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TECH TALK

Going into the light

Cut the cord with mophie's 3-in-one wireless Apple charging pad, and stream stylishly on Naim's next-gen speaker. Go fast and light with Samsung's Galaxy Book S, or come on strong with Gigabyte's latest gaming notebook

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mophie 3-in-1 wireless charging pad

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Naim Mu-so Qb 2nd Generation

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Samsung Galaxy Book S

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Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED XA

mophie 3-in-1 wireless charging pad

Apple addicts, rejoice. Multi-device wireless charging pads for your devices are now available at apple.com and Apple Singapore stores.

The mophie 3-in-1 wireless charging pad can charge the iPhone, AirPods with Wireless Charging Case and Apple Watch simultaneously. It works seamlessly with the latest Qi technology and delivers up to 7.5W of power to the iPhone. There's even a charging connector to hold the Apple Watch at the ideal angle to take advantage of Bedside Mode, and a dedicated charging spot for AirPods.

The mophie 3-in-1 rings in at S$209 and comes with a power adapter.

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If you don't need that many devices juicing up at the same time, consider the mophie wireless charging dual pad. It has two charging spots to charge two iPhones or one iPhone and AirPods at the same time. A USB-A port connects your Apple Watch cable to charge the smartwatch.

Priced at S$149, the dual pad comes with a 1.5m power cable but does not have a bundled power adapter. By Cookie Monster


Naim Mu-so Qb 2nd Generation

British high-end hi-fi maker Naim Audio has just announced an updated version of its Mu-so Qb premium compact wireless speaker. Said to be "re-engineered from the ground up", the Mu-so Qb 2nd Generation employs Naim's music streaming platform, and works with your personal digital music collection, internet radio, as well as services such as Spotify and Tidal.

The compact 300W speaker has all-new drivers developed by Naim and Focal. The cube uses touch-sensitive buttons (15 of them) for control, and - get this - an illuminated volume dial that lights up when you reach out to it. Standard black speaker grilles can be swapped for one of three new colours: Olive, Terracotta and Peacock.

Other than Spotify Connect, the Qb also has built-in Google Chromecast and Apple AirPlay 2 support. In addition, the Bluetooth-enabled speaker offers uPnP streaming, so you can stream from your computers or network-attached storage devices. Wired input options include USB, optical digital and 3.5mm analogue.

The Mu-so Qb can be used in multi-room setups too. Use the Naim app to link the speaker to other Mu-so speakers, the Apple Home app to hook up with AirPlay 2 speakers, or the Google Home app for Chromecast devices.

The Naim Mu-so Qb 2nd Generation goes on sale from Sept 2 at US$899.

Local pricing is unknown at the moment. By Ng Chong Seng


Samsung Galaxy Book S

Last week, alongside new iterations of the Galaxy Note, 10 and 10+, Samsung also brought out a new ultra-light notebook, the Galaxy Book S. With a 13.3-inch Full-HD touchscreen display, it measures just 11.8mm thick and weighs a scant 960g. But these are specs we've heard before; LG's gram 13 is just as light.

What's special about the Galaxy Book S is that it's powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx processor. That's an octa-core processor that aims to deliver the performance of a Windows 10 notebook with the battery life and LTE connectivity of a smartphone. And it's part of a bigger industry push to create always-on, always-connected PCs. To that end, the Galaxy Book S will have battery life of around 23 hours and will also have always-on Gigabit LTE connectivity. Completing the package is 8GB of RAM and a choice of either 256GB or 512GB SSD storage. A microSD card slot expands storage by up to another 1TB.

No word yet on local availability, but the Galaxy Book S will be available in the US from September with prices starting at US$999. By Kenny Yeo


Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED XA

The Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED XA is a gaming laptop with a stunning display. While most don't expect much from the screens on their gaming notebooks aside from a high refresh rate, the Aero 15 happily defies that expectation with a gorgeous 4K edge-to-edge AMOLED panel. It's not the first gaming laptop to offer an OLED panel, but next to its competitors, the new display feels like a more logical and natural addition for a laptop that has long wanted to woo creators.

Of course, gamers aren't left out either, and the Aero 15 will also have the option of a FHD 240Hz panel. However, it doesn't look like that particular model is available to buy locally, so Gigabyte is gunning squarely for those who do graphics design work or video editing here.

Performance-wise, the Aero 15 OLED XA and its beefed-up cooling solution represent a much welcome improvement over the previous generation. It's still not perfect though; you'll need to tweak the fans to run more aggressively to avoid throttling. And when that happens, the Aero 15 OLED XA is one of the loudest laptops around, which may explain why Gigabyte didn't want to tune its fans to scale all the way up.

That said, there's still a lot to like about the laptop. Aside from the absolutely stellar display, you get a tasteful aluminum chassis in black that feels like quality stuff. There's also a wide selection of connectors, including a Thunderbolt 3 port and UHS-II SD card reader, both of which creative professionals will want.

If you're only looking to game, the Aero 15 may not be the best choice. But if you also edit a lot of photos and videos, the Gigabyte laptop is a serious contender. The OLED screen might not be ideal for twitch reaction shooters, but it'll do well enough for Assassin's Creed: Odyssey or Monster Hunter: World, where exploration and taking in the sprawling landscapes matter as much as the gameplay itself.

At S$3,799, the Aero 15 OLED XA is more or less in the ballpark of its competitors. Brands like Alienware, HP, and Razer also have RTX Studio notebooks. But the Aero 15's more tasteful design may extend appeal to the professional crowd.  By Koh Wanzi

* This content first appeared in hardwarezone.com.sg