Pokemon Go Crosses  Billion Lifetime Revenue in Five Years: Sensor Tower
Pokemon Go Crosses $5 Billion Lifetime Revenue in Five Years: Sensor Tower


Pokemon Go has surpassed $5 billion (roughly Rs. 37,323 crores) in lifetime revenue in five years, Sensor Tower reports. This milestone has been crossed by game maker Niantic as it celebrates the five-year anniversary of its popular augmented reality mobile game, Pokemon Go, which was launched in 2016. Sensor Tower notes that it remains the clear leader in the Geolocation AR category globally, picking up $641.6 million (roughly Rs. 4,822 crores) in just the first half of 2021.

The H1 2021 revenue figures of Pokemon Go, as stated by Sensor Tower, also represent the game’s best ever start to a year, with revenue with up 34 percent from H1 2020 and up 130 percent from H1 2017. These numbers put Pokemon Go ahead of other geolocation AR titles like Dragon Quest Walk from Square Enix and Jurassic World Alive from Ludia. Dragon Quest Walk accumulated $261 million (roughly Rs. 1,948 crores) so far this year.

Sensor Tower also reports that Pokémon Go generated record revenue from player spending in 2020, picking up $1.3 billion (roughly Rs. 9,702 crores) in the last year. This amounts to a rise of 41 percent year-over-year. 2021 also looks to be promising given that Pokemon Go has already accumulated roughly half of its total 2020 revenue.

Pokemon Go generated the most amount of revenue from the US, accumulating $1.9 billion (roughly Rs. 14,180 crores), or 36.6 percent of its lifetime player spending in the country. Japan comes in second with 32 percent share, while Germany ranks third with 5.4 percent. Most player spending happened using Google Play accounts, Sensor Tower reports, accumulating $2.7 billion (roughly Rs. 20,150 crores), or 52.8 percent from that channel. The App Store spending has been at $2.4 billion (roughly Rs.17,911 crores), or 47.2 percent.

The report notes that Pokemon Go total downloads have been roughly 632 million, with US being responsible for 115.5 million downloads. This amounts to 18.3 percent of total downloads. Brazil comes in second in total downloads section and India rounds at top three. Sensor Tower says most of the downloads are from Google Play – approximately 487 million installs, or around 77 percent. The App Store, meanwhile, has generated 144.8 million downloads, or approximately 23 percent of the total.




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Samsung Galaxy A31 Starts Receiving July 2021 Security Update: Report
Samsung Galaxy A31 Starts Receiving July 2021 Security Update: Report


Samsung Galaxy A31 is reportedly receiving the July 2021 security update. The update is rolling out in Brazil initially, but it should expand to other regions soon. The firmware version of this latest security update is A315GDXU1CUG1 and it brings along the July 2021 security patch. It is recommended that Samsung Galaxy A31 users in Brazil update to this version as soon as they get it. Galaxy A31 users in other regions must keep a lookout as they should get the update soon as well.

Sammobile reports that Samsung Galaxy A31 is getting the new July 2021 security patch update. It fixes privacy and security-related flaws and also reportedly fixes the Android Auto bug that few users had reported on their Galaxy smartphones. If you live in Brazil, then it is likely that you’ve already received a notification regarding the latest update on the Samsung Galaxy A31.

If there is no notification of the update yet, head to the Settings menu manually to check for the update. Go to Settings > Software Update > Download and Install. As mentioned, the firmware version for the update is A315GDXU1CUG1.

In April this year, the Samsung Galaxy A31 received the Android 11-based One UI 3.1 update. The Galaxy A31 was launched in India in June 2020 and initially ran Android 10-based One UI 2.1. The Samsung Galaxy A31 is currently retailing for Rs. 16,999 on Flipkart in India. It comes in a single 6GB RAM + 128GB storage option.

Samsung Galaxy A31 specifications

Samsung Galaxy A31 sports a 6.4-inch full-HD+ Infinity-U Super AMOLED Display. Under the hood, it is powered by a MediaTek Helio P65 SoC coupled with 6GB of RAM. There is also 128GB of onboard storage that can be expanded to 512GB using a microSD card. For optics, there is a quad rear camera setup with a 48-megapixel primary sensor with an f/2.0 lens, an 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle shooter with an f/2.2 lens, a 5-megapixel depth sensor with an f/2.4 lens and a 5-megapixel sensor with an f/2.4 macro lens. There is also a 20-megapixel selfie shooter with an f/2.2 lens. It packs a 5,000mAh battery with 15W fast charging support.

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Microsoft Teams Is Expanding Together Mode Support: Report
Microsoft Teams Is Expanding Together Mode Support: Report


Microsoft Teams is reportedly adding support that will let a meeting be conducted in Together Mode if the meeting has less than 5 participants including the organiser. Microsoft introduced the Together Mode in Teams back in July 2020 and at that time, users could only activate the together mode if the participant count was between 5 and 49. Currently, the feature can be accessed by users who have access to the Microsoft Developer preview. It can be speculated that the feature will roll out to the general audience soon.

The new feature for Microsoft Teams was tweeted by tech blogger Amanda Sterner (@amandassterner). The tweet was first spotted by OnMSFT. Up until now, Microsoft only allowed users to activate Together Mode when the number of participants ranged from 5 to 49. However, with the new update, 2 or more participants in a meeting can now activate Together Mode.

To activate Together Mode, users will have to navigate to the meeting controls available on the top right corner of the meeting window. Up there is a three-dot icon that leads to a drop-down menu. Users can select the Together Mode option to activate the feature. The feature is only available for Microsoft Developer preview users and would need to get it activated for both personal and professional accounts. However, users with a professional account may not be able to do it as it may be restricted by their organisation.

Together Mode was introduced in July 2020 to improve the video calling experience during coronavirus-induced lockdowns. As per Microsoft, the feature was introduced to reduce fatigue that participants experience during a video call staring at screens with participants with different backgrounds, waiting for the cue to start speaking, among many such issues.

Microsoft Team’s Together Mode uses AI segmentation technology to place participants in a shared background such as an auditorium. Microsoft also says that Together Mode also makes it easier to pick up non-verbal cues making the conversation feel more natural.

In July 2020, Microsoft and NBA also tested Together Mode to allow fans to virtually attend a basketball game. The two organisations installed 17-foot-tall (5.2 m) LED screens that wrap three sides of each game court.


For the latest tech news and reviews, follow Gadgets 360 on Twitter, Facebook, and Google News. For the latest videos on gadgets and tech, subscribe to our YouTube channel.


Satvik Khare is a sub-editor at Gadgets 360. His proficiency lies in educating how technology makes life easier for everyone. Gadgets have always been a passion with him and he’s frequently found finding his way around new technologies. In his free time he loves tinkering with his car, participating in motorsports, and if the weather is bad, he can be found doing laps on Forza Horizon on his Xbox or reading a nice piece of fiction. He can be reached through his Twitter
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Apple Expands iPadOS 14 Apple Pencil Writing Features To French, German, Italian, Portuguese, And Spanish Languages
Apple Expands iPadOS 14 Apple Pencil Writing Features To French, German, Italian, Portuguese, And Spanish Languages


Apple has expanded the number of languages that are supported by its new handwriting features that were announced as part of iPadOS 14. The additional languages include French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish Languages.

Announced during WWDC 2020, the new iPadOS features were made available to iPad users late last year and allow handwritten text to be recognized by the system and turned into tappable text that can then be interacted with.

Apple Expands iPadOS 14 Apple Pencil Writing Features To French, German, Italian, Portuguese, And Spanish Languages

The new languages join a long list that now includes French (Belgium), French (Canada), French (Switzerland), French (France), German (Austria), German (Germany), German (Switzerland), Italian (Switzerland), Italian (Italy), Portuguese (Portugal), Portuguese (Brazil), Spanish (Spain), Spanish (Latin America), and Spanish (Mexico).

The change came via an update to the iOS and iPadOS feature availability webpage, with confirmation coming that users can now tap handwritten text to call a number, open an address in Maps, and more.

The feature will even allow you to open handwritten URLs in Safari, too.

This feature was taken a step further when iPadOS 15 was announced during WWDC last month. When the software arrives later this year, iPadOS 15 will be able to pull text out of photos, too.

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Microsoft Issues Emergency Update, You Should Update Your PC Now
Microsoft Issues Emergency Update, You Should Update Your PC Now


Microsoft has released security updates for Windows users to patch a security flaw impacting the Windows Print Spooler service. The vulnerability called “PrintNightmare,” that was discovered last week, allows attackers to remotely execute malicious code with system privileges and install programs, make changes in the existing programs, and create new accounts with full user rights. Microsoft has brought the emergency patch for all major Windows versions — starting from Windows 7 to Windows 10. Windows Server users have also been provided with specific security updates to fix the critical flaw.

The list of Windows versions that have received the security updates to patch the PrintNightmare vulnerability comprises Windows Server 2004, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2016, Windows Server 2019, Windows 7, Windows RT 8.1, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10. Microsoft said that the updates contain protections for the issue that has been recorded as CVE-2021-34527.

Since the Windows Print Spooler service exists on all Windows versions, the vulnerability has impacted all Windows machines. However, the security updates list is currently limited to a few versions initially. Microsoft said that it would update the remaining Windows versions soon.

Meanwhile, users on a Windows machine that is yet to receive the security fix are recommended to manually disable the Print Spooler service or disable inbound remote printing. The Print Spooler can be disabled by passing the “Stop-Service -Name Spooler -Force” and “Set-Service -Name Spooler -StartupType Disabled” commands through PowerShell.

Inbound remote printing, on the other hand, can be disabled by going to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Printers and switching off the Allow Print Spooler to accept client connections option. You need to restart the Print Spooler service for the change to take effect.

The PrintNightmare flaw was reported by researchers at Chinese cybersecurity firm Sangfor Technologies last week. It is known as a remote code execution vulnerability that could be exploited to run arbitrary malicious code with system privileges. The flaw exists when the Windows Print Spooler service improperly performs privileged file operations, Microsoft explained.




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Best Golf Balls in 2021
Best Golf Balls in 2021


Best
Golf Balls
TechnoBuffalo
2021

All golf balls look pretty much alike; however, the right one can put a real ‘spin’ on your game. The construction of the ball can affect the height and distance and how it spins when it lands. So before you tee it up, we’ve found several options to help you find the best golf ball for your game. So whether you are a young beginner, experienced and serious, or a senior-level golfer, make sure you pick the right ball. It may just reduce your score, even if you still get “frustrated.”


Best Golf Balls in 2021

Best overall:
Titleist Pro V1 Golf Balls


Staff Pick

Titleist Pro V1 Golf Balls are the pick for professional circuits around the world. These golf balls are engineered to deliver a consistent flight and long drive distances, all with a very soft feel. Plus, it gives the best drop-and-stop control in the game. Featuring urethane construction, you can snag them in low numbers (1-4) or high numbers (5-8).

$61 at Amazon


tp5x-best-golf-balls-render

For distance:
TaylorMade TP5X Prior Generation Golf Balls (One Dozen)

It will feel good to get that extra length on your drives. The progressive compression features in this ball enable maximum energy transfer to generate high speed on full shots. It also has a dual-spin cover to create exceptional spin to pinpoint wedge shots from around the green. The TaylorMade TP5X Prior Generation Golf Balls feature 5-layer construction, a 3-layer core, ultra-soft cast urethane & a semi-rigid inner cover.

$50 at Amazon


Wilson Staff Fifty Elite Gold Balls

Best value:
Wilson Staff Fifty Elite Golf Balls, (12-Pack)

Wilson Staff Fifty Elite Golf Balls deliver a stellar product perfect for any budget. The ball has a great feel, offers excellent distance, and little spin off the tee. With an improved rubber covering, the Wilson Staff Fifty Elite ball is softer than the competition. This pick also features an advanced rubber core and a responsive cover with fantastic acceleration for all-day tee times.

$15 at Amazon


Chromesoft-best-golf-balls-render

For serious handicappers:
Callaway Golf Chrome Soft Golf Balls (12-Pack)

Hello, serious golfers. These balls come off the tee high and fast. They create fast ball speeds and low spin off the driver, and the ultra-soft feel is forgiving, allowing pinpoint greenside control. Take your game to the next level with the Callaway Golf Chrome ball.

$40 at Amazon

Fit the right ball to your golf game

Many golfers have been known to get frustrated now and then. So, reduce your chances by selecting the appropriate ball. We think the Titleist Pro V1 Golf Balls, Prior Generation is an excellent choice to achieve long distances with a consistent flight. It is the ball of choice of many serious golfers, since you get a combination of long distances and spin to showcase your skill.

Whatever your choice, you cannot go wrong with any of these items, but you can always blame the club!

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OnePlus Nord 2 is Coming This Month With MediaTek
OnePlus Nord 2 is Coming This Month With MediaTek


Just a couple of weeks back, OnePlus launched the OnePlus Nord CE 5G, now the company has started teasing the next Nord. The successor of OnePlus Nord will be called OnePlus Nord 2 5G (for brands these days, adding 5G in the naming scheme is all-important). There have been numerous leaks and speculations surrounding the smartphone lately. A rumour claimed that it might be the first OnePlus phone to sport a MediaTek processor, and it turns out that it’s indeed true. Today, OnePlus officially confirmed that Nord 2 5G will use an enhanced version of the MediaTek Dimensity 1200.

OnePlus Nord 2 Processor

Thanks to MediaTek Dimensity 1200-AI SoC, the new Nord will come with various AI-based features. According to OnePlus, Nord 2 will feature AI Photo Enhancement that can recognise up to 22 different scenarios and automatically adjust colour tones to make the photos look more appealing. For video, it will allow for live HDR effects in real-time during recording. The chip will also leverage AI for three features – AI Resolution Boost, AI Colour Boost, and Smart Ambient Display, to offer a more dynamic display. For gaming, the new SoC brings support for low latency, high refresh rate games (Brawl Stars was cited as an example), efficient power consumption, and improved heat management.

OnePlus Nord 2 is Coming This Month With MediaTek

Last month, purported renders of the OnePlus Nord 2 5G surfaced online, which showed a triple rear camera setup and a single punch hole cutout for the selfie camera. Rumour mill claims that the phone will feature a 6.43-inch AMOLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate. As for the camera, it is said to sport a 50MP primary camera accompanied by an 8MP ultrawide camera and a 2MP monochrome sensor. For selfies, it will have a 32MP camera. The phone is said to pack a beefy 4,500mAh battery.

As of now, OnePlus hasn’t officially revealed the launch date, but a recent leak has given us the possible release date. Popular tipster Ishan Agarwal recently tweeted that Nord 2 5G will debut in India on July 22. Will OnePlus be able to go back to its roots of being called the flagship killer with the OnePlus Nord 2 5G? In the coming days, things should get clearer.





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Vivo X70 Tipped to Come With f/1.15 Aperture, Five-Axis Image Stabilisation
Vivo X70 Tipped to Come With f/1.15 Aperture, Five-Axis Image Stabilisation


Vivo X70 has been tipped to come with a camera that has f/1.15 aperture and five-axis image stabilisation. A tipster from China has shared some details about the upcoming Vivo X70 including the camera and the display. As of now, there is no official information on the Vivo X70 series but a report from early June suggested that it could be unveiled in September in partnership with Indian Premier League (IPL).

Vivo has made camera technology its focus for its flagship X series offerings and the Vivo X60 series was no different. The Vivo X60 Pro and Vivo X60 Pro+ come with built-in Gimbal stabilisation for the primary rear cameras which allow you to take very stable videos even while moving. The vanilla Vivo X60 came with optical image stabilisation and no Gimbal stabilisation, but this time around it seems like the vanilla Vivo X70 will get some major camera improvements. According to tipster Digital Chat Station (translated), the Vivo X70 will feature five-axis image stabilisation and a f/1.15 aperture.

The Vivo X60 Pro model which is at the middle of the pack in the X60 series has the largest aperture out of the series at f/1.48 (larger the aperture, greater the amount of light that can enter the lens). Now, the vanilla Vivo X70 is said to come with an even larger aperture at f/1.15 which means it will allow even more light to enter, thus capturing more detail and delivering better night time shots.

The tipster also shared that the Vivo X70 will feature a full-HD+ display with 120Hz refresh rate which isn’t really a surprise given that the Vivo X60 series had the same specifications. The Vivo X70 series will also come with a single hole-punch cut-out for the centrally located selfie shooter.

As mentioned earlier, Vivo has not shared any information on the Vivo X70 series and it unclear how many models will be included. The company could launch the new series in September when the remainder of IPL matches place as it is the official sponsor of the tournament.


For the latest tech news and reviews, follow Gadgets 360 on Twitter, Facebook, and Google News. For the latest videos on gadgets and tech, subscribe to our YouTube channel.


Vineet Washington writes about gaming, smartphones, audio devices, and new technologies for Gadgets 360, out of Delhi. Vineet is a Senior Sub-editor for Gadgets 360, and has frequently written about gaming on all platforms and new developments in the world of smartphones. In his free time, Vineet likes to play video games, make clay models, play the guitar, watch sketch-comedy, and anime. Vineet is available on vineetw@ndtv.com, so please send in your leads and tips.
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Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 (GU603HR) Review: Slim and Light Gaming Laptop
Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 (GU603HR) Review: Slim and Light Gaming Laptop


Gaming laptops have a huge market in India, especially now that retail high-end desktop PC components are harder to buy than ever. Many people have chosen gaming laptops over desktops because they prefer compact, versatile machines that can serve for work as well as entertainment, but there have often been limits in terms of hardware power and immersion. Now, a new class of gaming laptops is emerging, thanks to new hardware that allows for much-improved performance in slim, practical laptops. We’re now seeing the emergence of a new category with 16-inch 1440p displays, thanks to the latest CPUs and GPUs being able to drive this resolution without sacrificing quality.

For the new ROG Zephyrus M16, Asus has used Intel’s 11th Gen mobile H-series CPUs and Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 30-series mobile GPUs which were both announced. Prices begin at Rs. 1,44,990 in India which definitely makes this a premium gaming laptop. What’s most interesting about this laptop is how slim and light it is despite its large screen and top-end specifications. We’ll see whether its design compromises usability, or whether today’s hardware actually means that super-bulky gaming laptops are things of the past.

Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 (GU603HR) Review: Slim and Light Gaming Laptop

The lid has a pattern of over 8,000 tiny dots through which a prismatic film refracts light

Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 (GU603HR) design

If the M16 designation sounds new, that’s because the company has launched this model to replace the outgoing Zephyrus M15 (GU502). However, the Zephyrus M16 is actually slightly smaller than its predecessor, measuring a few millimetres less in width and depth. The thickness stays the same at 19.9mm, and weight is also unchanged at 1.9kg. By gaming laptop standards, this is extremely slick. You wouldn’t have too much trouble commuting with this laptop in a backpack if you’re a student or professional.

Inspired by the Zephyrus G-series, the new M16 has a pattern of thousands of tiny perforated holes across most of its matte black lid. The triangular patch cuts across the lid diagonally, and from a distance it just looks like a different texture. However, this isn’t a micro-LED dot array. As you approach the laptop, you’ll see shimmering rainbow effect through the holes thanks to a “prismatic” layer beneath them. You’ll see this light effect at certain angles and it seems to move as you tilt the lid or move your head around. It’s a striking look, but the downside is that the holes can get dusty very quickly. Finger smudges are also quite visible across the lid.

With the lid flipped up, you’ll see the new 16-inch screen which is not only bigger but has a 16:10 aspect ratio. Asus has nearly eliminated the chin, but thankfully there’s room at the top for a webcam in its ideal position. The side borders are only 4.6mm thick, and the overall screen-to-body ratio is a remarkable 94 percent.

The hinge allows the display to go as far back as 180 degrees. As with many Asus laptops, the lower half of the laptop gets raised when the lid is raised, which helps with airflow as well as typing comfort. On the downside, the lid does bend and flex quite a bit, and there’s visible warping on screen when a little pressure is applied. Asus has done away with the giant illuminated ROG logo that the previous model had, and instead there’s a much more subtle patch in one corner of the outer lid, and no branding at all on the inside.

asus zephyrus m16 keyboard ndtv asus

The keyboard is comfortable to type on, but the layout could have been better

On the lower half of the body, you’ll see an island-style keyboard with RGB backlighting. speaker grilles and a lot of space on either side. Asus has ditched the column of dedicated paging keys to the right which means the keyboard and trackpad are now centred with each other and the arrow keys have more room to breathe. Strangely, there are no Insert or PrintScrn keys. Taking screenshots is quite inconvenient (you can still call up the Windows Snipping Tool with Win+Shift+S or use the Fn+F6 combo on this keyboard to save to the clipboard, or use the Xbox game bar to save a file, but it becomes a multi-step process).

The power button has an integrated fingerprint sensor, which Asus oddly does not point out anywhere. You can set it up through the Windows Settings app but it would be easy to not even realise that this is a feature. There are also dedicated volume and mic mute buttons which do come in handy. The power, charging and SSD activity LEDs on the upper edge are placed so they’re visible when the lid is closed. Unfortunately, they’re also very bright and reflect off the screen. The activity LED, which keeps flashing, is especially distracing.

The trackpad is especially large. It can be physically clicked, and its texture feels great. There’s nowhere to rest your wrists when using it since it extends right to the lip of the lower deck. To the sides of the trackpad, the deck is covered in a soft-touch finish.

All the ports are placed towards the front of the laptop, to allow for large vents farther back on the sides. On the left, you have the DC power inlet, HDMI 2.0b output, a Gigabit Ethernet port, 10Gbps USB 3.2 (Gen 2) Type-A and Type-C ports, another Type-C Thunderbolt 4 port, and a 3.5mm audio socket. On the right, you’ll find a 5Gbps USB 3.2 (Gen 1) Type-A port, a microSD card slot, and a Kensington lock slot. You can get DisplayPort 1.4 video output and you can even charge this laptop at up to 100W through both the Type-C ports.

asus zephyrus m16 vents ndtv asus

Hot air is ejected out the back, and the LEDs placed here reflect off the screen

Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 (GU603HR) specifications

Intel’s 10nm ‘Tiger Lake‘ architecture has graduated from ultra-slim laptops to gaming and enthusiast-class halo products. For this segment, you get more cores and higher TDP ratings which translates to higher clock speeds for longer under load. Interestingly, the CPUs in this segment have much weaker integrated GPUs, but this isn’t a problem since there’s a discrete GPU to do most of the heavy lifting anyway. One thing to note about the higher 45W max TDP rating is that actual performance is entirely dependent on each laptop OEM’s thermal design – this spec alone is no guarantee of performance.

In India, The Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 (GU603HR) is available with either a Core i9-11900H or Core i7-11800H, both of which have eight cores and Hyper-Threading. Other than higher clock speeds, the main advantage of the Core i9 is Turbo Boost Max 3.0 support, which you can read all about in our desktop ‘Rocket Lake’ 11th Gen Core i9-11900K review. This generation introduces PCIe 4.0 for faster connections to SSDs and the GPU.

On the graphics front, Asus offers the new Zephyrus M16 with either an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti, RTX 3060, or RTX 3070 mobile GPU. Mobile GPUs have delivered different levels of performance in different laptops with the same specifications thanks to thermal constraints, and with this generation Nvidia is requiring that laptop makers disclose more granular information. You can check the actual clock speeds and power consumption targets of each variant on Asus’ product listing page.

The top-end variant that I have for review features the Core i9-11900H, which is clocked at 2.5GHz with a maximum boost speed of 4.9GHz, and also the GeForce RTX 3070 with a 1390MHz boost speed, 80-100W thermal envelope, and 8GB of dedicated GDDR6 memory. My unit also features a 2TB Samsung NVMe SSD and 32GB of DDR4-RAM, of which 16GB is soldered and the rest is a removable module. This configuration is priced at Rs. 2,29,990 in India. You can pry off the bottom of this laptop to upgrade the one SO-DIMM module for up to 48GB of RAM in total, and there’s also a second empty M.2 slot for another NVMe SSD.

asus zephyrus m16 left ndtv asus

Most of the ports are on the left, towards the front of the Zephyrus M16

The 16-inch screen has an unusual 16:10 resolution, which is actually great for productivity and helps increase secreen size without making the laptop’s body wider. The 2560×1600 resolution (WQXGA) “IPS-level” panel has a 165Hz refresh rate and 3ms response time. Asus claims 100 percent DCI-P3 colour gamut coverage and Pantone validation, but there’s no indication of peak brightness. Thankfully, the panel has a matte texture and is not highly reflective. Surprisingly, there’s no 4K option like before.

Despite its slimness, this laptop has a 90WH battery. A rather large 240W charger comes in the box. You get a 720p webcam, microphone array, and speaker setup with two 2W tweeters and two 2W woofers. There’s also Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) and Bluetooth 5.2.

Interestingly, Asus already says that a Windows 11 update rollout plan will begin in late 2021. Asus’ Armoury Crate and MyAsus utilities come preinstalled and also need to be updated. The former lets you apply performance profiles, tweak the RGB keyboard lighting, adjust microphone properties, and screen colour temperature, while the latter lets you download a user manual and shows some battery health options, and smartphone file transfer and screen sharing options (if you also run the MyAsus mobile app).

It seems a bit redundant to have two separate apps, especially since both also show “deals” and promotions. I did also see a pop-up ad for an Asus extended warranty. McAfee LiveSafe is also preinstalled, and it occasionally shows messages asking you to register and subscribe, or enable certain features.

asus zephyrus m16 webcam ndtv asus

The Zephyrus M16 has a webcam in its rightful place – the previous model didn’t have one at all

Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 (GU603HR) performance

One little obstacle to usage was the fact that this laptop ships with a power cord that has a large 16A plug, and most people’s houses aren’t wired for 16A appliances in convenient spots. My unit came running Windows 10 (20H2), and after applying all available updates and patches, it was ready for testing. In everyday use, and for productivity, the Zephyrus M16 proved to be quite versatile. The high-res 16:10 screen is a pleasure to work on, making multitasking easy. You can change the default 150 percent Windows scaling to 125 percent if you want even more usable real estate.

Asus has implemented a single-touch feature that caches your fingerprint when you press the power button so you don’t need to reach over to it again when Windows 10 presents you with the login screen. Unfortunately, the sensor didn’t work as well as the ones on phones that we’re all now used to, in my experience. It often required a longer or second touch.

The keyboard is firm and springy without being noisy. It’s pretty comfortable and key travel is very good. The lack of a PrintScrn key is hugely frustrating. The entire keyboard is one single RGB backlight zone and there are a few choices of lighting patterns, colours, and intensity, plus syncing with other compatible hardware. Trackpad placement is good and it’s large enough to make multi-finger gestures convenient.

I found the screen just a little dull, and you’ll have to push the brightness up if you’re working or gaming with a lot of sunlight around. Colours don’t pop like they would on some high-end consumer laptops, which is probably a good thing for colour-sensitive work. The video watching experience is still great, especially with 4K content. The speakers produce surprisingly crisp and open sound, though it isn’t especially loud and the bass is rather lacking.

Starting with general-purpose benchmarks, the reliable PCMark 10 showed scores of 6,950 and 8,792 in its standard and Extended runs. Cinebench R20 managed 606 and 5,407 points in its single- and multi-core tests respectively. POVRay’s render test completed in 1 minute, 1 second, and the newer V-Ray brenchmark showed CPU and GPU render scores of 15,592 and 429 respectively.

CrystalDiskMark reported very impressive SSD speeds – 7100.1MBps and 5262.1MBPs sequential reads and writes, with 2365.8MBps and 2148.8MBps random reads and writes respectively. As for real-world scenarios, the Zephyrus M16 took 1 minute, 43 seconds to compress a 3.24GB folder of assorted files, and just 35 seconds to transcode a 1.3GB AVI file to H.265.

3DMark’s Time Spy and Time Spy Extreme tests threw up scores of 9,096 and 4,527 respectively. The DX12 Port Royal test score was 5,509. As for feature tests, DirectX Ray Tracing showed a score of 23.74fps, while the DLSS test scene ran at 25.12fps with DLSS off and 58.93fps with it on. Unigine’s standalone Superposition graphics benchmark managed 5,906 points using its 1080p Extreme preset.

asus zephyrus m16 right ndtv asus

A full-sized SD card slot would have been more useful than the microSD slot here

Many games run at the Zephyrus M16’s native 2560×1600 resolution, so comparisons to laptops with more standard 2560×1440 panels should take this slight added load into account. Shadow of the Tomb Raider supports RTX ray tracing and DLSS, so it’s a good game to start with. At the Highest quality preset at 2560×1600 and with ray tracing disabled, its built-in benchmark gave us an average of 71fps. Setting ray traced shadows to ‘High’ quality took that down significantly to 45fps. To compensate, I enabled DLSS, and that resulted in an average score of 54fps. You’ll have to decide what quality tradeoffs you’re okay with.

Metro Exodus also has a repeatable and consistent built-in benchmark with an RTX preset which uses the Ultra quality preset, High ray tracing effects quality, and DLSS. At 1920×1080, the average frame rate was 53.44 percent. Using the same settings, but with ray tracing and DLSS disabled, the average came to 62.3fps which means once again, the penalty for using ray tracing isn’t too high, but some people might find it worth disabling.

Next up for in-game benchmarks, Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey delivered an average of 52fps at 2560×1600 with Ultra High graphics. Far Cry 5 averaged 96fps at 1920×1200 and 82fps at 2560×1600, using the Ultra quality preset at both resolutions. Middle Earth: Shadow of War also managed 97fps at 1920×1200 and 72fps at 2560×1600, both at Ultra quality. These games show that the Zephyrus M16 will be pretty good for slightly older titles that don’t have ray tracing effects or need DLSS.

I also played through a few games manually for a while. Control is a popular RTX-enabled title. Ray tracing effects were set to High, as was the overall quality preset. DLSS by default renders at 1707×1067 to upscale to 2560×1600 which is roughly a 1.5X scale. At these settings, I was able to average between 45-55fps. Disabling ray tracing but leaving DLSS on immediately caused a jump to 70-80fps.

Doom Eternal has just been updated to support ray tracing and DLSS. This game generally runs well even on lower-end hardware. At Ultra Nightmare quality, using the native 2560×1600 resolution, performance ranged from 80-100fps without ray tracing, depending on how frantic battles were. That dropped considerably to 30-50fps with ray tracing enabled. Oddly, DLSS actually made performance dip well below 30fps causing drastic stutter – this might be an isolated experience or a bug with the just-released RTX functionality.

The Zephyrus M16 does run rather hot when stressed, and even sometimes while idling, parts of the body get warm. The upper row, fingerprint sensor, middle-right of the keyboard, and wrist rest area do get fairly toasty. The top edge of the laptop’s lower half, where hot air is ejected through the hinge, can become too hot to touch for more than a second. Asus says it has used a liquid metal thermal interface between the cooler and the CPU and GPU chips, and it has also redesigned the laptop’s fans to be more efficient. The fans are still quite loud – you’ll definitely hear them when running any heavy workload. You’ll use an external mouse for most gaming situations, but things can still get uncomfortable. This review was conducted in a non-airconditioned room, so your experience might vary.

As for battery life, you wouldn’t expect all-day productivity from a gaming laptop. The Zephyrus M16 managed to last only about 5-6 hours on a full charge with ordinary everyday work, which included some video streaming and plenty of heavy Web pages open in multiple tabs. The heavy Battery Eater Pro test ran for only 1 hour, 42 minutes, which is just about okay.

asus zephyrus m16 hinge ndtv asus

The ‘Ergolift’ hinge raises the lower half of the laptop to tilt it forward when opened

Verdict

Asus has tried hard to deliver high-end gaming performance in a very slim and light package. The company has succeeded in some ways – just a few years ago, you’d have had to lug around a literal suitcase if you wanted this level of performance. With the Zephyrus M16, that load comes down to 2kg. You can in fact run today’s most demanding games at very reasonable settings, and that too at a resolution greater than 1080p on a large, immersive display.

The specifications are impressive, but the price is quite high too. I like the variety and number of physical ports, plus the fact that the SSD and one RAM module are user-replaceable, meaning potential for upgrades. 16:10 displays are a rare pleasure these days, and Asus has chosen a good panel for this segment.

That said, things aren’t perfect. The biggest downside of the Zephyrus M16 is that it gets uncomfortably hot and distractingly loud. The need for a 16A power outlet will cause some trouble for people, and there are a few niggles like the poorly placed status LEDs and popups from the preinstalled software.

Using an external keyboard and mouse would take care of the physical discomfort (and lack of certain keys), and you still have a very portable gaming or multi-purpose machine. If you can live with some compromises and like the idea of a slim and light gaming laptop, this might be a good choice. I still hope to see Asus and other companies use these new CPUs and GPUs in laptops that aren’t as fashion-conscious, with beefier cooling systems, for those who want performance and usability without worrying about looks.

Price as reviewed: Rs. 2,29,990



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PhonePe Broadens Gap for Google Pay in UPI Transactions, NPCI Data Shows
PhonePe Broadens Gap for Google Pay in UPI Transactions, NPCI Data Shows


PhonePe has continued to dominate the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) app ecosystem in India and expanded its market share to 46.04 percent in June, according to the data released by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). The Walmart-owned platform saw a 0.77 percent increase in its share over the 45.28 percent reported in May in terms of transactional volume of all 50 apps (resulting 2,807.51 million transactions). The growth of PhonePe has forced Google Pay to continue to sit on the second position, which it first received in December after losing its leadership to PhonePe.

The data posted by the NPCI shows that PhonePe carried 1,292.71 million transactions worth Rs. 2,62,565.88 crores in June that were 142.87 million more from the 1,149.84 million it made in May, which were worth Rs. 2,34,123.57 crores. The increase in the transaction volume helped the platform to not just continue its lead but also broaden the gap for Google Pay.

In comparison with PhonePe, Google Pay saw a marginal drop of 0.04 percent in its share in June that came to 34.63 percent, down from 34.67 percent in May. The NPCI statistics show that the Google platform initiated 972.26 million transactions of worth Rs. 2,07,287.73 crores in the month — showing an increase of 91.67 million from 880.59 million transactions worth Rs. 1,87,136.95 crores recorded in May.

Paytm Payments Bank came third with 326.53 million customer-initiated transactions worth Rs. 40,614.09 crores. It saw a 0.18 percent increase in its market share of 11.63 percent from 11.45 percent reported in the month earlier.

After Paytm Payments Bank, Amazon Pay stood fourth with 51.34 million transactions worth Rs. 4,814.74 crores. Yes Bank apps and the government’s BHIM UPI app came at the fifth and sixth positions, respectively. Yes Bank captured 24.72 percent share with a transaction volume of Rs. 5,227.04 crores, while BHIM’s market share came at 22.84 percent with transactions worth Rs. 7,319.77 crores.

Top five UPI apps in June (as per the NPCI data)

PlatformTransactions in May (in million)Transactions in June (in million)Change in transaction volume (in million)Market share (in terms of transaction volume)
PhonePe1149.841292.71142.8746.04%
Google Pay880.59972.2691.6734.63%
Paytm Payments Bank290.69326.5335.8411.63%
Amazon Pay58.3551.34-7.011.83%
Yes Bank apps21.0824.723.640.88%

Interestingly, the data provided by NPCI shows that WhatsApp Pay, the payments service launched last year by the Facebook-owned company, saw a decline in both its transaction volume and value. The app, however, maintained its 0.02 percent of market share.

UPI transactions overall in the country grew 10.55 percent to 2,807.51 million in June that were worth Rs. 5,47,373.17 crores.




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