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Apple iMac, iPad Pro, Apple TV 4K, Microsoft Surface Laptop 4, and more: ZDNet's reviews roundup

From a slew of new Apple hardware to Microsoft's latest powerful portable and onto a well-priced mechanical keyboard, here's the kit we tested in May.
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Topic: Reviews
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1 of 12 Apple

Apple iMac 24-inch (M1, 2021)

The striking design of the 24-inch M1-based iMac will undoubtedly earn it a place in many homes and offices, and the performance of the M1 SoC continues to impress. If Apple's aim was simply to make a splash and prove that it can still out-design its PC rivals, then the company has certainly made its point. 

For more see: Apple iMac 24-inch (M1, 2021) review: Slim, power-efficient and colourful

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2 of 12 Apple

Apple iPad Pro (2021)

The iPad Pro pushes the limits of what a flat slab of glass and metal can do. Right now, the future looks promising. But that future will rely on what Apple does or doesn't do with iPadOS 15. Will developers soon gain apps like Xcode? And will creatives get access to apps like Logic Pro or Final Cut Pro? Only a few weeks until we know the second half of the story. 

For more see: Apple iPad Pro (2021) review: Impressively powerful, but the hardware is only part of the story

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3 of 12 Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

Apple TV 4K 2021

The new Apple TV 4K is the streaming device to get for anyone who's invested in the Apple ecosystem, whether it's your first steaming device or you're adding another to your home. Yes, it's more expensive than the competition. But as frustrating and unfortunate as it is, it's more often than not worth it. And the new Apple TV 4K is no exception.

For more see: Apple TV 4K (2021) review: A welcome upgrade, all around

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4 of 12 Microsoft

Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 (13.5-inch, AMD)

The Surface Laptop 4 isn't a budget option, but it's sleek and powerful with excellent battery life and a gorgeous screen in a very portable package. What you're getting is a balanced system that's tuned to give you a sensible trade-off between performance and battery life. You don't get the 2-in-1 tablet options of other Surface models, but it's a great all-rounder.

For more see: Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 (13.5-inch, AMD) review: Sleek, stylish, speedy and sensible

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5 of 12 Huawei

Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021

Huawei's MateBook X Pro 2021 looks very similar to its predecessor, with the 11th-generation Core i7 CPU being the main upgrade. In some ways, that's perfectly acceptable. However, the speakers still leave something to be desired. Worse still, battery life seems to have got worse since last year, and the keyboard-embedded webcam really needs a rethink. 

For more see: Huawei MateBook X Pro 2021 review: Still an elegant ultraportable, but issues remain

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6 of 12 Xiaomi

Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra

The Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra is a conundrum. As a top-tier handset it ought to knock the rest of Xiaomi's range into a cocked hat, yet in terms of value for money the Mi 11 is a better phone. Both handsets share the same (excellent) screen and (top-end) processor. So despite its high-end specs and excellent build quality, the Mi 11 Ultra doesn't live up to expectations.

For more see: Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra review: Large, powerful and expensive

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7 of 12 palmsolo/ZDNet

ZTE Axon 30 Ultra 5G

Flagship Android phones powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor typically start in the $1,000 range, but ZTE will soon be launching a very competitive phone that matches other flagships at a starting price of $749 in the US. It feels great in the hand with a narrow and thin form factor for a large display device.

For more see: ZTE Axon 30 Ultra 5G first look review: Affordable flagship with advanced triple camera shooting modes

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8 of 12 Nokia

Nokia X20

The Nokia X20 is a well designed handset with good battery life, dual SIM support, 5G and a no-frills Android 11 installation, with three years of security updates guaranteed. For all that, it doesn't really do enough to earn a top spot in the mid-range 5G segment. The screen is an IPS panel with 60Hz refresh, the cameras are average, and there's no fast charging. 

For more see: Nokia X20 review: A solid but unspectacular mid-range 5G phone with good battery life

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9 of 12 palmsolo/ZDNet

AfterShokz OpenComm

This headset uses bone conduction technology with a noise-canceling boom microphone designed to provide clear voice communication for meetings, conference calls, field work, and more. The $159.95 OpenComm wireless headset is a great option for those who want to keep their ears open while having an optimal voice experience, too.

For more see: AfterShokz OpenComm wireless headset review: Bone conduction with DSP boom mic optimized for remote work

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10 of 12 Plugable

Plugable Thunderbolt 3 Docking Station

Laptop docks that work with USB-C are quite commonplace these days, thanks to the trend for working from home, but docks that support the greater performance and versatility of Thunderbolt 3 are rarer. If you have a laptop that supports Thunderbolt 3, then the Plugable Thunderbolt 3 Docking Station is a compact and versatile solution for workers.

For more see: Plugable Thunderbolt 3 Docking Station, hands-on: A slimline laptop dock with host charging option

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11 of 12 Netgear

Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500 Tri-Band Wi-Fi 6E Router

Several networking companies have announced new routers that support Wi-Fi 6E, but Netgear is first off the starting block. Priced at $599.99, the RAXE500 is a top-of-the-range option, boasting a top combined speed of 10.8Gbps, and eight internal antennae designed to stream data to 60 devices simultaneously.   

For more see: Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500 Tri-Band Wi-Fi 6E Router, hands on: High-performance, high-capacity

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12 of 12 palmsolo/ZDNet

Keychron K3

The Keychron K3 weighs in at 396 grams and measures 306 x 116 mm. It's designed for those looking for a sleeker keyboard setup either for aesthetics or for portable use where you move the keyboard around your home or office environment. Given that the keyboard is an essential part of getting work done, the $84 price is perfect.

For more see: Keychron K3 wireless mechanical keyboard review: Easily move between the office and home

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