The cheapest usable Android tablet right now comes with half terabyte storage

Gearbest usually offers up some excellent deals, but this one, well, we’re not sure about. It might be a genuine clearance sale or perhaps it's a typo, but we’ll leave our audience to decide for themselves. In the meantime, we’ve reached out to Gearbest for additional details.

Priced at $76.99 (£64.04/AU$121.11) with free shipping worldwide, this unnamed tablet is about the size of Huawei’s MediaPad T5. It has a 10.1-inch display (likely an IPS model), with a rarely-encountered resolution: 1960 x 1080 px.

The rest of the specification is as equally strange as the price point. The tablet is powered by a four-core CPU (the Mediatek MT6582) that was launched nearly eight years ago and comes with a Mali-400MP2 GPU.

Yet, it runs Android 9.0 with 8GB of RAM and 512GB of storage capacity, and wireless connectivity is provided by Bluetooth 4.1 and 802.11n (no AC at this price). It also features two camera sensors, 8-megapixel and 13-megapixel models (likely to be interpolated), with a flash.

Available in pink, black, gold or silver, the tablet has narrow bezels on the sides with thicker ones on the top and bottom.

Other than a 8800mAh battery, a pair of tiny speakers, a microUSB slot, a microSD card slot and a headphone jack, there’s precious little else to report on. Overall, this is a tablet that will be useful for a wide range of scenarios, whether you want to use it as a POS tablet or to entertain your children.

Bear in mind

  • If this product comes from mainland China, it will take at least a month to reach either the US or UK (and potentially more). You may also be levied a tax either directly or through the courier.
  • If you've managed to get hold of a cheaper product with equivalent specifications, in stock and brand new, let us know and we'll tip our hat to you.
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Here’s the cheapest way to store a huge 1000TB of data online

Remember when tape was en vogue, back in the days before it was displaced by compact discs and then vanished from the consumer market? Well, turns out it's still very much in fashion in the corporate world, where demand for data storage is fast outstripping supply.

Fujifilm has announced it will offer its tape-based Object Archive solution as a service (you could call it TaaS) for a transparent, one-off fee. You can store up to one Petabyte (that’s one million GB) in a datacenter for up to five years for a mere $46,100.

That’s $0.77 cents per TB per month, without the additional egress costs, and there’s even an S3 API for Amazon’s popular cloud storage service.

Compared to Backblaze, one of the cheapest online cloud backup services around, Fujifilm’s offering is about 85% cheaper over five years.

Data is stored in the newly developed OTF (Open Tape Format) on two copies, in a way that mimics RAID-0; 180 LTO-8 and 350 LTO-7 tapes are provided. For added security, the archived data is also air-gapped. 

“The customer can request the latest LTO generation (ie. LTO-9) upon renewal of their subscription. The customer is required to upgrade to the latest tape drive technology (LTO-9 drives if the customer is requesting LTO-9 media) prior to the shipment of media,” Fujifilm told TechRadar Pro.

A shorter 3-year subscription is also available for $35,940, which is slightly more expensive in the long run at $1 per TB per month.

Just bear in mind, this is a cold storage solution, similar to Amazon’s Glacier, and as such is unlikely to suit scenarios where data needs to be moved to and from the storage tier on a regular basis.

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This new Amazon Web Services computer is near indestructible and almost as light as a laptop

Amazon Web Services has launched yet another product that it hopes will help customers add even more data to its cloud storage ecosystem.

The new Snowcone device allows users to process data on-premise ahead of being transferred to Amazon’s data centers and servers either physically (it comes with an e-ink label) or via the internet.

The machine is box-like in shape (23 cm x 15 cm x 8 cm) and weighs 2.1 kg, which is barely more than a 15-inch laptop. It's also ruggedized, meeting stringent ruggedization standards (ISTA-3A, ASTM D4169, and MIL-STD-810G) for free-fall shock and operational vibration.

Snowcone is also dust-tight and water resistant (meeting the IP65 International Protection Marking IEC standard) thanks to a combination of smart design, thick bumpers and plenty of shock absorbing material.

Inside there are two processors (Graviton2 perhaps), 4GB of RAM, 8TB storage, a pair of USB Type-C connectors and two Ethernet ports.

The service is currently available only in North America and caters to a niche audience looking for what Amazon describes as “an IoT hub, data aggregation point, application monitor, or lightweight analytics engine.”

The first five days of on-premise usage are included in the service fee of $60. Any additional usage incurs an extra $5 per day, with a lost device fee of $2,000. In addition, while any data transferred into Amazon S3 is free, transferring it out will cost $30 per TB, which is rather expensive for cloud backup.

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Google Meet is officially getting blur and backgrounds, closes gap on Zoom and Teams

Probably one of the most frequently requested features for regular users of Google Meet, the company's popular video conferencing software, is the ability to blur out call backgrounds and add in custom versions.

Microsoft Teams and Zoom already offer this feature, and we can now confirm Google is planning to introduce it soon on both mobile and desktop.

Tucked away in a document that sets out upcoming G Suite releases are the following two entries: “Background blur and replace (for mobile)” and “Background blur and replace (for desktop)”. The feature is described as the ability to "blur the background or replace it with an image or video on desktop.”

However, it's worth noting the document is subject to a few caveats. New items are added roughly every three months and newly introduced features are removed, and the list of releases is not an official commitment and is subject to change without notice. Finally, the listed releases are not “guaranteed to become generally available and may be modified from their current form”.

Other features are likely to be rolled out at the same time, as Meet takes over from its predecessor Hangouts for good. Also in the same development bucket are meeting moderation controls, the ability to dial out to an international phone number from a Meet video call, cloud-based noise cancellation, breakout rooms and the integration of Google’s digital whiteboard.

Google Meet is simple to use and offers a growing list of features for millions of workers that have had to adjust their working patterns as a result of the pandemic. The service was previously paid for but became free in May, with the company also announcing tighter Gmail integration

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This 30.72TB SSD brings something exciting to the table

In the race to build the largest SSD, Kioxia (formerly known as Toshiba Memory) is playing catch up with Samsung Semiconductor as it brings the CM6 and PM6 to market. 

Both are 2.5-inch 15mm drives, with the former sporting a PCIe 4.0 x4 interface and the latter a dual-port 24G SAS (Serial-Attached SCSI) - a popular connector usually found in data centers and servers that delivers a staggering 24Gbps.

As expected, they use Kioxia’s proprietary 96-layer 3D TLC BiCS Flash and firmware and will be available in capacities up to 30.72TB. Write endurance stands at a beefy 1 DWPD (that’s a staggering 11.22 Exabytes), with sequential reads hitting 4.3 GBps and 6.9Gbps for the SAS and PCIe versions respectively. Random IOPS reaches up to 1.4M IOPS, which is slower than Samsung’s monstrous PM1733.

According to a statement from Kioxia, the drives will be “priced to compete with SAS, however, OEMs determine final pricing to customers”. Whatever that means in practice remains to be seen, but we can expect the PM6 to be priced competitively against the only other SAS drive of this capacity, the Samsung PM1643.

Kioxia also claims to be the only SSD supplier to offer failure recovery if two dies were to fail at the same time, offering “multi stream write support” to reduce write amplification and extend endurance, as well as four different enterprise security options.

Note, this particular SKU (the 30.72TB) will be available to purchase in August 2020.

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This is AMD’s secret weapon against Intel and it could change personal computing forever

AMD’s big announcement this week was the launch of the new Ryzen 3000 XT CPUs - a stopgap between the current generation and the Ryzen 4000 series expected to launch later this year.

Tucked away at the foot of the press release is mention of something that might become a fundamental part of AMD’s toolset, sooner rather than later, as it seeks to compete more sustainably with arch nemesis Intel.

TechRadar Pro covered the launch of AMD StoreMi back in April, but version 2.0 has now been announced and will include “a new caching-based acceleration algorithm that enhances data integrity and prioritizes most-used data, speeding up boot times by up to 31% and decreasing game load times by up to 13% vs an HDD only".

The tests were carried out using a hard drive of unknown capacity (or spinning speed) with a PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD, again of unknown origin. In reality, you should be able to mix and match any sort of storage, regardless of whether it is magnetic or not.

No RAMDisk yet

Sadly, this version of StoreMI doesn’t (yet) include the Radeon RAMDisk, which would achieve the Holy Grail of allowing RAM and storage to mix, similar to what Intel has done with Optane.

We still believe this facility will arrive at some point, but why? Well, AMD has been working very closely with Microsoft on the brand new Xbox One X gaming console and one of the biggest leaps in performance has come from moving to a new storage system that combines software (DirectStorage) with customized hardware. 

It turns out that DirectStorage is something Microsoft plans to bring to Windows as well, as it can reduce the processor overhead from I/O operations from multiple cores to just a fraction of a single core. While it will not be tied to any custom hardware, AMD is likely to benefit due to the modular nature of its CPU architecture.

So where does that leave us? In a not-so-distant future, one can imagine an AMD system that pools together all the available memory/storage resources, managed intelligently in a way that’s far more efficient than what Windows 10 achieves with Virtual Memory, the part of your storage component the operating system uses as RAM.

All this is pure speculation, of course, but the fact AMD has dedicated resources to StoreMi makes us optimistic about its future.

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The world’s largest Android ‘tablet’ has an 98-inch screen and a subwoofer

At 98 inches, the ViewSonic IFP9850 4K Ultra HD Display is probably one of the largest monitors with a touchscreen on the market. Think of it as a giant tablet with 20-point touch and a surface area roughly equivalent to four 50-inch television sets.

Although aimed primarily at schools and businesses, it could also prove useful for serving interactive multimedia content to a sizeable live audience - think demonstrations, events, conferences etc. 

Interactivity is at the heart of what the IFP9850 offers; it's integrated myViewBoard annotation software and ViewBoard Cast streaming software, making real-time content collaboration, creation and sharing simple. It can also, however, be used for display signage, interactive kiosks or as a large format panel (LFP).

The display also features two 10W speakers (plus a 15W subwoofer) and a fully-fledged embedded penta-core thin client that runs on Google’s Android 8 OS with 3GB memory and 16GB storage.

Viewsonic offers a 3-year limited warranty on parts, labor and backlight, plus onsite warranty, all for much less than what you’d pay for a comparable 98-inch TV, like the Sony XBR-98Z9G or the Samsung QN98Q900RBFXZA (granted both are 8K models). Upgrade options include a display stand card (AKA trolley), a slot-in PC and a wireless module.

When it comes to connectivity options, the IFP9850 offers a plethora of I/Os; we counted three audio ports, seven USB ports, four HDMI slots, one GbE LAN port, one VGA and one RS232 serial connector.

Note, the display stands at 1.32m high, weighs about 100kg and consumes 400W in use.

Bear in mind

  • Unfortunately, the ViewSonic IFP9850 isn't currently available outside of the US, so international customers may have to use a specialist parcel forwarding service to take advantage of the deal.
  • If you've managed to find a cheaper product with equivalent specifications, in stock and brand new, let us know and we'll tip our hat to you.
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This is the cheapest large battery smartphone right now

Meet the S88 Pro, just launched by prolific rugged smartphone vendor Doogee.

At $199.99 (£163.08/AU$292.37) from AliExpress, it's the cheapest big battery mobile on the market, with a capacity of 10Ah (10,000mAh). But there’s more to it than just just a humongous battery capacity.

The S88 Pro is the first of its kind to come with Android 10, it's powered by a Mediatek Helio P70 CPU with 6GB of memory and also boasts 128GB onboard storage and a 6.3-inch full HD display with anti-fingerprint printing and Corning Gorilla Glass overlay.

Taking inspiration from a famous MCU movie, Doogee also included a pair of “unique multi-function LED lights” at the rear, which we think are a little tacky and could prove distracting. It's also unclear whether this feature complements or replaces the usual front-facing status lights.

Other features worth highlighting include 24W wireless charging, four cameras (three from Sony and one from Samsung), a 10W reverse charger, NFC and IP68/IP69K certification.

It's also worth noting the device can function “normally” between -55 degrees and 70 degrees, so it will survive both hot and freezing climates.

So, what else is going on in the world of ruggedized smartphones?

Blackview is about to launch a new smartphone, the BV6300 Pro, which it bills as the world’s fastest thermal rugged smartphone. It costs the same amount as the S88 Pro but has a much smaller battery.

If you're after an alternative, meanwhile, the Blackview BV9100 has an even bigger battery (13,000mAh), but costs more and has a significantly inferior set of components (slower CPU, a third less memory, half the storage, and a lesser camera sensor).

Bear in mind

  • If this product comes from mainland China, it will take at least a month to reach either the US or UK (and potentially more). You may be levied a tax either directly or through the courier.
  • If you've managed to get hold of a cheaper product with equivalent specifications, in stock and brand new, let us know and we'll tip our hat to you.
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First NVMe 8TB SSD drive gets priced – and it’s not as bad as we expected

The Sabrent 8TB Rocket Q SSD has finally been given a price tag, and it's cheaper than we expected. The drive is now available from Newegg at $1,499.99 (roughly £1,200/AU$2,200).

This might sound expensive, but it's not actually that bad for what is the only SSD to combine this form factor and size. Newegg even allows you to pay for the drive over 12 months if you prefer.

8TB solid state drives have been around for a while, but have never been this cheap. We reviewed the Integral SVR Pro 100 SRI back in January 2017, which was more than twice as expensive. Cheaper drives like the 7.68TB Micron 5210 Ion SSD are available, but are also far slower (because they use SATA interface) and are in a 2.5-inch form factor. 

At $187.50 per TB, Sabrent’s drive is 88% more expensive than the Inland Professional 1TB, the cheapest NVMe SSD per unit storage capacity on Amazon. The premium is significant, but worth it if you have a mobile workstation, for example, or for data center use cases.

While Sabrent uses QLC technology from Micron, which makes it slower than TLC-based products, it also has its own RKT 303 controller, allowing it to deliver spectacular speeds (3.3GBps and 2.9GBps on read/write speeds respectively) with high IOPS numbers to boot.

Combine this with a five year warranty and a 1.8PBW (yes, petabyte write warranty) and you have a seriously capable drive that should fulfill the needs of even the most demanding customers. As always, though, make sure you back up your data.

Bear in mind

  • If the Sabrent Rocket Q is unavailable in your region, you may need to use a specialist parcel forwarding service to take advantage of the deal.
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The first petabyte hard disk drive could contain glass

There is a growing consensus among storage manufacturers worldwide that glass could become a vital component in the drive to satiate humanity's thirst for data storage.

Fuelled by the rise in demand high resolution video and growing IoT networkd, IDC predicts the world will produce 175 zettabytes (ZB) of data by 2025, nearly six times more than in 2018.

Given one ZB is equal to one billion TB, it would be reasonable to assume that we will have reached the mind-boggling trillion terabyte mark by the end of the decade.

Microsoft’s Project Silica first brought optical data storage into the limelight. Researchers at the world’s largest software company - and the second biggest hyperscaler next to AWS - managed to pack 75.6TB of data onto a piece of fused silica that was about the size of a 2.5-inch hard disk drive. In comparison, the world's largest hard disk drives currently max out at 20TB and are in a much larger 3.5-inch form factor.

In a statement to IEEE Explore, Seagate CTO John Morris confirmed its R&D lab is also working on using glass as a medium for optical data storage. “The challenge is to develop systems that can read and write with reasonable throughput,” he said.

Needless to say, rivals such as Western Digital, Toshiba and even Samsung are likely to be following the same route.

However, there are some rather significant challenges to be solved first. Right now, the medium is read-only, making it perfect for Write-Once, Read-Many (WORM) use cases.

Further, given there won’t be any terabit internet connection for at least a few decades, backing up one of these monsters to a cloud storage provider might take more than a lifetime, once they hit the market.

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New Intel chip hides something revolutionary that barely anyone noticed

Intel’s first Lakefield processors, two of which were launched on Wednesday, feel like the start of a new era. Never in the past decade have so many new technologies been packed into a new processor aimed at end-clients (businesses and consumers).

In fact, the Core i3 variant is a first in many respects. It's the first x86 processor with five cores, the first to have heterogeneous cores (similar to ARM’s big.LITTLE), the first to use the 3D stacking technology known as Foveros and the first to integrate an 4G/LTE modem.

It also has the second lowest per core TDP (average of 1.4W per core) and one of the highest base-to-turbo frequencies in its category, meaning this is one of Intel’s most frugal processors ever.

Two other features took a backseat when the processor was announced, but are critical to some of the most fundamental form factor shifts we'll see in personal computers arriving in the next decade.

First, this chip can drive up to four 4K displays at 60Hx (i.e. 35.4 megapixels in all) - that’s equivalent to an 8K resolution, which is jaw-droppingly high.

An Intel spokesperson confirmed there will be two internal and two external displays, but specific support will depend on the OEM implementation. In other words, the vendors will decide.

The second is its support for six cameras in total, with four able to operate at the same time (totalling 48 megapixels). That’s neither an add-on nor an afterthought, but rather an intrinsic part of the fabric of this processor. So, what does that mean in practice?

The beginning of a new era

Well, a flurry of form factors. Microsoft could fancy having a look at it for a cheaper version of Hololens and plenty of vendors are considering it for ultra light laptops with very long battery lives. We could also see the rise of plug computers - x86 devices that fit in a plug and connect to monitors wirelessly.

Assuming laptop vendors follow the same trend as smartphone vendors, we could see the end of low-resolution front facing cameras. Even mid-range smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy A51 or the Huawei P30 Lite have front facing cameras that are far more capable than anything found on laptops.

A 32-megapixel selfie camera is perhaps a bit of a stretch, but the new Lakefield processors will deliver significantly better pictures, enhanced by onboard imaging capabilities like HDR. Multiple cameras could also mean the ability to generate virtual, 3D avatars in real time and better facial recognition.

The products based on Lakefield processors are likely to be high-end, premium models and it will be interesting to see how they perform, compared to other less expensive but equally frugal processors like the latest 10th generation Ice-Lake processors. 

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Is this gaming laptop the best mobile workstation deal right now?

Dell has provided us with perhaps the best reason for anyone to ask their employer for a gaming laptop, in the form of the new Dell G5 15 SE - and it's arguably more powerful than most mobile workstations in its price range.

At only $1332.79 (roughly £1060/AU$1950), this is a stunning deal given the specifications. You can also apply for credit and pay $74.04 over 18 months with no interest and get up to $79 back in rewards. Bear in mind, you'll need to go through this link or you'll be charged an extra $30.

As for the laptop itself, it's a special edition model with an 8-core/16-thread AMD Ryzen 7 4800H with Radeon Graphics. It also has a separate AMD Radeon RX 5600M GPU with 6GB GDDR6 and AMD’s Smartshift technology, which “dynamically shifts power in your laptop to help boost performance for gaming, video editing, 3D rendering, content creation and productivity”.

The machine also boasts 16GB memory (two 8GB modules), a 1TTB PCIe NVMe M2 SSD and a 15.6-inch FHD LED display with a 144Hz refresh rate and rated at 300Nits.

Beyond that, Dell's laptop features dual speakers with Nahimic 3D Audio, a 51Whr battery, plus Intel’s Killer Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity - and you get a 12-month subscription to McAfee LiveSafe security software to boot.

In terms of connectors, there's a Mini DP, USB-C DisplayPort (Alt-Mode only), two USB 2.0 ports, one HDMI 2.0 port, a USB 3.2 Gen 1 connector, an SD card slot, headphone jack and an Ethernet plug. In theory, you should be able to connect up to three 4K monitors at once.

Bear in mind

  • If the Dell G5 15 SE is not available in your region, you may need to use a specialist parcel forwarding service to take advantage of the deal.
  • If you've managed to get hold of a cheaper product with equivalent specifications, in stock and brand new, let us know and we'll tip our hat to you.
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Could this be the best business laptop deal right now?

In recent years, the boundary between business and consumer laptops has grown increasingly blurred. Sure, hardcore gaming laptops and enterprise models have their own unique traits (e.g. dedicated graphics cards for the former and sophisticated management features for the latter), but that doesn’t necessarily apply to entry level devices.

The IdeaPad 81UT00EAUS from Lenovo, for example, belongs to the popular S145 family, which is equally well-suited for home and business use. Available from BestBuy for $379.99 (roughly £300/AU$550), it's currently out best business laptop deal.

The IdeaPad 81UT00EAUS run on an AMD Ryzen 3 3200 CPU and features a 15-inch full HD display, dedicated numeric keypad, 8GB of RAM (dual channel) and 256GB SSD (NVMe, PCIe). It also has three USB ports, a HDMI one and a memory card reader.

Should they need to, businesses can also upgrade to Windows 10 Pro via Microsoft’s store. But Windows 10 Home should prove sufficient for the overwhelming majority of SMBs.

Extra features such as Bitlocker device encryption, kiosk mode setup, remote desktop and Virtual Machine capabilities, meanwhile, can all be added via third party software.

In terms of caveats, there’s no Type-C connector or Ethernet port, the display is a TN model, the webcam is a VGA type model (so you may end up looking like a Minecraft or Roblox avatar) and the battery is a little underwhelming at 35Whr.

Bear in mind

  • If the Lenovo Ideapad 81UT00EAUS is unavailable in your region, you may have to use a specialist parcel forwarding service to take advantage of the deal.
  • If you've managed to get hold of a cheaper product with equivalent specifications, in stock and brand new, let us know and we'll tip our hat to you.
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This is probably the best Linux laptop deal right now

The Mytrix LinuxBook 7350 is a laptop like no other; it's not the cheapest notebook that runs on Ubuntu, but is almost certainly the best Linux laptop when it comes to sheer value for money.

The fact it's available from both Newegg and Walmart is also reassuring, since we're dealing with a bit of an unknown quantity in the form of Mytrix, a newcomer to the market.

The laptop costs just under $460 (£460.50/AU$776.70) from Newegg and very slightly more from Walmart. For your money, you get a rather impressive device: Intel Core i5-8250, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD and a 13.3-inch full HD IPS display with fingerprint scanner.

The LinuxBook 7350 also features three USB ports (including a Type-C one that has DP mode), one HDMI connector, a microSD card, 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5.0 and an audio jack.

Let's not forget, this laptop weighs only 1.2Kg and has an all-metal chassis, making it a solid candidate for any business eager to explore alternatives to Windows 10.

The device's clear unique selling, however, is the presence of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, which serves as a useful introduction to the world of Linux.

A 1TB model is available for about $99 extra and you should also be able to install Windows 10 should you feel the need to. It's also worth noting that the battery capacity isn't listed, so we can't estimate the battery life.

Bear in mind

  • If the Mytrix LinuxBook 7350 is unavailable in your region, you may have to use a specialist parcel forwarding service to take advantage of the deal.
  • If you've managed to get hold of a cheaper product with equivalent specifications, in stock and brand new, let us know and we'll tip our hat to you.
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This is the cheapest ‘upgradable laptop’ we’ve seen to date

So, imagine you could upgrade your laptop every year or every time you get a new smartphone, that’s possible thanks to the Nexdock Touch, the followup to the Nexdock 2 which was unveiled a few years ago on Kickstarter. You can preorder it directly from Nexdock for $249 excluding P&P; the first units are expected to be shipped on August 31st.

In a nutshell, it is a touch-capable computer screen with a keyboard, battery, a touchpad and a docking station all combined into a laptop form factor. You plug in your computer, tablet, base unit, laptop, smartphone (basically anything with a HDMI port) and presto! You have a working computer that charges your phone..

The screen is a 14-inch full HD IPS model with narrow bezels, a huge 60WHr battery, better speakers (four of them) and a bigger touchpad compared to the previous generation. The webcam is also placed bang in the middle of the hinge that connects the display to the keyboard.

All other ports and features of NexDock Touch are exactly the same with NexDock 2; there’s a HDMI in, three Type-C connectors (one for smartphones, one for charging), a microSD card slot, a Type-A connector and a headphone jack. 

The most exciting use case is with smartphones that support Android’s desktop mode; that includes all the Samsung Galaxy models from the S8 and the Note 8, all Huawei flagship smartphones since the Mate 10 and the P20 plus the Honor Note 10 and the Honor View 20.

Technically, all smartphones that come with Android 10 and support video output over USB Type-C should be able to do that trick.

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