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Asus Vivobook 13 Slate Review — A Hybrid Device for the Future?

Does Asus’ 2-in-1 device do the trick? Check out our review to find out.

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Asus has been doing some interesting things as of late when it comes to the brand’s Vivobook range, and the latest tablet/notebook entry, the Vivobook 13 Slate, is something of a leap forward for the Frankenstein-esque nature of mobile devices which teeter the line between a daily laptop and something for more casual use.

While many of these hybrid devices seem to underwhelm as a notebook or a tablet, being somewhat underpowered or lacking the necessary functionality or portability of a pick-up-and-play tablet, the Vivobook 13 Slate doesn’t disappoint in the specs department.

This particular model (the T3300) features a 13.3-inch OLED display, an Intel Pentium Silver N6000 processor, 8GBs of RAM, and Windows 11 Home, giving you all the juice you need to do just about anything (within reason).

Of course, while its specs under the hood are impressive for its class, the 2-in-1 functionality and adaptability of the Slate is what makes it unique. The fact that the device has a fully detachable keyboard (which is also done immediately and easily via a magnetic connector) allows you to use the Vivobook 13 Slate for whatever you want to do. Using it as a notebook is easy and feels like any modern notebook, which has enough power to do any day-to-day work tasks or multitasking operations; and popping the keyboard off for some media-viewing or using it with the smart pen (packaged with the device) is only 5 seconds away.

Speaking of, the Asus Pen 2.0 has been worked and improved upon to be far more precise than its predecessor, designed to capture the subtle variations and nuances of writing and drawing. It comes with four interchangeable pen tips — 2H, H, HB, and B — with different frictional properties and hardness to suit any drawing or writing style, which is a nice touch.

The display of the Vivobook 13 Slate is admittedly gorgeous, with bright and vivid colours being displayed even in bright environments, and having an OLED for this type of device is a huge game-changer, as you do feel like you’re getting a premium viewing or working experience rather than a paired-down option when you’re on-the-go.

In practice, the Vivobook 13 Slate does feel like the next logical step in everyone’s go-to computer, whether it be for work or play. With more and more services offering cloud computing and storage, you don’t need too much in the hardware itself, so having something as compact, portable, and adaptable outshines the option of having a powerful but static rig… depending on your needs, of course.

It’s hard to not gush about and recommend the Vivobook 13 Slate for someone who is working from coffee shops most of the time, doesn’t need an excess of power, and who would benefit from the smart pen and tablet functionality (we’re thinking an architect or designer).

Priced from R9,999, there are a lot of options in that price-range, but none of which will provide you with the bells, whistles, and tricks that the Vivobook 13 Slate does. If you’re in the market for something different and flexible, it’s a solid option.

Jeremy created MenStuff in June 2014 in order to bring unique men’s lifestyle news, features and articles to the world. While also talking about himself in the third-person, Jeremy has worked as a professional journalist at SA Rugby magazine, MyBroadband, MyGaming, and written for FHM and TFG Tech.

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Asus Zenbook 14X OLED Review — The Key to Heightened Productivity?

Does Asus’ sleek and sexy laptop deliver the goods to match the price?

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Powerhouse work computers aren’t exactly known for their sleek, sexy, and streamlined designs, but Asus’ Zenbook 14X adds a heavy dose of style and sophistication to an admittedly beefy spec-sheet.

Now, the Zenbook 14X OLED doesn’t necessarily fall into a one-trick category, as the device appeals to anyone who is needing something that can deliver some oomph under the hood, while being extremely portable. Thankfully, the Zenbook 14X does both those things, while also adding some new tricks that you won’t find on many laptops on the market.

Speaking of, what can you expect in terms of specs? The Zenbook 14X OLED houses an 11th Gen Intel Core i7-1165G7, 16Gbs of RAM, a 1TB SSD, and an Nvidia GeForce MX450; so you get pretty punchy hardware within the device. The MX450 is a solid card that will handle most games, but you won’t be pushing the cutting-edge games on the Zenbook 14X. However, the laptop is more than capable of tackling multi-application tasks and any medium-demanding graphical operations.

From a design perspective, it features a 14-inch OLED touch display which is gorgeous in person and delivers bright and vivid colours. It’s a shame that the device doesn’t feature a refresh-rate higher than 90Hz (which would really showcase the glory of the display), but, again, it’s more than enough for your day-to-day tasks and more onerous applications.

This really is a device geared for working efficiently and quickly, because in addition to the larger 16:10 aspect ratio primary display, the touch-pad doubles up as a secondary screen. Dubbed the ‘Screenpad’ by Asus, the small display (which can be switched between being a touch-pad or display on-the-fly) features an intuitive smartphone-like interface. The customisation of this display is pretty flexible, allowing you to utilise it to store shortcuts, pull windows into that space, use it for a video call while you’re working, or even use it as a drawing pad. The Smartpad might seem superfluous, but when operating multiple browser windows, or wanting to place emails and other apps out of your way, it’s a great addition that adds some serious versatility that you won’t find many other places.

Clearly, the Zenbook X14 is designed for those who need a bit more space to multitask and work efficiently, while still having something portable enough to slip into any shoulder bag or backpack, and in that regard, it does the trick.

The laptop also features Asus’ pint-sized USB-C charging block and cable, which takes up minimal space and is a far more economic way to handle a charging set-up, which we like.

Overall, the Asus Zenbook X14 isn’t going to blow away other laptops with its graphical prowess, but what it doesn’t do gaming-wise, it delivers in terms of working functionality. This is a laptop that features a gorgeous display with an unrivaled colour-output, while the secondary Screenpad area gives the laptop a hook that you won’t find on many competitors out there. Price-wise, it does come with a notable number, but if you can unlock the potential of what the Zenbook X14 could do for your working productivity, it’s a no-brainer.

The Asus Zenbook X14 is priced from R27,999 and is available via Asus’ official website and other South African retailers.

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I’m Back: How Nokia is Returning to its Former Glory in SA

A few reasons to choose Nokia for your next device.

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We all know, that a phone isn’t just a phone anymore. Now, people are able to manage their entire lives from the palm of their hands. So, of course, choosing a new device that is up to the task is not always the simplest task. There is a long list of factors to consider when choosing to upgrade to a new smartphone or buy a paired-down feature phone.

Whether it is deciding on the best feature phone for your everyday needs or a smartphone that can keep you connected, Nokia offers a range of phones at various price points. Nokia says its range of feature phones and smartphones aims to empower people to feel good about keeping their devices for longer.

If you’re considering investing in Nokia for your next device, here are the five reasons a Nokia device may be the right choice for you.

Affordability and value for money:

After a tough 2 years, most people are feeling the economic pinch. When it comes to investing in a new phone, most people are looking for an affordable device that still houses high-end features to provide a top-quality experience. If it’s affordable prices you’re after with high-end, must-have features, then a Nokia device may just be the right option for you.

“We know that price and value is the most important deciding factor when it comes to a phone purchase in Africa, and we believe fundamentally that a phone belongs to everyone, no matter the budget,” says Shaun Durandt, General Manager at HMD Global, the home of Nokia phones Sub- Saharan Africa. “So we design our phones with this in mind, combining quality and durability with sleek design and innovations such as imaging algorithms and novel key component technology to provide a top-notch experience.”

Security is built-in, end-to-end in every device:

In today’s digital age, the number, scale, and sophistication of cyberattacks continue to evolve and grow. These days, security is the bedrock that underpins every function and capability of a device. According to HMD, every smartphone manufactured by HMD Global is built upon foundations of security, reliability and dependability and receives regular software and security updates, no matter which segment it is made for. If you value security features and the safety of your data, then a Nokia device is a great choice for you.

HMD says it guarantees access to the latest applications and protection from the most recent security threats, offering up to three years of monthly security updates and operating system updates for two years. In this way, the phones are built to last longer, giving you a longer ‘shelf-life’ on your device before you need to upgrade.

“Our devices are built to last,” says Patrick Henchie, Head of Product and Operations, Sub Sahara Africa. “We create phones with robust hardware and secure, up-to-date software, that can be used by more people over a longer lifetime. The company continues to invest heavily in security and data protection, taking responsibility in the privacy of personal data. Proudly Finnish, proudly European, and truly global, our Nordic heritage means that enterprises can trust that GDPR regulations are the foundation of our security and privacy policies.”

Sustainability is more than a buzzword:

Nokia says its devices are designed and built sustainably. The company is placed in the top 6% of businesses audited for their commitment to sustainable practices in the manufacturing of communications equipment, earning HMD a Gold EcoVadis 2021 Sustainability Rating. Plus, with Nokia phones being built to last with durability and longevity at their core, investing in a Nokia phone and keeping it for as long as possible means you’re making a more sustainable choice.

Nokia says its phones undergo over 50 rigorous tests, from force measurement to wear and scratch, as part of Standard Product Requirement tests. The assessments are known to be some of the most stringent in the industry and have been tried and tested over the years. “Our phones go through tougher and more testing parameters than the industry average during manufacturing to ensure that you can keep your phone in your hands and off the landfill for longer,” says Shaun.

Micro financing solutions:

HMD aims to make devices more accessible to more users through micro-financing solutions. HMD Global has partners who offer a financing program that allows people to purchase devices in easy instalment plans. The device can be sold with a pre-loaded Soft Lock solution. Through this solution, the financing plan is secured against the device, which is automatically “locked” if payments cease – encouraging prompt payments and also allowing people without a credit record to buy a smartphone because the device itself is used as collateral. With this service, customers are able to get immediate access to a smartphone, avoiding the high upfront retail cost, and pay for it in a way that is better suited to their income level and cash flow. This enables access to affordable devices with high-end features.

Help harness technology for good:

HMD says, supporting Nokia means helping the company harness technology for good. With HMD involved in various community projects, the brand is investing in the countries where its products are sold and used.

“It is becoming increasingly clear that technology has the ability to act as a force for good, helping to solve real societal challenges – and HMD Global is committed to playing our part and forming partnerships to help create positive change in communities,” says Shaun. Partnerships include the Impumelelo Educare Centre, supporting a community initiative to improve Early Childhood Development, as well as with brand ambassador Buhle Sithela on his Vuma Pop-Up Cinema to create safe and accessible spaces for children in communities to watch animation films. Technology plays an important role in building communities and entrepreneurs – so it is vital to act as a driver of positive change collectively and actively.

Find out more about what HMD Global has to offer by visiting the home of Nokia phones website.

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5 Best Gaming Deals in SA this Weekend

Check out the best specials on games and consoles.

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Whether you’re looking to pick up a decent console deal or hungry for the next game to add to your library, we’ve rounded up some of the best deals on offer from local online and physical retailers:

Xbox Series S console (NexusHub) – R6,299

If you’ve been holding off on pulling the trigger on a current-gen system, NexusHub has a special running on the Xbox Series S console, knocking off a bit on the price-tag to make it quite the tempting deal this month.

Check out the special here.

Lost Judgment (Loot) – R549 | Xbox Series X

There aren’t many games that can take you from meticulously investigating a crime-scene to a dance competition, but not before indulging in a street brawl with some thugs right after gambling at a curbside casino. Much like its Yakuza step-brother games, Lost Judgment is a smorgasbord of genres and styles, but with an overarching detective-adventure theme that makes it one of the most interesting games in 2021 that should not be overlooked. You can check out our full Lost Judgment review here too.

Check out the special here.

Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts (Loot) – R276

Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts pulls back on the ambitious open-world of previous entries to offer a more streamlined sniping experience – and it’s for the better. Enjoyable traversal, challenging environments, and some satisfying shooting makes it a worthwhile experience, especially considering the budget price-tag. Check out our Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts review here.

Check out the special here.

Rise of the Tomb Raider (Playstation Store) – 107.80 | PS4

Rise of the Tomb Raider is one of, if not the, best entry in the Tomb Raider series ever. The sequel expands upon 2013’s reboot, and introduces crafting and survival techniques to take the experience to new heights, and the ever-evolving story of a young and ambitious Lara Croft is impossible to not be caught up in. The 20 Year Celebration edition on PS4 also features two previously-unreleased segments, Blood Ties, which takes place in Croft Manor, and Lara’s Nightmare, a zombie mode of sorts, which throws you into an onslaught of creatures as you try and survive. It’s a great game to play before jumping into the third and final game of the trilogy, Shadow of the Tomb Raider.

Check out the special here.

Darksiders: Fury’s Collection – War & Death (Playstation Store) – R107.85 | PS4

Despite the confusing name, this Darksiders bundle doesn’t come with Fury’s story of Darksiders III, which is amazing and worth a play), but what it does come with is Darksiders: Warmastered Edition and Darksiders II, so you get to enjoy two of the best action-adventure games around for a considerable discount.

Check out the special here.

*Prices correct at time of publication.

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Tecno Spark 8C Launches in SA: Price, Details

Say hello to Tecno’s new entry-level hero.

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Following the success of its Spark 7 series in 2021, Tecno has launched the brand-new Spark 8C in South Africa. Aimed at consumers with diverse needs, the new Spark 8C is the ideal device for university students, entry-level workers, and budding entrepreneurs.

Aimed at the younger market segment and designed with the young consumers’ diverse creative needs in mind, the Spark 8C offers a comprehensive set of features for an immersive visual experience, smooth performance and more excitingly, bigger memory. With a 90 Hz refresh rate, 5000 mAh battery and enhanced data processing capability, the Spark 8C is a great option for smartphone users on a budget.

The Spark 8C comes with Memory Fusion technology, which extends the 4GB RAM to a massive 7GB RAM — with the additional 3GB Memory Fusion. By allocating more storage to RAM, Tecno says the Memory Fusion Technology enhances the device’s multi-tasking capacity, allows for seamless switching between applications that are running concurrently in the background, and stabilises the phone’s systems for more sustainable performance.

The Spark 8C features an 8MP front camera with a flash and a 13 MP AI-Enhanced Dual Camera as well as a host of innovative features including AI Scene Recognition and HDR mode, enabling users to create memorable photography content with ease. Tecno says its innovation in multiple algorithms translates to photos that are full of vivid details. These exclusive innovations cater to the diverse camera needs of the younger generation and ensure that you can get what you want in one clear and decisive shot.

The new Tecno Spark 8C is now available in South Africa for a recommended retail price of R3,299.

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Sony Launches New LinkBuds Truly Wireless Earbuds in SA

Sony drops its latest earbud option, the Linkbuds.

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Sony’s latest truly wireless LinkBuds, specially crafted for Gen Z, offer the ideal way to listen to your favourite tracks while staying connected and aware of what’s happening around you. Whether you’re listening at home, outdoors, or on-the-go, the stylish wireless earbuds make it easy to enjoy hours of uninterrupted playback.

The LinkBuds feature an open ring design with audio transparency, crystal-clear sound, and call quality, so you will never want to turn them off. Here are our favourite features of the Sony LinkBuds wireless earphones.

Enjoy distraction-free study, work, or play

If you need music to study or work, then you will appreciate the new LinkBuds for their crystal-clear sound quality. Thanks to DSEE (Digital Sound Enhancement Engine), you can listen to your favourite soundtracks and music in high quality. Sony’s Integrated Processor V1 reproduces all the detail in your music with minimal distortion, so you can enjoy a truly authentic listening experience that will enhance your concentration and focus.

Ergonomic design

The Sony LinkBuds are so comfortable you can listen for hours and stay tuned from the comfort of your bed, desk or garden. Thanks to their ergonomic and lightweight design, you won’t ever feel the need to take them off. You can comfortably listen to audiobooks, recordings, music and other audio materials for hours, and, unlike conventional wireless earbuds, the protective surface covering the speaker diaphragm is integrated within the housing. The shape has been crafted using Sony’s extensive ear shape data, so you never feel the strain on your ears.

Stay aware of your surroundings

With the new Sony LinkBuds, listening to your favourite tracks while walking or running won’t stop you from hearing ambient sounds. Whether it’s the delivery guy or someone at the door, you won’t miss out on what’s happening around you.

Multi-task with ease

After you’ve boarded yourself up in your office or study, the last thing you need is unnecessary distractions or interruptions. With the Sony LinkBuds, you can stay connected with various hand-free features to get information, connect with friends, set reminders, and more by activating your preferred voice assistant. You can also use the ‘Speak-to-Chat’ function to pause and resume your music when speaking to someone without touching any controls.

Work & study on the move

Whether you’re working or studying at home, on the bus, or at a coffee shop, the LinkBuds are as dependable as ever. Best of all, they offer IPX4 water resistance so that you won’t have to worry about water or sweat. You can enjoy up to five and a half hours of battery life from the earbuds and an additional 12 hours on the sleek and compact case. If you’re in a hurry, a 10-minute charge will give you up to 90 minutes of playtime.

Sony Linkbuds are available in South Africa at a recommended price of R3,999.

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