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The thin-and-light Ultrabook trend has even clunky laptops looking relatively sleek these days. Micro Express’ NB5720 is far from a sexy, stylish Ultrabook, but it looks pretty good for a boxy, half-plastic laptop.

If you’re looking for style, look elsewhere. But if you place power, performance, and price over prettiness, the $1599 NB5720 is definitely worth a look. It’s not a total eyesore—it boasts a smooth, slate-gray, brushed-aluminum cover with tapered edges and a minimalist keyboard deck. But it’s nearly as thick as a brick—1.68 inches—and it weighs more than several: 5.75 pounds. That’s a lot of bulk paired with a 15.6-inch screen.

But when you’re looking for a no-excuses laptop, what’s under the hood is what really matters, and the NB5720 doesn’t disappoint on that score. You’ll find one of Intel’s best fourth-generation Core processors onboard, for starters (the 2.8GHz, Hyper-Threading–enabled Core i7-4900MQ). That’s supplemented by 16GB of DDR3/1600 memory and a discrete Nvidia GeForce GTX 765M graphics card. Storage comes in the form of a 256GB SSD, plus a 750GB hard drive that spins its platters at 7200 rpm.

When you’re looking for a no-excuses laptop, it’s what’s under the hood that really matters.

As you might expect, this notebook burrowed through the bulk of our benchmark suite like a woodchuck preparing for a honeymoon, producing a Notebook WorldBench 8.1 score of 483. That renders it nearly five times faster than our reference notebook, the Asus VivoBook S550CA, which has a more humble dual-core, hyper-threaded, 1.7GHz Intel Core i5-3317U processor (from Intel’s Ivy Bridge family).

It’s also slightly faster than the CyberPower FangBook EVO HX7-200 we reviewed in June—at least when it comes to all-around productivity apps. That rig had a larger screen, but a smaller SSD (60GB) and a slower mechanical hard drive (a 5400-rpm, 1TB model). CyberPower’s system had a faster discrete video card—an Nvidia GeForce GTX 780M—which contributed to higher performance in games. The FangBook also delivered better battery life: 4 hours, 17 minutes to the NB5720’s 3 hours, 37 minutes.

The superior video card in the CyberPower FangBook helped it earn better benchmark scores in games such as BioShock Infinite.

Power and performance aside, the NB5720 has its pros and cons. The system’s 15.6-inch, nonglare screen has native resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels, and it looks great: it’s very bright, with accurate colors and skin tones and sharply rendered text. Unfortunately, it’s not a touchscreen, which is kind of a big deal if you’re using Windows 8. (You can order your unit with whichever OS you like.)

Great keyboard 

Micro Express manages to make the NB5720’s keyboard deck look simple and uncluttered while packing in tons of functionality. The deck includes, besides a full-size keyboard, a ten-key numeric pad, a trackpad with discrete mouse buttons, a fingerprint reader, and two convenience buttons: “Airplane Mode” toggles your Wi-Fi on and off, and “VGA” toggles between the discrete graphics card (when you need performance) and the integrated GPU (when battery life is your priority).

The keyboard, which has matte-black island-style keys, is comfortable and easy to type on. In my tests, I managed 99 words per minute (I typically average around 115 wpm), which is good for a laptop keyboard. The medium-size trackpad is responsive, if a bit choppy. The discrete mouse buttons are widely spaced and easy to press, but give little feedback. So the keyboard is much better than the other input devices.

I’ve reviewed Micro Express laptops before, and they always have one major, glaring problem: the speakers. I’d love to tell you that the NB5720 is totally different, and that its speakers are excellent—but they’re not. They’re awful. They are the worst speakers that I’ve ever heard on a laptop, on a desktop, in a car, from a cell phone—anywhere. As I’ve said before, if you enjoy hearing sounds, please do yourself a favor and do not listen to these speakers. The speakers are located above the keyboard, and they sound brassy, tinny, and shrill—and the sound only gets worse at higher volumes.

Here’s the bottom line: This is a great laptop, if you can overlook a few issues. It’s by far the fastest laptop we’ve tested, which is great news if you’re looking for a powerful model to do your bidding (and you don’t particularly care about looks). It’s a bit clunky and heavy, but less so than a desktop replacement—and it outperforms most desktop replacements.

But I’m not exaggerating when I say that the speakers are the worst I’ve ever heard, and the lack of a touchscreen is a bit disappointing. Still, if you don’t care about having a touchscreen, can tolerate the short battery life, and have some great headphones (the headphone jack is clean and delivers excellent sound, I’m happy to say), $1599 isn’t much to pay for awesome performance.

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Nokia Lumia 900 Review: Bigger Is Not Always Better

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If you want to buy a phone right now, and you’re shopping based on quality rather than price, you have two choices in terms of size. You can get the iPhone, with its 3.5-inch screen, or you can choose from a handful of top-tier Android and Windows phones, all of which will have, at the bare minimum, a four-inch screen. Most of them will be bigger–4.3 inches is much more common right now, and an increasing number are even larger, including the Samsung Galaxy Nexus (4.65 in), HTC Titan (4.7 in), and the Samsung Galaxy Note (which, at 5.3 inches, is more lunchtray than phone).

The Nokia Lumia 900 is essentially a 4.3-inch version of the Lumia 800, a phone I absolutely loved in its 3.7-inch iteration (a Europe-only model). So reviewing the Lumia 900 presents an interesting question: with most other specs remaining constant, how does the experience of using a phone change when it grows to the size most phone manufacturers insist we really want?


The Lumia 900 is Nokia’s first “flagship” Windows Phone that’s available in North America (the Lumia 710, a cheapie, has been available on T-Mobile for a little while already). It’s the sequel to the much-admired Lumia 800 and its changes are mostly in size (of various sorts). It’s got a 4.3-inch screen, compared to the Lumia 800’s 3.7-inch screen; it has 4G LTE (on AT&T), compared to the Lumia 800’s 3G; it has a bigger battery and a front-facing camera.

Nokia Lumia 900 and Plaid Sheets


This is mostly a good phone. Windows Phone is a great operating system; it’s still maturing, but it’s very usable, and it’s an interesting and distinctly different approach to a smartphone than iOS or Android. (More on that here.) The physical design is pretty good; it’s inoffensive, at worst, and is weighty enough to feel sturdy rather than cheap and plasticky, as many Windows Phones do (especially those made by Samsung). It’s also nicely thin, only a millimeter or two thicker than the iPhone. The screen, though not thrilling in its resolution, has great deep blacks, which is important when using an OS with a predominantly black interface by default.

AT&T’S 4G LTE continues to be great. This is the first phone using AT&T’s LTE I’ve personally used, and it feels just as screamingly fast as Verizon’s. It’s startling how quickly things load–LTE is as fast or faster than many people’s home internet connections, so apps download instantly, web pages load instantly, music and podcasts sync instantly. I was impressed with AT&T’s coverage too–I used the Lumia 900 all over New York City and it never dropped out on me. And the giant 1830mAh battery will get you through a full day with normal use, which is not always the case with the current crop of LTE-capable phones.


Bigger is not better. Gadget makers will tell you I’m wrong–they’ll point to sales numbers, saying that people have embraced big phones by the millions. But you could just as easily point to the iPhone, the most successful phone line in the country by a long shot, and say that it proves that people love smaller phones. Or you could remember that if you want a good Android or Windows phone, you are basically forced to buy a giant one. There are no longer any top-tier 3.7-inch phones. There are a rapidly decreasing number of 4-inch phones (the Motorola Droid 4, an above-average but not particularly special phone, is the only high-end 4-incher released in the past six months). If you’re shopping Android or Windows, your choices are limited to big or bigger. And that’s not necessarily for the better.

Most gadgets need to be of a particular size to fulfill their particular roles. A phone has to fit in your pocket or purse. An ebook reader has to display a page of text. A tablet has to provide a full web experience. You can’t just stretch it out, like it’s a Gumby made of silicon and glass and metal and plastic, and say it’s a better device because of it. And that’s exactly what the Lumia 900 is. The phone is _big_–not as big as a Galaxy Note, but big. It’s actually wider and thicker than the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, a phone with a substantially bigger screen.

Nokia Lumia 900: Back and Sides

Clockwise from top left: right edge (buttons are a volume rocker, power/hold button, and camera shutter), top edge (with a headphone jack, microphone, and microUSB port, and SIM card slot), back, and bottom edge (speaker grille).

I have small hands (we all have our hurdles in life), and for me, any phone with a screen bigger than four inches is more difficult to use than it’s worth. In regular use, I find myself constantly readjusting my grip–I can’t hold the phone and reach all parts of the screen with my thumb. Beyond the overall size increase, I don’t think the bigger screen has any real benefits in this case. The Windows Phone keyboard is excellent; I never found it awkward to type on the smaller Lumia 800, so unless you have the sausage fingers of Billy Joel (YouTube it, the dude has ten kielbasas attached to his palms), I can’t imagine this being a striking improvement. The screen is also mathematically worse than the Lumia 800’s. It’s the same exact screen–a PenTile AMOLED screen with 800 x 480 resolution and Nokia’s ClearBlack tech, which, if you don’t understand that, congratulations for not having so much nonsense rattling around in your head. What matters is that it’s the same number of pixels stretched across a larger canvas—the opposite of Apple’s approach with its Retina Display—which means a visible downgrade in image quality.

So on the Lumia 900, the picture is worse. It creates a bigger bulge in my pocket. What’s the point?

All the buttons are on the right edge of the phone, even the power/hold button, which is often found on the top edge. That’s essential, because it’s not really possible for anyone besides Hakeem Olajuwon to reach the top edge of the phone while holding it with one hand. But with it placed on the side, I found myself accidentally hitting the hold switch often, since it falls directly under your right thumb.

The design is also somehow not quite as enthralling as the sleek Lumia 800, even though it’s nearly identical. It’s the little things, which add up to a different impression when you’re dealing with a very simple design presentation. Example: the 800’s screen was curved, with the screen seeming to melt off into the sides of the phone like an infinity pool. The 900 has a typical flat screen, with a more definitive bezel between the screen and the sides of the phone, and a weird raise ridge around the edges. It’s a very minimalist design, which worked for the 800, because it had nice little touches and felt compact and sharp. The Lumia 900 isn’t bad-looking, and it’s certainly well-crafted, but it’s also not that interesting.

The camera remains not very good. I was surprised at this with the Lumia 800, and I’m still surprised–the Nokia N8, probably the worst phone I’ve ever reviewed, had a stellar camera, and Nokia is well-known for their phone cameras. The Lumia 900’s is average at best–I love that it has a dedicated shutter button, and shutter speed is pretty good, but I wasn’t impressed with image quality. The Lumia often came up with very dark shots, and color reproduction was sometimes off. And in lower-light situations, photos were extremely noisy.

Nokia Lumia 900 vs. iPhone 4S: Near and Far

A couple more comparisons: the Lumia 900 took the two photos on the left, while the iPhone 4S took the two on the right. You can see that the Lumia works okay in full sunlight, but still has troubles with shadows and differences in light (look at the slanted shadow on the building to the right of the Empire State Building, or how the daffodils blend into the brighter sidewalk in the upper left corner).


It’s available on AT&T for $100 with a two-year contract. That’s half the price of other 16GB phones like the iPhone, and probably a good way for Microsoft and Nokia to worm their way back into the public consciousness. It’s a good deal, though given the fact that you’re signing a two-year contract that’ll cost you several thousand dollars in voice and data plans, it doesn’t really make sense to care much about an extra $100 up front.

Nokia Lumia 900 Email App


The Lumia 900 is a pretty good phone–I still think the iPhone is a smarter buy on AT&T, due to its gigantic and thriving App Store, sleeker hardware, and more polished software, but the Lumia 900 is very nice. And yet I don’t think it’s as good a phone as the Lumia 800 (though the LTE speeds are delightful). It’s a weird feeling to be disappointed while still recommending a product, but that’s how it goes–the 900 doesn’t live up to my expectations, but it’s still the best Windows Phone in America. Still, it feels a little dull, where the Lumia 800 felt fresh and new and stylish. But most of all, I’m turned off by the size. Dear phone manufacturers: I know it’s an easy sell to say that your phone is bigger and therefore better–but for some of us, it’s simply not the case.

Crucial T700 Review: Pcie 5.0 Performance


Breathtaking performance

Available with or without heatsink

Up to 4TB in capacity


Extremely pricey

Requires the still rare PCIe 5.0 M.2 slot

Our Verdict

Crucial’s T700 shattered all our benchmark and real world records, and did so by a rather wide margin. If your system features a PCIe 5.0 M.2 slot, this SSD will take your storage performance to another level.

Best Prices Today: Crucial T700 PCIe 5.0 NVMe SSD

Nothing revs a storage reviewer’s engine more than a large jump in mainstream performance. Hitting that long skinny pedal for me was Crucial’s T700 PCIe 5.0 NVMe SSD, which transferred data a full gigabyte-per-second faster than any SSD we’ve tested to date. All I can say is, “Yowser!”

Price, Design, & Specs

The T700 is available in 1TB, 2TB (tested), and 4TB capacities. It’s sold bare or with a rather beefy heatsink for $180/$210/£175/£203, $340/$370/£329/£359, $600/$620/£583/£611, respectively. Alas, that’s nearly twice as expensive as some very good PCIe 4.0 competition, though you’re paying for a genuine leap in performance (see below). Note that those are pre-release prices provided by Crucial, so you might find it cheaper after launch. Look around.

In the US it’s available from Crucial, Amazon, BestBuy and Adorama. In the UK, you can buy it from Crucial, Amazon, Ebuyer, CCL and Box.

Further reading: See our roundup of the best SSDs to learn about competing products.

The Crucial T700 PCIe 5.0 NVMe SSD without heatsink.

Jon Jacobi / Foundry

As to the optional heatsink, most users will be fine without it, but if you’re going to pound on the drive in a system with lots of other heat-producing components, it couldn’t hurt.

The T700’s 2280 (22mm wide, 80mm long) form factor uses the brand-new Phison PS5026-E26 controller and Micron’s own 232-layer, TLC NAND. (Crucial is a Micron brand). There’s 1GB of DDR4 primary cache for every 1TB of capacity.

The TBW (terabytes that may be written) rating for the T700 is 600TB per terabyte of capacity. If you weren’t aware, TBW is the mitigating factor in SSD warranties, (five years in this case), as miles are to the years in an automobile warranty.

Performance & Benchmarks

The T700 destroyed the field, including the recently reviewed, formerly fastest Gigabyte Gen5 10,000. We’re truly talking an entirely new level of performance, which held fast in the real-world tests to a far greater degree than the Gigabyte SSD. I could go on, but instead—check out the gold bars in the charts below.

The T700 dominated the CrystalDiskMark 8 tests and it wasn’t particularly close. Longer bars are better.

Note that the WD SN850X is a PCIe 4.0 drive included for comparison. It’s among the fastest 4.0 SSDs we’ve tested and was re-tested on our latest test bed. (See the “How we test” section at the end of this article.)

One thing we observed is that formatting the T700 is a tad slow compared to many NVMe SSDs, regardless of PCIe revision. But who cares when you can shave the better part of a minute off a 48GB file transfer and 40 seconds off a 450GB write, as we found?

We’re truly talking an entirely new level of performance, which held fast in the real-world tests.


Crucial T700’s 48GB transfers showed great improvement in the real world, unlike the

Gigabyte. Shorter bars are better.

Jon L. Jacobi

Note that the 450GB write test is currently using a PCIe 4.0 drive to feed the file to the other drives. We’ll be addressing this soon now that we have several PCIe 5.0 SSDs in house, but regardless, the T700 once again destroyed the competition by a good 40 seconds.

The T700 shaved a full 40 seconds off the Gigabyte PCIe 5’s 450GB write time. That’s bookin’. Shorter bars are better.

Because of the slightly insane numbers popping up, the test experience with the T700 was just a general hoot. So much so that I also installed a couple of operating systems on it, and they felt snappier. Not a huge difference, but noticeable.


The T700 is absolutely the current king of the hill, and it’s not even a particularly close contest. If you have the required PCIe 5.0 M.2 slot, it’s the NVMe SSD you want – assuming you have the required monetary wherewithal to pay for the privilege.

How we test

Internal drive tests currently utilize Windows 11 (22H2) 64-bit running on an X790 (PCIe 5.0) motherboard/i5-12400 CPU combo with two Kingston Fury 32GB DDR5 modules (64GB of memory total). Intel integrated graphics are used. The 48GB transfer tests utilize an ImDisk RAM disk taking up 58GB of the 64GB total memory. The 450GB file is transferred from a Samsung 990 Pro 2TB, which also contains the operating system.

Each test is performed on a newly formatted and TRIM’d drive so the results are optimal. Note that as any drive fills up, performance will decrease due to less NAND for secondary caching, and other factors.

The performance numbers shown apply only to the drive we were shipped as well as the capacity tested. SSD performance can vary by capacity due to more or fewer chips to read/write across and the amount of NAND available for secondary caching (writing TLC/QLC as SLC). Vendors also occasionally swap components. If you ever notice a large discrepancy between the performance you experience and that which we report (systems being roughly equal), by all means—let us know.

How To Start A Micro

Want to run successful influencer marketing campaigns? This post will show you how micro-influencers can help you meet your business goals.

Let’s talk about the infamous Fyre Festival.

When the festival turned out to be the biggest event failure of the century, many blamed the influencers associated with it. The New York Times even chronicled it in its article that spoke about the possible fall of influencers.

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Access the Influencer outreach guide for marketing professionals

This influencer marketing campaign succeeded to get worldwide attention, but the festival was still a disaster. Influencers failed to maintain transparency and showcase a more realistic picture of the festival, which resulted in them losing a lot of their followers. On top of this, the company suffered huge losses.

This is the worst-case scenario and it conveys why influencer marketing is a tool that shouldn’t be played around with.

When it comes to influencer marketing, marketers have a lot of fears, possibly because of the unfamiliarity of the medium. In spite of this, nearly 66% of marketers plan to increase their budgets for influencer marketing. An Adweek prediction stated that it will become a $10 billion market by 2023.

The higher the budgets rise, the higher the financial stakes for brands and marketing agencies. So, as a marketing professional, how can you reach your target audience and effectively market your brand, especially if your budget is small?

Working with micro-influencers can help you do so.

There are different types of influencers to choose from, but micro-influencers are the ones who stand out as a low-cost and high-ROI marketing solution. Collaborating with them has its own set of pros and cons, but the benefits often outweigh the potential challenges.

Once you have decided to work with micro-influencers for your campaign, you need to build a strategy that can help you meet your marketing goals.

5-step plan to launch a successful micro-influencer campaign

Let’s take a look at the step-by-step process to plan, execute, and manage a successful micro-influencer campaign.

First step: Set clear goals

As with any marketing strategy, yours should begin by determining what you want to achieve and how you will measure success. You need to set goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) for your campaign.

Some common influencer marketing goals include:

Increase brand awareness

Build an audience

Improve engagement

Drive sales

Build links

Build trust and customer loyalty

Some important influencer marketing KPIs include:


Engagement rate


Number of followers


Number of sales

You should start with setting specific, actionable goals and associating them with relevant KPIs. These KPIs will enable you to measure the performance of your campaign while it is still ongoing. You can keep tweaking the campaign to optimize it for better performance.

StarNgage uses the four Rs of micro-influencers to determine the kind of influence they have. The 4 Rs are:





Leveraging this four-fold power, marketers can reach the goals they have set at the beginning of their campaigns.

Second step: Determine your budget

97% of micro-influencers don’t charge more than $500 per sponsored post, according to a survey conducted by Bloglovin’. However, a variety of factors can cause this cost to vary. For example, if you ask influencers to create and post a video, it can double this cost.

The same survey also stated that if you have a budget of $5,000, you can expect to generate up to 100 micro-influencer posts and reach approximately 200K people.

Along with cash, you can also offer other incentives to micro-influencers, such as:

Exclusive event passes

Recognition on your social media profiles and website

Early access to new products

Free trials


Gift cards

Limited product samples

Third step: Find the right influencers

Some 36% of marketers cited finding influencers as one of the biggest challenges of managing an influencer campaign.


When selecting micro-influencers for your campaign, you should look for three things: relevance, engagement rate, and authenticity.

One of the most vital factors to consider during the influencer selection process is their relevance to your niche and brand. It is important to analyze whether their followers include your target audience. You also need to choose influencers who can create content that aligns with your brand’s values and aesthetics.

Prioritizing relevance over a large following is always an effective strategy. Micro-influencers usually have loyal followers who trust their opinions and recommendations. So, even choosing an influencer with a small but more relevant fan base can help you drive good results.

Engagement rate

A good way to gauge the kind of influence a micro-influencer has is to check the average number of interactions that occur on their posts. This can also help you analyze who engages with their posts and if the influencer has an engaged community.

If you want to find influencers with real engagement, you can look for them on communities such as chúng tôi It allows you to search for influencers by their niches and the number of followers they have. You can also look at their engagement rates, the types of content they create, and their past collaborations.

A micro-influencer who has a highly-engaged audience is someone you may want to collaborate with for your marketing campaign.


Influencers with a larger number of followers can demand higher payments to promote a brand. Unfortunately, this idea has led to a lot of influencers to resort to dishonest methods to boost their follower counts.

Mediakix highlighted this industry-wide problem in a post that talked about how influencers with inflated followings were scamming their way into free hotel stays. The story went viral and over 100 press outlets worldwide reported it.

This is why it’s very important that you evaluate the authenticity of the micro-influencers you choose to partner with. One way to detect fake followers is to look at their engagement rate. More than that, you need to check the authenticity of their profiles and engagement by reviewing their social profiles.

Fourth step: Create engaging content

You have set your goals and KPIs and finalized your influencers. Now it is time to plan the kind of content you want the influencers to post on social media.

You can either create content in-house and ask influencers to publish it, or you can let the influencers do the work based on your campaign brief.

Brand-generated content

In this case, you can select influencers and ask them to publish content that you create in-house.

Leveraging brand-generated content comes with the least risk of something going wrong. That’s because the influencer does not add any personalization to the content. You can cautiously create content that conveys your brand’s message to your target audience.

But, on the contrary, brand-generated content is less impactful as it has the least amount of personalization. Influencers are great content creators and they understand which types of content their audiences will like. So, letting them create content can help you engage more people.

Influencer-created content

Influencers get maximum creative freedom when you allow them to handle content creation. You just provide them with your brand’s guidelines and some general direction about the kind of content you expect from them.

Influencer-created content is more likely to be engaging and impactful. However, it comes with some risks too.

That’s why you need to establish a review process when negotiating content usage rights with your influencer partnerships to ensure that the content they create doesn’t exploit your brand’s values. You can review, analyze, request changes, and approve content before the influencer publishes it.

Fifth step: Measure results

It is difficult to measure and scale influencer marketing campaigns. However, if you initially set KPIs that matter to the success of your campaign, it becomes easier to measure results.

You just need to track your KPIs to see if your campaign is taking you in the right direction. Thankfully, you don’t have to track these parameters manually. There are a number of platforms and tools that can help you.

Based on the insights you gain, you can further optimize your influencer campaigns for better performance.

Final thoughts

Instagram, recently, has eliminated the possibility for people to view likes on posts. A few influencers and marketers were upset about this decision as these metrics helped them evaluate success.

But as we just discussed, influencer marketing campaign success is not really about the number of followers and likes, it is the engagement that matters. This change in perspective can greatly help micro-influencers who generate higher engagement when compared to macro-influencers.

According to a survey conducted by Markerly, micro-influencers offer the best combination of broader reach and relevant engagement. Though they have fewer followers, their audiences are loyal and highly engaged.

Micro-influencer marketing campaigns have great potential to promote your brand. However, you need to draft a fool-proof marketing strategy to unleash it.

Hands On: Glide Adds New Micro

TransMedia, creator of the Glide cloud computing OS and suite of apps, will Wednesday announce the latest addition to its app set—Glide Engage, a micro-blogging tool with a lot of social media sharing functionality layered on.

Compared to the Twitter community, the Glide community is tiny. But Glide,TransMedia CEO Donald Leka tells me, now hosts just over a million users and is adding about 2,000 more every day. As with Twitter, as you begin posting messages, links, media, etc., some of those community members might find you “engaging” and then start following you. Of course you may begin to notice the same users posting stuff you like, and then begin following them. In short, using Engage feels a bit like using Twitter, but with a lot more control and functionality happenning in the background.

Engage also provides an impressive collaboration workspace, called Meeting, where you and your invitees can call up any type of file, view it, discuss it and make changes to it. During the demo today, Mr. Leka pulled up both a music and a video file, played them, then began both a text-based chat and a video/voice chat with me to discuss the media in real time.

As in the micro-blogging and discussion groups functions, you can set exacting permissions around who may do what with the files you share. Some users may only read the files, while others may be given permission to edit them, but only in a certain time frame, for instance.

The Austria of Cloud Computing

Glide’s OS- and device-agnostic approach really pays off in the new Engage app. For instance, if you share a QuickTime media file through Engage with a friend using a Windows Media mobile device, Engage automatically transcodes the QuickTime file into a Windows Media file that will display nicely on the mobile device. The reverse is true, too. Similarly, if you share a Microsoft Word doc with a Mac user via Engage, Engage will convert the file to an Open Office document that will work nicely on a Mac. It will also convert documents for use on an iPhone.

Syncing Up

Glide also provides a syncing app that allows you to make your files in the cloud a constant mirror image of your files on your home, work or mobile PC. For instance, if you modify one of your “Glide” documents using your smartphone on the train ride home, your changes will be reflected in the version of the file on the Glide servers (i.e. “in the cloud”) and on the versions of that same file residing on your home and work computers. And it works even if your home computer is a Mac, your work computer is PC and your mobile device speaks Android, provided that all three have the syncing app installed.

About TransMedia, Glide

At any rate, Glide’s vision of a neutral, cloud-based OS and application suite that may be setting the benchmark by which other bigger cloud computing players may be measured (attention Google Wave Development Team). And from what I’ve seen so far it’s a high benchmark.

Samsung Galaxy A7 Performance And Gaming Review: Not For The Serious Gamer

Samsung recently launched the Galaxy A7 (Rs. 23,990) in India, a premium mid-range device that sets itself apart from other mid-rangers from the company by offering a subtle design refresh, a triple camera setup and a uniquely placed fingerprint scanner. The device packs in an Exynos 7885 SoC, coupled with 4/6GB of RAM and its performance is exactly in accordance with other premium mid-rangers available at this price point. If you’re in the market for a mid-range device and have been pondering over the Galaxy A7’s performance then allow us to help you make a well informed decision. Here’s our performance and gaming review of the all-new Galaxy A7:

Samsung Galaxy A7 Performance and Gaming Review

As mentioned earlier, the Galaxy A7 packs in an Exynos 7885 SoC which, for the unaware, falls somewhere between the mid-range Snapdragon 636 and Snapdragon 660 processors from Qualcomm. In order to get a fair reading of the processor’s performance, we first ran the usual slew of benchmarks on the device, including AnTuTu, Geekbench 4 and 3DMark.

Galaxy A7 Benchmarks

So, in order to check the benchmark results we installed AnTuTu, Geekbench 4 and 3DMark on the Galaxy A7 as soon as we pullet it out of the box which gave us a clear idea of how the device performs at its best. The scores delivered by the Galaxy A7 are quite in line with what you’d expect from a device of this calibre. The Galaxy A7 managed to score 122609 on AnTuTu, lagging behind the Snapdragon 660 powered Vivo V11 Pro which scored 128304, but managing to stay well ahead of Snapdragon 636 powered devices like the Redmi Note 5 Pro, the Nokia 6.1 plus, ZenFone Max Pro and the Motorola One Power.

Galaxy A7 Gaming Performance

Taking into account the synthetic benchmark results we just mentioned, you’d expect the Galaxy A7 to be terrible when it comes to gaming, but that isn’t the case. While the device doesn’t necessarily perform as well as the Vivo V11 Pro in graphically intensive games like PUBG Mobile, it is capable enough to handle most Android games with relative ease. In order to test the device’s gaming performance, we played PUBG Mobile, Mortal Kombat X and Shadowgun Legends and here’s what we found:

Compared to the Vivo V11 Pro, which managed to breeze through the most graphically demanding games with ease (at medium setting, of course), the Galaxy A7 didn’t fare quite as well. In PUBG Mobile, the device automatically picked up the medium graphical preset, but I experienced stuttering and frame drops right from the get go. The biggest issue I faced while PUBG Mobile at default settings was that the device dropped frames every time I panned the camera from left to right or top to bottom, which made aiming really difficult.

On top of that, due to the 4GB RAM, the device took far too long to load artifacts around the map, which meant that jumping out of the plane I could only see misshapen blobs of different colors on the ground right until I landed. The RAM constraints were also visible while multitasking as the device took some time to switch between heavy apps and wasn’t able to keep more than two heavy games in memory at the same time.

Since the Galaxy A7 features a notchless display, I faced absolutely no issues with games being cropped at weird places. But for some reason Mortal Kombat X on the device wasn’t properly optimized and left large empty spaces on both the top and bottom which added on to the top and bottom bezels, making the experience rather unpleasant.

Overall, the gaming performance of the Samsung Galaxy A7 wasn’t as good as I’d expected it to be and I wouldn’t recommend the device to people who wish to play games on their smartphones. If you’re one of those people, then you can opt for the Poco F1 or the Vivo V11 Pro, both of which are great for gaming.

Samsung Galaxy A7 Performance and Gaming Review: Not the Best Choice for Gaming

Priced at Rs. 23,990, the Galaxy A7 doesn’t offer the absolute best performance that you can get from a smartphone in this price range. It doesn’t even offer decent performance in graphically intensive titles like PUBG Mobile, unless you’re okay with turning down the graphics to low. However, I faced absolutely no issues with the device while playing lighter titles or in my day to day use, which means that the device isn’t all that bad.

So, in case your workload comprises of playing graphically intensive games all the time, then you should probably skip the Galaxy A7 and opt for the Poco F1 instead. But, if you’re not one who plays too many games on their smartphone then you can definitely go for the Galaxy A7.

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