MSI GT73VR 7RF gaming laptop review

MSI GT73VR 7RF gaming laptop review




MSI GT73VR 6RF Titan Pro, a veritable beast of a machine. Powered by a Nvidia GTX 1080 GPU (8GB DDR5X), it came equipped with an Intel Core i7-6820HK processor (2.7 GHz) and 32GB of DDR4-2400 memory (up to a staggering 64GB). In terms of storage, it has a pair of M.2 PCIe SSDs running in super RAID 4, as well as a standard HDD. The CPU is more easily boosted to 3.6 GHz should one need the extra power. Overclocking both the CPU and GPU is very straight forward too, adjusted via sliders in the MSI Dragon Center app.

                     It comfortably ran modern for games such as the open the world Grand Theft Auto V, first person shooter Battlefield 1, and real-time strategy Civilization VI while looking their absolutely best. Naturally, the rig was overkill for less demanding titles such as Overwatch or World of Thanks. Matters change somewhat once we raised the bar to either 4K or 120 FPS. also the MSI GT73VR can hit those targets, this is where tweaking on a per-game basis is going to come in. Even then, you’ll have to keep high expectations  the games that you’ll struggle with will be the same like giving equivalent desktop more and builds a hard time.

In the end of it , it’s the display panel that decides any matters. MSI offers you  three 17.3-inch options: 1920×1080 IPS, 3840×2160 IPS, and 1920×1080 with a 120 Hz refresh rate and 5ms response times. This boils down to user preferences and the types of games those they play, although the 120 Hz panel is, as our opinions, the more versatile pick. enjoyable anytime.
Packed with features on any sides

               The MSI GT73VR has no illusions over who its target audience is specelly gamers lovers. The build is tough and huge yet not necessarily . Brushed, black metal coat the lid and body, accented by streaks of red. Intake vents can be found all along the bottom, while a massive pair of rear exhausts hints at the powerful hardware within. Its only indulgence with color is the backlit keyboard and a thin LED bordering the trackpad, both linked to custom profiles managed by Steel Series Engine 3. The anti-ghost chiclet keys are very comfortable to use but, for some reasons, they sit level with the rest of the body a curious aesthetic decision, considering how most laptops have the keyboard slightly recessed. We didn’t dwell on it much but the trackpad is amazingly responsive too, at least when it comes to browsing folders and the web.


The greaters interest are the physical buttons sitting to the right of the keyboards. Starting from the top, we have the power button, a switch between onboard and discrete GPUs, a button for MSI’s exclusive Cooler Boost, a button to launch XSplit, and a buttons for Steel Series profiles. Out of the four, only switching graphics cards will require a system reboot.


                      Even Though  the right side are two USB 3.0 ports and an SD card reader. On the left are audio jacks for a headphone, microphone, line-out, and line-in, as well as another three USB 3.0 ports. Rounding things off are an Ethernet port, a mini Display Port, a USB Type-C Gen2 or Thunderbolt 3 port, an HDMI port, and a power socket on the back. The inbuilt webcam captures 1080p 30 FPS footages.Wireless connectivity includes dual-band 802.11ac with MU-MIMO  and Bluetooth 4.1. A pair of front-facing, three-watt speakers can be found on the bottom, accompanied by a five-watt woofer  they sound good as far as laptop speakers go ever.
On the software side is MSI’s Dragon Center apps, a system hub of sorts. you could  get easily access to programs such as Steel Series Engine 3 and MSI True Color, which lets us switch color profiles . A system monitor tab provides essential information on a single page, whereas other tabs let you tweak settings such as LED backlights or CPU and GPU clock speeds.


                      MSI GT73VR has weight 4.1 kilograms while the hefty power brick comes in at under 1.5 kilograms. and for dimensions, it’s listed as 428 x 287 x 49 millimeters. Everything fits into an appropriately sized day-pack, including a mouse and what ever else one may need. Not entirely comfortable for daily travel but certainly manageable and fuss-free for the occasional trip. That makes the MSI GT73VR ideal for pseudo LAN sessions or at even gaming events  in the fact a recent presses preview used these same machines for an upcoming title. And since it packs a GTX 1080 with the appropriate display ports, it’s a perfect mobiles virtual reality stations as well.

The onething I had was temperature. Notebooks are notorious for heating up fast during gamings, wearing down core components faster. In that regard, the switch between onboard and discrete graphics comes in handy for every where, cutting down the need for a large GPU idling and raising temperatures when not in use.

                      The MSI Cooler Boost comes into plays. That’s when the GPU and CPU fans kick into overdrive, putting those massive exhaust vents at the back to full use. And it performs dazzlingly, cutting temperatures down from 70 to 50 degrees Celsius in mere minutes. If that wasn’t impressive enough, those temperatures stayed in the 50 range for the entire session! The trade-off here is that they’re incredibly loud. I’m talking loud enough to hear from the other end of an apartment at midnight. It makes late-night gaming completely out of the question if in a shared room. Forget voice chat, too, until you pick up an active noise cancelling microphone.

The MSI GT73VR 6RF Titan Pro is an excellent for any choice for unwavering 1080p 60 FPS performance, with the capacity to reach higher resolutions and frame rates. It has everything the modern gamer needs for 2017 and beyond, whether it’s to play the next AAA release or to dive into the new worlds of VR. More powerful variants exist though they beg the question: what for? Unless you have specific, professional requirements, the 6 RF is going to serve you well. Its only setbacks are its bulk in a time where the impossibly slim Razer Blade Pro exists  and the startlingly loud fans when Cooler Boost its on. There’s also the matter of the steep price tag. While understandable given the hardware ticking within, it places this machine beyond the reach of most gamers and into the realm of premium options. so dont go from it, just enjoy your games with.

Reviews of Huawei Mate 9

Review of Huawei Mate 9



                             Performances and responsiveness are important for any phone, but the essential for a flagship like the Mate 9. Making its debut inside the Mate 9’s aluminum chassis is HiSilicon’s new Kirin 960 SoC. The four ARM Cortex-A72 CPUs in the Mate 8’s Kirin 950 have been replaced by four of ARM’s latest Cortex-A73 CPUs. And The plus-one change in model number is deceptive, however, because there are some significant differences between the two cores. The A73 actually belongs to a different processor family, with its roots going back to the A17 rather than branching out from the A15/A57/A72 family tree. One of the obvious differences between the two different micro architectures is a reduction in decoder width: The A72 has a 3-wide decoder while the A73 is 2-wide. Despite what appears to be a reduction in capability on papers, ARM claims the A73 still offers better performances and efficiencies  such relative to A72 on the same process and frequency. Four Cortex-A53 cores complete the big.LITTLE CPU configurations.

The Mate 9’s CPU cores really reached higher peak frequencies than those in the Mate 8, but the differences are very small. The A53 cores get a negligible increase from 1.80GHz to 1.84GHz, while the A73 cores reach up to 2.36GHz versus the 2.3GHz for the Kirin 950’s A72 cores. It’s very interesting that Kirin 960’s A73 cores are clocked very lower than the Kirin 955’s 2.5GHz A72 cores, specially considering that ARM targets a peak frequency of 2.8GHz on 16nm means the Kirin 960 uses TSMC’s 16 FFC Fin FET process. With the Kirin 960, Hi-Silicon is more focused on reducing power consumptions , instead of chasing maximum CPU performances. that still based on the A73’s other advantages, particularly the improvements to the memory subsystem, the Kirin 960 really show a small performances gained relative to Kirin 950-955.


Between Mate 8 - Mate 9 

                    Perhaps the biggest criticisms of past Kirin SoCs were their seemingly under-powered GPUs. While Qualcomm pushed the performances and power envelope with its Adreno GPUs, and Samsung added eight or twelvecore configurations of ARM’s latest Mali GPUs to its Exynos SoCs, Hi-Silicon’s Kirin SoCs made due with more modest four core Mali configurations. Peak performance significantly trailed its peers, but Kirin’s lower power consumption limited the effects of thermal throttling. Ultimately, performance was very good enough for the majority of cases. The Mate 9’s Kirin 960 SoC marks a radical shift in HiSilicon’s GPU philosophy. Not only does it utilize ARM’s latest Mali-G71 GPU based on the all new Bifrost architecture, but it steps up to an eight core configuration running at an impressive 900MH the same peak frequency used by the Kirin 950 or 955’s much smaller GPU. The combination of additional cores and architectural improvements give the Mate 9 a significant peak performance advantage over the Mate 8’s Mali-T880 MP4 GPU, paving the way for new capabilities such as VR.


Pro Huawei Mate 9 Porsche Design
SoC Hi-Silicon Kirin 960
4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.84GHz
4x Cortex-A73 @ 2.36GHz
ARM Mali-G71 MP8 @ 1037MHz
Display 5.9-inch 1920 x 1080 IPS LCD 5.5-inch  
          2560x1440 AMOLED and curved edges
Dimensions 156.9 x 78.9 x 7.9 mm
190 grams 152.0 x 75.0 x 7.5 mm
169 grams
RAM 4GB LPDDR4 6GB LPDDR4
NAND 64GB (UFS 2.1)
+ microSD 128GB (UFS 2.1)
+ microSD 256GB (UFS 2.1)
+ microSD
Battery 4000 mAh (15.28 Wh)
non-replaceable
Front Camera 8MP, 1/3.2" Sony IMX179 Exmor R, 1.4µm pixels, f/1.9, Contrast AF
Rear Camera Color: 12MP, 1/2.9” Sony IMX286 Exmor RS, 1.25µm pixels, f/2.2, PDAF + Laser AF + Contrast AF + Depth, OIS, HDR, dual-tone LED flash

Monochrome: 20MP, f/2.2, dual-tone LED flash
Modem HiSilicon LTE was Integrated
2G / 3G / 4G LTE on Category 1213
SIM Size 2x NanoSIM for dual standby and MHA-L29
1x NanoSIM MHA-L09
Wireless 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, BT 4.2 LE, NFC, IrLED, GPS-Glonass-Galileo-BDS
Connectivity USB 2.0 Type-C, 3.5mm headset
Sensors capacitive fingerprint, accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, ambient light, proximity, Hall effect, barometer
Launch OS Android 7.0 with EMUI 5.0


                The Mate 9 pairs its SoC with 4 GB of LP DDR 4 RAM, which is now standard for flagship phones. Internal storage is limited to 64 GB, unlike the Mate 8 that offered a choice between 32 GB, 64 GB, or 128 GB of NAND. Both the Mate 9 Pro for 128 GB and Mate 9 Porsche Design for 256 GB come with additional storage, and all three Mate 9 versions have a slot for a micro SD card to expand storage further.

                    Software features and configuration are also vitally important to performance. The Mate 9, like previous Huawei phones, included several enhancements to help apps launch faster and to keep the system feeling more responsives. Huawei’s EMUI uses the F2FS files-ystem and other optimizations to improve storage performances. There’s also Huawei’s Machine Learning algorithm that prioritizes system resources for CPU, memory, and storage to improve responsiveness and overall performance. This feature, which runs locally on the phone, monitors app usage, taking note of which apps are used at what times, and then anticipates the user’s needs, by preloading the predicted app, for example. Android already manages memory usage, evicting background apps to free up resources for active processes, but Huawei takes this further by closing memory-intensive background apps to ensure memory is available for prioritized apps. It also uses compression to increase the amount of data held in working memory.

It's briefly cover on connectivity options. It supports 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi for 2.4GHz and 5GHz, but only a single spatial stream enabling up to a 433Mbps PHY rate on a 80 MHz channel. Most flagship phones like HTC 10, LG G5, Motorola Moto Z or Moto Z Forced Droid, Samsung Galaxy S7, and iPhone 7 to name just a few thing offer dual spatial stream MU-MIMO, so the Mate 9 is a bit behind here. It does come with Bluetooth 4.2 LE, NFC, and even an IR blaster, though.

                         The Kirin 960 includes a brand new HiSilicon LTE UE Category 12-13 modem that achieves speeds of up to 600 Mbps on the downlink and 150 Mbps on the uplink to 2x20MHz carrier aggregation with 64-QAM. This new modem, which drops HiSilicon’s ‘Balong' branding, supports up to 8 data streams on the downlink using a combination of quad carrier aggregation 4x CA and 4x4 MIMO it's only for 2x CA. It also supports up to 256-QAM but not on all 8 streams. This gives it some flexibility in how it achieves its maximum throughput for 2x20MHz CA + 4x4 MIMO at 64-QAM or 4x20MHz CA + 2x2 MIMO at 64-QAM.

Frequency Band Support
MHA-L09 MHA-L29
FDD-LTE 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 12 / 17 / 18 / 19 / 20 / 26 / 28 / 29 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 12 / 17 / 18 / 19 / 20 / 26 / 28 / 29
TDD-LTE 38 / 39 / 40 38 / 39 / 40 / 41
GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz
WCDMA 1 / 2 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 8 / 19 1 / 2 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 8 / 19
CDMA - BC0 (China Telecom)
TD-CDMA 34 / 39 34 / 39

                         This modem gained another new capabilities: It now supports CDMA, which is important for carrier compatibility in China, and puts Hi-Silicon in the same group as Intel, Media-Tek, and Qualcomm for global network support. This modem represents a significant investment by Hi-Silicon, because it uses a completely new, custom design that does not use CEVA LTE IP like previous Balong modems. There are two different models of the Mate 9. The MHA-L09 model uses a single NanoSIM and does not support CDMA networks. The MHA-L29 model supports Dual SIM Dual Standby (DSDS), although one Nano SIM slot is shared with micro SD, so it can use either two NanoSIM cards or one NanoSIM and one microSD card. The second SIM supports 2G-3G operation using GSM (850-900-1800-1900 MHz),

Acer Aspire GX-281

Acer Aspire GX-281




Performance
The combinations of a Ryzen 5 1400 CPU and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 GPU with 2GB of VRAM is fine for mid-level gaming, but don't expect the highest resolutions and effects. I played Rise of the Tomb Raider on the High settings preset at 1080p with SMAA anti-aliasing, I had Lara Croft climb a mountain in a blizzard at between 37 and 51 frames per-second. I could make it out each individual snow-flake, and there wasn't any stuttering or tearing. Turning the preset up to Very High made the game un-playable; it would freeze for several seconds between actions.

                  On the Hitman benchmark was 1920 x 1080, Ultra settings, the Aspire GX ran the game at 40 fps, falling below the desktop average for 82 fps and similarly priced systems such as the Asus VivoPC X 61 fps and the MSI Trident 78 fps, both of which have GTX 1060 GPUs. We saw similar results in Grand Theft Auto V. It ran at 28 fps at 1080p and Very High settings, while the average is 76 fps. The MSI Trident hit 30 fps, and the Asus VivoPC X ran at a smoother 45 fps. We consider 30 fps and higher to be playable.

Overall Performance
For times when you want to log out of Steam to do some work, the Aspire's 3.2-GHz AMD Ryzen 5 1400 CPU, 8GB of RAM and 1TB HDD make it a decent workhorse. I had 30 tabs open in Google Chrome, including one streaming a 1080p episode of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah and didn't notice any lag.

                 The Aspire GX notched a score of 10,756 on the Geekbench 4 overall performance test, surpassing the Asus Vivo PC X for 10,501; Core i5-7300 HQ by the skin of its teeth but losing to the MSI Trident 12,953; Intel Core i7-6700. It also scored lower than  the gaming desktop average of 16,088. The Aspire GX is fine for midlevel gaming, but don't expect the highest resolutions and effects. The 1TB, 7,200-rpm hard drive took 3 minutes and 4 seconds to transfer 4.97 GB of files, resulting in a rate of 27.7 megabytes per second. While that's speedier than the VivoPC X's 1 TB HDD 24 MBps, it's far slower than the Trident's 128GB SSD 133.9 MBps and the average for 290.6 MBps.

Keyboard and Mouse
The Aspire comes with both a stock keyboard and a mouse in the box. I found them to be fine for simple productivity tasks.  But the keyboard keys are mushy, and the mouse doesn't have much weight to it. I typed at 108 words per minute on the 10fastfingers.com typing test, which is just over my usual 107 wpm. However, I had a 4 percent error rate, which is double my usual 2%  error rate. 

Configurations
Acer offers a wide variety of more powerful configurations for the Aspire GX, going up to an AMD Ryzen 7 1700X CPU, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 GPU with 8GB of VRAM, 16GB of RAM and a max storage option consisting of a 2TB HDD and a 256GB SSD. 
Concluded
The Acer Aspire GX-281 is designed to be a gateway to desktop gaming for budget-conscious shoppers. it fits the bill and can play most games on medium settings.But if you're married to the midtower design, you can get a machine with even better specs for a similar price. Both the MSI Trident  and the Asus VivoPC X  use a GTX 1060 GPU while staying in the same price range, giving you the benefit of better performance and VR-readiness.  But those machines don't allow for any upgradability. If you want to be able to take the side off the computer and tinker, the Aspire GX-281 is the way to go.

Top ten long battery life laptops






                     Hello readers now i want to provide you some informations of Top ten long battery life laptops included laptops with up to 7  till 12 hours of battery life. So dont miss to check it out 10 best battery life laptop as follows. having the laptop with better long battery life is not so an easy way. thats why here I have found recommendations of the 10 best battery life laptop  that will help you to find the best battery life laptop with specifications and performances. and here I added 10 best battery life laptops  and it after checking all customer reviews, battery performance of course you will enjoy to watch long movies, searching on web browsing and also playing video games.

1. ASUS Zen book UX305LA
ASUS Zen book UX305LA-AB51 was a 13.3-inch best laptop with up to 10 hours of battery life. It has had with latest Intel Core i5-5200U processor and Full-HD display. The RAM and SSD are 8 GB and 256 GB respectively. 
2 . HP Pavilion 13-s128nr x360 2-in-1 Convertible Laptop
HP Pavilion 13-s128nr x360 is a best 13.3-inch full HD 2-in-1 convertible laptop with 12 hours of best battery life. It has 8 GB RAM and 128GB Solid state drive. The Windows 10 operating system is pre installed. 
3. Dell Inspiron i7559-763 BLK Gaming 
Dell Inspiron i7559-763 BLK is a best 15.6-inch gaming laptop loaded best battery life up to 10 more hours. The Dell Inspiron i7559-763 BLK is powered by latest 6th generation Intel i5-6300 HQ quad core processor and 4 GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 M graphics card 
4. ASUS K501UX 
ASUS K501UX-AH71 was a best 15.6-inch laptop with 7 till 8 hours of good battery life. The ASUS K501UX-AH71 is a one of the most popular laptop from ASUS with latest 6th generations Intel core i7-6500U processor and 2 GB NVIDIA GTX950M graphics. 
5. Apple MacBook Pro
The Apple MacBook Pro is a good laptop has had long battery life up to 9 hours. The Apple MacBook Pro is loaded with quad-core Intel Core i7 and 2 GB AMD Radeon R9 M370X graphics. It has 16 GB RAM and 512 GB PCIe based on flash storage. 


6. Dell XPS XPS9350-5341SLV
Dell XPS XPS9350-5341SLV is a QHD laptop with best battery life up to 8-10 hours. The Dell XPS XPS9350-5341SLV loaded with 6th generation Intel Core i7-6560U processor and Intel Iris Graphics 540 Skylake GT3e. 
7. ASUS ZenBook UX303UA FHD 
ASUS Zen book UX303UA-DH51T is a best 13.3-inch laptop with up to 7 hours of battery life. It has 6th-generation Intel Core i5-6200 U processor and 8 GB RAM. The Windows 10 already installed. 
8. Lenovo Think Pad Edge E550
Lenovo Think Pad Edge E550 is a best 15.6-inch laptop with long battery life up to 9-hours. The Lenovo Think Pad Edge E550 laptop loaded with Intel Core i7 5500U processor and AMD Radeon R7 M260 graphics. It has 8 GB RAM and 500 GB hard drive with 7200 RPM hard drive rotational speed. 
9. Apple MacBook Air
Apple MacBook Air is a best light weight, slim and sleek laptop with best battery life up to 12 hours. It has Intel Core i5 Broadwell processor and Intel HD Graphics 6000 graphics. 
10. HP Pavilion 15 Flagship Laptop
The HP Pavilion 15 is 15.6-inch flagship laptop with best battery life up to 8 hours. The HP Pavilion 15 best laptop for everyday use with latest powerful 6th Generation Sky lake Intel Core i7 6700 HQ quad core processor and Intel HD Graphics 530 graphics

      So which one laptop should company you on your daily jobs, its free for ypu to choose one of them, these my recommanded for you may you have another version sides

7 VR Headsets reviews

7 VR Headsets reviews



                        Virtual reality has finally come of age following the release of three long-awaited new systems. For PC gaming, the consumer version of Oculus Rift and HTC’s Vive have significantly raised the bar, while PlayStation’s VR headset is the first console-based system. There are also a host of cheaper models that link to your mobile phone, for those looking to dip their toe into the world of virtual reality without breaking the bank.

The key question to ask yourself before buying a VR headset is whether you want a mobile or tethered headset.


Tethered v mobile headsets

                What does that mean? Well, mobile headsets such as Google’s Daydream and Samsung’s Gear are essentially plastic (or even cardboard) frames with lenses inside. You simply buy a virtual reality app on your smartphone, place the phone inside the device and strap it to your head. The lenses then filter the app to give the virtual reality effects. Considering the apparent simplicity of the headset itself, the effect is surprisingly impressive. Simplicity also means most are very affordable at well under £100. The very cheapest cardboard models can be picked up for a few pounds. The smartphone is where the technology is and an added bonus is that, unlike tethered systems, you don’t need to connect any wires.

The obvious trade-off with the tethered systems is the price. They are several times more expensive. They can also be slightly unwieldy, with wires attaching the headset to the console or PC - sometimes not ideal when you are trying to shoot aliens in a virtual reality world and you can’t see the wire. However, you get used to where to place everything so it causes minimal annoyance.
Unlike phone headsets, tethered systems have all of the tech built in. This includes motion sensors and external camera trackers, which drastically improve how realistic the VR world feels. Your actual movements are far more faithfully reflected in glorious 3-D.

                If you decide to take the plunge and go for one of the full tethered systems, you’ll need to spend a few hundred pounds to get all the relevant kit. But it’s well worth it for a truly immersive experience. Of all the headsets we tested the cheapest was the Google cardboard at £10, the most expensive was the HTC Vive at £750.

The main other criteria we looked at were the graphics and gaming experience, the range of games available and ease of use. There are really only three headsets to consider here at the moment: Sony PlayStation VR, HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. The Vive and Oculus will both need to be hooked up to a fairly powerful PC, while the PS VR obviously requires a PlayStation 4.

1. PlayStation VR: £349.99, Game

              The PS VR is an attractive piece of kit; all white curved plastic and unnecessary, but cool-looking, LEDs. It is the cheapest of the three systems, though you will have to shell out another £40 for the Play Station camera if you don’t have one. The headset won’t work without it. The VR launch bundle is around £400 and comes with two Move motion sensor controllers, which allow you to play a wider variety of games. Set up is simple but does result in a bundle of cables around the living room. It’s important to get the set up right or the tracking doesn't work properly, which spoils the whole experience. Sony’s tracking system seems to be vulnerable to the odd glitch but generally this is not an issue. Unlike the Vive, you can’t turn full 360 degrees but it’s not far off and this doesn't hamper the experience.

In terms of gaming, the visuals are impressively rendered, only slightly less crystal-clear than the more expensive PC systems and well ahead of the phone-based headsets. Where the PS VR excels is the number of games available, something which has been an issue for other systems, though it is improving. We particularly enjoyed Far point, a first-person shooter, and Eve: Valkyrie, which perhaps best shows off the benefits of VR. As you fly through space in the cockpit of a fighter craft and get a real feeling of scale and speed that you don’t get with traditional game play.


2. HTC Vive: £759, Currys

            HTC’s Vive is at the top end of the market and presents some truly stunning graphics. It is the most complete of the three tethered systems we looked at. You won’t have to buy a whole host of extra accessories to use it to its full potential, though you will need a high-spec PC. The bundle includes a headset, motion controllers, and external sensors for setting up a virtual room to play in. These allow full 360 degree gaming which makes for the most realistic experience and allows you to move around the room without going out of range. You do really feel part of the VR world in a way that the other headsets can’t quite match.

There isn’t quite the variety of games available for the PS VR but there are enough to keep all but the most hardened gamer entertained. It’s not as nice to look at as Sony’s offering but this scarcely matters since you’ll be on an alien planet when you’re wearing it.

           This is a great system overall, but the downside is the price. It’s £750 for the headset bundle but if you don’t have a computer capable of running it, you’ll probably have to spend that much again to get up and running, meaning it’s certainly not for everyone.


3. Oculus Rift: £499, John Lewis

                The Oculus Rift is perhaps what comes to most peoples’ minds when they think about VR. It was the first to be announced, way back in 2012, when it began as a Kick Starter project before being bought out by Facebook for $2bn. The full mass market version was released in 2016 and it was worth the wait. Like the Vive, you’ll need a pretty fast computer to run it at its best, and the extra Oculus Touch motion sensor controllers (£99) are highly recommended. With a fairly understated black design, the headset is not quite as stylish as Sony’s but it’s comfortable. Set up on the PC is simple: just plug it in and follow the walkthrough on the software. The Oculus Touch controllers are as responsive, fluid and natural-feeling the Vive's and the gameplay is very similar. The 110-degree field of view means the virtual reality world feels like it’s really wrapped around your head. Graphics are sharp, although, remember that performance will depend to some extent on your PC hardware.


Phone-based headsets
These are a really good way to try out VR for a surprisingly small outlay. There is not as much difference between these headsets as there is between the PC and console systems. They are essentially a housing for your phone, so much will be governed by what handset you have. Beyond that the things to consider are comfort, style and most importantly, range of games and apps available.

4. Google Cardboard: £15, Google

              The most basic of them all, this is literally a folded up cardboard box for your phone. But, somehow, the lenses manage to create the feel of being in a virtual reality world. This is ideal for beginners and a great way to get a taste of VR. It almost goes without saying that setup is simple. You simply fold the box up with your phone in the front and you are away. It’s compatible with almost all Android devices and apps are available from the Play store for minimal cost. We particularly enjoyed Galaxy VR, which combines the best of a space flying game with a first-person shooter.

Clearly, the Cardboard is not built to last forever. The design is pretty flimsy but no one could expect more for the price.

5. Google Daydream: £69, Google

            The Daydream is a great upgrade from Google’s entry Cardboard model, though it is currently compatible with a much smaller range of phones. It eschews the futuristic, almost Robocop, pretensions of most of the other headsets for a softer fabric design that comes in grey, white or red. It’s also really comfortable to wear and, unlike the Cardboard, comes with a remote control.

This is handy for using apps like Netflix VR, which gives you the full cinema screen experience in your living room.

As it is relatively new, the Daydream has yet to build up a huge range of apps and games but more are being added every week


6. Samsung Gear2: £89.99, Scan

             The Gear is only compatible with Samsung phones so is only an option if you have one or intend to buy one. In terms of design, it is quite boxy, somewhat reminiscent of an old Sega GameGear, for those that remember. If it’s looks you’re going for, Google’s Daydream is slightly more elegant. For a greater variety of top-quality games and apps, however, the Gear is currently well out in the lead. For this fact alone, it was the best of the phone-based headsets we tested. Apps are available to download from the Oculus store and there are plenty.  For non-stop action, try Gunjack or for more of a stealthy experience, Hitman Go is well worth £8.

Setting up the Gear is pretty much as simple as, downloading an app and plugging in your phone.


7. Carl Zeiss VR One: £129.99, Selfridges

              The first thing you will notice, as you might expect from the German lens maker, is excellent build quality. The headset is far more solid than most other competitors. It is also more stylish and feels exceptionally well made. This is the main factor justifying the £100 price tag. It comes with a tray for smartphones which will accommodate most models. Carl Zeiss has made a few of its own apps, but in terms of games, it is the same selection as the Google models, which means less than the Samsung Gear at present. This is a good option for people who want something a bit more classy than the cardboard and are willing to pay extra for it.


Concluded VR headsets
Sony’s headset is easier to use and more reasonably priced than its rivals, making it an ideal introduction to virtual reality but also high-spec enough to keep serious gamers happy. We were also impressed with the range and quality of games on offer.
The phone-based headsets are impressive considering the cost but the experience is some way behind the tethered systems and is likely to remain so. There is not a huge amount to choose between the Samsung Gear 2 and the Google Daydream, but with a larger selection of apps, the Samsung edges it.

LINUX FOUNDATION

                    

LINUX FOUNDATION






                        The days when the Linux Foundation was only focused on Linux as an operating system are now long in the past. In recent years, the Linux Foundation has expanded its Collaborative Projects effort to include a growing list of open-source networking efforts, the most recent one being the Open Security Controller Project.

The Linux Foundation already is the home to several Software Defined Networking (SDN) efforts including OpenDaylight which developer an open-source controller platform.

The goal of the new Open Security Controller (OSC) Project is to foster the development of technology that enables the automated deployment of virtualized network security functions, including firewall, intrusion prevention systems and application data controllers.

               The Open Controller project also provides a centralized coordination capability for security policies across multiple cloud environments. "OSC enables fully automated provisioning, de-provisioning, distribution and delivery of security inside the perimeter of the network for virtualized security functions such as virtual Next Gen Firewalls (vNGFW), virtualized IPS (vIPS), virtualized Web App Firewalls (vWAF) and virtualized Application Delivery Controllers (vADC) from multiple vendors, " the project documentation states.

The effort is being initially backed by founding members, Huawei, Intel, McAfee, Nuage Networks from Nokia, and Palo Alto Networks.

“Software-defined networks are becoming a standard for businesses, and open source networking projects are a key element in helping the transition, and pushing for a more automated network” Arpit Joshipura, General Manager of Networking and Orchestration at The Linux Foundation, said in a statement. "Equally important to automation in the open source community is ensuring security. The Open Security Controller Project touches both of these areas. "







Sony Vaio Flip 14 A SVF14N13CXB





                      Over the past six months, we have reviewed nearly the entire Flip series of Sony notebooks - The Vaio Flip 11, Flip 13, and Flip 15 - and we came out impressed by the series' trademark flip display and stylish design. With the Flip 14A now in our hands, we can complete the roundup of Flip models before Sony closes the curtains on the Vaio brand for good. In fact, many of these notebooks are no longer available directly from Sony's online store, but are still on sale in certain outlets.

The Flip 14A in review shares many hardware features with its family members as expected, including the brushed aluminum chassis to the glass edge-to-edge touchscreen. There are some key differences, however, such as the 1080p display and single-channel memory compared to the WQHD (2440 x 1620) resolution screen and dual-channel memory of the larger 15.5-inch model. This puts the 14-inch Flip more in line with its smaller 11-inch and 13-inch siblings rather than its bigger brother.

                   In addition, we'll explore the differences and potential cut corners compared to the current competition. As convertibles overtake the notebook market,


Case

                  Upon first impression, the Flip 14 certainly stands out from the crowd of convertibles with its sharp edges, flat faces, and very reflective brushed aluminum lid. In particular, the bisecting line across the longitude of the lid separates the Vaio from other notebooks visually and is what enables the display to flip into different modes. The shiny outer surface extends beyond the lid and onto the palm rests while the rest of the base of the notebook is matte all-around, including the slightly rough-textured touchpad and belly of the unit. Meanwhile, the edges and corners of the display are rubberized for a rather high-quality feel. The mixture of textures and surfaces of the Flip models blend together very well to make them arguably more visually appealing than the competition and certainly well representative of the $900 price point of the Flip 14. Past these initial impressions, however, and we begin to see some weaknesses in the case. Sony products have traditionally been stylish, but the build quality of the hardware can fall short in comparison. This isn't to say that quality is subpar, but we found the plastic surface surrounding the keyboard keys of the Flip 14 to feel thin and cheap compared to the brushed metal lid and palm rests. The hinge could have been better, too, as the screen can wobble slightly during use. The front corners are also susceptible to some twisting and the outer lid equally susceptible to warping with applied pressure down the center. Perhaps surprisingly, the lid is very resistant to side-to-side twisting as its extra thickness to support the flipping mechanism makes it more firm compared to other notebooks that have much thinner displays.

As for the actual flipping process, we find the procedure to be less ergonomic than other convertibles. Switching to tablet mode is quick, but switching back to notebook mode requires a bit more time and movement compared to simply rotating around a pivot or axis a la the Lenovo Yoga, Lenovo Twist or Asus Tachi 31; It certainly takes a bit more practice in comparison. Another minor complaint is that users must remember to keep the switch in 'Lock' mode if using the notebook in the traditional manner. Otherwise, the user may inadvertently flip the screen during use.

                     The overall weight of the Flip 14 Ultrabook (1.96 kg) is heavier than the similarly sized Flex 14 (1.85 kg) and even the ThinkPad T440 (1.70 kg) and HP Zbook 14 workstation (1.78 kg), but that is the price to pay to pay for most convertibles when compared to standard one-trick Ultrabooks. The somewhat hefty Vaio will still work as a travel companion, although its extra girth and weight as a tablet is best used on the couch or airplane as it can feel a bit too heavy otherwise. Compared to detachables like the HP Split x2 or Asus Transformer Books, this is a key disadvantage of the flipping mechanism.


Connectivity


                     As an Ultrabook with limited surface area, available connections include all the core basics and not much else. In fact, the ports of the Flip 14 are exactly the same as what the Flip 15 offers. The two USB 3.0 ports (one sleep-and-charge) are standard amongst Ultrabooks this size, though the Flex 14 notably includes three USB ports total. Nonetheless, the ports here are all easy to reach and far away enough from the front to not entangle mice and valuable table space.

Communication
                      The standard 802.11 a/b/g/n is provided by a dual-band (2x2) Intel wireless 7260 half mini PCIe card with Bluetooth 4.0. The manufacturer does not include GPS options as is common with most Ultrabooks. Even so, we would have liked to see WWAN options to further justify the price point and to separate the Flip 14 from its competitors.
Accessories
                 Dedicated docking stations and secondary batteries are a rarity in this category, so the Flip 14 is limited to generic carrying bags and sleeves. Sony sells official gear for the Vaio lineup, but many items are currently out of stock as the manufacturer prepares to exit the notebook business.
         Warranty
                     Sony offers the standard one-year limited warranty that covers certain defects and damages. Of course, it wouldn't be far-fetched to purchase additional coverage from a separate entity, such as brick-and-mortar store, for the same reason above. Perhaps coincidentally, Sony's own official warranty information PDF page is currently down at the time of publishing.


Input Devices
Keyboard

                     The backlit Chiclet keyboard (28.5 x 10.5 cm) is predictably similar to other Flip models, which we found to be average at best. The keys themselves are smooth plastic that will highlight even the most minor fingerprints. Furthermore, they offer weak feedback when pressed with shallow travel, though the latter is a common characteristic amongst Ultrabooks. What we can't excuse, however, is the mushy feeling of many of the keys including the Space bar, Function keys, Enter key, and Arrow keys. Users will likely become accustomed to the keyboard after regular use as with any other notebook, but the keyboard here has plenty of room for improvement.

Touchpad
                 The relatively large (10.5 x 6.5 cm) matte touchpad works well in terms of simple navigation, multi-touch gestures, and scrolling. The Synaptics ClickPad V1.0 software allows for customization of up to three-finger gestures.  Unfortunately, the touchpad is picky about where it will register a click. Tapping the surface will not always result in an input and pushing down on the pad to click only provides a soft and unsatisfying feedback. In particular, the touchpad is less sensitive to taps around the edges and corners compared to its center. This makes clicking a bit less reliable if a USB mouse is unavailable.

Touchscreen
             Compared to the unimpressive keyboard and touchpad, the multi-touch touchscreen is as responsive as one would expect from a tablet and registers our inputs with little error. It may not be the most productive use of a notebook, but the multiple modes of the Flip 14 make it a fun distraction.

Display


                  The Flip 14 uses a Full HD IPS edge-to-edge glass display that is now standard amongst touchscreen convertibles in this price range. The glossy surface certainly contributes to the high quality looks of the screen, though we do wish there was a matte option similar to the inner display of the Taichi 31. For resolutions beyond 1080p, users will need to go one step up to the 15.5-inch Vaio Flip 15 for an even more impressive resolution of 2880 x 1620 pixels. However, we found the screen size and resolution of the Flip 14 to be just fine for videos and day-to-day web browsing. Too high of a resolution may have made certain touchscreen actions more difficult as onscreen icons become smaller. We measure an average brightness of 330 nits across the screen, which is brighter than the Flex 14 and both displays of the Taichi 31, but slightly below the screens of the Flip 15 and Flip 13. The ThinkPad Yoga and Flip 11 have brighter screens as well, partly due to their much smaller screen sizes. Even so, we are a bit disappointed by the less than 500:1 contrast of the Flip 14 when all of its siblings and immediate competition have notably higher contrast levels. The Flex 14 is an exception with a lowly ~300:1 contrast from its budget 720p TN display.

                The Flip 14 enjoys a wider color reproduction range compared to budget TN panels that typically cover only around 60 percent of the sRGB spectrum, such as the one found on the Flex 14. At a high 86 percent of the sRGB standard, colors appear vibrant on the Flip 14 despite the average contrast. The Vaio is still a consumer-oriented device, however, so it covers only about 64 percent of the more demanding AdobeRGB spectrum. As such, the notebook is not fit for professional graphics work, but is more than sufficient for general home use and media playback. Further display measurements with an X-Rite i1Basic Pro 2 spectrophotometer reveals very good color accuracy even out-of-the-box. Grayscale and saturation levels are fairly consistent while blue tones are comparatively more inaccurate. However, this may just be due to the cool 6000K color temperature of the display contributing to the higher DeltaE 2000 deviations. A quick calibration reduces the deviation and flattens the RGB balance to be closer to the approximate 2.2 gamma as defined by the sRGB standard.

Outdoor usability is difficult due to two major factors: a glossy screen and a reduced maximum brightness when running on batteries. A reflective screen can usually be overcome by a strong backlight, but maximum brightness drops to under 300 nits on batteries. While more than sufficient for indoor use, direct sunlight and glare make visibility difficult on the Flip 14 regardless of the brightness setting. We recommend working under shade and with a clean screen free from fingerprints to improve outdoor usability as much as possible.
Viewing angle stability is typical of an IPS panel with wide viewing angles from all sides. Note that apparent brightness will drop noticeably if viewing from above or below the normal, so using the Flip 14 in tablet mode while on the landscape orientation can make it a bit difficult to view for nearby friends. This becomes more obvious when outdoors where glare can become increasingly bothersome. Otherwise, color degradation is almost non-existent.

Performance
Turbo Boost up to 2.3 GHz for two active cores or 2.6 GHz for a single active core


The i5-4200U is a common ULV CPU found in many Ultrabooks and some Windows tablets including the Surface Pro 2. It is rated for a base clock of 1.6 GHz with support for Turbo Boost up to 2.6 GHz for a single core, but will reduce to 800 MHz if on the Power Saver profile. Likewise, the integrated HD 4400 GPU is rated for up to 1000 MHz and will clock down to reduce power and temperature as needed. Sony offers no other CPU options as of this writing for the Flip 14, though it should be more than sufficient for everyday tasks and browsing. More information and benchmarks on the Haswell processor can be found in our dedicated CPU page here.

The panel underneath can be removed to expose the HDD, non-removable battery, system fan, WLAN card, and the single SODIMM slot. The cover can be difficult to pry open, however, even after loosening all the Philips screws hidden underneath the rubber footing.
RAM is single-channel only and is provided by one 8 GB PC3L-12800 module in our test model. Don't expect to upgrade anytime soon either as the hardware supports only a maximum of 8 GB.


Processor

CPU performance is similar to other notebooks sporting the same i5-4200U processor, at least according to CineBench multi-core scores. The CineBench R15 Multi score of the Flip 14 (222 points) is pretty much the same as the similarly-equipped ATIV Book 9 Plus (231 points) and ThinkPad T440 (224 points), but the single CPU score of 44 points is less than half of the Pavilion 15 (102 points) and Flip 13A (101 points). Conversely, the single-core SuperPi and multi-core wPrime benchmarks show results in line with other systems sporting an i5-4200U. The large differences may be explained by the throttling issues as detailed in the Stress Test section below while running the CineBench benchmarks.

Overall performance is roughly comparable to the previous generation ULV dual-core i5-3337U or a quad-core AMD A4-5000 Kabini APU in multi-core applications.

System Performance

The final PCMark 7 score of 1594 points is very poor and is similar to low-end budget notebooks like the Satellite C50 (1621 points), HP 250 G2 (1604 points), and the Aspire E1-510P (1595 points). It' is worth noting that these examples all sport much weaker Atom processors with slow Bay Trail HD Graphics and mechanical HDDs while costing much less than the Flip 14. In comparison, the Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus with the same Haswell CPU but with an SSD scores 4912 points, while the ThinkPad T440s with the same CPU and a better 7200 RPM HDD scores 2287 points. PCMark 8 scores show a similar story as well with many notebooks sporting the same CPU running laps over the Sony. In either case, the Flip 14 does not compare.

Subjectively, the slow system performance can be felt from day-to-day use. Simple tasks like installing software and launching programs feel sluggish and delayed. Navigating through the heavy UI of Windows 8 is fortunately not bad with little latency and frame skips, but the initial loading and running of applications is certainly anything but instantaneous.

Graphics Performance

The integrated HD 4400 has been heavily benchmarked and tested in our database, but the Flip 14 is an oddity in the crowd.

In order to get the numbers as posted in this review, we had to run each test with enough downtime in between for the notebook to cool before starting the next. Otherwise, the scores would have been extremely low due to the heavy GPU throttling as explained in our Stress Test section below. The idling periods between the tests were necessary to reduce the throttling effects on final scores. Even after accounting for the unique throttling situation of the Flip 14, the final scores are nothing to boast about. The 3DMark 11 GPU score of 661 points is similar to other notebooks sporting the same i5-4200U CPU like the Latitude E7240 and VivoBook S301LA while its 3DMark 2013 scores are similar to the recently reviewed Toshiba Kirabook. During actual gaming sessions, however, the GPU is too weak for any settings higher than a close minimum - let alone the notebook's native 1080p resolution. More intensive titles like Guild Wars 2 are unplayable no matter the in-game settings.

Stress TestWe stress the notebook with Prime95 first to observe any potential CPU throttling. The i5-4200U is able to maintain a 2.0 to 2.2 GHz range, which is only slightly below its rated 2.3 GHz maximum Turbo Boost. The CPU temperature hovers around 70 degrees C under this state.
Next, we stress the notebook with FurMark to observe any potential GPU throttling. The GPU maxes at 1000 MHz as is normal for an integrated HD 4400 on an ULV Haswell, but this clock speed quickly drops to its base 650 MHz and then even further to 150 MHz in mere seconds. It maintains 150 MHz throughout and never rises despite the high GPU demands of FurMark. This is extremely disappointing and is unlike other notebooks with the same ULV i5 CPU. We expected the Vaio to maintain around 650 MHz under stressful conditions as 150 MHz is despicable.
When under both Prime95 and FurMark stress, the Vaio CPU and GPU flatline to 800 MHz and 150 MHz, respectively. Any Turbo Boost from the CPU is stripped away and the GPU never increases in speed. Maximum CPU temperature reaches 60 degrees C according to HWiNFO, even after an hour of full stress. Since this temperature is less than our CPU stress test above, we suspect that the GPU may be limited by a power envelope ceiling or software controller to prevent overheating. Either way, the extreme GPU throttling is difficult to ignore.
Running GPU benchmarks like 3DMark 2013 sometimes returned unusually low results with final scores of merely 200 or 300 points. CineBench OpenGL scores were equally low at times as well due to the same GPU throttling phenomenon. This is indeed a large setback for those intending to play the occasional 3D title with the Flip 14.

Emissions
System Noise

The single system fan is very quiet when the notebook is idle or under low loads. Simply web browsing or word processing will not induce higher fan speeds. This is fortunate, because when the fan ramps up, it really ramps up. Higher loads will bump fan noise from a near-silent 30 dB(A) to 40 dB(A) without hesitation. This is experienced during intensive games and heavy multi-tasking with many active tabs. Sustained maximum load will increase fan noise up to a recorded 48 dB(A), but most users will not likely experience any fan noise close to this maximum under more typical situations. Even so, we would have liked to see another intermediate range around 34 or 35 dB(A) to make the jump to 40 dB(A) a bit less jarring. The Vaio may draw attention in quieter environments like libraries or classrooms in this 40 dB(A) sound range.

Temperature

Idling surface temperatures are relatively flat across the board on the keyboard side of the notebook, but the bottom side shows a clear hot spot on the corner closest to the ventilation grilles. This corner is about 5 degrees C warmer than the coolest area of the notebook. In practice, users will not notice the difference if using the notebook on a table. In tablet mode, however, the difference can surely be felt, though the absolute temperature is not nearly hot enough to be a concern.Under high loads for long periods, we were able to measure a maximum of 44.6 degrees C on the same hot spot corner nearest the vent grilles. This is certainly too warm for prolonged skin contact, but it is thankfully very localized and away from the front of the notebook and the keyboard keys. Thus, users should be able to type comfortably no matter the system load. The hot surface can potentially be a problem if using the notebook as a tablet, though again this is very unlikely as most users will not be running intensive applications for long periods in this mode.


Speakers


The stereo speakers of the Vaio are positioned on the left and right sides of the notebook behind narrow grilles that can be easily mistaken as card readers. Nonetheless, sound quality is good and feels balanced, which is similar to the Flip 13. Both vibrations and distortions are minimal even at high volumes. Bass is underrepresented as is typical of notebooks this size. For music and videos, the built-in speakers are sufficient if 3.5 mm external solutions are not immediately available.

Battery Life

The non-removable 48 Whr battery is standard size for a 14-inch Ultrabook. As such, the average battery of the Flip 14 is similar to many of its closest competitors.With a WLAN runtime of almost 5 hours and 30 minutes at a brightness setting of 8/10 (about 150 nits), the Flip 14 is on par with the Flex 14 and Transformer Book TX300 while lasting longer than the Taichi 31, Flip 11, and Fit 15 by about an hour under the same testing conditions. Both the Lifebook T904 and ThinkPad Yoga, however, can last for a few hours longer than the Sony. If used mainly for web browsing and word processing, the Flip 14 should be able to last for a productive day. But, this would be pushing it quite close without the aid of an AC outlet. Note the unusually high load runtime of over 3 hours, which is twice as long as most other notebooks under the same testing conditions with the Battery Eater Classic Test at maximum brightness. This may be at least partly explained by the extreme throttling of the CPU and GPU under stressful conditions as detailed in the stress test above.



Concluded
The Flip 14 looks and feels great. The reflective and glossy 1080p screen is beautiful and surprisingly color accurate while the brushed aluminum and rubberized surfaces give it that sleek and expensive feel. We generally enjoy the flip mechanic, too, and its tablet mode is genuinely fun to use during those mellow moments. Instead, the core problems we have with the Vaio lie behind its façade where the issues can be significant enough to thwart us from a full purchase.
Firstly, the poor system performance cannot be ignored. The sluggish 5400 RPM drive makes Windows 8 feel slower than it actually when launching and installing apps. The HDD is thankfully user-replaceable, but it bewilders us why Sony does not offer dedicated SSD solutions especially for a notebook nearing the $1000 price range. Many second generation Ultrabooks even come standard with 128 GB SSDs to avoid the slow performance hiccups of high capacity 5400 RPM mechanical drives that the Flip 14 faces.
Finally, the GPU throttling of the Vaio is significant and frequent enough to impact games and applications requiring high graphical demands. When combined with other hardware disadvantages like the non-removable battery, single-channel memory, and mushy keyboard, it becomes a bit tough to recommend the $900 Flip 14 over many of its competitors outside of its looks and display.

Apple iPad Pro 12.9

Apple iPad Pro 12.9




                           The second-generation iPad Pro 12.9 has not really changed on the outside compared to its predecessor. On the inside, however, upgrades are abundant: the new and supposedly much faster Apple A10X Fusion processor, 4 GB of RAM, and storage options ranging from 64 GB all the way up to 512 GB of internal storage. It has also been equipped with the iPhone 7’s camera module, and Apple claims to have improved the display as well: it now supports HDR at 120 Hz, which should have a dramatic effect on multimedia content and games.

The price, as before, starts at $799. However, you get twice the amount of internal storage than before: 64 GB instead of 32 GB. Two additional storage tiers are available: 256 GB for an extra $100, and 512 GB for an extra $300. Regardless of storage tier, the optional LTE radio is always $130 extra. Thus, the fully equipped top-model will cost you an astounding $1,229 plus tax.

                         On paper, both iPad Pro models are now similarly equipped and only differ in regard to display size and battery capacity. In reality, however, we found the 12.9 model to be an improvement in some aspects over its smaller 10.5-inch relative. Other manufacturers have all but abandoned this market segment. Samsung's Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 has aged noticeably, and all other devices even remotely comparable to the 12.9-inch iPad Pro are x86-convertibles running Windows 10, such as the Acer Switch 12 Alpha or the new Microsoft Surface. Thus, for the sake of better comparability, we’ve decided to include a few ARM-based Android tablets in our test group as well: the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 (9.7), a powerful tablet that also supports stylus-input; the Huawei MediaTab T2 10.0 Pro; the Asus ZenPad 3s 10; and finally, the Lenovo Yoga Book.


Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2017 (iPad Pro Series)
ProcessorApple A10X Fusion 2.39 GHz
Graphics adapterApple A10X Fusion GPU / PowerVR
Memory4096 MB  
, LPDDR4, 1600 MHz
Display12.9 inch 4:3, 2732x2048 pixel 265 PPI, capacitive Touchscreen, native pen support, IPS, glossy: yes
StorageToshiba THGBX669D4LLDXG 64 GB NAND , 64 GB  
, 51.24 GB free
Connections1 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 HDMI, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm audio jack, 1 Fingerprint Reader, Brightness Sensor, Sensors: Touch ID, 3-way gyroscopic and acceleration sensor, barometer, digital compass, Smart Connector
Networking802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.2, GPS
Sizeheight x width x depth (in mm): 6.9 x 305.7 x 220.6 ( = 0.27 x 12.04 x 8.69 in)
Battery41 Wh, 10875 mAh Lithium-Polymer, 3.77 V, Battery runtime (according to manufacturer): 10 h
Operating SystemApple iOS 10
CameraPrimary Camera: 12 MPix (f/1.8, 5x digital zoom, OIS, Auto-HDR, UHD video)
Secondary Camera: 7 MPix (f/2.2, Auto-HDR, 1080p video)
Additional featuresSpeakers: four speakers, Keyboard: virtual, Lightning cable, modular charger, quick-start guide, safety and warranty booklet, 12 Months Warranty, Lightning port, fanless
Weight677 g ( = 23.88 oz / 1.49 pounds), Power Supply: 99 g ( = 3.49 oz / 0.22 pounds)


Case

                 The new iPad Pro’s footprint is exactly the same as the old one's, and visually, it is almost indistinguishable from its predecessor. The only actual difference is a camera hump on the back, which protrudes 0.9 mm from the case (iPad Pro 10.5: 1.5 mm). The high-quality aluminum unibody case is extremely well made, and the gaps between the case and the display are virtually nonexistent. The case remains completely unimpressed by torsional forces, and it is more rigid than its smaller 10.5-inch sibling due to its sheer size. Unfortunately, pressure applied to the back results in a minor yet visible ripple effect on the display. Given that we were only able to review the Wi-Fi-only model, we won’t be able to comment on the iPad Pro’s SIM-card tray. We do, however, expect it to be just as high-quality and sit as flush as the 10.5’s tray. The power button and volume rocker have little to no play, very well-defined actuation points, and rather short travel. They both reacted almost immediately. The iPad’s battery is not user-replaceable, and there is no way to upgrade or expand the available storage either.


Connectivity


                 The iPad Pro 12.9’s connectivity is the same as it always was: a Lightning port that supports USB 3.0, HDMI, and card readers via adapter. The Apple Pencil is obviously also supported but has to be purchased separately. The three-pin Smart Connector is included and supports communication with, and power delivery to, peripherals such as the optional Smart Keyboard. Like before, NFC only supports Apple Pay. However, this may change in the near future as APIs might be made publicly available to developers. Bluetooth 4.2 is supported as well, and unlike the iPhone 7 (Plus), the iPad Pro still features a 3.5 mm headphone jack.

Software

                  The iPad Pro 12.9 (2017) runs the most current version of iOS, 10.3. For further details, we would like to refer you to our iPhone 7 review, where we have covered this version of iOS in great detail. With the upcoming update to iOS 11 this fall, the iPad Pro is going to profit from many of its improvements, such as the revised multitasking, a new file manager, and improved Apple Pencil capabilities. Among other things, the iPad Pro is going to support taking notes directly on the device's lock screen – something the Galaxy Tab S3 has been known to be capable of since its early days. According to Apple, another big feature will be support for augmented reality (AR).


Communication and GPS

                     The iPad Pro’s integrated Wi-Fi modem supports all common 802.11 specifications (a/b/g/n/ac) in both 2.4 and the 5 GHz bands. In addition, it also supports HT80 and MIMO, and its transfer speeds when connected to our Linksys EA8500 reference router were remarkable, in both receiving and transmitting data. Its range is very impressive, and even at a distance of 10 m (33 ft) away from the router latencies when loading websites did not increase noticeably. Streaming HD media was performed without a glitch.

In addition to our Wi-Fi-only review model, the iPad Pro 12.9 (2017) is also available with LTE radio. It supports LTE Cat. 9 and thus a very wide variety of LTE frequencies.
The built-in GPS supports both GPS and Glonass but offers no support for the European Galileo system yet. GPS lock is almost instantaneous when outdoors, and only slightly slower when indoors even in airplane mode.

                       In order to determine its GPS accuracy, we took the iPad Pro 12.9 (2017), its smaller brother, and a Garmin Edge 500 on a bicycle tour. Unfortunately, it was less accurate than we expected. Positioning occurred fairly often, but overall our recorded track seems rather jittery. We kept the tablet in a small backpack, and the app asked for permission to access fitness data while running. It’s thus possible that the iPad Pro mixed GPS, motion, and positioning data to paint a more precise picture of our track. This, regrettably, did not seem to have worked as well as we were hoping for. Thus, we would advise you to deny access to fitness data, which should in theory improve GPS accuracy. For automobile satnav use, this should not matter at all.


Cameras

                 The new iPad Pro’s cameras are identical to the iPhone 7's and the iPad Pro 10.5's. Thus, we won’t go into too much detail in this review and would like to refer you to our extensive iPhone 7 review. The iPad Pro’s front-facing 7 MP camera (3088x2320) offers support for body and face detection, Auto-HDR, and it records video at 1080p. It takes very good photos in decent lighting conditions; however, it does add a significant amount of noise in low-light scenarios. The tablet’s main f/1.8 12 MP camera is equipped with optical image stabilization and records video in UHD at 30 FPS, FHD at 60 FPS, or 720p at 240 FPS. Its features are identical to the iPhone 7, and photos are superb, crisp, and they have a surprisingly high dynamic range. Even though some high-end smartphones, such as the Samsung Galaxy S8+ or the HTC U11, are equipped with even better cameras, the iPad Pro 12.9 offers the best tablet-camera by a long shot.


Accessories and Warranty


In addition to the tablet itself, the box only contains a charging/data cable (100 cm/3.3 ft USB Type-A to Lightning) and a modular 12.48 W (5.2 V, 2.4 A) charger, as well as the obligatory warranty booklet, a booklet explaining buttons and ports, and two Apple stickers. We find it somewhat disturbing that Apple has decided not to include the longer cable anymore, as they used to before.

                       The warranty is only a rather short 12 months and as always AppleCare+ has to be purchased separately for $99. It extends the warranty to two years, includes full phone support, and it also covers two incidents of accidental damage, with a $49 deductible per incident. A plethora of accessories is available through Apple's own storeshttps://www.apple.com/de/shop/ipad/ipad-accessories, both on- and offline. The Apple Pencil, for example, is available for $99, and the Smart Keyboard - which is finally available in layouts other than QWERTY – for $169. It thus became significantly more expensive.

Input Devices and Handling

                     As usual, input is conducted through the device’s excellent, smooth, and incredibly quick and reactive capacitive touchscreen. Despite its anti-fingerprint coating, it seems to magically attract the very fingerprints it is supposed to prevent. On the plus side, cleaning should be quite easy. At first glance, the panel seems huge. An impression, that remained with us throughout the entire test period. Unfortunately, Apple has not yet managed to improve scaling in iOS, and consequently icons are enormous. Artists and creators, as well as those who use the iPad Pro 12.9 to take notes or edit photos and videos, will love the additional screen real estate. The reliable and fast virtual keyboard is well established at this point. A fingerprint reader (Touch ID) is integrated into the iPad Pro’s mechanical home button. Consequently, the iPhone 7 remains the only iOS device with the new, Force Touch home button.

Display

                On paper, the display has remained nearly identical to its predecessor’s: a 4:3 12.9-inch 2732x2048 panel. However, just like the iPad Pro 10.5, the new panel now also supports HDR media and a refresh rate of up to 120 Hz. The latter will be most useful for gaming and watching movies.

The display’s brightness has been improved dramatically. While the first iPad Pro 12.9’s maximum display brightness was only 400 nits, the new 2017 model offers a whopping 650 nits with activated ambient light sensor. Manual brightness control caps maximum brightness at 536 nits. Our real-world measurements with evenly distributed dark and white surfaces returned a maximum of 649 nits. The panel’s black level is 0.42 nits, and therefore it is almost twice as high as the predecessor’s (0.22 nits). Accordingly, the resulting contrast ratio is lower than before but still excellent at 1,548:1.

               We found not traces of clouding on this display, and no traces of PWM-flickering either. It supports TrueTone, which means it is capable of adjusting color temperature based on ambient light. In most cases, enabling this feature results in a somewhat warm representation of colors, and it is particularly comfortable to use in darker surroundings. As before, color temperature can be reduced either manually or automatically through Night Shift.

Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2017) with enabled (left) and disabled (right) TrueTone

                        The iPad Pro 12.9’s display in detail using a spectrophotometer and CalMAN. While Apple claims to offer full P3 support, we cannot confirm this claim. However, the smaller sRGB color space is fully covered, and it’s possible that P3 support is only enabled in specific apps. Unlike the iPad Pro 10.5’s, our review unit’s color accuracy was outstanding. Both grayscales and colors were very accurate and natural, thus allowing for professional use of the device. Even the largest DeltaE deviation (red at 1.8) was still less than the entire competition had to offer on average. The only tablet able to keep up was Samsung's Galaxy Tab S3, which also offers a much larger color space to boot.

Performance

                The Apple A10X Fusion is Apple’s most powerful SoC to date. Its six-core CPU is separated into two clusters: a three-core high-performance cluster, and a three-core energy-efficient cluster. The two cores cannot operate simultaneously, meaning that at any given time the maximum of available cores is limited to three. Based on various apps, its maximum frequency seems to be 2.39 GHz. However, we find it hard to believe the 20 MHz increase compared to the iPad Pro 10.5. It also comes with an M10 co-processor and 4 GB of LPDDR4 RAM running at 1,600 MHz. The 12-core GPU is most likely made by Imagination, and so far, Apple has refused to release further details.

The iPad Pro scored extremely well in our benchmarks and practically humiliated its entire competition in AnTuTu and Geekbench. For the sake of improved comparability, we have added a Snapdragon 835-powered smartphone to our list, but even that was 23% and 31% slower in AnTuTu and Geekbench, respectively. In 3DMark’s Physics test, the Snapdragon 835 scored between 18 and 43 % higher, most likely due to the fact that it can use all of its available cores instead of just three. GPU performance is, in one word, glorious: 129% faster than the fastest Android tablet, the Galaxy Tab S3, in GFXBench 3.0. Due to its higher resolution, actual frame rates are somewhat lower than we would expect, but even so it was still 71% faster than the Tab S3.

                            Browsing performance is incredible as well, and the new iPad Pro 12.9 scored first place in all tests. A complex CMS will still manage to bring the iPad Pro to its knees, though. Pages fail to load completely, and scrolling thus becomes impossible. If Apple wants the iPad Pro to truly become a notebook replacement, they need to fix this. The iPad’s internal storage is made by Toshiba and is very fast, yet it is not as fast as the predecessor's. While the latter managed an impressive 277 MB/s write speed in PassMark, the 2017 model topped out at 78.4 MB/s (read speed: 720 MB/s). Since we have only had one model in review, we cannot say whether or not the other storage tiers perform differently.


Gaming

                    Apple’s A10X Fusion high-performance GPU offers plenty of power for modern games. Despite its higher resolution when compared to the iPad Pro 10.5, we failed to find a single game in the App Store that would have required us to reduce details in order to achieve a smooth gaming experience. Furthermore, its 120 Hz display and four speakers are welcome gaming features. Unfortunately, the sheer size of the 12.9-inch panel makes it quite strenuous to play games that require you to hold the tablet in your hands for prolonged periods of time.

Emissions
Temperature

                     Temperatures on the iPad Pro 12.9 were no problem at all, and its surface remained cool to the touch even under intense load. The charger, on the other hand, heats up significantly, and it can reach temperatures of up to 58 °C under load. On the inside, things are a bit different. With GFXBench’s battery test, we managed to determine how well the iPad handles heat emission around its SoC by running the benchmark 30 times in a row and recording fame rates as well as battery charge levels. In the more moderate OpenGL ES 2.0 test, the iPad Pro 12.9 was able to utilize its SoC’s full performance throughout the entire test. However, performance slowly decreased during the more demanding Manhattan test (Metal), and it was around 15% less at its lowest. Nevertheless, overall performance is still exceptional, and users won’t notice this dip at all.

Speakers

                       Like its predecessor and the iPad Pro 10.5, the new iPad Pro 12.9 (2017) has a total of four speakers to ensure a steady and consistent soundscape regardless of tablet position. Our review unit’s speakers were very well balanced, and while pink noise measurements revealed a slight decreased maximum volume, its characteristics were much more balanced than before. Thus, it is even more suited for watching a movie or listening to music than it was despite this handicap. External audio output via 3.5 mm headphone jack or Bluetooth is supported, and both worked very well and produced low-noise audio in our tests.


Energy Management
Power Consumption

                   Given its massive size, the iPad Pro’s power consumption is top-notch, especially when compared to last year’s predecessor. Battery capacity has been increased slightly. Unfortunately, charging the tablet from 0 to 100% takes 8:14 hours and is thus very slow. Apple does not support any of the many quick-charging technologies


Battery Life

            Larger battery plus improved energy efficiency equals longer battery life. The iPad Pro 12.9 (2017) managed to outlast its predecessor in every single test and is now on a par with the Galaxy Tab S3. The iPad Pro’s performance in the reader test, which simulates reading an eBook at minimum brightness, is particularly impressive: it lasted two full days and is thus perfectly suited for bookworms. While browsing the web or watching movies on battery, the iPad Pro 12.9 will last slightly longer than its smaller 10.5-inch sibling.

Concluded
The iPad Pro 12.9 is no more than a larger iPad Pro 10.5, but in real-life it is quite a bit different in several aspects. The well-calibrated display with its exceptionally accurate color accuracy in particular was very impressive; the speakers are well-balanced; the Wi-Fi modem’s range is higher; and it lasts longer on battery to boot.
Thus, it boils down to personal preference and taste. Creative work, editing photos, and watching movies are much more fun on the 12.9-inch model.  Portability, better ergonomics, and a higher gaming performance are the 10.5-inch model’s advantages.
The iPad Pro 12.9 (2017) is not only larger, but it also offers an amazing 120 Hz display, impressive performance, and longer battery life. On top of all that, you also get a superb camera and very good speakers.
We would not consider the iPad Pro 12.9 to be a notebook replacement, though. iOS is still too limited, Safari Mobile has trouble with complex websites and CMS systems, and the optional Smart Keyboard is unusable on anything except a smooth, solid surface.
The iPad’s performance, on the other hand, is more than enough for everything we were able to throw at it. Even RAW photo and UHD video-editing were no problem at all. In our opinion, the 256 GB storage option offers the most bang for the buck. For primarily consuming multimedia content, the smaller 64 GB model will be sufficient as well, and despite its hefty premium, the 512 GB model will surely find its fans among enthusiasts.