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Apple MacBook Pro M1, MacBook Air, iPhone 12, Google Pixel 5, and more: ZDNet's reviews roundup

From a slew of new Apple devices to some interesting smartphones and onto wireless earbuds, here's what our reviewers tested in November.

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Topic: Hardware
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1 of 19 Jason Cipriani / ZDNet

Apple MacBook Pro M1

There's clearly some work to be done when it comes to app support, particularly with iPhone and iPad apps. But the average consumer who buys a MacBook Pro and goes home to set it up will very likely never realise that Apple has completely transitioned away from Intel to Apple Silicon, and that's the right way to go about this. Apple nailed it with the first M1 Macs.

For more see: MacBook Pro M1 review: Apple amazes with its first Silicon MacBook Pro

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2 of 19 Apple

Apple MacBook Air (Late 2000)

The new M1-based MacBook Air really throws down the gauntlet for rival ultraportable laptops. It might seem expensive for an entry-level offering, but the performance of the M1 chip gives the late 2020 MacBook Air a new lease of life. It sets a new standard for ultraportables.

For more see: MacBook Air (Late 2020) review: M1 chip gives Apple's veteran ultraportable a shot in the arm

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3 of 19 Apple

Apple iPad (8th generation)

The 8th generation iPad provides a big performance improvement over its predecessor. It's also affordable enough for home users yet powerful enough for business users, and with strong battery life to back it up, the 8th generation iPad represents excellent value for money.

For more see: Apple iPad (8th generation) review: Strong performance and battery life boost Apple's most affordable iPad

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4 of 19 palmsolo / ZDNet

Apple iPhone 12

It was hard to come up with a con for this iPhone, but it is still rather expensive at $879 for the 128GB model. However, it excels in just about every area and while the Pixel phones still set the bar for still photos, the iPhone 12 does very well and also excels at video.

For more see: Apple iPhone 12 review: 5G, improved reception, and iOS 14 widgets challenge Android phones

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5 of 19 Jason Cipriani / ZDNet

Apple iPhone 12 Mini

If you despise large phones and look forward to the day the trend of larger displays vanishes, then the iPhone 12 Mini is for you. We enjoyed the pocketable size of the Mini. But we're also dreaming of the day Apple makes a small iPhone with a three-camera array and Lidar sensor.

For more see: Apple iPhone 12 Mini review: Proof big things can come in small packages

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6 of 19 Apple

Apple Mac Mini (Late 2020)

Apple's M1 chip once again proves its worth, helping to deliver a combination of performance and price that makes the late-2020 Mac Mini excellent value for office use, or for working from home.

For more see: Mac Mini (Late 2020) review: Apple's most affordable M1 Mac offers great value for money

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7 of 19 Dell

Dell Latitude 9510

This is a compact and solidly built laptop. It's expensive, though, especially considering there's no 4K display option. Still, battery life is very good, the speakers are excellent and the 5G option will appeal to mobile professionals who are prepared to lug the weight around.

For more see: Dell Latitude 9510 review: A compact and very competent 15-inch business laptop

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8 of 19 HP Inc

HP Pro c640 Chromebook

In use, the Core i7 processor handled multiple open browser windows and applications with ease, while the battery, which HP says lasts for up to 12 hours, easily kept us going for a full day's work. Despite these plus points, the HP Pro c640 Chromebook feels over-priced, and the screen is particularly disappointing.

For more see: HP Pro c640 Chromebook, hands on: Slim and robust, but the display disappoints

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9 of 19 HP Inc

HP EliteBook 840 G7

This is a well-built 14-inch business laptop with a good selection of ports and connectors, LTE mobile broadband and great battery life. However, the FHD screen on the entry-level £1,074 (inc. VAT) model reviewed here lacks brightness, and sound quality could be better.

For more see: HP EliteBook 840 G7 review: Compact and solidly built, with great battery life

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10 of 19 Jason Cipriani / ZDNet

Google Pixel 5

Between removing some features and using less expensive components, like the processor, to get to the $699 price point, on paper Pixel 5 should be a phone of trade-offs and exceptions. However, after almost a full 30 days of using it, we found it exceptional. 

For more see: Google Pixel 5 review: Less is more. In fact, it's exceptional

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11 of 19 palmsolo / ZDNet

LG Wing 5G

The LG Wing is an interesting device, but we're not sure it offers enough to justify the $1,000 price. This is less than other devices with two displays integrated into one phone, but the LG Velvet or LG V60 are much better for getting work done and are priced hundreds less too.

For more see: LG Wing 5G review: Novel dual screen approach, limited productivity use cases

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12 of 19 Sony

Sony Xperia 5 II

There's a lot to like about this phone: it's more usable than its larger Xperia 1 II stablemate, while sharing some, though not all, of its high-end features. The 120Hz screen refresh rate makes for smooth transitions, and the OLED screen itself is a pleasure to view. 

For more see: Sony Xperia 5 II review: A compact version of Sony's wide-screen 5G flagship

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13 of 19 Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

Huawei Mate 40 Pro

If we take the four-figure price and the lack of Google's apps and services out of the equation, Huawei has come up with a stunning flagship phone in the Mate 40 Pro. But, of course, we can't ignore the high price and absence of Google, and that makes it very difficult to recommend.

For more see: Huawei Mate 40 Pro, hands on: An excellent 5G flagship, but Google is still overboard

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14 of 19 Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

Realme 7 Pro

The RealMe 7 Pro has a lot going for it where it matters. An AMOLED screen, good battery life with fast charging and strong performance are all plus points in a sub-£300 phone. Add in a robust, understated industrial design, and this is definitely a budget phone to consider -- unless you need 5G.

For more see: Realme 7 Pro: AMOLED screen, good performance and fast charging on a budget

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15 of 19 Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

Logitech MX Anywhere 3

It's not cheap, but this small, ergonomic wireless mouse packs in plenty of useful functionality. If you see your mouse as a real productivity enhancer, this mouse and its associated (free) Options software is definitely worth a look.

For more see: Logitech MX Anywhere 3, hands on: A compact mouse for mobile workers

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16 of 19 palmsolo / ZDNet

Amazfit GTR 2 and GTS 2

At $180, it's tough to beat these two watches from Amazfit. There is a ton of health-tracking packed into each one with GPS, music, phone calls, and more. They are well made watches and for the casual athlete, and person looking for an affordable smartwatch, they are worth consideration. 

For more see: Amazfit GTR 2 and GTS 2 hands-on review: Affordable, fashionable, and comprehensive health watches

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17 of 19 palmsolo / ZDNet

Zepp Z

$349.99 is a bit high when there are no third-party apps, you cannot receive or initiate phone calls from the watch, and wireless payment systems are not supported. If you are looking for a traditional watch design that has GPS, long battery life, and enhanced health tracking features, then you may want to consider the Zepp Z smartwatch.

For more see: Zepp Z smartwatch review: Premium hardware, advanced health tracking, and GPS

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18 of 19 Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2

These are great wireless earbuds. Battery life is good and charging reasonably fast, sound quality is great, and it's easy to personalise the controls. However, they're not perfect: we'd particularly appreciate the ability to use either bud independently rather than just the right-hand one.

For more see: Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2, hands on: Good battery life and top-quality sound, at a price

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19 of 19 palmsolo / ZDNet

Jabra Elite 85t

The earbuds are a bit expensive at $229.99, but in reality, this is less than the Apple AirPods Pro ($249) and Bose QuietComfort earbuds ($279.95). Jabra offers a premium call quality and smartphone software experience, so the price may be justified for your use case.

For more see: Jabra Elite 85t review: Powerful ANC in an earbuds form factor, six mics for calls

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