These are the best Windows Hello facial recognition laptops in 2021

These are the best Windows Hello facial recognition laptops in 2021

In recent years, it’s become more and more apparent that passwords can be insecure, and they’re often very easy to guess, leaving many people unprotected. Beyond that, having to type in a password every time you want to unlock your computer can be a chore. Thankfully, a few years ago, Microsoft introduced Windows Hello, and nowadays, it’s easy to find a laptop with facial recognition or a fingerprint sensor to make things easier and more secure.

Make no mistake, once you’ve tried Windows Hello, especially the facial recognition, it’s really hard to go back. It’s just so much more convenient to be able to just unlock your PC by looking at it. If you want a laptop that supports Windows Hello facial recognition, we completely get why – and we’re here to help. We’ve rounded up some of the best laptops that include this feature, and you may be surprised that there are great laptops here for all kinds of users. Let’s get into it.

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Best overall: Surface Laptop Studio

Display pulled forward on Surface Laptop Studio

Microsoft is obviously one of the biggest supporters of Windows Hello, and the vast majority of Surface devices include facial recognition. The Surface Laptop Studio is one of the company’s latest products, and let’s get this out of the way right now, this is absolutely my favorite device on this list. That may seem obvious, but what we see as the best overall device doesn’t always align with our personal preference. In this case, it does.

Starting with performance, the Surface Laptop Studio has a lot to offer. It comes with Intel’s new H35 series processors, up to an Intel Core i7-11370H. This is a quad-core, eight-thread processor, and it can boost up to 4.8GHz. The power rating is 35W, and compared to the more mainstream laptops, that means you get significantly better performance. If you want to do some gaming or content creation, the Surface Laptop Studio can also be had with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti graphics card. In addition to that, you can get it with up to 32GB of RAM and a 2TB SSD, so this laptop can easily handle anything you might want to do on it.

The display on the Surface Laptop Studio is also very good. This is a 14.4-inch panel, and it comes with the usual 3:2 aspect ratio of Surface devices. This taller screen means you get more surface (no pun intended) area for content, which is great for getting work done. The resolution is 2400 x 1600, which is very sharp for this size, and it also includes a 120Hz refresh rate, which means animations and motion will look much smoother on this screen. It also supports Dolby Vision and is you use Windows Ink, it also supports Tactile Signals in the Surface Slim Pen 2.

The webcam on the Surface Laptop Studio supports 1080p resolution, and that’s better than the vast majority of Windows laptops. You shouldn’t have any problems taking video calls on this laptop, which not all laptops can say. Of course, it also comes with Windows Hello facial recognition, so unlocking your PC is as easy as it gets.

What truly makes the Surface Laptop Studio my favorite on this list is its form factor. This is different from typical convertibles in that it allows you to pop the screen out of its frame at the bottom and pull it closer to you. You can also fold the display down over the keyboard, which is the ideal stance for drawing on the screen. This is one of the coolest form factors a laptop can have. Aside from that, the Surface Laptop Studio has the typical Surface design language, with a single platinum color available and a clean look overall. It measures 18.94mm in thickness and the weight starts at 3.83lbs, so it’s still fairly portable despite the powerful internals and the unique design.

As for ports, the Surface Laptop Studio is one of the first Surface devices to add Thunderbolt 4 support, meaning you can finally connect Thunderbolt docks, external GPUs, and displays to it. There are two Thunderbolt 4 ports, a Surface Connect port, and a headphone jack, which isn’t a very wide selection of ports. This is fairly common for modern premium laptops, however, so it’s not a huge problem.

Overall, the Surface Laptop Studio is one of the best laptops you can buy today, and with Windows Hello facial recognition, it definitely deserves a spot on this list. You can check out our Surface Laptop Studio review if you want to learn more about it.

    The Surface Laptop Studio is powered by 35W Intel processors and NVIDIA graphics, plus it has a unique form factor that's very versatile.

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Best with an OLED display: ASUS Zenbook Flip S

ASUS ZenBook Flip S product image

If you want a laptop with one of the best displays around, the ASUS Zenbook Flip S might just be one of your best options. ASUS has been using OLED displays on many of its recent laptops, and the Zenbook Flip S is a standout example of it, featuring not only an OLED panel but a premium design as well.

Performance-wise, the ASUS Zenbook Flip S is what you’d expect out of a modern thin-and-light laptop. It’s powered by an Intel Core i7-1165G7, a 15W processor with four cores, eight threads, and boost speeds up to 4.7GHz. That should already give you a pretty great experience for day-to-day use, and it’s made better by the inclusion of Intel Iris Xe graphics. In addition to that, you get 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD, a powerful combination for a premium lightweight laptop like this.

The highlight of this laptop, as we already mentioned, is the display. This is a 13.3-inch screen, and it comes in the more typical 16:9 aspect ratio. What makes it truly special however, is that this is a 4K OLED display, which is going to look absolutely fantastic. Beyond the resolution, the display covers 100% of DCI-P3 and it’s PANTONE validated, so color reproduction is going to be fantastic on this laptop. Being an OLED display also means you get true blacks, which might save battery in some scenarios, and the screen also supports HDR.

For the webcam, ASUS is using a 720p camera, which isn’t the best for video calls. That doesn’t stop it from supporting Windows Hello facial recognition, though, so it’s still very easy to unlock the Zenbook Flip S.

Another aspect that’s very worthy of praise here is the design of this laptop. First off, this is an incredibly thin laptop, measuring just 13.9mm, and that’s especially impressive considering it’s a convertible. It also weighs 2.87lbs, which is fairly light for a 2-in-1 laptop of this size. Of course, being a convertible means you can use it as a tablet, which is also great to see. But another thing that’s very cool about this laptop is that comes in a striking dual-tone design. Most surfaces of the laptop are “jade black”, but ASUS uses red copper accents around the edges on the hinge, giving it a much more premium look.

As for ports, the ASUS Zenbook Flip S has all the basics covered, which is surprising on such a thin laptop. You get two Thunderbolt 4 ports, one USB Type-A port, and one HDMI port, so you can connect pretty much any kind of peripheral you might need. Sure, there’s not a ton of ports, but compared to other premium laptops of this size, the variety alone is a big plus. There’s no built-in headphone jack, oddly enough, but you do get an adapter in the box, and there’s an adapter for gigabit Ethernet, too.

This is a fantastic ultra-thin convertible, and it actually gets a lot right compared to other premium devices like this. Between the fantastic display, stunning design, ports, and Windows Hello support, there isn’t much more you can ask for. You can also read our ASUS Zenbook Flip S review here.

    The ASUS Zenbook Flip S has a stunning 4K OLED display and a premium dual-tone design that looks great anywhere.

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Best Gaming Laptop with Windows Hello: Razer Blade 15 Advanced

Razer Blade 15 Advanced

If there’s one type of laptop that often cuts corners in the camera department, it’s gaming laptops, but the Razer Blade 15 Advanced is an exception we’re happy to see. Not only does it feature Windows Hello facial recognition, but this is a powerful laptop that can handle all your gaming and content creation needs with no issue.

First off, this laptop is powered by the latest 45W Intel processors, up to a Core i9-11900H with eight cores, 16 threads, and boost speeds up to 4.8GHz. That’s one of the most powerful laptop processors around. Complementing that, you can get up to an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 graphics card for all your gaming needs. The GPU can use up to 105W of power, so this is no slouch, and it can run most AAA games without breaking a sweat. In addition to this, you get up to 32GB of RAM and a 1TB PCIe SSD for storage, so you’re not going to be begging for more. And if you do, both the RAM and storage are upgradeable, with an extra M.2 slot available for storage expansion.

You can also choose the display you want for your usage style. It’s a 15.6-inch display, but it comes in a few variants. You can go Full HD with a 360Hz refresh rate, Quad HD with either 165Hz or 240Hz, or spring for a 4K OLED display with a standard 60Hz refresh rate. That last option is more so geared towards content creators, but if you value image quality over frame rates, you can go that route, too. Regardless, these are all great display options, and choosing one is up to your budget and preference.

Like we said, Razer thankfully didn’t cut corners with the webcam here, and it’s using a 1080p camera. That’s surprising for a gaming laptop, but with streaming being as popular as it is, it actually makes a lot of sense. And, of course, the camera supports Windows Hello facial recognition, which is even more surprising, and it’s awesome that it’s here.

For a gaming laptop, the Razer Blade 15 has a fairly subdued design. It’s an all-black laptop without much in the way of extravagant details. The most flair you’ll find on the outer shell is the green Razer logo, but otherwise, it looks sleek and clean. The keyboard is RGB backlit, but only the key labels show the color, so it’s not obnoxious in that regard either, it could pass for a professional laptop. This is also a surprisingly thin laptop for what it offers, measuring 16.99mm in thickness. At 4.4lbs, it’s not super light, but there’s only so much you can expect with this kind of power packed inside.

And ports are also a highlight of the Razer Blade 15 Advanced. You get two Thunderbolt 4 ports, three USB Type-A ports, a full-size SD card reader, and HDMI 2.1, which is an absolutely fantastic selection. This covers just about any need you might have, both with modern and legacy ports. The only thing you might want is Ethernet if you prefer wired internet connections, which could be useful for online games.

This is one of the most powerful Windows laptops out there, and when you consider how compact it is, it’s truly impressive. It’s a fantastic choice for gamers who also want the convenience of Windows Hello.

    The Razer Blade 15 Advanced is a powerful gaming laptop with multiple display options and a 1080p Windows Hello camera.

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Best 2-in-1 Laptop with Windows Hello: HP Spectre x360 14

HP Spectre X360 14

The HP Spectre x360 14 has appeared on many of our “best of” lists, and there are a few good reasons for it. This is an absolutely beautiful laptop with a great display and high-end specs, and it’s an easy recommendation for almost anyone.

Starting with performance, the HP Spectre x360 can be had with up to an Intel Core i7-1165G7 at most retailers (there’s actually a model with a Core i7-1195G7 at Best Buy), and that’s a quad-core, eight-thread processor similar to most thin and light laptops of this kind. The version at Best Buy can boost up to 5GHz, so it’s a bit faster, but it’s not going to be a huge difference. You also get up to 16GB of RAM and a 2TB SSD, so multitasking will be a breeze and you get tons of space for your files.

One of the highlights of this laptop is the display, particularly due to its form factor. The HP Spectre x360 14 has a 3:2 display, similar to Microsoft’s Surface devices. That taller screen is great for productivity, but on the Spectre x360, there’s another benefit – you can get it in an OLED panel with 3K2K (3000 x 2000) resolution. Considering the 13.5-inch size of this screen, that’s incredibly sharp, and being an OLED display means you get true blacks, vibrant colors, and high contrast ratios. This is a great screen to work on, but with the OLED option, it’s also great for viewing content.

Unfortunately, the webcam on the HP Spectre x360 isn’t the best. HP uses a tiny 2.2mm camera that records 720p video, and because of its small size, the video quality isn’t very good. At least it still has Windows Hello facial recognition support, though, and on top of that, you get a fingerprint reader if you prefer unlocking that way.

Another highlight of the Spectre x360 14 is the design. Similar to the ASUS Zenbook Flip S we already mentioned, the Spectre x360 14 comes in a dual-tone design, but in this case, you actually get two options. Nightfall Black combines black surfaces with copper accents, while Poseidon Blue mixes dark blue surfaces with gold accents. And if you want something more boring standard, there’s a single-tone silver option, too. Aside from that, it has the classic sharp edges and trimmed corners of other Spectre laptops, and it’s fairly portable, too. It measures 17mm in thickness and weighs 2.95lbs, so it should be easy to carry around anywhere.

As for ports, this might be one of the downsides of the HP Spectre x360 14. It has two Thunderbolt 4 ports, and technically, that means you can connect almost anything with a Thunderbolt dock. You also get one USB Type-A port for peripherals and a headphone jack. However, the inclusion of HDMI would have been nice since most monitors and TVs still use HDMI as the standard input. This way, you need an adapter to use an external screen, which is a bummer.

Despite that, this is a fantastic laptop with a beautiful design and a great display. You really can’t go wrong with this one.

    The HP Spectre x36 14 is a premium 2-in-1 laptop with a beautiful design and a 3:2 display.

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Best tablet with Windows Hello: Surface Pro 8

Front view of Surface Pro 8

Like we said at the start, Microsoft is one of the biggest supporters of Windows Hello, and the Surface Pro 8 is the latest and greatest tablet to implement it. This is one of the best Surface Pro devices in years thanks to a new design, display, and more.

First off, performance-wise, the Surface Pro 8 is in line with other premium Windows ultrabooks. It comes with up to an Intel Core i7-1185G7, which is a quad-core, eight-thread processor that can boost up to 4.8GHz. It also includes Iris Xe graphics, so it’s everything you’d expect in a modern laptop. Plus, it can be configured with up to 32GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD, which is removable by the user (albeit Microsoft advises against it).

One of the big changes in the Surface Pro 8 compared to previous models is the display. For starters, it’s now a bigger 13-inch display (compared to the old 12.3-inch models), and it has smaller bezels all around. The resolution has increased to 2880 x 1920, but it’s essentially the same pixel density as previous models, just compensating for the bigger screen. That’s not a bad thing, though, as the Surface Pro 8 is still super sharp for a 13-inch tablet. On top of that, this model adds a 120Hz refresh rate for the first time, and it comes with Dolby Vision support. For Windows Ink fans, the Surface Pro 8 also supports Tactile Signals (haptic feedback) in the Surface Slim Pen 2.

Cameras are one area where the Surface Pro has been ahead of the curve for years compared to other laptops. The front-facing webcam is a 5MP camera, and it supports 1080p video, making this one of the best webcams around. Of course, Windows Hello facial recognition is also here. But in addition to the main camera, you get another camera on the back, this time being a 10MP sensor with 4K video support.

The design has changed significantly in the Surface Pro 8 compared to previous models, too, Now, it has more curved edges so it’s more comfortable to hold, and it’s also slightly bigger and heavier because of the new screen. Still, at 9.3mm of thickness (without the keyboard) and weighing 1.96lbs, this is one of the most portable devices on this list. Even if you add the keyboard, it’s much thinner and lighter than most.

Alongside the Surface Laptop Studio, the Pro 8 is one of the first devices to support Thunderbolt, and it comes with two whole Thunderbolt ports. It also has a Surface Connect port and a redesigned Surface keyboard connector, meaning you can’t use the old Type Cover with it. The biggest problem with this setup is that it requires adapters for almost anything you want to connect. There’s no USB Type-A or HDMI, so while the addition of Thunderbolt is great news for docking, it could still be better. With that said, given the thinness of this device, the omission is more understandable.

If you want a high-end Windows PC that’s extremely portable, it’s hard to go wrong with the Surface Pro 8. There aren’t any other Windows tablets that offer everything it offers, so this is a no-brainer if you want a tablet. If you want tot learn more about it, check out our Surface Pro 8 review.

    The Surface Pro 8 is one of the best premium Windows tablets, if not the best one. It has a very sharp display, great cameras, and a modern design.

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Best 17-inch Laptop with Windows Hello: Dell XPS 17 9710

Dell XPS 17 on white counter

Dell’s XPS lineup is well-known for having some of the most compact Windows laptops while also being surprisingly powerful. The XPS 17 is exactly that, and compared to its smaller siblings, it makes great use of its larger size.

We say that primarily because there’s some serious horsepower in here. The Dell XPS 17 comes with Intel’s 45W Core processors, up to an Intel Core i9-11980HK, which is an eight-core, 16-thread CPU capable of boosting up to 5GHz. On top of that, you can add dedicated graphics up to an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060. That doesn’t make this a gaming laptop, but it can certainly handle modern games, even if you have to tweak some settings. And if you need more impressive numbers, you can configure this laptop with up to 64GB of RAM and a massive 8TB of SSD storage, and suffice it to say, you won’t need to upgrade for a long time if you go this route. You can also save some money by buying a lower configuration and upgrading the RAM and storage later.

The display on the XPS 17 is also great, or at least it can be. It’s a 1-inch panel, and it comes in a 16:10 aspect ratio, which isn’t quite as tall as 3:2, but it’s taller than 16:9. You get the usual benefits of taller screens, like more space for UI elements and text in apps. The base model has a Full HD+ (1920 x 1200) screen,  and frankly, that’s not bad. However, you can upgrade to an Ultra HD+ (3820 x 2400) option, and for a large screen like this, that upgrade makes a lot of sense.

A downside of the Dell XPS 17 is that it uses a very small webcam, and it only records 720p video. It’s very similar to the aforementioned HP Spectre x360 in that regard, as the small camera doesn’t capture a lot of light, and thus it doesn’t look very clear. Still, at least the XPS 17 has an IR camera for Windows Hello, which the two smaller models don’t have.

Design-wise, the Dell XPS 17 is impressive because Dell says it’s actually smaller than 14% of 15-inch laptops, and that’s portly thanks to the very small bezels around the screen. It’s also a unique-looking laptop because of its dual-tone design. The outside of the chassis uses a dark silver color, but the keyboard deck is made of black woven carbon fiber, so it looks very different from most other laptops. It’s 19.05mm thin, which is relatively small considering everything included in it. However, it is quite heavy starting at 4.87bs.

As for ports, you get a total of four Thunderbolt 4 ports, plus a full-size SD card reader and a headphone jack built-in. It does miss out on some ports, but you get an adapter in the box to turn one of the USB Type-C ports into USB Type-A and HDMI. That way, most of the basics are covered out of the box, even if you do have to carry an adapter around. It’s somewhat surprising that a laptop this big doesn’t have more ports built-in, however.

Regardless, this is easily one of the best laptops out there, and it packs a ton of performance in a thin and compact chassis. It’s great if you want a big screen that’s still somewhat portable. Read our full Dell XPS 17 review if you’d like to know more.

    The Dell XPS 17 has a large display and powerful internals in a compact and thin laptop.

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Best Business Laptop with Windows Hello: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9

Front view of ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9

Looking for something you can use for work? Lenovo’s ThinkPad brand is one of the most iconic among business users, and the latest generation of the ThinkPad X1 Carbon still has those iconic elements mixed together with modern features like Windows Hello.

In terms of performance, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is everything you’d expect of a modern laptop. It comes with up to an Intel Core i7-1185G7 with vPro technology, which includes extra security features for business users. This is a four-core. eight-thread CPU, and it can boost up to 4.8GHz, so it’s one of the fastest mobile processors today. You can also configure it with up to 32GB of RAM and 1TB of storage, which is more than enough storage for all your work files.

For the display, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon comes with a 14-inch panel which is in a 16:10 aspect ratio, similar to the aforementioned Dell XPS 17. The base configuration has Full HD+ (1920 x 1200) resolution, and you can add touch support or a privacy guard, which prevents people around you from seeing what’s on your screen. If you don’t want any of that, though, you can also upgrade to an Ultra HD+ (3820 x 2400) panel with HDR support. On a 14-inch screen like this, Full HD+ is already quite good, but having the option to go further is always nice.

The camera on the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is a fairly standard 720p webcam, but it does include optional Windows Hello support. Lenovo goes even further than many other laptops in this case. If you want, you can add human presence detection, which allows the laptop to lock itself when you walk away from it, and then it wakes back up when you come back, using facial recognition to sign you in without even having to touch the laptop.

Even with a modern aspect ratio and features, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon has everything you’d expect in a ThinkPad.It comes in the signature black color with red accents on the lid and keyboard deck. You even get the old-style pointing stick and buttons above the touchpad if you still prefer navigating that way. And those classic features come in a modern and slim package, measuring just 14.9mm in thickness and weighing a mere 2.49lbs. This is a very light, but very capable laptop.

That holds true for the ports, too. You get two Thunderbolt 4 ports, two USB Type-A ports, HDMI, and a headphone jack, which covers pretty much every basic need you might have. Adding on to that, there’s optional support for cellular networks, whether that’s LTE or 5G. If you need to get work done on the road, this allows you to stay connected even without Wi-Fi.

Many of the configuration options we mentioned are only available on Lenovo’s website, but you can also buy the ThinkPad X1 Carbon on Amazon using the link below. This is also an excellent configuration, and it already includes Windows Hello support and an Intel Core i7 processor. You can also read our review of the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 if you want to know more about it.

    Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Carbon is one of the best business laptops you can buy with Windows Hello support. This model includes 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD.

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Best budget Windows Hello tablet: Surface Go 3

Surface Go 3 with red keyboard

It’s clear that Microsoft’s Surface family is a big showcase for Windows Hello and great webcams, but even with that in mind, it’s surprising to see so much of that carry over to an affordable device like the Surface Go 3. This is a cheap tablet, but it focuses on offering certain premium features you’ve come to expect from Surface.

Performance is one area where Microsoft cuts some corners with the Surface Go 3, but that’s because you can still get a solid experience with fairly low-end hardware. The Surface Go 3 comes with up to an Intel Core i3-10100Y, which is a dual-core, four-thread CPU that can boost up to 3.9GHz. Even the lower-end version with a Pentium Gold 6500Y is solid enough for a tablet like this, so you don’t necessarily need that upgrade. What you probably do want is the upgrade to 8GB of RAM and 128GB of SSD storage. The base model includes 4GB of RAM and 64GB of eMMC storage, and while that’s probably usable, that upgrade will make a huge difference in performance.

Instead of performance, the Surface Go 3 focuses on delivering a great experience in other areas like the display. This is a 10.5-inch panel, and it’s one of – if not the only one – the very few laptops at this price that has a 3:2 aspect ratio. This is typical of premium Surface devices, but seeing it on an affordable tablet like this is great. On top of that, it comes in Full HD+ resolution (1920 x 1280) as standard, so it’s very sharp considering its size. Of course, it also supports touch and the Surface Pen.

Another area where Microsoft didn’t make sacrifices is the webcam. The front-facing camera here is a 5MP sensor with 1080p video, just like the more expensive Surface Pro 8. On top of that, you also get an 8MP rear camera, which also supports 1080p video. And, of course, that front-facing camera also supports Windows Hello facial recognition, another huge rarity in devices that are this cheap.

Being as small as it is, the Surface Go 3 is also the most portable of the devices on this list by far. It measures just 8.3mm in thickness, and it weighs a mere 1.2lbs, so this is truly a laptop you can take anywhere. You might even be able to slip it into a handbag (though you might need a relatively big handbag). This excludes the Surface Go Type Cover, but even if you add that, this is easily the thinnest and lightest laptop on the list.

As for ports, the setup is fairly basic, but it makes sense for a small tablet. There’s one USB Type-C port, a Surface Connect port, a microSD card reader, and a headphone jack. It does miss out on some legacy ports like USB Type-A and HDMI, but that’s more understandable in a thin and affordable device like this.

If you want something you can use to browse the web, watch videos, or do basic school work, the Surface Go 3 is a great device, and the convenience of Windows Hello is a great addition you won’t find anywhere else at this price. It might not get as much of the spotlight, but as we said in our Surface Go 3 review, it’s quite good for its price.

    The Surface Go 3 is affordable, but it packs a fantastis display and premium features like Windows Hello.

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Our best overall pick here goes to the Surface Laptop Studio because it offers powerful performance, a very unique and versatile form factor, Thunderbolt support, and a 1080p webcam. It has all the elements of a fantastic premium laptop, even if you might need some adapters to get extra ports.

Have different priorities? Check out our list of the best 5G laptops if you’re looking for the best on-the-go connectivity. Or, save some money by looking at our list of the best cheap laptops you can buy today.

About author

João Carrasqueira
João Carrasqueira

Editor at XDA Computing. I've been covering the world of technology since 2018, but I've loved the field for a lot longer. And I have a weird affinity for Nintendo videogames, which I'm always happy to talk about.

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