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Microsoft Surface Pro 9 Review: A Master of Versatility

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Microsoft Surface Pro 9 Review: A Master of Versatility

Microsoft’s Surface line of devices has cemented itself with users, spanning laptops, desktops and the original Surface 2-in-1 design that the Surface Pro typifies.

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The Surface Pro 9 makes a slight change to previous iterations, bringing two distinct options, the more conventional Intel-powered version and the ARM-based version that essentially supplants the Surface Pro X.

That gives customers a choice: stick with the familiar incumbent Intel, or jump over to the Qualcomm-powered version (badged as Microsoft SQ 3) offering 5G, which might, inevitably, emerge as the default platform for mobile computing in the future.

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We used the Intel-powered Surface Pro 9 as a daily driver working on Pocket-lint. Here’s how it coped.

Surface Pro 9 vs Surface Pro 9 with 5G

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Let’s start by comparing the two different versions of the Surface. We’ll ignore the display and the overall design, because that’s the same, as is the keyboard and pen. The only real design difference between the two is that the Pro 9 packing in Intel is vented around the upper half, while the 5G version lacks those vent holes. So it’s the core hardware that’s different: the regular version offering 12-gen Intel Core hardware, with the option of i5-1235U or i7-1255U, while the 5G model is powered by the Microsoft SQ3 processor, developed with Qualcomm.

There are minor differences in the configurations you can spec, with Intel offering 8-32GB LPDDR5 RAM, while the ARM model is 8 or 16GB and it’s LPDDR4x. Similarly, Intel gets more storage options up to 1TB, while the 5G model only gets to 512GB.

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These minor points probably don’t matter, it’s the addition of 5G compatibility that will really make a difference, supporting nano SIM or eSIM, while also running with reduced heat (hence the lack of vents) and with greater efficiency. According to Microsoft’s figures, the Surface Pro 9 is good for 15.5 hours of use, while the Surface Pro 9 with 5G will see you through an impressive 19 hours. Naturally, within this core hardware there’s a difference in the onboard graphical power (Intel Iris Xe vs Adreno 8CX Gen 3), although Microsoft assures us that in real terms there’s little actual difference.

However, there are additional skills offered by the 5G model, which harks back to some of Qualcomm’s forte in mobile platforms: there’s an NPU (neural processing unit), now common on smartphones, but here able to provide some additional lifting power to the Surface Pro 9 with 5G.

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This leads to the advent of some new features (again, exactly what you’d expect from Qualcomm), boosting the front camera to allow native auto-framing, auto-background blur, eye tracking and more precise beam forming on the mic. Finally, there’s only support for Thunderbolt through USB 4.0 on the Intel model, the 5G model only offering USB 3.2.

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Design and build

  • 287 x 209 x 9.3mm, 879g
  • Aluminium body
  • Sapphire, Forest, Platinum, Graphite colours
  • 2x USB-C Thunderbolt 4; Surface Connect, Surface Type Cover ports

The design of the Surface Pro is well known and Microsoft hasn’t changed anything significant, sticking to that slightly chunky tablet with kickstand paired with a keyboard cover – in some cases finished with Alcantara, which we feel really does make for a premium choice and worth having. There’s a great finish and we like the simplicity of the design, the kickstand offering the flexibility to set the display at an angle that works for you.

When compared to a conventional laptop, there’s a slight disadvantage in that the screen needs the kickstand for support, rather than being supported by the base of the laptop. That means you need a little more space (depth) when compared to a 13-inch laptop, but generally speaking, the advantage Surface Pro offers is that it’s lighter – and if you don’t need the keyboard (because you’re just watching a movie or using the Surface Pen for example), then it’s a more compact package.

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People often ask about the lapability of a device like the Surface Pro, but this review is being written with Surface Pro on lap while flying. It has been used on the train, sitting in corridors at CES and all without issue. As long as you remember that you can’t pick it up by the keyboard, you’ll be fine.

Well, you can, because the magnets are strong enough to cling on to the tablet if you do pick it up by the keyboard, but it’s not something we advise doing.

There are two USB-C ports on the Surface Pro, with a bespoke charging port too. It’s a shame that USB-C can’t also be used for charging, because that means you need to carry Microsoft’s charger – although that charging block also incorporates a USB-A, so it’s useful for charging other devices you might have. There are speakers built into the frame, giving left and right channels when in landscape. They are only rated at 2W, but they offer a wide soundscape, supporting Dolby Atmos and giving a pretty good showing for themselves. They’re surprisingly good.

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Source: www.GhanaCNN.com

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Sony DualSense Edge Review: Is the PS5 Pro Controller Worth The Price Tag?

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Sony DualSense Edge Review: Is the PS5 Pro Controller Worth The Price Tag?

Sony’s pro controller certainly looks the part, but can its numerous features justify the cost?

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When Sony launched the PlayStation 5 it also reinvented the humble controller, of sorts. The DualSense was (and still is) somewhat a revelation.

Its numerous new features – not least the adaptive triggers and haptic feedback – elevate the gaming experience sufficiently that we’ll undoubtedly see rivals sport similar in future.

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There’s just one problem though – if you’re a power player, you’ll have realised by now that a conventional DualSense isn’t the most sturdy of accessories. We’ve actually rinsed two of them ourselves, with another two on their way out. It’s an expensive hobby if you have to replace them all the time, that’s for sure.

The thumbsticks are the biggest culprits, becoming spongy and less precise as you play. Games like Call of Duty and FIFA are particularly taxing for controllers, asking for quick directional switching constantly. And, if your controller isn’t quite up to scratch anymore, you can lose vital milliseconds in response time or, worse still, accidentally point the stick in the wrong direction. Even a fractionally different angle could ping a wildly inaccurate pass.

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The new DualSense technology has also hampered third-party accessory manufacturers somewhat, providing relatively few alternatives (in comparison to the Xbox Wireless Controller, for example), so what do you do? Well, Sony has provided one answer – its own pro controller to rival the handful from the likes of Scuf and Razer. The DualSense Edge is robust, customisable and technically set up to avoid having to be replaced fully when some parts fail. However, it also costs almost the same as an entire console, so is it worth the price or is it a fanciful extravagance during an era of belt tightening? We tested it to find out.

Case and accessories

  • Hard carry case
  • Six thumbstick caps included
  • Two rear levers and half dome buttons can be added
  • 3-metre braided USB-C cable

The DualSense Edge certainly looks and feels the part. It comes with a hard shell carry case that’s about a protective as can be, which contains the controller itself plus a number of add-ons and swappable doohickeys.

There are additional thumbstick caps, with two longer and two shorter alternatives with dome caps. The longer ones provide more travel for those who prefer it, while the shorter duo are the same length as the conventional caps (already installed) but with rounded rather than indented rubberised tips.

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The rounded caps are a throwback to the DualShock controllers released for or with former PlayStations up to the PS3. They certainly evoke some pleasant memories of yesteryear gaming but actually have a more practical use too – we find the shape more robust. We’ve not found it a problem with the DualSense so far, but the lipped caps on the PS4 DualShock perished reasonably quickly, tearing the surround away from the middle and ruining the cap entirely. This rounded shape should prevent that entirely.

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Xbox Game Pass Games List, Price and Everything You Need To Know

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Xbox Game Pass Games List, Price and Everything You Need To Know

Microsoft has a couple of subscription services for owners of the Xbox One, Xbox Series X or Series S.

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Xbox Live Gold is a monthly membership plan that is required for online play and, while it gives you a couple of free games a month, that’s its primary purpose.

On the other hand, Xbox Game Pass is the firm’s service that gives you access to hundreds of games for just one monthly fee.

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They can each be paid for separately, but the best news is that you can get both, plus PC Game PassEA PlayCloud Gaming and access to exclusive game discounts for a single, cheaper price.

ere’s everything you need to know about Game Pass and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.

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What is Xbox Game Pass and Game Pass Ultimate?

Xbox Games Pass gives you access to well over 300 games to download and play on your Xbox One or Xbox Series X/S for one monthly fee.

If you upgrade to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, you also get Xbox Live Gold, PC Game PassEA Play and access to Xbox Cloud Gaming, all for the same price.

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You can download the games and play them as often as you like, as long as you continue to pay the monthly fee. Some titles might become unavailable as others are added, but you also have the option of buying any of the collection outright at discounted prices.

Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and original Xbox games are part of the line-up, the latter two through backward compatibility, so there are plenty of top titles to choose from.

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Microsoft adds releases of its own and many third-party games on the same day they are released in stores. This includes Halo Infinite and Bethesda’s new, forthcoming sci-fi RPG, Starfield.

It could also include all of Activision Blizzard’s vast back catalogue of titles, when Microsoft’s acquisition completes, including legacy and new Call of Duty games.

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The included Xbox Live Gold also gives subscribers exclusive discounts on many games on the Xbox Store.

How much does Xbox Game Pass Ultimate cost?

Xbox Games Pass Ultimate is priced at $14.99/£10.99 a month. You can cancel at any time.

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As mentioned, it includes Xbox Live Gold, Xbox Games Pass for PC and EA Play. Plus, Microsoft’s cloud service, Cloud Gaming, is part of Ultimate at no extra cost.

The standard console-only version of Games Pass doesn’t include Gold, EA Play, Cloud Gaming or the PC version. It costs $9.99/£7.99 a month. It’s the same price for the PC-only version when subscribed to separately. Ultimate is clearly the better deal.

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What games are part of Xbox Game Pass?

Xbox Game Pass will always offer more than 300 games, made up of Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and original Xbox backward compatible titles.

Some might be switched in future for other games, but here is the current list of all the games that are currently available:

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All the Xbox One & Series X/S games on Game Pass (as of 26 January 2023):

Note, all games run on Xbox One as well as Xbox Series X/S, but can have enhancements on the next-gen consoles. Some games will also feature Xbox’s Auto HDR and/or FPS Boost technologies.

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Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 Rumours: What’s The Story So Far?

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Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 Rumours: What’s The Story So Far?

Samsung releases a number of smartphones every year, from the Galaxy S devices at the beginning of the year to the Galaxy Z devices towards the latter half of the year. You’ll also get a couple of Galaxy A devices mixed in too.

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The Galaxy Z Flip is the company’s clamshell smartphone, and it typically launches alongside the Galaxy Z Fold. We’ve covered off what is expected from the Galaxy Z Fold 5 in a separate feature, but here we are focusing on what we can expect from the Galaxy Z Flip 5.

Galaxy Z Flip 5 release date

  • August 2023?

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 was announced with the Galaxy Z Fold 4 at the beginning of August 2022. The Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Z Flip 3 were also both announced in August the year prior, so August 2023 seems like a plausible month for the Galaxy Z Flip 5.

For now, there are no rumours surrounding a date for the Galaxy Z Flip 5 launch, and we don’t expect one for a while, but we would say it’s worth pencilling in the second half of the year.

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In terms of price, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 starts at £999 in the UK and $999 in the US. Whether the Galaxy Z Flip 5 will stay under that £1000/$1000 mark remains to be seen at the moment, but we certainly hope it doesn’t go too much over it.

Galaxy Z Flip 5 design

  • Change in design?
  • Horizontal fold
  • Redesigned hinge?

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 hasn’t changed a great deal in terms of design since it first launched, with only a couple of enhancements and improvements here and there rather than a complete redesign.

There have been some rumours to suggest there could be a few changes coming to the Galaxy Z Flip 5 though. A new hinge design has been reported, as well as a larger cover display.

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Source: www.GhanaCNN.com

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