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It is impossible to overstate the importance of the note series in Redmi’s catalog. The Note series of phones have played a huge role in placing Xiaomi on the global market map. Thanks to the popularity of the Redmi Note series, it has dominated the Indian smartphone market. Since Xiaomi redefined the mid-range budget series with their Redmi note 3, the company has managed to push the boundaries further by releasing a better Redmi Note Series.

The company is currently facing competition in the midrange market from Vivo, Realme, among others. In March 2023, Xiaomi released the Redmi Note 9 Pro Max powered by an SM7125 Snapdragon Qualcomm with 720G Octa-core processor. For the GPU, the phone has an Adreno 618 graphic card.

Distinctive Specifications

One distinguishing feature on the smartphone is its lenses. Redmi Note 9 Pro Max has a 64 MP rear camera with 8 MP ultrawide lenses. The camera also has an additional 5 MP macro and 2 MP depth sensor lenses which enable it to attain nice photography experience and images. The front camera comes with a stunning 32 MP sensor that captures nice selfies. In terms of security, the phone is equipped with a side-mounted fingerprint scanner. Other sensors embedded in the device include a gyro, compass, accelerometer, proximity.

Comparing the Redmi Note 9 Pro and Redmi Note 9S

The Redmi Note 9S is the global version while Redmi Note 9 Pro and Note 9 Pro Max which were first released for the Indian market.  All three phones have quad rear cameras that are similar in shape, a square module. But the cameras on each phone have different configurations. The Redmi Note 9S boasts of a 48 MP primary sensor from Samsung GM1 with an f/1.79 lens. The secondary shooter has 8 MP with an ultra-wide-angle f/2.2 lens. The front selfie camera in Redmi Note 9S has a 16-megapixel camera.

The Redmi Note 9 Pro, in contrast, has a Samsung ISOCELL GM2 48 MP Primary sensor with an f/1.79 lens. The secondary, tertiary, and quaternary lens is similar to that of the Redmi Note 9S. The only difference that the Redmi Note 9 Pro Max brings is the 64 MP primary camera. This is to add on the 32 MP front camera.

The Redmi Note 9 Pro and Pro Max rank higher in storage capabilities in that they have a microSD card expandable storage of up to 512 GB while the Redmi Note 9 is only expandable up to 128 GB. All three phones have onboard storage of 128 GB. Also, Redmi note 9 Pro is shipped with 4G/8GB RAM while Note 9 Pro Max is shipped with 6/8GB RAM. When it comes to the charging capabilities, the Redmi Note 9S and Redmi Note 9 Pro support 18W, which is slower than the 33W fast charging of the Redmi Note 9 Pro Max.

Final Verdict

Whichever model you choose, the Redmi Note 9 series are great high-end flagship devices from Xiaomi. They come loaded with great cameras, superior build quality, decent gaming performance,  and an excellent battery life with fast charging capability. Even for a heavy user, the battery should last the whole day. This is a great deal and a good value for money.

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Iphone 13 Pro Max Review: The Battery Beast

Pros

Great low-light photography performance

Ultra-smooth 120Hz refresh rate

Incredible battery life

A15 Bionic is unbeaten

Cons

Big and bulky

Relatively slow charging

Cinematic mode is capped at 1080p

Expensive

Our Verdict

The iPhone 13 Pro Max offers the best battery of any iPhone to date, but the lack of differences between it and the more affordable iPhone 13 Pro – including ProMotion tech and enhanced cameras – make it hard to recommend to most. 

Best Prices Today: Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max

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Price

$637.95

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The iPhone 13 Pro Max is the culmination of Apple’s work over the past few years, offering the biggest, fastest display and best battery life of any iPhone to date. However, the iPhone 13 Pro Max is also the most expensive iPhone currently available, and unlike last year, there aren’t upgrades unique to this year’s Pro Max variant. 

With that in mind, is it worth paying the extra for the bigger display and longer battery life, or should you save yourself a bit of money and go for the equally-capable iPhone 13 Pro? Keep reading to find out. 

Design and build

Slightly thicker and heavier than its predecessor

20% smaller Face ID notch

New colour finishes

The iPhone 13 Pro Max is the biggest in the iPhone 13 series, both in terms of display size and overall heft – even the move from an iPhone 12 Pro to the 13 Pro Max is noticeable. It’s something you adjust to fairly quickly, but I wasn’t expecting such a bulky experience when I first got my hands on the smartphone. 

That’s not to say it’s not a stunning piece of kit though; if you like the industrial look first introduced on the iPhone 12 range, you’ll love the iPhone 13 Pro Max because it’s essentially the same. The iPhone 13 Pro Max sports the same stainless steel bezels, frosted glass rear and edge-to-edge display as its predecessor. it’s also protected by the same IP68 dust- and water-resistance and ceramic shield tech on the front too.

It is slightly thicker and heavier at 7.7mm and 240g respectively, likely down to the increase in battery power – more on that later – and the camera bump protrudes further than ever too, but given most people will immediately put a case on the smartphone, it’s likely not something you’ll notice. 

The big change compared to its predecessor is in the notch department; it’s still there, but it’s 20% smaller this time around. Hardcore Apple fans will appreciate the reduction in size – that doesn’t affect Face ID performance – but it’s likely that most people won’t notice unless they’re side-by-side.

It’s just a shame that Apple hasn’t done anything with the extra screen space on either side of the notch, with the same time, signal and notification icons as previous smartphones, just centralised.

And before you ask, no, Apple didn’t reintroduce Touch ID alongside Face ID as rumoured. That’s a bit of a shame given the tech has been built into the power button of the iPad Air and iPad mini, especially considering our reliance on facemasks and Face ID’s struggle to recognise faces – and the fact that it’s a feature of most of the Android competition too. C’mon Apple, let us have the choice!  

There are also new colour options available with the iPhone 13 Pro Max that help separate it from its predecessor, available in the usual Silver and Graphite along with a refreshed Gold finish and the new Sierra Blue, which was supplied for review. A further addition came in March 2023 with the release of the Alpine Green colour finish. 

The new blue finish is subtle compared to the more vivid shade of blue available on the standard iPhone 13 and lighter than the Pacific hue of the 12 Pro range, complemented by the matching blue stainless steel band that surrounds the edges of the smartphone and the cameras for a clean look. 

Display

Vibrant 6.7in Super Retina XDR OLED display

120Hz ProMotion is a big addition

Improved refresh rate doesn’t affect battery life

For most Apple fans, the display will be a core reason to upgrade to this year’s iPhone. Why? Because it finally introduces one of the most heavily requested features: a high refresh rate.

While the entire iPhone 13 range sports Apple’s top-of-the-line Super Retina XDR OLED displays with phenomenal colour and detail, support for HDR and True Tone and more, the 6.7in iPhone 13 Pro Max (and the smaller 6.1in Pro) introduce Apple’s 120Hz ProMotion tech.

Though it has been a staple of the iPad Pro range since 2023, the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max are the first iPhones to offer buttery smooth 120Hz refresh rates. For those unaware, a higher refresh rate allows the screen to refresh more frequently to allow for smoother scrolling in apps and higher frame rates in games. 

While it might be hard for some to spot, it’s a joy for tech fans that can fully appreciate the jump from 60 to 120Hz. Everything on the iPhone 13 Pro Max feels more responsive than ever, be it playing Star Trek: Legends or simply scrolling through my Twitter timeline, and it’s amazing how quickly I got used to it.

Now I’ve adjusted to the higher refresh rate, the 60Hz display of the iPad mini – which I praised just weeks ago – now feels a little sluggish in comparison despite featuring the same A15 Bionic.

Of course, a higher refresh rate means more battery drain, which is why Apple opted for an LTPO display capable of dynamically adjusting between 10 and 120Hz when required. It’ll switch to lower refresh rates when the display is static, like when reading a text, and it’ll speed up when it detects you scrolling, and it’s likely a factor in the stellar battery life available on this year’s model – but more on that later. 

It’s not quite as capable as some Androids, with the likes of the premium Oppo Find X3 Pro able to drop an impressive 1Hz for even better battery efficiency, and you can’t lock the display to a specific refresh rate either, but it’s still a welcome change that vastly improves the iPhone display experience. 

ProMotion aside, the iPhone 13 Pro Max has a brighter display than before, boasting an impressive peak brightness of 1600nits when viewing HDR content, though that drops down to a (respectable) 830nits during everyday use, as I found in testing. 

Simply put, if you’re on the market for a large screen with a detailed resolution, gorgeous colours and a high refresh rate perfect for gaming, the iPhone 13 Pro Max is a solid option. 

Specs and performance

A15 Bionic is unbeaten

New 1TB storage option for videographers

Frequent iOS updates

Another iPhone means another Apple-designed chipset, and this year’s 5nm A15 Bionic at the heart of the iPhone 13 Pro Max certainly doesn’t disappoint. 

In terms of pure power, the iPhone 13 Pro Max’s A15 Bionic is simply unbeaten, even compared to the top-end Android smartphones – and some of our benchmark results are much further ahead than most of the competition, especially in the CPU department as our Geekbench 5 tests show.

There is a caveat though: as you can see from the GFXBench results, iOS apps need to be manually updated to support the faster 120Hz refresh rate, meaning our benchmark results are currently limited to 60fps despite being capable of generating more frames. I’ll keep an eye out for a 120Hz update and re-run the tests once it’s available. 

Of course, benchmarks are just numbers, and that doesn’t really tell you how a smartphone performs on a daily basis. Given Apple’s control over both hardware and software, you should expect a lightning-fast experience no matter what you’re doing, be it running Call of Duty Mobile at the highest graphical settings or exporting a video in iMovie. The iPhone 13 Pro Max hasn’t stuttered once in general use, no matter what I threw at it. 

The boosts to machine learning capabilities also mean that smart tasks, like adjusting the focus in the iPhone 13’s Cinematic Mode (which I discuss later) are near-instant and more accurate than ever.

Simply put, the iPhone 13 Pro Max is rapid, with enough power under the hood to keep it chugging along for a few years yet, and it’s yet to be beaten in benchmark tests. 

In terms of connectivity, you’ll find 5G, though with varying support depending on the market. The faster mmWave 5G tech, for example, is still a US exclusive. That’s flanked by NFC for Apple Pay, Ultra-Wideband tech for the enhanced Find My tech, Bluetooth 5.0 and Wi-Fi 6. 

There’s also the iOS experience itself to consider. The iPhone 13 Pro Max runs iOS 15 out of the box, boasting key upgrades including massive improvements to the notification system, and the introduction of Focus Modes too.

Focus Mode allows you to create different profiles – for tasks like work, sleep, personal time – and control not only the incoming notifications and calls, but which iPhone home screens are displayed too. Want a work mode with a Home Screen devoid of social media and gaming apps? It’s easy to do in iOS 15.

It’s features like that, along with Apple’s unbeaten ecosystem that means the iPhone will play very nicely with products like the iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods, Mac and Apple TV, that make the iOS experience what it is. Ultimately, it’s business as usual for iPhone users, and although it’ll take Android converts some time to adjust, there isn’t much to dislike. 

There’s also the benefit of software updates; while the Android competition is finally improving on that front, with some manufacturers promising 3 years of OS updates, it’s still far from the support that Apple offers. Take iOS 15 for example: it’s available on the iPhone 6S, a smartphone that was released back in 2023. The Samsung Galaxy S6, also released in 2023, didn’t even get the upgrade to Android 8, let alone this year’s Android 12.

If software longevity is important to you, iOS is the way forward. 

Camera

Great everyday performance

Low-light focused camera upgrades hit the mark

Cinematic Mode is a lot of fun

While the entire iPhone 13 range benefits from the sensor-shift OIS introduced on the iPhone 12 Pro Max last year, there are other benefits that make the iPhone 13 Pro Max’s rear-facing tri-camera setup among the best in the market right now. 

Let’s start with the main wide camera; the 12Mp snapper sports the largest sensor ever packed into an iPhone, and that’s coupled with a faster f/1.5 aperture in an effort to vastly improve the amount of light taken in any given shot.

It should come as no surprise that in normal lighting the iPhone can produce stunning photographs packed with plenty of detail, but that’s true of just about every flagship right now. It’s low-light performance where performance can vary largely, and that’s where the iPhone 13 Pro Max excels. 

Though there’s still a notable amount of grain visible – a factor of most low-light modes regardless of model – the iPhone 13 Pro Max is capable of slurping much more light from a scene without the need for a tripod, and that translates to a much more detailed image. In fact, in certain scenarios, the iPhone captured more of a scene than I could see with the naked eye.

It’s not the perfect night mode, with particularly bright spots – like nearby street lights – blowing out, but it’s something that Apple can tweak with future OS updates. 

Similarly, the 12Mp 120-degree ultrawide sensor has also had an upgrade to improve low-light performance, with an impressive jump from f/2.4 to f/1.8 making it one of the widest apertures in an ultra-wide on any smartphone right now.

As with the main sensor, photos in great light are stunning, with Apple’s anti-distortion tech removing much of the distortion present on most ultrawide cameras, especially with large vista shots, but it’s low-light that sees the main benefit.

If you’ve got a tripod handy, the ultrawide is capable of producing low-light images that can hold their own against the main lens, although without OIS, it’s not quite up to the task if you’re just holding the phone. Still, even with shorter exposures, there’s much more light present this time around, making using Night Mode on the ultrawide a viable option, arguably for the first time since Apple introduced the tech on the ultrawide sensor.  

That’s not the only change either; instead of adding a dedicated macro lens like with cheap Android smartphones, further increasing the camera count, Apple decided to bake the functionality into the ultrawide lens.

While macro lenses can sometimes be a bit of a gimmick, it’s surprisingly good on the iPhone 13 Pro Max – as long as you frame the shot properly. You have to be at least 2cm away from the subject to achieve focus, and you’ll often have to battle shadows caused by the phone depending on light conditions, but the potential for great macro photography is there. 

The only real annoyance is that, with Apple’s “it just works” mentality at play, there’s no dedicated macro mode toggle in the Camera app. Instead, the iPhone decides when you’re close enough to a subject to enable macro mode – and that happens far too often, with an annoying blur animation hiding the camera switch.

Apple has added a switch to disable the automatic macro mode in iOS 15.1, but it still doesn’t include a manual toggle in its place. Instead, you have to switch to the ultrawide lens and get close to your subject, with no icon to let you know that macro mode is actually active. There’s still a lot of UI optimisation to be done, but that’s easily remedied.  

Last, but by no means least, the telephoto lens has had a boost from 2.5x to 3x. Though not quite as noticeable as the jump from 2x to 3x on the iPhone 13 Pro, the longer zoom distance is perfect for shooting distant subjects, allowing you to get closer without having to move.

However, there is a downside, namely when using Portrait mode, which was the original purpose of the telephoto lens. The extra zoom on offer from the 3x lens means you have to step even further away from your subject to properly frame it, and that’s not always possible depending on the environment.

It’s also not quite up to par in the low-light department, sporting a much narrower f/2.8 aperture than the other lenses. It’s still possible, and there is potential to capture decent zoomed low-light shots, but it’s (understandably) not quite up to the same standard. 

There was also a focus on Photographic Styles at the iPhone reveal event, with the Camera app now featuring five different presets – Standard, Rich Contrast, Vibrant, Warm and Cool – that you can switch between on the fly, giving your images a different feel.

You can make scenic shots look more intense with the Vibrant filter, and autumnal images look great with the Warm filter, but rather annoyingly, these can’t be applied or tweaked post-capture. You can create your own presets, however, giving your images a distinct look unique to you. 

But while most of the improvements have been focused on photography, Apple hasn’t ignored its other strong suit – videography. It’s an area that Apple excels in compared to the Android competition, offering Dolby Vision HDR capture at 4K@60fps, and as of iOS 15.1, you can even record in Apple’s professional-level Apple ProRes codec on the iPhone 13 Pro Max, albeit at a more limited 1080p@60fps or 4K@30fps. 

While ProRes will no doubt be a massive plus for videographers looking to use the iPhone to capture video, the more popular new addition is Cinematic Mode. Described as Portrait mode for video in a leak prior to release, Cinematic Mode offers the fake bokeh effect present on the Portrait mode in real time, and it’s fully adjustable too. 

The Camera app will do its best to intelligently identify the subject of the shot, identified by a yellow box, and it’ll blur the background around it. It’ll analyse other focal points in the scene, like a person in the background, and a quick tap will shift focus from one to the other. But what if the focus isn’t quite right? The AI is great, but not perfect, after all.

The best part is that you can fully edit the focal point of the video once it has been shot. It’s really easy to do too; simply pause the video where you want to shift focus and press down on the area you’d like to shift focus to. You can do this as many times as you like too, allowing for incredible cinema-esque shots ideal not only for social media but all kinds of creative videos. 

The only dealbreaker is that captured is limited to 1080p, rather than the full 4K@60fps the iPhone 13 Pro Max is capable of.  

Let’s not forget about the front-facing camera either; it’s still the same 12Mp f/2.2 snapper as the iPhone 12 Pro Max, but considering the great quality of selfies and adjustable wide angle, as well as access to features like Slow-mo, Night Mode and Cinematic Mode, it’s one of the most capable around. 

Battery life and charging

True multi-day battery life

15W MagSafe charging

Improved wired charging speeds, but still not Android-level

The Pro Max variant of iPhone has always had the best battery life of the range, and that’s certainly true with the iPhone 13 Pro Max, but it manages to go even further to offer true all-day (or even multi-day, depending on usage) battery life.

The 4352mAh battery inside the iPhone 13 Pro Max offers an extra two hours of battery life compared to the 12 Pro Max according to Apple, and based on our testing, that’s on the money. The iPhone 13 Pro Max scored 11 hours and 36 minutes in our battery benchmark, run at 120nits, a big jump compared to 9:08 from last year’s iPhone 12 Pro Max. 

In real terms, the iPhone 13 Pro Max will likely relieve you of any battery anxiety you’ve had until now. I didn’t need to worry about long FaceTime chats, mobile gaming sessions or scrolling through TikTok when away from the charger, comfortably getting me through an entire’s day use with around 40% battery remaining, and if you use your phone less than I do, you’ll likely be able to squeeze two days of use from the top-end iPhone.

That’s coupled with MagSafe charging, rated at the same 15W as its predecessor, and it’s a similar story with the 7.5W Qi charging, but it supports faster wired charging via the Lightning cable (yes, no move to USB-C again!) at up to 27W. The catch? Apple, once again, doesn’t include a charger in the box, so you’ll need to source a USB-C plug with at least 27W of power to get the most out of the charging system. 

Price

The iPhone 13 Pro Max is the most expensive in the iPhone 13 collection, even at its starting price, and it only increases with extra storage. Here’s how the iPhone 13 Pro Max shapes up:

iPhone 13 Pro Max (128GB) – £1,049 / $1,099

iPhone 13 Pro Max (256GB) – £1,149 / $1,199

iPhone 13 Pro Max (512GB) – £1,349 / $1,399

iPhone 13 Pro Max (1TB) – £1,549 / $1,599

That’s £100/$100 more than the iPhone 13 Pro, and unlike last year, the Pro Max variant doesn’t offer any unique upgrades aside from the larger display and better battery life. So, if you can deal with a slightly smaller iPhone, the iPhone 13 Pro offers the best value for money given the premium features on offer.

If you simply can’t resist the large display or long battery life of the iPhone 13 Pro Max, it’s available from the likes of Apple, Amazon and more – and that includes the latest Alpine Green finish too.

If you’re curious as to how the iPhone 13 Pro Max compares to other flagships like the Galaxy S21 Ultra and OnePlus 9 Pro, take a look at our selection of the best flagship phones, or the best iPhone chart to see how it compares to the rest of the range. 

Verdict

The iPhone 13 Pro Max is undoubtedly the biggest and best iPhone yet. The 6.7in Super Retina XDR OLED display and its improved 120Hz refresh rate offer a significant upgrade over the iPhone 12 Pro Max, and the A15 Bionic at its core is unbeaten in benchmark results. Whatever you throw at this phone, it can handle it, be it hardcore gaming or on-the-fly video editing. 

There are also significant camera improvements on offer, particularly in the low light department. The f/1.5 aperture and larger sensor of the main lens, combined with sensor-shift OIS, offer incredible low-light photos that are comparable to those taken on the top-end Android smartphones, and it’s a similar story with well-lit images too. The introduction of ProRes video recording is a boon for professionals, but it’s Cinematic Mode that’ll steal the show for many.

Battery life is another area that the iPhone 13 Pro Max excels in, boasting true multi-day battery life for the first time in iPhone’s history. It’s still slow to charge compared to the Android competition, but at 27W, it’s respectable. 

However, is it the iPhone we’d recommend to most people? Probably not. The iPhone 13 Pro Max is a big phone, with added thickness and heft compared to even the iPhone 12 Pro Max, and combined with a fairly wide (compared to Android standards) 19.5:9 aspect ratio, that makes it harder to use one-handed than the iPhone 13 Pro.

That, as well as the fact that the iPhone 13 Pro offers the same core upgrades as the Pro Max at a £100/$100 discount, means it’s hard to say that the iPhone 13 Pro Max is the iPhone you should go for. But, if you’re like me and love the big screen and long battery life, it’s certainly one to consider. 

Review Del Microsoft Surface Pro 9: Elige La VersiĆ³n Intel

Pros

Espectacular autonomía de batería

Bonito diseño y pantalla

Buena experiencia con el teclado y el stylus

Cámara excelente con funciones ARM extra

Contras

Rendimiento decepcionante

Pobre selección de puertos

No todas las apps son compatibles con ARM

Caro (el teclado se vende por separado)

Nuestro veredicto

El modelo basado en ARM del Surface Pro 9 es uno de los mejores dispositivos que no deberías comprar, con una batería excelente y funciones de la cámara web extras que van acompañadas de una caída en rendimiento y una limitada compatibilidad de software. Apuesta por la versión Intel.

Mejores precios hoy: Microsoft Surface Pro 9

Cuando la mayoría de la gente piensa en un 2-en-1 de Windows, el Surface Pro es el primer dispositivo que te viene a la cabeza. Una década después de su lanzamiento inicial, el 2-en-1 insignia de Microsoft es ahora mejor que nunca.

Tras varios años de actualizaciones iterativas, en 2023 llegó Surface Pro 8. Las mejoras son más modestas esta vez, pero el nuevo modelo basado en ARM ha dado mucho que hablar.

Ofrece una mayor duración de la batería, nuevas funciones de videollamada y soporte 5G por primera vez, sustituyendo al Surface Pro X al mismo tiempo. Pero, por desgracia, otras áreas clave se han visto comprometidas para conseguirlo, lo que hace que sea difícil de recomendar. Para la mayoría de la gente, la versión Intel, menos emocionante pero fiable, es la mejor opción.

Diseño y calidad de construcción

Mismo diseño premium que el Surface Pro 8

Funciones de videollamada impresionantes, pero no todas funcionan

Faltan puertos

Si alguna vez has usado el Surface Pro 8, el diseño del Pro 9 te resultará totalmente familiar. El dispositivo tiene un aspecto idéntico al de su predecesor, aunque eso no es de extrañar dados los grandes cambios que se introdujeron en 2023.

Tampoco es algo malo. El Pro 9 es una mezcla perfecta de vidrio y aluminio que se siente muy premium, lo que ayuda a justificar su alto precio. Sin embargo, esta elección de materiales se refleja en el peso: teniendo en cuenta que solo la tablet pesa 878 g, resulta incómodo sostenerla durante más de unos minutos.

Pero probablemente eso no estaba en tus planes con un dispositivo de 13″. Microsoft sigue incorporando un pie de apoyo en el dispositivo, que se extiende por la parte trasera y lo hace muy resistente. Algunos dispositivos económicos hacen concesiones en este aspecto, pero es uno de los puntos fuertes de las tablets Surface.

Aparte de eso, no hay mucho más que decir sobre la parte trasera. Microsoft mantiene un diseño simple, con un logotipo de Windows minimalista y una sola cámara de 10 MP.

Anyron Copeman / Foundry

Esta última ofrece un nivel de detalle decente, lo que la convierte en una opción útil para el escaneado de documentos o la toma ocasional de fotos en casa. Pero, por favor, no intentes usarla para hacer fotos en serio.

Por desgracia, el modelo basado en ARM que he probado solo está disponible en platino. Las versiones Intel también tienen opciones para Zafiro, Bosque y Grafito, pero todas son minimalistas y discretas. Si buscas algo que destaque al instante entre la multitud, este no es el dispositivo que necesitas.

Lo mismo ocurre al darle la vuelta, pero merece la pena explorar en detalle la cámara frontal de 1080p. El sensor en sí no ha cambiado, pero no era necesario: sigue siendo una de las mejores cámaras web integradas que encontrarás en cualquier dispositivo Windows.

Sin embargo, Microsoft ha introducido mejoras clave en la experiencia de las videollamadas a través de un chip NPU (Neural Processing Unit) independiente que solo se incluye en la versión ARM.

Le da al Pro 9 nuevos efectos de vídeo que tienen el potencial de marcar una gran diferencia cuando se está en una reunión virtual o en llamadas con amigos y familiares.

Digo potencial porque no he conseguido que funcionen todos. En teoría, el encuadre automático (en el que te mantienes automáticamente encuadrado y enfocado en todo momento) y el contacto visual (en el que tus ojos parecen estar mirando a la cámara, en lugar de a la pantalla) pueden mejorar significativamente las videollamadas, pero no tengo experiencia personal que lo respalde.

Microsoft indicó que estos problemas eran poco frecuentes, pero merece la pena tenerlos en cuenta si estas características son importantes para ti. Sin embargo, algunas de las otras características son sin duda impresionantes.

El desenfoque de fondo es algo que ofrecen la mayoría de las aplicaciones de videollamadas, pero el Surface Pro 9 lo hace mejor. La detección de bordes ha mejorado notablemente, y es positivo tener la opción de un “desenfoque estándar” más intenso o un “desenfoque de retrato” más ligero.

El dispositivo tiene los mismos micrófonos duales que el Pro 8, pero la NPU permite que haya otra característica extra: el enfoque por voz. Está activada por defecto y aísla muy bien la voz en entornos ruidosos.

Incluso cuando no todas estas características funcionan bien, el Surface Pro 9 es casi inigualable en cuanto a las videollamadas. Es uno de los pocos dispositivos Windows en los que no es necesario conectar accesorios aparte para disfrutar de una gran experiencia.

Junto a la webcam tenemos el habitual sensor IR, lo que significa que puedes desbloquear el Pro 9 con tu cara a través de Windows Hello. Pero Microsoft sigue sin incluir un sensor de huellas dactilares. No entiendo por qué no podemos tener ambos.

Anyron Copeman / Foundry

También merece la pena hablar de los puertos, que han bajado de nivel respecto al año pasado. El Surface Connect de la compañía sigue siendo tosco, aunque puedes usar cualquiera de los puertos USB-C para cargar.

Pero al no estar alimentado por Intel, no hay certificación Thunderbolt 4 para la transferencia rápida de datos, mientras que Microsoft ha decidido que ahora es el momento de deshacerse de la toma de auriculares de 3,5 mm. Puedes conectar auriculares con cable por USB-C, pero parece una medida innecesaria.

Accesorios

Excelente teclado, el trackpad podía ser mejor

Experiencia de stylus impresionante

Todos los accesorios se venden por separado

Antes de ver cuáles son los accesorios que transforman el Pro 9 en un auténtico dispositivo de productividad, conviene recordar que todos se venden por separado. Los precios que aparecen en la mayoría de las tiendas se refieren únicamente a la tablet, lo que limita considerablemente el potencial del dispositivo.

Yo probé el Signature Keyboard, que incluye el lápiz óptico Slim Pen 2 y un lugar de almacenamiento dedicado para el lápiz. Sin embargo, Microsoft vende opciones más asequibles, y todos los accesorios existentes para el Surface Pro 8 son compatibles con el Pro 9.

Pero si estás dispuesto a desembolsar el dinero extra, es poco probable que te decepcione. El Signature Keyboard ofrece una de las mejores experiencias de escritura con cualquier tablet, a pesar de ofrecer un recorrido de tecla relativamente limitado.

Anyron Copeman / Foundry

El hecho de tener una pantalla de 13″ significa que hay espacio de sobra para teclas de tamaño normal sin que parezcan que estén demasiado apretadas. También hay tres ajustes de retroiluminación para situaciones de poca luz, algo que muchas cubiertas de teclado no ofrecen.

Se nota la diferencia con respecto a la mayoría de portátiles, pero no resulta incómodo pasarte largas sesiones utilizando el teclado. Ayuda que esta versión esté recubierta de la tela alcantara, suave al tacto, lo que hace muy cómodo apoyar las manos a ambos lados del trackpad.

El trackpad es el único sitio sin tela alcantara, pues tiene más sentido un revestimiento de cristal. Soporta toda la gama de gestos de Windows 11, pero, al ser tan estrecho, dificulta a veces la navegación. En ocasiones, tuve que seleccionar algo dos veces, o me encontré con que hacía clic por error, por lo que recomendaría conectar un ratón para sesiones más largas.

Pero está claro que Microsoft ha pensado mucho en el diseño de la cubierta, con una ranura dedicada para el lápiz óptico Slim Pen 2 encima del teclado.

Este lápiz es la misma versión que vimos presentada junto al Surface Pro 8, pero no hubo necesidad de ninguna actualización. Su diseño más plano que el de muchos lápices digitales lo hace más cómodo de sujetar, mientras que los 4.096 niveles de sensibilidad a la presión prometidos hacen que la experiencia sea similar a la de usar lápiz sobre papel.

La aplicación preinstalada Microsoft Whiteboard lo aprovecha al máximo, con un botón físico personalizable y una punta que puedes usar también como goma. La mayoría de las aplicaciones de terceros no ofrecen el mismo nivel de compatibilidad, pero sigue siendo una buena opción para tomar notas o hacer arte digital.

Anyron Copeman / Foundry

Sin embargo, no puedo confirmar lo que afirma Microsoft en cuanto a la batería del lápiz (15 horas de duración), ya que se carga sin problemas cuando está acoplado a la cubierta del teclado.

Pantalla y altavoces

Pantalla LCD de 120 Hz de alta calidad

Excelente en muchas situaciones diferentes

Altavoces impresionantes

A pesar de ser una tablet, el Surface Pro 9 tiene una pantalla tan grande como la de algunos portátiles. La buena noticia es que la calidad de este panel de 13″ es superior a la de muchos rivales.

Y eso a pesar de que Microsoft insiste en usar una pantalla LCD (PixelSense) en lugar de OLED. La resolución de 2880 × 1920 garantiza un gran nivel de detalle y le da una relación de aspecto 3:2, algo que vemos en la mayoría de los dispositivos Surface actuales.

Anyron Copeman / Foundry

La pantalla ofrece una gama de colores vivos, que ayudan a que el contenido cobre vida. Las pruebas realizadas con la herramienta de calibración SpyderX Pro indican que los colores son precisos y que el Pro 9 cubre toda la gama de colores sRGB, además del 86 % de DCI-P3 y el 83 % de AdobeRGB.

También es impresionantemente brillante, alcanzando un máximo de 465 nits en las pruebas. Esto hace que el uso en exteriores pueda hacerse sin demasiados problemas, aunque la visibilidad sí que seguirá siendo un problema en los días soleados.

Tampoco hay que olvidar la frecuencia de refresco de 120 Hz, que hace que moverse por Windows 11 resulte más fluido y rápido. Puedes bajar manualmente a los 60 Hz o pasar automáticamente de uno a otro, pero no ofrece el mismo beneficio para el uso diario que en videoconsolas o incluso smartphones.

Los altavoces estéreo duales son otro aspecto que Microsoft decidió no mejorar, pero me sigue impresionando el sonido que producen. El Pro 9 ofrece un sonido claro y nítido, con una distorsión mínima, incluso a volúmenes altos.

Ofrece incluso unos tonos graves decentes, lo que los convierte en unos de los mejores altavoces que se pueden encontrar en cualquier tablet. Los entusiastas del audio preferirán usar auriculares, pero son excelentes para un uso menos exigente.

Especificaciones y rendimiento

Utiliza el chip Microsoft SQ3 basado en ARM

Rendimiento decepcionante

Por primera vez, es compatible con el 5G

Las versiones Intel del Surface Pro 9 ofrecen las actualizaciones de CPU que cabría esperar, pasando a la 12ª generación. El dispositivo que he probado, no obstante, es muy diferente.

Utiliza lo que Microsoft denomina “SQ3”, un chip basado en ARM y en el Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 de Qualcomm. El nombre alude a dos generaciones anteriores, ambas utilizadas en el Surface Pro X.

Esto supone un gran aumento de la duración de la batería (de la que hablaré con más detalle más adelante), pero, por desgracia, el rendimiento se resiente.

Por mala suerte, esto no solo afecta a tareas exigentes como la edición de vídeo o los juegos: hay una caída de rendimiento notable también durante el uso diario.

El efecto más notable es en la multitarea, pues el Pro 9 a menudo vacila y tartamudea cuando se mueve entre dos o más aplicaciones. Esto hace que sea reacio a usarlas una al lado de la otra, uno de los puntos fuertes de Windows 11.

A pesar de la alta frecuencia de actualización y los 16 GB de RAM del modelo que he utilizado, las tareas básicas como abrir aplicaciones o desplazarse por los menús también resultan lentas. Se puede usar, no hay ninguna duda al respecto, pero esperaba algo mucho mejor de un dispositivo de gama tan alta.

Las pruebas de rendimiento no lo dicen todo. También vale la pena señalar que nuestra prueba habitual PCMark 10 no se ejecuta, con la aplicación indicando que no está diseñado para trabajar con dispositivos ARM.

También merece la pena reconocer algunas de las otras ventajas que aporta el modelo ARM. Además de las funciones de videollamada mencionadas anteriormente, es la primera tablet Surface compatible con 5G. El dispositivo admite tanto tarjetas NanoSIM normales como eSIM, y es una novedad bienvenida si la usas desde algún lugar con cobertura.

El almacenamiento interno es otro tema de preocupación. Mientras que en algunos mercados tienen la opción de comprar los modelos SQ3 con una SSD de hasta 512 GB, en España estás limitado a los 256 GB. Las versiones de Intel están disponibles con hasta 1 TB, por lo que tendrás que recurrir a servicios de almacenamiento en la nube si optas por la versión ARM.

Autonomía de batería y carga

Batería de 47,7 Wh

Ofrece excelente autonomía de batería

La carga de 65 W no es particularmente rápida

Si existe un buen motivo para comprar la versión ARM del Surface Pro 9, es la duración de la batería. Supuestamente, solo tiene una capacidad de 47,7 Wh, pero Microsoft afirma que puedes conseguir hasta 19 horas de uso típico con una sola carga.

No se quedó muy lejos en nuestra prueba de batería en bucle de vídeo 720p, con un tiempo de 17 horas y 40 minutos. Es una de las mejores puntuaciones que hemos registrado, solo superada por otros dispositivos basados en ARM.

Sin embargo, no esperes que dure tanto en el uso diario. La prueba se realizó a un nivel relativamente bajo de 120 nits, mientras que otras tareas agotarán la batería mucho más rápido. Si se activa automáticamente el modo de ahorro de batería (que estaba desactivado en esta prueba), será de ayuda.

Anyron Copeman / Foundry

Pero, en general, puedes esperar que el Pro 9 dure un día entero y tenga batería de sobra. Esto podría incluso ampliarse a dos con un uso más ligero, algo que no se puede decir de muchas tablets o portátiles.

A pesar de tener el mismo tamaño de batería, vale la pena señalar que las estimaciones para la versión de Intel caen a un máximo de 15,5 horas, que es ligeramente inferior a lo que ofrecía el Surface Pro 8 en 2023. Sin embargo, ese dispositivo todavía te daría un día completo de duración de la batería.

Cuando te quedas sin carga, Microsoft incluye un adaptador de 65 W en la caja. Sigue conectándose a través del puerto Surface Connect de la compañía (puedes usar un cargador USB-C si lo prefieres), pero las velocidades son decepcionantes.

Desde 0 %, se cargó un 16 % en 15 minutos y un 33 % a la media hora. Incluso después de dos horas, solo llegaba al 98 %.

Software

Ejecuta Windows 11 Home

Pocas apps pueden ejecutarse de forma nativa

Problemas de rendimiento con otro software

El Surface Pro 9 ejecuta Windows 11 Home instalado. Los fabricantes rara vez hacen grandes cambios a Windows, pero esto es lo más cercano a la experiencia “stock”.

Solo hay dos aplicaciones preinstaladas que no se encuentran en muchos otros dispositivos: Microsoft Whiteboard, para notas escritas a mano y bocetos, y la aplicación Surface, para consejos y personalización. Ambas resultan realmente útiles para la mayoría.

Sin embargo, a pesar de las muchas mejoras introducidas en los últimos años, los dispositivos basados en ARM solo ejecutan un puñado de aplicaciones de forma nativa. El software de Microsoft, como Edge, Word y el Explorador de archivos, funcionan bien, pero muchas aplicaciones de terceros todavía dependen de la emulación, que permite que el Pro 9 se comporte como si estuviera alimentado por Intel o AMD.

Ninguna de ellas funciona con la misma fluidez, lo que ayuda a explicar algunos de los problemas de rendimiento. Tendrás que lidiar con aplicaciones emuladas para sacar el máximo partido al Surface Pro 9, lo que hace que esta tablet sea mucho menos atractiva.

Precio y disponibilidad

Los contras que le encuentro al Surface Pro 9 se agudizan cuando tienes en cuenta su precio.

El modelo basado en ARM cuesta 1.659 €. Las versiones Intel oscilan entre 1.299 € y 2.979 €.

A menudo hay descuentos disponibles, pero recuerda que con ellos solo consigues la tablet. El teclado Signature Keyboard cuesta 179,99 € adicionales, o 279,99 € si quieres también el Slim Pen 2. Si todavía no tienes uno, el ratón Surface Arc Mouse de Microsoft cuesta 89,99 €.

Como puedes ver, los costes pueden aumentar rápidamente para un dispositivo que ya es caro de por sí. Hay muchas alternativas en nuestra lista de mejores 2-en-1 que ofrecen una mejor relación calidad-precio, como el MateBook E de Huawei e incluso el Surface Pro 8 de 2023.

Veredicto

La introducción de la arquitectura ARM es un momento importante para la historia del Surface Pro, pero aún no está lista para el gran público.

Sin duda, el principal problema es el efecto en el rendimiento, con una ralentización notable y una ejecución poco fluida de algunas aplicaciones. Junto con una selección de puertos peor que la del Pro 8 y su elevado precio, es difícil de recomendar.

Sin embargo, el paso a ARM tiene sus ventajas. La duración de la batería es realmente excelente, y es genial ver el uso del 5G. La experiencia de videollamada también está entre las mejores que encontrarás en cualquier dispositivo Windows, incluso sin todos los nuevos efectos.

Pero, a la hora de la verdad, la mayoría de la gente preferirá la versión de Intel. Es mucho menos emocionante, pero una apuesta mucho más segura.

Lista de especificaciones

Panel: Pantalla táctil PixelSense LCD de 13″ (2880 x 1920, 3:2)

Procesador: Microsoft SQ3

Gráficos: Microsoft SQ3 Adreno 8cx Gen 3

Memoria: 8 GB / 16 GB LPDDR4 RAM

Almacenamiento: 256 GB / 512 GB

Puertos: 2 USB-C 3.2, Surface Connect, NanoSIM

Cámara frontal: Lente 1080p con Windows Hello

Cámara trasera: Lente de 10 MP

Conexión inalámbrica: Wi-Fi 6E (802.11ax), Bluetooth 5.1, 5G

Colores: Platino

Peso: 878 g (solo la tablet)

10 Best Clear Cases For Iphone 14 Pro And Iphone 14 Pro Max

Enamored by the cool new Dynamic Island notch on the iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max, you rushed to buy the latest iPhones from Apple. Apart from the island animations, the iPhone 14 Pro series offers top-of-the-line hardware to attract users. This includes a stunning 6.1-inch (Pro) and 6.7-inch (Pro Max) Super Retina XDR display with up to 2000 nits of brightness, a 48MP triple camera setup, A16 Bionic chipset, and much more. But all that comes for a hefty price, and you would want to protect your shiny new iPhone from any mishaps. If that’s why you are here, find our curated list of the best clear cases for iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max below. Choose the case that best fits your requirements while showing off your iPhone’s beautiful color and aesthetics.

Best iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max Clear Cases

In this list, we have included clear cases from some of the most popular accessory makers, like Spigen, ESR, Mkeke, OtterBox, and many others. You will even find thin, rugged, and standard cases here. So use the table below and pick the case that suits your needs.

Note: The iPhone 14 Pro (6.1-inch) and 14 Pro Max (6.7-inch) clearly differ in size, so the cases are not interchangeable. Please choose the right case for your iPhone model to avoid hassles.

1. Mkeke iPhone 14 Pro Clear Case

Key Features

built-in corner bumpers

screen and camera dual protection

anti-yellowing technology

Now, it’s not the slimmest case out there but should be comfortable to grip and use. Another reason for its build is the durability it offers, including three-layered bumpers on the corners and an enhanced dual-protection setup. Mkeke is aware of user complaints concerning the camera lens scratches, so it has considerably raised the edges (3.5mm) around the camera. The same applies to the screen bezel (1.9mm) too, completing the military-grade certification here. So you are well-protected against scratches and accidental drops with Mkeke’s iPhone 14 Pro clear case.

Another thing I quite like about Mkeke’s clear case lineup is the fact that you get a ton of color options. You can obviously go for the clean case with transparent borders. But, to mix things up, Mkeke offers clear cases with dual-tone gradient borders like blue and purple, green and red, and more. Also, if you want to add a splash of color in there, you could opt for the gradient clear cases, wherein the colored finish flows from the bottom to the top (see image above).

Buy from Amazon:

2. ESR Classic Hybrid Magnetic Case

Key Features

crystal-clear acrylic material

military-grade protection

built-in powerful magnets

However, one of the best things about this iPhone 14 Pro clear case will have to be HaloLock. Much like Apple’s case, ESR bakes strong magnets into the back of their case to make it easier for you to align and attach your iPhone to MagSafe chargers. You can also attach and use MagSafe accessories with this clear case. Moreover, the magnets are so strong that they have 1,500 g of holding force, which is great!

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3. Apple iPhone 14 Pro Clear Case

Key Features

built-in corner bumpers

screen and camera dual protection

support MagSafe charging

Now, if the price is no bar, and you want to pair your iPhone 14 Pro or 14 Pro Max with an official clear case from Apple, this is the one you should go for. Priced at a buck under $50, this transparent case lets you show off your new iPhone in all its glory. It’s crafted using a combo of clear polycarbonate and flexible materials, which are treated to prevent yellowing over time.

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4. totallee Thinnest Clear Case

Key Features

thinnest iPhone 14 Pro case

minor drop and scratch resistance

raised camera lip protection

If you don’t like bulky covers and want a slim case for your iPhone, the accessory maker totallee is here to the rescue. On our list of the best iPhone 14 Pro or 14 Pro Max clear cases, this is the thinnest one, and that too, with no competitor in sight. This ultra-thin case adds only 0.02-inches to the overall thickness of the iPhone, making it feel like you are using no case at all.

Since this case is pretty slim, it doesn’t provide the best protection. It only safeguards your phone against minor drops and scratches. Even the camera lenses won’t get scratched, thanks to the raised camera lip here. However, the main focus of this sleek case is aesthetics rather than safety. So we suggest you think twice before you make a buying decision – do you wanna flaunt or protect your iPhone 14 Pro?

5. Spigen Ultra Hybrid Clear Case

Key Features

hybrid TPU + PC clear build

air cushion corners

raised camera + screen bezels

Spigen needs no introduction for Apple users. It’s one of the most trusted accessory makers and is well aware of the needs of the users. The Spigen Ultra is another one of the best clear cases for iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max you can buy. Much like other covers on this list, it has a hybrid build — TPU bumpers and a polycarbonate back. So you have a crystal clear look at the glass back and aluminum edges, and the case will not go yellow quickly.

Moreover, in terms of protection, you have air cushions at the corners and raised bezels around the camera cutout and screen. So yeah, this case will safeguard your phone against accidental drops and scratches with ease. Also, there are precise cutouts and tactile buttons, and the case does not interfere with wireless charging.

Also, if you are not looking to spend a fortune, Spigen’s Ultra clear case is also priced reasonably, making it a worthy contender on this list.

6. Case-Mate Tough Plus Clear Case

Key Features

rugged transparent case

enhanced drop protection

anti-yellowing technology

Looking for an iPhone 14 case with the most protection against drops and impacts? Check out the Case-Mate Tough Plus, whose name is already enough to confirm its enhanced focus on 360-degree protection. Crafted using recycled impact-absorbing polymer material, we get this amazing iPhone 14 Pro/ Pro Max clear case. It has shockproof bumpers running along the edges and soft cushion corners that shield your phone against nasty impacts.

Not only do these bumpers offer good protection, but also make this Case-Mate case stand out among s sea of transparent cases. Also, if you hadn’t noticed, the edges around the screen and camera are raised to protect against scuffs and scratches.

The company also boasts about its anti-yellowing tech that supports UV protection and Qi wireless charging compatibility. While that is great, you need to spend nearly $40 on this case, making it way pricier than the majority of options on this list.

7. Caseology Skyfall Clear Case

Key Features

dual-tone clear aesthetic

pattern grip on edges

raised screen and camera lip

I’m a fan of clear cases, but I despise how the case starts to look once grime and dust settle in and peek through the transparent edges. Well, Caseology offers a solution for this issue with a transparent polycarbonate back and colored TPU sides. You can choose between black, blue, and red edges for a clean dual-tone aesthetic.

Not just that, the TPU frame here includes a pattern strip on the edges for better grip. This is accompanied by raised lips around the screen (1.2mm) and camera (2.0mm), plus a standout camera ring for enhanced protection. Further, Caseology touts that its case is military-grade certified and supports wireless charging with no issues.

So if you like dual-tone cases that will add to your iPhone 14 Pro’s look, you can go for this option without much thought.

8. OtterBox Symmetry Series+ Clear Case

Key Features

built-in corner bumpers

screen and camera dual protection

support MagSafe charging

OtterBox is another popular brand among Apple users, and its Symmetry Series+ Clear Cases are one of the best you can get for the iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max. They boast a sleek profile and are crafted with more than 50% recycled plastic, along with synthetic rubber to mask the built-in magnets that support MagSafe wireless charging.

Much like others on this list, this OtterBox clear case also includes raised edges to protect the screen and camera. It’s common among cases these days, but the company promises 3x as many drops as MIL-STD-810G 516.6. Also, there’s one thing that sets this case apart – lasting antimicrobial properties. That means the exterior of your case will be safe against many common bacteria.

There’s one major qualm with this case, though. This clear case costs twice as much as the Mkeke or ESR covers we listed above.

9. elago Magnetic Hybrid Clear Case 

Key Features

hybrid TPU + PC construction

reduced yellowing

shockproof protection

Talking about the most affordable iPhone 14 Pro/ 14 Pro Max case on our list, the elago clear case offers almost the same features and properties as the more expensive covers. It features a hybrid construction, which mixes polycarbonate and TPU to offer resistance against accidental drops, bumps, and scratches.

The company touts its in-house design process for the quality and safety it delivers, along with raised edges for camera and screen protection. The fit is said to be pretty good with precise cutouts and responsive buttons. This clear case will have reduced yellowing as opposed to other cases and supports wireless charging.

So even at its $12.99 price tag, it covers all the basics for a good iPhone clear case, and you can consider buying it if you are on a strict budget.

10. Speck Gemshell iPhone 14 Pro Case

Key Features

UV light protection

dual-layer perimeter protection

support wireless charging

Metting in the middle at around $25, we have the Speck Gemshell clear case for iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max. This clear case boasts a slim construction and does not add much bulk to the overall thickness of the device. However, when we talk about the edges, you have dual-layer perimeter protection. That means your phone will be able to survive scratches and drops from up to 8 feet. There’s raised

Also, the clear exterior of the case can show off your iPhone 14 without turning yellow for a long time. That is because the polycarbonate material used to make this case protects against UV light. Further, this clear case brings antimicrobial protection into the fold, offering a 99% reduction in bacteria growth on the case. And let’s not forget about wireless charging, which is another common feature among the cases.

Buy from Amazon:

Best iPhone 14 Pro/ Pro Max Clear Cases and Covers

Asus Vivobook Max X541Sa Review

The Asus VivoBook Max X541SA is a low-cost 15.6in laptop. It’s here for people who want to spend as little as possible while still getting something that looks and feels like a proper laptop.

HP 250.

Asus VivoBook Max X541SA review: 

Price

You can buy the Asus VivoBook Max X541SA for  £ 299 from Currys. It’s among the cheapest new laptops you’ll find outside of a Chromebook. However, there are even cheaper options if you’re happy to buy from Chinese websites, such as Chuwi’s 14.1in LapBook which costs way less than £300 even factoring in import duty.

Asus VivoBook Max X541SA review: 

Design

No prizes for guessing this, but the X541SA is actually all plastic. Like most cheap laptops, the underside is black too, rather than matching the finish of the rest. Similarly, the lid flexes under finger pressure. You have to accept a few build compromises like this if you budget only stretches to £300.

A perhaps more important area is the keyboard. If a keyboard surround flexes too much, it can affect typing feel, and is a constant reminder your laptop isn’t that well-built. There is some slight flexing to the Asus VivoBook Max X541SA keyboard, but not under the pressure of normal typing.

The construction is fine, just not fancy.  

One crucial aspect to take on-board is the Asus VivoBook Max X541SA is a laptop for home or work use, not one perfect for taking cross-country on your travels. It weighs 2kg and is 27mm thick, which we’d consider too chunky to carry around day-long. Any 15.6-inch laptop outside of something like a Dell XPS 15 (which has an unusually small footprint) is going to be a rucksack-hogger too.

Asus VivoBook Max X541SA review: 

Connectivity

Unlike skinny laptops, though, the Asus VivoBook Max X541SA has an optical drive on its right side. It’s a DVD multi-writer.

There’s a good spread of connections as well. On the left are USB 2.0, USB 3.0 and a USB 3.1 ‘C’ sockets plus VGA and HDMI video outputs and an Ethernet port. There’s a bit of everything. A full-size SD memory card slot also sits on the front’s underside.

Almost no premium laptops feature VGA ports these days, but one may be essential if you have a fairly old monitor you need to hook up.

Asus VivoBook Max X541SA review: 

Keyboard and trackpad

As a larger 15.6-inch laptop, the Asus VivoBook Max X541SA can fit in a NUM pad alongside the normal keyboard keys. There’s plenty of space to go around, and no keys have been made utterly tiny as a result.

The feel is a little more unusual, particularly now we’re accustomed to fairly slim chiclet keyboards. There’s a lot of travel to the Asus VivoBook Max X541SA’s keys, but they are also very springy. Perhaps a bit too springy. Your fingers bounce across the keyboard, and it takes a while to bed into.

In a more expensive laptop this would be a major issue, but like the all-plastic build, a slightly patchy keyboard is to be expected at the price. There’s also no keyboard backlight to help when working in a darker room. At this price we’d have been bowled over is Asus had managed to fit this in, though.

The Asus VivoBook Max X541SA trackpad is solid, but again has some elements that seem rather basic. Positives include that it’s very smooth for a plastic trackpad, is a good size and doesn’t suffer from any annoying driver issues that make it appear to wilfully misbehave with Windows 10.

Asus VivoBook Max X541SA review: 

Screen

Like almost every laptop this affordable, the Asus VivoBook Max X541SA uses a TN screen rather than the IPS kind more popular these days. TN panels tend to have fast response times, but almost universally look worse than the IPS type because of their relatively narrow viewing angles.

This doesn’t just affect looking at the screen from an extreme angle, as the character of the display alters from just a few degrees of tilt. Looking at the laptop dead on, the contrast will actually appear different at the bottom of the screen than the top.

This is only instantly obvious when you’re looking at a pure black/colour screen, but is why, to image quality purists at least, most TN displays never look that good. TN monitors tend to fare better than laptop screens, and this particular one isn’t great.

Cementing its position as a home laptop rather than one to use outdoors, max brightness is unremarkable at 210cd/m2 and a glossy screen finish makes reflections an issue if you’re not careful about how the laptop is angled.

Colour performance is limited too, although that’s no surprise given the use of a twisted nematic panel. The Asus VivoBook Max X541SA covers 59 percent of the sRGB colour standard, 41 percent of Adobe RGB and 42.2 percent of DCI P3. While not a bad result for this type of panel, it’s not great for editing photos.

In person, though, colour is one of the screen’s stronger suits. It’s perfectly good for general use, even if the punch of its tones is reduced by the fairly poor 344:1 contrast.

The X541SA has a typical low-cost laptop screen. It’s flawed in many respects, but is the norm at the price.

Asus VivoBook Max X541SA review: 

Performance

One other big sub-£300 laptop sacrifice is performance. The X541SA uses an Intel Pentium N3710 CPU rather than the Core i-series processors we’d recommend to anyone using Windows 10 every day.

For a little more context, all Core i series can be considered ‘premium’ chipsets, even the Core i3. Intel’s Pentium, Celeron and Atom models are used in lower-cost machines.

For a laptop like the VivoBook Max, the Pentium range is the best of the three. It uses more energy than an Atom, but tends to offer more power than either an Atom or Celeron chipset.

The Pentium N3710 is a quad-core CPU with a clock speed of 1.6GHz, and a 2.56GHz burst mode. It offers acceptable performance with Windows 10, but we wouldn’t say much more than that.

Apps take a little while to load, and the system feels less responsive than a laptop with a Core i3. It’s an important distinction as models like the HP 250 G5 offer Core i3 power for £350. That’s more money, of course, but if you use your laptop several hours a day, we’d argue the performance boost is worth paying for. Core i processors run Windows 10 as Microsoft intended, where Pentiums feel compromised.

Doing much more than browsing, writing docs and so on makes the X541SA feel distinctly slow. And even the basics of Windows run slower than they would in a slightly more expensive machine.

It’s time to consider how patient you really are. However, it doesn’t make Windows 10 feel like a flat-out chore, unlike some Atom-based laptops.

Aside from the CPU, the X541SA has 4GB DDR3 RAM and a 1TB hard drive. There’s plenty of storage, but this is a slow 5400rpm drive, which will contribute to the slightly slow Windows 10 feel.

If you want to play some ultra-casual titles, the Asus VivoBook Max X541SA should handle them just fine, but for more console-like games you’ll need to look for ones at least a decade old.

This is also a fairly loud PC, with fans that seem to turn on regularly even when you’re doing something non-demanding like watching a video. They are not high-pitch but do have a distinct, almost husky tone that is quite noticeable in a quiet room/office. It’s a wheezer, the Asus VivoBook Max X541SA.

Asus VivoBook Max X541SA review: 

Sound Quality

The Asus VivoBook Max X541SA’s speakers are a pleasant surprise after all that. For a cheap laptop, they’re rather good. They live behind the circular grilles above the keyboard and have a much fuller tone, and louder output, than we expected given the sacrifices elsewhere.

At max volume you will hear some flat-out clipping distortion with certain content, but there’s real mid-range bulk here and an approximation of bass. We’d happily watch a film with this laptop in a pinch as a result.

Asus VivoBook Max X541SA review: 

Battery Life

We wouldn’t rely on the Asus VivoBook Max X541SA for use on a work trip, though, as the battery life is not good enough. Lasting just three hours 57 minutes playing a 720p video on loop at standard 120cd/m brightness (the sort of level you might use indoors), stamina is remedial.

It’s final, conclusive proof that Asus hasn’t made this laptop for people who need a portable computer. However, four hours is actually the classic ‘standard’ stamina for work machines like this. Now that (semi) portable machines have become the default buy for almost anyone with £500 or more to spend, we just don’t see laptops this tied to the charger that often anymore.

Such pedestrian battery life is disappointing when the Pentium N3710 is still a fairly low-power CPU with an up-to-date 14nm architecture, though.

Yeedi Vac Max Robot Vacuum Review

When doing your spring cleaning this year, you may have noticed you had to do more than expected on your floors. If you are resolved to do better moving forward, you can start with a yeedi vac MAX Robot Vacuum. Read this review to see how it compares to other robot vacuums.

This is a sponsored article and was made possible by Yeedi. The actual contents and opinions are the sole views of the author who maintains editorial independence, even when a post is sponsored.

Setting Up the yeedi vac MAX

Everything was packed inside the box for the yeedi vac MAX Robot Vacuum as expected. One notable difference from other vacuums is the lack of spare brushes and filters. Every other vacuum I’ve reviewed has had extra brushes and filters.

Packed inside the box is:

It also has a regular charger instead of a base station that allows it to self empty. I don’t consider that a negative. While it doesn’t have that as a feature, it also isn’t taking up that extra room.

Carefully turn the robot vacuum over and install the side brush. It easily snaps into place.

Plug the electrical cord into the charging base, then plug the base into the wall, allowing for 1.64″ left and right and 4.9″ at the front. Place the robot vacuum on the base, making sure the contacts line up correctly.

The vacuum will need to fully charge before you can use it for the first time. Open the top lid and find the sliding switch. Turn this to On.

While you’re waiting for it to charge, download the yeedi app. The Quick Start Guide includes a QR code that allows you to easily download the app for iOS or Android. The same QR code is printed under the lid.

After opening the app, you’ll need to select your region and language, agree to the user agreement and privacy policy, and register for an account.

The robot vacuum is ready to be paired when the light on the top slowly flashes. Choose “yeedi vac MAX” from the list on the app.

A pop-up asks you to enable Location Services on your Android or iOS device. If you’re having issues, the question mark on the “Add a Robot” screen opens a setup guide. That is a nice little plus.

You’ll be asked to enter your Wi-Fi credentials and need to be on a 2.4GHz or 2.4/5GHz dual-frequency network.

If you arrived at this point without switching the robot vacuum on, you’ll be asked to and will need to confirm in the app that you have. You will also be prompted to hit the reset switch (to the right of the On/Off switch) and confirm that you heard a ready message.

Your robot vacuum still isn’t set up yet. You’ll need to pair it with a QR code. Tap a button on the app to create the QR code, then hold your phone above the vacuum’s camera for it to read the code and finish pairing it.

It’s more steps than you would normally need to go through to pair a vacuum; however, it works well, and you can move through it quickly.

When it’s fully paired, you’ll get a message that says the yeedi vac MAX has completed the setup. Yet, there are a few quick settings you need to go through.

The first is for the Do Not Disturb mode. Enabling this allows you to create a time frame when the vacuum will not operate, even during a scheduled cleaning, or to complete a cleaning session after it has recharged.

The second is for Continuous Cleaning. This will allow the vacuum to finish cleaning after it recharges unless it’s during a Do Not Disturb time.

Using the yeedi vac Max

With the yeedi vac MAX fully set up, it’s time for your first cleaning session. It includes Visual SlAM navigation to guide it through your home and needs to clean and move through your home for the LiDAR to “learn.”

Tap the Start button on the app, and the vacuum will begin driving around your home, mapping it out as it goes along. It went about my very non-uniform top level of my home row by row.

It took three times for the vacuum to complete the mapping and cleaning. This took just over half an hour. The first time the vacuum went row by row, and the second time it seemed to be reaffirming its lines, as it was driving through the middle of a room and would veer off to check corners and such. The third time around, it was edge cleaning.

There are a few options in the settings. You can clean just an area or a custom plan, select the power, create a schedule, set the language and volume of the audio messages, Continuous Cleaning, Do Not Disturb, auto-boost suction for carpet, auto-empty (though, again, there is no self-empty station on this model), and cleaning sequence, which allows it to follow a preset order in Auto.

I have all laminated and tile flooring in my upstairs so don’t have to adjust the power level. The vacuum did a super job cleaning up everything, even on the lowest setting.

The only problem it had was traversing obstacles. While the vacuum can avoid large obstacles adequately, smaller obstacles were a problem.

I have had difficulties with some other robot vacuums making it over a transition piece between the bathroom and hallway. I was able to help it over once, but then it struggled the next time, rocking quickly back and forth, then giving me a message that there was a problem with the drive wheel. It also struggled going over a floor register, but only the first time.

While the map looked complete after the first cleaning, a pop-up message told me that the robot was still mapping when I tried to create a no-go zone.

The next cleaning appeared to do the same as the first and didn’t really change the map.

I still had the same pop-up message before the third cleaning but forged ahead to define rooms and set up a no-go zone.

While the Visual SlAM navigation did a fine job mapping out my home, it just wasn’t as finite as others I have used.

I wanted to block off my stairs, but the map didn’t make it obvious where I should draw my lines, so I set one that is probably larger than I needed. While it does skip the blocked-out area the first time around, when it does the edges, it ignores the no-go zone.

You can also label areas, but there wasn’t much to label. It only detected one large room, which is fine, as it’s really one large great room with a hallway, kitchen, and living room. Other mapping vacuums have done the same, but I was able to draw and label separate rooms. With this, I had to go with its boundaries and just have one room and the bathroom.

To mop while you vacuum, you need to pull out the water reservoir from the front of the yeedi vac MAX. Once it’s pulled out, it will announce that it has been removed.

Pull open the blue rubber tab and fill the reservoir with water. Attach either a disposable mopping pad or the cloth mopping pad. Attach that to the bottom of the water reservoir, then slide it back into the vacuum. Wet the pad slightly just to give it a head start.

No other action is required on your part. The vacuum will detect that the plate is installed and will mop as you vacuum.

Again, the yeedi vac MAX did a great job with the mopping. As with all vacuum mops I’ve reviewed, it surface mops the floor. It’s great for lightly dirty floors. You wouldn’t want to clean up big muddy messes with this or stubborn dried-on globs, but it works great for light dirt and to maintain cleanliness.

Once you are in the mopping mode, the cleaning module changes to the mop module. The key difference is that it adds an option to choose how much water it will use.

When you opened the lid to find the On/Off switch and Reset button, you should have also seen the dust bin. This is a unique location, as typically, dust bins are on the front.

You will need to lift the dust bin out to empty it after every cleaning session. Press the red switch on the side to open the bin and dump the contents into the garbage.

The yeedi vac MAX Robot Vacuum will also give you a voice prompt to remove the mopping pad. Pull out the water reservoir and remove the pad. If it’s the reusable one, rinse it out. If it’s a disposable one, simply toss it in the trash. You should also empty the water reservoir.

Final Thoughts

The yeedi vac MAX would make a great first robot vacuum. It would definitely satisfy your curiosity about these devices. But if you’re a more experienced robot vacuum user, it may not check all the boxes for you.

This is due to the extras and not the performance. It really did a great job vacuuming and the usual job mopping. Mostly, I believe the navigation just needs a little work.

You can pick up the yeedi vac MAX Robot Vacuum for $257.49 after a 17% discount and clipping the $40 coupon.

Laura Tucker

Laura has spent nearly 20 years writing news, reviews, and op-eds, with more than 10 of those years as an editor as well. She has exclusively used Apple products for the past three decades. In addition to writing and editing at MTE, she also runs the site’s sponsored review program.

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