Nitro, otherwise known as the “budget” gaming range from Acer, has added another strong contender to its line-up: the Nitro 5. We put budget in quotation marks because, while it is less expensive than other gaming laptops, it feels and acts like the opposite of budget – the build is sturdy and premium, while the internals are really decently spec’d for gaming.
The Nitro 5 is an all-polycarbonate plastic laptop with sharp edges, making it sturdy enough for taking around. While we didn’t drop it, it looks like it could take a few knocks and still be fine. It comes in at 25mm thick and weighing 2.3kg, so pretty thick at first glance. It features a red grill on the back that’s reminiscent of the Predator series, but remains distinctly its own brand. The red theme follows on to the rest of the laptop, and it features a red-backlit keyboard. While many would scoff at an all-plastic design, it does help in taking the laptop apart for future upgrades, something to consider in an ever-improving gaming market.
The thickness is to account for all the cooling goodness within the laptop. Gaming, video editing and other process-intensive work require a whole lot of cooling, and the Nitro 5 can comfortably sit on one’s lap at max capacity and not overheat.
It houses a dedicated Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 that can be spec’d with up to 4GB of graphics memory. When I discovered this, I started to ask myself: “Wait, the cooling system plus a GTX 1650? How is it so thin?” On top of this, Acer didn’t cut corners with the built-in display, which is a full HD IPS LED panel. It reads well from many different angles, which was perfect for showing a group of people some content.
We tested Rise of the Tomb Raider at 1080p, with the GTX 1650, and set the game to its “very high” preset graphics settings. The game’s frame counter was used. It hovered between 65 and 70 frames per second (fps) with 10 minutes of gameplay, which is really good compared to other laptops that are a few thousand Rand more expensive and perform the same.
The processor is a 6-Core 9th Generation Intel Core i7 CPU (i7-9750H), which provides snappy performance. We noted a start-up time from shutdown to desktop of 10 seconds. This was made possible by a combination of the fast processor and solid-state drive in the computer. It also makes opening programmes lightning fast.
The keyboard is one of my favourite aspects of this computer. Acer is known for a deep key travel that feels stable, which is ultimately what every gamer wants from their machine, short of the keyboard being mechanical. The WASD arrow keys have been done proper justice – they are big and let out a bit more backlight than the others. This is a huge ergonomic win for gamers.
Now for the trackpad. The off-centre trackpad placement feels a bit weird, even though it’s in line with the space bar. It lends itself to having one’s left palm lean on it, which makes it feel like it’s in the way. That said, the trackpad’s quality is fine but, obviously, not for gaming.
The laptop’s battery is 58.75 Wh, which may seem like it’s on the low side, but it powered through an 8 hour workday on a single charge. If the brightness is turned all the way up, that changes it to more of a 5 hour workday. We played Doom Eternal for about 2 and a half hours before we needed to charge it.
The computer’s sound was pretty good across various scenarios.
It will be available from under R20 000 in its 512GB SSD + 8GB RAM configuration, putting it way below other gaming brands with similar specs.
Huawei launches WiFi router with powerline connectivity
The new router by Huawei, the WiFi Q2 Pro, features PLC Turbo technology that sends data signal over power lines for more signal in one’s home.
Huawei has launched a new Wi-Fi router, the Huawei WiFi Q2 Pro, which is the first hybrid home PLC (power line connectivity) and Wi-Fi System. This router reduces common problems experienced with other Wi-Fi routers, such as weak signal strength, poor coverage and slow connection speeds.
The Huawei WiFi Q2 Pro three-pack hybrid utilises both mesh Wi-Fi technology and PLC turbo technology – which combines the best of both worlds. This hybrid consists of a main station and two secondary routers. The secondary stations can be plugged into a wall socket anywhere around the home to cover areas of poor signal and bring full-speed broadband to that location.
Wide-reaching connectivity with PLC Turbo technology
The PLC Turbo technology differs from traditional PLC modems, as it has a three-pin plug, which means the modem is less affected by electromagnetic interference from other household appliances. The Q2 Pro can also monitor interference from neighbouring Wi-Fi networks in real time and automatically switch the user’s Wi-Fi network to channels with the least interference.
In addition, PLC networking addresses the issue that Wi-Fi signal strength decreases significantly when it passes through walls, as PLC networking does not have to go through walls. This can help maintain excellent broadband speeds of up to 200Mps in every corner of the home, reducing frustrations related to a loss of signal and intermittent Wi-Fi coverage when moving around your house.
Simply plug and play for full coverage
The router can be configured through the use of the Huawei AI Life app. Users can plug in the device, and the WiFi Q2 Pro’s secondary routers will automatically sync the Wi-Fi network’s name and password from the base router, ensuring an easier set up.
Users with very large homes, such as bed and breakfast establishments for example, also have the option to further improve the coverage by purchasing additional satellites. One HUAWEI WiFi Q2 Pro base can support up to 15 secondary routers simultaneously.
Triple security protection
It also has advanced security features to protect the user’s home from hackers or people who want to covertly use their Wi-Fi. If someone attempts to crack the user’s Wi-Fi password using brute force cracking software, the router will recognise it and automatically blacklist them.
The router also has a Guest Wi-Fi feature, which operates on a completely different channel to a user’s main Wi-Fi network. This protects a user’s main Wi-Fi connection, as it uses a different SSID and password. Users can also disable their guest Wi-Fi network when their guests leave.
The Huawei WiFi Q2 Pro three-pack hybrid is available for R4,999.
Motorola One Zoom gets high camera score
The Motorola One Zoom, with a quad camera array, has scored a high 87 in the DxOMark rear camera test.
The latest device from Motorola, the One Zoom, is a competitively-priced mid-ranger with the quad-camera photography specifications of a flagship. Alongside the standard-wide, ultra-wide, and depth-sensing cameras found on its sister model the G8 Plus, the One Zoom is the first Motorola smartphone to feature a tele-lens. It captures video at up to 4K resolution and there’s a large 6.39-inch Super AMOLED display for reviewing images and videos. Built on the Snapdragon 675 chip set, it isn’t quite as powerful as a top-end flagship, but even so, it offers some impressive specs at an attractive price.
Key camera specifications:
• Primary: 48MP 1/2-inch sensor with f/1.7-aperture lens, OIS
• Tele: 8MP sensor with f/2.4-aperture, 3x optical tele-lens, OIS
• Ultra-wide: 16MP sensor with 13mm-equivalent f/2.2-aperture lens
• 5MP depth sensor
• Dual-tone LED flash, panorama, and HDR
• 2160p/30fps video
For scoring and analysis in our smartphone camera reviews, DxOMark engineers capture and evaluate over 1600 test images and more than 2 hours of video both in controlled lab environments and in natural indoor and outdoor scenes, using the camera’s default settings. This article is designed to highlight the most important results of its testing.
DxOMark provided the following review:
With an overall DXOMARK Camera score of 87, the One Zoom ranks as the best Motorola device we’ve tested to date, surpassing the Moto Z2 Force and G7 Plus at 82 and 80, respectively. All three remain some ways off the pace compared to the best performers at the top of our database, however, and overall the One Zoom offers comparable image quality to such older devices such as iPhone 7 Plus at 88 and the Samsung A50 at 86.
Securing a Photo sub-score of 92 points, the One Zoom is a nice improvement in still image quality compared to the Moto G7 Plus. The addition of the tele-lens certainly helps in the zoom category, and slightly better results for exposure, bokeh, wide-angle shots, and artifacts make the One Zoom an attractive upgrade for Motorola enthusiasts. Exposures are accurate in well-balanced lighting conditions, with good contrast ensuring pleasant results in many images. Detail is generally acceptable in outdoor and indoor images, too, but oversharpening creates an aggressive pattern effect and there’s more visible noise compared to top-performing devices.
Exposure isn’t quite as good in challenging lighting, with limited dynamic range resulting in highlight and shadow clipping, and backlit scenes tend to be underexposed. Color is also an opportunity for improvement. While white balance is generally stable, a slight yellow cast is usually visible; and although color shading is well controlled, color rendering is often inaccurate, which can make skin tones look unnatural. Autofocus performance is also a little mixed, as good accuracy ensures shots are always in sharp focus, but a 500ms delay between requesting focus and capturing a shot is slower than much of the competition. Wide-angle shots are just about acceptable, but they tend to be underexposed, with low detail and visible artifacts such as color quantization. Exposure is good using flash mixed with additional light sources, but the lack of dynamic range with the flash turned off is a problem for night shots due to significant highlight clipping.
Detail holds up pretty well in zoom shots in bright light when shots are in focus, but we did observe some autofocus instabilities using zoom in the lab. Oversharpening and quite a lot of noise indoors and in low light are visible in zoom shots, too. In Portrait mode, the simulated background blur effect is strong but pleasant, and although some masking errors are visible in complex areas, depth estimation is generally accurate. Artifacts are mainly well controlled, too, with the main issues being ringing and a loss of sharpness towards the corners, which is visible in most images.
For video, better scores for exposure, autofocus and stabilization have improved the One Zoom’s performance over the G7 Plus. Its main strengths are effective stabilization when shooting handheld and keeping the camera fairly static, but it’s not quite as good with walking and panning scenes, when frame shifts commonly occur. Noise is well controlled in indoor and low-light videos, but detail is fairly low, with heavy oversharpening again visible. Autofocus is repeatable in all lighting conditions, but tracking could be improved, as there are noticeable steps or jumps visible as you try to keep a moving subject in the frame. Color is again a key opportunity for improvement with video on the One Zoom, with inaccurate rendering in most videos, as well as a blue/green color cast when shooting outdoors.
The One Zoom’s quad-camera setup with its ultra-wide, telephoto, and depth-sensing sensors makes Motorola’s latest device an attractive proposition for budget-conscious smartphone photography enthusiasts. Accurate autofocus, nice exposures in well-balanced lighting, and a pleasant blur effect in bokeh shots ensure that it’s capable of some nice results, too. However, improvements to the performance of the zoom and ultra-wide cameras, as well as better color rendering and dynamic range, are needed before Motorola will start to challenge devices in the top half of our database.
The original article can be found here.