Dell XPS 13 9310
Stunning design and best all-round Windows business laptop
Priced from R35,000
The latest generation of the Dell XPS 13 is the equivalent of a magnificent sports car built with speed and comfort in mind. This is the first impression you get when you hold the Dell XPS 13. A computer numerical control machining process has sculpted the computer’s body. The machine-milled aluminium chassis is elegant and robust. The backlit keyboard is surrounded by a woven carbon fibre inspired by the aerospace industry, making it durable. Weighing in at just under 1.3kg, this machine feels perfectly balanced. But does its performance live up to the visual feast?
This latest Dell XPS 13 features Intel’s latest eleventh generation processor technology. Intel and Dell have engineered part of this processor together to ensure that users get the maximum computing performance.
The first thing that strikes you when you hit the power button is the edge-to-edge display. Dell has maximised the screen space to give users an amazing experience. The XPS 9310 range can be customised to include various screen options from FHD+ to 4K display, or even a touchscreen configuration, depending on your needs. All have the Corning Gorilla Glass 6 strength.
This machine is all about performance. The Intel Iris Xe Graphics technology ensures that you have an immersive and smooth visual experience. The power and efficiency of the Intel eleventh generation processor are equally impressive. Dell has equipped this machine with some of its own AI that starts to understand how you use your computer to optimise the best experience. Like the Eyesafe technology, for example, that intelligently manages light energy at the source. The hardware and software constantly make adjustments to protect your eyes against blue light.
From a security viewpoint, you can log in through the infrared camera using Windows Hello that recognises your face, unlocking your XPS with secure facial recognition technology or the fingerprint reader integrated into the power button that lets you log on with just a touch.
The part that impressed me the most was the speed at which this computer wakes up and logs in. I used the facial recognition feature and it was almost instantaneous.
So, what about the battery? Excellent! I got a minimum of 11.5 hours of heavy usage. You can get even more, depending on how you use it. Getting a full day from this XPS 13 is not a problem!
It has two USB C type ports with Thunderbolt 4 support, a micro-SD card reader and a headphone jack.
Overall, this is probably the best all-round business Windows machine on the market.
Stay connected wherever you are
We all need time out from our hectic work schedules. Getting out into open, remote areas, whether it is on your mountain bike, hiking in the Drakensberg, in the bush, or on a trail run, connectivity can sometimes be an issue. The Spot X is a fantastic device that will give you the security of connectivity when you go off the grid or have no cellular coverage. The Spot X uses satellite technology to keep you connected, wherever you are on the planet. The device reminded me of those classic Blackberry devices with the full keyboard, except the Spot X has a thick aerial sticking out the side to connect to satellites.
You can send text messages or emails from the device. It also has a check-in button that will send a predetermined message to your friends and family who have been added to your contact list.
One of the best features of the Spot X device is the SOS button. When you press that button – and you only ever do this in an emergency – your location gets sent to search and rescue teams, who then immediately dispatch emergency personnel to your rescue location coordinates while constantly staying in touch with you via text messages.
Another cool feature is the tracking feature. You can set the time intervals of this, but what it does is send out your GPS coordinates onto a map, and it will allow your friends and family to track your location.
The Spot X gives you that peace of mind that you have some backup if something goes wrong.
Ultra-portable smart speaker
If you are looking for an ultra-portable speaker with amazing sound, then the new Sonos Roam has your name on it. Sonos are the pioneers when it comes to smart speakers, giving you the flexibility to add a speaker wherever you want. Roam connects to the rest of your system at home on Wi-Fi and automatically switches to Bluetooth when you're away. And it is rugged – the Roam is dust-proof and fully waterproof with a rigorously tested IP67 rating.
Apart from using it outdoors, the Roam is also a great tool to ensure a good sound experience when you want to take your business presentation remotely on the road. Plus, it has a 10-hour battery life!
Oppo Reno 5
Impressive camera or a great device
The Oppo brand may not be familiar to many South Africans, but globally they are the fifth-largest smartphone brand. The Oppo Reno 5, which is their first major release in this country, features 5G connectivity and all the bells and whistles you would find in a premium Android device. This makes the pricing of this device very attractive for the build quality and features it offers.
It is also the fastest-charging phone on the market. You can go from 0% charge to 100% in just 36 minutes using their own 65W SuperVOOC flash charging technology – yes, fancy terminology, but it does what it promises!
Like all smartphones today, manufacturers are trying to produce the best photography and videography. The Oppo Reno 5 competes well and takes photography very seriously. It features a tri-camera system with a 48MP ultra-clear main camera, a 13MP telephoto lens, and an 8MP wide-angle lens, giving you a broad range of photography options.
Overall, the Oppo Reno 5 has been built really well and is a premium device that is very well priced for what it offers.