Apple MacBook Pro, Apple Magic Keyboard, Asus Chromebook Flip C436, TCL 10 Pro, and more: Reviews round-up
Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2020)
The 2020 13-inch MacBook Pro is more of a 'speedbump' than a radical revamp, but Apple is clearly hoping to offer a tempting quad-core upgrade to owners of older dual-core models, as well as competing with newer rivals such as Microsoft's Surface range. Its lightweight design and battery life are still hard to beat, and it's good to see Apple finally putting its keyboard problems to rest. The update ensures that the 13-inch MacBook Pro continues to offer an attractive, portable design and strong performance for business users.
Apple Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro
The Magic Keyboard is the first iPad keyboard accessory from Apple that takes advantage of iPadOS 13.4's new trackpad support. It has a new hinge, complete with a USB-C port for pass-through charging (leaving the iPad's USB-C port open for connecting accessories), Apple's new scissor keys, and a backlit keyboard. At $350 for the 12.9-inch model or $299 for the 11-inch model, it's not cheap -- but it makes the iPad Pro much more compelling as a potential laptop replacement.
Logitech Combo Touch
The new Logitech Combo Touch keyboard is available for $149.99 in two configurations. The one we tested is for the 7th generation Apple iPad and another is available for the 3rd generation iPad Air or iPad Pro 10.5-inch tablet. It's not an inexpensive accessory, but if you want to use your iPad for optimal productivity and efficiency, then the keyboard is worth the price.
Asus Chromebook Flip C436
The Chromebook Flip C436 is a visually pleasing, solidly made and ergonomic Chromebook -- but it's also one of the most expensive (£899, or $799 in the US). The lack of a USB 3 port means users will need to either buy a converter or use a USB-C hub. The screen could also do with more brightness if it's to be usable outdoors. But the main issue with the Chromebook Flip C436 is its 10th-generation Core i5 processor, which is arguably over-specified for this platform. As it stands, you might want to look a little down the Chromebook line to save some money.
Dynabook Portégé X30L-G
The Dynabook Portégé X30L-G is incredibly light at 870g, and benefits from a good range of ports and slots. The IGZO screen's low power consumption contributes to impressive all-day battery life. However there are downsides. Audio output lacks punch, and the keyboard design doesn't make the most of the available space, and as a result is a little cramped.
TCL 10 Pro
With the TCL 10 series we see the first TCL-branded phones launching for North American customers. It's clear that TCL is offering a compelling choice for less than $500. The design is lovely, the display is wonderful, and there are advanced camera features in this new phone. The TCL 10 Pro also still has a 3.5mm headset jack and even an IR port to control your local infrared-enabled devices. It's a great buy at this price point.
Motorola Moto G8
Budget handsets are all about managing the trade-offs. With the Moto G8 the most obvious savings have been made on the screen, whose relatively low resolution affects text readability in particular. The build quality is nothing special, but perfectly OK. The absence of NFC may be more problematic for some. The 3.5mm headset jack and serviceable cameras are welcome, but the big plus is a 4,000mAh battery that ensures plenty of handset usage between charges. All in all, the Moto G8 delivers a good set of features and capabilities at a competitive price.
Google Pixel Buds
The new Google Pixel Buds are outstanding wireless earbuds and finally offer an Apple AirPods alternative for Android users that Google can be proud of. The fit is superb, the design is attractive, battery life is reasonable, and the usability makes these an excellent Google product to add to your arsenal.
Latitude 7220 Rugged Extreme Tablet
The Latitude 7220 Rugged Extreme Tablet has undergone military-grade (MIL-STD 810G and 810H) testing (including transit and operating drop-tests) and can work in temperatures ranging from -28°C to 62°C. The design is extremely modular, allowing for plenty of configuration options. Playing around with other specifications can be more expensive. But that's the way with rugged tablets, and the extremely configurable nature of this one certainly makes it fit for purpose.
Asus VivoBook S 14
The new £699 (inc. VAT)/$699.99 Asus VivoBook S 14 is a solidly built 14-inch Windows 10 laptop running on a 10th generation Intel Core processor. There are plenty of ports and connectors on board and battery life is pretty good. It's a durable and efficient Windows 10 Pro laptop with a nifty feature in the touchpad-embedded calculator. All-day battery life is another plus point, but beware the flexy keyboard.