There are signs that suggest consumers are warming up to Microsoft's second generation Surface products. The first sign is the sold out status of every single Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 device at Microsoft's Online store. Every single SKU is out of stock, including Surface 2 in 32GB and 64GB form, and Surface Pro 2 in 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB form. Can there really be that much demand?
Microsoft really should rethink its relentless "Scroogled" campaign and in particular its vendetta against Chromebooks. We're not saying Microsoft should readily embrace a competitor's ecosystem, but the more hardware partners that join the Chromebook movement, the sillier Microsoft looks for disparaging the platform. We bring this up because Dell, the world's third largest PC maker, just announced a Chromebook of its own.
A boutique built Steam Machine with a 'take no prisoners' approach
Let's get one thing straight -- even though Valve is making a push for PC gamers to plop their rumps in the living room where console gaming has traditional ruled the roost, there's no mandate that says a Steam Machine has to be only as powerful as an Xbox One or PlayStation 4 (or Nintendo Wii). Taking that to heart, boutique builder Digital Storm makes no bones about the fact that it's upcoming Steam Machine won't compete with consoles on price, but in return for a higher price tag, gamers will receive a premium set of components that send consoles cowering in the corner.
Traditional PC sales might be on a decline, but c'mon, they're not evaporating. Therefore it's business as usual for Hewlett-Packard, the world's second largest PC maker, which just updated its Elite line with four new models. One of those new systems is an HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G1, the thinnest and most durable EliteBook to date, the company says. It's 16.1 percent slimmer and 7.3 percent lighter than the previous generation, yet still is able to pass a dozen military-grade tests for reilability and durability.
Touch computing doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg
If you spend enough time with a tablet or smartphone, you may find yourself instinctively wanting to tap at your notebook on occasion, too. More and more models are starting to support touch input, including ones with a low cost of entry. If that's the goal (touch computing for cheap), it doesn't get much more budget friendly than Gateway's new touchscreen models: 10.1-inch LT41P and 15.6-inch NV570P.
Finding middle ground between Full HD and 4K gaming
MSI today announced what it claims is the world's first 3K gaming notebook, which hits the market just in time to be added onto your holiday wishlist. The GT60 2OD-261US is a 15.6-inch laptop with a WQHD+ display (2880x1620) that kicks things up a notch over Full HD 1080p without going all the way up to 4K, which would be both more expensive and far more demanding on the hardware.
Built-in battery lasts up to 2.5 hours in between charges
Most all-in-one (AIO) systems won't get very far if you rip the power cord from the wall, though there are a few exceptions. Dell's XPS 18 comes to mind, but for an even bigger screen experience, Acer's new 21.5-inch Full HD 1080p (1920x1080) Aspire Z3-600 will go wherever you go and keep kicking for up to 2.5 hours before its built-in battery battery needs to suck more juice out of an outlet.
Looking for a small PC? It doesn't get too much smaller that Zotac's Zbox Nano line of mini PCs, which you can tuck neatly out of sight behind your monitor for a home brewed all-in-one experience. These aren't typically powerhouse systems, though for the first time, you can get quad-core processing from a Zbox Nano machine. The new Zbox Nano AQ01 features an AMD A4-5000 APU clocked at 1.5GHz with Radeon HD 8330 graphics.
Update: Now with more pics of iBuyPower's Steam machine!
Microsoft's Xbox One and Sony's PlayStation 4 both raced to 1 million unit sales in the first 24 hours of availability, but come 2014, gamers may be talking about a console of a different kind. Boutique system builder iBuyPower is jumping aboard Valve's Steam Machine bandwagon with a prototype system it plans to launch sometime in 2014. In the meantime, iBuyPower has offered up a sneak peak of its prototype Steam Machine, which it also plans to show off at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January.
Finally, an affordable Chromebook with touch support
Google owes Acer a pat on the back for making its Chromebook platform a more attractive option. How so? Acer just introduced the C720P Chromebook, the newest addition to its C720 line and the first to feature an 11.6-inch touchscreen panel. What's equally impressive is that Acer managed to bolt on a touchscreen panel without tacking on an obscene premium -- this sucker retails for $300 MSRP.