Real World Consumer Tests and Product Reviews

Xiaomi Mi TV 3S 4K Smart TVs – 55’’ and 65’’

Xiaomi Mi TV 3S 4K Smart TVs specifications – 55’’ and 65’’ 

Up until recently, the Chinese market for 4K TVs was dominated by second-rate manufacturers and low-budget models. That is, until the smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi announced their range of 4k Smart TVs with amazing quality, boosted specs and very reasonable price.

Here we’ll talk about the new Xiaomi Mi TV 3S which is offered in 55’’ and 65’’ screen options. It should be noted that it’s not in the same league as the flagship TVs such as Sony, Samsung or LG but it is taking its spot on the market nevertheless. It was announced by the manufacturer in the spring of 2016 for the Chinese market and it offers Android TV smart OS with a massive 65’’ curved screen option. So far the TVs are available for the Chinese market only and Xiaomi has not announced if they plan to make them available in stores worldwide. This makes an actual test of the TV nearly impossible, which is a shame as the model is definitely impressive and something worth taking a look into.

The TV features an anodized aluminum alloy frame which bears an embossed double 45-degree diamond cut. The back panel is brushed aluminum. The outlook of the TV is downright breathtaking, even in the back, where it’s rarely viewed.

The display is made by Samsung Electronics and its most impressive characteristic is its unbelievable thinness. The thickest part of the screen is said to be 37.6 mm and it measures 5.9 mm at its thinnest, which is thinner than most smartphones on the market. What is even more impressive is that the screen is LCD but compares to the thickness of the OLED screens of LG, which is not something you see often, if at all.

The ridiculous thinness of the 3S is managed by putting almost all of the internal components in a separate TV bar which is placed below or in front of the TV itself. This technology is called Mi TV Bar – a signature of Xiaomi. The bar contains an Mstar processor engine, 2 GB RAM, 8 GB storage and connectivity features – Bluetooth, Wi-Fi. The MiTV delivers Dolby and DTS audio dual decoding 4K UHD resolution of 3840 x 2160 at 60 Hz.

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The television supports HDR, and the OpenGL 3.1 standard. Also on board are four speakers for the standard independent sound system including a sound bar, while the company is also touting Dolby and DTS hardware-level decoding.

The new Mi TV 3S features a new Patch Wall puzzle interface, what the company calls "the first TV system with AI in the world". Details on this front are scarce. It includes the company's Mi Brain technology, a machine learning based recommendation engine.

The price of the TV is not yet clear enough, with sources varying around $900 for the 55’’ model and around $1400 for the 65’’ one. It’s a real shame that the TV is not available worldwide as the price – quality ratio is highly competitive and even someone on a budget can go for this option without losing much of the quality or performance.

HP - ENVY x360 2-in-1 15.6 Touch-Screen laptop, one different notebook

2-in-1 15.6" Touch-Screen Laptop - Intel Core i5 - 12GB Memory - 1TB Hard Drive – Silver

The HP ENVY x360 Convertible 2-in-1 Laptop can bring versatility to your computing. In case you need a laptop for your work or a tablet for leisure, you can use this HP convertible laptop. The Intel Core i5 processor provides powerful performance when using your favorite programs and apps, and the 1TB hard drive lets you store plenty of digital files. This HP convertible laptop rotates a full 360 degrees for customized viewing of the 15.6-inch screen.

Product Features:
The laptop comes with Windows 10 which reminds a bit of the old Windows 7 – at least the familiar Start Menu is here.

The most interesting feature of the laptop is by far the multi-touch screen – 15.6’’ Full HD for hands-on control with 1920 x 1080 resolution, IPS technology and WLED backlight. You can touch, tap and glide on the screen – basically use it as a fully functional tablet. It’s also 360 deg flip-and-fold.

The 7thGen Intel Core i5 gives you the performing power you need on a ultra-low-voltage platform. The laptop comes with 12 GB RAM for full-power multitasking. You can smoothly run games or heavy photo or video-editing applications.

This option also comes with 1TB of hard storage space to save your files. If you’re not looking into lots of storage and would prefer the faster performance of an SSD, the laptop is also offered with 128 GB / 256 GB of SSD, which, of course, is taken into consideration in the price as well.

You get Intel HD Graphics 620 (on-processor graphics) which provides good everyday image quality for the casual user, but not good enough for heavy games or image editing applications.

This laptop weighs barely 2.17 kg and is less than 18 mm thin to make it ultraportable with its smaller screen and no DVD drive.

As far as connectivity goes, you get Bluetooth interface, 3 x USB 3.0 (backward compatible with 2.0), HDMI output, media reader, and, of course, Wi-Fi.

The laptop has a built-in webcam with two microphones, a backlit keyboard and a headphone / microphone combo jack.

HP - ENVY x360 Specifications

Key specifications

HDD capacity

1 TB

HDD type



Windows 10

Processor speed

2.5 GHz

Processor model

Intel 7th Generation core i5


12 GB

Graphics card

Intel HD Graphics 620 (on-processor graphics)

Battery life

10 hrs

Screen size


Touch screen



Graphics type



Intel HD Graphics 620

Video memory type

Total available


Type of RAM


Number of memory slots







Port type

HDMI, Headphone, Microphone, USB Type C

Bluetooth enabled


NFC enabled


Embedded mobile broadband



Wireless networking



Screen resolution

1920 x 1080 (Full HD)

Display type

Full HD Widescreen LED


Optical drive


Built-in webcam


Numerical keyboard


Touchpad type


2-in-1 Design


Backlit keyboard


Speaker type


Battery type


Battery cells

4 cells





17.78 mm


381 mm


249 mm


2.17 kg

Lenovo Tab 2 A10 - affordable performer in the 10.1' segment

Lenovo Tab 2 A10 is an entry level 10.1 inch Android tablet with good specs and great sound

Lenovo Tab 2 A10 tablet
Lenovo Tab 2 A10

Extra-large tablets are getting increasingly popular but the 10-inch Lenovo Tab 2 A10 with a beautiful display and epic battery life is an excellent option for less than $200. Despite the seemingly modest specifications, the tablet is still a great choice if you’re on a budget but are looking for strong battery and a good display.


10.1-inch screen
Resolution 1280 x 800 pixels
IPS technology
Multi-touch screen
LED backlit display
Processor & Memory
1.3GHz Quad-Core Processor
32 GB internal storage
16 GB memory card capacity
Operating system
Android Lollipop 5.1
General features
Built-in speaker
8-megapixel back camera
5-megapixel front camera
Wi-Fi & Bluetooth enabled
3.5mm stereo headphone jack
microSD memory card slot
Micro USB
Thickness: 8.95 mm
Height: 17.1 cm
Width: 24.7cm
Weight: 525g

With an elegant metallic blue polycarbonate shell, the Tab 2 has a sleek look. The camera on the back is slightly protruding (typical for Lenovo tablets). The logo on the back is placed in a way that suggests the tablet is to be used in landscape position. The headphone jack is situated on the top edge of the tablet near the front camera. The Tab-2 has a multi-speaker sound bar at the top of the device’s shell and in the middle of the sound bar is the back camera.
The USB 2.0 micro port is on the left edge of the tablet next to the volume and power buttons. The micro SD is hidden under a cap on the right side.

Despite being a mid-range tablet, the 10-inch Full HD IPS display is impressive. It provides a sharp, colourful image. The brightness measures at 380 nits, a bit higher than category average. The colour is also reproduced wonderfully, at 94% sRGB gamut.

The sound comes crisp and clear when the Dolby Atmos settings are set to Music preset. The Dolby app is by default set up to Movies preset however even with those settings the audio does not degrade. Still, the Music preset provides more balanced and open audio.

Software and Apps
Lenovo keeps the Tab 2 experience closer to stock Android. Android Lollipop is fast and responsive on the tablet – make sure you upgrade to Lollipop as the tablet most likely will be delivered running KitKat.

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Lenovo’s stock apps are down to a minimum in order to keep the Android experience. You get Google's own apps (Drive, Gmail, Play, Photos, Maps and others), Lenovo's apps (including Calendar, Camera, Music, Email, SYNCit HD and its SHAREit), and some useful third-party apps like Amazon Kindle, Evernote and Kingsoft's Microsoft Office-compatible WPS Office suite.

Powered by a 1.5-GHz MediaTek MT8165 64-bit, quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM, the Tab 2 is good for surfing the Web while listening to music or watching videos. There isn’t any issue listening to a music stream (e.g. Spotify) while browsing in Chrome and navigate between several apps.
In the Geekbench 3 synthetic benchmark test, the Tab 2 earned 2,371, putting it below the category average (2,648).
This tablet didn't fare well in our 3DMark gaming benchmark test, either, notching 9,282. That's less than half of the category average (18,974). The ZenPad S (13,041) may have outdone the Tab 2, but the Iconia Tab 10 (5,379) got a worse score.
In terms of battery life, the Tab 2 A10 lasts an impressive 12 hours on the Laptop Mag battery test.

The 8-megapixel rear camera shoots well and captures fine details while the front 5-megapixel produces good selfies with fine color balance. The Camera app has the Picture in Picture feature, which to take two photos at once, and place one in a polaroid-film frame in a spot of your choosing. The Camera app also comes with a "Face beauty mode," which is becoming fairly standard on most Android phones and tablets.

Battery Life
A fully charged Tab 2 has enough battery life to last 12 hours on the Laptop Mag battery test, which involves continuous Web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness. That's almost 3 hours longer than the category average (8:48).

Configurations and Accessories
For $20 more, the Tab 2 comes with 32GB of flash storage, as opposed to our entry-level model's 16GB. Lenovo also offers a few useful accessories for the Tab 2, including a 16GB USB and micro USB flash drive, which costs $25. There's also a 5000mAh external battery available for $30, to support the 7200mAh battery inside the Tab 2.

IRULU 10.1’’ Android Lollipop tablet PC - eXpro X1 Plus Series

IRULU eXpro X1 Plus Series 10.1’’ Android Lollipop tablet PC reviewed

IRULU eXpro X1 Plus Series tablet
IRULU tablet
Today we’ll review one of the budget tablet PC options of a non-popular producer – IRULU. Their 10.1-inch tablet is priced at under $60 but offers more computing power that you’d think such a budget tablet will have.

Build-wise, the tablet is thicker and heavier than an iPad 2 but still compact and travels well. Additionally, the smooth plastic back of the tablet feels comfortable in your hands but gives a bit of a cheaper look.

The IRULU features a quad-core processor which keeps the interface fluid and quick. Personally I consider the responsiveness of the interface to be one of the most important features of a tablet for my needs so the IRULU does not disappoint here. Of course, we can’t expect a top of the line performance, but it’s more than enough for general web browsing, watching videos, checking Facebook and other social media. Same games tend to be a bit of a problem for the tablet to run though.

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The display is not impressive, but it is of sufficient quality to view webpages, read emails etc. The widescreen works well for watching videos, movies, Netflix etc. The viewing angle of the display is very narrow and can appear ‘washed out’ if you’re viewing it not directly in front so sharing the tablet screen with someone else is not a wise option.

The tablet has 16 GB of storage so you can store enough apps, photos, music files etc. or if you consider this not enough, it can also be expanded with a SD card. The RAM is a bit on the low side however – you get 1 GB of RAM, but in the category of budget laptops this seems to be a decent amount.

Tab 9 dual-core Android tablet

In terms of communication, the IRULU has Bluetooth that you can pair with keyboards and speakers, HDMI out so you can connect to a TV, micro USB 2.0, earphone jack and Wi-Fi.

The tablet features two cameras – a 0.2 MP front camera and a 2 MP back camera. This is on the low-end and the photo quality is not very good. It can still be used for Skype calls or a quick photo, but other than that, the cameras are not very usable given the low specifications.

Overall, I am impressed with the performance from this budget tablet. For basic gaming, web browsing, emails, and even quick video chats with family, it works great and the interface is snappy. This would be fine for kids, students, or anyone that wants a basic tablet without a high price tag.

Quick specifications:
  • Brand: IRULU eXpro X1 Plus Series
  • CPU Chipset: A33 ARM Cortex A7 Quad Core 1.3GHz
  • Operating System: Google Android 5.1.1 Lollipop
  • LCM: 10.1" 1024*600 TFT LCD
  • Touch PanelMulti Capacitive Touch  (Support 10 points)
  • Memory: 16 GB storage + 1GB DDR3 RAM
  • SD Card: Support up to 32GB
  • Camera: CMOS, 0.3M (front) 2M (back)
  • Bluetooth: Bluetooth 4.0
  • Wi-Fi: 802.11 b/g/n
  • Battery: 3.7V, 5500mAh, Li-polymer, enjoy longer running time
  • AC/DC Power Adapter: Input AC100-240V, 50/60Hz, Output DC5V 2A
  • Size: 9.5*163.3*260.8mm
  • Weight: 610g
  • Input/Output Ports: 3.5mm Earphone Jack*1, 5pin Micro USB 2.0 Jack(Power)*1, Micro SD Card Slot*1
  • Sidekey: Volume key Vol+/Vol-, Power key (Reset key)
  • Accessories: USB Cable, User Manual, AC Charger

XOTIC Asus GL502VM-DB71 – 15.6" gaming laptop

XOTIC Asus GL502VM-DB71 –  15.6" gaming laptop


XOTIC Asus GL502VM-DB71 gaming laptop

In today’s review we will take a look at an Asus model for a very well executed gaming laptop with target mid to high range budget clientele. This is the XOTIC Asus GL502VM-DB71 – a FHD G-Sync Gaming Laptop with Intel I7 6700HQ, Nvidia GTX 1060, 16GB Ram, 1TB SSD and a 1TB HDD. The laptop sells at around $1750 and you’re about to understand why.

Quick specifications:

·         15.6" FHD (16:9) Matte Type Screen (1920x1080) w/ G-Sync
·         6th Generation Intel® Skylake™ i7-6700HQ (2.6GHz - 3.5GHz, 6MB Intel® Smart Cache) Processor
·         NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1060 (6GB) GDDR5 (Pascal) DX12 Graphics Card
·         RAM: 16GB (1x8GB+1x8GB) DDR4 2133MHz Dual Channel Memory / M.2:
·         1TB SSD (Pre-Configured as OS Drive)
·         1TB 7200 RPM Hard Drive
·         Wifi: Dual Band Wireless-AC 802.11 AC/A/B/G/N - Stock Wireless Card + Bluetooth 4.1
·         Mobile Intel HM170 Express Chipsets
·         2 x DDR4 SODIMM Slots - Upgradable (24GB Ram Max)
·         3x USB 3.0 ports, 1x USB3.1 Type C (gen 2), 1x mini Display Port, 1x HDMI, 1x Headphone-out jack (S/PDIF), 1x Microphone-in jack
·         Card Reader (SD, MMC)
·         1x RJ45 LAN Jack for LAN insert, 
·         Backlit Chiclet Style Keyboard
·         1.2MP HD Camera
·         180W AC Adapter (Output : 19V DC, 9.5A, 180W / Input : 100~240V AC, 50/60Hz universal)
·         4-cell Li-ion Polymer Battery Pack

Acer Aspire ES1-512 - cheap but reliable 15 inch laptop

Asus have been investing in their gaming notebooks range – pumping up the processing power, giving fancy look to their range and overall quietly targeting the gaming audience. The XOTIC is an especially good member of the range with its sleek looks and terrifying processing power.

The laptop’s case quality is excellent – surfaces do not creak and both the textured aluminum palm rests and plastic bottom feel rigid and of high quality. The hinges are sufficient enough to prevent teetering when typing up to their maximum supported angle of about 130 degrees.


There is a large number of available ports from its dual video-out options, 3x USB 3.0, and USB Type-C supporting speeds of up to 10 Gbps. The HDMI port does not appear to be version 2.0, so native 4K output must be done via mini-DisplayPort. The ports are conveniently situated on the left and right side of the laptop, not on the back.


The keyboard is a bit softer with its key travel of 1.6 mm and the clatter is at the minimum. The dark red font does not contrast very well with the black keys so it’s a bit hard to see the keys if the backlight is disabled. There are no dedicated macro keys.


The touchpad (10.5 x 7.25 cm) is reliable for simple cursor control and multi-touch gestures. The trackpad surface is equally responsive around its edges and corners as it is towards the center. Its gliding properties, however, are not ideal as smaller and more precise cursor movements are less smooth and would often result in finger slips.


There are two display options for this Asus model – the 4K UHD and standard FHD. The screen is clean with very little graininess (which is otherwise a common issue with non-glossy displays). There is minor uneven backlight bleeding of the upper and lower right corners, but it’s barely noticeable.

Outdoor visibility is average on a cloudy or overcast day due to the wide viewing angles of the IPS panel and the decent 300-nit backlight. Brighter ambient lighting or direct sunlight will wash out colors and make onscreen text and images difficult to see


The CPU and GTX 1060 GPU are soldered onto the motherboard and not upgradeable, so SKU options are more limited. The 8 GB of DDR4 RAM is also soldered onto the motherboard with a single SODIMM slot for expansion for up to 24 GB total.

The i7-7700HQ processor runs at 2.8 GHz base clock rate and 3.3 GHz Turbo Boost. As a whole, the system is very responsive during testing and there are no issues related to software.


A total of two internal storage bays are available – a primary 1 TB Samsung SSD and a secondary 1 TB Toshiba HDD.

Gaming Performance

The target audience for this laptop is gamers who want 60 FPS on their native 1080p displays. Users will be able to run most games on High to Extreme graphical settings while still averaging 60 FPS, although newer or more demanding titles will require lower settings for the same frame rate results.

Battery Life

Runtimes from Xotic PC notebooks shorter than average – we’re talking about a runtime of just 1:44 hours with fairly power saving settings. Charging from near empty to full capacity will take 2 to 2.5 hours.

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Acer Aspire ES1-512 - cheap but reliable 15 inch laptop

Product review of the cheap 15.6 inch laptop Acer Aspire ES1-512 powered by Intel Celeron processor

Acer Aspire ES1-512 cheap laptop
Acer Aspire ES1-512

The Acer laptop we are reviewing in this article – Acer Aspire ES1-512 is a hot seller at Amazon and Argos recently. It tops the leader board at both retailers and this is why we decided it’s worth to take a look.

Acer decided to stick to a tried and trusted formula with this model and to pack in as many features as they can for as low of a price as possible. The laptop is currently selling between $230 - $280.


Design-wise, there is nothing special to this machine – the built is mostly functional rather than visually impressive. Opening the laptop reveals a very generous design thanks to a 15.6-inch form factor. A keyboard with a separate numeric keypad welcomes you – its island-style keys are soft to the touch and have a decent amount of travel, and while they're a bit noisy, it's nothing too worrying.

Most ports are placed at the back of the laptop, along with the power socket, which may be slightly uncommon but not uncomfortable once you get used to it. The laptop also has an optical drive.

The touchpad, which is closer to the left edge, is massive compared to other models but doesn't have any physical buttons. It is totally smooth unlike the textured palm rest surrounding it; the latter reinforces the bland, cheap plastic look of the ES1-512.

The display, a 15.6-inch, 1366 x 768 resolution LG-built TN panel, is not bad, but has definite weak spots – there’s a very distinct and distracting glare. Additionally, the viewing angles are poor, even in a well lit room.




Processing power

Impressive battery life

Non-removeable battery

Optical disk drive

Screen glare



The Acer Aspire ES1-512 offers the same hardware as most of its competitors. The processor is Intel Celeron N2840, a Bay Trail-M model with two cores clocked at 2.16GHz with 1MB of L2 cache. The graphics subsystem is Intel HD, you get 4GB of RAM (some of it shared with video), a webcam, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Gigabit Ethernet.

The storage is a Western Digital Scorpio Blue 500GB HDD with 5400RPM spinning speed and 8MB of cache and an LG optical drive as the DVD writer. A pair of tiny speakers are located on the (elevated) bottom of the ES1-512 that offer below-average sound.

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On the other hand, the laptop offers surprising battery life – Acer claims that its Aspire ES1-512 should achieve up to five hours of longevity, but it’s actually ran for eight (8) hours which was certainly a very nice surprise.

The Acer Aspire ES1-512 is an average laptop as a whole, but it is rather cheap, especially if you can get it on a flash sale. It provides decent value for money and a great battery life is one of the best reasons to consider it among its competitors.



Intel Celeron N2840 2.16 GHz, Dual-core


4 GB DDR3L SDRAM, 1 slot

Memory card reader



500 GB

Screen size


Display type


Screen mode


Backlight technology


Screen resolution

1366 x 768


Intel DDR3 SDRAM, shared memory


IEEE 802.11 b/g/n


Gigabit Ethernet



Fingerprint reader





2 x USB 2.0; 1 x USB 3.0

Network (RJ-45)



3-cell lithium-ion, 3220 mAh


H: 26.1 mm, W: 381.6 mm, D: 258 mm, Weight: 2.40 kg