Notebook sales starting to show signs of renewed life
It's probably a bit premature to celebrate the return of booming notebook sales, but at least for one quarter, laptop shipments have given vendors reason to be optimistic. Mobile PC shipments around the world climbed to 47.9 million units in the third quarter of 2013, up 6 percent sequentially. In better times, single-digit percentage gains wouldn't elicit excitement, but in this case, that 6 percent spike represents the largest sequential growth in two years.
Little Whiskers isn't the reason why your laptop may have smelled like cat urine
Well here's a problem you don't run into every day. A thread on Dell's support forum gained a bit of traction after a user complained that his brand new Latitude E6430u was giving off a foul scent. The poster said it smelled as though "it was assembled near a tomcat's litter box," calling it "truly awful." Other users chimed in with similar complaints, and one person suspected his cat might have been relieving itself on his laptop during the night. Following an investigation, Dell said cats are not to blame.
We've seen some thin and light gaming laptops come through the pipeline in recent weeks, but on the other end of the spectrum are full fledged desktop replacements that bring the bulk. Once such system is Origin PC's new EON17-SLX, an unapologetically big and burly system that wields up to two Nvidia GeForce GTX 780M GPUs. Such a luxury costs a pretty penny, though a single GPU setup starts at $1,999.
Part of the reason why Microsoft had so much trouble moving its original Surface and Surface Pro products was because it priced them too high. And with the Surface Pro specifically, one could also argue that Microsoft did a poor job marketing the device as a full fledged laptop, but that's water under the bridge at this point. Second generation Surface products are now available to purchase in 21 countries, and so to rid itself of old inventory, Microsoft just slashed $100 off the price of Surface Pro.
Laptops are getting thinner with each new generation, and if that trend is to continue, component manufacturers have to step to the plate with slimmer parts. Toshiba seems up to the challenge. The company just unveiled its first two platter 7mm HDD series for notebooks. Toshiba's new MQ02ABF line comes in 750GB and 1TB capacities, both with a 5400 RPM spindle speed in a 2.5-inch form factor.
Microsoft's original Surface and Surface RT are officially a memory at this point, having now been moved aside to make room for the Surface 2 (Windows RT 8.1) and Surface 2 Pro (Windows 8.1), both of which are now available to purchase at Microsoft retail stores and authorized commercial resellers in 21 markets, including the United States. For people living in China, the new Surface products will launch next month.
Lenovo hadn't intended to reveal its upcoming IdeaPad A10 just yet, but after some user manuals leaked online, the world's No. 1 PC maker decided it would go ahead and confirm the device, since the cat was out of the bag anyway. What makes the IdeaPad A10 laptop unique is that it's running Android, a mobile operating system that's usually found on smartphone and tablet devices.
AVADirect’s Clevo P570WM might look like a laptop, but make no mistake about it, you won’t be using this on your lap. With a gargantuan carry weight of almost 20 pounds and a humongous chassis measuring 16.5x11.2x2.4-inches, this is the definition of desktop replacement. The reason it’s so heavy and massive, besides requiring a pair of three-pound power bricks to take full advantage of its power, is that it houses an X79 chipset with a hexa-core Core i7-3970X and two GeForce GTX 680Ms graphics cards. When you add in its 32GB of RAM and two storage drives—including a 250GB SSD—it’s easily the most well-spec’d notebook we’ve ever tested.
Note: This review was originally featured in the August 2013 issue of the magazine.
Acer's been on the Chromebook bandwagon since the first day and shows no sign of hopping off. Just the opposite, Acer today announced the debut of its C720 Chromebook line featuring processors based on Haswell's micro-architecture. Suffice to say, the C720 is Acer's fastest Chromebook yet, and also the slimmest, boasting a design that's 30 percent thinner and weighs just 2.76 pounds.
It may have taken some time for consumers to warm up to the idea of Chromebooks, basic laptops that serve as physical gateways to the cloud, but now that they have, demand doesn't appear to be waning. To wit, the best selling laptop on Amazon is still a Samsung Chromebook with a 4/5 star rating from 3,259 user reviews. In addition, new models keep coming out, such as the one announced today.