The VivobookPRO 16X belongs to a new stable of Asus laptop brands that are designed for ‘creators’.
Positives: Superb screen, excellent battery life, Dialpad on touchpad1TB SSD and MicroSD card slot.
Negatives: Dull hardware design and the speakers not so effective.
The aluminium chassis is solid, but it misses out on style. But there is so much good in this laptop that you will ignore the basic design. You get a stripped logo on the lid alongside the Vivobook label. The design magic can be seen once you open the lid. The top left corner of your keyboard can’t be missed. You get a bright orange Esc key. The QWERTY keys and separate number pad are black, while the columns of keys flanking the QWERTY keys are grey.
The angled stripes on the lid are repeated on the Enter key, in white. There is a fingerprint sensor built into the power button, which sits at the top right of the keyboard. Making the usage process even easier. The keypads are well-sized, easy, and soft to use. Talking about the touchpad it is something you can’t miss. It is big in size and the best element it has is the Asus’s DialPad. Which gets activated swiping diagonally from the upper right corner of the touchpad.
The DialPad appears on the touchpad as a small solid circle inside a larger dotted circle, and its default setting is controlling screen brightness and speaker volume. When you tap the inner circle on the touchpad, a replica appears on-screen. You sweep round between the inner and outer circles to move between system brightness and system volume, tap to confirm your selection, and then sweep left and right between the inner and outer circles to adjust volume or screen brightness.
You might take some time to get the hang of it, but Asus has put a lot of effort into it. The screen is a delight. With a 16:10 aspect ratio and 4K resolution, it’s a treat for the creators. Your webcam sits at the top with an easy slider for privacy. Asus claims a screen-to-body ratio of 86 percent.nThe screen has 550 nits peak brightness, which worked very well for me. I found it easy to my eye indoors as well as outdoor.
The stereo speakers on the VivoBook Pro X series are sound certified by Harman Kardon. But then still if you are watching a movie on your laptop or as a content creator editing a visual with sound, then the volume might be a bit of a disappointment.
ASUS AI Noise-Canceling Technology employs machine learning to isolate unwanted noise from human speech. The ClearVoice Mic feature in the MyASUS app can filter out ambient noise, and the multi-Presenter mode normalises all individual voices from different positions for optimum group conference-call quality. The ClearVoice Speaker feature filters out all ambient noise apart from human speech — so you will hear what everyone else is saying.
The Vivobook PRO 16X gets AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX processor with Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti graphics. It had 32GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD, and there’s also a built-in MicroSD card reader. On the right edge, the MicroSD card reader is joined by a USB-A port, a full-size HDMI connector, a USB-C port and a 3.5mm combo audio jack. When you talk about a creator laptop one thing that is most important is the battery. You get a 96WHr battery here. ASUS Battery Health Charging Technology claims to allow for a battery lifespan that is 3X longer than standard lithium-ion batteries. Fast-charge technology also lets you charge a low battery to 60 percent in just 49 minutes (using the supplied AC adapter).
The Asus Vivobook 16X is a creator product with a great screen, good keypad amazing battery life and above all a very useful Dialpad. It does miss out on the hardware part which might be a letdown for a few.
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MICROSOFT TO ACQUIRE ‘CALL OF DUTY’ MAKER, ACTIVISION BLIZZARD, FOR $68.7 BILLION
Microsoft has announced a deal to acquire game studio Activision Blizzard for USD 68.7 billion. If it goes through, it would be Microsoft’s biggest-ever acquisition—and by far the biggest deal ever in the video game biz.
Activision Blizzard’s lineup of games includes ‘Call of Duty’, ‘Candy Crush’, ‘Warcraft’, ‘Diablo’, ‘Overwatch’, and ‘Hearthstone’. According to The Verge, the deal is Microsoft’s biggest push into gaming, and the company says it will be the “third-largest gaming company by revenue, behind Tencent and Sony” once the deal closes.
Microsoft plans to add many of Activision’s games to Xbox Game Pass once the deal closes. “Upon close, we will offer as many Activision Blizzard games as we can within Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass, both new titles and games from Activision Blizzard’s incredible catalogue,” said Microsoft’s CEO of gaming Phil Spencer.
Xbox Game Pass now has 25 million subscribers, as Microsoft continues to acquire studios to boost the subscription service.
As per The Verge, Microsoft’s deal comes after months of sexual harassment claims against Activision Blizzard. Last July, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) sued Activision Blizzard for promoting a culture of “constant sexual harassment.” More employees have come forward with more allegations of sexual misconduct ever since, and the company reached an US$ 18 million settlement with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in September. That settlement is being appealed, and reports indicate that nearly 40 Activision Blizzard employees have reportedly “exited” the company since last July.
Microsoft doesn’t detail exactly how it will approach solving these issues, and the company says Bobby Kotick will continue to serve as CEO of Activision Blizzard for now. Phil Spencer, formerly head of gaming at Microsoft, is now CEO of Microsoft Gaming and the company says the Activision Blizzard business will report directly to Spencer.
“As a company, Microsoft is committed to our journey for inclusion in every aspect of gaming, among both employees and players,” said Microsoft’s CEO of gaming Phil Spencer.
“We deeply value individual studio cultures. We also believe that creative success and autonomy go hand-in-hand with treating every person with dignity and respect. We hold all teams, and all leaders, to this commitment. We’re looking forward to extending our culture of proactive inclusion to the great teams across Activision Blizzard,” added Spencer.
Microsoft’s huge Activision Blizzard deal comes nearly a year after the company acquired Bethesda (ZeniMax Media) for US$ 7.5 billion. At the time, that acquisition bolstered the company’s first-party Xbox game studios to a total of 23 and was seen as a huge boost for Xbox Game Pass.
HERO MOTOSPORTS RISES TO CHALLENGE AT WORLD’S TOUGHEST MOTORSPORT EVENT
Hero MotoSports starts 2022 with its best-ever performance at the Dakar Rally.
Hero MotoSports Team Rally, the motorsport team of the world’s largest manufacturer of motorcycles and scooters—Hero MotoCorp, completed its Dakar 2022 campaign with a stellar result as both team riders crossed the final finish line in Jeddah earlier this week. Dakar 2022 will go down in history as the edition that saw an Indian manufacturer win a Stage in the world’s toughest rally for the very first time. With one stage win and one stage podium, this has been Hero MotoSports’ best-ever performance at the Dakar Rally so far. This was the team’s sixth consecutive appearance at the rally.
Hero MotoSports Team Rally rider Joaquim Rodrigues.Hero MotoSports Team Rally rider Aaron Mare.Hero MotoSports Team Rally at Podium Ceremony.
With seven of the world’s top manufacturer teams battling for the top prize, Dakar 2022 was the most competitive edition ever. 12 gruelling stages and over 8000 kilometres later, the Hero Rally 450 machine proved its mettle yet again with no technical failures. Even though the team rode with only one of their original riders, the presence of CS Santosh at the camp greatly boosted the team’s confidence and morale. With eight top-10 stage finishes—including a 1st and 3rd position—the team returned from Saudi Arabia, far more confident than they were at arrival two weeks back.
Team Manager Wolfgang Fischer said, “What a Dakar, after all the struggles we had a few weeks before the start! We are really proud of the performance of our riders, bikes and the team—a superb job done. The highlight was definitely the maiden Dakar stage victory, underlined with a very strong third place at the hardest and most competitive, stage 11. Our last-minute entry Aaron did a perfect job, adapting seamlessly with the team, and keeping a cool head always, he proved to be a fast learner and team player. The Dakar Rally was the most competitive ever, with seven manufacturer teams fighting for the top prize, and only 1:30 hrs dividing the top 15 after the 4000-race kilometres.”
All through 2021, the team participated in multiple races, constantly upgrading their machines, and reaching the top positions. They entered the Dakar Rally battling several last-minute hurdles—including two of their riders getting unfit for the race due to injuries. The Dakar 2022, however, turned out to be a watershed moment for the team and Hero MotoCorp, as the team overcame challenges and achieved a historic result. Joaquim Rodrigues, the star performer of the team, finished the last stage of 163 km between Bisha to Jeddah with yet another top-15 finish.
After making it to the podium of an FIM World Championship race in 2021, Rodrigues entered Dakar 2022 with great confidence. Riding stronger than ever, he delivered his best-ever performance at the Dakar—bagging his maiden stage win and also a 3rd place stage finish—which he dedicated to his mentor and brother-in-law Paulo who lost his life two years back at the very same event. He goes back from his fifth appearance at the Dakar with a 13th position in the overall RallyGP class rankings.
Joaquim Rodrigues said, “I’m really happy with my performance—it was a great Dakar for me and for the team. With the fantastic performance of the Hero Rally 450, we’re together now fighting for the top positions. My win this time is definitely the cherry on the top for me, and I can’t express how happy I am for myself and for the team to have finished yet another Dakar!”
Having performed consistently throughout the Rally, teammate Aaron Maré was not far behind, securing 15th place in the overall standings of the RallyGP class. Even though he joined the team as a last-minute replacement for injured Franco Caimi, he adapted with the team and his new bike quickly. His consistent and praiseworthy performance this Dakar has earned the young rider attention from far and wide. The team will next be seen in action at the second race of the year under the FIM World Rally Raid Championship, at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge in March 2022.
The writer is Senior editor at Carandbike.com.
LOGITECH G435 LIGHTSPEED WIRELESS GAMING HEADSET: IT’S ECO-FRIENDLY AND COMFORTABLE TO WEAR
Logitech well known for its gaming accessory have recently launched The Logitech G435 LIGHTSPEED Wireless Gaming Headset available in some real fun colors the wireless headset are not just lightweight and comfortable but are easy on your pocket and sustainable. They will be a good pick for a young gamer but is it a real performance winner let’s find out.
Logitech G435 Lightspeed Wireless come in exciting a vibrant color option making the headset stand out. They have angular and squarish ear cups, soft and breathable memory ear foams, and a headband with a cutaway middle. G435 are carbon neutral and very lightweight. Something that Logitech is trying to achieve with these G435. Its ear foams are soft and breathable enough to keep your head nice and dry. The G435 is made with recycled plastic, comes in responsible packaging, and has been certified Carbon Neutral.
All the buttons are also well placed. Having the power volume up, volume down, and mic mute are all well placed on the left side.
PERFORMANCE & AUDIO:
Logitech G435 Lightspeed Wireless is a gaming headset and what is most important for a gaming headset is the audio quality & performance. Logitech promises its ear foams will keep you cool and comfortable while absorbing sound waves to isolate you from outside noise when playing. The passive noise cancellation doesn’t help as much as you would have expected. The bass quality is good, but you will find a miss while playing games when the pitch is high.
Therefore, the gaming might miss out on audio delight experience. Which is good but could have been better.
You can charge your wireless headset with the included USB- C cable. The headset can go on for over 17 hours with a single charge.
PRICING AND AVAILABILITY
The Logitech G435 Wireless Gaming Headset is available for sale at INR 7,495 on Amazon.in and retail stores.
Logitech G435 Lightspeed Wireless are a perfect bet for a young gamer. They look cool come in some real fun colors. They are comfortable and above all eco-friendly.
They are pocket friendly the real downside is audio which I will still say is good but could have been better.
In terms of performance the headset does count to be a winner.
Mic sound could have been better
No app support
ŠKODA KODIAQ 7-SEATER SUV IS THE FIRST BIG CAR LAUNCH OF 2022
The SUV has changed when it comes to engine, chassis, driving dynamics, safety, in-cabin entertainment, connectivity, comfort and luxury features.
Škoda Kodiaq was first launched in India 4 years ago and now the SUV has made a comeback in the BS6 era. According to brand, the SUV has changed when it comes to engine, chassis, driving dynamics, safety, in-cabin entertainment, connectivity, comfort and luxury features. The car is now available in showrooms across the country, at a starting price of ₹ 34.99 lacs (ex-showroom, pan India). It is available only as a 7-seater in Style, SportLine and Laurin & Klement variants.
Škoda Kodiaq interior.
With its redesigned front and rear and a hexagonal grille, the new Kodiaq looks a little more rugged than before. It features a new bonnet, the front and rear bumpers are now body-coloured, and the head and taillight clusters have new cosmetic and functional additions to them. The headlights have the ŠKODA Crystalline LEDs with illuminated eyelashes and dynamic turn indicators at the rear. There’s also a new rear spoiler design and all variants get 18 alloy wheels.
The Style and Laurin & Klement variants focus on the rear seat luxury with stone beige leather perforated upholstery for the L&K, with more chrome inside and outside. The SportLine has a more driver-oriented appeal with all black suedia interiors, a 3-spoke flat-bottom sport steering wheel, more side bolstering, integrated headrests, and expanded shoulder support sport seats for better cornering. There are 12-way adjustable electric seats with in-built cooling and heating in the L&K. The car is equipped in options of a three or two-spoke steering wheel, ambient lighting along with a Canton 625 W 12-speaker audio system with a subwoofer. Besides, you can remotely open and shut windows, door mirrors and the all-new panoramic sunroof.
The new Kodiaq is equipped with a 20.32 cm infotainment touchscreen equipped with inbuilt navigation and full connectivity via the MyŠKODA CONNECT App. You also get USB C ports, 12V socket as well as wireless charging, and support for wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The Style variant comes with 4 analogue dials and digital readouts displaying essential information to the driver. The SportLine and L&K trims come with a Virtual Cockpit with digital dials and a digital console that complements the 26.03 cm media interface with five themes to suit the driver’s needs.
The Kodiaq also offers a power nap package with a blanket, allowing passengers to have a relaxed and comfortable experience. You also get a ticket-holder in the A-pillar, illuminated and cooled glovebox, dashboard storage, and the easy grip mat for the front bottle holder. The car gets 270 litres of boot space with seven seats up and with the last row seats folded down, 630 litres of storage is on offer. This becomes 2005 litres with all five seats in the rear folded down. A virtual pedal with the electric tailgate allows users to open and close the rear boot with just a swing of the leg.
At the heart of the all new Kodiaq is the 2.0 TSI engine that does duty on many cars in the VW family. It makes 190 PS and 320Nm, which allows the car to accelerate to 100kph in 7.8 seconds. Skoda says a progressive steering enhances the driving dynamics of the SUV a sit flexes its forces depending on driving conditions and vehicle speed, making the car easy to manoeuvre at slow speeds and offering the driver better control at higher speeds.
In addition, the first-in-segment Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) offered in the L&K, allows the driver to select between Eco, Comfort, Normal, Sports, Snow and Individual driving modes. At the heart of the DCC are dual-shell, gas-liquid shock absorbers mated to an Electronic Control Unit that constantly monitors terrain and provides optimum damping characteristics to each shock absorber lending smooth and consistent ride and handling characteristics allowing this full-size SUV pack in agile, car-like dynamics.
Apart from a total of 9 airbags standard, the Kodiaq also gets adaptive front headlights, automatic dimming exterior mirror (on driver side) and defogging across all transparent surfaces, electronic, mechanical and hydraulic brake assist, stability control, multi-collision braking and park assist with hands free parking among others. In addition, the flagship L&K packs in hill descent control and a 360-degree camera as standard.
The Kodiaq is first of many cars that the Czech automaker plans to launch in India this year. Next in line is the hugely anticipated Slavia sedan that will launch in the March. The brand says it has a firm strategy in place to make 2022 its biggest year in India, since its entry into the country.
SAMSUNG ANNOUNCES ODYSSEY NEO G8, WORLD’S FIRST 4K 240HZ MONITOR
SEOUL: South Korean tech giant Samsung today unveiled three new models of its monitor line-up for 2022. All of these are slated to be officially announced during CES 2022 from January 5-7 in Las Vegas.
According to GSM Arena, the first of these new monitors is the Samsung Odyssey Neo G8. This is a 32-inch display with the world’s first 4K 240Hz panel. It also features a 1000R curvature and Quantum Mini LED backlighting. The mini LED backlighting system uses units that are 1/40th the size of conventional LED units.
With Samsung’s Quantum Matrix and Quantum HDR 2000 technologies, the display can achieve up to 2000 nits of peak brightness in HDR content with 4096 step backlight adjustment.
The monitor also supports dual HDMI 2.1 ports and a single DisplayPort 1.4 connection. The Auto Source Switch+ feature will automatically change sources when a connected device is powered on. The CoreSync feature adjusts the RGB lighting on the back of the monitor to match the contents of the screen.
The next model is the Smart Monitor M8, which features a webcam that works with the built-in Google Duo app. The monitor also comes pre-installed with apps for streaming services, letting you use the monitor as a smart TV without having to connect to a source device.
SAMSUNG GALAXY S21 FE 5G WITH 120HZ AMOLED DISPLAY, ANDROID 12 LAUNCHED
SEOUL [SOUTH KOREA]: South Korean tech giant Samsung didn’t wait long to announce something in 2022. The Galaxy S21 FE 5G is finally here. The company shared the phone’s launch announcement on its Twitter handle. “The Fan Edition is back: the new #GalaxyS21FE 5G, with all the things you love, so you can experience your everyday passions to the absolute fullest,” the tweet read.
Upfront the Galaxy S21 FE 5G has a 6.4-inch 2340x1080px AMOLED that runs at 120Hz with a touch sampling rate of 240Hz, reported GSM Arena. Processing is done by a Snapdragon 888, which comes with 5G capabilities. There are four cameras on the Galaxy S21 FE 5G – a 32MP fixed-focus f/2.2 selfie shooter and a 0.5x-1x-3x combo on the rear. Those are a 12MP f/2.2 ultrawide, 12MP 1/1.76-inch f/1.8 main camera with OIS, and an 8MP f/2.4 stabilized 3x tele.
The Galaxy S21 FE 5G is loaded with shooting modes – Night mode takes up to 14 images to combine into a multi-frame single image, there’s Multi-camera recording that can combine the front and rear wide cameras in a single video.
AI face restoration uses deep learning to enhance textures in the eyebrows and lips. And Object Eraser works just like Magic Eraser on the Pixel 6 series, allowing you to get rid of straggle objects in your images.
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