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Google Pixel 8 Review.

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Google Pixel 8 is the latest iteration in Google’s iconic smartphone series, continues to preserve the brand’s reputation for delivering an outstanding Android experience, with a refined appearance and notable improvements in a variety of areas.

 Google Pixel 8’s Design and Display

When you examine the Pixel 8 and the Pixel 7 side-by-side, it can be difficult to discern any distinctions between the two. The Pixel 8 from Google has seen minor changes to its design, reducing its size and making it easier to handle. The glass back and aluminium frame are reminiscent of the Pixel 7, though the corners and edges of the rear are more deeply curved. Additionally, the camera bar at the back is thicker and the cutouts for the camera are larger than before. The LED flash and rear microphone remain in the same locations as the previous model.

The Pixel 8 has more consistent side bezels than its predecessor, the Pixel 7. It is still not perfectly uniform, but it is an improvement. The volume and power buttons are on the right and the SIM tray is on the left. At the bottom of the device, there is a speaker, USB Type-C port, and microphone. Additionally, there is a third microphone located on the top of the phone.

Since the Pixel 2 and 3, Google has sought to bring something special to the table with its Pixel series, and the Pixel 8 is no exception. Its design stands apart from other phones, and the camera bar ensures that the phone remains stable when placed on a surface. Additionally when using the device, you can rest your finger conveniently on the bar.

The Pixel 8 is equipped with a 6.2-inch Actua AMOLED display that has been shielded by Corning’s Gorilla Glass Victus. This screen can switch between a 60Hz and 120Hz refresh rate, with the former being the default when the phone is first switched on. When compared to the Pixel 7, the Pixel 8 has a more advanced panel as it can reach up to 2000 nits of brightness and 1,400 nits in HDR mode. Additionally, its peak brightness of 1400 nits is considerably higher than the Pixel 7. In bright conditions, the new Pixel 8 offers a much better viewing experience than its predecessor. The display on this device can be considered a true flagship one.

The Google Pixel 8 is IP68 rated for water and dust resistance, allowing you to use it in the rain. Nonetheless, it is not advisable to keep the device submerged in water or exposed to the elements for extended periods. You can take it for a quick dip to take pictures in the pool, but it should not be used during a dive.

Regarding the phones speakers, much like all of the current Pixel devices, the Pixel 8 includes a two-speaker hybrid system; one located on the bottom of the phone and the other employed as the earpiece. The sound-stage on the Pixel 8 is not significantly different from that of the Pixel 7, though there is more bass available and it gets quite loud.

Google Pixel 8 Software and Performance

Google puts more emphasis on AI proficiency and software proficiency rather than sheer power and that can clearly be seen. The Pixel 8 isn’t likely to be winning any benchmark tests or provide the highest FPS for gaming, however, no stutters or delays will be experienced when using the phone on a daily basis. Although software optimisation is not yet up to the level of what is available on iOS devices, navigating the UI, switching apps, opening apps and all other processes between are still relatively smooth.

The Google Pixel 8 is outfitted with the Tensor G3 system-on-a-chip, providing a step up from the Pixel 7’s Tensor G2. Performance-wise, however, you won’t be able to detect much of a difference. This 4nm chip incorporates a nine-core nona-core architecture, 8GB LPDDR5X RAM, and an Immortalis-G715 MP10 GPU. Storage-wise, you can choose between 128 and 256GB versions.

Let’s focus on the software aspect of the Pixel now. There are a few exclusive features, such as Now Playing, which can detect songs playing around you. Android 14 also brings numerous enhancements, including a range of Lock Screen customisations, new Clocks, monochrome themes and more. Google has also improved Face Unlock with extra security, making it suitable for payments, sign-ins, and even banking apps.

Pixel 8 has several new AI capabilities, such as Audio Eraser, Best Take, and Magic Editor. In addition, Google is planning to combine its Bard chatbot with Google Assistant, which should enable it to offer more comprehensive results utilizing data from other Google tools.

I gave the Audio Eraser a thorough test and it lives up to its promises – it takes away any distracting noise from your audio recordings. For example, I was able to get rid of the traffic noise from wind chimes with just a click. The Best Take feature is also great for group gatherings. It enables you to take multiple selfies or photos and then pick out the faces of each individual in the image.

Magic Editor is the advanced variant of Magic Eraser, providing the users an opportunity to alter an image completely. It is possible to crop out elements, modify the background, and change the sky. This works effectively many times, allowing to move objects, switch the sky, relocate the subject, and ultimately modify the photo’s total composition. This is virtually like magic, unless you have used Photoshop. One thing to remember is that you have to upload the picture to Google Cloud to be able to use the Magic Editor feature, meaning that it won’t work on your cell phone and an internet connection is necessary. In addition, Real Tone, Google’s technology to detect skin tones accurately, is now accessible in videos.

A fresh Artificial Intelligence wallpaper feature has been introduced that allows you to create a personalised wallpaper based on certain predetermined elements. You will have access to an array of cool wallpapers with this feature and the possible combinations are so numerous that you may never exhaust them.

Google recently declared the Pixel 8 series will be supported with 7 years of Android and security updates, which is the most ever for an Android product. Apple only provides 5 years of software support for the iPhone. With proper maintenance, the Pixel 8 could potentially make it through all 7 years of its lifespan.

Google Pixel 8’s Battery Life

The Google Pixel 8 is equipped with a slightly bigger battery compared to the Pixel 7, yet the results weren’t very different. Its 4,575mAh battery managed to last for around 20 hours in our HD video loop test. With normal usage, it got me through the day, yet that excluded gaming. When I put the Pixel 8 to use by watching YouTube, taking pictures, and playing a few games, I had about 25 percent battery left by the end of the day. That would’ve been sufficient to get through the night and beyond.

The Pixel 8 is now equipped with a 27W fast charging feature, which should enable users to charge their phones much faster. I put this to the test using a Google 18W charger and discovered that it took around one hour and forty-five minutes to reach a full charge. Thirty minutes of charging resulted in the battery level reaching 38 percent, and one hour of charging gave the phone a 71 percent battery level.

Google Pixel 8 Cameras

Let’s discuss the part which most people link to Pixel phones: the incredible cameras. Ever since my Google Pixel 3 experience five years ago, I’ve found it difficult to be satisfied with anything else for mobile photography. I tried out an iPhone for a brief period, but that didn’t last and I really missed the Pixel. Google has been continually refining its cameras with each new Pixel launch, and the Pixel 8 stays true to that pattern.

The Google Pixel 8 comes with a 50-megapixel main rear camera which has a f/1.68 aperture lens that allows for 21% more light than the Pixel 7. It also has a Dual Exposure setting that can take two snaps with various exposures, reducing noise and giving a clearer image. The 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera has an autofocus and a 125.8 degree FoV, 22% wider than its predecessor. For the first time, the smaller Pixel also has a Macro mode, due to its improved camera.

The Pixel 8 introduces a new Camera app design. It has a separate Photo and Video mode, which keeps all the other modes organised. On the Pixel 8, however, the Shadow, White Balance, and Brightness sliders are now located below. The Pixel 8 has been upgraded to enable photo capture in the Display P3 colour space, allowing users to view a broader range of colours. However, this feature is set to sRGB as default, and must be changed in the Camera app’s Advanced Settings. Additionally, a new software addition is the capability to capture extra metadata information. This data is used in the Photos app to provide Ultra-HDR support.

The Pixel 8 is a great choice for photos and videos and has impressive HDR, clear details and good low-light shots. In addition, the video has improved from the previous year. The AI capabilities make this phone stand out, and I have been consistently impressed with the photos taken in even difficult situations. I would opt for the Pixel 8 over the newer iPhones and Samsungs if photography is your priority. Google has also managed to upgrade the ultra-wide camera this year.

The Pixel 8 has a 50-megapixel upgraded sensor that produces great pictures in bright light. There is not a significant difference from the Pixel 7, but the images come out a bit sharper. Google has its own style of pictures which includes strong contrast, brighter highlights, and a cooler colour temperature. This has become the classic Pixel style, and is still the best among the top phones.

The ultra-wide of the Pixel 8 has a wider field of view than the Pixel 7 and the pictures it takes are more vivid and defined. The Macro mode is effective and activates when you get close to an object. In addition, Google has made sure the ultra-wide has autofocus for landscape pictures.

I’m a big fan of Night Sight and Astrophotography on Pixel phones, and the Pixel 8 is no disappointment. Its Tensor G3 chip makes the processing times faster, however I don’t think there have been any significant improvements to the Astrophotography mode, since Google didn’t mention it during the launch.

The Pixel 8 has a variety of photo settings, including Action Pan, Long Exposure, Portrait, and Panorama. All of which were available on the Pixel 7 and worked in a similar manner. Even though, I did observe a faster photo process when utilizing Portrait mode and Long Exposure. Additionally, the default setting for Portrait mode is 2x zoom with the option of 1.5x. The Portrait shots appear to be precise, with the right amount of lighting and accurate skin tones. Pixel 8 offers portrait images in two sizes: 2x and 1.5x, which are cropped from the main camera.

The Pixel 8 has a 10.5-megapixel selfie camera with two options; 1x and 0.7x. The 0.7x gives you the ultra-wide native FoV, whereas 1x is cropped in. Daylight selfies look great, and the Night Sight feature makes it possible to capture good shots even in low light. However, it would have been nice if Google had included auto-focus on the front camera, which is only available on the Pro model. Pixel 8 provides two different field of view (FoV) options for taking selfies; the primary being 0.7x and the other being 1x.

The Pixel 8’s video department is impressive, allowing for 4K recording up to 60fps on all cameras, with the best results coming from the rear primary. When shooting in daylight, you’ll get great footage with 10-bit HDR, featuring plenty of detail, great stabilisation, and well-balanced colours. Even in low light, the Pixel 8 will still deliver satisfactory results with good dynamic range and colours, though there is a visible downgrade in quality. The ultra-wide camera is not as impressive though, so it is best to avoid shooting videos with it if possible.

After careful review, the conclusion of the Pixel 8 review is that it is a viable product. It has a good range of features, solid performance, and a reasonable price. Google has made a substantial effort in enhancing the Pixel 8, evidenced by the brighter and premier-caliber display, a convenient and small build, enhanced cameras, plus several enhancements. Additionally, the fresh AI camera features, like Best Take, Magic Editor, and Audio Eraser, make life easier. The Tensor G3 chip set is not a significant update but is adequate for all types of activities. Even though battery life is satisfactory, it is not extraordinary.

The cost of the improved features is high, so it is worth it?

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Infinix GT Book Review: A Promising Debut in Gaming Laptops

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The Infinix GT Book, priced at $720, marks the brand’s entry into the gaming laptop market. Available from May 27, this laptop can be configured with up to an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 GPU, showcasing Infinix’s commitment to delivering a high-performance gaming experience. Here are our initial impressions after spending a few days with the device.

Design and Build Quality

The Infinix GT Book stands out with its Cyber Mecha design, a signature look that extends from Infinix’s recent smartphone lineup. The metal construction of the top and bottom lids, combined with a matte finish, not only enhances durability but also minimizes fingerprints and smudges. The Mecha Loop emblem on the lid adds a touch of style, and the overall build feels solid. Impressively, the GT Book, despite its 16-inch display, weighs just 1.99 kg, making it the lightest gaming laptop in its category according to Infinix.

RGB lighting enthusiasts will appreciate the Mecha Bar, a customizable RGB strip at the back of the laptop, which complements the rear exhaust vents. The bottom panel features an orange-accented grille for intake fans and sturdy rubber feet to keep the laptop stable. All RGB elements can be personalized through the GT Control Centre.

Display and Keyboard

Opening the lid reveals a full-size keyboard with 4-zone RGB lighting and a somewhat small touchpad. The 16-inch display boasts a 16:10 aspect ratio, full-HD resolution, a 120Hz refresh rate, and up to 300 nits of brightness, making it suitable for gaming. The display’s anti-glare coating and slim side bezels enhance the viewing experience, while the top bezel houses a 1080p webcam and dual microphones.

Ports and Connectivity

The Infinix GT Book includes a well-rounded selection of ports: two USB Type-A 3.2 ports, an SD card slot, HDMI 2.0, and a USB Type-C DP port. For connectivity, it supports dual-band WiFi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2. The laptop comes with a 210W power adapter, which is substantial in size.

Performance and Internals

Under the hood, the GT Book features a 70 Whr battery, dual fans for cooling, up to 32GB non-upgradable LPDDR5 RAM, and up to 1TB PCIe 4.0 storage. It can be configured with up to a 13th Gen Intel Core i9 13900H processor and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 GPU with 8GB VRAM. The review unit I tested had a 12th Gen Intel Core i5 12450H processor, Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 with 6GB VRAM, 16GB LPDDR5 RAM, and 512GB PCIe 4.0 storage. There is also a variant with a 13th Gen Intel Core i5 chipset and Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050 GPU.

Pricing and Variants

The base variant, which we are reviewing, is competitively priced at $720. It features a Total Graphics Power (TGP) of 80W, while the higher-end variants offer a slightly higher 90W TGP. Along with the laptop, Infinix is offering freebies as part of a limited-time launch offer, including an RGB gaming mouse, RGB gaming headphones, and an RGB gaming mousepad.

For its first attempt at a gaming laptop, Infinix has delivered a promising product with the GT Book. The competitive pricing, robust design, and ample port selection make it a noteworthy contender in the gaming laptop market. While the internals are not the latest, they should suffice for gaming and video editing tasks. Stay tuned for our full review to see how the Infinix GT Book performs under extensive testing.

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Buying Guide

The Best 2-in-1 Laptops for 2024

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Tablet or Laptop? Why Not Both? Here Are Our Favorite Hybrid Machines

As technology continues to evolve, the demand for versatile computing devices has only increased. While the quest for the perfect hybrid device that functions seamlessly as both a tablet and a laptop continues, several manufacturers are making significant strides. As we enter 2024, Microsoft, Apple, and Samsung are leading the way with some compelling options. Here’s a comprehensive look at the best 2-in-1 laptops available this year, along with key factors to consider before making your purchase.

Quick Overview

  • HP Spectre x360 14: Best overall 2-in-1 laptop
  • Apple iPad Pro (M4): Best 2-in-1 laptop for Apple users
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S9+: Best 2-in-1 laptop for Android users
  • Lenovo Yoga 9i: Honorable mention

HP Spectre x360 14

  • Display: 14-inch OLED touchscreen
  • CPU: Intel Core Ultra 5 125H
  • Weight: 3.19 pounds
  • RAM: Up to 32GB
  • Storage: Up to 2TB

The HP Spectre x360 14 stands out as a versatile and powerful 2-in-1 laptop, making it our top pick. Its 360-degree hinge allows you to switch between laptop and tablet modes with ease, catering to both work and play. The OLED display is incredibly vibrant, providing excellent color accuracy ideal for creative professionals and media enthusiasts alike. Equipped with a powerful Intel Core Ultra processor and up to 32GB of RAM, it can handle demanding applications and multitasking effortlessly. Additionally, its premium design, excellent keyboard, and large touchpad add to its appeal.

Pros:

  • Versatile convertible screen
  • Vibrant OLED display
  • Solid CPU upgrade
  • Excellent keyboard
  • Ample ports

Cons:

  • Design remains largely unchanged
  • Haptic touchpad can be finicky
  • Average battery life

Apple iPad Pro (M4)

  • Display: 11- or 13-inch 120Hz tandem OLED XDR touchscreen
  • CPU: Apple M4
  • Weight: Starting at 0.98 pounds
  • RAM: Up to 16GB
  • Storage: Up to 2TB

The Apple iPad Pro (M4) is the ultimate choice for Apple enthusiasts seeking a hybrid device. The new OLED display is one of the best on any device, providing stunning brightness and contrast. Powered by the M4 chip, this iPad is incredibly fast and future-proof, ensuring top performance for years. The redesign makes it thinner and lighter, enhancing portability. The updated Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil Pro add significant new features, improving usability and making it a formidable competitor in the 2-in-1 market.

Pros:

  • Exceptional OLED screen
  • Powerful M4 chip
  • Thin and light design
  • Improved front camera
  • Enhanced accessories

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Not backward compatible with older accessories
  • New accessories are pricey

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9+

  • Display: 12.4-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X touchscreen
  • CPU: Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
  • Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • RAM: Up to 12GB
  • Storage: Up to 512GB

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S9+ is a solid choice for those who prefer Android. Its 120Hz AMOLED screen is perfect for consuming media, offering rich visuals and smooth performance. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip and 12GB of RAM ensure smooth operation and efficient multitasking. The included S Pen is excellent for note-taking and drawing, making it a versatile tool for both productivity and creativity. Samsung’s improved keyboard case enhances its usability as a laptop replacement, though Android’s limitations as a desktop OS remain a consideration.

Pros:

  • Beautiful AMOLED screen
  • Great speakers
  • Powerful hardware
  • Responsive S Pen
  • DeX mode for multitasking

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Android is less efficient as a desktop OS

Lenovo Yoga 9i

  • Display: 14-inch WQUXGA (3840 x 2400) OLED touchscreen
  • CPU: 13th-gen Intel Core i7
  • Weight: 3.09 pounds
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: Up to 1TB

The Lenovo Yoga 9i excels in adaptability, capable of transforming into various modes thanks to its 360-degree hinge. Its 14-inch OLED display offers stunning visuals, and the rotating soundbar ensures high-quality audio in any configuration. The Yoga 9i also boasts a range of ports, a fingerprint scanner, and comes with a stylus and travel sleeve. Though its design hasn’t changed much recently, Lenovo has improved its performance with the latest Intel processors.

Pros:

  • Gorgeous OLED display
  • Powerful speakers
  • Strong battery life
  • Multiple USB-C ports
  • Physical webcam shutter
  • Included stylus and travel sleeve

Cons:

  • Noisy fans
  • Shallow keyboard
  • No built-in stylus storage

Factors to Consider Before Buying a 2-in-1 Laptop

When shopping for a 2-in-1 laptop, keep the following factors in mind:

  1. Weight and Portability: Ensure the combined weight of the tablet and keyboard suits your mobility needs. Modern hybrids generally weigh less than 2 pounds, but anything nearing 3 pounds might be better as an ultraportable laptop.
  2. Connectivity Options: Some 2-in-1s offer built-in LTE or 5G connectivity, which is great for on-the-go internet access. However, it comes with added costs for the hardware and data plans. Tethering to your phone remains a cost-effective alternative.
  3. Performance and Usability: These devices often have less powerful processors compared to full laptops. Keyboards can also be less sturdy with shallower travel. Ensure the advertised price includes all necessary accessories like keyboard cases.
  4. Operating System: Consider how well the OS supports productivity. Windows is typically better for productivity, while Android and iOS have more apps optimized for touchscreens.
  5. Budget: There are fewer budget options in the 2-in-1 market this year. For affordable yet capable devices, conventional laptops might offer better value.

By considering these factors and understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each device, you can choose the best 2-in-1 laptop that fits your needs for 2024.

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Reviews

HP Spectre x360 14 Review

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HP’s new Spectre x360 14 is a standout in the convertible laptop market, keeping the 2-in-1 concept alive with modern enhancements. Featuring Intel’s latest CPUs, faster Intel Arc graphics, and a stunning 2.8K OLED display, it combines performance and versatility.

Pros:

  • Versatile convertible screen
  • Vibrant OLED display
  • Solid CPU upgrade
  • Starts with 16GB RAM
  • Excellent keyboard
  • Ample ports

Cons:

  • Unchanged design
  • Finicky haptic touchpad
  • Average battery life

Even if you don’t use the 360-degree rotating screen, the Spectre x360 14 remains a sleek and powerful laptop. It’s a more traditional alternative to Dell’s new XPS 14 but with familiar usability.

Design and Hardware

The Spectre x360 14 features a sleek metal case, a large trackpad with configurable haptic feedback, and a unified power button/fingerprint sensor. It supports 28-watt Intel Core Ultra CPUs, 10% more airflow, and a 9MP webcam with low-light adjustment. Its quad-speaker array provides clear audio, and it remains lightweight at 3.2 pounds.

Performance

 

Equipped with Intel’s Core Ultra 7 155H chip, 32GB RAM, and a 2TB SSD, the Spectre x360 14 delivers a significant performance boost over its predecessors. It also features Intel’s Arc graphics, making it capable of handling 1080p gaming.

User Experience

The Spectre x360 14’s OLED display supports a 120Hz refresh rate, enhancing the visual experience. Its keyboard remains top-notch, but the trackpad’s palm rejection could use improvement. The convertible design makes it versatile, easily switching between laptop and tablet modes.

Battery life is its major flaw, lasting only about five hours in tests, which is less than other similar models,

Conclusion: The HP Spectre x360 14 is a top-tier laptop that excels as a convertible, making it a great choice for those who value both form and function in their devices.

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