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HP Pavilion Gaming 15 2019 review: A home machine for casual gaming



HP’s Omen series has some great models for serious gamers. The Pavilion Gaming 15, however, is a machine designed for work and play in unequal parts. The updated DK series is stealthily designed to incorporate features of both a heavy-duty work machine and a gaming device. It fairly succeeds at both. It’s overall a good buy if you can navigate a few challenges. Here’s how it looks and performs.

Design (4/5)

The machine has a 15.6-inch display with a screen resolution of 1920×1080 pixels, which isn’t spectacular but sufficient for daily entertainment and casual gaming. The starting models, priced from Rs 69,990, come with a refresh rate of 60Hz, which will prove insufficient for people looking for a gaming-first device and should instead opt for a higher model (priced around Rs 1 lakh) with a 144Hz refresh rate — unless, of course, gaming for you means Counter Strike after work.

The laptop comes in ‘shadow black’ and ‘ultra violet’, and the back of the screen has a matte finish with an HP logo at the centre. The sheen does look good but the fingerprint smudges can get to you. Keep a lint-free cloth handy.

The rectangular screen is attached to the rest of the machine from the centre and is free along the edges for an overall sharp-looking design. The screen borders have standard thickness with no innovation applied there.

While the laptop looks like any other machine from the outside, the backlit RGB keyboard is a nice touch for the gamer usually in a suit-and-tie. Above the keyboard is a wide speaker grille and a noticeably big trackpad sits at the bottom.

I would have actually liked the design more if the laptop did not weigh 2.25 kg. That is just medium-heavy in the gaming universe but not suitable to be lugged around to office and back. But if a few extra grams don’t bother you, the good stuff is coming up.

Performance (3.5/5)

HP Pavilion Gaming 15 is among the few machines that come with high-end gaming features at this price point. Apart from a design that supports a statement, the top-end variant, which I reviewed, comes with Intel’s 9th-Gen Core i7 processor, 12 GB RAM, and — more impressive — a dedicated NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660Ti GPU, a step up from the previous generation GTX 1060.

The laptop performed sufficiently well throughout my two-hour session of Fortnite while I occasionally multi-tasked to answer work emails. The frame rate was consistent without stutters. The machine did, however, heat up pretty quickly and I was forced to eventually place the laptop on a table. The other issue was the battery, which drained within two hours. The battery lasted about four hours during my non-gaming productivity hours, which isn’t great, either. The trackpad could have also been more responsive in the default settings.

Back to the good stuff, the Bang and Olfsen speakers are well-tuned with clear vocals for watching a movie or casual gaming. But you will need headphones for serious gaming sessions because they aren’t too loud.

Verdict (3.5/5)

The HP Pavillion Gaming 15 is slightly bulky for an everyday machine that mostly stays in a bag but is good for working and gaming from home. The design, specifications and performance are good for a starting price of Rs 69,990 (with i5 processor and 60Hz refresh rate) if you can navigate the challenges of a mediocre battery life and a bit of heat.



Now, ask Alexa to pay utility bills as Amazon adds voice-based feature



In yet another step towards making online buying and other services completely voiced-based and hinged on its virtual assistant Alexa, Amazon on Wednesday announced that users in India can now pay their utility bills with Amazon Pay just by voice commands.

This new Alexa feature supports payment of bills across categories such as electricity, water, post-paid mobile, cooking gas, broadband and DTH among other utility payments. “Users of Amazon Echo, Fire TV Stick and other devices with Alexa built-in can just say commands such as ‘Alexa, pay my mobile bill’ or ‘Alexa, pay my electricity bill’ to get started,” the company said.

For existing Amazon Pay users, Alexa will retrieve the amount due for bills from their registered Amazon account and ask for customer confirmation before processing the payment. Customers can enable a voice pin on the Alexa app to make transactions more secure. Once approved, Alexa will complete the transaction using Amazon Pay, and send a notification to the customer’s registered mobile phone number, confirming the transaction. For new Amazon Pay customers, Alexa will send a link to register their bill details on the Amazon shopping app before proceeding with bill payment.

In addition to making payments, customers can ask Alexa the balance in the wallet and also command it to top it up from a bank account linked to Amazon Pay. This new feature on Alexa will further help in reducing payment friction as customers will be able to complete their payment transactions with just their voice command.

“This new integration of Amazon Pay with Alexa will help reduce both time and effort for customers who use Amazon Pay for bill payments and repeat similar transactions every month. We are also excited to share that this is an India-first feature which Alexa customers in India can enjoy before any other international customers,” Puneesh Kumar, Country Manager for Alexa Experiences and Devices, Amazon India said.

The company last month announced that Alexa can now speak in Hindi. Going forward it is planning to launch its voice assistant in a host of other Indian languages. Taking the competition to Google Assistant, Amazon is ramping up the usage of Alexa in India by tying up with speaker manufacturers, mobile phone companies to make Alexa the primary voice assistant on devices.

At the moment Alexa knows 500 skills in Hindi. In English Alexa can perform over 30,000 tasks. “Amazon Pay’s integration with Alexa will enable customers to use digital payments for their daily use cases making it hassle-free and swift. Paying of bills such as electricity, water, post-paid mobile, cooking gas, DTH and more will become seamless with just one voice command,” Mahendra Nerurkar, Director, Amazon Pay said.

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Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro India launch today at 12 PM: Expected specs, & more



Chinese electronics manufacturer Xiaomi is set to launch the Redmi Note 8 Pro in India on October 16. Successor to the Redmi Note 7 Pro, the phone would bring several new upgrades, including a 64-megapixel sensor-based quad rear camera set-up, MediaTek Helio G90T mobile processor and fast charging support. Apart from the phone, Xiaomi is also expected to announce its next iteration of Android operating system-based user interface, the MIUI 11.

Redmi Note 8 Pro specifications

The Redmi Note 8 Pro boasts a glass build with Gorilla Glass 5 protection on the front and back. On the front, the phone has a 6.53-inch dot-shaped notch screen of fullHD+ (2340 x 1080p) resolution. The HDR-ready screen has anti-oil and anti-fingerprint coating for protection against smudges. Powering the phone is MediaTek Helio G90T system-on-chip, which is a midrange mobile processor aimed at gaming-centric smartphones. Though the phone’s Chinese version is powered by Android 9 Pie operating system-based MIUI 10 user interface, there are chances that the Redmi Note 8 Pro Indian version would boot the MIUI 11.

Imaging is covered by a quad camera set-up on the back, featuring a 64-megapixel primary sensor with an f/1.89 aperture, an 8MP ultra-wide angle sensor of an f/2.2 aperture and 120-degree field of view (FoV), a 2MP macro lens and a 2MP depth sensor. On the front, the phone has a 20MP sensor of an f/2.0 aperture.

Powering the phone is a 4,500 mAh battery, which supports 18W fast charging through supplied charger. The phone has USB type-C port for charging and data transfers, and a 3.5mm port for audio out. The phone’s Chinese variant comes with 6GB RAM and up to 128GB internal storage. However, the Indian variant is likely to get different RAM and storage configurations.

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Realme Buds 2 review: Budget earphones with impressive design, audio output



Earlier this year, Realme decided to bet on an otherwise fading world of wired earbuds and introduced the Realme Buds. Expanding the portfolio, the company has now launched the second iteration of its wired earphones, the Realme Buds 2, which offers additional features, better build quality and improved audio output while keeping the price in the same ballpark. Let’s take a look at what this new pair of earphones offers:

Design and build quality

Realme Buds 2 has a great build quality, especially considering the price tag of Rs 599. The earphones use a 3.55 mm jack and have your regular three-button remote with a microphone that allows you to answer calls and change songs on your smartphone. But where it gets even better is the Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU)-braided cable below the Y-splitter which should give it additional durability. There is also a yellow rubber clip to help you keep the cables in an organised manner. The earbuds have a magnetic casing that allows you to hang it around your neck when idle. The earbuds feel comfortable and fit nicely. And even if it doesn’t, you have some additional silicon earbuds in the box. Take your pick. Look-wise, the earbuds’ yellow-and-black colour scheme is classic. And it’s not just the earbuds. Realme has taken great care of the product’s packaging, and it shows during the unpacking.


The earbuds have two 11.2 mm drivers, each with 32ohm impedance rating and 108dB sensitivity rating. True to its tagline ‘feel the real bass’, the earphones has an elevated bass response, sometimes to the point of being overpowering. I doubt you’ll ever need to crank it up to the top volume. Despite that, the overall sound output is quite crisp and clean at all levels with sharp vocals. The passive noise cancellation facility isn’t just a buzzword and you can actually rely on the earbuds to help you through a crowded commute. However, there’s a fair bit of cable noise. Another issue that my voice wasn’t always clear enough to the person on the other end when I used the mic for calls.


Despite a few issues, Realme Buds 2 does most of the things rights. Its TPU-braided cable, magnetic feature, and even the overall sound quality are definitely of the breed of those found in earbuds priced at the higher end of the price range. At Rs 599, the Realme Buds 2 are a steal and make a great buy.

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