Acer just made it a little more tempting to jump aboard the Chromebook bandwagon. With the holiday shopping season getting underway, Acer expanded its C720 Chromebook line with a new $200 entry-level model. Like the $250 SKU, it's built around Intel's Haswell architecture (albeit a Celeron 2955U processor clocked at 1.4GHz), has a 16GB solid state drive, and sports an 11.6-inch display with a 1366x768 resolution. So, how did Acer manage to shave $50 off the price?
Acer's commercial subscribers have two new Ultrabooks to choose from
If you're looking for a new Ultrabook for your business travels, Acer has a couple of new options worth checking out. Both fall under the company's TravelMate umbrella and both rock an Intel foundation, though these are very different systems. One is a more powerful laptop built around Intel's 4th Generation Core i5 and i7 architecture (Haswell) and the other is a convertible style notebook based on Intel's 3rd Generation chips.
While much of the PC industry is hustling to bring lower-cost Ultrabooks to market, Toshiba is unabashedly raising the high end, complete with an all-new brand meant to ooze excellence. The first product to wear this proud badge is the 13.3-inch Kirabook. With its upmarket looks, über-high-res screen, and serious-for-its-size parts, this high-priced newcomer is gunning for no less than Apple’s Retina display–boasting MacBook Pro.
Note: This review was originally featured in the August 2013 issue of the magazine.
Thin. Light. Sexy. These are three adjectives boutique system builder Maingear is using to describe its latest laptop, the Pulse 17, though it's not an Ultrabook (Intel) or an ultra-thin (AMD). So what is? The Pulse 17 is a full-fledged gaming notebook that pairs Intel's 4th Generation Core processor family (Haswell) with Nvidia's GeForce GTX 765M GPU in a package that weighs less than 6 pounds.
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.