Black Friday 2020 camera stabilizer deal on Zhiyun Weebill-S gimbal $100 off – CNET

zhiyun-weebill-s
Josh Goldman/CNET

Black Friday is the best time to find deals on camera gear that's usually expensive and rarely discounted. The Zhiyun Weebill-S is a perfect example. This compact, lightweight three-axis gimbal can stabilize DSLRs such as the Canon 5D Mark IV and mirrorless cameras such as the Sony A7 III or Nikon Z7. Even at its normal price of $439, the Weebill-S is a good price, but for Black Friday the camera stabilizer is $100 off at Amazon bringing it down to just $349. 

The gimbal works with a large mix of camera bodies and lenses (you can check out a compatibility list on its site). I've been testing one with the Z7 and an f2.8 24-70mm lens and so far it works as promised. It can be used in a pistol-grip position or switched to a sling position for lower shots. You can also pair it with the company's image transmission receiver and transmitter and wireless controller for remote monitoring and control. And the whole thing folds up to a footprint the size of an A4 sheet of paper.

If you're looking to stabilize your phone's camera or a smaller point-and-shoot or mirrorless camera, Zhiyun's dropped prices on those as well. You can see all of them on the company's Amazon store.

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Hands-on: Logitech G Pro X Superlight wireless gaming mouse sheds weight, not speed for $150 – CNET

logitech-pro-x-superlight-mouse-04
Josh Goldman/CNET

There's not much to Logitech G's latest wireless gaming mouse, but that's sort of the point. The Pro X Superlight is less than 63 grams (2.2 ounces) making it the company's lightest mouse ever, and 25% lighter than its standard Pro wireless mouse. That's about a 20-gram difference and to get it that low Logitech trimmed it up all over -- except for the battery life. 

The $150 Pro X Superlight is designed for eSports and gamers who's main concern is having the lightest, fastest mouse possible without resorting to drilling holes in the shell. In fact, this is one of the few ultralight gaming mice that isn't riddled with hexagons to get the weight down. 

Instead, Logitech trimmed off features from the Pro wireless mouse such as the removable left and right side buttons -- there's just a fixed pair on the left side -- and the programmable DPI button on the underside (though it would've been nice to somehow have that function integrated into the power switch that is there). Also, there's just one infinitesimal status light on top.

logitech-pro-x-superlight-mouse-02

Larger PTFE feet cut down on drag.  

Josh Goldman/CNET

Speed, speed and more speed

The Pro X Superlight's weight paired with the overall compact shape make it comfortable for palm, fingertip and claw grips, and the buttons have a crisp click to them -- not too firm, not too soft. Logitech increased the size of the feet and used 100% PTFE (aka polytetrafluoroethylene, aka Teflon) to make sure this mouse keeps moving even if you're pressing down hard; additives can potentially add drag. A circular door on the underside covers the wireless receiver storage. Logitech includes two doors, one with PTFE (pictured above) and one without. (You can also use it without the door if you want it fractionally lighter.)

The mouse uses Logitech's own Lightspeed wireless technology for a better-than-wired connection with its USB-A receiver. A receiver extension adapter is included so you can keep the receiver close; a micro-USB cable is included, too, if you really want to use the mouse wired and for charging. The Pro X Superlight has the same size battery as the standard Pro wireless mouse and lasts for up to 70 hours of gameplay.  

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If you don't like the smooth plastic, Logitech includes precut grip tape. 

Josh Goldman/CNET

The Pro X Superlight uses Logitech's Hero 25K sensor with a DPI up to 25,600 and tracking at a sub-micron level. So basically you're getting the best Logitech has to offer in an ultralight body. It'll just be your reflexes and quite possibly your bank account that stands in the way of a win. The Logitech G Pro X Superlight will be $150 when it goes on sale on Dec. 3. The price converts to approximately £115 in the UK and AU$205 in Australia.

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Best cheap gaming keyboards to rev up your work-from-home experience – CNET

You don't have to spend more than $100 to get a gaming keyboard that will improve your performance and make gaming more enjoyable. We tested out a bunch starting as low as $36 and found that all but one performed really well for the money (and, yes, it was the cheapest that we'd skip). Whether you're working from home or simply spending more time PC gaming than you were a couple of months ago, a new game-friendly keyboard can make a big difference.

Just like picking out a new gaming mouse, getting the right gaming keyboard has a lot to do with personal preference -- from ergonomic design (hello, wrist rest) to whether you prefer RGB lighting, mechanical keys, tactile feedback, programmable keys, dedicated media keys, or so many other features that we can't even begin to list. You can check out this glossary of keyboard terms, too, to help narrow your keyboard design preferences.

Josh Goldman/CNET

Corsair's K60 RGB Pro delivers what few if any other gaming keyboards can: a full-size mechanical gaming keyboard experience complete with per-key RGB lighting for less than $100. When you dip below this price, you'll typically find flat- and dome-membrane gaming keyboards. Or you'll find keyboards with mechanical switches but you'll get a single-color backlight or build quality that might not hold up over time.

But because Corsair used a lower-cost Cherry Viola mechanical switch, it was able to go a little higher-end on the rest. And really, you want mechanical switches because they're faster, last longer and have N-key rollover with 100% anti-ghosting so your individual keypresses register no matter how fast your fingers are moving.  Read more about the Corsair K60 RGB Pro SE.

Josh Goldman/CNET

If you're most comfortable doing your office work on a membrane keyboard, the Cynosa might be the gaming keyboard for you. It's a membrane keyboard, not mechanical, so the keys are quiet and definitely feel softer than the others here and some might find them mushy. Still, if you're looking to use one keyboard for both work and play, this is a fine compromise for its $60 price.

Many of the original Cynosa's features carry over, including per-key RGB lighting -- a rarity at this end of the market -- and durable spill-resistant design. What's new is a set of media keys added to the upper right corner. Razer also added cable routing under the keyboard so you can keep your desk a little tidier. 

This is also one of the most programmable keyboards here. There are a lot of preset lighting effects to pick from and you can also create your own using the Synapse 3.0 software. There's also Razer's Hypershift feature that lets you set up a secondary set of functions for your keys that are accessed with a "shift" key you choose. You can also rebind keys and set macros with the software.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The G12 is a fully programmable mechanical keyboard, though not as polished as the Razer when it comes to setup. There are seven color presets and 12 lighting-configuration presets that can be switched without any software. You can also use the company's G-aim software to control lighting as well as set up macros or change key functions. Lighting can even be synced between other G-aim-supported devices like the KM-P6 RGB mousepad, which looks good paired with this keyboard's RGB band around the base. 

The only real potential turn-off, aside from its metal top and plastic bottom, is the Outemu Blue switches. I like them for both typing and gaming but they are clicky and loud and make an echoey spring sound within the body -- not great if you have to share an office space. Considering it's less than $60 and can be combined with the company's ultralight GM-F3 mouse and RGB mousepad for less than $100, the G12 is a bargain. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

Even on Logitech's lower-end models such as the G413 backlit gaming keyboard, the company doesn't cheap out on build quality and components. It uses the same Romer-G Tactile switches found on its more feature-filled models and has the same slim, simple and durable keyboard design with brushed aluminum-magnesium alloy top case. It has a braided USB cable with a USB passthrough port on the back right and channels underneath for mouse and headset cable management.

The tactile key switch is relatively quiet with no click when actuated, just a subtle bump and a short actuation. If you love to hear and feel your keypresses, this probably isn't the best switch for you. There's just one color for the backlight -- red -- but the backlighting is bright and the key font on this full-size keyboard is easy to read. Logitech includes 12 faceted keycaps, which is nice but we didn't feel much difference.

The G413 is programmable with Logitech's G Hub software, letting you set up macros and custom functions on the F1-F12 buttons and there's a game mode that shuts off the Windows key. Overall it's a more polished mechanical gaming keyboard than the others here, but it's also pricier.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The $40 G6 mechanical gaming keyboard uses Outemu Blue mechanical key switches that are clicky and you'll have no problem feeling the actuation point as you go through your keystrokes. This cheap mechanical keyboard is also very loud, so be prepared for some side-eye if you're typing or gaming in a shared space. Also, the keycaps are on the small side, which resulted in a lot of mistakes when typing and gaming. Unless you're really accurate or have slender fingertips (I don't) you'll likely need time to adjust.

The keyboard is short on features -- you won't find any macro keys -- and there's no software to install for programmable buttons. As for lighting, you're limited to a single color per row, but there are nine lighting modes to choose from and you can create two custom lighting effects. That's really it, though, so if you're just looking for a budget mechanical keyboard with lights, media shortcut keys and a number pad, this hits the spot and saves you some money for a good gaming mouse.

Sarah Tew/CNET

If you want a wireless gaming keyboard and lights, consider the K57. This budget wireless keyboard uses rubber-dome switches with a pronounced actuation point, which gives it more of an office-keyboard feel like the Razer Cynosa. Gaming on it requires a touch more force than the mechanical keyboards here and rollover is limited to eight keys. Aside from those, the experience is just fine.

The K57 wirelessly connects to your PC via low-latency Bluetooth or Corsair's 2.4GHz Slipstream technology that uses a tiny USB-A adapter for lag-free gaming. It can also be used wired with the included Micro-USB cable, which charges up the keyboard, too. While it doesn't have the longevity of the Logitech when you're using the per-key RGB lighting, you can get through several days of gaming without needing to charge it up.

A row of dedicated macro keys on the left and discrete media controls on the right round out the features. Plus, Corsair's software is straightforward to use, which makes creating custom keyboard lighting and setting up those macro keys pretty painless. At $80, however, you're definitely paying more for those features.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Finding a good wireless gaming keyboard can be difficult. These babies are a rarity because the last thing you want to do is potentially introduce lag into your performance. The G613's Lightspeed wireless performs as good as wired and its battery life is stellar at up to 18 months on two AA-size batteries. That said, the keyboard has no backlight whatsoever, which while understandable for the power savings, no keyboard backlighting really kills the gaming experience in the dark. You do get six programmable buttons down the left side, so that's something.

The G613 uses the same Romer-G Tactile mechanical switches as the G413, so everything I said about that one applies here. I happen to like the feel of this switch for gaming and typing, though I was in the minority for our testing. This wireless keyboard is definitely one you should try before you buy if you can.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Made from ABS plastic and aluminum, the $40 waterproof K561 (yes, waterproof) mechanical gaming keyboard feels as solid as it sounds. Like the Aukey, it uses Outemu Blue switches that are tactile, clicky and loud. The keycaps are slightly bigger, though, so if you have rounder, wider fingertips you might find Redragon a better choice. This one is tenkeyless, too, for those who don't want or need a numberpad, but the company makes several other mechanical keyboards and all are less than $70 if you're looking for a full-size keyboard that can play double-duty as your regular keyboard..

The Redragon software is amateurish compared to Logitech's and Razer's. You can set up single-key macros and up to three separate profiles. There's no control over setting per-key backlighting, but that's hardly a surprise at its $40 price. You can pick from 19 different light patterns and adjust speed, brightness and direction of light movement. Whether it's for comfort or you're looking to save space on your desk or in your backpack, the K561 mechanical gaming keyboard is a good pick.

More gaming and WFH essentials

Originally published last year and updated periodically.

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Best USB-C docking station for 2020 to simplify your work-from-home setup – CNET

A USB-C docking station has become invaluable to us this year. Maybe, like us, you switched over from using a desktop to a laptop for mobility or you've only ever owned a laptop. But also like a lot of us this year, we suddenly found ourselves working from home and wanting a more desktop-like setup with a monitor, keyboard, mouse and Ethernet, without constantly swapping dongles and relying on Bluetooth. The only problem: Many new laptops don't have as many connections as they used to. 

What you'll typically find in place of those connections are USB-C ports. This do-it-all port can run multiple displays, move data, power your devices and more with the help of a docking station and a single USB-C cable. There are, of course, lots of options in this category mostly coming down to exactly what connections you need as well as how portable you need it to be. Here are some of our favorite USB-C docking stations that we've tested. We'll continue to update this list as we find new models to recommend. And if you're looking to charge your USB-C devices, here are the best options we've tested. 

Keep in mind not all USB-C ports are the same. For instance, Thunderbolt 3 or 4 devices will only be fully supported by a computer with a Thunderbolt USB-C port. Unfortunately, you can't just look at the port and know what you have. Check with your computer manufacturer for what your laptop (or desktop) model supports before you buy. 

Accell's simple, low-profile design won't tip over like vertical docks and it's easier to blindly plug into its connections. If you've got limited desk space, it might actually fit on the base of your monitor. Plus, the slim, lightweight body and its small power adapter slip easily into your bag if you need to travel with it. 

In back you'll find three USB 3.1 Gen 2 type-A ports, two HDMI ports (one 4K, one 1080p), an Ethernet port and jacks for mic input and headphone output. A single USB-C port is on the right side. Accell includes USB-C-to-USB-C and USB-C-to-USB-A cables to connect to your laptop. 

True to its name, you can connect it to your laptop and it will near-instantly start mirroring your display without needing a driver installed first. However, if you want to extend displays, you'll need to download a driver for MacOS or Windows; Accell conveniently stores them onboard; a screen appears when you connect to the dock that gives you the option to install it. 

It also works with Chromebooks. You'll have to move to the Chrome OS beta channel to use it at the moment, but that's as simple as toggling it on in Chrome's settings, updating the OS and rebooting. Also, if you have an Android phone or tablet you can download the free Accell app and then connect to the dock to mirror your device's display to a single 1080p-resolution monitor and use a keyboard and mouse if you want, too. I tested it with my Galaxy S9 and while there was a slight lag, it otherwise worked fine.  

Josh Goldman/CNET

The PowerExpand Elite is part USB-C dock and part charging station. In back are 85- and 15-watt Thunderbolt 3 ports and in front is an 18-watt USB-C power delivery port. A Thunderbolt 3 port supports up to a 5K-resolution display at 60Hz while its HDMI 2.0 port can support a display up to 4K resolution at 60Hz. Or you can run a USB-C-to-HDMI dual splitter and connect two 4K displays at 30Hz so you can run up to three monitors between the HDMI and Thunderbolt 3 ports. 

You'll also have four USB-A ports, a Gigabit Ethernet jack and MicroSD and SD card slots. A 3.5mm combo jack handles audio output and input.  

To provide enough juice to run everything, though, the PowerExpand Elite has a large 180-watt power adapter. Also, the fanless design means the body is one big heatsink so it can get hot when it's fully loaded. You can stand it vertically to help keep it cooler.  The Thunderbolt 3 port supports 5K@60Hz while the HDMI port supports a resolution of 4K@60Hz

Sarah Tew/CNET

If you want to expand your laptop's port options as well as dock your Nintendo Switch, the $65 Dock Pro 60 is all you need. The slim, small, lightweight dock has two USB-C ports, one of which supports power input. Connect your laptop (or Switch) to the other USB-C port and use the dock's HDMI port to connect to a TV or external (resolutions up to 4K UHD at 30Hz will work) and you're all ready to start work or playing with friends and family on a bigger screen. There are also two USB-A ports.

Bonus for Samsung Galaxy device users: The Dock Pro 60 supports Samsung DeX so you can use your phone or tablet with an external display and a desktop-style experience. 

Lori Grunin/CNET

Our top pick for creatives, this CalDigit can handle up to two 4K 60Hz (4,096x2,160 pixels with 30-bit color) monitors with its full-size DisplayPort and Thunderbolt 3 port. Or you can connect a single 5K 60Hz display with Thunderbolt 3 port. You also get five USB-A ports, Gigabit Ethernet, headphone and mic jacks, optical audio out and an SD card slot that supports speeds up to 312MB per second. 

Lori Grunin/CNET

Just a simple hub at a good price. On the left there's an HDMI output that supports displays up to 1080p at 30Hz or UHD (3,840x2,160 pixels) at 30Hz, a USB-A port and a USB-C port for pass-through charging up to 100 watts. The other side has two more USB-A ports and microSD and SD card slots, and in front is a Gigabit Ethernet port.  

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Best USB-C docking station for 2020 to simplify your work-from-home setup – CNET

A USB-C docking station has become invaluable to us this year. Maybe, like us, you switched over from using a desktop to a laptop for mobility or you've only ever owned a laptop. But also like a lot of us this year, we suddenly found ourselves working from home and wanting a more desktop-like setup with a monitor, keyboard, mouse and Ethernet, without constantly swapping dongles and relying on Bluetooth. The only problem: Many new laptops don't have as many connections as they used to. 

What you'll typically find in place of those connections are USB-C ports. This do-it-all port can run multiple displays, move data, power your devices and more with the help of a docking station and a single USB-C cable. There are, of course, lots of options in this category mostly coming down to exactly what connections you need as well as how portable you need it to be. Here are some of our favorite USB-C docking stations that we've tested. We'll continue to update this list as we find new models to recommend. And if you're looking to charge your USB-C devices, here are the best options we've tested. 

Keep in mind not all USB-C ports are the same. For instance, Thunderbolt 3 or 4 devices will only be fully supported by a computer with a Thunderbolt USB-C port. Unfortunately, you can't just look at the port and know what you have. Check with your computer manufacturer for what your laptop (or desktop) model supports before you buy. 

Accell's simple, low-profile design won't tip over like vertical docks and it's easier to blindly plug into its connections. If you've got limited desk space, it might actually fit on the base of your monitor. Plus, the slim, lightweight body and its small power adapter slip easily into your bag if you need to travel with it. 

In back you'll find three USB 3.1 Gen 2 type-A ports, two HDMI ports (one 4K, one 1080p), an Ethernet port and jacks for mic input and headphone output. A single USB-C port is on the right side. Accell includes USB-C-to-USB-C and USB-C-to-USB-A cables to connect to your laptop. 

True to its name, you can connect it to your laptop and it will near-instantly start mirroring your display without needing a driver installed first. However, if you want to extend displays, you'll need to download a driver for MacOS or Windows; Accell conveniently stores them onboard; a screen appears when you connect to the dock that gives you the option to install it. 

It also works with Chromebooks. You'll have to move to the Chrome OS beta channel to use it at the moment, but that's as simple as toggling it on in Chrome's settings, updating the OS and rebooting. Also, if you have an Android phone or tablet you can download the free Accell app and then connect to the dock to mirror your device's display to a single 1080p-resolution monitor and use a keyboard and mouse if you want, too. I tested it with my Galaxy S9 and while there was a slight lag, it otherwise worked fine.  

Josh Goldman/CNET

The PowerExpand Elite is part USB-C dock and part charging station. In back are 85- and 15-watt Thunderbolt 3 ports and in front is an 18-watt USB-C power delivery port. A Thunderbolt 3 port supports up to a 5K-resolution display at 60Hz while its HDMI 2.0 port can support a display up to 4K resolution at 60Hz. Or you can run a USB-C-to-HDMI dual splitter and connect two 4K displays at 30Hz so you can run up to three monitors between the HDMI and Thunderbolt 3 ports. 

You'll also have four USB-A ports, a Gigabit Ethernet jack and MicroSD and SD card slots. A 3.5mm combo jack handles audio output and input.  

To provide enough juice to run everything, though, the PowerExpand Elite has a large 180-watt power adapter. Also, the fanless design means the body is one big heatsink so it can get hot when it's fully loaded. You can stand it vertically to help keep it cooler.  The Thunderbolt 3 port supports 5K@60Hz while the HDMI port supports a resolution of 4K@60Hz

Sarah Tew/CNET

If you want to expand your laptop's port options as well as dock your Nintendo Switch, the $65 Dock Pro 60 is all you need. The slim, small, lightweight dock has two USB-C ports, one of which supports power input. Connect your laptop (or Switch) to the other USB-C port and use the dock's HDMI port to connect to a TV or external (resolutions up to 4K UHD at 30Hz will work) and you're all ready to start work or playing with friends and family on a bigger screen. There are also two USB-A ports.

Bonus for Samsung Galaxy device users: The Dock Pro 60 supports Samsung DeX so you can use your phone or tablet with an external display and a desktop-style experience. 

Lori Grunin/CNET

Our top pick for creatives, this CalDigit can handle up to two 4K 60Hz (4,096x2,160 pixels with 30-bit color) monitors with its full-size DisplayPort and Thunderbolt 3 port. Or you can connect a single 5K 60Hz display with Thunderbolt 3 port. You also get five USB-A ports, Gigabit Ethernet, headphone and mic jacks, optical audio out and an SD card slot that supports speeds up to 312MB per second. 

Lori Grunin/CNET

Just a simple hub at a good price. On the left there's an HDMI output that supports displays up to 1080p at 30Hz or UHD (3,840x2,160 pixels) at 30Hz, a USB-A port and a USB-C port for pass-through charging up to 100 watts. The other side has two more USB-A ports and microSD and SD card slots, and in front is a Gigabit Ethernet port.  

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Razer Book 13 is pure portable productivity starting at $1,200 – CNET

razer-book-13-key-visual
Razer

Razer is taking its first step into the productivity laptop market with the Razer Book 13. Built from CNC-milled metal with an anodized finish, per-key RGB keyboard lighting and vapor-chamber cooling, the 3-pound Book 13 fits seamlessly with the company's line of premium gaming laptops. Razer released its first mechanical keyboard and ergonomic mouse made for work in August.  

With its premium design and features, the Book 13 could give Dell's XPS 13 some stiff competition. Like that little laptop, the Razer Book 13 is built around a 13.4-inch display with a 16:10 aspect ratio surrounded by thin bezels on all four sides. You'll have a choice of a matte-finish or touchscreen display with a 1,920x1,200-pixel resolution, or a touch display with a 3,840x2,400-pixel resolution. All of them are factory calibrated and have 100% sRGB color gamut coverage. 

The laptop was co-engineered with Intel and, depending on the configuration you go with, meets the performance and feature requirements to be part of Intel's Evo platform. That means you'll get a long battery life (more than 14 hours, Razer says) and instant wake and Modern Standby so things like your email and calendar are up to date and ready when you lift the lid to work. Plus, it charges fast.

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The Razer Book 13 has two Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports -- one on each side -- as well as a full-size HDMI out, MicroSD card slot, a USB-A 3.2 port and a 3.5mm headset jack.

Razer

Component options include your choice of an 11th-gen Intel Core i5 or i7 processors, integrated Iris Xe graphics, 8GB or 16GB of LPDDR4x 4,267MHz dual-channel onboard memory and 256GB or 512GB PCIe SSD. Pricing starts at $1,200 and both i5 and i7 configurations are verified for Intel's Evo platform. The base configuration's price converts to approximately £915 or AU$1,652.

The Razer Book 13 will also have Wi-Fi 6 and support for Razer's Core X eGPU to give you a graphics boost when you're at your desk. It will be available later this month. 

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Asus ZenBook 13 (2020) review: This small laptop makes a big impression – CNET

asus-zenbook-13-2020
Josh Goldman/CNET

The Asus ZenBook 13 is a classic coffeehouse laptop. Stylish, but not necessarily showy, the 13.3-inch ultraportable has the perfect footprint for squeezing onto a tiny table and still leave room for your frappuccino. You'll get 12-plus hours of battery life -- depending on your configuration and what you're doing, naturally -- and plenty of performance to make quick work of daily office or school tasks. Plus, like many of Asus' laptops, the ZenBook adds a few gadgety extras to hopefully make your life easier while you're out and about. A nice laptop sleeve is thrown in for good measure too and all for less than $1,000. 

Like

  • Attractive, lightweight body
  • Good performance and battery life for its size

Don't Like

  • No built-in headphone jack
  • Memory is soldered on

Asus ZenBook 13 (2020)


Asus ZenBook 13 UX325EA-AH77 Asus ZenBook 13 UX325JA-XB51
Price as reviewed $999 $799
Display size/resolution 13.3-inch 1,920x1,080 display 13.3-inch 1,920x1,080 display
Processor 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-1165G7 1GHz Intel Core i5-1035G7
Memory 16GB LPDDR4X 4,266MHz dual-channel (soldered) 8GB LPDDR4X 3,200MHz dual-channel (soldered)
Graphics Intel Iris Xe Graphics Intel UHD Graphics
Storage 1TB PCIe 3.0 NVMe SSD 256GB PCIe 3.0 NVMe SSD
Ports 2x Thunderbolt 4 USB-C, USB-A (3.2 Gen 1), HDMI 1.4, MicroSD card reader 2x Thunderbolt 3 USB-C, USB-A (3.2 Gen 1), HDMI 1.4, MicroSD card reader
Networking Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201 802.11ax, Bluetooth 5.0 Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201 802.11ax, Bluetooth 5.0
Operating system Windows 10 Pro (2004) Windows 10 Pro (2004)
Weight 2.4 pounds (1.1 kilograms) 2.4 pounds (1.1 kilograms)

The Asus ZenBook 13 UX325 originally appeared in July but was recently refreshed following Intel's announcement of its 11th-gen Core processors and Iris Xe graphics. The models from earlier in the year with 10th-gen CPUs are still available, though, and are essentially the same as the 11th-gen versions except for the processors and an upgrade from Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 4. Buying the newer 11th-gen model will get you some future-proofing, but it also comes with a slightly higher price tag. 

If you're not on a strict budget, I would suggest going up to the newer 11th-gen configurations. The newer CPUs definitely deliver better performance overall compared to their 10th-gen counterparts, as do the integrated Iris Xe graphics, leaving you more headroom for basic GPU tasks and even casual gaming. And the 11th-gen Core i7 ran for two hours longer than the 10th-gen Core i5 ZenBook 13 I tested; The 11th-gen configuration reached 12 hours, 13 minutes on our streaming video test. 

asus-zenbook-13-2020-05

Asus' NumberPad 2.0 puts a full number pad on your touchpad. 

Josh Goldman/CNET

All the little extras

Aside from just being a nice-looking small, lightweight 13.3-inch laptop, the ZenBook 13 has a few added features that make it more interesting than your average ultraportable. Instead of the typical standard webcam, Asus squeezed an IR camera along with its webcam into the thin bezel above the display so you can sign in to Windows 10 with facial recognition. The video from the 720p webcam itself is just OK, though, but there is at least a shortcut on the F10 key to block the camera entirely. 

Also, Asus includes its NumberPad 2.0 feature in the touchpad. Press an icon in the top right of the pad and it turns on a full number pad. The software is smart enough to know the difference between using it as a number pad or touchpad so you don't have to constantly turn it on and off. Another icon in the top left of the pad lets you adjust the brightness and, if you tap it and swipe into the touchpad, it will launch the calculator app on your screen. 

asus-zenbook-13-2020-04

Asus includes a USB-C-to-3.5mm adapter. 

Josh Goldman/CNET

One more thing that makes using it a bit better: Asus designed the hinge to lift the rear of the laptop up so the keyboard is at a more ergonomic typing angle. It also helps keep it cooler. 

One of the few potential downsides of the ZenBook 13 is that Asus sacrificed a 3.5mm audio jack to fit the other ports on this laptop. If you haven't moved on to using a Bluetooth headset (or a good USB-C wired headset) this could be a bit of a headache. Especially right now with so many more people using video chat for work and school. Asus does include a USB-C-to-3.5mm adapter, but it's just one more thing you'll have to keep track of. Generally speaking, you'll want to use headphones, too, because the speakers, well, they'll do in a pinch. That's par for the course with such a thin laptop, though. 

asus-zenbook-13-2020-07jpg

The ZenBook 13's full-HD display gets reasonably bright on the 11th-gen model and the matte finish mitigates reflections. 

Josh Goldman/CNET

Also, both of the laptop's USB-C ports are on the left side. Since the laptop charges via USB-C, it would be more convenient to have them split up, one on each side. That way if you are in a coffee shop, there's less of a chance you'll be struggling to reach an outlet to recharge. 

Overall, I really like the Asus ZenBook 13. It's small, lightweight body makes it a good everyday carry as does its battery life. The NumberPad 2.0 and IR webcam add some gadgety appeal. And it's priced right for what you get.

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Varmilo’s Moonlight mechanical keyboard is the smoothest I’ve ever used – CNET

varmilo-ma87m-moonlight-with-ec-switch-v2-01

Varmilo's Moonlight keyboard with its own EC Switch V2 switches is available in 110% (pictured) and 80% sizes.  

Josh Goldman/CNET

I've tested dozens of gaming and office keyboards over the past few years, and Varmilo's Moonlight MA108M using its EC Switch V2 switches is easily one of the best mechanical keyboards available. From its attractive and solid design to its unbelievably smooth feel and pleasing sound, it offers an amazing typing experience. 

The main ingredient of that experience is the company's electrostatic capacitive switch that works by calculating the change on electrostatic capacity instead of using a physical contact like other mechanical switches. The result is a stable, fast and extremely sensitive switch with a theoretically unlimited life span, Varmilo says.

The EC switch V2 currently comes in three versions -- Daisy, Sakura and Rose -- and all of them are linear. That means they travel straight down without a click or tactile bump. A tactile Ivy switch is in development that the company says will be similar to a Cherry MX Blue switch. I tested the EC Sakura V2, which is similar to Cherry MX Red and Speed Silver switches. The Sakura has a 45-gram actuation force with a 2-millimeter actuation point and 60 grams of force to bottom out at 4mm. The EC Daisy V2's actuation force is 10gm lighter and the EC Rose V2 is 10gm heavier than the Sakura's.  

varmilo-ma87m-moonlight-with-ec-switch-v2

The EC Sakura V2 switch by Varmilo. 

Josh Goldman/CNET

If you're not used to linear switches, it might take some time to adjust to them because there's no tactility. And the EC Sakura V2s move so smoothly that, even coming from another linear keyboard, it took time for me to adjust. Along with the smooth actuation, there is no wobble to the keys at all. Even the spacebar has a solid, shake-free feel to it. The keys have the most pleasing clack sound to them as well. On many mechanical keyboards, you'll hear a spring sound or scraping, but not here: It's just a quiet clack. 

Also, I'm a sloppy typist and I noticed that the switches have a consistent feel regardless of what part of the key I hit -- no additional friction or drag. I am a hard typist also and generally prefer a tactile switch with a bump in it so I can feel the actuation before bottoming out. Varmilo's upcoming Ivy switch might be the answer, but right now I have no complaints about the Sakura. 

varmilo-moonlight-ec-sakura-v2-keyboard
Josh Goldman/CNET

It's a nice-looking keyboard, too. The $157 Moonlight -- available in a 110%, 108-key version I tested as well as a smaller, tenkeyless size -- is one of several themes that will be available with the new switches. (That converts to about £120 and AU$225.) Varmilo's other themed keyboards, from panda- and ocean-inspired designs to more vintage-looking layouts, are also currently available with Cherry MX switches. You can check them all out on its websiteInstagramFacebook and Twitter profiles. 

The keyboard is backlit but because the company's dye-sub-printed PBT keycaps are solid, the light doesn't shine through the key legends. With the light on, the keys are truly backlit, which can make them difficult to read in the dark. However, since the keys on this model are mostly light gray and blue, you can read them easily enough in dim lighting. 

Lastly, this keyboard is built like a tank. It might have a faux wood-grain plastic case but it's also got some serious heft to it at 2.8 pounds (1.2 kg). Between the weight and its rubber feet (there are flip-out legs in the rear also) this keyboard simply does not move unless you want it to. A Mini-USB port at the far right side in back and the included cable get you connected to your computer. It is fully compatible with Windows, but MacOS users will lose use of its shortcut keys. 

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Varmilo’s Moonlight mechanical keyboard is the smoothest I’ve ever used – CNET

varmilo-ma87m-moonlight-with-ec-switch-v2-01

Varmilo's Moonlight keyboard with its own EC Switch V2 switches is available in 110% (pictured) and 80% sizes.  

Josh Goldman/CNET

I've tested dozens of gaming and office keyboards over the past few years, and Varmilo's Moonlight MA108M using its EC Switch V2 switches is easily one of the best mechanical keyboards available. From its attractive and solid design to its unbelievably smooth feel and pleasing sound, it offers an amazing typing experience. 

The main ingredient of that experience is the company's electrostatic capacitive switch that works by calculating the change on electrostatic capacity instead of using a physical contact like other mechanical switches. The result is a stable, fast and extremely sensitive switch with a theoretically unlimited life span, Varmilo says.

The EC switch V2 currently comes in three versions -- Daisy, Sakura and Rose -- and all of them are linear. That means they travel straight down without a click or tactile bump. A tactile Ivy switch is in development that the company says will be similar to a Cherry MX Blue switch. I tested the EC Sakura V2, which is similar to Cherry MX Red and Speed Silver switches. The Sakura has a 45-gram actuation force with a 2-millimeter actuation point and 60 grams of force to bottom out at 4mm. The EC Daisy V2's actuation force is 10gm lighter and the EC Rose V2 is 10gm heavier than the Sakura's.  

varmilo-ma87m-moonlight-with-ec-switch-v2

The EC Sakura V2 switch by Varmilo. 

Josh Goldman/CNET

If you're not used to linear switches, it might take some time to adjust to them because there's no tactility. And the EC Sakura V2s move so smoothly that, even coming from another linear keyboard, it took time for me to adjust. Along with the smooth actuation, there is no wobble to the keys at all. Even the spacebar has a solid, shake-free feel to it. The keys have the most pleasing clack sound to them as well. On many mechanical keyboards, you'll hear a spring sound or scraping, but not here: It's just a quiet clack. 

Also, I'm a sloppy typist and I noticed that the switches have a consistent feel regardless of what part of the key I hit -- no additional friction or drag. I am a hard typist also and generally prefer a tactile switch with a bump in it so I can feel the actuation before bottoming out. Varmilo's upcoming Ivy switch might be the answer, but right now I have no complaints about the Sakura. 

varmilo-moonlight-ec-sakura-v2-keyboard
Josh Goldman/CNET

It's a nice-looking keyboard, too. The $157 Moonlight -- available in a 110%, 108-key version I tested as well as a smaller, tenkeyless size -- is one of several themes that will be available with the new switches. (That converts to about £120 and AU$225.) Varmilo's other themed keyboards, from panda- and ocean-inspired designs to more vintage-looking layouts, are also currently available with Cherry MX switches. You can check them all out on its websiteInstagramFacebook and Twitter profiles. 

The keyboard is backlit but because the company's dye-sub-printed PBT keycaps are solid, the light doesn't shine through the key legends. With the light on, the keys are truly backlit, which can make them difficult to read in the dark. However, since the keys on this model are mostly light gray and blue, you can read them easily enough in dim lighting. 

Lastly, this keyboard is built like a tank. It might have a faux wood-grain plastic case but it's also got some serious heft to it at 2.8 pounds (1.2 kg). Between the weight and its rubber feet (there are flip-out legs in the rear also) this keyboard simply does not move unless you want it to. A Mini-USB port at the far right side in back and the included cable get you connected to your computer. It is fully compatible with Windows, but MacOS users will lose use of its shortcut keys. 

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DJI’s Ronin returns as the RS 2, RSC 2 to stabilize cameras big and small – CNET

dji-rsc2-and-dji-rs2

DJI's new RS 2 (left) and RSC 2 camera gimbals. 

DJI

As it does with its camera drones, DJI updated its Ronin-S and Ronin-SC three-axis camera gimbals based on feedback from professionals. The new models, the $849 RS 2 and $499 RSC 2, are lighter and more flexible in design while bulking up on features and without sacrificing battery life. In Australia and the UK, the prices for the RS 2 are AU$1,299 and £699, respectively, while for the RSC 2 they're AU$699 and £389. 

The RS 2, made to hold a payload of 4.5 kilograms (10 pounds), weighs only 1.3kg (2.9 pounds) due in part to a switch to a structure of carbon fiber. However, it still has a battery large enough to get it through 12 hours of use, and it can now be quick-charged in 15 minutes for an additional 2 hours of use. 

The stabilizer's algorithm has been optimized to actually learn how you use it and adjust the gimbal's tilt and angle accordingly. A SuperSmooth mode was also added that increases stability to accommodate longer lenses of up to 100mm. 

djirsc24

The RSC 2 has a Briefcase mode so it can be slung forward for lower shots. 

DJI

Other additions include axis locks that make it easier to balance and transport, an Arca-Swiss and Manfrotto-compatible mounting plate, a built-in 1.4-inch touchscreen for settings and camera framing, and a dial for focus adjustments. 

The RSC 2 is designed for smaller mirrorless cameras but with stronger motors can handle a dynamic payload of 3kg (6.6 lbs.). This means, like the RS 2, it can support more weight but performance might take a hit. Still, that's a lot of weight for a stabilizer that weighs only 1.2kg (2.7 lbs.). The RSC 2 also has up to 12 hours of battery life and a quick-charge option as well as axis locks and dual-layer camera mounting plate found on the RS 2. Instead of touchscreen, though, the RSC 2 has a 1-inch built-in OLED display. 

Both models were designed to do more with help from a growing list of accessories. Those include things like a cheese plate, a focus wheel, a dual-handle grip and DJI's RavenEye Image Transmission System for remote operation from up to 200 meters away. 

Both gimbals are available today from DJI and at retail. They can be purchased alone or as part of a Pro Combo with a phone holder, focus motor, RavenEye, a carrying case and more for $999 for the RS 2 and $739 for the RSC 2.

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