add clips, and quickly build a project. You can’t work with multiple layers except in the form of an overlay, where a second clip is added on top of another, which you can resize and reposition in order to create a picture-in-picture effect, or use the ‘Cutout’ tool to remove the background, be it a green screen, or just whatever was behind you.

The Pro tools are reportedly much better, but truth be told, we found what’s on offer for free to be remarkable - both in its ease of use and in the impressive results. Just check out the ‘Speed’ options to alter the duration of a clip, which are a cinch to alter, and include the ability to perform complex changes with just a few taps and drags.

CapCut mobile video editing app during our testing

Don’t have a green screen? CapCut can also remove any background with ease (Image credit: Bytedance)

The audio tools are quite interesting, and include a vast array of sound effects, and a whole section devoted to Sounds, which are clips of songs. 

Some of the ‘Commercial’ sections have apparently been licensed for commercial use on CapCut and TikTok, whereas the other section supposedly isn’t… even though we found some clips were present on both sides of the aisle. 

There’s also a VoiceOver option for you to record audio directly into your project using your device’s built-in microphone, or any other external one connected to it.

CapCut mobile video editing app during our testing

The auto-captioning tool is a standout feature (Image credit: Bytedance)

Another feature we were most impressed with was the amazing Auto Captions tool. It will analyse your video for you and generate captions, and in our experience, even when whispering, the output was incredibly accurate. Even if there’s the odd glitch, editing them is as simple as tapping on the subtitle box in the timeline, followed by tapping on the text in the main preview section.

When you’re done and it’s time to export your work. You can upload directly to your TikTok account, or save it to your Photos library, where you can share it to other platforms.

  • Tools: 4/5

CapCut: Scorecard

Should I try?

CapCut mobile video editing app during our testing

Altering the speed of a clip leads to complex-looking results yet is remarkably easy to use (Image credit: Bytedance)

Try it if...

Your world is TikTok and you want a video editor that’s fully integrated with that platform, you like having loads of powerful tools for free, and like the idea of subscribing for additional editing features.

Don't try it if...

You have concerns about the app’s privacy aspects, and would like an app that works in any orientation.

CapCut: Alternatives

We've tested,. reviewed, and rated a massive range of video editing tools. For alternatives to CapCut, we recommend checking out the iOS version of Apple iMovie and LumaFusion.  

LumaFusion review
10:49 pm | December 1, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Pro Software & Services | Comments: Off

Editing on a computer is one thing, but why not edit on the phone or tablet you used to shoot your movie in the first place? This is nothing new, as ever since coders realised a phone was powerful enough to do some editing on it, we’ve been able to do that. But how far can that particular envelope be pushed? For instance, Final Cut Pro has finally made it to the iPad, but only on tablets with M1 chips or better. 

But they’re actually late to the party. One of the best video editing apps, LumaTouch’s LumaFusion, launched in 2016, and provides many advanced video editing features across loads of different iPads, iPhones, and Android devices.  

LumaFusion: Pricing & plans

  • Great balance - a simple, one-off price with some optional add-ons for those who want or need them 

LumaFusion isn’t free video editing software. And it’s not easy to compete in a field where many of your competitors offer their apps for free with ads, in-app purchases, or ongoing subscription. 

But if you’re in the market for an advanced professional-level video editor in your pocket, you might well find the $30 cost to be more than justified. And that’s a one-off fee, no never-ending subscriptions, with all future updates included in the price.

There are some in-app purchases as well, but these are for some advanced features that most will not need, so it makes sense to include them as optional add-ons. There are currently three available: 

Multicam Studio automatically synchronises up to 6 sources for you, letting you tap to switch between cameras, thus editing on the fly, for $20.

Export to Apple Final Cut Pro transforms all the work you’ve done on your project’s timeline into an FCPXML file, which, along with all the media you’ve used, is merged into a single file, ready for you to transfer to your Mac to carry on editing on Final Cut Pro… for $20. A kind of alternative to subscribing to Final Cut Pro for iPad.

And finally, we have the Storyblocks library, offering royalty-free music samples, songs, sound effects, videos, and backgrounds right from within the LumaFusion interface. This one’s a subscription, being either $10 a month, or $70 for the year. 

  • Pricing & plans: 4.5/5 

LumaFusion: Interface

LumaTouch LumaFusion mobile video editing app during our testing

(Image credit: LumaTouch)
  • Sleek interface in any orientation, looks great on large and small screens with good keyboard integration, although it’s not necessary to edit 

The designers at LumaTouch have done an excellent job here. The interface works great whether you’re working on a tablet or a phone, and in either portrait or landscape orientations. There’s even a way to choose between six different layouts as well. Everything works flawlessly, with panels resizing and reorganising themselves instantly whichever layout you choose and however you’re holding your device.

The interface is divided into sections. One’s the Preview, where you get to see your work as you build your edit, another’s the Timeline, where you add your clips, and essentially create your film, and the last one is where you access various elements, such as your clips, titles, transitions, effects, etc.

If you’re familiar with the best video editing software on desktops, you’ll feel right at home in LumaFusion. And if you’re in the market for one of the best video editing software for beginners on mobile, we really liked to see the app offer a series of tutorials to help you quickly understand the interface. It’s all very welcoming, whatever your experience level. 

Should you need to change the parameters of a particular clip in your timeline, simply double-tap on it. The interface will be replaced with your clip and all its alterable parameters. As you’d expect, you can also keyframe these, changing their values over time.

If you’re working on a tablet, you can hook up to a keyboard, and take advantage of various keyboard shortcuts, many of which are pretty much industry standard, like setting in and out points (‘i’ and ‘o’ respectively), adding a marker (‘m’), jump to the beginning or end of a clip (the ‘up’ and ‘down’ arrows), and so on. You certainly don’t need a keyboard to work with LumaFusion, but it grants you additional functionality if you have one.

  • Interface: 4.5/5

LumaFusion: Video editing

LumaTouch LumaFusion mobile video editing app during our testing

(Image credit: LumaTouch)
  • Great responsiveness, coupled with ease of use and loads of features - LumaFusion offers a lot and does it all exceedingly well.

Dragging and dropping is pretty much ubiquitous throughout the interface. Which isn’t surprising since it’s designed for touch. And here it works exceedingly well.

You’re able to work with up to six video layers and six additional audio tracks, allowing you to create fairly complex video sequences. Your timeline’s first layer has a ‘magnetic’ effect, which means that if you delete a clip, all subsequent ones will automatically move to the left to fill the gap left by the now-missing clip. This is a standard feature on Final Cut Pro and some others, and not only makes editing much faster, as you don’t have to deal with unwanted gaps in your project, but having to move all your clips by touch would be unbelievably tedious.

There’s a miniaturised timeline directly beneath the preview section. This represents your entire project. It is very useful to have when you’re zoomed into the timeline itself, as you can always see where you are within your project at a glance. It’s also a great way to scroll through your project, and see how all your clips are placed.

Your media can be accessed either from your device’s Photos app, a connected drive if you’re on tablet, and most of the best cloud storage providers. This includes services such as DropBox, Google Drive, OneDrive, and iCloud. 

LumaTouch LumaFusion mobile video editing app during our testing

(Image credit: LumaTouch)

Editing videos felt surprisingly easy, even on a phone’s relatively small screen (although admittedly, the larger the screen, the easier it is to work). Rendering is pretty fast. The app even lets you work with 4K clips, and we can tell you, it handles these high-resolution clips with ease.

It’s not loaded with the best VFX software, but you will find a good number of transitions, titles, and visual and audio filters are available, and pretty much everything (aside from transitions) can be keyframed and altered over time, including colour correction effects. In addition to that, there’s all the usual tools you’d expect from such an application, like trimming and cutting, chroma and luma keys, and even a built-in image stabiliser.

One thing we really liked was how you’re given the ability to create your own presets, for anything like titles or keyframed effects for instance. This allows you to have at your disposal unique looks that you can reuse in other projects, greatly saving you time, and helping set a unique tone for yourself across your videos. You can also export these presets, and import other ones.

Once you’re done, you’ve the option to save your work back to your device’s photos app, send it to an online storage service, or publish it directly to YouTube or Vimeo.

  • Video editing: 4.5/5

LumaFusion: Verdict

LumaTouch LumaFusion mobile video editing app during our testing

(Image credit: LumaTouch)

LumaTouch has done an impeccable job packing in professional-grade video editing tools into an app like this. And somehow, it feels like the most natural thing in the world. 

If we had to nitpick, we could ask why we need to select “original” in the colour filters in order to gain access to a clip's colour parameters? Why can’t those values be available as you select the ‘colour and effects’ option, saving you a tap? And LumaFusion does put your battery to the test, but to be fair, this sort of software will chew through batteries on the best video editing laptops, let alone a phone. 

LumaFusion is a great piece of software and the designers have done a remarkable job fitting a powerful editing studio in your phone or tablet. Add to that the fact this app gets regularly updated, and you’ve got a hit on your hands. If you’re serious about editing on the go, give LumaFusion some serious consideration.

LumaFusion: Scorecard

Should I buy?

LumaTouch LumaFusion mobile video editing app during our testing

(Image credit: LumaTouch)

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Minisforum UM780 XTX review
9:54 pm | November 30, 2023

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

Minisforum UM780 XTX: 30-second review


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

MinisForum UM780 XTX Review

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

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.

  • Score: 5/5

Minisforum UM780 XTX: Design & build

MinisForum UM780 XTX Review

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

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.  

  • Design: 4.5/5

Minisforum UM780 XTX: Features

MinisForum UM780 XTX Review

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

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.

  • Features: 4.5/5

Minisforum UM780 XTX: Performance

MinisForum UM780 XTX Review

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

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. 

  • Performance: 4/5

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)

MinisForum UM780 XTX Review

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Paris Rhone SP005 True 4K Projector review
9:37 pm | November 28, 2023

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

Paris Rhone SP005: 30-second review

The Paris Rhône SP005 True 4K Projector appears to be a promising offering, combining professional styling and potent projection capabilities at a reasonable price. Initial impressions are favourable, with decent build quality that, although plastic, is well-finished and designed.

The initial setup is straightforward, offering configurations for table, ceiling, rear ceiling, or rear projection, all manageable via an easy-to-use interface. Upon startup, the auto-focus and keystone correction engage, adapting to the projection area. While the focus is precise, with manual adjustment available, keystone correction often needs slight manual tweaking. Using a dedicated projection screen improves accuracy, but this projector ideally requires a central placement without any off-centre correction.

The Android TV integration initially seems well-conceived, and the quality of the projection, even at 600 ANSI Lumens, is adequate for a darkened room. However, issues arise with installed apps like iPlayer, Disney+, and Netflix. The integration becomes less user-friendly due to awkward cursor-style navigation and general instability.

Incorporating an HDMI Fire Stick or a similar device can alleviate these issues, transforming the projector experience. The projection quality is commendable, albeit slightly less intense than expected for a device of its size. While fan noise is noticeable, the powerful speakers effectively mask it.

We've tested out the best 4K projectors and the best business projectors, and overall, this model offers decent 4K resolution and sound, but it's advisable to consider an alternative to the built-in Android TV.

Paris Rhone SP005: Price and availability

Paris Rhone SP005

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)
  • How much does it cost? Starting from $699
  • When is it out? Available now
  • Where can you get it? You can get it directly from  Paris Rhone., and other online resellers

The Paris Rhone SP005 True 4K Projector has just gone on sale and can be purchased directly from the Paris Rhone website or for the early bird price of $699. Considering that this is a 4K projector, that price isn't at all bad and well below what you would usually expect to pay for a projector of this type. 

  • Value: 4 / 5

Paris Rhone SP005: Specifications

At the budget end of the market, the projector lacks cutting-edge technology, chips, or processors to boast about. However, offering 4K resolution at this price point is impressive. Its 600 ANSI Lumens fall short of many standard 4K projectors, and with Android TV 9.0 instead of the more up-to-date 11, it's clear that compromises were made to meet a budget.

Taking these limitations into account, along with the inclusion of two very respectable 25W built-in speakers, the price and features begin to seem more balanced. However, this does represent a compromise.

Paris Rhone SP005: Design

Paris Rhone SP005

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)
  • Premium Stylish Appearance
  • Practical Robust Build
  • Fabric-Covered Front Design

The Magnesium Alloy casing of the SP005 gives the projector an instantly premium feel. Its size and weight are reassuring, and if there were any doubts about the projector's prestige, the fabric-covered front around the large projection lens stylishly dispels them.

However, the Paris Rhône SP005 is at the budget end of the market. While the design and features impress upon unboxing, the specifications start to justify the low price tag.

That said, with a native 3840x2160 resolution, this projector firmly falls into the 4K category. There are few projectors currently available with this feature set that can match what's on offer. The 4K projection is further enhanced by HDR 10+ support and 600 ANSI lumens of brightness, making it more suitable for evening or curtain-closed environments for optimal viewing.

Even with 600 lumens of brightness, it's sufficient to project a 200" diagonal display comfortably. The integrated innovative blue light reduction technology ensures the projected images are clear and crisp.

One of the standout features, alongside the 4K resolution, is the dual 12W speakers. Paris Rhône emphasizes these and the audio quality of the projector, contributing to an immersive cinematic experience.

Paris Rhone SP005

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

For ease of use, the projector includes automatic focus, keystone correction, and intelligent obstacle avoidance, allowing quick adaptation to the environment. Manual adjustments are also easily accessible for those who prefer them.

Preinstalled with Android TV 9.0, the projector offers access to a vast selection of apps, from Netflix to Amazon Prime. Ultra-fast WiFi-6 and Bluetooth 5.0 support for controller and Bluetooth connections, along with an array of ports including HDMI 2.1 and USB-C, expand its usability.

The design of the SP005 is stylish and looks the same. The features, though somewhat limited in bulb brightness, are acceptable for the price, especially for nighttime viewing.

  • Design: 4 / 5

Paris Rhone SP005

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

Paris Rhone SP005: Performance

Paris Rhone SP005

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)
  • Effective Auto-Focus
  • Mixed Keystone Accuracy
  • Subpar Android Integration

Compared to the slick and stylish exterior, the actual use of the projector offers a contrast. The initial setup is straightforward, with an easy Wi-Fi network connection and quick overall navigation.

The bulb's brightness, compared to more expensive projectors, is instantly apparent, necessitating drawn curtains for a decent picture. Once light levels are sufficient, the quality of the 4K projection is good, despite some noticeable softening towards the edges of the projection area. It's important to position the projector squarely on the wall rather than at an angle.

Upon switching on, the auto-focus and keystone correction kick in. Generally, the focus is accurate, providing sharp images quickly, though with noticeable whirring sounds. Keystone correction was hit-and-miss, with manual adjustment of the four corner points often yielding the best results.

The object avoidance feature also had mixed success, leading to a preference for manual adjustment. A surprising aspect was the need to repeat the focus and projection setup each time the projector was turned on, though this could be turned off in the settings.

Installing apps is easy, but the implementation of Android 9.0 TV limits direct interaction with apps like Netflix to cursor navigation only, inhibiting browsing capability. Using an external device like a Firestick offers a more user-friendly experience.

HDMI connection simplifies usage significantly. Connecting an iPhone via USB-C works well for visuals but omits audio, which can be connected via Bluetooth 5.0 or, more effectively, through a traditional AUX 3.5mm cable. The Apple Multi Connector offers a better option for delivering both visuals and audio.

Overall, the performance of the SP005 doesn't fully meet expectations. The professional appearance isn't matched by usability, although the audio and projection quality are good. Noise levels are higher compared to other projectors like Sony, Epson, and XGIMI, but once a movie starts, it becomes less noticeable.

Considering its price as a straightforward 4K projector with numerous connection options, it offers great value. The attempt to enhance it with Android TV falls short, needing a firmware fix for improvement. However, using an external TV device via HDMI works well, and the 25W speakers are impressive, though a high-quality speaker set, ideally from our list of the best Dolby Atmos Speakers, is recommended.

Paris Rhone SP005

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)
  • Performance: 2.5 / 5

Paris Rhone SP005: Verdict

Throughout the test period, this projector's price fluctuated from the full $699 to a more reasonable $499. The features and specifications seem to justify the higher price tag. However, the execution of Android TV is subpar, and numerous issues with Bluetooth connectivity and software glitches in the apps don't quite support the full smart projector price.

However, if you overlook the Android TV and other smart features, what remains is a very competent 4K projector with an excellent set of speakers. Connect your preferred media source, and you have a budget-friendly, well-built 4K projector.

If you're in the market for a smart 4K projector, investing a bit more for a more up-to-date and powerful model is advisable. But for occasional use with external media sources and a limited budget, this projector is an excellent choice.

Should you buy a Paris Rhone SP005?

Paris Rhone SP005

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

How did I test

When it comes to projectors, at least five variables come into play to determine the viewing experience out of the box:

I employ a professional projection screen in lecture theatres and studios for photo and video workshops. At home, I utilize a wall painted specifically for evening viewing.

For my video viewing experience, I delved into a backlog of Edgar Wright movies and the excellent series "Lockwood & Co.", mixing action with special effects, challenging the projector's lamp and electronics. I also showcased the 2020 LG OLED video, a robust test of the projector's handling of black areas. The testing environments included:

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