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By Namerah S
DOOGEE S59 Pro Review: Battery life so good, charging becomes a weekly chore
by Namerah Saud Fatmi
The DOOGEE S59 Pro was initially launched by its maker on December 15. Eventually, the rugged smartphone made its way to the U.S., arriving on Amazon in mid-January. Born in Spain, the Chinese brand focuses on creating durable phones and selling them at affordable prices.
One of the unique features of the S59 Pro, apart from the military standard IP rating, is the giant battery it comes with. The DOOGEE smartphone has an enormous 10,050mAh battery paired with 24W fast-charging support and is priced at $239.99 in the U.S.
We received the international version for the purposes of this review in the Army Green shade. Continue reading for a detailed evaluation of the rugged device.
Display 5.71 inches, IPC LCD, HD+, 720 x 1520, 295ppi, 90Hz, Corning Gorilla Glass Weight 340g CPU Mediatek Helio P22 2.0GHz 12nm GPU IMG PowerVR GE8320
4GB Storage 128GB, expandable up to 256GB via microSD Camera Main: 16MP f/2.0 130° ultra-wide + 8MP wide-angle + 8MP macro + 2MP depth
Front: 16MP Dimensions 6.41 x 3.19 x 0.63 inches Battery and charging 10,050mAh, 24W fast-charging via USB Type-C Connectivity Dual-SIM, WiFi 6, NFC, Durability IP68, IP69K, United States Military MIL-STD-810G Security Face unlock, side-mounted fingerprint sensor Material Metal and hard plastic blend Colour Army Green Price $239.99 Day One
One of the first things that I noticed immediately about the S59 Pro was its chunky size. Since it is a rugged smartphone, it's normal for the device to be built in such a manner but that doesn't make it easy to carry. As it has many protective layers and is made of metal and hard plastic, the phone is extremely heavy at 340g. It looks like a miniature tank or a brick, almost like a regular smartphone on steroids.
On the right side, you'll find the volume buttons, the power button and a dedicated fingerprint reader. Meanwhile, the left side houses the dual-SIM tray and a fully customizable extra button called the smart key. It can be programmed to trigger an SOS message, open any app, record audio and more. The top of the phone has a 3.5mm headphone port covered with a tab to maintain the waterproof nature of the phone. The USB Type-C port can be found at the bottom of the phone, also hidden away underneath a tab.
DOOGEE has fitted a powerful 2W speaker on the back of the S59 Pro. While it is really loud, the location makes it prone to being covered up and muffled when the phone is set down or held in hand. This was very problematic as the phone is so thick and heavy, I couldn't really hold it up in a way that didn't block the speaker for very long. The speaker placement essentially made it functionally useless most of the time.
Speaking of the display quality, I was very happy with it despite some shortcomings. The DOOGEE S59 Pro has a 5,71-inch HD+ LCD display with a 720 x 1520 resolution, 90Hz screen refresh rate, and Corning Gorilla Glass protection. It has an LED notification light on the top left, a waterdrop notch and extremely thick bezels. The forehead and chin are especially chunky and decrease the actual screen size by quite a bit.
The colours were crisp, bright and very accurate, and I could see content even in bright sunlight. Thanks to the 90Hz refresh rate, it responded very well and displayed smooth transitions and animations. The quality of the screen reminded me of the earlier iPhones, like the iPhone 5 or 6 (but better). Bottom line is, I think this was one of the best budget displays I've seen, despite the thick bezels.
Quad-cameras have become a bit of a fashion statement in the industry and the S59 Pro has embraced the trend as well. On the back, it has a square camera unit that houses a 16MP Samsung AI f/2.0 130° ultra-wide camera, an 8MP wide-angle camera, an 8MP macro camera and a 2MP depth sensor. As for the front camera, it sports a 16MP lens that supports face unlock.
Honestly speaking, I went into the process of reviewing this phone with minimal expectations but the cameras surprised me. As seen in the sample images below, the pictures came out really nice with clear details and vivid colours. The bokeh mode, or portrait mode as it's generally called, was a bit too artificial for my liking but the effect can be customized to the user's tastes so I was fine with it overall.
There is also an underwater mode and a dedicated monochrome mode in the camera which captures some aesthetically pleasing images in black and white. The cameras did struggle a lot with low lighting though, especially when the lighting was warmer. Under soft yellow lights, the pictures came out blurry and lacked detail and clarity. There is no night mode so it goes without saying that taking photos at night was hopeless.
As for the front camera, the 16MP selfie snapper took good shots but only in bright settings. Overall, I would say that the S59 Pro is capable of capturing some nice pictures but only with a lot of proper lighting. From an affordable rugged phone such as this, it is to be expected but I was hoping there would be a night mode.
Gallery: DOOGEE S59 Pro samples
DOOGEE touts that the S59 Pro is designed to withstand various forces of nature such as extreme weather conditions, shocks, falls and water. It has several durability certifications, including IP68 and IP69K water and dust resistance as well as the MIL-STD-810G military-grade rating.
I tested out its durability by dropping it face forward on tiled floors and there were no visible scratches or any damage. Dipping it in water did absolutely nothing, and even after a rough day of playing with my dog, the S59 Pro was completely unharmed. It got dirty with mud and I simply washed it under the tap afterwards. It felt a little unnerving to be washing a phone at first, but seeing the positive results made me relaxed.
Performance and battery life
Under the hood, the DOOGEE smartphone has the entry-level Mediatek Helio P22 chipset, 4GB RAM, 128GB storage and runs stock Android 10 out of the box. To test out the performance of the rugged phone, I tried playing various games that are heavy on the system such as The Elder Scrolls: Blades and Warhammer: Odyssey. It could handle the first game but the second one was abysmal, I couldn't even play for ten minutes because the app was so slow and kept getting stuck.
Running normal apps such as WhatsApp, Zoom, Google Docs or YouTube wasn't any hassle for the phone. I never faced glitches with any other application apart from the bigger, heavy-duty mobile games. Even smaller games like Gardenscapes and SimCity BuildIt played alright.
For proper benchmarks, I started off by running GFXBench which tests the GPU.
Next, I ran Geekbench 5 which tests the CPU.
Last on the list, I ran AnTuTu which tests everything. I used the Blackview BV4900 Pro's benchmarks for comparison as it is a rugged smartphone with the same CPU, GPU and similar storage options. According to the BV4900 Pro's scores on Unite4Buy, the Blackview phone got a total score of 94,288 whereas the DOOGEE S59 Pro got a significantly better overall AnTuTu score of 103,448.
Moving on to the battery life, DOOGEE touts the S59 Pro's gigantic 10,050mAh battery can last for two days on a single charge and can juice up to 100% in three hours. I put this to the test as well, and let me tell you, that was quite a task. The battery just would not die! I was astonished because the results were unbelievable. I went a whole seven days without having to charge the phone. That is, without a doubt, the longest any phone or wireless device I have ever owned lasted without losing power.
Followed by such heroic battery life, I had to deal with the daunting process of charging the S59 Pro back up. My goodness did that take a while - exactly four hours on the dot. Bear in mind that the phone comes with a 24W fast charger.
In the end, I would say that with the DOOGEE S59 Pro, nothing went as I was expecting. The overweight device was full of surprises but in the best sense. That being said, it had plenty of downsides as well. The bulky, heavy nature of the phone makes it really hard to carry it around. You can forget about putting the device in your pant pockets. If you do, however, the ever-present risk of being pantsed by your own phone will haunt you.
The speaker placement is extremely foolish and defeats the purpose of fitting such a loud one in the first place. Performance-wise, mobile gamers should definitely give this phone a pass because it can't handle demanding apps such as process-heavy games that well.
The rugged DOOGEE phone is meant for someone who prioritizes battery life over everything else and needs a decent, functioning smartphone. Aside from the excellent battery life, the device is extremely durable, it has good cameras and a great display. Though it needs to be charged for four long hours, that only needs to be done once a week so I believe it balances out.
Then there's the customizable smart key which is fantastic because you can assign different functions to it for one click, two clicks and a long press. That's really handy for emergency situations, you could use it as an SOS button and automatically alert contacts of your safety issue. You could also choose to take screenshots with the button or open any app.
All things considered, I believe that the S59 Pro is appropriate for a very specific segment of the market. If you're an adrenaline junkie, construction worker, army personnel, or simply a very clumsy human, I would definitely recommend you this phone.
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By Rich Woods
Dell Latitude 7320 review: The ultimate work from home laptop
by Rich Woods
Last summer, I reviewed Dell's Latitude 7310 laptop, and I truly enjoyed it. When Dell offered the newer Latitude 7320, I couldn't resist, despite the fact that little has changed. Indeed, the fact that so little has changed is part of the charm. I just love the form factor of this tiny little PC,
The main thing that has changed, of course, is that it now comes with Intel's 11th-generation processors. The new chips come with Iris Xe graphics, and they're a massive upgrade from 10th-gen, especially for business PCs like this one. It's also a bit thinner, a bit lighter, has a 1080p webcam, and more.
These days, Dell does offer a higher tier, the Latitude 9000 series, but honestly, I like the Latitude 7000 series a bit more, even though it lacks some key features like 5G support (you can get it with 4G though).
CPU Intel Core i7-1185G7 GPU Iris Xe Body 306.5x202.81x16.96mm (12.07x7.98x0.67in), 1.17kg (2.57lbs) Display 13.3” FHD (1920 x 1080) Anti-glare, Super Low Power, Non-Touch, ComfortView Plus Low Blue Light, WVA, 400 nits, sRGB 100% Memory 16GB LPDDR4 SDRAM (on board) 4266MHz Storage 256GB SSD M.2 2230 PCIe Gen 3 NVMe Input Single Pointing Non-Backlit Keyboard, Spill Resistant
Single Pointing Backlit Keyboard, Spill Resistant
Microsoft Precision Touchpad Ports (2) USB Type C Thunderbolt 4.0 with Power Delivery & DisplayPort
(1) USB 3.2 Gen 1 with Power share
(1) HDMI 2.0
(1) external uSIM card tray (optional)
(1) uSD 4.0 Memory card reader
Battery 4 cell 63 WHr ExpressCharge2.0 Capable Battery & Long Life Cycle capable Webcam 1080p Connectivity Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201 2x2 .11ax 160MHz + Bluetooth 5.1 Material Carbon fiber Color Black carbon fiber weave OS Windows 10 Pro Price $2,149
Dell's Latitude 7000 series comes in a variety of styles. The 7300 series is 13-inch, the 7400 series is 14-inch, and the 7500 series is 15-inch; on top of that, you can choose between the 7320 clamshell like the one I'm reviewing, or the 7320 2-in-1 if you want a convertible. Moreover, there are options between carbon fiber and aluminum.
The clamshell that Dell sent me is carbon fiber, allowing it to weigh in at just 2.57 pounds. The lid has a carbon fiber weave design, something that not a lot of companies are doing, especially in the mainstream space. Lenovo does it for premium, but that's it. It's a nice look, and it's something that's different from the rest of the pack.
What I really love about the Latitude 7320 is just how light and small it is. Being a 13-inch laptop and having small bezels, it has such a small footprint that it's just so easy to carry. When I reviewed the Latitude 7310 last year, I described it as the perfect laptop for around the house. If I had to get work done on the couch, this would be the first machine I'd grab because it just feels so comfortable to carry, and it's a laptop that feels good on a lap.
Being a business laptop, it's also got a solid array of ports, not skimping out on USB Type-A. On the left side, there's a lone Thunderbolt 4 port, which you can use to connect dual 4K monitors, an external GPU, and so on. There's also a 3.5mm audio jack on that side.
Last year's Latitude 7310 supported a single 4K display on each Thunderbolt 3 port, as Dell used the base spec. That means that Thunderbolt 4 is actually a big improvement, offering double the bandwidth.
On the right side, you'll find a USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A port for 5Gbps speeds, an HDMI 2.0 port that supports 4K output, a microSD slot, a SIM slot that's filled with a slug if you get the cellular model, and a second Thunderbolt 4 port.
I really want to commend Dell for putting Thunderbolt 4 ports on each side, and that's actually one thing that did change in the chassis since last year. So few OEMs do it, but it really makes life easier when you can charge your laptop from either side. It's really rare in the Windows world.
Like I said, I really do like the design of this laptop, particularly just the shape and size of it.
Display and audio
The Latitude 7320 has a 13.3-inch 1080p display, and unfortunately, there's no option for 4K resolution. There are four display options, including non-touch options that come in at 250 nits or 400 nits, and two 300-nit touch options, one of which has Dell's SafeScreen privacy display.
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.
This is a security feature if you're working in an office or if you're working in public, but it's also great if you're working from home. When your computer automatically locks a minute after you walk away, you don't have to worry about your little kids messing up your important work. Moreover, you just don't have to think about this stuff.
And then there's audio, as the dual speakers are located under the base as usual. The audio gets louder than I thought it would, which is great for listening to music. But I once again want to focus on working from home, as both the speaker and microphone are great for meetings. I really feel like this is the ultimate work from home PC.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.