It’s been a busy week in the tech world, from emails detailing the failed iPhone Nano launch to an Intel data dump making headlines.
But, as always, for the expert team at Trusted Reviews, there has been a very clear winner and loser in the world of shiny things over the past seven days. Here is who they are.
Winner: Intel with its new Arc silicon and Alder Lake
It’s no secret that we haven’t been Intel’s biggest fans in recent years.
Since AMD introduced Ryzen processors from generation to generation, we’ve found it increasingly difficult to recommend the company’s high-end desktop chips, with performance gains diminishing day by day, even in gaming. . That’s why the Intel Core i9-11900K we reviewed earlier this year got a slightly underwhelming 3/5 star.
This is also why we were delighted to see the firm launch on its final Architecture Day earlier this week. At the event, Intel’s architect gave us a veritable barrage of announcements, including new details on the architecture of the company’s Alder Lake processor, Arc graphics cards, and the supercomputing blueprints of the data center.
For us, graphics cards, in particular, have stood out, with Intel dropping some very impressive performance and promising that in addition to ray tracing support, the cards will launch with XeSS later this year. This is a key milestone for Intel, which means if the stars align and the cards have competitive specifications and performance, Arc GPUs will be competitive at launch.
XeSS is the Intel version of Nvidia DLSS and AMD FSR. The Cliff Notes is that it aims to enable GPUs to improve frame rates when performing demanding processes, such as ray tracing light effects. In 2020, despite otherwise competitive performance, the lack of FSR (AMD version) at the launch of the RX 6000 series cards, made them difficult to recommend over their DLSS-enabled rivals Nvidia.
Loser: Pixel 5a fans outside the US
We have never hidden our love for Google’s Pixel a-series brand. Key phones, such as the Pixel 4a and Pixel 4a 5G, have been constant entrants in our best guides to affordable phones and mid-range phones.
Indeed, they manage to deliver a number of key features traditionally seen on flagship phones at an affordable price. Highlights include Google’s premium camera AI processing and a completely untouched version of Android that guarantees to receive software updates longer than the competition.
That legacy is set to continue with the new Pixel 5a, based on its datasheet which includes a solid Snapdragon 765 processor, 5G connectivity plus a bigger battery, and the same stellar camera tech that Google is now famous for. That’s why this week, we did have a toy-out-of-the-stroller moment when the company revealed that the phone would only be launching in the US and Japan.
Based on Twitter’s reactions to Google’s Tweet confirming the news, we’re not alone in our disappointment, hence our ranking as this week’s loser.