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+Nexus18

HTC released their new range of mobiles recently called the "One" which includes the flagship mobile "X", the mid-range "S" and the lower end "V", however, does the "S" really belong to the "mid-range" class......lets find out! :p

I will only cover the areas, which are most important in this review (IMO) and try to keep it as brief as possible as being android and sense, this would be a very long review if I covered every area!

 

Features:

 

Some of the main specs.

  • Dimensions - 130.9 x 65 x 7.8mm
  • Weight - 119.5g
  • Display - Super AMOLED capacitive 4.3" 540 x 960 pixels (256 ppi pixel density) touchscreen, 16M colours and is corning gorilla glass
  • RAM - 1GB
  • Chipset - Qualcomm MSM8260A Snapdragon
  • CPU - Dual-core 1.5GHz Krait
  • GPU - Adreno 225
  • Storage - 16GB internal combined with 25GB extra of dropbox storage for the next 2 years, no SD card slot
  • Camera - 8MP, autofocus, LED flash, simultaneous HD video and image recording, geo-tagging, face & smile detection. VGA camera on the front of the device
  • Video - 1080P@30FPS, stereo sound rec. and video stabilization
  • OS - Android V4.0.3 (Ice cream sandwich) combined with Sense V4.0
  • Radio - Stereo FM radio with RDS
  • Battery - Standard battery, Li-Po 1650mAh

 

For a full list of features, check here.

 

Packaging & Accessories:

 

I was surprised at just how small the box was when I received it! The width and height was barely any bigger than the mobile itself, saying that though the box is sturdy enough and has a minimal design.

Inside the box we have the standard accessories;

 

  • Charger
  • Micro USB cable
  • Standard HTC ear phones

 

You may be wondering where the battery is? For the HTC One series mobiles, the battery is non-removable, therefore you can't use spares or/and use an extended battery etc. however, is the battery life sufficient enough that we won't really need to worry too much about this.......find out later ;)

 

eNhTb.jpg

 

Build Quality:

 

Now this is where the One S is truly the "one" for design, build quality and "perceived quality". The "S" has a uni body chassis made of Aluminium, which is then treated to Micro Arc Oxidation, this is essentially treating the aluminium case to a plasma bath and 10000 volts is then passed through, which means that it is carbonized, which in return gives a very nice matte finish and a ceramic feel to the case, this apparently increases the durability a lot as well (I am not willing to test the durability out though :p). The MAO process is only for the black model though, the gray model is anodized Aluminium, you have medium and dark shades of grey.

 

I have used a number of top end devices ranging from the Desire, Galaxy S2, iphone 4/4s, One X etc. and IMO the One S is easily the most "premium feeling" mobile to date and best looking device there is (of course some may disagree and say different). It is super thin at 7.8mm and super light at 119.5g.

 

If you have a read around on a few forums, there are many people who loved the "X" for the screen etc. and were going to buy it but once they tried the "S" out in the shop just before they were going to buy the "X", they ended up walking out with the "S" instead due to build and perceived quality, this just shows how good it really is.

 

Unfortunately there is a fault with the black models (due to the MAO process), there is a chipping issue, which seems to be affecting the majority of black "S" owners even under extreme care and use, tiny black chips are coming out of nowhere and leaving a silver layer visible especially around the USB port. I have had this mobile for three days now and have not got any chip issues except around the micro USB port *touch wood* :p

 

This will not be too much of an issue for people who keep their mobiles in cases etc. (I will be getting a case anyway)

 

If you have sweaty/greasy hands, sweat patches and fingerprints will easily show up on the back of the mobile.

I would suggest that everyone waits for a few weeks first though until it is confirmed that the problem has been fixed with new batches instead of returning the mobile every few days.

 

6pUTQ.jpg

 

On the front of the mobile at the bottom, you have touch sensitive controls, which are the standard ICS buttons, back/return, home and multi-tasking window. At the top you have your standard HTC logo along with the ear piece grill, front VGA camera and a notification LED, however, the LED isn't separate, it is underneath the ear-piece grill, which is pretty tacky from HTC, the Desire notification LED was much better.

 

You have your standard orange/amber colour which means that the mobile is charging and if it is blinking orange/amber, your battery is low and a green LED means the battery is fully charged and if it is blinking green you have a missed call, text etc. The blinking will last only for a few minutes if you have a missed call, text etc. I am not sure if this is a bug or the way that it is suppose to be, to try and save power......however, it should keep blinking until you have unlocked the screen IMO.

 

It is easy enough to see when indoors and not at an extreme angle, however, outside on a bright sunny day or/and looking at the mobile from the slightest angle, you will really struggle to see the LED.

 

  • On the right side, you have your volume rocker, which is nice and long, however, not very good feedback is given when you press it and it feels a bit wobbly
  • On the left side, you have the micro USB port, which is for charging the mobile, connecting to the PC or if you have an MHL cable, connecting to a TV
  • At the top, you have a 3.5mm audio jack and the power/lock screen button. The lock/power button is a bit awkward to press, especially if you're only using one hand and you really have to push it in a certain way, but this is a good thing as it means there won't be any issues of it constantly turning the screen on or the device off when it is in your pocket
  • On the back, you have "HTC" engraved in the unibody part along with the "beats audio" logo and with two small pieces of plastic at the bottom and top (which feels great as well, but obviously not as sturdy as the rest of mobile). The top piece of plastic houses the 8MP camera (with a nice red metallic outer ring for the black model and a blue outer ring for the grey model), LED flash and microSIM card slot. The bottom piece of plastic houses the speaker.
  • And of course on the bottom you have the mouthpiece

 

As you may have noticed there is also no SD card slot and for a lot of people this is an extremely important factor if the internal storage isn't enough and this is the main reason why a lot of people haven't got the "S" and have gone for the "X" instead as it has 32GB internal storage or are now waiting for the Samsung Galaxy S3, hoping that it will include the SD slot.

 

To try and make up for the lack of a SD slot, HTC have partnered up with Dropbox to give any owner of a "One" series mobile an additional 25GB onto their current storage for free for the next two years, which combined with the 10GB of internal storage on the "S" for photos, videos, files and 2GB for apps etc. is more than enough for me (I have 30.9GB of dropbox storage now).

 

The "S" has a 4.3" SAMOLED qHD (540 x 960) display, but it doesn't have a RGB pixel arrangement like the Galaxy S2, instead it has the pentile pixel arrangement. It isn't as bad as what some people make it out to be though. Also it has been modified apparently, so lower power consumption, better colours etc. The screen is still super sharp, vibrant colours, great viewing angles and best of all, blacks are black!

 

Obviously compared to the likes of the iphone 4/4s, Galaxy Nexus, a couple of Sony's mobile screens and especially the One X screen, the "S" won't look as good but that doesn't mean that the screen is poor. Yes it would have been nice if a 720P res or/and RGB pixel arrangement was used instead or the IPS display from the X but the current screen is perfectly fine IMO, viewing videos and pictures on the "S" screen is great. Viewing the screen in direct bright sunlight is not a problem at all with the brightness set to 100%, I could easily read text and view pictures on neowin, I tried to get a good accurate picture showing this, but failed :p

 

Of course some people will prefer the AMOLED based screens over the IPS due to having the more vibrant colours, pitch-blacks, I personally love AMOLED screens and IMO they are better for viewing videos on the mobile than LCD IPS screens.

 

Obviously if you are downgrading from one of the mobiles that have a better 720P screen etc. then you wil notice the pixels but I suggest before you make your mind up on the screen without actually seeing it first to have a good look at it in a store. I personally don't notice the pixel issues with pentile unless I put my nose right upto the screen :p It is a bit more noticeable when you have white text on black backgrounds though, but again you still have to go looking for it. The screen is A LOT sharper and more vibrant than the desire AMOLED screen.

 

kghKy.jpg

 

Unfortauntely the "S" doesn't have NFC either, granted in the UK (and probably most of the world) it isn't very popular yet and purchasing items using it still isn't a big thing (yet), there are more uses than just purchasing items using NFC though, such as tags, which means that you simply place your mobile on/near the tag and it will perform a certain action. Considering quite a few mobiles are coming out with this, it would have been nice to have anyway.

 

Software:

 

No point having a very nicely designed mobile with great hardware if the software is terrible to use.

 

ICS combined with the latest sense is unbelievably good! I was never a fan of sense on the desire, desire HD and sensation, sure it has great widgets and the homescreens looked pretty but the entire software just felt so bloated and there were far too many menus/sub-menus, which tried to make things easier to use and find but in the end it just made it more complicated and spending ages to get to one particular area.

 

Thankfully HTC made a comment about the recent versions and said they realised that they were bloating sense too much and adding un-neccesary things and that they would go back to what sense is suppose to be like, clean, minimal, light-weight and feature fulled and they most certainly have done so with sense V4.0. It is still not as clean and minimal as stock ICS.

 

Sense 4 with ICS is still feature rich for widgets and customizable skins, different lock screens etc. etc. They have got rid of the dock bar, which had your app drawer on the left, phone in the middle and personalisation menu on the right for adding widgets etc. instead we now have a standard dockbar just like every other android mobile, where you have the app drawer button in the middle and two shortctus to apps that you want to the right and left side of the app drawer (whatever you choose for your dock bar will also be on the lockscreen [if you choose to] for easy and quick access). We also have the same style of widgets to choose from including the famous clock/weather one and the notification bar is also transparent when on the homescreen but will go black when you are in an app or anywhere else apart from the homescreens.

 

The app drawer is very nice, you have your three tabs on the bottom, "all", "frequent" and "downloaded" and on the top you have "search", "playstore" and the "menu" button, which has the usual settings like arranging apps by name etc.

 

The lockscreen is the best I have seen on android yet as well (out of the box). You have 3 unlock types;

  • Face Recognition, which works very well and is extremely quick and if you haven't got enough light around you, it will use either the PIN or pattern lock instead
  • PIN, simply a keypad
  • Pattern, simply the same as every android pattern lock

 

We also have the sense modded versions of the stock android apps like the calendar, gallery, browser etc. The sense browser is the best browser I have used yet even better than the 3rd party ones that can be found on the play store, it is super quick and smooth even when browsing image/flash/GIF intensive pages with great rendering, and of course a very polished UI and some useful tweaks/features e.g. the full screen optimization so you get the most out of the 4.3" qHD SAMOLED screen without annoying bars at the top and bottom, which will only show when you scroll near the bottom or the top of the screen (I have noticed that sometimes the bars don't show at all and the only way to get them is to scroll to the very top of the web page).

 

The new keyboard with a ton of features is great to use, it now uses a dark theme and HTC have also integrated a swype feature, which works very well, it isn't as good as the proper swype keyboard though and so may not convert the hardcore fans! :p You also have cursor keys at the bottom, which means it is easier to move to specific parts in sentences. Does the keyboard top swiftkey X (once tailored to your texting style) though.......unfortunately no, swiftkey still has the best prediction there is with plenty of options as well and the new verison, which the team are working on should be much better.

 

5kilK.jpg

GpIZk.jpg

jOJWk.png

 

Performance:

 

This is another area where the One S is the best without a doubt, it really is the fastest/smoothest android handset to date. Many people will be going for the "X" purely because it is "quad core" and thinking more cores must mean it is better :p, but that is not the case. I had the "X", "S", Galaxy S2 and the Galaxy Nexus side by side trying various tasks out and the "S" was easily the fastest & smoothest handset out of them. Everything on the "S" was done lightning quick and super smoothly as well, you name it launching & playing games, loading an image intensive site etc., installing/downloading a numer of apps at the same time whilst browsing, nothing slowed this phone down, the only area were I have seen some lag is on the animations for the tabs part in the sense browser. Granted the difference in speed and smoothness between the handsets listed above isn't a huge amount, it is still noticeable.

 

A number of people who own both the "X" and "S" have also said the same.

 

The WIFI signal strength is very good! I am getting at least two bars no matter where I am in the house and even when I am outside the house, I still get two bars and this is with the Virgin SuperHub. My Virgin connection is 60MB and 3MB upload, however, due to the SuperHub?s atrocious wireless performance, we only get 29MB download speed so once we get a new router and are getting our proper speeds through wireless, I will test the mobile out using the app ?speedtest? to see what we get.

 

Here are a few screenshots for the people that love benchmark scores! The screenshot of the linpack score on the left is for "single thread" and the right "multi-thread".

 

e8plg.png

 

The Dual-core 1.5GHz Krait CPU combined with an adreno 225 GPU make this is a true beast of a mobile.

 

We also have 1GB of RAM, which essentially means better/more multi-tasking and of course this also helps with performance. Here are a few screenshots of RAM usage according to go launcher, built in sense task manager and the stock android/ICS manager:

 

ZMqo3.png

 

Battery Life:

 

The One S is truly exceptional for battery life, I haven't seen an android mobile that can achieve the same or better results out of the box as the "S" with similar or better usage as below (except the Motorola RZR :p), the Galaxy S2 and Galaxy Nexus come close. Thanks to ICS when the mobile is idle, there is now very little battery drain. I will just post screenshots of my first and second charge and usage:

 

First charge and usage was; A few texts, 10-20 min of video, fair amount of browsing, installing lots of apps, tweaking and changing everything about, GPS, camera etc. and brightness was at 70-85% brightness for about 1-2 hours and dropped to 50% for the rest of the time, however, I didn't have my SIM in for the first hour of use (testing the mobile first to make sure it worked ok), wifi was on constantly as well.

 

Second charge and usage was; the same as above but a fair bit more browsing was done and a few games (angry birds and ROM emulators) and brightness was at 50% the entire time, plus this time the SIM was in for the entire time.

 

lmiaa.png

 

I have disabled quite a lot of the apps that came on the mobile such as google+, facebook, twitter and a lot of other apps, which I don't use.

The battery life could be improved a bit more as well, as with sense, a lot of white is used throughout the UI i.e. messaging, gmail, youtube, system menus, colourful wallpapers, of course you can change a couple of those things with 3rd party apps.

 

Even though the battery life is very good, it would have been nice to have had the option to use an extended battery instead or/and to be able to use spares.

 

Media & Audio:

 

HTC have done great things regarding sense and the gallery & media capabilites. The gallery is is your standard modded app, photo albums are "stacked" and when you go into an album, the photos are in a "grid" layout then. Any image that is on your mobile is shown in the gallery, you can choose to show/hide certain albums though, but you can't do the same for individual pictures/videos. You also have all your other standard options, like delete, copy, cut, paste etc. We also have great editing features built into the gallery for photos and videos. The video player is very good as well, it has a great UI and features, there is no dedicated video app.

 

kwB7B.jpg

 

The music app is also very nice, it is more of a "hub" as you have the option to choose playing the songs on your phone or to use soundhound to identify certain music that you want to find out more on, such as lyrics, name, artist etc. and other music options (I have disabled them though)

 

We also have the FM radio, which has a nice minimal UI. This supports RDS as well.

 

bTCuJ.jpg

The audio output of this device is outstanding, I don't have any equipment to properly test it though so you will just have to take my word for it :p As we all know, the latest big mutiplayer game BF 3 has got the best/most realistic sounds of warfare in a game yet and it sounds very impressive if you have a surround sound setup. I watched a few game play videos and trailers for it on youtube and WOW! The sound was so clear and great depth to it and not to mention it was very loud!

 

Camera:

 

This is one area where HTC has always been pretty poor at when compared to other brands of mobiles particulary Sony Ericcson and Samsung, especially for video recording, so have HTC finally sorted this out with the latest one series mobiles especially as they said in a statement that the camera is the main thing that customers look at in the shops and so they wanted to make it as good as possible? Also given that the ad for the flagship handset is based solely on camera/video recording capabilities.

 

A simple answer.............YES! They really have worked wonders with the camera side of things this time round, not just for quality but features as well. Combined with the 8MP camera, we also have an f/2.0 aperture and a dedicated image processing chip, which really helps!

 

Photos are taken extremely quick, literally snapped instantly so you will never miss that special moment and you have a rapid "gun fire" burst mode, which captures a lot of images in seconds and afterwards, you can choose the best one from the lot and have the rest deleted straight away.

 

Whilst recording you can also take photos at the same time without any lag and essentially zero shutter time again.

 

Some photos below, unfortunately I don't really do the camera much justice in some shots :( so don't base a strong opinion on these shots alone, have a look around at other samples on the web:

 

http://i.imgur.com/o1KYo.jpg (depth of field effect was used)

http://i.imgur.com/i2yWp.jpg (depth of field effect was used)

http://i.imgur.com/PuSoV.jpg (no effects)

http://i.imgur.com/T8wif.jpg (no effects)

http://i.imgur.com/DGudD.jpg (no effects)

http://i.imgur.com/Uyelv.jpg (no effects)

http://i.imgur.com/SYzwV.jpg (this was taken in a pretty dark room with flash as you can see)

http://i.imgur.com/aZi7E.jpg (no effects)

http://i.imgur.com/7wN7I.jpg (HDR)

http://i.imgur.com/oMwDh.jpg (Macro shot)

 

Unfortunately HTC still haven't mastered the art of smooth video recording with smooth light metering focus. This is a problem on the software side as the hardware is more than capable enough of having smooth playback etc. so lets hope that HTC will fix this in an update. A few quick recordings can be found on my channel here, as well as a slow motion video of my cat! :D Unfortunately when using the slow motion feature, the video can only be captured at 768 x 432.

 

Now, this is where the camera is most impressive, the UI and features, you have a wide range of effects to choose from, all of which are very handy e.g. depth of field, HDR, slow motion video among others, which are a bit more "gimmicky" but still cool none the less.

 

oAYUf.png

 

Conclusion:

 

It is a pleasure to use the One S for everything, be it games, social, media, browsing, camera etc. The premium feel to the mobile combined with a great sharp responsive touch screen (granted nowhere near the overall quality of the X IPS 720P screen when side by side) right down to the hardware and software make this mobile truly outstanding and the battery life is a huge bonus. I imagine that once rooted and a good custom ROM is out, the mobile will be even better!

 

I honestly can say that there is nothing that I hate about the mobile, the only thing, which I would have liked is for HTC to have included an option to use a black theme throughout the UI instead of mostly white and to have done a better job with the notification LED. Being a HTC phone, there are a lot of apps that still aren't neccessary for me (but may be useful for others), thankfully with ICS, you can disable apps that you don't need/use, therefore they will not use any resources :)

 

Usually I replace every stock app with 3rd party apps from the market such as go SMS pro, dolphin browser/boat/xscope, kaloer clock etc. however, this time I won't be as stated before, the new sense is great and IMO there is no need to replace the majority of stock apps. The only thing, which I have replaced is the launcher with go launcher and my own layout with custom icons (credits go to mrk for the layout idea, icons, minimalistic text widgets etc.

 

h68Hl.png

 

I will not be rooting (even though ads completely over run web pages and apps :angry:) or flashing a custom ROM on this mobile at all (unless HTC abandon the "S" and don't provide updates) as the software, performance and battery life is just great out of the box.

 

The question that you all are wanting to be answered though is, which mobile, the "X" or the "S"?

 

It is a very tough decision, they are both great mobiles and both have their strengths and weaknesses, the areas where the "X" is better than the "S" from my use and lots of research; is the screen, storage and NFC whereas the "S" has the better battery life, better performance, better build quality/perceived quality and it is more comfortable to use especially with one hand. From reading reviews etc. even though the camera on both mobiles is the same, the "X" appears to take slightly better photos whereas the "S" appears to record better 1080P content regarding smoothness, I have no idea why this is though.

 

Also, just like the "S", the "X" also has a fault as well, screen flicker.

 

Apparently the battery life should improve for the "X" in the next update, no idea as to how much, but I imagine that it won't be a huge difference and certainly not near the "S" battery life due to the screen.

I strongly suggest before making your mind up based solely on reviews, to go to a shop and try both out for yourself.

 

Unfortunately there is no such thing as the perfect mobile device yet, despite all the pros that the "S" has, it has many cons as well as has been stated throughout the review.

 

Pros:

 

  • Super thin and light whilst still having the best "perceived quality" yet and great build quality
  • Gorgeous vibrant & sharp SAMOLED qHD display
  • Android V4.0.3 combined with sense V4.0
  • Great hardware (best processor)
  • Great camera for quality and features overall
  • Amazing battery life
  • Very fast & smooth for everything
  • 25GB of dropbox storage
  • Great Audio Quality

 

Cons:

 

  • No NFC
  • No SD card slot and limited internal storage
  • Non-removable battery
  • Uses a pentile matrix instead of RGB
  • Notification LED isn't great

 

Thanks for reading and I hope this review has been helpful and as always any questions, ask away :)

 

Keep an eye on this thread for updates and for a mini review of a case (most likely a case mate barely there or tough case) and a quick video showing the mobile connected to the TV via MHL within the next few weeks.

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Muhammad Farrukh

Awesome read (Y)

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Chasethebase

Amazing review, really well written. Also out of all the cons there the only major downside is the pentile display. The other four I can easily do without (16GB is plenty for the majority of users, NFC isn't really that big, battery is fine since I'm used to it (iPhone), and again the LED is something the iPhone doesn't have).

(Y)

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simonlang

great review! i was already decided to ditch the one s/x line and waiting for the galaxy s III, but after read the review and seen the lovely pics, i have to give it a 2nd thought...

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+Nexus18

Thanks guys! :D Glad you liked the review! :)

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John Freeman

Im probably picking mine up sometime next month, but damn, i dont like the chipping issue. Here's me hoping they actually manage to fix in future batches.

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+Nexus18

Went to edit a small part of my review there, but I can't find the edit button :o Can we not edit our posts after a certain time or is it due to this being featured on the front page? Just I have a few more things to add :)

Im probably picking mine up sometime next month, but damn, i dont like the chipping issue. Here's me hoping they actually manage to fix in future batches.

Hopefully the issue will be sorted by then :)

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Roger H.

From day one seeing both this and the X i thought i wanted the S because it's smaller. Now reading this review makes me even more sure i'm not missing out on anything compared to the X.

As for:

Cons:

  • No NFC
  • No SD card slot and limited internal storage
  • Non-removable battery
  • Uses a pentile matrix instead of RGB
  • Notification LED isn't great

- NO NFC = not a big deal to me. It's nice to have but i wouldn't be using it much if at all since I don't know anyone with it and wouldn't be using NFC at the stores with it anyways.

- SD Card thing - not a big deal to me again as I have a SGS2 now with 11.49GB of Storage (16GB total spit with Apps) and I don't even use all of that now. I also have a 16GB MicroSD card that sits there empty.

- No-removable battery not a issue again as i don't swap batteries now on my SGS2

-This pentile thing is blah - I had a Nexus One and apparently that was Pentile too? :ermm: Didn't notice "pixels" then either.

- LED notification - now that's a real con for me and actually miss it on the SGS2 also :(

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+Nexus18

-This pentile thing is blah - I had a Nexus One and apparently that was Pentile too? :ermm: Didn't notice "pixels" then either.

- LED notification - now that's a real con for me and actually miss it on the SGS2 also :(

Yup the nexus one was pentile as well. The screen on the "S" is much better than the nexus one and better than the GS 2 as well :)

Don't get me wrong the notification LED isn't terrible....it is better than nothing at least :p But it is far from ideal and HTC should have just kept it the way it was with previous handsets.

Sorry I forgot to mention this (review has been updated with this info as well), the notification LED only blinks for a few minutes if you have a missed call, text etc. I am not sure if this is a bug or the way that it is suppose to be to try and save power......however, it should keep blinking until you have unlocked the screen IMO.

Hopefully HTC will sort this out in an update :)

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Oblivion

I think it's time to upgrade from my HTC Sensation :-)

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Oblivion

How much is this device priced at ??

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+Nexus18

How much is this device priced at ??

In the UK, to buy it outright (brand new), it costs ?370-420, the cheapest being from 3 directly :)

And contract prices vary from ?21-30 for a 24 month contract and no up front cost.

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+Nexus18

Just took a quick panorama shot:

http://i.imgur.com/pydpm.jpg

Not bad and I am pretty sure that I moved up and down a bit for each "shot", so it wasn't exactly even throughout as I had to readjust.

See if you can spot where the "stitching" hasn't quite worked out :p

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ThePitt

linpack.gif

and

linpack.gif

ten years processor still kicking ass :laugh:

wake me up when they do something better, like at least 2Gflops

nice review, tho

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+Nexus18

You can't compare desktop processors to mobile processors though :p

You will be sleeping for a very long time till that happens :p :D

Thanks :)

A couple of photos that I took earlier on there, which I thought were pretty good:

http://i.imgur.com/6NzdT.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/AOfuh.jpg

And a slow motion video of my cat playing with his blue ball:

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  • 2 weeks later...
+Nexus18

MHL adapter arrived yesterday, ?7.28 including delivery (?4.58 just for the adapter), which isn't badly priced :)

Has gone up a tiny bit since I purchased it though:

http://www.expansys.com/expansys-mhl-microusb-to-hdmi-adapter-black-221378/

Couple of photos below, as you can see, we have a HDMI port (I just used my Xbox 360 HDMI cable and it worked fine) and the micro USB port (just use the USB cable that comes with the S) for charging the device at the same time as when you're streaming to the TV at 1080P it can drain the battery pretty quickly especially when watching a 1080P HD film or playing a few games. You can either plug the USB into a socket near by or into one of the TV's USB ports (if available) to charge the mobile. The adapter is very tiny and obviously very light weighted, you could easily carry it around with you in your pocket.

ttQdo.jpg

When connected to the TV (Panasonic TX-P42G20B) the video mode of the TV switches to "1080P, 24Hz and 16.9 aspect ratio". I haven't looked at any of the settings on my TV to see if I can increase the refresh rate yet but everything seemed very smooth either way, 1080P films played flawlessly using BS player lite and looked perfect, the games also worked great but looked very jaggy as they are stretched to 1080P, this is down to the apps.

Here is the info. for the film trailers that were played:

3MdID.png

xV2ph.png

And lastly a quick video demonstrating this. Sorry for the quality and jerkiness of this video, it was recorded using a desire on stock 2.2, the UI and actions etc. are smoother than what it looks in the video.

Yes I know my gaming skills are atrocious particularly for Goldeneye :( It isn't very easy using the on screen controls! :p

One thing, which should be noted is that the sound is very low! (hence why you can barely hear the audio of the films and games in the video) When watching standard TV, we have the volume bar at about 3/10, where as with the mobile connected and playing content, I had to turn the volume up to about 6/10 just to be able to hear it clearly. Not sure why this is and I don't know if a different, more expensive MHL adapter would be better for sound level......

To sum up; I can't complain about the adapter at all given the price, does what you expect of it and the only downside (which might not even be due to the adapter) is that the volume is very low and has to be turned up a fair bit to compensate for this.

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+Nexus18

The official HTC one S screen protector arrived today, ?3.74 including delivery (?1.79 just for the protector, the delivery cost more than the item itself :o), which isn't badly priced and I got two screen protectors, I was only expecting one.

So for ?1.79, I wasn't expecting good things with this screen protector especially after reading some reviews, but I was pleasantly surprised in the end.

jjyeB.jpg

Unfortunately you can't really judge screen protectors in photos, these are the sort of things that have to be seen in person.

The best way to apply screen protectors is after you or someone else has had a nice long hot shower and kept the door closed as the steam works wonders with dust :D

On my first application, the protector applied effortlessly, there were quite a few air bubbles in the middle and I was worried about this but thankfully I was able to push them out by just using my nail, only two air bubbles remained, which are on the top left as you can see in the photos below, and two tiny pieces of dust on the "home" button and right side on the edge (the other bits of dust that are visible in some photos is just "on top" of the protector), however, these are only noticeable at certain angles and under certain lighting conditions. I could reapply the protector to try and get rid of them but I will probably end up making it even worse! :p

Despite some user reviews saying that the protector wasn't the right size, mine seemed like a perfect fit pretty much.

With some screen protectors, the touch screen sensitivity and colours are impacted, however, with this protector, that isn't the case IMO, I couldn't tell the difference at all personally, the one thing, which is noticeable is the feel, it is more of a plastic "feel" now instead of glass, obviously :p

If it weren't for the tiny cut out on the top for the light sensor and the two air bubbles, you wouldn't even know that there is a screen protector on.

Unfortunately the screen protector shows grubby marks/fingerprints more easily now. But this is easily solved by giving the screen a quick wipe every now and then.

hXgsq.jpg

Needless to say I am very happy with the outcome and will be cancelling the Martin Fields screen protector (?12 :o) now.

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  • 4 weeks later...
+Nexus18

Bit of an update now!

Firstly for people that are still looking for a new phone and trying to get a bargain and by any chance are looking at the one S as an option, look no further!

http://www.carphonew...NE-S-KM003-FCON

24 month contract

200 minutes Anytime Any network

500 texts

unlimited data (no tethering)

Handset Price - Free

?16 per month

talkmobile network (pretty much vodafone)

AND

You get ?35.25 cashback with topcashback to

There really is no beating this deal!

Also if you are considering the One S, you may want to hurry as it looks like HTC are going to be replacing the S4 chip with old gen tech, the snapdragon S3, however, possibly giving a 720P SAMOLED (pentile matrix as well) screen as well. In some ways this is good and bad if true, as obviously you get a lovely 720P screen, however, the S3 won't be in the same league as the S4 chip and the performance will be affected as well as battery life, even more so due to the higher res, not a good combination in the end.

A few more battery readings below now, it is still pretty much the same as my first two charges:

Usage: few texts, few phone calls, a lot of web browsing, installing/uninstalling apps, about 10-15 min of youtube videos, about 5 photos taken, about 10-15 min of games, about 15 minutes of TV catchup, a bit of GPS, mostly wifi connection and H/3G connection for a bit, snowstorm syncing every 2 hours and sense weather refreshing every 6 hours, general messing around in apps etc. some whatsapp use, gmail push and automatic brightness etc.

0BEiQ.pngMBSVD.png0iISD.pngSSGTH.png

Usage: few texts, few phone calls, a lot of web browsing, installing/uninstalling apps, about 10-15 min of youtube videos, about 10-15 photos taken, about 10-15 min of games, about 15 minutes of TV catchup, a lot of speed tests (both wifi and 3G/H), mostly wifi connection and H/3G connection for a bit, snowstorm syncing every 2 hours and sense weather refreshing every 6 hours, general messing around in apps, gmail push and automatic brightness etc.

s9Dfa.pngzqgtH.pngUk8ml.png

Have now installed qbright for manual control of the brightness, so I should hopefully get more on screen time if I adjust the screen when necessary for the appropriate lighting conditions :p

Also after the first software update for my device, WIFI related tasks seems to be much quicker now and loading web pages is even quicker as well! :o Feels like I am using my desktop PC for browsing now :p

Some speed tests and I never got near these dll speeds before the update, not even my PC gets over 29MB dll, 2.9MB ul and the wireless adapter that I have is pretty good (think it is related to the virgin superhub, but don't get why my mobile is getting better speeds and my PC isn't and my brothers PC gets exactly the same speeds as my PC.......)

s1QaQ.png

Some photos that I took when I was away and I am pretty impressed with the quality considering the conditions for some shots!

Only a few photos, settings were left as auto/default.

Rome obviously :p However, these were taken when inside a bus and on a very dark cloudy day, poured that day :(

http://i.imgur.com/c7sIe.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/5NkPJ.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/i2EAP.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/sNIjO.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/HPEte.jpg

Obviously the below photo was not taken from inside a bus :p

http://i.imgur.com/P10RT.jpg

Livorno:

http://i.imgur.com/jhBds.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/s73JU.jpg

Corsica:

http://i.imgur.com/ShoXE.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/Ox28K.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/UnzhN.jpg

Malaga, shot taken from inside a bus:

http://i.imgur.com/yxphv.jpg

Apparently the MAO chipping issue has been properly addressed now:

slightly less sharp edge and a beveled USB port...

http://i.imgur.com/HyUu3.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/m7AQc.jpg

A quick thermal comparison test between the One S, Razr(A) and the SGS2(B):

Great news for the big gamers now! Sony and HTC are partnering to bring Playstation certification to HTC One Devices, this means that you will be able to play the Playstation classics on your One S/X/V when you're on the go! :D

http://www.androidpo...to-htc-devices/

Lastly, Nillkin are sending out this case for me to review, so hopefully I will have it sometime next week and the review will be posted up here :)

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+Nexus18

Here are some comparisons (same photos posted before) of standard photos and the same photos but with the auto enhanced effect applied via the stock sense gallery:

Standard photo first followed by the auto-enhanced one:

http://i.imgur.com/oMwDh.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/kSeT3.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/6NzdT.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/VcIt3.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/AOfuh.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/XSqkI.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/UA9QY.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/rcjYl.jpg

Pretty good IMO and you have loads more effects to choose from, doesn't take like 5 minutes or anything to apply/process the effect, simply choose the effect you want and it is instantly applied and then save or cancel the new photo with the applied effect instantly.

The HTC one series/sense V4 really are/is featured packed when it comes to multimedia especially concerning the camera area, they have thought of everything! :p

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Noir Angel

linpack.gif

and

linpack.gif

ten years processor still kicking ass :laugh:

wake me up when they do something better, like at least 2Gflops

nice review, tho

Given that, for example an i7-2700k can do around 120 gigaflops when overclocked (peaks at around 100 at stock speed) those numbers aren't as impressive as you think. (Screenshot was taken of my 2700k which is running at 4.8 GHZ)

Besides, the amount of gigaflops that a CPU can pull are only a measure of their raw number crunching power, floating point operations are not on their own an overly good measure of how powerful a CPU is. It's also worth nothing that mobile CPU's are never going to even touch desktop CPU's in terms of power nor are they really designed to so it's not really a particularly good point on which to form a comparison. 200 megaflops is actually a significant amount of raw power for a mobile phone.

post-446153-0-42602000-1339672844.png

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+Nexus18

Haha :D

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  • 2 weeks later...
+Nexus18

Firstly, still no sign of the Nillkin Super Shield case :( Going to send Nillkin an email on Monday if there is still no sign, to see what is happening.

So, I decided to buy another case in the meantime till the Nillkin cases arrives, if at all :p

Ordered a transparent black TPU gel case for ?2.95 (including the delivery price) on Thursday and it arrived today and first impressions are, not bad considering the price.

The reason I am changing from the Tough case is due to the thickness it adds (more noticeable in the pockets), increase in weight and completely ruining/hiding the sleek & minimal design/look of the One S and the gel case seemed to be the best alternative to the Tough case in order to keep all sides protected but at the same time not increasing the size and weight by a considerable amount. Also, the silicone part of the Tough case gathered a lot of dust around the front edges of the screen area.

Now onto the mini review of the TPU gel case.

Rx6Sk.jpg

There are cut-outs for the bottom & top mic, the 3.5mm audio jack, the speaker, the camera and the USB port.

cCEY0.jpgCOV5Z.jpg

The case is very easy to fit on, a nice fit, not too tight and not loose at all once fitted. The case is relatively flexible, not as flexible as the silicone part of the Tough Case. It isn't as easy of a task to remove the case though, but still quicker and easier than removing the Tough case.

The colour suits the black MAO One S very well, was going to order the pitch black one but then thought that it would be too glossy and look a bit out of the place with my S, as the black model isn't completely black, it has more of a charcoal colour to it. With the transparent black case on, the back of the device looks pretty much the same regarding the colour in all different types of lighting conditions and you can still make out certain things i.e. the beats audio logo and the engraved HTC logo on the back (unfortunately the photos don't really reflect the true colour and doesn't capture the partially see through look :().

The case does look rather cheap overall, especially for the sides, you can see some form of stitching (you will see what I mean in some of the photos) and the glossy/shiny look doesn't help at all.

RRiUc.jpgjEiLj.jpg

But the minimal/sleek design for the front of the S still remains in some ways. Very little bulk is added, maybe just over 1mm to the back of the S, which means that the camera lens is also below the surface now, this is the main reason I want a case as well, as the camera sticks out from the rest of the back by just less than a mm or so, thus more prone to getting scratches on the lens.

Qyo7w.jpg

Vt8p3.jpg

The gel case covers the edges on the front and adds a very tiny amount on to the front so that there is a a raised edge for when the mobile is placed flat down on a surface to stop the screen touching the desk surface.

1EFtt.jpg

NrKmc.jpg

5PEO3.jpg

The power/lock button is very easy to push, a very light push is all that is required, this isn't really a good thing IMO though, as it means that when the mobile is in your pockets (tight trousers etc.) it could very easily keep turning the screen off and on or/and even the mobile off, as for the volume buttons, they are harder to press with the gel case on. It isn't very easy to tell where the buttons are (when not looking at them e.g. in the dark :p) as they aren't raised above the rest of the case, the lock/power button has a tiny indentation around the button and both button areas feel different to the rest of the gel case, more of a "hard" plastic feel.

op2NA.jpgZS9ze.jpg

I may have to do a little modding to these parts sometime soon :p :D

It is more comfortable to hold the S with the gel case on, however, it does feel a lot cheaper and not as nice to touch as the ceramic back and the Tough case felt better to touch as well whilst not feeling cheap. Finger prints are shown, however, they are only noticeable when you look at the case from certain angles in very bright light. The case also provides more grip.

MMUYC.jpgMqwCk.jpg

As for protection/durability, I would say that the case would do a good job protecting the mobile from normal drops and the standard scratches etc. however, a drop onto solid concrete etc. from a good height could damage the mobile i.e. crack the screen as their isn't enough thickness to the case like there is with the Tough case and there would be no shock absorption either. But for daily use, I would say it is perfectly fine.

Hard to say how this will last in the long run regarding wear & tear, if you're careful enough with it and put it in a pocket with nothing else, it should be just fine for a good while I would imagine. Saying that though, the case only costs about ?3, so you won't really be breaking the bank buying a new one every couple of months :p

Apart from the cheap looks (largely due to the stitching look on the sides and the glossy finish) and the power/lock button being too easy to activate and lastly the volume buttons being too hard to activate, there isn't really much wrong with this case at all, it does the job for ?3 :)

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    • By Namerah S
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      Like I said, I really do like the design of this laptop, particularly just the shape and size of it.

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      Dell sent me the 400-nit non-touch screen, which is pretty good. It's easily bright enough to work from anywhere, which is something that I always appreciate. You should never have to use anything at 100% all of the time in order to be comfortable. You can use this screen at 50% brightness or less without an issue.



      While is has narrow side bezels, the top bezel is a bit bigger, and as you can see, there's a lot to unpack there. First and foremost, the webcam is 1080p this time around, and that's super important. We're in an age where working from home is super popular, and while webcam quality wasn't nearly as important a couple of years ago, it's important now. So many companies are still using 720p webcams, so this is another thing I'll commend Dell for.

      As you can see, there's also a privacy guard over the camera that you can use if you want to. Of course, that means that a bunch of other stuff won't work, the least of which is the IR camera for facial recognition.

      Dell also has a bunch of AI features included, and there are some extra sensors in that are in that top bezel, all of which can be controled in the Dell Optimizer app. Those sensors can tell when you sit in front of the PC or when you walk away. When you sit in front of the PC, it can wake up, and then Windows Hello will light up to know that it's you that sat down, logging you in without you ever touching the PC. And then it can lock your PC when you walk away after a determined amount of time.

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      Keyboard and touchpad
      While there have been some subtle changes to the rest of the PC, I don't think that the keyboard has changed at all. It's a backlit, Chiclet-style keyboard that you'll find on all of Dell's Latitude laptops, which is fine. Dell's keyboards are good, and in fact, I'd probably say I like the Latitude ones even more than the consumer ones.



      The only problem is that they're not the best. This is never the highlight of the review because Lenovo's ThinkPad and HP's Elite laptops simply have better keyboards. Again, this is good, but those are better. Of course, I don't think you'd ever think that this is lacking in any way if you didn't compare the two.



      The touchpad uses Microsoft Precision drivers, as you'd expect. It's also a bit larger than it was last year, taking advantage of more of the real estate on the keyboard deck. This is always nice to see. I much prefer a larger touchpad to wasted space.

      Performance and battery life
      The Latitude 7320 that Dell sent me includes a Core i7-1185G7, 16GB RAM, and a 256GB SSD. Strangely enough, when I went to price it out on Dell.com, there were no configs on there with over 256GB of storage. That's just an interesting fact though; businesses can get PCs through other channels that no doubt have additional customization options.

      The performance improvement over the last generation is significant. Here's the long story. Last year, Intel's 10th-gen processors had two families: Ice Lake and Comet Lake. Ice Lake moved to 10nm, but it also included Iris Plus Graphics, a significant improvement over the integrated graphics in previous generations. Comet Lake pretty much existed because Intel couldn't make enough 10nm chips, so it was another 14nm lineup, once again including UHD Graphics.

      This year's 11th-gen 'Tiger Lake' is a big step forward. The 10nm process has been refined, but also, these chips come with Iris Xe graphics. While last year's Iris Plus was nearly double the performance as before, this is nearly double the performance of Iris Plus.

      Here's where it gets even better. Since Intel was so short on Ice Lake chips, all business PCs came with Comet Lake. The company didn't even make a vPro variant of Ice Lake. So while Tiger Lake is a big improvement on Ice Lake, it's an even bigger improvement over Comet Lake, which is what was in the Latitude 7310.

      Intel's U-series processors, now called UP3, have been great at productivity for a long time, but now you can do more creative work on them. There's some actual graphics power here. Photo editing is no problem, nor is FHD video editing. It's a great product.

      Battery life on this laptop is phenomenal too. I can easily get over a dozen hours of battery life on here, with the battery slider on one notch above battery saver and the screen on about 25% brightness. Dell has been making some bold battery life claims, and it's nice seeing it deliver.

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

      Latitude 7320
      Core i7-1185G7 Latitude 7310
      Core i7-10610U XPS 13
      Core i7-1065G7 PCMark 8: Home 4,478 3,639 3,899 PCMark 8: Creative 4,655 3,693 4,253 PCMark 8: Work 4,099 3,845 3,797 PCMark 10 4,743 4,253 4,402 Geekbench 1,540 / 5,181 Cinebench 1,230 / 4,428
      As you can see, there's a big improvement over the last generation.

      Conclusion
      While all of the changes that Dell made on this generation seem small, they're meaningful changes. I love that there are charging ports on either side for convenience, and of course, the FHD webcam is a must in 2021. Seriously, the amount of companies that have ignored that just baffles me.



      My biggest complaint is that it doesn't have a 4K option again. This is something that's competing with the EliteBook 800 and ThinkPad T-series of the world, just like the Latitude 9000 should be competing with EliteBook 1000 and ThinkPad X1. A 4K option would be nice.

      Of course, that would affect the sweet, sweet battery life that I'm getting from this thing. Seriously, it's wild. It's hard to not look at the Dell Latitude 7320 and call it the ultimate working from home PC, because it checks those boxes. It has the proper webcam, which is a rarity, and it's also light and small. It's easy to work from anywhere in your home, whether that's at a desk or on the couch.

      This really is just such a good PC, and this year's improvements are really meaningful. If you want to check it out on Dell.com, you can find it here.

    • By Rich Woods
      Lenovo ThinkBook 14 Gen 2 review: A solid mainstream business laptop with AMD Ryzen
      by Rich Woods

      Lenovo's ThinkBook 14 Gen 2 is here, and what you need to know is this: it starts at around $630. While it comes with a choice of Intel or AMD Ryzen 4000 processors, we're focusing on the AMD model here. The configuration that Lenovo sent me is the base model, with a Ryzen 5 4500U, 8GB RAM, and 256GB of storage.

      And it's pretty awesome given the price. Sure, it doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles like a premium laptop does, but it gets the job done. ThinkBook is a brand that's aimed at small to medium size businesses (SMBs), and this is something that fits in perfectly for an SMB use case. It's inexpensive and checks the right boxes, and it doesn't stand out too much.

      Specs
      CPU AMD Ryzen 5 4500U GPU Radeon Graphics Body 323x218x17.9mm (12.72x8.58x.7”), 1.4kg (3.09lbs) Display 14.0” FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS, anti-glare, 250 nits Storage 256GB PCIe SSD Memory 8GB DDR4 3200MHz (soldered) Ports (1) USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A
      (1) USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A (always on)
      (2) USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C (data transfer, power delivery, DisplayPort 1.4)
      (1) HDMI 1.4b
      (1) 4-in-1 Card Reader
      (1) RJ-45 Ethernet
      (1) Headphone/microphone combo jack Connectivity Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201 11ax, 2x2 + BT5.1 Webcam 720p with ThinkShutter Input 6-row, Spill-resistant, multimedia Fn keys, LED backlight, Buttonless Mylar surface multi-touch touchpad, supports Precision TouchPad Audio 2x2W Stereo Speakers with Dolby Audio, Dual Array Microphones Security Power-on password, hard disk password, supervisor password, TPM 2.0 integrated in chipset Battery 45Wh battery, supports Rapid Charge Pro (up to 50% in 30 min) Material Aluminum Color Mineral Grey Price $629.85
      As always, it's worth noting that Lenovo's business laptop prices on its websites fluctuates, so this reflects the price at the time that this review was written.

      Day one
      Design
      If you checked out, say, my ThinkBook 15p review, then you already know what the ThinkBook 14 Gen 2 looks like. The current generation of ThinkBooks has a very clear and consistent design language. For example, the lid has that same two-tone design with a Mineral Grey color, using two shades of gray. The ThinkBook logo sits in that bottom half, and it's a clean look without any flash.



      This machine feels solid and well-built. It's free of bells and whistles, but it doesn't feel like it's free of quality. It comes in at 3.09 pounds, an average weight for an aluminum laptop of this size. It doesn't go out of its way to be thin or light, as this is really the type of PC that's aimiung to check boxes.



      And since it's not going out of its way to be thin, that means we have a solid port selection to choose from. On the left side, you'll find two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C ports, meaning that they're good for 10Gbps speeds. They also support Power Delivery and DisplayPort, so you can use either one to charge the laptop, or you can use them to connect a monitor. Being a mainstream AMD-powered laptop, there's obviously no Thunderbolt.

      You'll also find an HDMI 1.4b port, a USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A port for 5Gbps speeds, and a 3.5mm audio jack.



      On the right side, there's a full Ethernet port, an SD card reader, and another USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A port. Indeed, it's pretty cool that this machine has four USB ports. I feel like most OEMs are using three at best, two of which are usually USB Type-C. With the ThinkBook 14, you get two of each.

      I do enjoy the ThinkBook 14 design, at least as it applies to small businesses. The whole theme seems to be solid, yet subtle.

      Display and audio
      The ThinkBook 14 comes with a screen that's, you guessed it, 14 inches. And it comes in any resolution you want as long as it's 1920x1080, also meaning that it's still 16:9. That doesn't mean that there aren't different variations of the screen though, because there are.



      Like I said, Lenovo sent me the base model, which has a 250-nit screen without touch. There are also 300-nit touch and non-touch options, and you should definitely get one of them. To be clear, 250 nits is a very dim display. In fact, even 300 nits isn't very impressive, but at 250 nits, you'll probably have to use it at full brightness all of the time.



      Other than that, the display is pretty good for what it is. It's a matte anti-glare display, which compensates for the lack of brightness a bit. Lenovo isn't pushing Dolby Vision HDR or anything like that with this one. It's just your basic 1080p 250-nit display, made for productivity.

      The bezels are pretty slim on all sides, with the top bezel being a bit larger to make room for the webcam. There's also a privacy guard that can cover the webcam, so you don't have to worry about putting a piece of tape over it or anything like that. There's no IR camera, which is fine to me since there's a fingerprint sensor in the power button.



      Also, it's worth noting that privacy guards and Windows Hello don't play nice with each other. If you're the type to keep the webcam covered but also want facial recognition to work, you'd have to remember to open it every time you want it to recognize you, which is a pain. A fingerprint sensor works out better.



      The ThinkBook 14 has dual 2W speakers on the bottom that support Dolby Audio, and they're decent. They're not particularly loud or amazing, but they work great for calls and meetings. If you're playing music at your desk, you might want some proper speakers. But for meetings, you won't find them lacking in any way.

      Keyboard and touchpad
      One of the things that I really like about ThinkBooks is that while they're business PCs, they're sort of the anti-ThinkPads. They maintain the same quality that you'll get on a ThinkPad keyboard, quality that it's known for. But it sheds the legacy components. You won't find a TrackPoint here, nor will you find any physical buttons above the touchpad.



      It also doesn't feel as deep as the keyboard on a ThinkPad keyboard. It still feels accurate and it feels comfortable, but all of it feels a bit more modern.

      This is actually an important bit, because this is a premium keyboard. Indeed, ThinkPads are renowned for their keyboards, so when you put that kind of quality into a PC that costs six hundred dollars and change, it's something that's worth noting. If you're looking for a great typing experience in a package that doesn't cost too much, look no further.



      And then there's the touchpad, which uses Microsoft Precision drivers. It's just a regular clickable touchpad though, so it's actually bigger than what you'd fine on a ThinkPad. ThinikPads have physical buttons above the touchpad, which are necessary for use with the TrackPoint. Since there's no TrackPoint, those buttons aren't necessary and Lenovo is able to produce a larger touchpad that works the same way as it would on any other PC.



      Finally, I do want to draw attention to the power button in the top-right corner of the keyboard deck, which doubles as a fingerprint sensor. As is always the case with ThinkBooks, it scans your fingerprint when you first press it, so you don't have to touch it again after the PC boots up. That makes it just as natural of an interaction as facial recognition, since you don't have to perform any additional steps.

      Performance and battery life
      The model that Lenovo sent me has an AMD Ryzen 5 4500U processor under the hood. The 15W chip has six cores, and it does not have simultaneous multithreading (SMT), so it has six threads as well. Along with that, it comes with 8GB RAM and a 256GB SSD. It's a pretty basic model.

      On Lenovo.com, you can have it configured with the octa-core Ryzen 7 4700U, which is also lacking SMT. However, Lenovo says that it's available with the Ryzen 5 4600U and Ryzen 7 4800U as well, and those are the same chips but with SMT. Honestly, it all depends on your work load to know if you'd benefit from SMT, and frankly, for a productivity machine like this, six cores and six threads is probably fine.



      While it's a productivity machine, you can definitely do more than that, such as comfortable edit photos and even edit FHD videos. AMD's Ryzen 4000 processors were its first to be built on its 7nm process, and combined with the integrated Radeon graphics, there's a lot that they can do.

      Battery life was pretty great as well, coming in at around eight hours with the lower slider at one notch above battery saver and the screen on about 50% brightness. Honestly though, I did increase the brightness at some point because this screen is so dim that it was hard on my eyes. I do credit that dim display with the excellent battery life that I'm getting.

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

      ThinkBook 14 Gen 2
      Ryzen 5 4500U ThinkBook 14s Yoga
      Core i7-1165G7 Surface Pro 7+
      Core i5-1135G7 Acer Enduro N3
      Core i5-10210U PCMark 8: Home 3,451 3,851 3,521 3,344 PCMark 8: Creative 3,712 4,861

      4,192 3,419 PCMark 8: Work 3,584 4,083 3,403 3,513 PCMark 10 4,177 5,105 3,963 3,655 Geekbench 5 969 / 3,142 1,534 / 4,861

      1,358 / 5,246 Cinebench 1,121 / 5,782 1,455 / 4,820 1,235 / 2,854
      I do think that Intel's 11th-generation processors beat Ryzen 4000, although when Ryzen 4000 came out, it crushed Intel's 10th-gen chips. But in fact, it crushed Intel's 10th-gen processors that were being used in business PCs even more. While Ice Lake had the benefit of Iris Plus Graphics, Comet Lake didn't even have that. In other words, whether you choose AMD or Intel on the ThinkBook 14, you're getting a big boost over the previous generation.

      Conclusion
      Most of what this all adds up to is that it costs just over $600. You get a ton of value for that price, including AMD Ryzen 4000 performance, a solid build quality, and a great keyboard. My biggest issue with it is the display, which simply isn't bright enough to get the job done consistently.



      But most of all, this is just a no frills business laptop. It's a good one, which is actually my experience with ThinkBooks in general. They're fantastic PCs but without the bells and whistles of say, a ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga. But then again, a ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga costs nearly three times as much.

      Overall, the ThinkBook 14 just checks the right boxes. The performance is there, the keyboard is there, and the battery life is there. Indeed, the battery life is pretty great, and that's with the smaller battery installed in this unit. Overall, there's a ton of value here.

      If you want to check out the ThinkBook 14 Gen 2 on Lenovo.com, you can find it here.

    • By Rich Woods
      Huawei MateBook X Pro review: A great PC with a WFH deal-breaker
      by Rich Woods

      Huawei's MateBook X Pro has long been one of my favorite consumer PCs. It's thin, it's light, it's powerful, and it's just awesome. It was always the company's top-end PC, taking a swing at Apple's MacBook Pro.

      Now, here we are in 2021 and not much has changed. There's a new color called Emerald Green that I'm absolutely in love with, and it's a nice departure from the previous gray color. And of course, it uses 11th-generation Intel processors, but instead of dedicated graphics this time, it uses Intel's integrated Iris Xe graphics.

      The chassis itself hasn't changed, and there's still no webcam in the display. Indeed, Huawei's solution for a privacy guard was to actually put a pop-up camera in the keyboard.

      Specs
      CPU Intel Core i7-1165G7 GPU Iris Xe Body 304x217x14.6mm, 1.33kg Display 13.9 inches, 3000x2000, 260ppi, 450 nits, 100% sRGB, 1500:1 contrast ratio, 178-degree viewing angle, touch, 91% screen-to-body ratio Memory 16GB LPDDR4x 4266MHz Storage 1TB NVMe PCIe SSD Battery 56WHr Lithium polymer Connectivity IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax
      2.4 GHz and 5 GHz
      2 x 2 MIMO
      Support WPA/WPA2/WPA3
      Bluetooth 5.1 Ports (2) Thunderbolt 4
      (1) USB 3.2 Type-A
      (1) 3.5mm audio Input Full-size Backlit Chiclet Keyboard
      Touchpad with Multi-touch and HUAWEI Free Touch
      Huawei Share Built-in Webcam 1MP Recessed Camera (720P HD) Audio Speaker x 4
      Microphone x 2 Material Aluminum Color Emerald Green OS Windows 10 Home Price €1,899.00
      Day one
      Design
      If you go back to my review of the original MateBook X Pro back in 2018, you'll find the specs almost identical to the specs of the 2021 model, down to the millimeter and gram. Nothing has changed in terms of the actual hardware, not that that's a bad thing. It's not like the design itself feels dated.



      It still weighs in at just one and a third kilograms, and it's 14.6mm thin. Plus, there's a new Emerald Green color. It kind of reminds me of Microsoft's Cobalt Blue color from its Surface Laptop lineup, a color that it just killed off with the Surface Laptop 4. I'm a huge fan of bold, beautiful colors like this, and I feel like it's something that few laptop makers take advantage of. Everyone sticks to that boring gunmetal gray color; it's like black on smartphones.

      Microsoft is moving toward more subtle colors in its Surface lineup. I'm really happy to see bolder colors from Huawei, although I'm not surprised that the Shenzhen firm can innovate with colors and design. I visited its design center in Paris a few years back and they work on some cool stuff.

      The lid has the word Huawei stamped in it with silver letters, giving it a bit of extra flash. It's different from the petal logo that was on the original version.



      While this is quite a thin PC, it doesn't sacrifice USB Type-A. Indeed, that's actually one of the "Pro" aspects of it that separates it from the regular MateBook X, which is USB Type-C only. You'll find the lone USB Type-A port on the right side of the PC.



      On the left side, there are dual Thunderbolt 4 ports and a 3.5mm audio jack. Oddly, Huawei doesn't actually describe them as Thunderbolt on its spec sheet, but the page is very clear that each port supports dual 4K monitors and 40Gbps data transfer speeds. In other words, they\re Thunderbolt 4 ports.

      I love the look and feel of the Emerald Green MateBook X Pro. I can't go on about the color enough. It really stands out from the pack, and it's bound to catch some eyeballs if you're out and about with it.

      Display and audio
      The screen has not changed since the first generation model. It's that same 13.9-inch 3000x2000 touchscreen, and actually, touch support is another feature that made it "Pro" over the MateBook X back in the day. It's got a 91% screen-to-body ratio, because the bezels are just so tiny on all four sides.



      Indeed, there isn't even a webcam in any of the bezels. Indeed, the bezels are about as small as they can possibly get.

      And the 13.9-inch screen feels like a good size. I don't talk about this a lot, but the more common 13.5-inch size with a 3:2 aspect ratio (Surface Laptop, Surface Book, ThinkPad X1 Titanium, Spectre x360 14) always feels just a bit too small for me. I often use two apps side-by-side, so being that 3:2 makes it taller, the screens tend to not be quite as wide as a 13-inch 16:9 laptop. At 13.9 inches, I feel like there's a bit more room to work, and it makes a difference to me.

      Huawei also just makes good screens. The colors are vibrant, and the brightness is 450 nits, which is a proper brightness level. When working indoors, you can set it to areound 33% brightness and still feel comfortable, and then turn it up if you're in bright sunlight.

      In my opinion, you should never have to set anything to 100% in order for it to be comfortable. That goes for brightness, for volume, and for anything else. If you have to use it at 100% in normal circumstances, you're not giving yourself any room for abnormal circumstances.



      And just like you won't have to use the display at 100% brightness, you won't have to use the four speakers at 100%. The speakers sit on either side of the keyboard, and this time around, I'm not finding any Dolby Atmos branding on this machine. Still, the audio is crystal clear and gets uncomfortable loud, as speakers should do. If you care about audio quality and volume in a laptop, this is something that Huawei has focused on since it started making laptops.

      Keyboard, touchpad, and webcam
      As I've said a few times, nothing has changed in the external hardware, and that includes the keyboard. This is where the big problem comes in. It's not the keyboard itself, which is actually quite good. It feels modern, comfortable, and accurate. The model that Huawei sent me actually has a UK keyboard, which took a bit of getting used to, but it's fine.



      The big problem is the webcam. In most reviews, I talk about the webcam in the "Display" section, because on most laptops, the webcam is in the lid. That's not the case on the MateBook X Pro. The MateBook X Pro has the webcam in the keyboard; it's a pop-up between the F6 anf F7 keys. The pop-up nature of it doubles as a privacy guard.



      When Huawei introduced the pop-up camera in 2018, it was a brilliant idea, the same as when Dell used to put the webcam below the display on its XPS laptops to give us thinner bezels. These companies had data that showed that for most consumers, the webcam simply wasn't important, and if it is, you can buy something else. That changed in 2020 though; a pandemic caused a lot of people to work from home, and now that webcam is a staple to our work flow.



      That's the angle that you're going to get from the webcam if you're on a call. Also, the quality isn't particularly good either, being a 720p webcam instead of 1080p, not that it really matters at that angle.



      Next up is the touchpad, which is nice and big, taking advantage of the available real estate on the deck. Here's the twist: it's actually a haptic touchpad. For the most part, you probably won't notice a difference from a mechanical touchpad. When you click it, it feels like a proper click. It's just kind of wild when you turn the PC off and nothing happens when you press it. Actually, it's also worth noting that if the MateBook X Pro is asleep, you can't use the touchpad to wake it up because of this.

      I feel like for most haptic touchpads, there are a few kinks that need to be worked out, like being able to wake the PC from sleep. Another thing that's good on this PC (compared to some others) but not perfect is using two fingers to drag and drop something. With a mechanical touchpad, it's fine; you just press with one finger, drag, then press with a second finger before using that to drag. With some haptic touchpads, it doesn't pick up that second finger properly, making drag and drop operations a pain. Like I said, this one is pretty good and you probably won't notice significant issues.

      Speaking of not being able to wake it with the touchpad, you can of course use the power button, which is located to the top-right of the keyboard. It's got a fingerprint sensor built into it, one of my favorite features of MateBooks in general. It scans your fingerprint when you first press it, so you don't have to touch it again after the PC boots up. It just logs you in. Huawei makes really good fingerprint sensors too, so it's accurate.

      One other thing that's awesome is that if you're in the Huawei ecosystem, this thing is amazing. It has Huawei Share built in, so you can tap your Huawei phone against it and share a bunch of photos and videos. Also with things like Multi-screen Collaboration, the company has really been focusing on tight integration between its products.

      Performance and battery life
      The configuration of the MateBook X Pro that Huawei sent me includes an Intel Core i7-1165G7, 16GB RAM, and a 1TB SSD. Indeed, it's the fully specced out model, although the Shenzhen firm really doesn't allow you to make a lot of compromises. You can get it with a Core i5-1135G7, 16GB RAM, and a 512GB SSD, but there's no option for 8GB RAM or 256GB of storage. I'm a big fan of not allowing consumers to make bad choices.

      This is actually the first version of the MateBook X Pro that doesn't have dedicated graphics. Historically, it's used something from Nvidia's MX series, which is for thin and light ultrabooks for this. Indeed, the MX series has never been particularly good, but it's always just carried that label of being better than integrated graphics.



      What's changed now is that Intel's integrated graphics are good, really good in fact. It's called Iris Xe, and I assume that Huawei just decided that Iris Xe was good enough to not use something like an MX450 GPU. Indeed, I don't feel like we're missing out on anything.

      Intel's 11th-gen processors are pretty great for anything from productivity to FHD gaming to creative work. In fact, it's worth notiong that with the previous MateBook X Pro, Huawei actually used 10th-gen 'Comet Lake' instead of Ice Lake, so it didn't use Iris Plus Graphics. That means that this year's model is that much more of an upgrade.

      With the power slider on one notch above battery saver and the screen at around 33% brightness, I was able to get seven to eight hours of battery life with regular usage. That actually really impressed me because Huawei's own specs page said that it gets 10 hours of local video playback, so it's not making any bold claims like Windows OEMs typically do. Typically, it's the companies that are promising 18 hours of batter life that are putting out machines that get eight hours of juice. I'm sure that if I left a local video on a loop, it would get at least 10 hours, perhaps even more at the settings that I used.

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

      MateBook X Pro
      Core i7-1165G7 MateBook X Pro
      Core i7-8565U, MX250 IdeaPad Slim 7
      Ryzen 7 4800U Spectre x360 14
      Core i7-1165G7 PCMark 8: Home 3,839 3,186 4,566 4,094 PCMark 8: Creative 4,598 3,471 4,861 4,527 PCMark 8: Work 3,541 3,305 3,926 3,896 PCMark 10 4,692 3,774 5,252 4,705 Geekbench 1,518 / 4,929 1,414 / 4,470 Cinebench 1,361 / 4,119
      Conclusion
      There's a lot of good here, and unfortunately, one major deal-breaker. Huawei took what's historically been a winning formula and basically bumped up the specs. It's got a new Emerald Green color and a haptic touchpad, but for the most part, the thing that's new here is the addition of 11th-gen processors and the lack of a dedicated GPU. And being that this has always been a winning formula, it's understandable to see why Huawei didn't think to change it.



      Unfortunately, the webcam is unusable. I'd never show up in any professional setting using a webcam like this, especially when we're well over a year deep into a pandemic. Seriously, we all should have figured out proper webcam set-ups right now where we can at least be close to eye-level.

      If you're buying a PC and for some reason, you have no interest in the webcam, then you're good to go here. I just don't know how common that can possibly be right now. The recent spike in PC sales is due to people needing to work from home, and if you're working from home, then you need a proper webcam.

      It's a shame because the rest of this laptop is just so good. The Emerald Green color is bold and sexy, and Huawei gives us a 13.9-inch display that's just a bit bigger than what you'll find on the 13.5-inch Surface Laptop or Surface Book. It also comes with phenomenal audio quality, better than most laptops on the market. All around, this really is a fantastic machine, just with a terrible webcam.

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

    • By indospot
      Honor Band 6 review: A smartwatch disguised as a smart band
      by João Carrasqueira

      Honor announced its latest smart band, the Honor Band 6, earlier this year, and when it was introduced, I was a bit intrigued. Drawing the line between a smart band and a smartwatch can already be a challenge, but the Honor Band 6 looks incredibly similar to the Honor Watch ES we reviewed last year, making that distinction all the more complicated.

      The Honor Band 6 is also a pretty big departure from its predecessor, the Honor Band 5, in terms of the design, with a bigger display and an upgraded UI. The feature set, however, hasn't changed a whole lot, but it's already a fairly complete fitness tracking experience.

      Specs
      Body 43x25.4x11.45mm, 29g Strap Silicone strap, swappable Display 1.47-inch AMOLED, 364x194, 282ppi Sensors Accelerometer Optical heart rate sensor (with sleep monitoring and stress monitoring) SpO2 sensor Battery life Up to 14 days with typical usage, 10 days with heavy usage Water resistance 5ATM OS LiteOS Price €49.99 Like the Honor Watch ES, specs like the RAM, processor, or internal storage aren't made available to the public, but it's not a type of device that requires very powerful hardware, especially with LiteOS being as light as it is.

      Design and display
      Like I said at the top, the Honor Band 6 feels incredibly similar to the Honor Watch ES, but smaller. In was sent theis Meteorite Black colorway, which it's an all-black design with a metal frame, a matte-finish plastic back that houses the sensors, and a black rubber strap. If you don't like the all-black color, though, you can get it in Sandstone Grey or Coral Pink. You can also change the straps later if you get tired of the color you got.



      Because it's smaller, it's much easier to forget you're wearing it, and I think that's a good thing since it means it's pretty comfortable to wear all day. Helping with that is the fact that the whole thing weighs just 29 grams, including the strap, so it's a very subtle presence on your wrist. However, if you're comparing it to the Honor Band 5, it's significantly wider, so it may make a difference for you if you're considering an upgrade.



      The strap also feels very nice and the material used is fairly flexible, so it feels quite nice overall. One thing I don't like is that the free loop where the strap is meant to go has a very evident protrusion that's meant to hold the strap in place using the adjustment holes. That may sound like a good idea, but it makes it pretty hard to remove the smart band intentionally, too, and I have to squeeze the loop to stop the strap from getting caught on it.



      On the right side of the Honor Band 6, you'll find the home button, which replaces the button on the front of its predecessor.



      Meanwhile, the left side only has an Honor logo. There's no microphone or speaker here, so you won't be able to take calls on this watch.



      The rear of the watch has all the sensors needed for fitness tracking, as well as two pin connectors for charging.



      Finally, the front features a 1.47-inch AMOLED display, arguably the biggest difference between the Honor Band 6 and its predecessor, which only has a 0.97-inch panel. This is what makes the Honor Band 6 feel a lot more like the Honor Watch ES, and to go along with that, the interface has been tweaked to look even more like Honor's watches than its smart bands. I haven't personally used an Honor Band 5, but looking at videos online, you can tell how much smaller the screen was, and the UI was far less colorful and animated beyond the watch faces.



      One thing you lose here compared to the Honor Watch ES is support for an always-on display, which I personally don't mind at all, but it can make or break a product for many people. There's also no ambient light sensor, so the display brightness won't adjust automatically.

      Fitness and health tracking
      For general health tracking, the Honor Band 6 offers a pretty complete set of monitoring features that help you understand how you're doing. It has 24/7 heart rate monitoring, stress monitoring, and sleep monitoring, and SpO2 measurements, just like you can get on Honor's more expensive products. You also get things like activity reminders when you've been sitting for too long, and a female cycle tracker, which I can't personally test.

      Huawei and Honor's health tracking is pretty great overall. For example, your sleep data offers some pretty detailed insights into your habits, so it's easier to pinpoint where you need to improve.



      Where you do miss out compared to more expensive products like the Honor Watch ES is in the workout features. Just like the Honor Band 5, you can only track ten types of workouts with the Honor Band 6 - indoor and outdoor running, walking, and cycling; rowing machine, elliptical, swimming, and free training (simply called Other). Six types of workouts can also be detected automatically, so if you forget to log a workout, the watch will do it for you. That's a significant step down from the 95 workout modes that the Honor Watch ES supports.



      You also don't get the guided workouts that you could get with that watch, so it's not as complete of a fitness tool. Personally, most of my workouts are bike rides, so this is fine enough for me. As with anything, it's all about what you have the need for, and while the Honor Watch ES was more serious about exercise, the Honor Band 6 is much cheaper and focuses on the essentials.

      Once you start working out, the Honor Band 6 does a good job of tracking your activity, and you also get plenty of insights into things like your heart rate, speed, pace, altitude changes, calories burned, and so on. If you're into swimming, it can also measure your performance there, with information such as your SWOLF score.



      One thing that still bothers me about this is that the watch doesn't show me the option to track my outdoor cycling, I need to start it from the Huawei Health app on my phone. This is because the watch can't track your location itself, so in order for outdoor workouts to function as intended, you need to start them from your phone. However, outdoor running and walking are available on the watch itself, they just don't track your location and estimate your traveled distance. It may be harder to estimate distance while cycling, but the watch should just be able to pull my location from my phone.

      One thing I learned recently is that Huawei Health can sync my data to Google Fit, which definitely helps in making this watch more useful to me. However, I've noticed that it doesn't sync free training workouts, so that's a bummer.

      Software and battery life
      Software is yet another element that helps the Honor Band 6 feel a lot more like the Honor Watch ES than the Honor Band 5. The UI for the software is now nearly identical to that of Huawei's more expensive watches, which means a lot of the interface is more animated, there are more icons to help visualize options on the screen, and it overall feels much more lively and detailed than the Honor Band 5 did.



      As you'd expect, the watch face is customizable with a few options out of the box, and a lot more are available through the Huawei Health app on your phone. There are dozens of options with very different styles, and you can also just use a picture from your gallery, though the interface on the app doesn't make it easy.

      You can swipe sideways from the watch face to get access to things like music playback controls, your activity records, heart rate, stress levels, and weather, and pressing the side button opens the menu, which offers the following features:

      Workout Workout records Heart rate SpO2 Activity records Sleep Stress Breathing exercises Music Weather Notifications Stopwatch Timer Alarm Flashlight Remote shutter (requires an Honor phone) Find phone Settings I've said it before and I stand by it - I still prefer a smartwatch that puts the emphasis on its smarts, such as those based on Google's Wear OS. Huawei and Honor's LiteOS is perfectly serviceable for fitness tracking, and you get basic things like notifications for messages and calls, music controls, and weather information, but it's not a super smart device. You can't install apps or do things like replying to notifications. The thing is, this operating system being so light is what lets it run on cheap devices like this, and you're not going to find a Wear OS smartwatch anywhere close to this price.



      Another thing that's enabled by this simple software is the incredible battery life. I got this watch with 85% battery out of the box and it took about a week before I had to charge it to feel confident it wouldn't die during the day - when it was at about 9%. I then charged it to 100% and it's currently sitting at 48% from that same charge, roughly seven days later. I have been working out less often this week, which may have helped the battery go down a bit slower, but either way, you rarely have to worry about charging this smart band.

      Conclusion
      The Honor Band 6 is a big evolution of Honor's smart bands, and for that, it's commendable. It keeps a small and subdued design that's characteristic of a smart band, and it's still very comfortable to wear, to the point where you can often forget it's there. It's wider than a typical smart band, but that makes way for a much bigger display, which in turn has a much more lively interface that makes it much more appealing to use. As I've mentioned, it feels more like a smaller Honor Watch ES than a new Honor Band.



      It also includes the essentials for health and fitness tracking, with the most common workout types being supported, along with some basic smart features like music controls, notifications, and weather info. It supports the same 10 workout modes as its predecessor did, so in terms of features, it hasn't changed all that much.

      It does come with a noticeable price increase, though, as the Honor Band 5 officially retailed for €34.90 on Honor's Spanish website, while the Honor Band 6's official price is €49.99. However, you can also look at this as a watered-down Honor Watch ES, and from that perspective, you're sacrificing some of the workout options, an always-on display, and swappable watch bands in exchange for a smaller device that costs half as much.

      The Honor Band 6 isn't yet available from Honor directly, but you can find it on AliExpress, where it's going for as low as €37.99 right now, depending on where you are. If you're more of a fan of the typical smart band form factor, you may want to consider something like the Xiaomi Mi Band 6, which also offers more workout tracking modes.