Thermaltake - The Tower 900


Recommended Posts

Noir Angel

The Tower 900 is a high end PC case, designed primarily for people building high end water cooling systems, it is a massive case designed for people with very high end cooling requirements, and can fit M-ATX, E-ATX and ATX motherboards, and has mounts for 2 water cooling reservoirs, as well the accompanying pumps.

 

SPEC:

  • Type: Full Tower
  • Dimension (HxWxD): 752mm X 423mm X 483mm
  • Total Weight: 24.5KG (minus hardware)
  • Material: SCGG (Tempered glass front and side panels)
  • Cooling: 2x 14 CM fans @ 1000 RPM
  • Drive Bays: 2x 2.5 inch, 6x 3.5 inch, 1x 5.25 inch
  • Expansion Slots: 8
  • IO Ports: 4x USB 3.0, 1x Front HD Audio
  • PSU Support: Standard PS/2 PSU
  • Fan Support: 4x 12/14 cm left/right side, 2x 12/14cm top, 2x 12/14cm rear, 1x 12/14cm HDD Cage)

Design

The tower 900 is a very visually striking case, it has 3 front panels made of tinted tempered glass, which allows for 8 180 degree view of the internal components. It actually has a cover on the top of the case (which can be clipped / unclipped), and is divided into 2 compartments. The PSU, and 4 of the hard drive trays are mounted in the rear of the case (with the other 2 mounted at the bottom). The case also contains 2 specially designed SSD trays which allows for a total of hard drives to be installed and mounted into the case. The case has a single 5.25 inch slot for an optical drive at the bottom of the case. Plenty of routing holes are provided for the routing of cables, and almost all cables can be routed through the compartment at the rear of the case, allowing the front of the case to be kept almost completely clean and uncluttered, allowing for excellent airflow. 2 powerful 14cm case fans are provided and installed on the top of the case, and can be attached to the 3/4 pin headers on your motherboard. Both are 1,000 RPM fans.

 

One striking feature of this case that makes it stand out from other cases is that the motherboard is mounted vertically rather than horizontally, placing the I/O panel on top of the case instead of at the rear. The top of the case can be unclipped if extra items need to be plugged in, and thermaltake also provide 2 USB extension cables. The clip on top of the case has cable routing holes, allowing you to connect all your peripherals then attach the top, hiding the cables from view. The fans ventilate through the top of the case. The vertical mounting of the motherboard also eliminates GPU sag, and reduces the strain on the PCI-E slot, hopefully allowing for longer GPU and motherboard life.

 

All areas where fans can be attached (including the area to which the PSU is mounted) are protected on the outside by magnetic dust catchers, which should drastically reduce the amount of dust that gets drawn into the case.

 

Connectivity

The case has 4 USB 3.0 ports on the front, next to the power button as well as a HD audio connection, allowing headphones and a microphone to be plugged into the front of the case. Unfortunately, my current motherboard only has one USB 3.0 header, meaning only 2 of the front ports are functional, however I intend to upgrade once Ryzen CPUs become available.

 

Installation

Given the size of the case, installation was for the most part easy. However the PSU slot on the case isn't that big, and my larger than usual PSU only just squeaked its way into the slot. The PSU is also mounted directly behind the 5.25 inch drive slot, however the metal housing is corrugated, meaning that the PSU should easily be able to draw in enough air.

 

All of the 3.5 inch drive bays were designed for easy tool free installation. The SSD brackets provided however need screwing in, and the 5.25 inch drive bay also needed screws. Installing my optical drive proved troublesome, as there is not enough space inside the case for a conventional length screwdriver, which required me to secure the screws by hand, before tightening them with a miniature non-magnetic screwdriver. Installation of the 3.5 inch drives was very easy, and plenty of routing holes are made available meaning that cable management was very easy. Almost all SATA signal cables, and drive power cables are routed through the compartment at the rear of the case, allowing for the main compartment containing the motherboard and hardware to be kept remarkably clean. Where cable management is concerned, this is by far the easiest and most tidy build that I have ever completed.

However the immense size of the case did cause me a problem. The 4 pin ATX connector on my PSU wasn't quite long enough, meaning I needed to buy myself an extension cable. However all of my PSU's other cables reached, quite an impressive feat given the size of the case. Installing the rest of my hardware was easy, and the case already had motherboard sink screw mounts in place for ATX and E-ATX cases, meaning I didn't have to screw a single sink into the case.

 

The case alone weighs 24.5 kilos, installation of hardware can easily bring it up to 35 kilos, and that combined with its bulk might make it difficult for some people to lift and move.

 

Look & Feel

The Tower 900, despite its size is a very attractive looking tower (available in black or white). The tempered glass panels give it a very premium look, most cabling is hidden from view, and the metal grilles allow for easy escape of air. Despite the powerful case fans, the case is not overly noisy, however it is not completely quiet. No fan controller is provided, however one can be installed in the 5.25 inch drive bay. The size of the case gives it a very impressive and striking look, and no photos can really do it justice. You have to see it in person to get a feel for what an impressive piece of kit it is.

 

Cooling

With an air cooler (Dark Rock BeQuiet Pro), and running at 4.8 GHZ @ 1.4v, CPU temperature remained below 70c. The motherboard remained at 31c for most of the test, and the temperature of all components stayed within a healthy range, all in all the cooling prowess of this tower is excellent.

 

Summing Up

The Tower 900 won't be everyone's cup of tea. The immense size means that it won't fit under a lot of desks, and it will not be in everyone's price range. The fact that you have to unclip the top to get access to the IO ports might bother some users, and some people's PSUs might have cables that simply aren't long enough. However it is also a very impressive looking piece of equipment, and it has room for a vast amount of cooling fans, as well as supporting a CPU and GPU liquid cooling setup. If you're building a high end liquid cooled rig, you won't get many towers better than this, and even if, like me, you aren't water cooling, the excellent airflow as well as the superb cable management options still make this a great case.

 

Score: 9/10

 

Pro:

  • High end airflow and liquid cooling options
  • Looks fantastic
  • Easy setup and installation
  • Room for a lot of hardware (6 hard drive plus 2 SSD)
  • Vertical mounting reduces load on GPU and PCI-E slot, eliminating GPU sag
  • Excellent cable management

Con:

  • Size might make it impractical for some people, won't fit under most desks
  • Too heavy to place on a table, not easy to lift and move
  • Installation of 5.25 inch drive a bit tricky
  • The sheer size of the case means that some PSUs might not have long enough cables.

 

8-finishedcase1.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Gallery

 

Edited by Javik
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
+Gary7

That is a very neat tower I saw some of the other ones in your link. A tad pricey but they will keep it cool..

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Noir Angel

The size means it won't be for everyone, but i'm very happy with my purchase. It's a lovely looking piece of kit, the vertical mounting makes a lot of sense and is good for your hardware. Towers like that are mostly for liquid systems but it has merits for every PC builder. It's among the best on the market in cooling performance and I think it looks truly incredible. I certainly agree about the price, but it offers a hell of a lot for the money. Size and weight are really the only reasons i'd advise anyone against getting one. I love it!

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
+Gary7
8 hours ago, Javik said:

The size means it won't be for everyone, but i'm very happy with my purchase. It's a lovely looking piece of kit, the vertical mounting makes a lot of sense and is good for your hardware. Towers like that are mostly for liquid systems but it has merits for every PC builder. It's among the best on the market in cooling performance and I think it looks truly incredible. I certainly agree about the price, but it offers a hell of a lot for the money. Size and weight are really the only reasons i'd advise anyone against getting one. I love it!

The other cases that were all glass were really nice.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Noir Angel
4 hours ago, Gary7 said:

The other cases that were all glass were really nice.

Indeed, it's nice to see cases that showcase our equipment doing its thing. Plus the Sapphire logo on my new GPU has colour changing LEDs, it would be a shame to put that to waste! In fact I've also brought myself some case fans with more LEDs, I intend to make the most of this case :D

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 year later...
wicanbrewllc

what psu do you recommend? my 8 pin connector is too dang short for the msi 970 gaming mobo

Link to post
Share on other sites
This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Similar Content

    • By Usama Jawad96
      Facebook believes it made the right decision in banning Trump, but has referred the case
      by Usama Jawad

      Former U.S. President Donald Trump was banned from various social media platforms earlier this month. Among these was Facebook, with CEO Mark Zuckerberg personally announcing the suspension, stating that it was indefinite and would continue at least until then President-elect Joe Biden takes office.

      With the aforementioned stipulation now complete, Facebook has deferred the case to its independent Oversight Board, while emphasizing that it believes it made the right call in suspending Trump's account a couple of weeks ago.

      In a blog post, Facebook has highlighted that the case has been referred to the Oversight Board, which was formed last year and consists of global civic leaders from various backgrounds and industries. You can view the full list of members here.

      Facebook has emphasized that it believes that it made the right decision in suspending Trump's account under "extraordinary circumstances" on January 7, and it hopes that the Oversight Board will agree to the indefinite ban based on the justifications provided. The firm went on to say that:

      It is important to note that the Oversight Board's decision will be final and not even Zuckerberg will have the authority to veto it. Facebook will also be open to recommendations from the organization about how to deal with cases of suspending political leaders, should the need arise in the future.

      The Oversight Board's process for assessing the case will also be of interest to some readers. From a bird's eye view, a five-member panel will review the case and Trump's page administrators will be allowed to submit statements as to why Facebook's original decision will be overturned. The panel will have up to 90 days to achieve a decision that has to be supported by a simple majority of Oversight Board members. In response, Facebook will have seven days to implement the recommendations made by the panel and up to 30 days to respond to them. The findings of the case and the final outcome will be published on the Oversight Board's website here.

    • By Namerah S
      Enacfire E90 Wireless Earbuds review: True bang for your buck
      by Namerah Saud Fatmi

      We've seen an explosion of new brands and products in the TWS market over the last few years. Enacfire is one such brand that caters to the budget range of audio devices. With most Enacfire devices priced below $50, the Enacfire E90 wireless earbuds are the Shenzen-based company upper-tier offering.

      For an inexpensive price tag of about $50, the Enacfire E90 earbuds tout 48 hours of playback, IPX8 water resistance, USB Type-C fast charging and boosted bass to knock the listener's socks off. There's been a good amount of chatter regarding the E90 wireless headphones, so let's find out what all the fuss is about.

      Now before I go into further detail, I want you to keep in mind that we're talking about some very affordable wireless earbuds. This is important because of the balance of the price against the value of the Enacfire E90 earphones.

      Specs
      Weight 4.5g Dimensions 2.44 x 0.94 x 2.01 inches Design In-ear Codecs aptX, SBC Speaker 10mm dynamic driver Microphone 2 mics with CVC 8.0 noise cancellation Connectivity Bluetooth 5.0 Battery 8hrs playtime, extended to 48hrs with charging case Charging USB Type-C fast charge | 1.5 to 2hrs Durability IPX8 waterproof rating Design


      The Enacfire E90 true wireless earbuds come in a glossy white finish and the material used is plastic. The charging case features the same colours and materials and has a rectangular shape with curved edges. Contrary to what this might indicate, none of the parts look or feel that cheap. The earbuds have a very strange shape and they look very uncomfortable, but once worn they fit in the ears just nice. I think the uniquely shaped heads help the buds to stay in place because these things don't ever fall out.

      Each earbud has an LED light and houses one mic each for better audio quality during calls. There are no physical buttons, only touch controls on both earbuds which I found very easy to use. On the front of the carrying case, there are four tiny LED lights to indicate the battery level. Meanwhile, on the back of the case, there's a USB Type-C port for charging.

      I was very pleased with how lightweight the headphones were, even when accounting for the wight of the case. They weigh an unbelievably light 4.5 grams which makes it really comfortable to carry and wear them for long hours. Another feature which really sweetened the deal for me was the IPX8 waterproof rating. I live in a country where it rains quite a lot so water resistance is nearly essential.

      Performance


      Moving on to the juicy bits, the Enacfire E90 use the Qualcomm aptX technology to deliver high-quality audio efficiently. It uses low latency which reduces audio delays over Bluetooth connection. Now, this is something I've faced before in some of the lower-tier TWS earphones. To my delight, with the E90 buds, this did not happen.

      The Enacfire earbuds have two microphones, one on each bud. This serves two purposes, one is to enhance voice transmission and the other is to enable users to use either bud standalone. The CVC 8.0 noise cancellation feature cuts out background noise while making calls. I used both earbuds together and individually to answer calls and both experiences were good. Nothing extraordinary, but a little above average in the budget range.

      I was very satisfied with the overall sound delivery and quality of the E90 headphones. They have boosted bass which is something bass-loving audiophiles will appreciate. I cannot stress this enough, bass is really something on these earbuds.



      Let's talk about other aspects of sound quality. I was actually impressed by the audio delivered by the Enacfire E90 buds because they're so cheap. I was happy with the levels of clarity and crispness even on very high volumes which is something budget earphones struggle with. I would describe my listening experience as lush, rich and punchy.

      But I must say, at the point when you max out the volume, the audio quality does drop a notch and the sound becomes a bit grainy. This is to be expected, I mean the Enacfire wireless earbuds are less than half the price of premium TWS brands like Apple or Sennheiser.

      I did, however, manage to fix this with a dynamic equalizer. Enacfire does not have its own companion app so I used a third-party app. All in all, at the end of the day, they perform satisfactorily and get the job done surprisingly well.

      Battery life


      Enacfire states that the E90 earphones offer 8hrs of playback at a time, extended up to a generous 48hrs when taking the charging case into account. I decided to put this to the test, well a crash test to be more accurate, and my results were pleasing.

      I started with a full 100% battery and began my day, with very heavy use. Just to see how long it would take to drain completely, I left it on for hours. When I wasn't using them, my brother was or the earbuds were just sitting around blasting music on full volume with no one listening. Almost the whole time they were on, they were playing something or the other.

      Taking the case into consideration, the E90 buds gave out after two entire days - 49 hours and 42 minutes later. I probably got over 35 hours of playtime from them collectively, with most of the testing done at max volume.



      Now the website does mention that increasing or decreasing the volume will affect the battery life, so I am fully confident if I had not used them constantly like a maniac, I would easily be able to get the official 48hrs of playback Enacfire claims the E90 earbuds can deliver.

      Another thing that made me happy was the charge time. The Enacfire E90 true wireless earbuds support USB Type-C fast charge but the compatible wattage has not been disclosed. According to the official specs, the E90 buds take between 1.5 to 2 hours to be charged in full. Once my earbuds were drained, I plugged them in and it took me exactly 1hr 12m.

      Conclusion
      After many days of hands-on testing and heavy usage, I have some thoughts about the Enacfire E90 TWS headphones. I decided to review the earbuds because of the growing chitter-chatter about the company. It has a pretty dedicated fan base and many claim that these are the best true wireless earbuds they have ever used.

      While that last part might be a bit of an exaggeration, I truly feel that the fans or on to something. It all comes together when you factor in the price, which is $49.99 on Amazon or $59.99 on the official Enacfire online store. The features that these earbuds offer at this price point is truly impressive.



      You get an outstanding battery life, excellent sound quality, fast charging and a nice, lightweight design which sits tight and doesn't budge or fall out. There's even an IPX8 water resistance rating for better durability in rainy conditions or as a safeguard against clumsy incidents.

      I would, however, have really liked it if Enacfire had a companion app for the E90 earbuds which provided a dynamic equalizer. I'm a big fan of customizing and optimizing audio devices to my taste. This isn't that big of an issue because you can always use a third-party app but it would have been nice.

      Another area that could use improvement is the audio quality at max volume. While the vocals don't get distorted, the bass tends to sound grainy and woolly at times. This can, however, be fixed to a certain degree by using an equalizer.

      So here's my final verdict for the Enacfire E90 wireless earbuds: scout's honour, you can bet your bottom dollar on these earbuds to provide true value for your hard-earned $50. Just don't expect premium sound quality from a budget product.

      Get the Enacfire E90 Wireless Earbuds at Amazon for $39.99 (after 20% off coupon) + free shipping

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

    • By Rich Woods
      Moto G Stylus (2021) review: Where have you gone, Moto?
      by Rich Woods

      If you've ever wanted a phone that comes with a pen but you don't want to shell out over a thousand dollars for Samsung's Galaxy Note, you're in the right place. The smartphone/pen combo is rare, not often seen beyond Samsung's Note, LG's Stylo, and of course, the Moto G Stylus.

      I'm a big fan of taking handwritten notes, and I'm still waiting for that perfect cellular-connected mini tablet that I can hold in one hand. For now, I'll take the larger 6.8-inch screen on the new Moto G Stylus. Indeed, it's bigger than last year, a major factor in it being comfortable to use with a pen.

      It's also got a faster processor, of course. The camera is 48MP with an f/1.7 aperture, the battery is big at 4,000mAh, and it comes with 128GB of storage.

      Specs
      CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon 678 GPU Adreno 612 Body 169.8x77.9x9mm, 213g Display 6.8" FHD+ Max Vision display, 1080x2400, 386ppi Camera 48MP f/1.7 + 8MP f/2.2 ultra-wide + 2MP f/2.4 macro + 2MP depth, Front - 16MP f/2.2 Video Rear main: 4K - 30fps, 1080p - 60fps
      Rear ultra-wide: 1080p - 30fps
      Rear macro: 720p - 30fps
      Front: 1080p - 30fps Battery 4,000mAh, 18W TurboPower (10W charger in the box) RAM 4GB Storage 128GB, expandable yup to 512GB Ports USB 2.0 Type-C, 3.5mm audio jack Material Plastic Color Aurora Black OS Android 10 Price $299.99
      Design
      The Moto G Stylus's design is a blend of elements that we've seen before. Motorola seems to love its rainbow-colored reflective backs, as you'll see from this Aurora Black unit. It also comes in Aurora White, in case that's more your style. It's made out of plastic, which the Moto G series has been doing for a few years now since it switched over from metal, but there's still no wireless charging.



      In fact, I'm a bit surprised that there's still no wireless charging. The Moto G series has always been about value for your money, and for a series that continues to add value year after year, not much has changed since last year's Moto G Stylus, but I digress.



      The back of the device has a sort of textured look, even though it's not. It adds to the metallic tones and the different colors in the reflection. The camera housing is rectangular with rounded corners, something that we've also seen in devices from Apple, Google, Huawei, and Samsung. Interestingly, the rest of the Moto G series puts a square camera in the middle, rather than in the corner.



      In fact, a lot of the design across the lineup seems to be random. On the right side of the device, there's a fingerprint sensor on the power button along with a volume rocker. It's the same on the Moto G Power (review coming soon), but both the Moto G Play and the newly-announced Motorola One 5G Ace puts the fingerprint sensor on the Motorola logo on the back. Personally, I'd rather have a fingerprint sensor on the back than on the side, but that's just preference.



      On the bottom, you'll find all of the goodies you need, such as the USB Type-C port for charging and the 3.5mm audio jack. Indeed, like most phones in this range, it does have a headphone jack. This is also where you'll find the pen garage. Just press on it and the pen will pop out.

      Something to consider when looking at the Moto G Stylus is that you really should want the pen. If you're not interested in it, this probably isn't for you. In the old days, there was a Moto G and a Moto G Plus that were all about providing value for your dollar. Those days seem to be fading away in favor of Motorola trying to solve one specific pain point in a low-price device. In this case, it's about providing a pen without making you spend Galaxy Note money. For the Moto G Power, it's all about battery life.

      Display and pen
      The new Moto G Stylus has a 6.8-inch 1080x2400 display, whereas its predecessor had a 6.4-inch 1080x2300 display. As I mentioned earlier, the larger screen is definitely better for pen usage, although it's not that much larger. Mostly, the screen is taller, although it is a bit wider. Remember, screens are measured diagonally, so the larger the aspect ratio, the smaller the surface area. A seven-inch 16:9 tablet has a much larger screen than this 6.8-inch 20:9 smartphone.



      Like I said, you do really have to want the pen. I suspect that if Motorola went for straight-up value for dollar, we'd be seeing a 90Hz screen right now, but we're not. The good news is that I'm a big fan of pens in general.



      When you pop out the pen, you'll get a menu on the side of the screen with some things that you can do with it. By default, the first one is Screenshot editor, which takes a screenshot and lets you write on it. Another app that comes pre-installed and is on the shortcut list by default is Coloring book. Yes, this app is exactly like it sounds. There are a bunch of drawings that you can use to color, and it's a lot of fun. You can even import your own.

      Also included are Moto Note and Keep Notes. Obviously, the latter is Google Keep, and the former is Motorola's own note-taking app. I'm a OneNote guy, so the good news is that you can easily edit which apps show up in the shortcuts. It doesn't even have to be something pen-related; however, Motorola has a Power touch feature in the Moto app that also gives you a list of shortcuts by double-tapping the power button. Motorola has a lot of useful features in the Moto app for you to play around with, and putting them in their own app is a nice and tidy way of keeping them out of Settings.



      Back to the display itself, there's a hole-punch cut-out for the front-facing camera in the top-left corner. This seems to be the standard these days, with hole-punch cut-outs replacing notches and motorized pop-up cameras. Motorola used the same style with last year's Moto G Stylus as well.

      Camera
      This year's Moto G Stylus includes a 48MP f/1.7 main rear camera; in fact, it seems to be identical to last year's sensor. It also has an eight-megapixel f/2.2 ultra-wide camera, a downgrade from last year's 16MP ultra-wide sensor. Finally, it includes 2MP macro and 2MP depth sensors, which are cheap sensors that allow Motorola to call this a quad-camera smartphone. I did include a macro shot or two in the samples that you'll see but seriously, you'll get better macro photography if you crop an image taken with the main sensor.



      That main sensor does use quad pixel technology, as does the 16MP front camera. That means that you can only take 12MP images with the rear camera. Strangely, Motorola does let you set the front camera to the full 16MP if you want, but there's no option like that for the rear camera and its 48 megapixels.

      Motorola does have some fun camera features, such as Cinemagraph, which captures a still image with a select part of it moving and saves it as a GIF. Spot Color lets you select a color, and the camera will only use that color with the rest as monochrome. New to this year's model is Spot Color for video. Like I said, it's fun, and Motorola is good at making things that are fun.

      Gallery: Moto G Stylus (2021) samples
      It also comes with a night mode, which takes a few seconds to take the picture to let in more light. As you can see in the samples, it definitely brightens up pictures when it needs to.

      Low-light photography is fine given the price point. The f/1.7 aperture, quad pixel technology, and night mode all do their jobs. I was actually impressed with the daytime photography, something I don't usually bother pointing out. There wasn't any fake blur making the photos look artificial, or motion because the shutter speed was too slow. The photos came out quite nice for a $300 smartphone.

      Performance and battery life
      The Moto G Stylus includes a Snapdragon 678 chipset, which has two large cores clocked at 2.2GHz and six little cores clocked at 1.7GHz, along with an Adreno 612 GPU. On top of that, it comes with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.

      With all of that, I found performance to be sluggish at times, something I found to be a bit surprising given the Snapdragon 6 series processor and Motorola's attempts to be as pure Android as possible. I assume that it was the 4GB of RAM that choked it up at times.



      It's also worth noting that this is a 4G LTE phone, as the Snapdragon 678 is not a 5G chipset. If Motorola wanted to go for 5G, it could have done so with the Snapdragon 690, like OnePlus did with the Nord N10 5G, which just happens to cost the same $299 as the Moto G Stylus. In fact, Qualcomm is trying to bring 5G to devices as low-priced as $150 with the Snapdragon 480, but of course, there's more to the story than 5G.

      I keep coming back to this idea that this would be a much better all-around device if there wasn't this focus around the pen. Perhaps we'd have 6GB RAM instead of 4GB, perhaps we'd have 5G instead of 4G, perhaps we'd have a 90Hz display instead of 60Hz, and perhaps we'd have wireless charging. Of course, I'm not asking for all of these things, but I feel like the top-end Moto G phone used to provide a lot more all-around value. Now, it's focused on people that want a stylus.

      There's more bad news too, which is that it ships with Android 10. While it will surely get an Android 11 update, Motorola only provides one feature update for its Moto G lineup, so starting it behind the curve means that at some point, it's going to be brought up to date, and that's probably going to be it.

      Battery life is pretty great though. This thing comes with a 4,000mAh battery, and I had no problem getting well over a day of battery life. The battery size is the same as last year's model, and while I wasn't able to review that one, battery life should be roughly the same.

      For benchmarks, I ran Geekbench 5, AnTuTu, and GFXBench. First up is Geekbench 5, which tests the CPU.



      If you compare this to the Snapdragon 690 in the OnePlus Nord N10 5G, that got 605 on single-core and 1,847 on multi-core, so the difference isn't just about 5G. Next up is AnTuTu, which tests everything.



      Once again comparing it to the Nord N10 5G, that device got 282,260 on this test. Finally, GFXBench tests the GPU.



      Conclusion
      Let's bring it back to the OnePlus Nord N10 5G. That device has a faster processor, 5G connectivity, a 90Hz screen, 6GB RAM, a higher-resolution camera, and a larger 4,300mAh battery, all for the same price of $299. The Moto G Stylus' advantage over the Nord N10 5G is pretty much the pen.



      Standing on its own, this is a great device. It feels good to use, and it provides a lot of fun, useful features. It's an easy phone to fall in love with. Like I said though, you really have to want the pen. If you're the type of person that buys a phone with a pen and then never uses it, you're probably better off with something else.

      The big thing that I take issue with is that the Moto G series has fundamentally changed since the last time I reviewed one in 2019. This series of devices used to provide unparalleled value when compared to its competition. In the early days of the brand when Motorola was owned by Google, it set out to prove that you can get a good phone for a couple hundred dollars, something that really hadn't been done. Time and again, Moto G set the bar for value in the mid-range.

      Now, like with the Motorola One series, the company seems to just be making specialty phones, devices that are made to solve very specific pain points, and leave a lot on the table in other areas.

      I don't want to make it sound like I dislike the Moto G Stylus, because I don't, and you probably won't either. It's a lot of fun, with useful features that make it stand out. Indeed, I've never met someone that invested in a Motorola phone and didn't absolutely love it. This is just the first time I've ever been able to say that a different device provides more value at the same price than the top-end Moto G, and that's notable.

      Motorola sent me all four of the phones it announced last week for review, so expect to see reviews of the Moto G Power, Moto G Play, and Motorola One 5G Ace soon.

    • By Namerah S
      Anker Nebula Solar Portable review: An excellent substitute for a smart TV
      by Namerah Saud Fatmi

      While many may know of Anker because of its popular chargers and power banks, the electronics giant also boasts a wide range of portable projectors. This division of the company carries the brand name Nebula, and it offers portable projectors at premium prices. The Nebula Capsule, for example, is about the size of a 12-ounce soda can and sells for around $349 on Amazon.

      Today we will look at an Anker product leaning towards the larger and heavier range of portable projectors made by the company, the Nebula Solar Portable. The entertainment device retails at $599.99 and doubles as an Android TV with two 3W speakers to complete the cinematic experience.

      Specs


      Display 60in to 120in, HDR10, 1080p 1920x1080 native resolution, 16:9 aspect ratio, 400 ANSI lumens brightness, 3-second autofocus
      30,000hrs of LED-life
      Front / rear / front ceiling / rear ceiling projection mode
      Auto (vertical ±40°) / manual (horizontal ±40°, Quadrilateral ±40°) keystone correction Weight 1.4 kg / 49.4 oz Dimensions Length: 192.25mm / 7.6in
      Width: 192mm / 7.6in
      Height: 58.65mm / 2.3in Connectivity WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.2 Dual Mode, Chromecast OS Android TV 9.0 CPU Quad Core A55 Chipset GPU Quad Core Mali G31 RAM 2GB DDR Storage 8GB eMMC Battery 20,000mAh, 3 hours playback, 3 hours charge time with Power Delivery 20V-3.25A Ports (1) HDMI 2.0
      (1) USB Type-A
      (1) USB Type-C

      Speaker 2 x 3W speakers with Dolby Digital Plus Input 1 physical button, 3 touch buttons, IR/Bluetooth remote, Nebula Connect Android/iOS Bluetooth remote app Modes Projector Mode, Bluetooth Speaker Mode Mount Tripod, built-in stand for tables Design


      The Nebula Solar Portable projector has a pleasing minimalist design with rounded corners. It comes in a matte white finish that doesn't track fingerprints or marks of any sort. There are a total of four buttons, three touch buttons on the top and one physical button on the back. The buttons on top include volume up and down buttons plus a mode button which switches the entertainment device between projector mode and the Bluetooth speaker mode.

      Meanwhile, located on the back, the one and only physical button on the Nebula Solar Portable which powers the projector on or off can be found. This is where you will also find the grilles for the 3W dual speakers, an LED light to indicate device status, an HDMI 2.0 port, a USB Type-A port for USB flash drives or hard drives, and a USB Type-C port for charging.



      To keep the miniature home cinema system cool, there is also a fan inside. When you turn on the projector it is pretty noisy. According to Anker, it should be no louder than 30dB. But when I tested the noise levels my results fluctuated between 53dB and 71dB, with an average figure of 63dB.

      Anker's portable entertainment system comes with a remote control to navigate the system. It has buttons for options such as power, home, back, settings, volume controls, up, down, left, right, autofocus and Google Assistant. There is a microphone in the upper left corner of the remote.



      Although the projector has a small built-in flap underneath it, it doesn't serve much purpose from a functionality point of view. The Solar Portable does have keystone correction, it doesn't work well when using the flap. When I used it to keep the Nebula device on my table, the picture was tilted and I couldn't fix it for the life of me. The only solution was to put a piece of cardboard underneath it at an angle.

      Display and Sound


      With the lights turned off, the Anker Nebula Solar Portable could easily pass as a TV. The wireless projector has a display output size that can be anywhere between 60-inches and 120-inches according to the placement. It has a native 1920x1080 resolution, HDR10, a 16:9 aspect ratio, an LED-life of 30,000 hours, and rated to output 400 ANSI lumens.

      In order to ensure a perfectly aligned and straight projection, it also features keystone correction and three-second autofocus which is extremely fast. All of this translates to a bright, crisp, and colourful visual experience without any observable colour distortion.



      Furthermore, the Nebula Solar Portable has an option to adapt its display to the colour of the wall for accurate colour-correction which is really handy if you don't have white walls.



      When you turn on the lights, the picture quality still isn't half as bad as one would expect. In fact, I would go so far as to say it is quite nice with the lights on and incredibly good in low light. The whites and blacks are very solid.



      The Anker Nebula Solar Portable has a pair of decent 3W speakers with Dolby Digital Plus. I was satisfied with the loudness of the duo. For medium to large-sized bedrooms, they work excellently and are perfect for movie nights with friends and family. The sound quality is very crisp and clear with good treble and okay bass, nothing exceptional. Vocals can be understood very well. It doesn't hold its ground against a full-blown home theatre system, but for movies and videos, it gets the job done.

      In trademark Anker Nebula fashion, the Solar Portable can also function as a standalone Bluetooth speaker. All you've got to do is press the mode touch button on top of the portable projector to toggle the Bluetooth speaker mode.

      Software


      It was a new experience for me to encounter a projector that runs Android TV. The Nebula Solar Portable runs the latest version and supports all the apps you could ever want on your TV in my opinion. There's an HDMI 2.1 port that can connect to a laptop or even a console. The remote has a Google Assistant button which enables voice controls for the mini home theatre.

      It also has Chromecast built-in and can pair with any smartphone, iOS or Android, via the Nebula Connect mobile app. Users can manage their projector through the app or use it as a mouse or remote control for the Anker device. The end result is that you can browse or view any sort of content from any platform of your choice on the Solar Portable without hassle or inconvenience.



      Feel like watching a YouTube video that you just discovered on your phone on a bigger screen? No problem. Want to continue that show you were watching last night on Netflix or Amazon Prime? No problem. Need to share some family photos from your flash drive at a dinner party with guests? Again, no problem at all. It literally works as a substitute for a modern television set.

      Performance and Battery Life
      On paper, the 20,000mAh battery life of the Nebula Solar Portable is touted to be enough for three hours of usage. Unfortunately, with heavy usage, this is reduced to about two hours in my experience. While this is enough for an average length movie, it does not satisfy the requirements for binge-watching TV shows. So if you plan on having a Queen's Gambit marathon, you'd have to plug it in to be safe.



      On the bright side, the official charge time, given to be three hours, is an overstatement. The Nebula Solar Portable comes with an Anker PowerPort III 65W charger and a 3m USB Type-C to USB Type-C cable out the box. Charging up the portable projector from zero to max took me almost exactly two hours and twenty minutes.

      Conclusion
      To wrap things up, let's weigh up all the pros and cons of the latest portable Nebula device. On one hand, the audio and visuals are excellent, the projector runs Android TV, it has Chromecast and versatile ports. On the other hand, battery life is not satisfactory, and the fans are a bit too loud when nothing is playing.

      Compared to the previous Nebula gadget that we reviewed, the Solar Portable has many improvements that are just enough to make me want to recommend it to people. It's basically a portable smart TV with a screen size that can change according to your preference or needs. I think Android TV was a very wise decision as it enables the user to install any compatible app from the Google Play Store.

      Previously, the Nebula smartphone app was still in beta. This has changed now and the app works very smoothly with the projector. It even has a live chat option which answers most queries almost immediately. Starting from installing the app to pairing it, the entire process takes only about five minutes.

      The picture quality is really great and the colours look vivid. The clarity, sharpness and hues are all balanced very nicely. I watched a bunch of BBC nature documentaries with my family and the display quality was very well received. As I mentioned before, with the lights off or even in low light, it is really easy to forget that you're not watching TV. I was pleasantly surprised by the impressive visual output capabilities of the projector.

      The last point to factor in would be the price. If you're looking to purchase a Nebula Solar Portable, the miniature makeshift home cinema will cost you a hefty $599.99. That's a lot of money for something that only stays alive for only about two hours!

      I think the Solar Portable is suitable for a very specific crowd such as tech lovers who like unconventional gadgets, people who like to have impromptu movie nights when they're out and about or startups who need to have meetings or share audio/visual presentations on the go. So if you fit in any one of these groups, have deep pockets and the concept of a smart TV with an adjustable screen size tickles your fancy, this would be a great buy.

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

    • By Rich Woods
      Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 9310 review: Tiger Lake, Thunderbolt 4, and more put it over the top
      by Rich Woods

      Dell's new XPS 13 2-in-1 isn't too different from its predecessor. In fact, the 2019 model was a big change. It added a 16:10 display, hinting at a greater redesign for the rest of the XPS lineup. It was also the first XPS 13 2-in-1 to use a proper Intel U-series processor instead of an anemic Y-series chip.

      This year, we're getting Intel's 11th-generation processors. The CPUs are the second-generation 10nm chips from Intel, and they solve some issues with clock speed. The graphics are also much improved with new Iris Xe. They also come with things like Thunderbolt 4, faster memory, and more.

      The XPS 13 2-in-1 also adds an IR camera above the screen, something that it removed with the previous generation. And finally, it now comes in the classic XPS look, with the carbon fiber palm rest.

      Specs
      CPU Intel Core i7-1165G7 processor (12MB cache, up to 4.7GHz, 4 cores) Graphics Intel Iris Xe graphics Body 297x207x14.35mm (11.69x8.15x0.56in), 1.32kg (2.9lbs) Display 13.4-inch FHD+ (1920 x 1200) InfinityEdge touch display, 500-nit, 100% sRGB color gamut, 1800:1 contrast ratio
      Dolby Vision, 178° wide viewing angle +/- 89° / 89° / 89° / 89°, 0.65% antireflective, anti-smudge, Eyesafe® technology Storage 512GB PCIe 3 x4 SSD RAM 16GB LPDDR4x Dual Channel SDRAM at 4267MHz Battery 51WHr battery (Integrated), 45W AC adapter Audio Stereo speakers professionally tuned with Waves MaxxAudio Pro; 2W x 2 = 4W total
      3.5mm headphone/microphone combo jack
      Dual array digital microphones; Far Field Cortana capable
      Widescreen HD (720p) 2.25mm webcam Ports (2) Thunderbolt 4
      (1) microSD
      (1) 3.5mm combo audio Input Touch Display
      2 Digital Array Microphones
      Full size, backlit MagLev keyboard; 0.7mm travel
      Precision touchpad, seamless glass integrated button
      Windows Hello fingerprint reader in power button & HD (720p) Windows Hello camera in upper bezel Connectivity Killer Wi-Fi 6 AX1650 (2x2) built on Intel chipset + Bluetooth 5.1 Construction CNC machined aluminum in platinum silver with black carbon fiber composite palm rest or CNC machined aluminum in frost with arctic white woven glass fiber palm rest (stain resistant coating)
      Edge-to-edge Corning Gorilla Glass 6 OS Windows 10 Home Price $1,499.99
      Day one
      Aside from the charger and the pen, also in the box is a USB Type-C to USB Type-A adapter. As with all modern XPS laptops, there are no USB Type-A ports on the device.

      Design
      Dell sent me the platinum silver model with the black carbon fiber palm rest. I'm so used to seeing the white woven glass fiber palm rest, so while it feels like a change of pace, this is classic Dell XPS design right here. The sides are silver though, whereas in previous years, they would have been black.



      Other than that, the outside of the device looks pretty much the same as it has. The aluminum lid is stamped with a chrome-colored Dell logo, which is still the flashiest part of the exterior.

      And as always, it's one of the most compact 13-inch laptops on the market. As Dell puts it, it's a 13-inch laptop in an 11-inch laptop's chassis, and ever since the bezels were chopped down even further last year, that seems more true now than ever. However, the compact footprint doesn't translate to the weight of the device, which is 2.9 pounds. For a premium 13-inch convertible, that's pretty average, although it's not unexpected given that it's made out of aluminum.



      As far as ports go, the XPS 13 2-in-1 only comes with two Thunderbolt 4 ports, one on each side, along with a microSD slot on the left and a 3.5mm combo audio jack on the right. Gone are the old days of having a button with a battery indicator. I actually miss that feature, but I digress.

      In this case, Thunderbolt 4 is a big deal, because it's an upgrade over last year's model. For some companies, it's not, and here's why. Thunderbolt 4 can handle data speeds of up to 40Gbps, power dual 4K displays off of a single port, and more. Technically, Thunderbolt 3 could do the same thing, but with the new generation, that's actually the minimum spec. Previously, the minimum spec was actually 20Gbps, and the ability to connect just one 4K display on a port.



      The big problem with Thunderbolt 3 was that there was virtually no way to know what you were buying. A Thunderbolt logo was all you'd see. Dell used the minimum spec on its XPS lineup, so in this case, Thunderbolt 4 is a big improvement.

      I also absolutely love that Dell put Thunderbolt 4 ports on both sides of the laptop, something that's very rare in the Windows world and more common in the Chromebook world. When it comes to connecting things, whether it's a peripheral or just a charging cable, there's almost always a more convenient side to use, and if that side isn't the side that the port is on, it's a pain point. HP puts them both on the right side, Lenovo puts them both on the left, but Dell is doing both sides, and it's appreciated.

      Display and audio
      The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 has a 13.4-inch 16:10 display. Your options for the resolution are FHD+ and UHD+, and Dell sent me the former. While I used to prefer UHD just for the extra pixels, I'm actually starting to prefer FHD on screens this small. You're really not missing out on anything, and you get much better battery life.



      But also, Dell just makes awesome displays. No matter what resolution you get, you get 500-nit brightness, support for Dolby Vision HDR, and a 178-degree viewing angle. That means that no matter what angle you're looking at the screen from, there's no visible color distortion. It's excellent, and thanks to the 16:10 aspect ratio, it's a taller display. That also makes it more comfortable to use in tablet mode.



      The bezels are as small as ever, and there's an IR camera next tot he webcam now. You might recall that Dell actually introduced an IR camera a few years ago. That was back when it had a 16:9 display with the webcam below the screen. Dell added the IR camera next to what was jokingly referred to as the "nostril cam" by some, but when the company shrunk down the webcam to fit in the top bezel the very next year, the IR camera didn't come along.

      Now, we have the IR camera right on top, as it should be. And that bottom bezel where the webcam used to be is gone now, with that area being taken up by the larger display.



      Dell has something called Dell Cinema, which is the combined audio, video, and streaming experience for media consumption. And it's a pretty great combination. For the screen, there's CinemaColor, using Dolby Vision HDR. You can also use the CinemaColor app to set it to different modes like movies, sports, evening, and animation. Personally, I find the evening mode to be much better than the night mode that's built into Windows 10.



      Then there's CinemaSound, which uses Waves MaxxAudio Pro. The two 2W speakers sound clear, as they always do from Dell's XPS laptops. And then there's CinemaStream, which prioritizes network traffic for the video that you're streaming. All-in-all, Dell has put together one of the best media consumption experiences around, mainly because they've focused on it so much.



      But also, there's a new Dell Cinema Guide app that was announced last year. It's like a hub for all of your streaming services, except for Netflix, since Netflix doesn't like to play well with others. In the Dell Cinema Guide app, you just have to add all of the services that you use, and it will populate. It's not actually playing the content in the app, so you don't have to sign into the services. You just pick them, and then browse.

      Keyboard and touchpad
      The keyboard is one of the biggest differences between the XPS 13 2-in-1 and the XPS 13 clamshell, other than the convertible form factor, of course. The XPS 13 2-in-1 has a MagLev keyboard, something that first debuted in the XPS 15 2-in-1 and reached its second generation in last year's XPS 13 2-in-1.



      Honestly, this feels a lot more like the first generation to me, which I don't like as much. I really appreciated the improved keyboard last year, and maybe it's because I just reviewed the XPS 13 clamshell, but the keys feel more wobbly and less comfortable than I remember them being last year. It seems louder as well.



      According to the specs, this should be the same keyboard as we got last year, with 0.7mm key travel. It's using magnets to balance the shallow depth with resistance, and it actually does a better job at that than you'd expect. The whole point is to create a keyboard that takes up less space in the chassis. I just don't really understand why Dell has to make such sacrifices and other companies don't; the same can be said for when Dell used to use Y-series processors in the XPS 13 2-in-1.

      Still, when Dell introduced its redesigned XPS 13 clamshell at CES last year, I asked if it was making the switch to MagLev, because I thought last year's XPS 13 2-in-1 was that good, that it wasn't a compromise anymore. It struck me that Dell didn't think it was good enough to use in the clamshell, so I'd recommend testing out this keyboard before buying it.



      The Microsoft Precision touchpad is clickable, something that should probably go without saying, but when we start talking about saving space in the chassis, the mechanical touchpad can be one of the things on the chopping block. I appreciate that Dell has been making its touchpads bigger, taking advantage of the available real estate on the deck. In fact, for such a small footprint, you'd probably expect a much smaller touchpad.

      Performance and battery life
      This year's refresh was mostly about including Intel's new 11th-generation processors, which are codenamed Tiger Lake. The successor to Ice Lake, this is the second generation of Intel's long-delayed 10nm process, and there are some significant improvements.

      One big change is that the CPU itself is just better. With the 10th generation, Intel actually had two mobile families: Ice Lake and Comet Lake. Comet Lake existed as yet another 14nm family, but it also offered a more powerful CPU because Intel had to lower clock speeds to get down to 10nm. That's been improved with Tiger Lake.



      But once again, Intel is also focusing on integrated graphics with its new Iris Xe brand. It's pretty great, and you can do things with the XPS 13 2-in-1 that I'd have told you to get a dGPU for just a few years ago. It still feels like an impressive technical feat, seeing something this small and knowing that it actually has some graphics power.

      You can actually do some Full HD gaming on the XPS 13 2-in-1, or you can do some video editing on it. Obviously, it's engineered for productivity and that should be your main use case, but there's a world of possibilities as Intel continues to focus on graphics power.

      As for battery life, I got about six and a half hours of real-world work out of it. As usual, that's with the power slider one notch above battery saver and the screen on 25% brightness. I always keep the screen on the lowest brightness that I can comfortably use, and it's a testament to the screen's brightness that I can keep this one at 25%. But as far as battery life goes, keep in mind that if you go for the UHD option, you'll get worse battery life than this.

      For benchmarks, I used PCMark 8 and PCMark 10.

      XPS 13 2-in-1
      Core i7-1165G7 XPS 13 2-in-1
      Core i7-1065G7 Lenovo Yoga 9i
      Core i7-1185G7 Dell XPS 13
      Core i7-10710U Acer Asipre 5
      Ryzen 7 4700U PCMark 8: Home 4,344 3,795 3,867 3,501 3,702 PCMark 8: Creative 4,560 4,194 4,762 3,966 4,228 PCMark 8: Work 3,980 3,723 3,473 3,342 3,689 PCMark 10 4,929 4,441 4,861 4,314 4,718 Geekbench 5 1,526 / 5,623
      Conclusion
      As always, Dell's XPS 13 2-in-1, just like the rest of the XPS lineup, is a winner. It's so compact and portable and it focuses on a range of use cases. My two biggest complaints are the MagLev keyboard, which you should really try before you buy, and that there's no 4G LTE option. And as I mentioned earlier, it's hard to cut Dell a break on the MagLev keyboard since no other OEM has to do it like that.



      But like I said, this works for a broad array of use cases. Obviously, it's engineered for productivity as a main use case, but now one wants to use a device for just work. No, at the end of the day, you'll take it home and watch movies and such, or play games. And with Tiger Lake and Iris Xe performance, you can absolutely play games, or you can edit those family photos in Photoshop or Lightroom.

      Since this is a convertible, it's even more versatile. You can fold the display back and use it as a tablet, using the pen to draw, mark up photos, draw routes on maps, and so on. You might be better off asking what the XPS 13 2-in-1 can't do rather than what it can.

      And it's quite good at all of those things. Like I said, Dell XPS is always a winner, and you can never really go wrong with buying one. If you want to check out this model, you can find it here.