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Realme X7 Max 5G Review: Powerful Processor, But Not for Everyone

If you bought a Realme X7 Pro 5G when it launched in February this year, you’re going to be quite upset that it is already being superseded. On the other hand, if you waited before making your purchase decision, you might be delighted. The new Realme X7 Max 5G offers better specifications than its sibling, but what’s most surprising is its considerably lower official starting price. Realme is clearly worried about competition, which is suddenly hot in the sub-Rs. 30,000 space thanks to several recent and upcoming launches. This rapid pace of launches certainly keeps things interesting, and we’re going to find out whether the company’s latest premium model can keep up.

Realme X7 Max 5G price in India

The base variant of the Realme X7 Max 5G, priced at Rs. 26,999, has 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. There’s also a 256GB storage version priced at Rs. 29,999. Interestingly, the  Realme X7 Pro 5G (Review) is still available in only one configuration, with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, but priced the same as the higher-end X7 Max 5G. It continues to remain on sale without an official price cut, but is currently discounted.


Realme says it developed this new model based on consumer feedback, and is trying to offer the latest specs at affordable prices. A company spokesperson declined to clarify why the older X7 Pro 5G is still officially on the market at its original price, so as a buyer, you’ll have to be aware of what’s going on – the newer model has far better specifications despite this disparity.

In terms of competition, the Realme X7 Max 5G looks set to take on the heavily rumoured and leaked OnePlus Nord successor. It will also challenge the Mi 11X (Review) and upcoming Poco F3 GT from Xiaomi, the Samsung Galaxy A52 (Review), iQoo 7, Vivo V21, and quite a few others.

Realme X7 Max 5G design

We really did not appreciate Realme emblazoning its brand slogan in huge letters across the back of the Realme X7 5G (Review) and X7 Pro 5G, and it looks like we weren’t alone. Realme says that customer feedback prompted it to come up with a new design – a much smaller box with both the Realme logo and slogan as one unit. This is still quite attention-grabbing since it’s highly reflective with an iridescent finish, but it’s an improvement.

Construction quality is one area in which Realme seems to have cut back in order to achieve a lower price point. The rear panel of the X7 Max 5G is all plastic and frankly doesn’t feel very premium at all. It has a textured matte finish except for a thick, glossy off-centre stripe that encloses the camera module and the new boxed logo. While most of the back remains free of fingerprints and smudges, the stripe picks them up very easily, and that actually makes them more noticeable. Realme has also gone with a simple camera module design – it only just barely protrudes, and is flat with no attention called to the individual lenses.

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The Realme X7 Max 5G doesn’t feel as premium as some of the other phones in this price segment

The rear panel looks and feels more like what we’d expect from Realme’s entry-level C-series and Narzo series phones than a premium model. It even flexes a little when pressed near the centre. You won’t notice or be bothered by any of this if you use the X7 Max 5G with a case, but I would buy an opaque one rather than use the smoky translucent one that comes in the retail box.

The 6.43-inch screen is smaller than the 6.55-inch screen of the X7 Pro 5G. It has relatively narrow borders, and a protective film is pre-applied. There’s a camera hole in the top-left corner which is thankfully not too distracting. You also get an embedded fingerprint sensor near the bottom, and this worked quite well throughout the review period.

Many people will be pleased to see that there’s a 3.5mm jack on the bottom, which is a feature that the X7 Pro 5G does not have. The power and volume buttons are on the right and left respectively, and are placed conveniently enough. The tray on the left has two Nano-SIM slots but there’s no provision for microSD storage expansion.

At 179g in weight and 8.4mm in thickness, the Realme X7 Max 5G is quite convenient to carry around and use. The dual textures on the rear feel a little awkward when holding this phone to talk or even when using it in the hand, but at least it isn’t slippery at all. The body is rated IPX4 splash-resistant but there’s no official mention of screen reinforcement.

In addition to the Asteroid Black of the unit you see here, this phone is also available in Mercury Silver and Milky Way. The latter option is hard to describe, even according to Realme itself – it looks like a purplish gradient with a much more prominent stripe.

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The Realme X7 Max 5G has a 3.5mm audio socket, which the Realme X7 Pro 5G lacks


Realme X7 Max specifications and software

The main reason for launching a new model is that it uses the MediaTek Dimensity 1200 SoC, rather than the Dimensity 1000+ that’s in the X7 Pro 5G. This SoC is said to be significantly more powerful as well as power efficient thanks to a new 6nm manufacturing process and a more modern mix of CPU cores. There are four high-performance Cortex-A78 cores, one of which runs at up to 3GHz while the other three run at 2.6GHz, and another four 2GHz Cortex-A55 efficiency cores. The integrated Mali-G77 GPU is unchanged, but the image signal processor is improved.

The Dimensity 1200 also has integrated 5G capabilties, and Realme boasts of support for seven 5G bands while many other companies advertise one or two – there aren’t any 5G service providers in India yet, but this might be a factor if you travel a lot. There’s also dual-SIM dual-standby, 5G carrier aggregation, VoNR (Voice over New Radio).

Performance should also said be snappy thanks to the use of dual-channel UFS 2.1 storage and Wi-Fi 6. There’s a 4500mAh battery and support for 50W fast charging. Just like with the rest of the X7 series, you get a 65W charger in the box which is great for multi-device flexibility, though it doesn’t seem to be USB-PD compliant at 65W.

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The familiar-looking charger is rated at 65W while the phone itself can charge at up to 50W


The X7 Max has a 6.43-inch Super AMOLED panel with a 1080×2400 pixel resolution, 120Hz maximum refresh rate and up to 360Hz touch sampling rate. Other specs worth noting are the stereo speakers, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.1, NFC, and GPS.

My review unit was running Realme UI 2.0 on top of Android 11 on arrival, with the March 2021 security patch, but it received an update with the May 2021 patch at the time of this review. Realme UI does have a number of preloaded Realme apps plus third-party bloatware. Not all these unnecessary apps can be removed, and some of them including Theme Store, Browser, and Heyfun throw up tonnes of spammy, clickbait notifications. At least ads on the lockscreen are disabled by default.

Realme UI does have some neat features, though. You can enable or disable an app drawer, or choose a simple mode with enlarged icons instead. There’s an always-on display option, which goes off automatically when the phone is stationary for a while to save power. You can override this so it is truly always on, or even set up a schedule. Within the Settings app you’ll find an “experimental” sleep mode that’s intended to help reduce distractions, as well as shortcuts and gestures for things like call handling and taking screenshots. There are also various navigation shortcuts and tools.

The ‘Quick Return Bubble’ lets you minimise games while waiting for rounds to begin and then jump back in. Swiping in from the left of the screen pulls up Realme UI’s Game Assistant panel, which shows CPU and GPU usage as well as a handy frame counter. There are toggles for call handling, screen recording, touch sensitivity, and “4D vibration” in supported games. Note that the ‘Game Focus’ mode will disable alarms and all notifications, so use this with caution.

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The Realme X7 Max 5G can work with two Nano-SIMs but doesn’t allow microSD storage expansion


Realme X7 Max 5G performance

With such a powerful processor, it comes as no surprise that the Realme X7 Max 5G is exceptionally smooth and responsive in everyday use. Realme UI doesn’t bog down the hardware at all, and you shouldn’t have any trouble multitasking even between multiple heavy apps. The screen is crisp and while not the most vibrant, it’s fine for entertainment. Stereo speakers are always nice to have, and the X7 Max 5G can get quite loud without sound distorting.

The Realme X7 Max is recognised by many diagnostic apps and tests as ‘Realme GT Neo’, which isn’t too surprising considering that based on specifications, the company has simply brought the same phone to India and marketed it differently.

If you’re curious about just how well the Dimensity 1200 SoC stacks up against its competition, it scored 704,855 in AnTuTu as well as 972 and 3,301 in Geekbench’s single-core and multi-core tests. That’s a significant step up from the Realme X7 Pro’s scores. These figures indicate slightly higher CPU performance than what we saw on the OnePlus 9R, which is powered by the Snapdragon 870. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 still maintains a comfortable performance lead. Even so, the performance that Realme offers here is especially noteworthy considering the price of the X7 Max 5G.

As for graphics performance, this phone scored 1,284 in 3DMark’s Wild Life Extreme test, and ran GFXBench’s Car Chase and Manhattan 3.1 scenes at 44fps and 59fps respectively. Games including Call of Duty: Mobile and Asphalt 9: Legends were enjoyable even at high graphics quality. Stereo speakers always noticeably improve immersion when gaming. The upper rear of the phone got only mildly warm after 15 minutes or so of gaming at the default high quality settings, and pushing that up to Max did make things feel a bit toastier.

The Realme X7 Max will easily last through a full day of use, even if you stream media, play games, and use the camera. Our HD video loop test lasted for a superb 22 hours, 55 minutes. Charging is also impressively quick – the phone managed to get up to 65 percent in 30 minutes, and it took just under an hour to fill the battery completely using the supplied charger.

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The Realme X7 Max 5G has three rear cameras including a 64-megapixel primary one


Realme X7 Max 5G cameras

Most value offerings in the Rs. 30,000 – 40,000 price band boast of high-end processors as well as cameras. While the Realme X7 Max 5G does offer the former, compromises in the latter area allow it to achieve its low price. You don’t get any extraordinarily high-resolution sensor, optical stabilisation, telephoto lens, or even the versatility of multiple good sensors. There’s a 64-megapixel primary camera with a Sony IMX682 sensor and f/1.8 aperture, but the others are quite basic. The 8-megapixel f/2.3 ultra-wide camera and 2-megapixel macro camera are what you might expect on a budget segment phone these days. The Realme X7 Pro had a fourth B&W portrait camera, but not many people will miss this.

Realme’s camera app is laid out well for the most part, with most modes and options close at hand. Switching video resolutions takes multiple steps and there isn’t necessarily consistency on where options are found when you switch between modes. Other than Slo-Mo and Dual View video, there aren’t a lot of creative modes to play with.

Realme X7 Max 5G daytime camera samples (tap to see full size)



Photos taken with the primary camera in the daytime turned out quite good, with crisp details and accurate exposures. Textures came out looking natural, and there was decent natural depth of field. Photos taken at the default 12-megapixel resolution had slightly better exposure than native 64-megapixel shots, but the level of detail was comparable which means you can magnify and crop shots after taking them to simulate optical zoom, if you don’t mind saving much larger files.

Portrait shots were quite decent. Daytime macros were low-res and it’s hard to find the ideal distance to shoot your subject from to ensure that focus is crisp. With a lot of ambient light, these shots are usable. There’s a bit of perspective distortion with the ultra-wide camera. Daytime shots tended to be overexposed, with far less detail in distant objects.

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Realme X7 Max 5G daytime camera samples (Top-bottom: primary camera, ultra-wide camera, 64-megapixel crop) (tap to see full size)



Night mode does make a difference, but sadly the camera app defaults to the primary camera as soon as you enable it, so if you were shooting with the ultra-wide camera and then realised you need to be in Night mode, you’ll have to manually re-select the zoom level. This is annoying, since Night mode makes the biggest difference when using the weaker camera with its far less forgiving aperture. Low-light shots taken with the default Photo mode were generally disappointing – some had slight motion blur or the autofocus seems to have not been able to lock on to the subject properly. Night mode did deliver more tightly focused shots with better contrast, but they weren’t necessarily better in terms of detail. The macro camera is virtually useless at night.

Realme X7 Max 5G low-light Night mode camera samples (top: primary camera, bottom: ultra-wide camera) (Tap to see full size)



Beautification is on by default when you switch to the front camera, and it not only smoothens skin and tones down blemishes, but also slightly makes faces narrower and pinches facial features. This feels like a bit of overreaching and it should have been possible to change the default or make this an opt-in feature. Selfies did look quite artificial, though background blurring in Portrait mode is nicely done. At night, you have to position yourself so your face isn’t entirely in shadows, but quality is good overall.

Video seemed to have overblown colours and a very warm tone which is even more pronounced in 4K cliips. Footage shot with the main camera at 1080p was stabilised, but ultra-wide and 4K video was quite shaky. Video is crisp at both resolutions and is usable enough. However at night, the ultra-wide camera is much less useful and the warm tone is even more evident in 4K video. You might not want to depend on this phone to capture and preserve your most important memories.

Realme X7 Max 5G portrait selfie camera samples (Top: daytime, bottom: low-light) (tap to see full size)




The Realme X7 Max 5G is exceptionally powerful for a sub-Rs. 30,000 phone, but that doesn’t mean it’s a perfect all-rounder. It’s best suited to gamers and heavy multi-taskers who aren’t too concerned about camera quality. The processor, display, speakers, and battery all work together to make this a great entertainment device, and 5G support potentially means your streaming and multiplayer experiences will improve during the useful life of this device.

On the downside, the cameras are disappointing for all but basic use cases. Daytime stills with the main camera come out looking good, but low-light performance and video quality are weak, and the macro camera is really only there to fill in a blank on the spec sheet. The look and feel of this phone are also not up to the standard that many will expect at this price level. If you can live with these compromises, you’ll get a great phone for gaming at a low cost. What’s absolutely certain though, is if you’ve been considering the Realme X7 Pro 5G, you should buy this phone instead.

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Realme Buds Q2 Review: Lots of Features at an Affordable Price

True wireless earphones have been gradually improving over the past few years, and the product category, which started out as an expensive and premium one, is now very accessible to even budget buyers. In India, we’re seeing a big push towards features and design in the true wireless market, with many manufacturers offering great bang for your buck. Realme is one such brand; after establishing itself as a leading manufacturer of smartphones, the company is now turning its focus to the true wireless space.

Its latest product is the Realme Buds Q2, an affordable pair of true wireless earphones priced at Rs. 2,499. Following closely on the heels of the Realme Buds Air 2, the Buds Q2 is the successor to the Realme Buds Q and its earpieces have a similar stem-less form factor. There’s also active noise cancellation and app support on this affordable pair of earphones, making this a seemingly excellent value-for-money offering. Just how good is the Realme Buds Q2 headset in practice? Find out in this review.

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The Realme Buds Q2’s earpieces do not have stems, but do have a proper in-canal fit like the Buds Q


Touch controls, app support, and ANC on the Realme Buds Q2

While most of Realme’s true wireless headsets have designs with stems, the Realme Buds Q2 earpieces are a bit thicker and bulkier, but without protrusions. The earphones are a bit larger than the Realme Buds Q, and weigh a hint more as well, but stick to the general look and feel of the Buds Q sub-range. With each earpiece weighing 4.5g, this is still a light and comfortable pair of true wireless earphones. They have an in-canal fit, which ensures proper noise isolation in order to make the active noise cancellation effective.

Despite the price, the Realme Buds Q2 is considerably improved in terms of design and styling over its predecessor. The earphones are available in two colours – black and grey – and I quite liked the grey of the review unit I received. Although plastic, the earpieces and charging case look good, thanks to their dull, smooth finish. The earpieces were comfortable for me, and there are a total of three pairs of silicone ear tips of different sizes in the sales package to allow for a customisable fit. Also included in the box is a short USB Type-C charging cable.

The outer side of each earpiece has a reflective area which is the touch-sensitive zone for the controls. Realme has used what it calls ‘gleaming lamination technology’, which means these zones reflect varying colours at different angles, for what I thought to be a very groovy and unique look. Since this is the touch zone for the controls, it’s also a grime magnet, and quickly showed my fingerprints which took a bit away from the look of the earpieces.

The controls are simple – the touch-sensitive zones are large enough to ensure a fair amount of accuracy and relatively few mis-hits, and you can even customise the controls to your liking using the Realme Link app. Playback, noise cancellation and transparency modes, as well as your phone’s voice assistant, are possible to control using the touch gestures. However, you can’t control the volume from the earpieces and will need to use your paired source device to do that.

The charging case is compact, discreet, and very nice to touch and hold because of its smooth finish and curves. That said, the bottom of the case is slightly curved, so it never sits stable on any surface, rocking around a bit with even a slight touch or gust of wind. The back has the USB Type-C port for charging, the front has an indicator light, and the inside has the pairing button. The earpieces latch into place magnetically in the case.

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Although the reflective outer surface looks good, it’s very susceptible to fingerprints


A big differentiator for Realme’s audio range is the quality of its app experience; the Realme Link app is among the best around when it comes to audio and IoT products. I don’t often find app support on budget true wireless earphones, let alone an implementation as good as with the Realme Buds Q2. Furthermore, the Realme Buds Q2 are supported by the app on both iOS and Android, which is a considerable change from previous products.

The app lets you see the specific battery levels of each earpiece, switch between noise control modes, activate gaming mode, control the equaliser presets, modify the touch controls, and update the firmware, among other things. It’s a simple app to use, and gives plenty of control and customisation options to the user.

For connectivity, the Realme Buds Q2 use Bluetooth 5.2, and support the SBC and AAC Bluetooth codecs. The earphones have 10mm dynamic drivers, and apart from ANC and app support, there is also Google Fast Pair and USB Type-C fast charging. The earphones are IPX5 rated for water resistance, and can therefore handle a few splashes of water or wet weather.

Battery life on the Realme Buds Q2 is decent enough. The earpieces ran for around 4 hours, 15 minutes on a single charge with active noise cancellation enabled and the volume set at around the 70-80 percent mark when used with an iPhone. The charging case added three additional charges for a total battery life of around 17 hours in total. It should be possible to get a bit more out of the battery with ANC off, and with fast charging for the earphones and case, Realme promises three hours of listening after 10 minutes of charging.

Performance is very good for the price with the Realme Buds Q2

While Realme’s audio product range is usually feature-filled, sound quality and overall performance have been hit-or-miss with past products. However, with the Buds Q2, Realme has a very good pair of earphones on its hands. Sound quality and ANC performance are surprisingly good for the price of Rs. 2,499, and it’s hard to find a more well-rounded product with this feature set and performance level for less than Rs. 3,000 right now.

Support for the SBC and AAC codecs meant that I didn’t hear any difference in sound quality between iOS and Android devices, and the earphones were geared to perform well with streaming music. Connectivity was fast and stable on my primary source device, an iPhone 12 mini (Review), with Apple Music, Spotify, and YouTube Music providing the audio content for this review.

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The pebble-shaped charging case of the Realme Buds Q2 isn’t very big, but offers three additional charges for the earpieces


Despite its size, price, and specification set, the Realme Buds Q2 gets the sonic signature right, and the sound quality is just about on par with other true wireless headsets in this budget segment. There’s nothing particularly special about the sound, but it is clean and reasonably detailed, with a sonic signature that brings out the best in popular genres. The bass isn’t quite as punchy or driven as on some of Realme’s other wireless headsets, but it’s about as good as you can hope for at this price.

Listening to Hold On (Sub Focus Remix) by Rusko and Amber Coffman, the Realme Buds Q2 were loud, with a gentle, occasionally strong bass attack that brought out plenty of enjoyment in this electronic-dubstep track. That said, the soundstage did feel a bit narrow and focused on the lows, while the mid-range and highs tended to taper off a bit without any real feel. The sound felt a bit closed and contained; this isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you’re trying to focus on whatever you’re listening to, but it did take a bit away from the level of detail.

The Realme Buds Q2 are loud, and were able to keep up with this fast-paced, busy track without much trouble. Switching to The Girl From Back Then by Norwegian folk duo Kings of Convenience, the immersive nature of the sound and the ability to cut out much of the background noise through an effective combination of passive isolation and ANC made for an enjoyable listen. Erlend Oye’s soothing voice and the gentle tapping of the percussion instruments sounded calm and cohesive, completely unlike on any other true wireless headset at this price.

As is the case with most budget true wireless earphones with ANC, the Realme Buds Q2 don’t offer quite as impressive a level of noise reduction as more expensive options. However, the reduction in background noise was noticeable and immensely helpful in making for easy listening, be it with music or voice-based sound such as audiobooks and phone calls. The aforementioned loudness also helped; I was able to comfortably listen to most content at around the 60 percent volume level. However, increasing the volume to anything over the 80 percent mark made for some loss in detail and shrillness in the highs.

Connectivity between my smartphone and the Realme Buds Q2 was stable, and the headset was decent enough for calls with both ends sounding clear. The low-latency mode did improve response a bit with mobile games at a slight cost to sound quality, but not significantly enough to really justify using these earphones for competitive multiplayer games where even the slightest delay can hurt your chances.


Brands have been pushing the boundaries of what is possible on a budget with true wireless earphones, and the Realme Buds Q2 is impressive in that it offers active noise cancellation, touch controls, app support, good battery life, and decent sound, all for just Rs. 2,499. This is, in my opinion, the best value-for-money general-purpose true wireless headset you can buy right now.

This price segment for true wireless earphones is exciting, with plenty of options that cover specific requirements and use cases. While the Realme Buds Q2 is an excellent pair of true wireless earphones, you might also want to consider options such as the OnePlus Buds Z for its better sound quality, or the Nokia Power Earbuds Lite for its better battery life and IPX7 water resistance. However, if active noise cancellation is important to you, there’s nothing better than the Buds Q2 for less than Rs. 3,000.

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Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) Review: The Screen That Follows You

Amazon’s Echo range of smart speakers is popular for its simplicity, ease of setup and use, and of course, the ability to access information and audio-based content through voice commands. However, in my opinion, the Echo Show range is far more impressive, and deserves a lot more attention for adding visual cues and display-based capabilities to the range. While there have been a few Echo Show products already, the latest is the company’s most expensive and technologically impressive one yet.

Priced at Rs. 24,999, the Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) is now the biggest model in the product family . Like the rest of the range, the Echo Show 10 is a smart display and smart speaker in one, with a 10.1-inch screen and a three-driver speaker system on the base. However, the device has a unique party trick – its screen rotates mechanically to face you, letting you clearly see what’s being displayed from anywhere in the device’s peripheral range of vision.

While this might sound impressive, how does it fare in practice? I’ve put the Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) through several tests to see just how well this unique smart device works, and here’s my review.

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You can use the browser to access websites on the Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen)


Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) design and specifications

While earlier Echo Show devices have been single-piece units with a screen at the front and a speaker system at the back, the Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) changes things around quite radically. This device is essentially two separate parts; the speaker system and other hardware is in the base unit, while the 10.1-inch 1280×800-pixel screen is fixed to the top of it. This gives the impression of them being two separate units, despite being firmly attached together.

The screen can be manually tilted upwards or downwards for easier viewing and camera orientation, depending on the height at which the Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) is placed. The bottom of the base unit is motorised, allowing it to rotate in a full circle to face in any direction. The power socket for the included adapter is at the bottom of the device, with a small gap for the cable to pass through, which leaves the rotating mechanism unhindered.

There’s no power switch; when plugged in, the Echo Show 10 is always on. This is a large smart display and speaker meant for use at home, and therefore needs to be plugged into a wall power outlet at all times – there’s no battery.

Although the Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) can rotate 360 degrees to face any direction, you’ll have to ensure that it’s placed with enough clearance to move around unhindered, such as on a coffee table or kitchen counter. Naturally, it won’t be able to do a full circle in some positions, such as against a wall or with objects placed right next to it.

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There are buttons for volume and disabling the microphones, along with a slider to physically cover the 13-megapixel camera


It’s possible to adjust the range of motion so the speaker knows when to stop turning; this can be done through the motion settings, and is easy enough to configure. You can also set an idle position, which is the default direction that the Echo Show 10 will face when in standby. It’s also worth pointing out that motion and tracking relies on good light, so the rotation mechanism is disabled in dark or poorly lit rooms.

The Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) has two 1-inch tweeters and a single 3-inch woofer for sound, all built into its fabric-wrapped base. The 10.1-inch touch screen has wide borders all around, with the 13-megapixel camera in the top-right corner just above the screen. There are buttons at the top to adjust the volume and mute the far-field microphones, along with a sliding shutter that physically blocks the camera for privacy as needed. This isn’t a very high-resolution screen, but it’s sharp and clean enough for basic viewing, and serves the purpose of showing Alexa’s visual cues well enough.

Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) features and app

The brain of the Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) is Alexa, Amazon’s constantly evolving voice assistant. While voice commands and responses are the key feature of Alexa, the screen on the Echo Show 10 provides visual prompts, hints, and some basic video content to support interactions. You’ll see album art and track details, weather reports with icons and data, images and text related to searches, and more. You can also use voice commands to play video content from YouTube (which plays through the built-in browser) or Amazon Prime Video.

You can independently visit websites through the browser, or even access Netflix natively on the device. The Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) is a capable smart display, providing more visual content than competing devices from other brands. Alexa’s ever-improving skills and capabilities as well as language capabilities now comprehensively extend to Hindi language commands in addition to English.

The camera also means that the Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) is a capable device for video calls, using Alexa’s native video chat feature to let you communicate with family and friends who are logged in to the Alexa app on their smartphones or have Echo devices with video chat capabilities.

Additionally, you can also ‘drop in’ to your own home from anywhere through the Alexa app logged in to your account on your smartphone; this worked well to quickly talk to family members at home or even monitor the house remotely. Other communication features such as announcements and voice calls are also available, and you can set the screen to serve as a digital photo frame for your pictures as well.

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The speaker and other hardware are built into the base unit of the Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen), while the screen is a separate but attached component


Like before, you can stream music through linked services such as Amazon Music, Spotify, Apple Music, and JioSaavn; control linked smart appliances such as light bulbs, air purifiers, and cleaning robots; fetch information from the Web; use household tools such as timers, recipes, and shopping lists; and activate various skills that allow Alexa to interact with content and brands.

Alexa itself is now able to understand more voice commands and work more skills than before, and generally offers an increasingly smooth experience. All of the Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen)’s features, including remote monitoring, communications, and basic settings, can be controlled through the Alexa app for iOS and Android. The app also allows for the configuration of smart home appliances and other Echo and Fire TV products, as well as letting the Echo Show 10 seamlessly integrate with your existing smart home setup.

All of this is suitably supported by the screen motion features; the device rotates to face you based on where your voice commands come from, and was also able to follow my gaze fairly accurately when I was watching video content or on video calls. While you might consider this signature feature of the Echo Show 10 to be unnecessary and gimmicky, I found it to work quite well and made using the screen of the device much more convenient. This is a unique feature as far as smart devices go, and definitely made for an interesting user experience.

Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) audio performance

The smart features and display-based capabilities of the Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) are impressive, but this device is a smart speaker at its core. Even so, sound quality on the speaker isn’t quite as impressive as the price might suggest. That’s not to say the Echo Show 10 sounds bad; it’s reasonably good considering its size and form factor, but doesn’t quite match up to our current top pick, the Rs. 7,999 Google Nest Audio.

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Netflix integration allows you to watch movies and TV shows from the popular streaming service on the Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen)


Much of this has to do with the fact that the screen and the unique rotating mechanism are the centrepieces of the Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen). Although powered by three drivers – two tweeters and a woofer – the screen itself seemed to block and muffle sound a bit, making for a somewhat odd listening experience even at moderate volumes. At high volumes, I found the sound just a bit shrill and unpleasant, while it was decent at low volumes when within five feet of the speaker. Over longer distances, such as across a room or even off to the sides of the speaker, the sound was a bit awkward.

While the soft and pleasant tunes of children’s music – particularly tracks by kids’ artist Blippi – did sound decent, the electronic jazz track Forces… Darling by Koop felt a bit dull when far away from the speaker, with the quick beats sounding a bit muffled. The price and specifications might suggest that this is a capable smart speaker in terms of sound quality, but it is best used in small spaces for a single listener, rather than considered a capable option for a large space.

I found that creating a bit of space all around the speaker did improve the sound a bit by allowing it more room to breathe, per se, but placement for such a large device is a tricky thing and you might not have that luxury in certain situations. Users looking for better sound quality will be better served by the Google Nest Audio or Amazon Echo Studio; sound quality is definitely not the Echo Show 10’s strong point.


The idea of a combined smart display and speaker isn’t new, but the Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) pushes the boundaries of what you can expect from this segment, albeit at a premium price. Its ability to turn to face you, follow you around, and ensure that you have a clear view of the screen from practically anywhere in its field of vision makes using it a unique experience. Although a bit gimmicky, the feature lends itself well to the visual experience, and is a pretty good look into the future of smart displays.

However, at Rs. 24,999, this is an expensive device, and seems particularly so when you consider that sound quality is below average and bested by more affordable options. If those are key considerations, you might want to consider the Google Nest Audio instead, as it offers the full smart experience (minus the display, of course). The Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) is worth considering for its excellent display-based features, the continuously-improving Alexa voice assistant, and the futuristic experience of having the screen follow your gaze.

Interested in cryptocurrency? We discuss all things crypto with WazirX CEO Nischal Shetty and WeekendInvesting founder Alok Jain on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

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Loki Episode 4 Recap: Chaos at the Time Variance Authority

Loki episode 4 — out now on Disney+ and Disney+ Hotstar — just turned the new Marvel series on its head. Keep reading for our recap, unless you’re worried about spoilers. Sylvie’s (Sophia Di Martino) reveal, from Loki episode 3, that those who work for the Time Variance Authority are time variants like Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and herself, was at the heart of everything. It sparked realisations, revelations, and rebellions at the TVA — first with Hunter B-15 (Wunmi Mosaku) and then Mobius (Owen Wilson). It also led to the truth about the all-powerful Time Keepers, and a further mystery about the real authority behind the TVA. And it told us that there lies a land beyond death in the TVA — or pruning, as it’s called — though you might have missed that if you didn’t stick around for the Loki episode 4 mid-credits scene.

At the same time, it undercut the Loki episode 4 ending, as this Loki variant isn’t gone for good, but just somewhere else. Additionally, it also undermines the emotional wallop of seeing Mobius being pruned earlier in Loki episode 4. If there is a place beyond, then this Mobius variant too is with other Mobius variants. And because Loki needs Hiddleston around and will find a way for him to return, Mobius can be brought back as well.

Loki episode 4 — titled “The Nexus Event”, directed by Kate Herron, and written by Eric Martin — opens in Asgard where a young Sylvie (Cailey Fleming) is arrested for crimes against the sacred timeline. How can an innocent kid playing by herself disrupt the timeline? It’s a great way to get the Loki audience on Sylvie’s side, showcasing how brutally the TVA operates. But at the TVA, just as she’s brought in front of a judge, the young Sylvie escapes from Ravonna Renslayer (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) who was still a Hunter at this point. Sylvie has been running ever since, it seems, and this Loki episode 4 open sets up why Sylvie hates the TVA so much. Her whole life was ruined. Back in present day, the older Ravonna, reflecting on those days, goes to see the Time Keepers.

After she comes out of the golden elevator, Ravonna is accosted by Mobius in Loki episode 4, as he wants to know what happened to Hunter C-20 (Sasha Lane) who was captured by Sylvie earlier. Ravonna, who is clearly hiding something, tells Mobius that C-20 went cuckoo and is now dead. But now that we know that she was a regular person on Earth, it’s obvious that there’s more it than Ravonna is letting on. Add to that the fact that Ravonna asks Mobius to keep this between themselves.

Loki Tamil, Telugu Dubs Premiere June 30 on Disney+ Hotstar VIP

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Owen Wilson as Mobius, Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Ravonna in Loki episode 4
Photo Credit: Chuck Zlotnick/Marvel Studios

Back to Lamentis-1 where Loki episode 3 left off, as Sylvie and Loki accept imminent death. Sylvie tells Loki about her past that we just saw: she’s been running all her life because she wasn’t supposed to exist. At the TVA meanwhile, Hunter B-15 and Mobius are tracking any stirrings on the timeline. B-15, who seems a little off — Sylvie took over her for a bit in Loki episode 2 — asks Mobius about C-20, but he says he doesn’t know anything. Back on Lamentis-1, Sylvie wonders if their ability to lose over and over is what makes them “Loki”. In a bid to be optimistic as they go out, Loki posits that they survive no matter what. That’s what makes them “Loki”. There’s a moment of real connection, which causes a disruption in the timeline, and helps TVA to nab them (and save them from Lamentis-1).

Thrown into two different time theatres, Loki episode 4 briefly finds itself in a similar situation as with the first two episodes of the Marvel series. Mobius is upset that Loki betrayed him, and just before he’s thrown into a Time Cell, Loki tells Mobius that the TVA is lying to him. Of course, Mobius is not keen to believe Loki, given his betrayals. Inside the Time Cell, Loki is confronted by an angry Lady Sif (Jaimie Alexander) — for cutting her hair, it seems. She calls him a “conniving, craven, pathetic worm”, slaps him in the face, hits him in the groin, punches him, and then walks away. Loki wonders if he’s stuck in bad memory prison, but it turns out to be Sif in a time loop. She comes in, and no matter what Loki tries, he ends up being slapped, hit, and punch regardless.

Elsewhere on Loki episode 4, Mobius has gone to Ravonna because he wants to speak with Sylvie too. He thinks he can figure out what caused the nexus event back on Lamentis-1 faster if he speaks with both Loki variants. But Ravonna won’t let him do that. Mobius meets B-15 outside, and after failing to get into Sylvie’s time theatre, he tells her that Loki said the TVA is lying to them. That further sparks something in B-15 who’s clearly begun doubting things around her.

After Loki makes good with Sif in the Time Cell, Mobius enters and brings Loki back out. Loki has no interest in talking to Mobius about what he’s up to, but his tune changes after Mobius threatens to throw him back in (time) prison. Loki claims to be the mastermind all along and that Sylvie is just a pawn. Mobius has tricks of his own too though, and says Sylvie has been pruned. This stirs something in Loki even as he says “good riddance”. Mobius chuckles, realising that Loki has fallen for himself: a sick, twisted romantic interest. It’s kind of perfect that a narcissist would fall for his kind. Loki has been trying to get to the truth about TVA though all along — and finally, he just blurts it out.

Sidebar: this feels like it’s setting up a multiverse. After all, how will Mobius, B-15 and all the Hunters and analysts react once they find out that the sacred timeline they protect comes at a huge cost to their own (past) lives? If the TVA’s dedicated workforce really are time variants, then it seems Loki should end with the end of TVA. In turn, that will lead to multiple timelines. This should all lead very nicely into next year’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

Loki Episode 3 Recap: Marvel Goes Mandalorian on Lamentis-1

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Wunmi Mosaku as Hunter B-15 in Loki episode 4
Photo Credit: Disney/Marvel Studios

As Loki episode 4 progresses, it appears to be kick starting that. B-15 finally takes a leap of faith with Sylvie. Returning back to the Roxxcart apocalypse, B-15 wonders about what Sylvie showed her earlier. They were your memories. B-15 thinks she’s lying — why wouldn’t you? — but Sylvie admits she can’t create memories, she can only use what’s already there. B-15 then asks Sylvie to do it again. “I looked happy,” B-15 says as she comes out of the enchantment. “What now?”, she asks. They are clearly going to upset things at the TVA.

Meanwhile on Loki episode 4, Mobius and Ravonna are celebrating with a drink what with Loki’s case being closed. But Mobius too has been stirred after Loki’s repeated prods about the TVA lying to them. He questions Ravonna again about C-20 and Loki, but Ravonna doesn’t give him a straight answer. She says she was just trying to protect Mobius, emphasises the “uncommon friendship” they share, and then goes on about the important work they do at the TVA. Mobius, who has had experience with lying Lokis, catches onto Ravonna it seems. He switches the TemPads and then makes an excuse to get away.

Using Ravonna’s TemPad, Mobius discovers what C-20 said in her interrogation — the same thing that Loki said to his face, that everyone at the TVA has had a past life. Convinced that the TVA is lying to him, Mobius goes into the Time Cell to team up with Loki, but as they come out, they are confronted by Ravonna (and a bunch of Hunters) who figured out that Mobius switched TemPads. She orders Mobius to be pruned — oh my — and Loki is taken away. Ravonna rounds up a drenched Sylvie too before taking them both to see the Time Keepers. In the elevator, Sylvie asks Ravonna what her nexus event was as a child. Ravonna says she doesn’t remember, which has got to hurt. Imagine losing your whole life for something the TVA can’t even recall.

And for the first time in the series’ history, Loki episode 4 finally gives us a look at the three space lizards — sorry, Time Keepers. Before they are pruned, the Time Keepers want to know what Loki and Sylvie have to say for themselves. Loki is tired of being killed over and over, so he just wants them to be done with it. “Do your worst,” he adds. Sylvie, on the other hand, calls them scared. “You’re a cosmic disappointment,” one of the Time Keepers retorts. Just then, B-15 enters via the elevator and throws Sylvie a sword. Multiple fights begin while the Time Keepers just watch, before Loki and Sylvie emerge victorious. Sylvie then decapitates one of the Time Keepers, who turn out to be “mindless androids”.

Loki Episode 2 Recap: Say Hello to the Other Loki

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Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Sophia Di Martino as Sylvie with Time Keepers in Loki episode 4
Photo Credit: Disney/Marvel Studios

Sylvie is disappointed that her entire life has come to this worthless moment. Loki, realising what Mobius said to him earlier about how their shared connection caused a nexus event on Lamentis-1, tries to confess his love for Sylvie. But right before he can finish his point, he gets pruned by Ravonna. Sylvie immediately turns the glowstick on Ravonna, who’s happy to die for the cause, but she has another idea. “No, you’re gonna tell me everything,” Sylvie adds as Loki episode 4 cuts to credits.

But that’s not technically the end of Loki episode 4. Deep into the credits after the Loki title card drops, we cut to Loki lying on the ground somewhere. Loki naturally wonders if he’s dead and in hell, but he’s then told by an older Loki (Richard E. Grant) — who’s standing next to a kid Loki (Jack Veal) and a black Loki (DeObia Oparei) — that he will be, unless he comes with them.

Loki episode 4 is now streaming on Disney+ and Disney+ Hotstar. New episodes release every Wednesday around 12:30pm IST/ 12am PT.

Is Mi 11X the best phone under Rs. 35,000? We discussed this on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Later (starting at 23:50), we jump over to the Marvel series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

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Insta360 Go 2 Review: Small Wonder

If you’re familiar with the action camera market, then you’ve most likely heard of Insta360, a popular maker of action and 360-degree cameras. Although not as well-known as GoPro in India, the company hopes to change this now that it has an official presence in the country. Today we’ll be testing the Insta360 Go 2, which is the second-generation model of the company’s smallest action camera.

The size reminds me a lot of the now-discontinued GoPro Hero Session series of tiny action cameras. However, the Go 2 has some unique abilities which makes it rather special. It claims to be the world’s smallest action camera, and it doesn’t come cheap. At Rs. 34,999 in India, it costs more than a GoPro Hero8 Black, and almost as much as a Hero9 Black. Is it a worthy alternative? Let’s find out.

Insta360 Go 2 design

The Insta360 Go 2 has a tiny, pill-shaped body about the size of an AA battery. It’s only available in white, which in my opinion, is not a great choice considering its intended use. It weighs just 26.5g and the plastic body feels sturdy. There’s a single LED indicator just below the lens, and there are contact pins at the back for charging, when you dock it in the case. The front panel, just below the LED, acts as a button for starting and stopping recording. I’m not a big fan of how this works, but we’ll get to that later. The lens cover is easily replaceable, in case your existing one gets scratched or cracked during usage.

insta360 go2 review design ddd

The Insta360 Go 2 is super tiny and comes with a highly functional charging case


The charging case for the Insta360 Go 2 is just as important as the camera itself. For starters, it’s the only way to charge the camera. The case resembles an AirPods Pro charging case and features a USB Type-C port, a standard tripod mount, and two collapsable feet that let you prop it up vertically for shooting. Inside, there’s a cavity in the top half for the camera while the bottom half has a backlit monochrome display and two recessed buttons.

The display lets you cycle between the various shooting modes, shows you the battery status of the case and the camera. The case even has Bluetooth so it can be used to remotely control the camera. The build quality of the case is very good, including the hinge, but once again I wish the colour had been anything but white.

You get a bunch of nifty accessories in the box. The magnetic pendant accessory is meant to be worn as, well, a pendant, and the camera can be mounted directly on it. There’s a clip mount that can be attached to a bandana or a cap, and a pivot stand that can be mounted on metal surfaces using magnets. Insta360 also sells a mount adapter bundle which includes a mount for GoPro accessories.

insta360 go2 review mounts ee

Unlike a GoPro, the Insta360 Go 2 comes bundled with some useful mounts in the box


Insta360 Go 2 features and app

The Insta360 Go 2 boasts of modest video recording capabilities. The 1/2.3-inch sensor can shoot at up to 1440p (2560×1440) at 50fps, which is not bad, but I would have liked the option of recording 4K video, especially considering that the GoPro Hero5 Session supported it back in 2016. The supported video modes are also basic. You get Standard, ProVideo, HDR, Timelapse, TimeShift, and Slow Motion. The same goes for photo modes, which include Standard, Interval, Starlapse, and Night Shot. Oddly, photos can either be saved as INSP or DNG, but not JPEG. You’ll need to export captured photos using the camera’s mobile or desktop apps for sharing.

The Insta360 Go 2 supports Bluetooth 5 and Wi-Fi. Unlike a GoPro camera, you get 32GB of built-in memory which is nice, but it isn’t a lot and there’s no microSD card slot so there’s no room for expansion. The Go 2 is also IPX8 waterproof for use up to 4m underwater. However, it’s only the camera that’s waterproof and not the case.

insta360 go2 review app ff

The Insta360 app has a nice design and offers lots of options to tweak your photos and videos before exporting


The Insta360 Go 2 has a feature called FlowState stabilisation (similar to GoPro’s HyperSmooth) which is available in ProVideo and Time Shift modes. You also have different field of view options such as Ultrawide, ActionView, Linear, and Narrow. These options can be manipulated even after the video is shot, via the app, which is something you can’t do with a GoPro.

The Insta360 app for iOS and Android lets you remotely control the camera, update its firmware, and offload videos and photos from it to your phone. It even lets you perform a fair bit of editing on videos and photos before you export them.

Insta360 Go 2 performance and battery life

One of the main reasons to consider the Insta360 Go 2 over a GoPro is the versatility and flexibility it offers when it comes to mounting. The camera itself has a magnetic back so you can directly stick it onto any metal surface without worrying about mounts. Having said that, the magnets in the camera should have been stronger as it can easily fall off a surface if there’s strong vibration or any intense activity (which, for an action cam, should be expected). Still, the included accessories were more than sufficient for my use cases. The charging case can be used to remotely wake the camera and begin recording, which I found super handy at times when I didn’t have my phone with me.

insta360 go2 review mount aywhere eee

The small size and magnetic back of the Insta360 Go 2 allows it to be placed anywhere, with ease


Video recorded in daylight was pretty good. I usually stuck to ProVideo mode since it offered the best stabilisation and features such as Horizon Levelling. The video quality was comparable to that of a GoPro Hero8 Black, however during intense activity such as running, Insta360’s FlowState stabilisation was unable to keep up with GoPro’s HyperSmooth stabilisation. Timelapse videos can be shot at 1440p too, and the quality was very nice. HDR videos didn’t seem to offer any perceptible advantage over standard videos, so I didn’t use this option too much. Slow Motion videos looked good too, but these are limited to 1080p at 120fps.

Still photos can look great depending on how you process them. The app offers two useful post-processing presets called PureShot and Color Plus. The former is handy if you want to instantly lift shadows for better visibility, but it also tends to blow out some of the highlights. Color Plus produces more dramatic-looking shots by bumping up the contrast and highlights. Videos and photos shot at night looked grainy and details were weak. I noticed that applying the Pure Shot filter on standard low-light photos produced a cleaner image than using Night Shot. When exporting video, there’s a ‘remove grain’ option, which helps clean up noise, but exporting takes longer.

Insta360 Go 2 photo sample with Color Plus filter (tap to see full size)

Insta360 Go 2 low-light photo sample with Night Shot mode (tap to see full size)


The battery life of the Insta360 Go 2 leaves a lot to be desired. While the stats show an improvement over the first model, the Go 2 can still only record video for up to 30 minutes at 1440p in Standard mode before the battery gives out. In fact, in my experience it usually lasted less than 30 minutes since it stops recording the moment the battery level drops to 10 percent. You won’t even be able to shoot stills when the battery indicator is in the red, forcing you to recharge the camera. When shooting 1440p video in ProVideo mode, the clip length is limited to 10 minutes, and each one will knock a good 30 percent off the battery level. The case should be able to top up the camera twice over, provided you haven’t been using it as a remote control.

As much as I love the size of the Insta360 Go 2 and its versatility, there are a bunch of things I wish the company had done differently in order to make the experience better. Starting with the camera, it should have had a normal record button rather than a part of the entire frame acting as one, as it would have prevented the numerous accidental presses I had to deal with. Next is the LED indicator, which for some bizarre reason, glows white when the camera recording, which against a white body, can be hard to see during the day. It glows red when the battery is low, so why not use this universally accepted colour for recording?

The camera also gets very hot after a few minutes of shooting. This to some extent is normal for most action cameras, however with the Go 2, it led to the camera randomly crashing and corrupting the recorded file a few times in my experience. This makes it a bit unreliable if the weather isn’t very favourable. I also found the shooting modes a bit too basic for 2021 – even things like a burst mode for photos are missing.

insta360 go2 review style cat mm

The Insta360 Go 2 is incredibly fun to use, but it’s not without its share of issues


The charging case, as handy as it is, could use a few design tweaks too. It ideally should have had some degree of water and dust proofing too, as the lack of this currently limits where you can use it, like at the beach or in a pool. Due to the weak battery life of the camera, you’ll need the case around you wherever you go, so weatherproofing would have been nice. I wish the upper half of the case could swivel 180 degrees, which would have made it easier to shoot and keep an eye on the display at the same time. It’s also a bit finicky when it comes to charging – it did not charge when connected directly to a Macbook Air (M1) with a Type-C to Type-C cable, or when connected to any high-wattage USB Type-C PD charger. Insta360 recommends using a USB Type-A- to Type-C cable, like the one bundled, and a 10W power adapter to charge the case.


The concept of the Insta360 Go 2 has a lot of potential, but the execution needs a lot more polish. There’s definitely a place in the market for such miniature action cameras, and the potential for creativity with such a tool is virtually limitless. However, in order for such cameras to thrive in the market, especially like India, the pricing needs to be more appealing. Rs. 34,999 is simply too expensive for what the Insta360 Go 2 offers, and even though you can find it for a bit less online, it still costs more than a GoPro Hero8 Black.

Pricing aside, there’s a big list of changes I hope to see in the next version of this camera. I would like some sort of a display on the camera itself to show what mode I’m in, and a more functional shutter button and status indicator. Next, I’ll happily take removable storage over the built-in 32GB, if this would mean a lower price. Finally, I would like longer recording durations, a 4K option, better battery life, and a weatherproof case.

Overall, the Insta360 Go 2 is a fun little action camera that offers plenty of mounting flexibility, decent video performance, and useful accessories in the box. However, if your use cases won’t take advantage of its miniature size, then you’re better off buying a GoPro Hero8 Black for less, or even the Hero9 Black, as they are more feature-rich and reliable.

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Samsung Galaxy M32 Review: Only for Binge Watchers?

The Galaxy M32 is the latest smartphone in the Galaxy M series, and it is priced starting under Rs. 15,000. Given how crucial the sub-Rs. 15,000 segment is for smartphone makers, the Galaxy M32 naturally has a lot of competition to deal with. Samsung has mainly focused on the display and the battery with this new smartphone, as you can see from its 90Hz Super AMOLED display and a 6,000 mAh battery. Is that enough to help it get a spot at the top of your wishlist, or does it fall short? I’ve tested the Galaxy M32 and here is my review.

Samsung Galaxy M32 price In India

The Galaxy M32 starts at Rs. 14,999 in India for the base variant which has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. The higher variant offers 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage for Rs 16,999. There are two colour options on offer, Light Blue and Black. I had the base variant of the Galaxy M32 in Light Blue for this review.

Samsung Galaxy M32 design

The Samsung Galaxy M32 sports a 6.4-inch AMOLED display with a dewdrop notch at the top. It has thin bezels at the sides and the top but the bottom chin is thicker. The frame and the back are made out of plastic. Samsung has curved the frame on all sides which makes this phone comfortable to hold and use.

Samsung has opted for a side-mounted fingerprint scanner which sits on the right side of the frame. This is now a common feature on smartphones at this price point. The fingerprint scanner on the side is slightly higher than where I would’ve liked it but it’s still reachable. The result of such placement is that the volume buttons are pushed further up and you’ll need to stretch your thumb to reach them.

Samsung Galaxy M32 back gadgets360 Samsung Galaxy M32 Review

The Galaxy M32 does not have a camera bump


On the left side of the frame is the Galaxy M32’s SIM tray, which has two Nano-SIM slots and a dedicated slot for storage expansion. You do get a 3.5mm headphone jack on the Galaxy M32, at the bottom along with the USB Type-C port and the bottom-firing speaker.

The back panel is glossy and picks up fingerprints rather easily. I had to keep wiping the smartphone to keep smudges off it. In the top left corner is the quad-camera module that sits nearly flush with the back of the smartphone. The Galaxy M32 measures about 9.3mm in thickness and weighs 196g which is noticeable while holding it. The weight and bulk are largely attributable to the big 6,000mAh battery it packs in. The Galaxy M32 is capable of 25W fast charging but sadly only comes with a 15W charger in the box.

Samsung Galaxy M32 specifications

The Galaxy M32 is powered by the MediaTek Helio G80 processor and has either 4GB or 6GB of RAM depending on the variant you pick. You get 64GB of internal storage with the base variant while the higher one offers 128GB of storage. You do have the option to expand storage using the dedicated microSD card slot. The 6.4-inch Super AMOLED display sports a full-HD+ resolution and has a 90Hz refresh rate, which even the more expensive Galaxy M42 (Review) lacks. The display is crisp and has good viewing angles. Samsung claims a peak brightness of 800nits in high brightness mode.

This phone supports Bluetooth 5, dual-band WiFi, and 4G VoLTE but lacks NFC. It has four satellite navigation systems on board, and also has support for Samsung Pay Mini.

Samsung Galaxy M32 dewdrop gadgets360 Samsung Galaxy M32 Review

The Galaxy M32 has a dewdrop notch with a 20-megapixel selfie camera


Samsung ships its latest One UI 3.1 on top of Android 11. My review unit had the May Android security patch. If you have used a Samsung smartphone, the user experience is quite familiar and you shouldn’t face issues navigating around. However, the phone does come with a number of preinstalled apps. During setup it also recommends installing more apps and this step wasn’t easy to skip. Many of these apps can be uninstalled right away to reduce clutter on the device. I did get push notifications from some of them, which was annoying.

Samsung also offers its Alt Z feature which lets you create a separate secure folder. This way you can secure photos and apps, and then later access them by double-pressing the power button. The Galaxy M32 also has a Game Launcher which lets you game without any disturbances and can block incoming notifications and gestures as well. The game launcher also gives you the option to club installed games in the same folder.

Samsung Galaxy M32 performance and battery life

The Samsung Galaxy M32’s screen has a 90Hz refresh rate which helps the interface look smooth and fluid most of the time. I did still notice some stutter when using the phone and it also took slightly longer than expected to load apps and multitask. The Galaxy M32 did receive a software update during the review period which reduced this stuttering, but loading times didn’t change. If you multitask quite often, the 4GB RAM variant might not be the ideal pick for you. The side-mounted fingerprint scanner was quick to unlock the smartphone. I found the display to be bright enough outdoors and the AMOLED display was crisp enough to enjoy watching content on,

I could play casual games on the Galaxy M32 without any issues. The processor didn’t feel stressed and I did not notice any lag or stutter. I did also try Call of Duty: Mobile on the Galaxy M32, and it ran at the Low preset for graphics while the frame rate was set to Medium. The game was playable at these settings without any issues. The Galaxy M32 did not get warm after playing the game for 20 minutes, and it registered a 4 percent drop in battery life.

The Galaxy M32 did not set benchmarks on fire, and its scores were modest compared to other phones at this price level. In AnTuTu, the Galaxy M32 managed to score 160,106 points, and it scored 6,595 in PCMark Work 3.0. The Redmi Note 10S, on the other hand, managed to score 330,650 and 8,242 in these tests respectively.

Samsung Galaxy M32 camera module gadgets360 Samsung Galaxy M32 Review

The Galaxy M32 has a quad-camera setup


The Galaxy M32 also managed to score 39fps and 8.1fps in GFXBench’s T-Rex and Car Chase benchmarks respectively. The relatively old Realme 7 (Review), which also competes with the Galaxy M32, scored 44fps and 17fps respectively. The Galaxy M32 clearly isn’t the most powerful smartphone in its segment, and those looking for performance may have to look elsewhere.

The big 6,000mAh battery that Samsung has crammed into the Galaxy M32 delivers a very good battery life. It went on for over a day and a half without any issues, even though the display refresh rate was set at 90Hz all the time. In our HD video loop test, the phone managed to score 20 hours and 56 minutes which is very good. Charging speed leaves a lot to be desired though. While the Galaxy M32 supports 25W fast charging, Samsung has only given it a 15W charger in the box.. Using this bundled charger, the big battery only got to 22 percent in 30 minutes and 44 percent in an hour. Charging the phone completely took over two hours. You can leave it for charging overnight, but if you want to top up quickly, you will need to spend extra on a faster 25W charger.

Samsung Galaxy M32 cameras

The Galaxy M32 is equipped with a quad-camera setup consisting of a 64-megapixel primary camera, an 8-megapixel ultra-wide angle camera, a 2-megapixel macro camera, and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. The 64-megapixel camera uses pixel binning to deliver 16-megapixel shots by default. For selfies, it has a 20-megapixel sensor in the dew-drop notch. The camera app is what we are used to seeing on other Samsung devices. It has scene recognition that’s enabled by default, and it is quick to detect scenes.

Daylight photos taken with the Galaxy M32 turned out well but did not have the best dynamic range. The scene detection is quick to set the phone up and colours are slightly boosted in the output. You do have the option to disable it before taking the shot. Details were strictly average and text at a distance wasn’t legible. The ultra-wide angle camera offered a wider field of view and managed to keep distortion under check. However, details aren’t the best which is evident on zooming in.

Samsung Galaxy M32 daytime camera sample (tap to see full size)

Samsung Galaxy M32 ultra-wide angle camera sample (tap to see full size)


The Galaxy M32 does close-ups very well and manages a soft depth between the subject and the background. Subjects were sharp and the colours were fairly accurate. Portrait shots had good edge detection and the Galaxy M32 does let you select the level of blur before taking the shot. Macro shots were decent but I had to try different angles to avoid blocking light while holding the phone too close to the subject. The output is limited to 2 megapixels in resolution.

Samsung Galaxy M32 close-up camera sample (tap to see full size)

Samsung Galaxy M32 portrait camera sample (tap to see full size)


In low-light, the scene detection was quick to change settings and the Galaxy M32 used a slightly longer exposure to take each shot. The phone managed to keep noise under control but fine grain was visible in the output. You do get a dedicated Night mode, in which it takes about 5 seconds to capture a shot. The phone also crops into the frame slightly to minimise shakes while shooting. The resulting images have slightly better details in the shadows, but there isn’t a huge improvement.

Samsung Galaxy M32 low-light camera sample (tap to see full size)

Samsung Galaxy M32 Night mode camera sample (tap to see full size)


Selfies were decent, with good details. Portrait selfies were also good and the phone managed good edge detection. Even after dark with a light source nearby, the Galaxy M32 managed good selfies. Samsung has beautification on by default, which smoothens the output, but you can disable it.

Samsung Galaxy M32 portrait selfie camera sample (tap to see full size)

Samsung Galaxy M32 low-light portrait camera sample (tap to see full size)


Video recording tops out at 1080p for both the primary as well as the selfie camera. Footage shot in daylight did have shakes, and the phone failed to stabilise shots completely. Low-light footage also had visible shakes if recorded while walking around. Video recording isn’t one of the strong suits of the Galaxy M32.


Samsung claims that the Galaxy M32 is for binge watchers, and its crisp AMOLED display and the big 6,000mAh battery do make this possible to quite an extent. You can watch content on it for long durations without needing to recharge it. If you aren’t a heavy user, the Galaxy M32 might not give you any reason to complain other than its disappointing low-light camera performance.

However, if you are a heavy user, you’ll find that the Galaxy M32 doesn’t deliver the same level of performance as the competition. It isn’t the most powerful device under Rs 15,000, and the relatively slow charging speed for its huge battery might be a concern. A lot of people would be better off with the Redmi Note 10S (Review) or the Realme 7 (Review) instead. Many manufacturers are also now pushing 5G as a feature at this price level, so if you want a future-ready phone, this one won’t fit the bill.

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Redmi Watch Review : There’s a Chink in The Armour

If you are in the market for a fitness wearable, chances are you’ve taken a look at Xiaomi’s products already. The Mi Band series has helped the company build and maintain its position in the fitness wearable space. In order to diversify in this product category, Xiaomi has recently brought in the Redmi Watch, which caters to those looking for a watch-like shape and in-built GPS for fitness tracking. Priced at Rs. 3,999, the Redmi Watch does seem affordable, but does it offer the best value? I put the Redmi Watch to the test to find out.


Redmi Watch price in India

The Redmi Watch is available in one size only and is priced at Rs. 3,999 in India. Xiaomi offers the Redmi Watch in three dial colours: Black, Blue, and Ivory. There are four strap options (Black, Blue, Ivory, and Olive). I had an all-black Redmi Watch with me for this review.

Redmi Watch design

The Xiaomi Redmi Watch has a square-shaped dial but it doesn’t really stand out since a lot of wearables at this price point have similar designs. The Redmi Watch has a plastic body with a matte finish and it is curved at the corners while the sides are completely flat. There is only one button on the right while the other side is blank. The Redmi Watch has an LCD display that measures 1.4-inches, with 2.5D glass on top.

The Redmi Watch is water resistant upto 5 ATM of pressure so you can wear it while swimming without any fear of damaging it. Xiaomi has used proprietary connectors for the straps which will limit your strap options. Removing the strap is very easy, you just need to press the release button on the watch body. Putting the straps back on is simple as well and you hear an audible click when the strap is firmly attached.

redmi watch button gadgets360 Xiaomi Redmi Watch Review

The Redmi Watch only has one multi-function button


Xiaomi has pre-curved the straps which makes it super easy to wear the watch. The Redmi Watch has a standard pin buckle and it never came off during the review. On the underside of the Redmi Watch are its heart rate sensor and pins for charging. This wearable does not support SpO2 tracking, a feature that might have made it more appealing given the current pandemic situation. The included charging cradle has a full-sized USB plug at the other end. The Redmi Watch houses a 230mAh battery and claims to offer about 10 days’ worth of battery life. The Redmi Watch is relatively light at just 35g.

Redmi Watch software

You can use the Redmi Watch along with an Android or iOS device, and you’ll need the Xiaomi Wear or Xiaomi Wear Lite app respectively to manage it. This wearable is very easy to pair, and it maintains a stable connection as long as the phone is within range. The app requires you to sign into a Mi account and is the same one you’d use with a lot of other Xiaomi wearables such as the Mi Watch Revolve (Review), which I have reviewed already, and the newly launched Mi Watch Revolve Active. The app is easy to use and lets you customise some of the settings on the Redmi Watch. You can change watchfaces and select which apps can send notifications to your wrist.

You can store upto five watchfaces on the Redmi Watch and can change them by simply long-pressing on the current one. To download fresh new watches onto the Redmi Watch, you’ll have to use the Xiaomi Wear app. So many are available that you can use a new one every day and still not repeat any for a few months. However, you don’t get the option to customise these watchfaces.

redmi watch apps gadgets360 Xiaomi Redmi Watch Review

The Redmi Watch is capable of heart rate, sleep, and workout tracking


The Redmi Watch runs a custom OS and features heart-rate, sleep, and workout tracking. It also has a barometer, a compass, and in-built GPS, which lets you track outdoor workouts without needing a smartphone. The UI on the Redmi Watch is very easy to use. You can swipe down from the top to see notifications and swipe up to access quick toggles. Swiping left to right shows you different screens containing weather info, sleep duration, heart rate, calories burned, and music player controls. Pressing the button on the side takes you to a list of all the functions of the Redmi Watch.

Redmi Watch performance and battery life

I used the Redmi Watch for two weeks and I found it to be very comfortable. Given that the Redmi Watch weighs just 35g, you’ll barely notice it when worn. This low weight and its small size also makes it easy to wear this watch to bed. The display quality is just average and I found the auto brightness to be a bit too aggressive. The raise-to-wake gesture works well, and the Redmi Watch is quick to switch its display off to conserve battery life.

I had set up the watch to buzz for incoming WhatsApp notifications, and I could read incoming ones on the watch itself but there is no way to respond to them. The Redmi Watch can notify you of incoming calls along with the caller name. You can’t take calls using the watch, but you can decline or silence them.

Heart rate tracking was fairly accurate and I did not see a huge deviation compared to readings shown by an Apple Watch SE that I was using at the same time. The default interval for heart rate tracking is 30 minutes (to save power), which you might want to change to 5 minutes or so for more useful statistics. Sleep tracking on the Redmi Watch was accurate and it also gave me a breakdown of my sleep quality in the app. If you’ve been looking for a device that can also track SpO2, well, that’s missing on the Redmi Watch, and it could have been a strong selling point had Xiaomi included this.

redmi watch heartratesensors gadgets360 Xiaomi Redmi Watch Review

The heart rate sensor and charging pins on the underside of the Redmi Watch


Step tracking worked with a negligible error rate on the Redmi Watch, I counted 1,000 steps manually, and the watch showed 1,002, which is acceptable for a device at this price. The Redmi Watch is capable of tracking 11 workouts including Cricket, but given the current situation I could only test its fitness tracking capabilities while exercising indoors using the freestyle workout mode. In this mode it only showed me my heart rate and the number of calories burnt. I found the heart rate readings while working out to be inconsistent. I couldn’t test the accuracy of GPS tracking on the watch.

Battery life was acceptable given the size of this wearable and its small 230mAh battery, Xiaomi claims upto 10 days of battery life but I got only about 7 days of use out of it with sleep tracking every night, working out on alternate days, and notifications enabled for WhatsApp. If you enable more app notifications or work out more frequently, the battery life might be even lower. The supplied charger takes about two hours to charge the Redmi Watch fully, and a faster charging solution would have been nice.


The Redmi Watch does what you might expect, but does nothing additional to stand out in the sea of fitness wearables currently available. Xiaomi has put in the effort to make it light, but I would have been happy with a slightly heavier Redmi Watch with better battery life. Xiaomi still offers very good tracking for steps, and if your main motivation is to log your step count each day, the Redmi Watch will do that quite well.

Xiaomi does have the scope to improve the Redmi Watch, and adding SpO2 tracking would be a good place to start. Till then, if you are looking for an affordable fitness wearable that lets you track the usual along with SpO2, the Amazfit Bip U Pro is an alternative worth considering.

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Realme Narzo 30 5G Review: The Price of 5G

Consumer 5G networks have yet to become operational in India. As a feature, 5G first started showing up in premium smartphones, then made its way to the mid-range, and has now arrived in the budget segment. Adding 5G compatibility has increased the prices of many smartphones. In the budget segment, manufacturers have cut a few corners in other areas in order to keep smartphone prices under control. Processors that support 5G modems (add-on or integrated) cost more than 4G ones, which is why manufacturers must carefully choose how and where they make compromises. Buyers also have to decide what they prioritise.

Some manufacturers such as Xiaomi have so far ignored 5G in their low-cost offerings, while others including Motorola and Realme have been trying to squeeze this feature into some of their budget smartphones. Motorola was one of the first, with its Moto G 5G, which is available at Rs. 20,999. Realme has broken budget barriers, launching the Realme X7 5G (Review), followed by the Narzo 30 Pro 5G (Review), priced starting from Rs. 16,999. Now, Realme is aiming even lower with the Narzo 30 5G, which recently launched alongside the Narzo 30 (Review).

The Narzo 30 5G looks slim and seems to pack in all the specifications one would want in this price segment. Is it perfect, and is it worth choosing over the Narzo 30?

Realme Narzo 30 5G price and variants

The Narzo 30 5G and the Realme 8 5G offer identical core specifications, but as per the brand, are aimed at different buyers. The Narzo 30 5G differentiates itself from the Realme 8 5G because it is available in a single 6GB RAM and 128GB storage configuration, priced at Rs. 15,999. This slots in between the higher two Realme 8 5G variants, which have 4GB and 8GB of RAM respectively, with the same amount of storage. The base variant of the Realme 8 5G is priced at Rs. 13,999 and has 4GB of RAM with 64GB of storage.

The Narzo 30 5G’s price and hardware also match the Poco M3 Pro 5G (Review), which starts from Rs 13,999 for the 4GB RAM and 64GB storage variant and also comes in a matching 6GB RAM and 128GB storage variant priced at Rs. 15,999.

Realme Narzo 30 5G design

The Realme Narzo 30 5G feels slim and light, and offers a proper grip with its defined edges around the frame. The smartphone weighs 185g and is just 8.5mm thick. The Narzo 30 5G’s back panel has an identical layout to that of the Narzo 30, but with an off-centred shimmery strip running through the back. The Narzo 30 5G is available in two finishes: Racing Blue and Racing Silver. I received a Racing Silver unit for review, and it has a glossy back panel. Build quality is quite good. The plastic back panel does not flex or creak, but it picks up fingerprints and is a dust magnet.

Realme Narzo 30 5G back design ndtv RealmeNarzo305G  Realme

The Realme Narzo 30 5G’s frame and back panel are made of plastic


The 6.5-inch LCD panel looks sharp and gets quite bright outdoors. It has relatively thin bezels at the top, left and right, but a thick one at the bottom.

Realme Narzo 30 5G specifications and software

The Realme Narzo 30 5G uses a MediaTek Dimensity 700 processor, which is the same one you’d get with the Realme 8 5G and the Poco M3 Pro 5G. It features an integrated 5G modem which supports several 5G bands, and offers dual 5G standby. The Narzo 30 5G is available in a single RAM and storage configuration, and uses LPDDR4x RAM and UFS 2.1 storage. Connectivity options include dual-band Wi-Fi ac and Bluetooth 5.1. The Narzo 30 5G offers a triple-slot tray with space for two Nano-SIMs and a microSD card of up to 1 TB. The device has a 5,000mAh battery, and supports 18W charging.

The Narzo 30 5G runs Realme UI 2.0, which is based on Android 11. It looks clean and runs smoothly but there are also several preinstalled apps. All the third-party apps can be uninstalled if not needed. The HeyFun app and the native Browser app frequently push promotional notifications, but these can be silenced in the notification settings.

Realme Narzo 30 5G performance and battery life

The Narzo 30 5G’s display got quite bright at 600 nits and was legible in direct sunlight. However, the protective glass, like the back panel, got smudged easily with daily use. The display offers two screen colour modes to choose from – Gentle and Vivid. I preferred the Gentle colour preset, which displayed more natural colours, over the Vivid preset, which looked a bit too saturated. With a 90Hz screen refresh rate and a maximum 180Hz touch sampling rate, the display reacted to touches and swipes without any lag while playing games.

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The Realme Narzo 30 5G comes with a lot of preinstalled apps


The Realme Narzo 30 5G performed well in most benchmarks, and surprisingly, scored better than Poco M3 Pro 5G in most of them, although by small margins. The phone achieved scores of 3,62,007 in AnTuTu, as well as 574 and 1,777 in Geekbench’s single and multi-core tests respectively. Compared to the Helio G95 SoC in the Narzo 30, the difference in scores was minor.

Gaming was a decent experience on the Narzo 30 5G, with most games running smoothly at default settings. I faced no heating issues, as experienced on the Narzo 30, potentially making the Narzo 30 5G a better choice for gamers. Call of Duty: Mobile worked smoothly but was limited to the Medium graphics and High framerate settings, with most of the effects such as Ragdoll, Bloom, and Antialiasing not available. Asphalt 9: Legends worked quite smoothly with only a few dropped frames at the default graphics quality. The game was playable at High quality as well but would struggle a bit when lots of action was happening.

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The Realme Narzo 30 5G has a single bottom-firing speaker


The Realme Narzo 30 5G offers good battery life for a phone that is this slim. During the review period, it easily lasted me a day and a half with general use, which included a few hours of streaming video, browsing through social media apps, taking a few photos, and gaming. Our HD video loop battery test also showed good results – the phone managed to run for 18 hours and 36 minutes. Charging was a bit slow compared to most smartphones in this segment, with the Narzo 30 5G reaching 28 percent in 30 minutes and 53 percent in an hour. A full charge took 2 hours and 10 minutes.

Realme Narzo 30 5G cameras

The Realme Narzo 30 5G offers exactly the same triple rear camera setup as the more affordable Narzo 30. There’s a 48-megapixel f/1.8 primary camera, a 2-megapixel monochrome camera, and a 2-megapixel macro camera. Selfie duties are handled by a 16-megapixel f/2.0 front camera. The camera app’s interface is typical of what is available on other Realme devices that run Realme UI 2.0, with all the important controls available just a tap away.

Realme Narzo 30 5G back camera ndtv RealmeNarzo305G  Realme

The Realme Narzo 30 5G has a triple rear camera setup


Photos captured in daylight came out clean and noise-free, but a bit saturated. Dynamic range was good, showing a decent level of detail in the darker areas of the frame, but there was noticeable purple fringing in the brighter areas. Oddly, textures did not look as defined as they did in photos shot with the Narzo 30. The Narzo 30 5G’s camera setup also offers 2X and 5X digital zoom. Cropped photos showed less detail and dynamic range at 2X, while those captured at 5X ended up looking like oil paintings. The 2-megapixel macro camera shot decent photos with passable detail, but colours were quite different from those of the actual subject. Maintaining the perfect distance to an object using a fixed-focus camera will be difficult, especially if you have shaky hands.

Realme Narzo 30 5G daytime photo samples. Top to bottom: Standard, 2X digital zoom, 5X digital zoom (tap to see full size)


Portrait photos taken using the front-facing camera came out sharp and well-exposed, but with below-average edge detection. Portrait photos captured using the rear camera looked much better with more detail but slightly more saturated colours.

Realme Narzo 30 5G Portrait camera samples. Top: Daylight, bottom: Low light (tap to see full size)


As expected, low-light performance was not good. Scenes came out well exposed, but textures were flat even under street lighting. The rear camera produced unusable noisy and murky photos when shooting dimly lit landscapes. The Night mode’s usefulness was limited, as it only increased brightness by a small margin, bringing out a bit more detail in the darker areas of the frame.

The Realme Narzo 30 5G low-light camera samples. Top: Auto mode, bottom: Night mode (tap to see full size)


Video recording on the Narzo 30 5G was a bit disappointing, even when compared to what the Narzo 30 was able to capture. The phone allows for a maximum capture resolution of 1080p @30fps when using the main rear camera, which is disappointing for a smartphone in this segment. The camera took its own sweet time to lock focus, so most of the videos captured during this review were out of focus and overexposed. In dimly lit scenes, the camera struggled even more to focus and the videos captured looked quite murky and unusable.


The Realme Narzo 30 5G is a slim 5G smartphone with a good 90Hz refresh-rate display, great battery life, and mid-level gaming performance. After using it for a week, I was not too happy with the average photo quality and the below-average video capabilities of this smartphone. Charging it at 18W was relatively slow. Even the Narzo 30 delivers slightly better camera performance and more options for shooting video. Realme has managed to deliver a 5G smartphone with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage for Rs. 15,999, but I expected better.

If you must get a 5G smartphone right now, it would be worth spending an additional Rs 1,000 to get the Realme Narzo 30 Pro 5G (Review) instead. At Rs. 16,999 for the 6GB RAM and 64GB storage variant, it offers better value with a 120Hz refresh-rate display, the Dimensity 800U processor, and 30W fast-charging.

If 5G is not a priority for your next smartphone purchase, I would recommend the Redmi Note 10 Pro at this price level. It offers a better selection of cameras, a Super AMOLED display and 33W charging, plus a slightly bigger 5020mAh battery, at the same price. If you lean more towards stock Android, Motorola’s G40 Fusion at Rs. 16,499 (6GB RAM + 128GB storage) is another option with the same Snapdragon 732G SoC as on the Note 10 Pro, but with a bigger 6,000mAh battery and a water-repellent design.

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Loki Episode 5 Recap: Purgatory, Alligator, and Cloud Villainy

Loki episode 5 — out now on Disney+ and Disney+ Hotstar — set up the end of the new Marvel series, and possibly, the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As we head into the season finale, Loki episode 6, due next Wednesday, Loki episode 5 was naturally a table-setting episode in some ways. That’s fitting, for so much of it took place in a vast purgatory called The Void. There, we were introduced to a new Marvel villain, the dark purple cloud mass known as Alioth, that consumes everything it touches. Per Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino), it’s hiding the originators of the Time Variance Authority. Though it might end up being more too, given Alioth has ties to the multiverse — a key component of MCU’s Phase Four — and Kang the Conqueror, the villain in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.

Additionally, the penultimate episode of Loki season 1 confirmed that the alligator from the Loki episode 4 post-credits scene was in fact, an alligator Loki. “Don’t question it,” as Loki says deep into Loki episode 5. There were a lot of funny asides and moments thanks to the alligator Loki, alongside further jabs and teases for what else other Lokis — whom we met inside The Void — have been up to in their lives. The Kid Loki (Jack Veal) killed Thor. Classic Loki (Richard E. Grant) became a recluse. There’s even a President Loki (Tom Hiddleston). Loki episode 5 had Easter eggs too, with an interesting one being a Mjolnir and a shrunken Thor in a bottle buried in the earth in The Void.

Loki episode 5 — titled “Journey Into Mystery”, directed by Kate Herron, and written by Tom Kauffman — began with a stylistic stroll through where we left off in Loki episode 4, with the camera spinning and drifting through the TVA, the golden elevators and into the Time Keepers’ chamber, and then beyond into The Void, a desolate and dreary wasteland where Loki (Hiddleston) is now stuck. The scene won’t make much sense if you haven’t seen Loki episode 4 post-credits scene, as Classic Loki tells Loki to run from Alioth, saying they are his lunch.

Back at the TVA, having decided to spare Ravonna Renslayer (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), Sylvie wants her to spill the beans. But the TVA judge claims she’s as in the dark as Sylvie is — and wants the truth as much as Sylvie does. Ravonna then reveals that branched timelines aren’t rest, they are more like transferred to place where they can’t continue growing. That’s The Void, somewhere at the end of time. Nothing ever comes back from the void, Ravonna says, but she is willing to help Sylvie.

Loki-Simpsons Crossover The Good, The Bart, and The Loki Announced

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Richard E. Grant as Classic Loki in Loki episode 5
Photo Credit: Chuck Zlotnick/Marvel Studios

Loki episode 5 jumps back to The Void, where a bemused Loki demands to know the truth of the place. Alioth is a living tempest, Classic Loki says, before summarising it in an allegory: “We are in a shark tank, Alioth is the shark.” All the other Lokis were arrested and pruned too. Loki wonders why Kid Loki is wearing the horns and why he gets so much importance, to which he retorts that he killed Thor.

And we are back at the TVA as Ravonna and Sylvie look to Miss Minutes (voiced by Tara Strong) to help with their new quest. Sylvie realises that you can’t create nexus events in The Void, which means they must get to the end of time to save Loki. Ravonna plays along but she’s really just stalling for time as Miss Minutes “looks for the files” — which is code for call the guards. Cornered, Sylvie prunes herself. That’s clever, because she will also end up in The Void.

Meanwhile inside The Void in Loki episode 5, the four Lokis — Loki (Hiddleston), Classic Loki, Kid Loki, and Boastful Loki (DeObia Oparei) — compare notes. True to his name, Boastful Loki claims he vanquished Captain America and Iron Man. The alligator Loki jumps at Boastful Loki, with Classic Loki pointing out that it knows that Boastful Loki is lying as always. Well, at least my nexus event wasn’t eating the wrong neighbour’s cat, Boastful Loki retorts as he wriggles with alligator Loki.

As Loki turns the conversation towards the end of their lives, Classic Loki notes that he didn’t use knives as they are silly and a mockery of their magic potential. He fooled Thanos with a projection, faked his death, and drifted in space. He then decided to remove himself from the equation for he just caused destruction everywhere. Classic Loki lived a solitary life at the edge of space for a long, long time. But he got lonely and when he tried to get off the planet, the TVA arrive. God of Outcasts is our one part to play, he concludes. The other Lokis nod, but our Loki isn’t fully convinced.

In a mighty rallying speech in Loki episode 5, he pitches that they can kill Alioth — together. But Loki is merely laughed off by the others who have spent a lot more time inside The Void. Disappointed, Loki walks out of their protective hatch only to be confronted by a dozen more of him. One of them looks exactly like him, except he’s got horns and wearing a vote badge. That’s President Loki. Inside, as President Loki notes what he’s going to do with the others, alligator Loki jumps at him and snaps his right arm off. That starts a fight, while our Loki looks dejectedly at the petty squabbles. He’s not alone in that line of thinking, as Classic Loki conjures up an illusion and sneaks them away. Loki finally convinces Classic and Kid Loki to help him, but they will only get him to Alioth. Nothing more.

Loki Episode 4 Recap: Chaos at the Time Variance Authority

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Alligator Loki in Loki episode 5
Photo Credit: Disney/Marvel Studios

Elsewhere in Loki episode 5, the pruned Sylvie appears in The Void and is immediately chased by Alioth. She briefly links into it with her enchantment magic and is served with a momentary vision. Sylvie jumps into an approaching car, which turns out to be driven by Mobius (Owen Wilson) who was also pruned in Loki episode 4. Oh, so The Void is one big place for everyone. After they escape Alioth, Sylvie wonders she can find the actual folks behind the TVA. Realising the cloud itself might be the answer, she asks Mobius to turn around and head for the cloud.

Loki episode 5 switches to the three Lokis who approach Alioth as part of Loki’s plan. But after seeing Alioth consume a destroyer escort — it’s the USS Eldridge, a funny call-back to the infamous alleged Philadelphia Experiment — Loki starts to rethink his blind charge-the-villain strategy. He’s further mocked by Sylvie, as she and Mobius join them. That was your plan? Wow. (“You throw a rock out here, you hit a Loki,” Mobius jokes as he meets Classic, Kid, and alligator Loki.) Loki wants to know what Sylvie has cooked up. She says she is going to enchant the cloud, and she thinks it will work as she believes Alioth is just a guard dog for the person beyond The Void at the end of time.

Back at the TVA in Loki episode 5, Ravonna questions Hunter B-15 (Wunmi Mosaku) who’s been imprisoned for briefly freeing Sylvie. B-15 wants everyone at TVA to know the truth about the Time Keepers — they were just mindless androids — but Ravonna just wants to know what drives Sylvie. B-15 then realises that Ravonna wants to find the people behind the TVA, just like Sylvie. It’s not about protecting TVA or keeping things stable, as she claims. But Ravonna won’t get there before Sylvie, B-15 notes, because you only “want” it while Sylvie “needs” it. Outside, a frustrated Ravonna asks Miss Minutes to get all the files on the founding of the TVA.

Loki episode 5 jumps back into The Void, where Loki and Sylvie are having a cute moment. They touch upon Mobius’ theory of their nexus event on Lamentis-1, but they both prefer to be in denial rather than talk about it. They are slowly getting there, though. Loki conjures a blanket for himself and then spins it around Sylvie too. There are clearly feelings here that neither wishes to acknowledge outright. Sylvie then moves things along, wondering, “How do I know you won’t betray me in the final moments?” Loki is quite upfront about the truth, noting that he has betrayed everyone he has ever known. That’s not going to aspire confidence. “But that’s not who I am anymore, I won’t let you down,” Loki adds. They wrap up by considering the future, with Loki saying: “Maybe we figure it out together.”

Loki Episode 3 Recap: Marvel Goes Mandalorian on Lamentis-1

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Wunmi Mosaku as Hunter B-15 in Loki episode 5
Photo Credit: Disney/Marvel Studios

As they gather with the other Lokis and Mobius, Sylvie reveals she had a brief connection with Alioth when she first came into The Void. She thinks she can do that again in a bid to subdue it. As Classic and Kid Loki depart, the latter hands Loki his golden dagger. Mobius is meanwhile returning to the TVA to burn it to the ground. That leaves Alioth to Loki and Sylvie. As the monster cloud approaches, they realise they might not be able to wait for a variant distraction to appear. Loki takes it upon himself with his fiery dagger, so Sylvie can enchant Alioth. But the moment she tries to link into Alioth, it ignores Loki and runs toward her.

Thankfully, Classic Loki shows up to lend a hand, creating an entire Asgard with his projection abilities. Alioth tries to devour it, giving Sylvie more time to do her thing. She persuades Loki to try it with her. He says he doesn’t know how. “You do, we are the same,” Sylvie tells him as they hold hands. Hooking into the purple cloud, they close their eyes and use all their might. Classic Loki has done all that he can, and just as he’s consumed by Alioth who then swarms the enchanting squad, it stops and turns green right on time. It’s done! As the cloud and smoke clears, Loki episode 5 shows us a mansion under the cosmos in the distance. Loki and Sylvie walk towards it, hand in hand.

Loki episode 5 is now streaming on Disney+ and Disney+ Hotstar. New episodes release every Wednesday around 12:30pm IST/ 12am PT.

Is Mi 11X the best phone under Rs. 35,000? We discussed this on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Later (starting at 23:50), we jump over to the Marvel series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

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Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 (GU603HR) Review: Have Slim and Light Gaming Laptops Finally Arrived?

Gaming laptops have a huge market in India, especially now that retail high-end desktop PC components are harder to buy than ever. Many people have chosen gaming laptops over desktops because they prefer compact, versatile machines that can serve for work as well as entertainment, but there have often been limits in terms of hardware power and immersion. Now, a new class of gaming laptops is emerging, thanks to new hardware that allows for much-improved performance in slim, practical laptops. We’re now seeing the emergence of a new category with 16-inch 1440p displays, thanks to the latest CPUs and GPUs being able to drive this resolution without sacrificing quality.

For the new ROG Zephyrus M16, Asus has used Intel’s 11th Gen mobile H-series CPUs and Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 30-series mobile GPUs which were both announced. Prices begin at Rs. 1,44,990 in India which definitely makes this a premium gaming laptop. What’s most interesting about this laptop is how slim and light it is despite its large screen and top-end specifications. We’ll see whether its design compromises usability, or whether today’s hardware actually means that super-bulky gaming laptops are things of the past.

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The lid has a pattern of over 8,000 tiny dots through which a prismatic film refracts light


Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 (GU603HR) design

If the M16 designation sounds new, that’s because the company has launched this model to replace the outgoing Zephyrus M15 (GU502). However, the Zephyrus M16 is actually slightly smaller than its predecessor, measuring a few millimetres less in width and depth. The thickness stays the same at 19.9mm, and weight is also unchanged at 1.9kg. By gaming laptop standards, this is extremely slick. You wouldn’t have too much trouble commuting with this laptop in a backpack if you’re a student or professional.

Inspired by the Zephyrus G-series, the new M16 has a pattern of thousands of tiny perforated holes across most of its matte black lid. The triangular patch cuts across the lid diagonally, and from a distance it just looks like a different texture. However, this isn’t a micro-LED dot array. As you approach the laptop, you’ll see shimmering rainbow effect through the holes thanks to a “prismatic” layer beneath them. You’ll see this light effect at certain angles and it seems to move as you tilt the lid or move your head around. It’s a striking look, but the downside is that the holes can get dusty very quickly. Finger smudges are also quite visible across the lid.

With the lid flipped up, you’ll see the new 16-inch screen which is not only bigger but has a 16:10 aspect ratio. Asus has nearly eliminated the chin, but thankfully there’s room at the top for a webcam in its ideal position. The side borders are only 4.6mm thick, and the overall screen-to-body ratio is a remarkable 94 percent.

The hinge allows the display to go as far back as 180 degrees. As with many Asus laptops, the lower half of the laptop gets raised when the lid is raised, which helps with airflow as well as typing comfort. On the downside, the lid does bend and flex quite a bit, and there’s visible warping on screen when a little pressure is applied. Asus has done away with the giant illuminated ROG logo that the previous model had, and instead there’s a much more subtle patch in one corner of the outer lid, and no branding at all on the inside.

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The keyboard is comfortable to type on, but the layout could have been better


On the lower half of the body, you’ll see an island-style keyboard with RGB backlighting. speaker grilles and a lot of space on either side. Asus has ditched the column of dedicated paging keys to the right which means the keyboard and trackpad are now centred with each other and the arrow keys have more room to breathe. Strangely, there are no Insert or PrintScrn keys. Taking screenshots is quite inconvenient (you can still call up the Windows Snipping Tool with Win+Shift+S or use the Fn+F6 combo on this keyboard to save to the clipboard, or use the Xbox game bar to save a file, but it becomes a multi-step process).

The power button has an integrated fingerprint sensor, which Asus oddly does not point out anywhere. You can set it up through the Windows Settings app but it would be easy to not even realise that this is a feature. There are also dedicated volume and mic mute buttons which do come in handy. The power, charging and SSD activity LEDs on the upper edge are placed so they’re visible when the lid is closed. Unfortunately, they’re also very bright and reflect off the screen. The activity LED, which keeps flashing, is especially distracing.

The trackpad is especially large. It can be physically clicked, and its texture feels great. There’s nowhere to rest your wrists when using it since it extends right to the lip of the lower deck. To the sides of the trackpad, the deck is covered in a soft-touch finish.

All the ports are placed towards the front of the laptop, to allow for large vents farther back on the sides. On the left, you have the DC power inlet, HDMI 2.0b output, a Gigabit Ethernet port, 10Gbps USB 3.2 (Gen 2) Type-A and Type-C ports, another Type-C Thunderbolt 4 port, and a 3.5mm audio socket. On the right, you’ll find a 5Gbps USB 3.2 (Gen 1) Type-A port, a microSD card slot, and a Kensington lock slot. You can get DisplayPort 1.4 video output and you can even charge this laptop at up to 100W through both the Type-C ports.

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Hot air is ejected out the back, and the LEDs placed here reflect off the screen


Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 (GU603HR) specifications

Intel’s 10nm ‘Tiger Lake‘ architecture has graduated from ultra-slim laptops to gaming and enthusiast-class halo products. For this segment, you get more cores and higher TDP ratings which translates to higher clock speeds for longer under load. Interestingly, the CPUs in this segment have much weaker integrated GPUs, but this isn’t a problem since there’s a discrete GPU to do most of the heavy lifting anyway. One thing to note about the higher 45W max TDP rating is that actual performance is entirely dependent on each laptop OEM’s thermal design – this spec alone is no guarantee of performance.

In India, The Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 (GU603HR) is available with either a Core i9-11900H or Core i7-11800H, both of which have eight cores and Hyper-Threading. Other than higher clock speeds, the main advantage of the Core i9 is Turbo Boost Max 3.0 support, which you can read all about in our desktop ‘Rocket Lake’ 11th Gen Core i9-11900K review. This generation introduces PCIe 4.0 for faster connections to SSDs and the GPU.

On the graphics front, Asus offers the new Zephyrus M16 with either an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti, RTX 3060, or RTX 3070 mobile GPU. Mobile GPUs have delivered different levels of performance in different laptops with the same specifications thanks to thermal constraints, and with this generation Nvidia is requiring that laptop makers disclose more granular information. You can check the actual clock speeds and power consumption targets of each variant on Asus’ product listing page.

The top-end variant that I have for review features the Core i9-11900H, which is clocked at 2.5GHz with a maximum boost speed of 4.9GHz, and also the GeForce RTX 3070 with a 1390MHz boost speed, 80-100W thermal envelope, and 8GB of dedicated GDDR6 memory. My unit also features a 2TB Samsung NVMe SSD and 32GB of DDR4-RAM, of which 16GB is soldered and the rest is a removable module. This configuration is priced at Rs. 2,29,990 in India. You can pry off the bottom of this laptop to upgrade the one SO-DIMM module for up to 48GB of RAM in total, and there’s also a second empty M.2 slot for another NVMe SSD.

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Most of the ports are on the left, towards the front of the Zephyrus M16


The 16-inch screen has an unusual 16:10 resolution, which is actually great for productivity and helps increase secreen size without making the laptop’s body wider. The 2560×1600 resolution (WQXGA) “IPS-level” panel has a 165Hz refresh rate and 3ms response time. Asus claims 100 percent DCI-P3 colour gamut coverage and Pantone validation, but there’s no indication of peak brightness. Thankfully, the panel has a matte texture and is not highly reflective. Surprisingly, there’s no 4K option like before.

Despite its slimness, this laptop has a 90WH battery. A rather large 240W charger comes in the box. You get a 720p webcam, microphone array, and speaker setup with two 2W tweeters and two 2W woofers. There’s also Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) and Bluetooth 5.2.

Interestingly, Asus already says that a Windows 11 update rollout plan will begin in late 2021. Asus’ Armoury Crate and MyAsus utilities come preinstalled and also need to be updated. The former lets you apply performance profiles, tweak the RGB keyboard lighting, adjust microphone properties, and screen colour temperature, while the latter lets you download a user manual and shows some battery health options, and smartphone file transfer and screen sharing options (if you also run the MyAsus mobile app).

It seems a bit redundant to have two separate apps, especially since both also show “deals” and promotions. I did also see a pop-up ad for an Asus extended warranty. McAfee LiveSafe is also preinstalled, and it occasionally shows messages asking you to register and subscribe, or enable certain features.

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The Zephyrus M16 has a webcam in its rightful place – the previous model didn’t have one at all


Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 (GU603HR) performance

One little obstacle to usage was the fact that this laptop ships with a power cord that has a large 16A plug, and most people’s houses aren’t wired for 16A appliances in convenient spots. My unit came running Windows 10 (20H2), and after applying all available updates and patches, it was ready for testing. In everyday use, and for productivity, the Zephyrus M16 proved to be quite versatile. The high-res 16:10 screen is a pleasure to work on, making multitasking easy. You can change the default 150 percent Windows scaling to 125 percent if you want even more usable real estate.

Asus has implemented a single-touch feature that caches your fingerprint when you press the power button so you don’t need to reach over to it again when Windows 10 presents you with the login screen. Unfortunately, the sensor didn’t work as well as the ones on phones that we’re all now used to, in my experience. It often required a longer or second touch.

The keyboard is firm and springy without being noisy. It’s pretty comfortable and key travel is very good. The lack of a PrintScrn key is hugely frustrating. The entire keyboard is one single RGB backlight zone and there are a few choices of lighting patterns, colours, and intensity, plus syncing with other compatible hardware. Trackpad placement is good and it’s large enough to make multi-finger gestures convenient.

I found the screen just a little dull, and you’ll have to push the brightness up if you’re working or gaming with a lot of sunlight around. Colours don’t pop like they would on some high-end consumer laptops, which is probably a good thing for colour-sensitive work. The video watching experience is still great, especially with 4K content. The speakers produce surprisingly crisp and open sound, though it isn’t especially loud and the bass is rather lacking.

Starting with general-purpose benchmarks, the reliable PCMark 10 showed scores of 6,950 and 8,792 in its standard and Extended runs. Cinebench R20 managed 606 and 5,407 points in its single- and multi-core tests respectively. POVRay’s render test completed in 1 minute, 1 second, and the newer V-Ray brenchmark showed CPU and GPU render scores of 15,592 and 429 respectively.

CrystalDiskMark reported very impressive SSD speeds – 7100.1MBps and 5262.1MBPs sequential reads and writes, with 2365.8MBps and 2148.8MBps random reads and writes respectively. As for real-world scenarios, the Zephyrus M16 took 1 minute, 43 seconds to compress a 3.24GB folder of assorted files, and just 35 seconds to transcode a 1.3GB AVI file to H.265.

3DMark’s Time Spy and Time Spy Extreme tests threw up scores of 9,096 and 4,527 respectively. The DX12 Port Royal test score was 5,509. As for feature tests, DirectX Ray Tracing showed a score of 23.74fps, while the DLSS test scene ran at 25.12fps with DLSS off and 58.93fps with it on. Unigine’s standalone Superposition graphics benchmark managed 5,906 points using its 1080p Extreme preset.

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A full-sized SD card slot would have been more useful than the microSD slot here


Many games run at the Zephyrus M16’s native 2560×1600 resolution, so comparisons to laptops with more standard 2560×1440 panels should take this slight added load into account. Shadow of the Tomb Raider supports RTX ray tracing and DLSS, so it’s a good game to start with. At the Highest quality preset at 2560×1600 and with ray tracing disabled, its built-in benchmark gave us an average of 71fps. Setting ray traced shadows to ‘High’ quality took that down significantly to 45fps. To compensate, I enabled DLSS, and that resulted in an average score of 54fps. You’ll have to decide what quality tradeoffs you’re okay with.

Metro Exodus also has a repeatable and consistent built-in benchmark with an RTX preset which uses the Ultra quality preset, High ray tracing effects quality, and DLSS. At 1920×1080, the average frame rate was 53.44 percent. Using the same settings, but with ray tracing and DLSS disabled, the average came to 62.3fps which means once again, the penalty for using ray tracing isn’t too high, but some people might find it worth disabling.

Next up for in-game benchmarks, Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey delivered an average of 52fps at 2560×1600 with Ultra High graphics. Far Cry 5 averaged 96fps at 1920×1200 and 82fps at 2560×1600, using the Ultra quality preset at both resolutions. Middle Earth: Shadow of War also managed 97fps at 1920×1200 and 72fps at 2560×1600, both at Ultra quality. These games show that the Zephyrus M16 will be pretty good for slightly older titles that don’t have ray tracing effects or need DLSS.

I also played through a few games manually for a while. Control is a popular RTX-enabled title. Ray tracing effects were set to High, as was the overall quality preset. DLSS by default renders at 1707×1067 to upscale to 2560×1600 which is roughly a 1.5X scale. At these settings, I was able to average between 45-55fps. Disabling ray tracing but leaving DLSS on immediately caused a jump to 70-80fps.

Doom Eternal has just been updated to support ray tracing and DLSS. This game generally runs well even on lower-end hardware. At Ultra Nightmare quality, using the native 2560×1600 resolution, performance ranged from 80-100fps without ray tracing, depending on how frantic battles were. That dropped considerably to 30-50fps with ray tracing enabled. Oddly, DLSS actually made performance dip well below 30fps causing drastic stutter – this might be an isolated experience or a bug with the just-released RTX functionality.

The Zephyrus M16 does run rather hot when stressed, and even sometimes while idling, parts of the body get warm. The upper row, fingerprint sensor, middle-right of the keyboard, and wrist rest area do get fairly toasty. The top edge of the laptop’s lower half, where hot air is ejected through the hinge, can become too hot to touch for more than a second. Asus says it has used a liquid metal thermal interface between the cooler and the CPU and GPU chips, and it has also redesigned the laptop’s fans to be more efficient. The fans are still quite loud – you’ll definitely hear them when running any heavy workload. You’ll use an external mouse for most gaming situations, but things can still get uncomfortable. This review was conducted in a non-airconditioned room, so your experience might vary.

As for battery life, you wouldn’t expect all-day productivity from a gaming laptop. The Zephyrus M16 managed to last only about 5-6 hours on a full charge with ordinary everyday work, which included some video streaming and plenty of heavy Web pages open in multiple tabs. The heavy Battery Eater Pro test ran for only 1 hour, 42 minutes, which is just about okay.

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The ‘Ergolift’ hinge raises the lower half of the laptop to tilt it forward when opened



Asus has tried hard to deliver high-end gaming performance in a very slim and light package. The company has succeeded in some ways – just a few years ago, you’d have had to lug around a literal suitcase if you wanted this level of performance. With the Zephyrus M16, that load comes down to 2kg. You can in fact run today’s most demanding games at very reasonable settings, and that too at a resolution greater than 1080p on a large, immersive display.

The specifications are impressive, but the price is quite high too. I like the variety and number of physical ports, plus the fact that the SSD and one RAM module are user-replaceable, meaning potential for upgrades. 16:10 displays are a rare pleasure these days, and Asus has chosen a good panel for this segment.

That said, things aren’t perfect. The biggest downside of the Zephyrus M16 is that it gets uncomfortably hot and distractingly loud. The need for a 16A power outlet will cause some trouble for people, and there are a few niggles like the poorly placed status LEDs and popups from the preinstalled software.

Using an external keyboard and mouse would take care of the physical discomfort (and lack of certain keys), and you still have a very portable gaming or multi-purpose machine. If you can live with some compromises and like the idea of a slim and light gaming laptop, this might be a good choice. I still hope to see Asus and other companies use these new CPUs and GPUs in laptops that aren’t as fashion-conscious, with beefier cooling systems, for those who want performance and usability without worrying about looks.

Price as reviewed: Rs. 2,29,990

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