Microsoft has been creating working frameworks for PCs for the longest time. However, it was just in 2012 that it started making PCs that it can consider its own. The PC, known as the Surface, denoted Microsoft’s entrance into the tablet market, and this 2-in-1 gadget has been refined and enhanced throughout the years. The Surface family has always represented the organization’s vision for the future of personal computing.
Despite its current popularity, the early Surface gadgets weren’t especially generally welcomed. They were heavy, bulky, costly, and didn’t work that well at all. In any case, that changed when Microsoft introduced the Surface Pro 3 in May 2014. The improvements, however slight, are well considered and greatly enhanced the ease of use of the Surface Pro 3. Furthermore, in late 2015, Microsoft refreshed the Surface Pro lineup with the Surface Pro 4, which accompanied huge enhancements over the Surface Pro 3. Even with all the competitions, the Surface Pro 4 remained one of the top favorite Windows 10 detachable tablets and emerged as one of the best-selling Surface products. Since then, the Surface family has taken the business world by storm and becoming the market leader in its category.
Now, after slightly more than 18 months in the market, Microsoft has finally rolled out the fifth generation in the Surface family – not Surface Pro 5, but simply Surface Pro.
Solid Specifications and Impressive Performance
Credits to : Microsoft Surface
The first upgrade from its predecessor includes adding Intel’s Kaby Lake processor, with the top-end model sporting the Core i7 along with the 16GB RAM to significantly increase its performance. (Available CPU model options are Core m3-7Y30, Core i5-7300U and Core i7-7660U processors.) This tweak racks up its benchmark score, beating the majority of its rivals hands down, including the Dell XPS 13, the Surface Laptop and even the HP Elitebook X360. (Click here for full specifications)
This upgrade also drives better power efficiency, which equals to longer battery life. The new Surface Pro also comes with a slightly larger 45Wh battery as compared to the Surface Pro 4 at only 39Wh. And, based on my regular usage, I can use it all day without plugging in power. In this aspect, Microsoft has made a real all-day machine here, which is excellent for frequent travelers or usage on-the-go.
Crisp Display and 10 Point Multi-touch
The touchscreen function has also been an essential part of the Surface family, and you can expect the New Surface Pro to come with a new display technology that will improve the accuracy of the touchscreen both for fingers and for the Surface Pen.
Adding on, the Surface Pro features a 12.3in, 3:2 display with 2736 x 1824 pixels. It equates to 267ppi, and it’s plenty enough to make everything look nice and crisp. Brightness is blazing, and the deep contrast levels make it as great for both office work as well as entertainment. Colour accuracy is also superb, with no particular weaknesses. This tablet is great for graphic designers!
The Surface Pro enjoys the same outstanding attention to detail as every other tablet gadgets in the market, and Microsoft’s ability to produce extremely well-built machines is as apparent as always. Simply put, the Surface Pro is solid as a rock and exudes a certain futuristic quality.
Comparing the Surface Pro with its predecessors, it is not that hard to spot the differences. For starters, the new Surface Pro is much less angular and soften with more rounded corners. The exhaust vents along the edges are also less pronounced as compared to the previous models.
The newly redesigned hinge allows the Surface Pro to tilt up to 165 degrees, allowing it to lie almost entirely flat, which Microsoft calls it the “Studio Mode.” The hinge no longer snaps (for safety) if you push it too far, and Microsoft claims that the hinge would not break if you lean on it too much. The “Studio Mode” comes very handy for illustrators and designers to sketch and design with ease.
Another feature of the Surface Pro is its fan-less design (for the Core m3 and Core i5 models). This feature enables for quieter operations. The i7 model, on the other hand, has an enhanced cooling system that is even quieter and less intrusive under load.
Ports remain unchanged, so you get a USB 3.0, a mini-DP video output and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The microSDXC card reader is embedded hidden under the kickstand.
In general, the Surface Pro (i5 model) comes in at the about 8.5mm of thickness with a 770g weight. Considering that Microsoft accomplished this while packing inside a 20% larger battery, and other upgrades, it’s an impressive feat.
Improved Typing Experience with Signature Type Cover
The Signature Alcantara® Type Cover is a marked improvement in comfort over the previous version, and worth the slight price upgrade. The Alcantara® material provides a perfect blend of sophisticated style, comfort, and technology. It has full-sized keys, LED backlighting, and a large glass trackpad. Available in three colors: Platinum, Burgundy, and Cobalt Blue.
Surface Pen With a Big Boost
Unlike the Surface Pro 4, the new Surface Pro doesn’t include the Surface Pen. Pressure sensitivity has been quadrupled from 1,024 to 4,096, a new tilt feature has been included which allows creatives to shade on their Surface Pro, and latency has been reduced drastically to 21ms on the Surface Pro. The combination makes the Surface Pro one of the best inking experiences on the market, and an excellent tool for digital drawing and handwriting.
I’ve used many tablets (including Asus Google Nexus 7, Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0, iPad Mini 4, iPad Air 2, etc) but there’s no doubt this Surface Pro is the best one yet. It is a superb 2-in-1, beautifully built and performs well. It’s expensive, but worth it for its excellent design, build quality, and features. It comes as a useful business and design device.
BenQ EL2870U: 4K HDR Gaming Monitor with Eye-care Technology (Recommended for PS4)
There are tons of monitors in the market these days, ranging from your $50 run-of-the-mill basics with a single VGA or DVI port to your top-of-the-line Ultra-High-Definition (UHD) monitors with multiple HDMI and display ports. Having said this, if you want a top-of-the-line monitor with the best technology like 4K and High Dynamic Range (HDR) support, you are usually looking for quite an investment.
Almost everybody is familiar with 4K monitors since they have been around for quite some time. These types of monitors can also come with integrated HDR support; however, devices that come with both 4K and HDR support aren’t that common in the market, thus making BenQ EL2870U monitor something unique and rare.
The EL2870U is a 28-inch 4K gaming monitor that is designed using the classic Twisted Nematic (TN) display technology. Unlike other 4K monitors in the market, the BenQ EL2870U may seem to be a relatively affordable 4K monitor, but don’t be fooled into thinking it’s a bargainous entry into the beautiful, brightly-colored world of high dynamic range gaming. What makes the EL2870U different from your usual 4K gaming monitor is that this monitor not only has a super-fast 1ms response time, but it also has HDR compatibility – a feature that is commonly linked to Advanced Hyper-Viewing Angles (AHVA) and In-Plane Switching (IPS) monitors.
This monitor’s ability to provide breathtaking visuals with its 4K display and HDR support makes it ideal for all types of uses on both PC and 4K HDR console gaming like the PlayStation 4 (PS4).
Solid and Sturdy Build
The BenQ EL2870U features a minimalist design, and the simple grey color tone works well with the monitor, giving it a futuristic touch. The EL2870U has moderately thick bezels (~18mm thick at the sides and ~23.5mm at the bottom) with some weight and heft to it. Pairing with a small but sturdy base, the monitor sits solidly on any desk.
In contrast with the AOC I2757FH known for its ‘borderless’ design, the EL2870U still feels a bit thick on its bezels. Nonetheless, comparing them side by side, one can see that EL2870U is a more sleek and well-designed monitor.
Along the rear side of the monitor are the inputs which are all designed for easy access. It has two HDMI 2.0 ports, one 1.4 Display Port and a 3.5mm audio jack. Other buttons are situated on the bottom right to change the monitor’s settings as well as to power it on. Also, there’s an additional button located on the front right side of the monitor with a shiny gold badge, giving you control on its HDR; the button helps the display if the mode is set on active. This feature can be utilized to automatically start-up the BI+ (Brightness Intelligence Plus Technology) or the HDR mode even when the content doesn’t support HDR mode.
The monitor also offers 100 VESA holes, centrally, for alternative mounting to be used with an aftermarket arm or bracket. This standard mounting hole pattern provides you with the luxury of mounting it if you are not keen on using the default stand.
28-inch with HDR capability
The BenQ EL2870U features a 27.9 inches screen with a max resolution of 3840×2160. What’s even better is its fast 1ms response time, 60Hz refresh rate and 1000:1 contrast ratio. With a brightness of 300 and an available LED backlight, the display looks stunning, the colors are vivid and punchy, adding excellent details to your gaming and HDR video content. The super-fast 1ms response also eliminates motion smear for smoother video and gaming. Dynamic action and dramatic transitions are rendered perfectly without lag or ghosting, giving you vibrant, realistic, and precise images.
The monitor’s ability to display HDR content even without any HDR signal is mainly due to its HDR emulation from BenQ. It brightens up the visuals while also improving the image contrast. Precision brightness is what this gaming monitor offers, and it provides ultra-fine details for your viewing and gaming enjoyment.
The EL2870U’s HDR hotkey on the front can allow you to readily switch from four levels of BI+ and HDR modes based on specific conditions in diverse viewing environments. This feature also lets you enjoy brilliant HDR display performance while simultaneously maintaining increased levels of viewing comfort when watching or gaming in dimly lit environments.
Industry-Leading Eye-Care Technology
Global safety authority TÜV Rheinland certifies BenQ EL2870U’s High Flicker-Free, Low Blue Light, and Brightness Intelligence Plus as truly friendly to the human eye.
Brightness Intelligence Plus (BI+) Technology reduces eye strain in any lighting environment due to prolong usage. The BI+ leverages on its light sensor that is fixed on a panel to detect ambient brightness as well as color temperature levels. By doing so, it automatically adjusts on-screen brightness and color temperature to fit your surroundings. It also gradually adjusts the screen’s brightness based on your usage time. This feature protects your eyes while simultaneously delivering adequate image quality for that specific environment.
Part of the Eye-Care technology is BenQ’s High Flicker-Free and Low Blue Light technology as well. These are features that are necessary for a gaming enthusiast who is concerned about the effects of prolonged hours of staring at the screen.
Superb Performance with AMD FreeSync™ Technology
Watching 4K videos on EL2870U is pretty enjoyable as it can produce clearer, deeper and richer images. Fine details can be seen clearly so you can surely take advantage of this excellent viewing experience from EL2870U.
On top of this, the EL2870U’s extreme resolution enhances the standard image quality while gaming or watching films, even much more accurate for HDR content like on the PlayStation 4.
Since the EL2870U is being designed for casual gamers who want an affordable 4K gaming experience, BenQ has incorporated support for AMD FreeSync to help enhance the experience for gamers.
Perhaps this is one of the best features offered by the EL2870U, an adaptive sync technology that reduces screen tearing in games by synchronizing the refresh rate of the monitor to the framerate of an AMD Radeon video card. Both the AMD FreeSync and Nvidia G-Sync behave very similarly, but essentially the main difference is the cost.
Thoughts on the BenQ EL2870U
The BenQ EL2870U is an excellent 4K affordable gaming monitor, and it has everything a gamer can ask for in a budget-friendly 4K gaming monitor. It also has useful daily features if you want to limit eye fatigue with its eye-care technology. However, one drawback of this monitor is its audio performance. Even at full volume, they sound thin and distant. Therefore, it is recommended to get a set of external speakers or a good gaming headset. Other than this, the BenQ EL2870U is still built with quality and superb implementations that gamers and enthusiasts look for.
Quick Review: SAVFY® True Wireless Bluetooth 4.1 Earbuds
Wired earbuds and earphones are the things of the past. Let’s face it: No matter how good they may sound, untangling the cords of your favorite earbuds can be a nuisance, so is carrying a set of juggernaut earphones. Wireless technology, on the other hand, frees you from the cables that tether you to your music. And now more and more smartphones are ditching the 3.5mm headphone jack and adopting this wireless trend.
But when it comes to true wireless experience, the marketplace isn’t without its fair share of poor-functioning products. From short battery life to poor connection, sometimes you may wonder if it is better for you to go back to your wired lifestyle. Nevertheless, this trend is here to stay and will be widely adopted while better products are coming in its way.
Of course, wireless connectivity isn’t the only innovation that wireless earbuds bring to the table: You’ll find some brands or models with noise-cancellation, extended battery lives, Hi-Res Audio support, etc.
SAVFY® True Wireless Bluetooth 4.1 Earbuds
The SAVFY® True Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds are fully sweat-resistant truly wireless earphones that fit comfortably and securely. Compared to other Elite brands, the SAVFY® True Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds is a bang for the buck, as it does not lose out in terms of its build quality and design. This set of earbuds are also great for wire-free beginners as they are intuitive to use.
Sleek Design with Comfort: The in-ear units themselves feature a sleek-looking profile, and they’re stunning. Bundled with the set are three sets of silicone tips and the ergonomic design ensures a perfect seal in your ears, serving up a comfortable fit with excellent passive noise isolation. The specifications of the SAVFY® True Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds are really basic. However, upon listening, they didn’t seem to fair too bad. The sound comes through clear and detailed, with a nice bass to it.
Ample Battery with Extra Juice on the Go: The battery life is not the best on the market, but just enough for daily usage. A charge entitles you with 2-3 hours of use time, and the charging case adds two extra charges on the go.
Easy Pairing with Average Connectivity: Once out of the charging case, it will enter the matching state, and the left and right earbuds are automatically paired. Concurrently, the earbuds also go into an automatic-pairing mode, with alternating red/blue light, looking for the previously paired device. (It pairs perfectly with the Huawei P20 Pro!)
Another great feature of the SAVFY® True Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds is that the earbuds can work together or separately. Therefore, it allows you to have the flexibility to use them individually to either alternate the earbuds for extended use or to share one side with friends or family.
Connectivity has nothing to boast about as sometimes you will get a small skip or beat of the missed music.
Smart Charging Box with 300mAh Capacity: The SAVFY® True Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds have a really simple design that rests beautifully in the charging case. The charging case serves as a container to house the earbuds and acts as a portable charging to refuel the earbuds. There are also red-light indicators to show that the wireless earbuds are charging in storage. It has a micro USB port for charging via the power socket, as well.
Other Neat Extras: There are some features you don’t usually get in an ‘entry-level’ true wireless earbuds such as a voice prompt for low-battery notification, as well as for pairing status. You will also have simple control on the earpieces to either start or stop the playing of the media.
Good or No Good?
The SAVFY® True Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds are the one to start your wireless lifestyle. Pairing is easy and intuitive, and it offers almost everything you want, and nothing you don’t. Best of all is the price of less than S$50 (£35.99). It is definitely the wireless earbuds you should give a try!
Huawei P20 Pro: Three-Eyed Beast with Great Speed and Battery Life
Huawei has continuously improved its smartphones over the past few years, posing a serious threat to the dominance of Samsung and Apple. The P20 Pro is Huawei’s latest flagship smartphone, and arguably its best phone yet. It brings a remarkably well-built device with a triple camera system and loads of style, competing against top rivals like the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus and iPhone X.
Huawei has fulfilled all the apparent must-haves for a 2018 phone. It reduced the bezels and provided an option to remove the notch. It has a glass back, which has become quite a favorite material of choice for premium mobile phones. It also features multiple cameras and top-notch specs, which are pretty much a standard for a flagship, but it’s what Huawei did beyond the usual suspects that make it so appealing.
Premium Design and Build Quality
Concerning looks, the P20 Pro is a slightly larger version of the P20. It measures 155 x 73.9 x 7.8 mm and weighs about 180g. Aside from the P20 Pro’s improved physical appearance over the Huawei P10, it adopts an uncannily iPhone X-like in design. The dimensions and ergonomics of this phone approach close to perfection as the device melts into your grip and can be used comfortably single-handedly. For a phone built with glass on both the front and back, the P20 Pro feels surprisingly rigid and durable.
It also comes in a range of colors including its signature Twilight (also the one I am having). Purple at the top transits smoothly to a greenish-turquoise at the bottom, the sort of finish you will see more often on a supercar than a phone. Other colors are Midnight Blue and Black which are pretty safe colors.
On top of its design, the Pro version gets full IP67 dust and waterproofing which makes it great for outdoor photography on a rainy day. However, this also means that you have to sacrifice the removable battery and external SD card slot.
The final aspect of its design worth noting here is the absence is the headphone jack, but this can be easily taken care off by using a USB-C to 3.5mm converter that is bundled with the phone, or you can simply paired it with a wireless earpiece.
Bright 6.1 Inch OLED Display
The all-new HUAWEI FullView Display (Full HD+ 2,244 x1,080 pixels resolution) looks stunning, and the colors are vivid and punchy. Watching Netflix on the P20 Pro is enjoyable. The display also supports Natural Tone so that it will adjust the color temperature of the display based on ambient lighting. There is also an option to change the view mode, text size, and screen resolution to make sure the display satisfies the different needs of its users.
Leica Triple Camera Paired with Master AI
The camera is the one major selling point of the Huawei P20 Pro. The P20 Pro features a Leica triple camera with supposedly the highest pixel count available on a modern smartphone; the camera configuration is comprised of a 40MP RGB sensor, a 20MP monochrome sensor, and an 8MP sensor with a telephoto lens.
The P20 Pro’s main camera sensor is extra large, more than double of what you get with an iPhone X or a Galaxy S9, leading to some shockingly impressive low-light performance. Image quality from the P20 Pro is, by a great margin, the best that Huawei has ever produced, and even more superior to those on the Galaxy S9 and iPhone X.
Photo Mode vs Night Mode, Solaris@One-North (Singapore)
Photo Mode vs Monochrome Mode, Wat Intharawihan (Bangkok, Thailand)
Photo Mode vs Night Mode vs Monochrome Mode, Wat Intharawihan (Bangkok, Thailand)
The camera features of the P20 Pro don’t stop there. There’s a nifty six-second long exposure mode which leaverages on its AIS (Artificial Intelligence Stabilisation) and ISO (up to 51,200) to deliver sharp night shots without the use of a tripod. The Kirin 970’s NPU (Neural Processing Unit) is also used together with all the camera hardware to avoid blurring caused by shaky hands.
The Master AI is awesome! It is an AI-powered recognition engine that analyses visual information from the viewfinder in real-time. Based on the information obtained, the Master AI auto-suggests features scene and facial recognition in order to set the best camera mode for the user. The engine is also capable of learning and adapting to its user’s behavior so as to provide the user with a customized camera experience.
Master AI, Fyn Hotel (Bangkok, Thailand)
Improved EMUI 8.1
When it comes to software, the P20 Pro runs on Android 8.1 with Huawei’s EMUI custom skin. At first glance, EMUI has been made to copy Apple’s own mobile operating system by ditching Android’s usual app drawer and handing its users a suit of Huawei’s apps to use. Compared to a clumsy iOS rip-off a couple of years ago, it has improved quite a bit to achieve quite an acceptable user experience today.
Similar to Samsung, Huawei offers a feature called App Twin, which allows you to run multiple instances of the same mobile app. This feature enables you to be logged into multiple accounts of the same social or messaging service. Huawei also has a split-screen feature, of course, and a sophisticated screenshot tool.
Powerful Performance and Long Battery Life
There are no corners cut on performance, with its octa-core Kirin 970 processor, the most powerful Huawei has made to date, along with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. This beast packs more than enough power to handle multiple demanding apps at once. From experience, the phone performed extremely well and everything runs smoothly. The performance on the P20 Pro is snappy and responsive for every task thrown at it.
Another key feature of the P20 Pro is its massive 4000mAh non-removable battery. This ultra-battery life is more than enough to see the handset through at least two days of moderate use. On heavy usage, the P20 Pro can still left with 20% juice after 1 whole day. The Super Charge fast-charging feature also outweighs Samsung’s Adaptive Fast Charging and LG’s Quick Charge 3.0, which will get you to about 60 percent in 30 minutes.
The powerful synergy between the excellent ergonomics, stunning display, professional cameras, and responsiveness of the Huawei P20 Pro shouldn’t be underestimated. In building the P20 Pro, Huawei is aiming to build a flagship phone that’s good enough to compete with the iPhones and Galaxies of the world. When it comes to the camera for still shots, the P20 Pro is by far the best in the market. That said, Huawei still has much to improve on its EMUI and video-capturing capabilities. Add in the long battery life and dual SIM slots, the Huawei P20 Pro definitely a phone that deserves your attention.
Update: 9 July 2018
Although Huawei P20 Pro has been an awesome phone, there is a slight lag whenever you are taking a photo at 40MP. When the Huawei team was contacted, they weren’t sure what is causing the issue and since then, I have been waiting for a solution to solve this problem. Besides this, Google Map seems to be slightly inaccurate and the phone does not work for Instagram Boomerang.
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