A quick review of the HTC Titan X310e


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~Johnny

Well I've been playing with the HTC Titan all day, so I thought I'd give it a quick review (I hope no one minds if I place it here...?)

Apologies if this review is bit rubbishy, I'm not much of a writer :p But here goes! (And apologies as well for the lack of pretty photos - my camera has gone travelling apparently, so my Omnia 7 had to pick up the slack)

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Hardware

The HTC Titan X310e is an odd one. HTC promoted their large screened HD7 as an entertainment device, complete with kickstand to let you enjoy it’s large screen wherever, whenever. With the Titan, HTC have decided to make the screen bigger – even better for enjoying movies and videos, and even chucked in HTC Watch, a video rental service – but they’ve decided to kick out the kick stand. Not a great idea.

On the front of the device you have deceptively small speaker hidden under the speaker grill, a 1.3 MP front facing camera , the 4.7” 800x480 SLCD screen, and 3 capacitive touch buttons.

In a rather peculiar design move, the screen actually sits inside the battery cover – the battery cover is not only the entire back of the phone, but it’s also each of it’s corners, and even has the speaker grill from the front of the phone. It’s not something anyone will immediately notice, but it’s a unique touch to the design.

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On the whole, the device has a fairly solid construction. It’s doesn’t “feel” much bigger than any other phone I’ve used, and it sits comfortably in hand, despite its large 4.7” screen. A lot of that is down to how lightweight the device feels, at 160 grams, it’s nice and easy to hold, even when resting on your little finger when in your hand. Unfortunately to keep that weight down, HTC has foregone their metal back plates (though rather unfortunately HTC have also committed to phasing out metal bodies to plastic over time), so the device doesn’t feel quite as nice or as premium as say, their HTC 7 Mozart. The matte plastic back plate also picks up fingerprints quite easily, that are not easily wiped off, which can give it quite an unattractive look. Still, it’s solid, and there’s no flex at all to be seen. The back itself is a rather simple, bland affair with nothing much to look at – just the camera, dual LED flash and a loudspeaker.

Thanks to being so thin and lightweight, the device easily slips into your pockets without so much as a second thought, and you’ll hardly notice it when it’s there. It certainly doesn’t “feel” like the 4.7” brute that it is.

The camera, volume & power buttons are all present, though they seem slightly *too* close to being flush to surface of the phone, which can makes them hard to find and press – especially the power button. It almost feels like you're not pressing any button, even when you do manage to find it, which just feels odd.

I'm going to add here a few fustrations with the back button using the device. By nature, whenever I reached for the back button I was consistently missing it - I was either going to far left or two far up. This might just be a behaviour that I have to learn to adjust too, but it is a tad annoying to be constantly missing the back button. Still, this issue is compounded by the fact that the button touch area is notably smaller than on other HTC Windows Phone devices, simply because there's less room for them.

Internals

Inside we’ve got 16 GB of NAND storage (12GB usable), an upgrade from last year’s series of HTC Windows Phone’s that used slower MicroSD card’s for internal memory. Of course, there’s no user-replaceable MicroSD card slot here either, so you won’t be upgrading that.

Chipwise, we’ve got an MSM8255T singlecore Snapdragn SoC clocked at 1.4 Ghz, which packs an Adreno 205 GPU. Although an update from last years 1 Ghz, Adreno 200 devices, they’re still a far cry from the latest & greatest Android devices with dualcore 1.4 Ghz, Adreno 220 devices, which is a shame. No matter how good Windows Phone performs, there’s never a good reason NOT to have more performance, especially given the top-end price tag of this device.

We’ve got what looks like a single port, and it seems that this handset doesn’t support the improved HC Voice codec. The Samsung Omnia 7 so far holds the position of being the only Windows Phone to offer HD voice.

We’ve also got simply the best camera on any Windows Phone device so far, and something HTC should be making a lot more fuss about – a backlit, 8MP, f 2.2 rear racing camera, that puts it’s competition to shame. I’ll touch more of this later, but it’s great.

There’s also a pretty average 1.3 MP front facing camera, and a rather disappointing, tiny loudspeaker on the back. No Beats Audio enhancements here (or any nice premium Beats Audio earphones like can be seen with the new HTC Sensation XE which launched alongside the Titan, for around the same price). Unlike the HTC HD7, there's no front facing stereo speakers for enjoying movie content.

Display

The Titan X310e’s apparent Pièce de résistance, it’s huge 4.7” SLCD display. It’s meant to be the devices main selling point, but it leaves something to be desired - and it's partly both HTC'cs and Microsoft fault.

The main problem is Windows Phone’s current 800x480 screen resolution restriction. Although fonts are still smooth and sharp, everything at this size simply looks comical. It’s almost impossible to take the phone seriously, especially next to the gorgeous, and more compact 4” SAMOLED display of the Omnia 7. Everything’s scaled up to slightly ridiculous sizes. If you’ve got poor eye sight, or you're a grandparent, this may quite simply be the best touch screen phone out there on the market for you. For the rest of us though, it’s just slightly weird.

However, photo’s and videos do look gorgeous on the display. You won’t particularly notice the low pixel density at any point, you’ll just be enjoying the large, clear picture. Browsing the web and viewing PDF’s and documents are also benefit from the larger screen size, despite the fact that you’re still getting exactly the same amount of content on screen as you would with any other Windows Phone device.

This is compounded by the very good viewing angles of the super LCD. Even at around 170 degrees, everything’s still perfectly viewing, with only a slightly washed out look.

Colours aren’t as vivid or as saturated as the Omnia 7’s SAMOLED display, and the Titan has a slightly warmer tint to it. It's hard to not prefer the SAMOLED displays with Windows Phone 7, especially with the dark theme where it’s unmatched contrast really shines through. Whilst the Titan’s screen never looks as excellent as the Omnia 7, blacks are still relatively dark, and the contrast is quite good. But at the end of the day, a SAMOLED + screen would have been desirable (though unfortunate only Samsung has access to their supplies for now, and they're not being made in this size yet anyway).

Windows Phone 7 already had fairly big and easy-to-hit touch targets and Titan just makes it all easier – assuming your thumb can reach across the screen without having to move your hand up and down. As long as you’re over 20 this really shouldn't be a problem for you though.

As the main selling point of the phone though, you’re left with an overall feeling of disappointment.

Software

I’m not going to bother with the merit’s of Windows Phone or the Mango update here, I’m just going to mention some HTC additions we have.

First up is HTC Watch – HTC’s movie & TV rental service. It ships with the Titan, but at the moment it’s almost completely useless. Quite literally all is has right now is trailer to 8 movies. One screen, one list, 8 trailers. Nothing else. Moving on I guess…

HTC Locations is the successor of HTC footprints – it allows you to geotag locations you’ve been too, and add photos and notes to them, and share them with friends.

There’s also the updated HTC Hub that you can find on the marketplace, nothing new or exciting here.

In settings, HTC has added a few additional menu options. Attentive phone & sound enhancer have been moved over here, along with an entirely redundant “camera modes” option (that simply tells you to launch the camera to change options). A SIM applications option has also been added to access any of those only SIM applications and services that carriers used to promote many years ago… Being a Mango device, Internet Sharing also ships as enabled by default (at least in this SIM free version).

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Special mention has to go to using the keyboard on this device – both in landscape and portrait, the screen estate makes this is one of the easiest touch-keyboards to use. After a little bit of adjustment you can easily type away entire paragraphs without making a single mis-type.

It is worth noting though that the Tango video calling app isn't live yet - and even when it does go live it's going to be WiFi only. No native 3G video calls like there will be on the next wave of Samsung devices.

Camera

This right here is the Titan’s hidden little gem. A backlit, f 2.2 8MP sensor – which on paper should put it ahead of the iPhone 4S’s much lauded camera hardware. Of course, a lot of 4S’s great picture quality is down to great software too, and I very much doubt HTC's abilities to match Apple in that regard. I don’t have a 4S to compare to, but how does the Titan compare to all the other Windows Phone devices? AMAZINGLY.

First let’s start with the speed – almost as soon as the camera app is open – the camera is up and ready to take a picture. It’s notably faster than any other Windows Phone device I’ve tried. In about 2 seconds, you can launch the camera app, and have taken a sharp, clear in-focus picture, even indoors. Unlike previous HTC cameras, the indoor performance of this device is amazing. Even without flash, it takes sharp picture with no motion blur or shake visible. There’s noise, but that’s to be expected without flash, indoors, in the dark. The fact that there’s a sharp, visible and viewable picture is amazing. Outdoors is even better – and sharp pictures.

They’re not incredibly detailed, but it’s certainly the best camera phone I’ve ever used. It’s far less likely you’ll have a great moment or memory ruined by your terrible camera phone performance. I’ll try and get some example shots up later once I’ve found some good artsy subject matter to take pictures of.

There’s also HTC’s burst & panorama modes. They’re not amazing, but they do the job. HTC have also chucked in some extremely accurate Face detection here, and swapped out touch-to-shoot- for touch-to-focus. Haven’t tested out he video yet but I have high hopes for that.

One downside is that you can’t actually view the full res 8MP photos on the device. When you zoom in, things get pixelated. This has to do with the WP7 2048x2048 texture limit I presume, but it’s a slight downer. And of course there’s STILL the thumbnail bug where the colours in the picture thumbnails in the camera reel are different to the actual picture when you begin to zoom in.

But hands down, the camera is the most exciting part if this phone.

There’s also a 1.3 MP front facing camera here. It’s got about the same picture quality as a cheap desktop webcam - It’s serviceable, and nothing to write home about. You can though take videos with it.

There’s also options to turn off continuous focusing and stereo recording when making a video.

Performance

I’ll be honest, you don’t entirely notice the improved performance much. Some apps scroll little better, some animations are a bit smoother. I’m going t have to look into this more for some better examples, but so far there doesn’t seem to be a great day-to-day performance difference, even in games.

However, benchmarks to prove it’s a much more powerful device than the current crop (and on par with the rest of the new top-end devices coming out this year)

WP Bench

Omnia 7:

CPU – 20, 720 ms

Data – 27, 530 ms

GPU – 552 frames, avg: 18 F/s.

Final Score Index – 58.28

Titan X310e:

CPU – 13, 846 ms

Data – 20, 019 ms

GPU 1226 frames, avg: 40 F/s

Final Score Index – 96.69

Wrap-up

At ~£500, the Titan is a bit underwhelming. Compared to the HTC Sensation XE, it has less RAM, less resolution, half the processing capabilities, a weaker GPU, a smaller battery, and no beats audio sound or free Beats Audio earphones. And yet, they’re both being released at the same time for around the same price. If you weren’t concerned between Windows Phone & Android, I’d say the Sensation is the much better deal. Add to the fact that HTC have toned down it’s media consumption focus by removing the kick stand and Stereo front facing speakers as seen on the HD7, the Titan isn’t that great.

For the rest of us though, I’d say wait for the next top end Samsung & Nokia devices. They’re going to have the same processing power, and they’re going to have gorgeous, AMOLED and SAMOLED + screens with more manageable, less ridiculous looking screen sizes. They may even have similar cameras, and they’re going to look a darn sight better looking than the Titan’s plan, generic HTC genes.

If however your eyesight isn’t that great, or you want to get your grandparents their first smartphone, the Titan is an ideal choice of phone, that’s easy to use and great to touch.

(Just to add to this, you can get virtually this exact phone, but in white and with Android on board instead, complete with free beats audio earphones and sans the dedicated camera button in the coming months in the form of the HTC Sensation XL. For presumably the same price)

A few Camera samples

Apologies for the lack of decent shots, haven;t had much chance to get outside with it today - but I will try and get some good outdoors shots with it tomorrow.

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If you're got any questions about the device or think I should add some stuff to the above please do say

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mArcade

Thank you for the review! I've been looking everywhere for coverage.

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efjay

2 things: the HD7 did not have stereo speakers, the grills were just for decoration. 2nd, did you feel performance was lacking or are you just going on the specs themselves when you say the android phone is better? Did you do a comparison with one of those dual core android phones?

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Muhammad Farrukh

At ~£500, the Titan is a bit underwhelming. Compared to the HTC Sensation XE, it has less RAM, less resolution, half the processing capabilities, a weaker GPU, a smaller battery, and no beats audio sound or free Beats Audio earphones. And yet, they’re both being released at the same time for around the same price.

There should be no comparison between the two.

Android needs more RAM, on the other hand WP7 works perfectly fine with 512 mb RAM.

When it comes to processing capabilities, these are just numbers. Why would you want to compare it with Android which even lags at 1.2-1.4 GHz Dual-Core CPUs, while WP7 runs butter-smooth even on 1 GHz Single-Core CPUs.

Same goes with GPU.

Battery and beats audio are two things you can compare between the two.

Same price argument.

Well, its a matter of platform choice really.

And they should be equally priced.

On a side note, nice review, otherwise.

The only thing that seems a let-down, from what I have read and heard, is the screen resolution.

It simply deserves more pixels, given a generous 4.7 inches of WP7 goodness

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courtlandre

2 things: the HD7 did not have stereo speakers, the grills were just for decoration. 2nd, did you feel performance was lacking or are you just going on the specs themselves when you say the android phone is better? Did you do a comparison with one of those dual core android phones?

The point is that we are paying the same price for lesser hardware regardless of perceived speed (yes windows phone is much faster).

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Muhammad Farrukh

The point is that we are paying the same price for lesser hardware regardless of perceived speed (yes windows phone is much faster).

So there is no point at all.

End of story

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~Johnny

So there is no point at all.

End of story

The point is on hardware alone they're making us pay for something that's simply got less in it. The hardware costs of the Android device are probably notably more, butthe Windows Phone device is sold for the same price. Plus the fact they probably put a lot more R & D costs into their Android work, it just seems like they could have made it cheaper. Of course, I had the same issue with last year's HD7 that was priced the same as their older HD2, despite being nearly the same hardware as the older device.

I don't really care if the Android device needs more power to be as smooth, I'd just prefer they actually passed the saving onto us instead of just marking it up.

Did you feel performance was lacking or are you just going on the specs themselves when you say the android phone is better? Did you do a comparison with one of those dual core android phones?

I'm not of the opnion that the Android is better per sé, just that on hardware alone, it seems a bit unfair for them to be priced the same with all extra power and Android version has. Infact, where I bought it from the Titan was more expensive than the XE.

The performance is great as most Windows Phone devices, I'll have more comparisons on that with other Windows Phone's later on today with some numbers. And I'm actually going to go out and get hopefully get some proper camera samples in the next couple of hours.

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Muhammad Farrukh

The point is on hardware alone they're making us pay for something that's simply got less in it. The hardware costs of the Android device are probably notably more, butthe Windows Phone device is sold for the same price. Plus the fact they probably put a lot more R & D costs into their Android work, it just seems like they could have made it cheaper. Of course, I had the same issue with last year's HD7 that was priced the same as their older HD2, despite being nearly the same hardware as the older device.

People said same thing about Symbian.

I won't buy it because its got 480 MHz or 600 MHz processor.

e.t.c.

The point is why do you need, say, Radeon 6950 HD when Radeon 6750 is playing your desired game at highest settings, at highest resolution at 120 FPS?

Sure, when you play with 6950 you'll get 160 FPS but its gonna cost you more electricity bill.

Similarly, when you put a 1.5 GHz dual-core CPU and run it with WP7, you are gonna end up charging your phone every 5 hours, say. Because the excess of CPU power is getting into trash.

But when you've got a 1 GHz CPU, that does exactly the same what 1.5 GHz dual-core CPU does, then you are gonna have to charge the phone every 8 hours, say.

See the difference

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~Johnny

Similarly, when you put a 1.5 GHz dual-core CPU and run it with WP7, you are gonna end up charging your phone every 5 hours, say. Because the excess of CPU power is getting into trash.

But when you've got a 1 GHz CPU, that does exactly the same what 1.5 GHz dual-core CPU does, then you are gonna have to charge the phone every 8 hours, say.

See the difference

It's not the power that's really concerning. I'm personally not all that bothered by it (though I really would have loved that Adreno 220 GPU) - it's just it really should not be the same price, simple as.

Though two extra things to consider - a lot of people are going to buy these on two years contract, and they're going to be stuck with these currently pretty average specs for that time. They're not going to appreciate this hardware in hindsight, and it's something you have to consider when you go out to buy a new phone. Obviously nothing is going to stand the test of time, but some come out the other end a lot better off than others.

Second thing - a dual-core 1.5 could potentially use less power - not least the fact each of the cores on the dual core versions are more power efficient than the earlier single core variant, and they have a more powerful and efficient GPU to go along side them. Instead of maxing out 1 core, you could undervolt both, running background services on one at a very low speed, and foreground applications on another, and still be saving power overall. It's only if you're entirely maxing out both cores, or you haven't tailored your operating system and programs to take advantage of both cores that you'll see a significant power usage increase. Obviously Microsoft haven't done that yet, so a dual core can't be put in there. But why not charge us less than HTC? If they want their Windows Phone devices to sel, they should chuck us a bone.

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~Johnny

Some more camera shots from outdoors - a tad eager on noise suppression, but nice enough (though the detail is set to normal, not super fine)

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Zain Adeel

good review.

The camera is really nice!!..

the Camera on Omnia 7 is poor compared to similar spec'd Nokia devices ive used.

The dog pictures are great!.

Also the faster GPU will benefit with some games which start to slow down at some points. Like this game i love called Chain Reaction.

And the design is pretty. I wasnt too sure it would look this nice out of the marketing shots.

I am a big fan of AMOLEDs after using them and i wouldnt buy a phone without it if its a WP7 device. The killerblacks make me drool everynight when i use the phone in the dark. Its amazing how beautiful the display is compared to anything from the Retina display to other SLCDs out there.

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pupdawg21

I would assume HTC is trying to squeeze a higher profit margin out of these devices and they also have to pay a license fee to Microsoft I'm sure for the difference in hardware. Also, it maybe that Windows Phone 7 does not support those particular processors/gpu chips yet. I don't think WP7 support any of the shipping Dual core cpu/gpu combos out. As others have said if its still smoother than the competition using less hardware and adding the faster hardware wouldn't makeit any smoother, there is virtually no benefit to having the beefier hardware. This is like running a single threaded application on a 12 core processor. You wont benefit at all.

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tsupersonic

Does look like a sweet device. Thanks for the review.

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The Teej

Why oh why did you have to shine bad light on all of the points that's made me shy away from this :(

I mean, thanks for the review, you've let me dodge a bullet here, I really appreciate that. It's just now back to the drawing board on what phone I want now that the Titan seems so... average.

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ToneKnee

People said same thing about Symbian.

I won't buy it because its got 480 MHz or 600 MHz processor.

e.t.c.

The point is why do you need, say, Radeon 6950 HD when Radeon 6750 is playing your desired game at highest settings, at highest resolution at 120 FPS?

Sure, when you play with 6950 you'll get 160 FPS but its gonna cost you more electricity bill.

Similarly, when you put a 1.5 GHz dual-core CPU and run it with WP7, you are gonna end up charging your phone every 5 hours, say. Because the excess of CPU power is getting into trash.

But when you've got a 1 GHz CPU, that does exactly the same what 1.5 GHz dual-core CPU does, then you are gonna have to charge the phone every 8 hours, say.

See the difference

That's a terrible way of thinking about things. For starters, newer CPU's like what are in our phones are getting smaller, using less power and increasing in performance. Saying that a Dual Core processor from this year means it'll use double the power than a single core from last year or the year before is silly because as I just said, CPU's get faster, smaller and more power efficient and the chances are, they'll draw the same amount of power as their single core counter parts because of this.

Also, saying that a graphics card will run one game at 120 fps and another graphics card runs the same game at 160fps means nothing. Because in the long run the latter card will perform longer and last longer in terms of performance just because it's simply faster. Games and applications increase in code size and compute more complicated instructions or generate more demanding graphics and so on. With your idea of thinking, we should all stick to 386 based computers because at one point, that's all we needed. But that's obviously not true.

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downhillrider

thanks for the write up. I would tell anyone considering a windowsphone, buy it out of contract. atleast until the really nice phones start coming out. so far none of these phones have made me want to go into a 2 yr contract. that big screen is tempting tho,

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Muhammad Farrukh

As others have said if its still smoother than the competition using less hardware and adding the faster hardware wouldn't makeit any smoother, there is virtually no benefit to having the beefier hardware. This is like running a single threaded application on a 12 core processor. You wont benefit at all.

(Y)

(Y)

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Muhammad Farrukh

That's a terrible way of thinking about things. For starters, newer CPU's like what are in our phones are getting smaller, using less power and increasing in performance. Saying that a Dual Core processor from this year means it'll use double the power than a single core from last year or the year before is silly because as I just said, CPU's get faster, smaller and more power efficient and the chances are, they'll draw the same amount of power as their single core counter parts because of this.

Also, saying that a graphics card will run one game at 120 fps and another graphics card runs the same game at 160fps means nothing. Because in the long run the latter card will perform longer and last longer in terms of performance just because it's simply faster. Games and applications increase in code size and compute more complicated instructions or generate more demanding graphics and so on. With your idea of thinking, we should all stick to 386 based computers because at one point, that's all we needed. But that's obviously not true.

You aren't getting the point.

Why can't you just admit the fact that WP7 isn't anything like Android.

I won't say the point again but if you carefully look at what I have said, a person with a brain can understand.

Also, about the GPU thing, it was an example reagarding to the smartphone operating system.

You are saying that having a better GPU will help in long term?

I think you misunderstood what I said. WP7 is here to stay. There is no long term thing here. And I gave the example reffering to the operating system.

the competition using less hardware and adding the faster hardware wouldn't makeit any smoother, there is virtually no benefit to having the beefier hardware. This is like running a single threaded application on a 12 core processor. You wont benefit at all.

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jakem1

You aren't getting the point.

Why can't you just admit the fact that WP7 isn't anything like Android.

I won't say the point again but if you carefully look at what I have said, a person with a brain can understand.

Also, about the GPU thing, it was an example reagarding to the smartphone operating system.

You are saying that having a better GPU will help in long term?

I think you misunderstood what I said. WP7 is here to stay. There is no long term thing here. And I gave the example reffering to the operating system.

Actually, I think it's you that's not getting the point. Nobody's denying that WP7 is more efficient than Android but you seem to be happy to pay more for less.

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Muhammad Farrukh

Actually, I think it's you that's not getting the point. Nobody's denying that WP7 is more efficient than Android but you seem to be happy to pay more for less.

Why do you want to get more if you won't even gonna use it, ever?

Why do you want more, when it isn't relevent?

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~Johnny

Why do you want to get more if you won't even gonna use it, ever?

Why do you want more, when it isn't relevent?

IF were getting less, we want to pay less too :p

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Muhammad Farrukh

IF were getting less, we want to pay less too :p

Go buy Android.

You pay more, you get more plus cappy lagness

With Windows Phone 7, you get a lot more than what you pay for minus crappy lagness

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~Johnny

Go buy Android.

You pay more, you get more plus cappy lagness

With Windows Phone 7, you get a lot more than what you pay for minus crappy lagness

You know I could buy a Samsung Galaxy S2 for nearly £80 cheaper than I bought the Titan for, with superior hardware, and unlike other Android phones it's pretty much a very smooth, fluid experience throughout, and perf wise generally best all the Windows Phone I've tested. (And my house has every European Windows Phone in it bar the Dell Venue Pro). Or I could buy the Sensation XE, the one I compared too earlier, which is also pretty smooth throughout, with better hardware.)

I don't want them though because I'm a Windows Phone developer, so I of course I stick with Windows Phone. Our ultimate point is there is not reason for HTC to charging the same. It's lesser hardware, and they invest less R & D money into developing for Windows Phone 7, and if they charged less we'd probably see more sales of the devices, which is good for all of us.

Back on topic though, I'm quite impressed with the battery life on this Titan. It seem to easily be lasting me a whole day, which beats my older impressions with the HD2 & HD7, on par with my Omnia 7 I reckon.

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KingCrimson

Seems like an underwhelming device. Has MSFT really restricted OEMs to 480x800 resolution? In thoday's market of hi-def screens isn't that suicide? I can't find any actual cite for that. I hope at least one of the Nokia phones will feature 720p resolution.

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lt8480

I've been playing with my Titan for a few days now, the screen resolution is practically irrelevant imo... at this size screen it's not important to get more pixels, at 480x800 its 200dpi anyway.

Most magazines and many books in print are only 150-300 dpi... I don't hear people screaming out they needs books printing clearer. The fact is 200dpi is plenty, and I certainly wouldn't pay for more pixels. If no-one even mentioned the screen resolution, no-one would have probably noticed, just like no-one notices with print, which if anything need a better DPI than screens.

The speed of the device is also excellent, I've noticed no slowdown when doing anything so far. Compared to the Galaxy S2, If I had to pick, It feels like the WP7 is possibly slightly smoother and quicker.

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      There are other reasons that this isn't just a lighter version of the ThinkPad X1 Carbon. After all, the X1 Carbon is the one that's known for being the lightest, so my first thought when hearing about the Nano was about why it's not carrying the Carbon flag. This PC has is the first modern ThinkPad to have a 16:10 display, and the first clamshell to cut out USB Type-A ports. Indeed, it's a big step forward when the X1 Carbon is going to be expected to keep some legacy components for some time to come.

      Specs
      CPU Intel Core i7-1160G7 Graphics Iris Xe graphics Body 292.8x207.7x13.87-16.7mm (11.53x8.18x0.55-0.66in), 907g (1.99lbs) Display 13.0" 2K (2160x1350), IPS, 450 nits, Anti-glare, 16:10, 100% sRGB, Dolby Vision RAM 16GB LPDDR4x-4266 Storage 512GB PCIe NVMe Connectivity Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201 + Bluetooth 5.0 Ports (2) Thunderbolt 4
      (1) 3.5mm combo audio jack Input 6-row, multimedia Fn keys, LED backlight
      Glass surface multi-touch touchpad, TrackPoint Audio Dolby Atmos Speaker System certification (2W x 2 woofers and 1W x 2 tweeters)
      Four array microphones, 360° far-field Security Match-on-Sensor Fingerprint Reader
      720P & IR Camera Battery 48Wh, Rapid Charge Material Top: Carbon Fiber
      Bottom: Magnesium Alloy Color Black OS Windows 10 Pro Price $1,847.40 (Lenovo, Walmart)
      Day one
      Design
      On the outside, it looks just like a regular ThinkPad. It's black, and it's got the glossy black ThinkPad logo that's reserved for the X1 devices. In fact, you might even mistake it for the ThinkPad X1 Carbon. After all, the vast, vast majority of ThinkPads come in black, so it's easy to mistake one for another.



      But Lenovo really pulled out all the stops to get this thing as light as it could get it; well, at least to hit a target of under two pounds. Seriously, at 1.99 pounds, this is the type of weight where you have to double-check that it's in your bag.



      To get there, it's made out of a carbon fiber lid and a magnesium alloy base, an interesting choice. A lot of companies use all magnesium alloy to get as light as possible, but then the devices tend to feel cheap. The carbon fiber lid seems to have solved that for Lenovo, plus carbon fiber is on brand for ThinkPad X1 anyway.

      It's also thinner and smaller. Not only is it more compact than the X1 Carbon, but it just has an overall smaller screen at 13 inches. And as I mentioned earlier, USB Type-A has been stripped out entirely.



      Indeed, all of the ports are on the left side of the PC, and they include two Thunderbolt 4 ports and a 3.5mm audio jack. As I've been pointing out in all of my reviews of PCs with 11th-gen Intel processors, Thunderbolt 4 is no different from the full Thunderbolt 3 spec, which used four lanes. The base spec of Thunderbolt 3 only used two lanes instead of four though, cutting the bandwidth in half, and it was super-hard to know what you were getting.

      To be clear, there's no change here. Lenovo has always used the full spec on ThinkPad X1. It's the non-X1 ThinkPads where the company used the base spec, so whenever those are updated to Intel Tiger Lake, that will be more of an improvement.

      In short, there's no improvement because ThinkPad X1 was already doing the right thing, and there's no improvement to be had.



      On the right side of the device, there's just a power button. There's also an exhaust vent on that side, which is kind of interesting because I'd have expected this to be fanless, but it's not.

      Display and audio
      The ThinkPad X1 Nano comes with a 13-inch 16:10 display with 2160x1350 resolution, and as you'd guess from something this thin, there's no touch. First of all, the screen is really good. It's got a matte coating, so you won't get any notable glare that will distract you from your work. It's bright too at 450 nits.



      It's just small. It's not Surface Pro 7 small, but it's small. It feels particularly cramped if you like to run split-screen apps, which I frequently do. Remember that screens are measured diagonally, and that this is 13 inches, not 13.3 inches like most standard laptops called 13-inch. And also, it's 16:10, which means that it's taller, and also narrower than a 13-inch 16:9 laptop.

      Also, Lenovo is adding 16:10 displays across its lineup, so you're going to see 14-inch 16:10 screens in the X1 Yoga and X1 Carbon as well. The ThinkPad X1 Nano isn't necessarily a niche device, but you really should want something that's super-light with a small footprint. If not, you should really be looking at the X1 Carbon or X1 Yoga.

      The screen has narrow bezels on all sides, with both a webcam and IR camera in the top bezel. Lenovo also has a Human-Presence Detection (HPD) system built into this. What this can do is automatically wake your PC when you're in front of it, lock it when you walk away (after a determined amount of time), and even keep it awake while you're in front of it if you're inactive. Now, if it wakes up when you sit down, Windows Hello automatically activates, and you'll be able to log into your computer without touching it.

      HPD is pretty cool, and it works as advertised. The only problem is that it also works when you don't want it to. If you set your PC to do a task and then walk away for an hour while it does it, you'll be disappointed when you realize it went to sleep after a minute because it didn't sense a person there. Obviously, you can customize this through the Commercial Vantage app, and you can shut it off if you need to.



      As for audio quality, it's pretty impressive for a laptop that's so small. It has two 2W woofers and two 1W tweeters in the Dolby Atmos speaker system, so while there are two speakers placed above the keyboard, there are also two underneath the device. It's pretty impressive, but then again, Dolby Atmos tends to be impressive.

      Keyboard and trackpad
      ThinkPads are renowned for having excellent keyboards, and this one is no different. It's super accurate, it's comfortable, and it has just the right amount of resistance, using a scissor life mechanism. Lenovo says that it's "nearly" full-sized, although I didn't even realize that it's not full-sized until I read the reviewer's guide. Normally when keyboards are smaller than I'm used to, I notice it right away because I make mistakes.



      Lenovo also said that it has "similar" key travel (1.35mm) to other ThinkPads (1.5mm), but this is clearly shallower, and it's good. One thing that I've noticed in recent years with ThinkPads is that while the keyboards are still excellent, they're starting to feel antiquated when other PCs are just using shallower keys. This feels more modern, and it's a pleasure. I really hope that they bring this over to the rest of the lineup.



      But sadly, that's the only part of it that feels modern, as it still retains the TrackPoint in the middle of the G, H, and B keys. If you're somehow unfamiliar with the TrackPoint, it's a relic from the days when Windows touchpads were terrible. But like all things ThinkPad, it has its loyalists that won't want to let it go, and it remains on every single model ThinkPad except for the Bluetooth keyboard that comes with the ThinkPad X1 Fold.



      The Microsoft Precision touchpad is really no different. Lenovo didn't sacrifice the clickable touchpad, just like it didn't sacrifice the keyboard backlight, to get this laptop so thin. It still has physical buttons above it, which really exist for use with the TrackPoint, but I use it with the touchpad because I just love physical buttons.



      To the right of the touchpad, there's also a fingerprint sensor. Lenovo is still putting the power button on the side, rather than on the deck and using it as a fingerprint sensor like it does on its ThinkBook series.

      Performance and battery life
      The ThinkPad X1 Nano comes with an Intel Core i7-1160G7, which is from the series that would have previously been known as Y-series. And it's come a long way since eighth-generation 'Amber Lake'.

      With Ice Lake Y (10th-gen), we were finally getting 10nm, a TDP boost, and Iris Plus Graphics, but there was only one problem with Ice Lake Y. It never shipped, at least for Windows PCs. Every Windows PC that shipped with 10th-gen Y-series processors had Comet Lake Y (at least that I've seen), which still has the old UHD Graphics.



      Now, 11th-gen is here with that TDP boost, Iris Xe graphics, Thunderbolt 4, and more. And it's actually really good. With Amber Lake, I'd have told you to stay away from Y-series no matter what. It made for thin and light fan-less PCs, but it wasn't worth the sacrifice. Now, Intel has finally made it to where it needs to be. But like I said earlier, this PC does have a fan, so I guess that's just what happens when you boost the TDP like that.

      The Core i7-1160G7 is a quad-core processor with eight threads, and the Iris Xe graphics do mean that you can do some light gaming and photo editing on here. Note that the CPU speed is slow still when it comes to gaming. For example, I did connect an external Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti and play some games. The graphics are great, but load times are brutal.



      But also, on Amber Lake PCs like the Acer Swift 7 and HP Spectre Folio, I'd barely be willing to touch Photoshop, let alone Premiere Pro. All of that stuff is actually pretty good on this machine. We're talking about the difference between unusable and usable here.

      While overall performance is good, integrated graphics performance is great, and Thunderbolt expandability makes it even better, the battery life kind of blew me away. As usual, I've been using it at about 25% brightness with the power slider at a notch above battery saver. A 48WHr battery is no more than average in size, but we're talking over 10 hours of batter life here, and you can definitely stretch it to 12 hours or even more.

      It feels like the battery percentage just doesn't go down. It's like it runs on magic, especially since the screen has a higher resolution than FHD. I assume that we can attribute this to the lower-powered processor.

      For benchmarks, I used PCMark 8, PCMark 10, Geekbench 5, and Cinebench.

      ThinkPad X1 Nano
      Core i7-1160G7 Surface Pro X
      SQ2 Acer Swift 7
      Core i7-8500Y HP EliteBook x360 1040 G7
      Core i7-10810U Razer Book 13
      Core i7-1165G7 PCMark 8: Home 3,919 2,440 3,721 4,370 PCMark 8: Creative 4,419 2,427 3,944 4,796 PCMark 8: Work 3,864 2,732 3,654 4,047 PCMark 10 4,586 2,775 4,080 4,897 Geekbench 5 1,346 / 4,891 794 / 3,036 1,197 / 5,065 1,425 / 4,143 Cinebench 1,296 / 4,052 1,426 / 3,837
      I chose those four PCs to compare it to for specific reasons. The Surface Pro X is the top-end ARM PC, and ARM chips are designed for these types of form factors. The Swift 7 was the last Y-series PC that I've been able to review, and then we have examples from 10th- and 11th-gen U-series.

      The ThinkPad X1 Nano blew away everything except for the Razer Book and its Core i7-1165G7. And to be fair, it was never meant to beat the Core i7-1165G7; if it did, we should be worried. It's more interesting that the X1 Nano beat the hexa-core 15W chip in the EliteBook, but you'll notice that the margin was even wider in graphics-related tasks. That's because business PCs only got Comet Lake with the last generation, and that had UHD Graphics instead of Iris Plus Graphics. The leap to Tiger Lake with its Iris Xe graphics in the business space is significant.

      Conclusion
      The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano is a lovely laptop, and frankly, the engineering that went into this is remarkable. My only complaints about it are that the screen is small, that there's no USB Type-A, and I kind of wish that there wasn't a fan, although not having a fan means a lower TDP and an impact on performance. I don't personally miss USB Type-A, but it could be an issue for businesses.



      It's just wild that this thing exists and it's as good as it is. The keyboard is shallower than a regular ThinkPad, and the engineering team probably thought that it was making a compromise when it was actually an improvement. The performance is way better than I would have expected, and so is the battery life. It's like this thing runs on magic.

      And of course, it's so thin and light, coming in at just 1.99 pounds. I've reviewed a lot of laptops over the years, and I've learned a lot of things. One thing that I've learned as an absolute fact is that laptops that are this thin just aren't supposed to be this good. They're supposed to be annoyingly slow and make insane compromises in the same of portability. That's just not the case here though. This thing is amazing.

      You can check out this model on Lenovo.com here and Walmart.com here.

    • By Rich Woods
      Razer Book 13 review: A premium laptop that costs a bit too much
      by Rich Woods

      This is the sixth part of our Intel Evo vs Apple Silicon series, where we're taking a look at what each side can do better than the other. The MacBook Pro 13, Razer Book 13, Razer Core X, Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, Samsung T7 Touch SSD, and CalDigit Thunderbolt 3 dock were provided by Intel. All opinions expressed are a result of our own testing and experience.

      The Razer Book 13 was first announced back in November, and it's the company's attempt at productivity, whereas it typically focuses on gaming. It's something a bit different, but Razer really brought its premium design, and some subtle gaming features over to an ultrabook that weighs in at just over three pounds.

      Given that Intel sent it to me alongside the MacBook Pro, it's a surprisingly similar product. It has that feel of being made out of a block of aluminum. Indeed, it feels premium, and it acts that way as well with solid performance and more.

      Specs
      CPU Intel Core i7-1165G7 Graphics Intel Iris Xe Body 15.15x198.5x295.6mm (0.6x7.8x11.6in), 1.4kg (3.09lbs) Display 13.4" Full HD Matte 60Hz Slim side bezel Touch display Up to 178° wide viewing angles Storage 256GB SSD RAM 16GB dual-channel (fixed) Input Per-Key RGB, powered by Razer Chroma Anti-Ghosting Microsoft Precision Glass-Touchpad

      Connectivity Intel Wireless-AX 201 (IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax) Bluetooth 5.1 Battery and adapter 55WHr 65W power adapter Ports USB 3.2 Gen 1 (USB-A) x 1 Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C) + Power x 2 HDMI 2.0 x 1 MicroSD Slot x 1 Audio 3.5mm Combo-Jack 2 Speakers + Smart Amp THX Spatial Audio 4 Mic Array Color Mercury with Tone-on-tone Razer logo OS Windows 10 Home Price $1,599.99
      Note that the Razer Book 13 comes in three configurations. The base model, which costs $1,199.99, has a Core i5-1135G7, 8GB RAM, a 256GB SSD, and a FHD non-touch display. At $1,599.99, the unit that Intel sent me is the middle one, and then at the high-end for $1,999.99, you can get a Core i7-1165G7, 16GB RAM, a 512GB SSD, and a UHD touchscreen.

      Day one
      Design
      After digging into the Razer Book 13 and MacBook Pro units that Intel sent me, it's actually quite a coincidence that I ended up with the Razer Book. Intel gave me a choice between various Intel Evo PCs, and I went with the Razer Book because it was the only one I hadn't reviewed. I suspect that a lot of journalists went with similar choices just because HP and Dell (Intel offered a Spectre x360 and XPS 13 2-in-1) have much broader review programs than Razer does.

      The reason I feel like it's something of a coincidence is because these two laptops are so visually similar. They both have that feel like they're built from a block of aluminum, and they both have a very minimal design. They've both got flat edges, hard corners, and they both come in a regular silver color. Looking at the Razer Book 13 from the top-down, you'd think that the Apple logo was replaced by a Razer logo.



      I've always sort of disliked the term MacBook clone, although that's what this is, even if Razer's design is an improvement on Apple's (we'll get to all of that). I've just always disliked the term because it generally means that Apple owns the design of a silver aluminum laptop, and if you look at what HP is doing with its Spectre x360 designs, you can see that it's possible to get far and away from that.



      One area where the design is clearly different is the ports, because indeed, this product actually has USB Type-A, although unfortunately, it's still the 5Gbps USB 3.2 Gen 1 instead of the 10Gbps USB 3.2 Gen 2. On the left side, you'll also find a Thunderbolt 4 port and a 3.5mm audio jack.

      The thing I'm really enjoying about Thunderbolt 4 in this generation is that I always know that I can connect dual 4K monitors to it, something that wasn't always the case with Thunderbolt 3. In fact, with Thunderbolt 3, you really had no way of knowing what you were getting. With a single Thunderbolt 4 port, you can connect two 4K monitors, one 8K monitor, an external GPU, or get 40Gbps data transfer speeds.



      On the right side, there's an HDMI 2.0 port, a microSD card slot, and another Thunderbolt 4 port. That's right; there are Thunderbolt ports on both sides, a rarity on Windows laptops, or any laptop that's not running Chrome OS. Being able to charge from either side, or connect from either side, just makes life a lot easier than when you're always forced to use one side.



      A look at the front will actually give you an idea of what the design of this laptop is like, and the weight is so well-distributed that you can easily life the lid with one finger. Everything about the design on the Razer Book feels premium, and that just translates across the company's entire portfolio.

      Display and audio
      The model that Intel sent me comes with a 13.4-inch FHD touchscreen, and in fact, the three configurations available come with three different screens. The base model is FHD non-touch, and the top-end model is UHD touch. This is where my issues with price start to come in, as $1,599 is pretty pricey for 256GB of storage and an FHD screen.



      But to be fair, this is a really nice FHD screen. It's bright and vibrant, and there's no noticeable pixelation. As noted in the spec sheet, it has a full 178-degree viewing angle, meaning that you can look at the screen from any angle without any noticeable color distortion.

      And of course, it's 16:10 rather than 16:9. It's a trend that we're seeing across the PC industry, and everyone seems to be on-board. It means that the screen is taller, quite a bit taller in fact. Screens are measured diagonally, so when you change the aspect ratio like that, you gain surface area. To me, 16:10 is just right at this size; if you go to something like 3:2, it starts to feel too narrow for me.

      And as you can see from the image above, it has narrow bezels on all sides, another area in which the design is improved over the MacBook Pro. I really haven't talked about this too much in the Intel Evo vs Apple Silicon series because I'm trying to compare the platforms rather than specific hardware, but this article is about specific hardware. The Razer Book 13 just has a much more immersive experience. That tiny top bezel also includes an IR camera for facial recognition, another Windows exclusive.



      Razer placed the two speakers on either side of the keyboard. They actually seem like they're made more for gaming and immersion than actual clarity. As far as volume goes, they definitely get loud, but listening to music doesn't really sound too pleasant. It sounds fine for calls and such, but for media, not so much.

      Keyboard and touchpad
      Did you ever think you'd see an RGB keyboard in a productivity laptop? Well, here we are, as the Razer Book 13 absolutely has one. Somehow, Razer build a professional-looking laptop that has an RGB keyboard that still manages to look and feel subtle. It generally cycles through subtle colors by default, but you can change that through the Razer Synapse app.



      I also think that the white keys on the silver background lend themselves to the not-so-flamboyant look of this RGB keyboard. Honestly, it's one of my favorite features of the laptop. I review so many productivity laptops and this really feels like a stand-out feature.



      Unfortunately, I really didn't care for actually using the keyboard. There were a lot of missed key strokes with this keyboard, and given the depth, it seems to have a strange level of resistance that doesn't feel natural. I just didn't feel like it was particularly accurate.



      As you'd expect, it has a Microsoft Precision touchpad, so it's fast and responsive. What I really love though is that it stretches across the available space on the keyboard deck. I wish more OEMs did this, but seriously, if the space is there, use it. The touchpad is quite good, and I didn't have any issues with it like I did with the keyboard.

      Performance and battery life
      The Razer Book 13 that Intel sent me includes a Core i7-1165G7, 16GB RAM, and a 256GB SSD. Don't forget, however, that it also sent me a Razer Core X external GPU enclosure and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti. On its own, the laptop includes Intel's Iris Xe graphics, which are quite good.

      Indeed, I've said this many times, but Intel's focus on integrated graphics that started with 10th-gen 'Ice Lake' is really paying off. While this machine is built for productivity, you could totally do some FHD gaming on it. And if you want to do some UHD gaming, just plug in the external GPU. That option is definitely a niche use case though, as the Razer Core X is $299 on its own before you even add in the cost of the graphics card itself.



      But that's what's really cool about Intel Evo as a platform; there's a lot of versatility here. With Iris Xe graphics, I'm amazed at some of the things that you can do. Honestly, I never imagined integrated graphics could do some actual video editing and FHD gaming. Just a few years ago, you really needed dedicated graphics for the stuff that this can do.

      And then with Thunderbolt, you can bring it home and plug it into a full desktop solution such as an external GPU, or just a dock that's hooked up to a couple of 4K monitors. And being a single-cable solution, you can just unplug it and take it on the go.

      Battery life is pretty great too. With the power slider at one notch above battery saver and the screen on about 25% brightness, I was able to get a solid eight hours of work out of it, and that's pretty rare in Windows laptops. Of course, that goes down if you turn up the brightness, or the power slider if you're planning on gaming. But also, any Thunderbolt dock charges the PC anyway.

      For benchmarks, I used PCMark 8, PCMark 10, 3DMark, VRMark, Geekbench 5, and Cinebench.

      Razer Book 13
      Core i7-1165G7 Razer Book 13
      Core i7-1165G7, RTX 2080 Ti MacBook Pro
      M1 Acer Aspire 5
      Ryzen 7 4700U PCMark 8: Home 4,370 4,294 3,702 PCMark 8: Creative 4,796 5,746 4,228 PCMark 8: Work 4,047 4,044 3,689 PCMark 10 4,897 5,756 4,718 3DMark: Time Spy 1,777 (1,612 / 4,255) 9,155 (11,560 / 4,203) VRMark: Orange Room 2,691 8,860 VRMark: Blue Room 3,756 Geekbench 5 1425 / 4,143 1,536 / 5,405 1,720 / 7,668 Cinebench 1,426 / 3,837 1,210 / 3,711 1,495 / 7,771
      Unfortunately, the benchmarking apps I use that are available for macOS only test out the CPU, so it's hard to get a picture of the whole package just based on benchmarks, especially when we're looking at things like how much of a boost you get from an external GPU, something not supported by Apple Silicon. One thing is for sure though. Apple wins in those CPU tests.

      Conclusion
      First of all, the Razer Book 13 is an awesome laptop. It has a clean design and premium build quality that's always a pleasure to use. It's also got a lovely RGB keyboard, super-narrow bezels around the 16:10 display, and great performance from Intel's 11th-generation processors and Iris Xe graphics.



      But boy is this thing expensive. Just recently, I reviewed an Acer Swift 5 with a Core i7-1165G7, 16GB RAM, a 1TB SSD, and an FHD screen that costs $1,299.99. This unit costs $1,599.99, and it has a quarter of the storage. In this reviewer's opinion, 256GB of storage is barely passable, and is unacceptable in a $1,600 laptop.

      Personally, I think that the $1,999 model is the one to go with. It has the UHD screen and double the storage.

      But this is a great all-around laptop with some unique features. The RGB lighting in the keyboard is truly a delight, and the screen is really good. It's definitely not perfect given the price, but it's quite good. If you want to check out this model on Amazon, you can find it here.

      Check out the rest of the series:

      Part one: Unboxing the MacBook Pro 13

      Part two: Unboxing the Razer Book 13

      Part three: Setting up the peripherals

      Part four: Hardware compatibility

      Part five: Software

      As an Amazon Associate, Neowin may earn commission from qualifying purchases.

    • By indospot
      Amazfit GTR 2e review: A sleek smartwatch with fantastic battery life
      by João Carrasqueira

      Amazfit announced a couple of new smartwatches at this year's CES, the GTS 2e and GTR 2e. In terms of specs and features, these are nearly identical products, but the former has a rectangular display (the S stands for "square"), and the GTR 2e is round - you can probably guess what the R stands for.

      I already reviewed the Amazfit GTS 2e a few days ago, and because a lot of the things I said there also apply here, I'll avoid repeating myself as much as possible. The GTR 2e's form factor does bring some notable differences, though, and in my opinion, they make this the better product, even if it is a missed opportunity in some ways.

      Specs
      Body 46.5*46.5*10.8mm, 32g (without the strap) Material Aluminum frame, plastic back, tempered glass display cover Strap Silicone, user-replaceable, 22mm Display 1.39-inch AMOLED, 454x454 Sensors BioTracker 2 PPG (heart rate, SpO2, stress, and sleep monitoring) Acceleration sensor Gyroscope Geomagnetic sensor Ambient light sensor Air pressure sensor Temperature sensor Battery 471mAh; up to 12 days heavy usage, 24 days typical usage, 45 days basic usage

      Water resistance 5ATM Connectivity Bluetooth 5.0 Price €129.90/$139.99 Day one
      Design and display
      Like I said in my review of the GTS 2e, the design is the most easily appreciable quality of a smartwatch because watches are fashion pieces. Both the GTS 2e and GTR 2e are sleek and stylish smartwatches, with a nice matte finish on the aluminum frame, a plastic back, and a slightly curved display cover that feels really nice to the touch. The GTR 2e specifically is the sleekest round smartwatch I've had the chance to review, and it's surprisingly comfortable for how big the display is. Amazfit sent me the Slate Grey version of this watch which uses a light grey body and a grey strap, but you can also get it in Obsidian Black like the GTS 2e, or in Matcha Green.



      Just like its square counterpart, the GTR 2e uses a standard strap mechanism, so you can easily pick out another strap if you don't like the included rubber one. It uses a 22mm fitting, though, which is larger than the one on the GTS 2e.



      The round form factor has two buttons instead of one, which helps the design feel a bit more balanced, but the way the buttons are built feels a bit less thought-through than it did on the GTS 2e. The body of that watch curved around the button, making it feel a bit more seamless, but the buttons here stick out a bit more.



      I also feel like Amazfit wasted an opportunity here because, while the GTS 2e had a double-press shortcut for its button, the extra button here just means that shortcut now has its own button. You can't double press either of the buttons on the GTR 2e, so there's no functionality added by having two.

      Of course, being that the watch is round, so is the display, which is a 1.39-inch AMOLED panel with a resolution of 454 pixels across - it's the same no matter how you measure it since it's a circle. It has the usual benefits of AMOLED displays, including true blacks and vivid colors - which look great - and it helps save battery since black pixels can be turned off entirely. There is a bit of image retention of the brighter parts of the screen for a few seconds, but no permanent burn-in so far.



      While the 1.39-inch display may sound like it's smaller than the 1.65-inch panel on the GTS 2e, it's important to know that these are diagonal measurements. Neither the height nor width of the GTS 2e are 1.65 inches, but on a round watch, it's 1.39 inches in all directions, and because of that, the display area feels much bigger.



      You may have noticed that the bezel around the display has a clock dial, which makes sense if you're using an analog watch face. It tries to make it feel like the bezel is part of the screen, which mostly works. When it gets darker around you, the display will be much more visible than the dial on the bezel, but in daylight, it's pretty neat.

      Software and features
      The Amazfit GTR 2e has all the same software and health features as its rectangular sibling, including heart rate and stress monitoring, sleep tracking, SpO2 measurements, workout tracking with 92 sports modes, and a temperature sensor that isn't all that useful. It also has the PAI measurement, which gives you an overview of your fitness level and summarizes it in a single number.

      All of that information goes into the Zepp app on your phone, which offers plenty of nice-looking graphs and cards to summarize your health data. The app also makes it really easy to have more than one device synced, so switching from the GTS 2e to the GTR 2e wasn't much of a hassle.



      The app list is exactly the same as before, and many of the apps can be added as widgets to the sides of the watch face. There's also a shortcuts page on the left of the watch face, which shows a series of cards with quick glanceable information from each app. Here's the full list of apps:

      Activity goal PAI Heart Rate Workout Activities Stress SpO2 Weather Music (only controls media playback from your phone) Alarm Events Widgets (Compass, Barometric Altimeter, Timer, Count down, Find Mobile) Temperature Settings Some things have been slightly tweaked to accommodate the round form factor, though. There are many different watch faces that make better use of the round display, for starters, and just like before, you can customize a few of them by changing the complications on them to show different information. But other elements of the way are also clearly designed to work better with round displays, so things like the heart rate monitor, PAI indicator, and weather app make much better use of the space available.



      Other things aren't adapted as well, though. The card format in the shortcut and notification pages doesn't feel quite as natural with corners being cut off, and some buttons don't fit as well on this display, though they're still usable. The same can be said for the quick settings panel, which is now split into two pages, but the second page only has one button.



      All the issues I had with the GTS 2e in terms of software are still here, though. Workouts don't sync with Google Fit properly, weather information doesn't sync to the watch automatically, stress levels aren't recorded consistently, and more. I already went on and on about all the little issues I have with the software, so I'll direct you to my GTS 2e review to see all about them. I had hoped there would be a firmware update during the review period to address at least some of these problems, but they're all the same here. There's one more to add, though, because switching watches revealed that my PAI number didn't roam properly across devices.

      Battery life and performance
      The biggest difference between this round watch and its square sibling is the battery size, and as a result, the battery life. The Amazfit GTS 2e has a 246mAh battery, but the GTR 2e boosts that to a whopping 471mAh, and it promises up to 24 days of typical usage or 12 days of heavy usage.

      I first charged the watch to 100% and unplugged it on February 6, and it lasted me through the end of February 16, which adds up to 11 days. I used all the same settings as I did with the GTS 2e, and the result relative to Amazfit's promises is also very similar, so that's not too surprising. But this is a super sleek smartwatch - the most comfortable round watch I've reviewed so far, really - and it still has the best battery life. The Honor Watch GS Pro had a similar result, but it's a bulky device by comparison, and much more expensive, too.



      As for performance, just like with the GTR 2e, there isn't a lot that can be said for a watch that's very focused on a specific feature set. Everything works smoothly here, and opening the menu is actually a bit faster here compared to the GTS 2e. That's likely because the GTS 2e allows you to press the side button twice for a shortcut, so it has to wait a split second before realizing you're not going to press the button again.

      Conclusion
      Like its square sibling, the Amazfit GTR 2e is a smartwatch with incredible potential. The stylish design - while not as good as the GTS 2e's, in my opinion - makes way for a bigger screen and is still super comfortable among round watches. It has lots of health tracking features and capable software that runs pretty smoothly, many watch faces to choose from, and it's overall just nice to use.



      On top of that, the GTR 2e takes the already great battery life of its smaller brother and turns it up to 11. It's actually incredible to me that such a light and comfortable watch can last so long while offering all the features it does, and it's definitely one you'll want to carry if you don't want to constantly worry about charging it.

      However, all the issues I had with the GTS 2e are still a problem here, and it makes it a lot harder to wholeheartedly recommend this watch. It's frustrating because all these seem like issues you could easily fix with a software update, so there's potential for this to be a great fitness smartwatch, but there are a few too many problems.



      As it stands, it's a very good-looking and sleek watch with incredible battery life and pretty much all the health features you'd expect out of a smartwatch, but you have to deal with some painful software choices to enjoy it. If you know what you're getting into, you can get the Amazfit GTR 2e on Amazon, where it's currently discounted to $124.99 (usually $139.99). In the UK, you can have it for £119.99.

      If you'd like to read more about the software experience, you can read our review of the Amazfit GTS 2e, which has all the same features. We took a deeper dive into that side of things in that article and omitted them here to avoid repetition.

    • By Namerah S
      Infinix Note 8 review: A good budget phone with a substandard display
      by Namerah Saud Fatmi

      Infinix introduced the successor to its Note 7, the Infinix Note 8, a few months ago. The reasonably priced flagship device aims to deliver quality gaming with a gigantic 6.95-inch display while staying in the budget price range.

      With a huge screen, a gaming-centric chipset, AI quad cameras, a large battery and fast charging support, the smartphone sounds like a pretty good package for $200 - on paper. I put the device to the test to evaluate the real-life performance and value of the Note 8.

      This review shall look at the global variant of the phone. Let's dive into it!

      Specs
      Display 6.95 inches, IPS LCD, 720 x 1640, 258ppi, 20.5:9 Weight 200g CPU Mediatek Helio G80 GPU ARM Mali G52 MP2

      Camera 64MP wide + 2MP AI + 2MP macro + 2MP depth, Front - 16MP + 2MP depth Video capture 2K at 30fps Dimensions 175.3x78.76x8.95mm RAM 6GB Storage 128GB, expandable up to 2TB NFC No Ports USB 2.0 Type-C, 3.5mm audio Battery and charging 5,200mAh, 18W fast charging Material Plastic Colour Blue Price $200 Day one
      Design


      The Infinix Note 8 has a plastic body with a nice, angular design on the back and a holographic finish. Thanks to the design, the plastic material isn't very obvious and unless you touched it, you would assume it had a metal back. It's available in three colours: teal, grey and blue. As you can see, I got the teal variant. I really liked the sharp lines and the play with different shades on the back. There's a transparent silicone case in the box.

      The materials and textures of the phone are nice to hold but the glossy back is prone to fingerprint and dust marks which can be a problem for many. I found myself constantly cleaning the phone and eventually gave up and just put it in the silicon case.



      On the right side of the phone, there's a side-mounted fingerprint sensor that doubles as a power button and volume controls. The left side of the device houses the SIM tray, with enough space for two SIM cards and also a microSD card at the same time. This was an unexpected feature as most dual-SIM phones don't allow you to use two SIMS and a microSD card all at once.



      The Note 8 has dual speakers, one on the top and another on the bottom. At the bottom of the device, there is also a USB Type-C charging port and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The front cameras support face unlock but that is horribly slow and unsuccessful nine out of ten times. As a result, I turned it off after two days and stuck with the super-responsive fingerprint reader.

      As the phone is so large, it can be a bit of a bother to carry around and use. At 200g, it is also quite heavy but that's to be expected considering the size of the thing. Personally, I don't mind the weight as much but it did take time getting used to.

      Display


      The Infinix flagship has a gigantic 6.95-inch IPS LCD display with a peak brightness of 480 nits and an HD+ 720x1640 20.5:9 resolution with a 258ppi pixel density. The screen has a dual-camera cutout in the upper left corner. This houses the dual 16MP and 2MP front cameras. This might bother some people but personally, I don't mind cutouts so I was fine with it.

      Right off the bat, I wasn't very happy with the quality of the display. I did like that it was very large in size and flat in shape, but the quality was quite poor. The brightness is very low even at max settings and the colours appear a bit bland.



      With the Note 8, it seemed obvious that Infinix tried to compensate for the low quality of the IPS panel with its sheer size. But the bottom line is always quality over quantity. Overall, this phone even paled in comparison to the quality of the IPS display of my husband's 2018 Mi Play, and that budget phone came out three years ago.

      Camera
      The Infinix Note 8 features an AI quad-camera setup on the rear consisting of a 64MP 1/1.73" 0.8µm main camera, and 2MP macro, depth, and AI sensors. As usual, the 2MP macro and depth sensors are essentially useless and usually included just so a phone can tout quad-cameras. The rear also has quad-LED flashlights. I reached out to Infinix for more details about the AI sensor but unfortunately, I didn't get a response.



      The rear cameras can capture videos at 2K at 30fps. There's also a cool little feature where you can take short 15-second clips with some preset effects and different speeds. There are plenty of camera modes and features for pictures as well such as presets, super night mode, and beautification effects that can enhance or diminish body parts.

      On the front, there is a 16MP camera paired with a 2MP depth sensor so you can take portrait shots. It also has dual-LED flashlights that are pretty darn bright. Along with the main camera features, the front camera also has an option called AR shot which automatically detects a face and applies cutesy AR filters such as animals and objects similar to the ones on Snapchat.

      Gallery: Infinix Note 8 samples
      As you can see in the samples above, the quality of the pictures is not very consistent. Even in bright daylight, a lot of the images came out quite grainy even with the 64MP camera. The colours do appear vibrant but not as rich and detailed as I would have liked. An area where the phone really struggled was the night mode. The photos in low light came out incredibly dull, blurry, and lacked details.

      Since the phone struggles in poor lighting, I can see why Infinix included such powerful flashlights on the rear and front. Although I must say, the selfie camera is outstanding and doesn't need much help. Still, the quad-LEDs on the back and dual-LEDs on the front really help the case.

      All in all, I'd say for a $200 smartphone, the Infinix Note 8 does okay. The selfie cameras are excellent and the main cameras are alright, they just need some really good lighting for good results.

      Performance and battery life


      Internally, the Inifinix Note 8 packs a Mediatek Helio G80 12nm CPU paired with the ARM Mali G52 MP2 GPU. It has 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage and runs Android 10 with XOS 7.1 layered on top. XOS is Infinix's own Android skin which is an almost exact replica of MIUI. From the layout to the options and their placement, almost all of it looks exactly the same as Xiaomi's skin.

      XOS has a ton of very handy features such as an ultra power-saving mode, an app drawer, a split-screen mode, and a small customizable menu which opens up when you swipe from the sides of the display. It also has useful apps for translation, live transcribing, and one to test out apps without downloading them called Instant Apps.



      In my testing period which lasted about a month, I never faced any lags or glitches. I was also able to run two apps in the split-screen mode for long periods without facing performance issues. Pre-installed bloatware was an issue but I was able to uninstall or disable most of it except for the ads at the top of the app drawer.



      Gaming was another aspect which I really enjoyed. The big screen, loud dual-speakers, and large 5,200mAh battery paired with the gaming-centred Helio G80 delivered pleasing results. I played Asphalt 9, PUBG Mobile, and other games for hours without any slowdowns or performance delays.

      Moving on to the benchmarks, I ran Geekbench 5, AnTuTu, and GFXBench. Let's start with Geekbench 5, which tests the CPU.



      Compared to the Poco M2 which also has the Helio G80 and costs around the same as the Note 8, the Infinix device scored lower on single-core, 378 opposed to the M2's 389 according to Unite4Buy. However, on multi-core, it got 1,362, overtaking the Poco M2's 1,355 by a small margin. Next, we have AnTuTu which tests everything.



      Again, compared to the Poco M2 AnTuTu benchmarks provided by Unite4Buy, the Inifinix Note 8 knocked the ball out the park with 197,297 overall as opposed to the M2 which got 150,188. Lastly, we have GFXBench which tests the GPU.



      Coming to the battery, the Note 8 has a superb 5,200mAh one. I was able to use the budget device for two full days with heavy usage without running out of juice. After this initial crash testing phase, I continued the long-term everyday testing yielding even better results. I went on using the phone for three full days and then some at times, often forgetting when I even charged the device last.

      The phone also has an ultra-saving mode which turns off almost all functions except for the necessary ones to elongate the remaining battery life as much as possible. With 5% remaining, I turned on this feature and had 16 hours of usage left on this power-saving mode.

      As for the charging time, it took me exactly 1hr 44m to go from zero to max battery level with the 18W fast charger that comes in the box. This is nothing mind-blowing but it's certainly not bad.

      Conclusion


      To wrap up, there are many good things about the Infinix Note 8 and there are also many bad ones. A very important component of any modern-day smart device with a screen is definitely the quality of the display. Why wouldn't it be, it's the thing you look at when using the device.

      So, I think that the fact that the Inifinix Note 8 has such a disappointingly bad display just cannot be overlooked. I like the gigantic size of the screen, it makes gaming or consuming content more fun. But it also makes it pointedly obvious that the quality of the display is quite poor.

      There's also the fact that a large number of people nowadays dislike overly-large phones that are hard to carry. Cutouts on the screen are also a pet peeve for many. If you're a person that is very picky about smartphone displays, the Infinix Note 8 is definitely not the right fit.



      Another negative factor is the main camera setup. Sure, a 64MP AI quad-camera sounds fancy on paper, but it needs to deliver in real life. I didn't find the cameras to be horrible, the front cameras are really great. But the main cameras need some work and don't take photos consistently. The night mode is also terrible.

      However, if you're short on budget and still want a nice upgrade regardless of the screen quality or average cameras, I'd recommend it. The performance of the phone is applaudable, as is its battery life.

      The Note 8 can comfortably run performance-heavy apps and games without flinching. At the same time, it stays alive for days which saves you the hassle of charging the phone every night or carrying around a bulky charger.



      The operating system is also very smooth, although it appears to be a clumsy ripoff of MIUI. There a ton of useful features like the app drawer, notes, screen recording, a mini-menu that pops up when you swipe from any side of the screen, a split-screen mode, and more.

      For $200, I think the Infinix Note holds up pretty well as a budget phone. But as a flagship device, the display is disappointing, to say the least.

    • By Rich Woods
      Acer Swift 5 review: Green and gold laptops are my new favorite
      by Rich Woods

      Acer's Swift 5 series is one that I've really come to enjoy. While it's made out of a magnesium alloy, it doesn't look or feel cheap like we see from its competition. The last one I reviewed came in this pretty blue chassis with gold accents. The new one that Acer sent me has the same gold accents, but the color is called Mist Green.

      It's beautiful. In fact, green and gold is one of my favorite color combinations for products. Seeing it on a laptop like this made me fall in love with it at first sight. It's quite nice.

      But that's not all, because there's actually a ton of value here. For just $1,299.99, this unit comes with an Intel Core i7-1165G7, 16GB RAM, a 1TB SSD, a 14-inch FHD display, and it weighs in at just 2.31 pounds, thanks to the magnesium chassis.

      Specs
      CPU Intel Core i7-1165G7 processor (12 MB Smart Cache, 2.8 GHz with Turbo Boost up to 4.7 GHz, DDR4 or LPDDR4x, Intel Iris Xe Graphics) Graphics Intel Iris Xe Graphics, supporting OpenGL 4.5, OpenCL 2.2, Microsoft DirectX® 12 Display 14.0" display with IPS (In-Plane Switching) technology, Full HD 1920 x 1080, high brightness (340 nits) Acer CineCrystal LED-backlit TFT LCD, supporting multi-touch 16:9 aspect ratio, color gamut sRGB 100%, Wide viewing angle up to 170 degrees Mercury free, environment friendly Body 12.56x8.15x0.59in (318.9x206.98x14.95mm), 2.31lbs (1.05kg) Ports (1) Thunderbolt 4
      (2) USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A
      (1) HDMI 2.0
      (1) 3.5mm audio
      (1) Power Memory 16GB of onboard LPDDR4X Dual-channel SDRAM (Note: Memory Speed: 4266) Storage 1TB NVMe SSD Battery 56Wh 4-cell/3-cell Li-ion battery, 65W AC adapter Input TouchPad: Multi-gesture touchpad, supporting two-finger scroll; pinch; gestures to open Cortana, Action Center, multitasking; application commands

      Microsoft Precision Touchpad certification

      Keyboard: 83-/84-/87-key full-size FineTip backlit keyboard with international language support

      Audio DTS Audio, featuring optimized bass response and micro-speaker distortion prevention Two built-in front facing stereo speakers at any display modes by smart amplifier Acer Purified.Voice technology with dual built-in microphones. Features include far-field pickup, keystroke suppression, adaptive beam forming, and pre-defined personal and conference call modes. Compatible with Cortana with Voice Acer TrueHarmony technology for lower distortion, wider frequency range, headphone-like audio and powerful sound Webcam Video conferencing HD webcam with:

      1280 x 720 resolution 720p HD audio/video recording Super high dynamic range imaging (SHDR) Connectivity Intel Wireless Wi-Fi 6 AX201 802.11 a/b/g/n+acR2+ax wireless LAN Dual Band (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz) 2x2 MU-MIMO technology Supports Bluetooth 5.1 Color Mist Green Material Magnesium-lithium and magnesium-aluminum OS Windows 10 Home Price $1,299.99
      Day one
      Design
      I really love some of the things that Acer does with design. For example, its ConceptD 3 Ezel creator laptop has a minimal yet unique design that I totally loved. But just like that navy blue Swift 5 that I reviewed last time, I really love that Acer works with colors. So many magnesium alloy laptops that I review come in this boring gunmetal gray, and they look and feel cheap. The Swift 5 looks premium.



      The Mist Green laptop comes with gold accents, with the shiniest part being the branding, of course. The whole thing weighs in at just 2.31 pounds, being made out of magnesium-lithium and magnesium-aluminum. That's about as light as it gets if you're sticking with a full-powered ultrabook processor.



      The gold accents are a matte color on the hinge, which also comes with Swift branding. Note that this is, more or less, Acer's flagship ultrabook. There's also the Swift 7, and while that's thinner and lighter, it had a Y-series processor and hasn't been refreshed since the one I reviewed in 2019.



      On the right side, you'll find a USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A port and a 3.5mm audio jack. Yes, USB 3.2 Gen 1 gets 5Gbps data transfer speeds, rather than the twice-as-fast USB 3.2 Gen 2, which is becoming more popular in modern laptops.



      On the left side of the Swift 5, you'll find a power port, HDMI 2.0, another USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A port, and a Thunderbolt 4 port. While it does have a barrel charging port and comes with a barrel charger, you don't have to use it. I sure didn't. I charged via USB Type-C, and the charger that came in the box is still in the box.

      Thunderbolt 4 is the same as the full spec of Thunderbolt 3, so it's really about knowing what you're getting. Thunderbolt 3 was a mess, because it wasn't clear if you were getting the 20Gbps base spec or the 40Gbps full spec. With Thunderbolt 4, you can connect one port to dual 4K monitors, an external GPU, and more. And I used it for all of that.

      I do love the design of this laptop. The actual chassis isn't all that different than the one from last year, although this one is just a bit heavier than that 2.18-pound model. It mostly feels like a different color scheme, and like I said, I love green and gold as a combination. Acer does make a white one if you like that better.

      Display and audio
      While the Swift 5 has a 14-inch FHD touchscreen like its predecessor, this is a totally different panel. It's 340 nits now instead of 300-nit, and the previous model had a matte display. This is covered in glass from edge to edge. It now supports a 170-degree viewing angle too. It's a really nice display that I enjoyed using, with accurate colors and no noticeable pixelation.



      The bezels are about the same size as we saw last year, which is no surprise given that the dimensions of the PC are nearly identical. But like I said, it's all one sheet of glass now, so it feels like they stand out even less.



      While the webcam is located in the top bezel, the bad news is that there's no IR camera. If you want biometric authentication, you'll have to use the fingerprint sensor.



      Honestly, the lack of an IR camera and the audio quality are my two main complaints with this laptop. The speakers are located on the bottom, as you'd expect. They get loud enough to listen to music or watch streaming media at your desk, but setting it to 100% isn't going to make your ears uncomfortable or anything. They're also just a bit tinny; it's not too bad or anything, but I've heard much better audio with better bass levels on other laptops lately.

      Keyboard and touchpad
      The keyboard uses Acer's usual Chiclet-style keys, and of course, it's backlit. It's good enough, not really standing out in any way but also getting the job done. It's not nearly as shallow as the one that you'd find on the Swift 7, and as I mentioned earlier, the Swift 7 is designed in a certain way to be particularly thin and light, making compromises to get there. That's why I consider the Swift 5 to be the flagship.



      I'd like it if the keyboard was a bit quiet like some of the ones I've used on Lenovo ThinkPads and HP's EliteBooks. On the whole, the keyboard is decidedly average.



      It has the same rectangular fingerprint sensor to the bottom-right of the keyboard that I've come to expect from Acer. Personally, I'd prefer an IR camera since I think that facial recognition is just more natural when it comes to laptops, but if there's no IR camera, then there better be a fingerprint sensor.



      Naturally, the Acer Swift 5 uses a Microsoft Precision touchpad, meaning that it's fast, responsive, and supports all of the gestures that you're used to. It also uses most of the real estate that's available, so that's always nice. When it comes to touchpads, I say the bigger, the better, so I hate to see wasted real estate on the keyboard deck.

      Performance and battery life
      The new Swift 5 is Intel Evo certified, and Evo is the newest iteration of what was previously called Project Athena. It's essentially a list of specs that Intel thinks makes up a modern laptop, such as battery life, connectivity, thin and light, instant wake, and so on. One thing you need for Evo is to use Intel 11th-generation processors, codenamed Tiger Lake.



      This model uses a Core i7-1165G7. Tiger Lake is the second generation of Intel using its 10nm process, and Intel once again doubled down on integrated graphics. While the previous generation packed the more powerful Iris Plus Graphics, this has Iris Xe, with Intel promising that you can do things like FHD gaming without the need of a dedicated GPU, and it delivers.

      The performance with Intel Tiger Lake is phenomenal, and it all feels so wild to me, having reviewed laptops for a few years. Intel Evo laptops can do things that I wouldn't have considered without a dedicated GPU just two years ago. And to see stuff like FHD gaming and video editing in a 2.31-pound laptop is just wild.

      Plus, it comes with Thunderbolt 4, so you can turn this into a full desktop rig if you want. You can plug in a dock with dual 4K monitors, or you can plug in an external GPU for even more powerful. And given the nature of a single-cable solution, you can just unplug it and throw it in a bag to take it on the go.

      Battery life is pretty decent. It gets a solid seven hours of regular use, and that's with the screen at 33% brightness and the power slider at one notch above battery saver. I kind of expected more from this, as it does have a nice big 56Wh battery and it doesn't have a bunch of powerful components sucking down power. Note that regular use includes some light Photoshop, web browsing, working through the Edge browser, OneNote, Slack, Skype, and some other productivity apps.

      I also need to point out that once again, Acer is shipping this thing with a ton of bloatware, and I spent a fair amount of time uninstalling apps like Norton, Firefox, and more from the Swift 5. Acer, by far, installs more bloatware than any other OEM that I review. What's even more frustrating is getting apps that are competing with inbox apps, like Firefox. For most companies, the only bloatware is antivirus, but Acer takes it to a level that other OEMs left behind years ago.

      For benchmarks, I used PCMark 8 and PCMark 10.

      Acer Swift 5
      Core i7-1165G7 Acer Swift 5
      Core i7-1065G7 Dell XPS 13
      Core i7-10710U Acer Aspire 5
      Ryzen 7 4700U PCMark 8: Home 4,406 3,671 3,501 3,702 PCMark 8: Creative 4,975 4,035 3,966 4,228 PCMark 8: Work 4,056 3,781 3,342 3,689 PCMark 10 5,001 4,332 4,314 4,718
      As you can see, Intel's latest Core i7 beat both of the 10th-gen models (Ice Lake and Comet Lake), and it even beat out the 7nm AMD Ryzen 7 4700U that was in the Aspire 5. If you're keeping score between Intel and AMD, it's absolutely worth noting that Ryzen 5000 is coming. The competition between Intel and AMD is probably going to be one of those back and forth things, which is definitely good for consumers.

      Conclusion
      Oh, and did I mention that this thing has 16GB RAM and 1TB of storage? Right, it's a beautiful 2.31-pound laptop with lots of RAM, lots of storage, and a 14-inch FHD display for $1,299. That price tag kind of speaks for itself, because there's a ton of value here.



      Most of my complaints here are super-minor. One is that there's no IR camera, and while that's something that I'll always bring up, it's also something that we really only use once per session unless apps are using it for authentication. The other is that I'd like audio to be better, and that's probably my only real issue.

      And of course, Acer has to stop with the bloatware. It's out of control, and in fact, I've spoken with a number of people from Acer that agree. As I mentioned above, other companies have left this method of subsidizing PC costs behind years ago.

      But this is a wonderful PC. I really love the stylish package that it comes in, and just how easy it is to carry around. Seriously, when you put this thing in your bag, you might have to double-check that it's there. At $1,299, the Acer Swift 5 is totally a buy.

      If you want to check it out, you can find it here.