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Winners and losers: Intel Xe-cites while Pixel 5a fans get snubbed

It has been a busy week in the world of tech with everything from emails detailing a failed to launch iPhone Nano to an Intel data dump hitting the headlines.

But, as ever, for the team of experts at Trusted Reviews there has been a very clear winner and loser in the world of shiny things over the last seven days. Here’s who they are.

Intel Arc Logo

Winner: Intel with its new Arc and Alder Lake silicon

It’s no secret, we’ve not been Intel’s biggest fans over the last couple of years.

Since AMD came out swinging with Ryzen CPUs, generation-on-generation we’ve found it harder and harder to recommend the firm’s top end desktop chips, with the performance gains growing smaller by the day – even in gaming. This is why the Intel Core i9-11900K we reviewed earlier this year scored a slightly disappointing 3/5 stars.

It’s also why we were delighted to see the firm come out swinging at its latest Architecture Day earlier this week. At the event, Intel’s architect’s treated us to an outright barrage of announcements including fresh details about the firm’s Alder Lake CPU architecture, Arc graphics cards and data centre supercomputing plans.

For us, the graphics cards, in particular, stood out, with Intel dropping some seriously impressive performance claims and promising that, as well as ray tracing support, the cards will launch with XeSS later this year. This is a key step for Intel that means, if the stars align and the cards have competitive specs and performance, the Arc GPUs be competitive at launch.

XeSS is Intel’s version of Nvidia DLSS and AMD FSR. The Cliff Notes is that it aims to let the GPUs improve frame rates when running demanding processes, such as ray tracing light effects. In 2020, despite offering otherwise competitive performance, the lack of FSR (AMD’s version) at launch for the RX 6000-series cards, made them hard to recommend compared to their DLSS-ready Nvidia rivals.

Pixel 5a

Loser: Pixel 5a fans outside of the US

We’ve never made any secret of our love of Google’s Pixel a-series brand. Key phones, such as the Pixel 4a and Pixel 4a 5G have been consistent entrants in our best affordable phone and best mid-range phone guides.

This is because they manage to offer a number of key features traditionally seen on flagship phones at an affordable price. Highlights include Google’s top end camera AI processing and a completely untouched version of Android that’s guaranteed to receive software updates longer than the competition.

This legacy looks set to continue with the new Pixel 5a, based on its spec sheet which includes a solid Snapdragon 765 CPU, 5G connectivity plus a larger battery and the same stellar camera tech Google’s now famous for. This is why this week we well and truly had a toys out of pram moment when the firm revealed the phone will only be launching in the US and Japan.

Based on the Twitter reactions to Google’s Tweet confirming the news, we’re not alone in our disappointment, hence our placement as this week’s loser.

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