Articles about Review

Huawei MateBook first-impressions review

Huawei Matebook display

At MWC 2016, Huawei has announced the MateBook 2-in-1 tablet, entering an ever-growing market already populated by the likes of Apple’s iPad Pro and Microsoft’s Surface Pro devices.

Aimed at business users, the Intel-powered MateBook provides the mobility of a smartphone with the power and performance of a laptop, enabling the modern mobile workforce to work anytime, anywhere.

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iPad Pro's fatal flaw? [fifth in a series]

Apple-iPad-Pro

Editor's Note: Apple contacted me on February 16th, suggesting the short battery life is abnormal. We discussed tech support option but I chose instead to replace the whole kit—iPad Pro and keyboard—to see if the short battery life with Smart Keyboard is a one-off hardware problem.

The follow-up post, on February 24th, countermands the negative conclusions stated in this review. Battery life from the second kit is hugely satisfying and plenty long enough for the typical workday. The user experiences aren't comparable. I debated about deleting the original story but that feels like hiding something. Hopefully this addendum sufficiently retracts the original conclusion.

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CloudMagic is a great cross-platform email app [Review]

CloudMagic for Mac 1

Finding an email app that I can enjoy using has proven to be quite a challenge. I want an app that is available on multiple platforms, that works on smartphones, tablets and PCs equally well. I also want it to support all my favorite email services, and make it easy for me to sort all my messages quickly. Sounds simple, right?

Those are not outrageous requirements, yet, until recently, the only app that came close was Outlook. However, it is far from perfect, as it lacks an OS X version -- which forces me to either use a different app on my Mac or turn to the browser -- and it also has some usability issues, depending on the platform or the provider I am using. I said until recently because I now find CloudMagic to be a superior option.

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Don't say Enigma Software's SpyHunter is rubbish or you just might get sued

don't_shoot_the_messenger

Technology website BleepingComputer is being sued by Enigma Software (ESG) over a negative review of its SpyHunter antimalware software. In fact, it's not really a review that has caused Enigma Software to start complaining about "false, disparaging, and defamatory statements", but a thread on its forums.

The lawsuit also suggests that BleepingComputer is "driving traffic and sales to Malwarebytes and driving traffic and sales away from ESG" (Bleeping Computer runs an affiliate program involving Malwarebytes) The timing of this is interesting, as it comes at the same time as the European Court of Human Rights ruled that website owners are not responsible for comments posted by readers.

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What I Don't Like About Apple iPad Pro [third in a series]

iPad Pro Batman Returns

Day 5 morning, and I am close to returning the iPad Pro to T-Mobile. There are too many quirks that reaffirm my contention in this series' second post: Apple's big-ass tablet is a proof-of-concept device that's ready, or so I thought, for few users (digital content creators) but not the masses. Now I wonder if the thang is ready for anyone.

Setting up Apple Pencil should be as easy as pulling off the rear cap, inserting into Lightning port, and acknowledging Bluetooth connect request prompt. But there is no response from the tablet, after a half-dozen attempts, so I Google for solutions. No luck there, and I check Bluetooth settings, where the device doesn't appear. Disconnect my Harman Kardon speakers. No change. Turn off and on Bluetooth. Nope. Detach Pencil, try again. Success! Device shows up, pairs, then disconnects, and stays that way until I try again, and then it's "Groundhog Day" time. I'm Bill Murray reliving the same moment over and over without progress.

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Is Apple iPad Pro too big? [second in a series]

Apple iPad Pro and Rolling Stone

"Look up, waaaaaay up" is a phrase familiar to Canadians of a certain age, who watched "The Friendly Giant". The kids program aired from 1958 to 1985 on CBC, which our TV antenna grabbed from the local affiliate across the border in New Brunswick (I'm from Northern Maine). There's something about iPad Pro's enormity that makes it feel more like something the Giant would use.

My question this fine Friday: Is iPad Pro too big? For the majority of potential buyers, my answer is unequivocally yes. I don't see a product made for the majority. Whatever Apple's post-PC ambitions, iPad Pro is more a proof-of-concept for future laptop replacement. However, for the few -- creators looking for larger digital canvas -- iPad Pro offers much. For the many, the first version will work out the kinks, such as getting the app platform placed, for mass-market successors. Warning: Embracing the expansive tablet may make switching to something smaller nearly impossible. Size matters, and sometimes larger is better.

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OnePlus X: Impressive mid-range smartphone [Review]

OnePlus-X-sleeve

OnePlus may not be a name that springs instantly to mind when you think of smartphones, but it really should be. It is a Chinese company that is fast developing a reputation for turning out quality handsets at something of a bargain price.

The company's latest OnePlus X model starts at around £200 which is only about £40 below the price of its flagship, the better specified OnePlus 2 model, so does it live up to the company’s claims that this is an affordable phone with premium features?

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My Apple iPad Pro adventure begins [first in a series]

iPad Pro

The first thing you notice about iPad Pro is the size. The tablet is ginormous. Its 12.9-inch screen lays before you like a chalk slate -- a blank canvas demanding typed text or drawings made with Apple Pencil. Yet something also feels wrong about the thing. During the so-called Steve Jobs era, refined designs were smaller -- like iPod nano. Apple is no stranger to larger; 27-inch iMac today or 17-inch MacBook Pro of yesteryear are examples. Perhaps. But there's big, and BIG.

The giant tablet arrived around 2:50 p.m. PST on Groundhog Day 2016, marking a bold computing adventure for February: Using iPad Pro as my primary PC, and hopefully only one. Perhaps you read my recent obituary to Apple love lost and might wonder why buy anything Apple? I like to experiment and am paid to try out new things (so you won't have to). By sheer size, PC replacement -- not companion -- is the only sensible use for iPad Pro. Can it meet the demands? I want to find out.

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Lenovo ThinkPad 10: A viable laptop substitute [Review]

Lenovo ThinkPad 10

The majority of tablets are aimed at consumers and, therefore, business features can sometimes feel a little tacked on. Some manufacturers take a different approach, however, and there is little doubt that latest second generation of ThinkPad 10 from Lenovo is not aimed squarely at business users.

It runs 64-bit Windows 10, has Trusted Platform Module encryption and other features and options that will make it an attractive corporate choice. Add in the fact that it is solidly built and has lots of accessories available to improve its usefulness as a business tool and it looks even more impressive, and even more similar to the Microsoft Surface. So, is this a better option for serious tablet users than a device based around a mobile OS, like Android?

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Inateck BR1002 Bluetooth transmitter/receiver [Review]

Inateck BR1002

We live in a world where we increasingly expect everything to interface with everything else. New cars come with Bluetooth and wireless connections for example to access information from your phone, and audio systems are able to stream music around your home.

But what if you have an older car, or if you want to link a smartphone to your non-smart home Hi-Fi? Inateck has an answer in the form of the BR1002, a neat little gadget that can turn your older devices into Bluetooth enabled ones.

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Penclic R3: Not your typical mouse [Review]

Penclic Mouse R3-1

Using a mouse for long periods can be uncomfortable and in severe cases may even lead to repetitive strain injury.

There are various pieces of kit on the market to help you avoid this including ergonomically designed mice and wrist rests. Taking a slightly different and more innovative approach to the problem is the Penclic which is a sort of fusion of mouse and pen.

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Google Nexus 5X: An Android Marshmallow smartphone worthy of your attention [Review]

Google Nexus 5X

Phones have been gradually getting bigger in the past few years. That makes for better displays for watching videos and viewing documents and web pages, but there’s a downside too.

For many people it makes them more awkward to carry around and can mean they’re harder to use as a phone because you need two hands to operate them.

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Two weeks with Google Pixel C [preview]

Pixel C

For about a fortnight, I have used Google's Pixel C as my primary tablet. I like the 10.2-inch slate much more than anticipated, particularly after being negatively influenced by some rather lukewarm techsite reviews before FedEx delivered the tab to my door.

Google designed and produces Pixel C, which is by far the best Android tablet you can buy anywhere. Like Nexus smartphones, which debuted in January 2010, the tablet is meant as a reference design for OEMs and developing Android apps appropriate for larger, but still mobile, screens. I primarily will focus on the hardware this round; apps and Android will come next year in my full review.

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Xiaomi Mi4c: Awesome Android smartphone that doesn't break the bank [Review]

Xiaomi Mi4c front

These days you do not have to spend much to get a good smartphone. Using a Xiaomi Mi4c as my daily driver for the past couple of weeks has made it clear that you can get an impressive handset for just around $200. It is the sort of smartphone that makes you believe that you can have your cake and eat it too -- its specs read like those of some flagships while its price is similar to that of more affordable mid-rangers.

The software is pretty nice as well. Unlike some other interpretations of Android, Xiaomi's MIUI looks good and adds some worthwhile changes that overall add up to a solid user experience. Now, let's take a closer look at Mi4c.

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Bvckup 2 is a hassle-free backup tool [Review]

Backup

Let’s face it, backups are pretty boring, which is probably the reason why they often get overlooked and people find themselves staring into the abyss of lost data. Part of the reason why so many of us hate backups is that the software used often seems to overcomplicate things with lots of options that many people never use.

Bvckup 2 aims to change all of this with a backup solution that’s clean, simple to use, elegant and fast. Produced by Swiss company Pipemetrics, Bvckup 2 is small -- the installer is less than 2MB in size - but packs in a surprising amount of sophistication.

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