Call us keyboard snobs if you will, but once you've experienced the pleasure of typing on a mechanical keyboard, it's difficult to go back to those squishy membrane planks. Peripheral makers have stepped up to the plate with plenty of mechanical models in the past few years, though MSI gets a virtual high-five for being the first to plop a mechanical keyboard on a gaming laptop.
Is there a more appropriate name for a line of tablet PCs than Yoga? While you ponder that one, take note that Lenovo just expanded its Yoga Tablet 2 family with the new Yoga 13-inch Tablet 2 with Windows. Joining its 8-inch and 10-inch Windows-based brethren, Lenovo's latest slate is not only the largest, but also the most flexible in that it boasts a new mode -- Hang.
You've never seen anything like this before, at least not to this extent. Embarking on a new, albeit familiar path, HP today introduced its Sprout PC, a unique "Immersive Computing" platform that's part of HP's vision for the future of computing and 3D printing. Part of HP's Blended Reality ecosystem, Sprout eschews a mouse and keyboard in favor of a built-in projector and 20-point multi-touch capacitive mat.
Boutique system builder Maingear today announced a new look and upgraded components for its X-Cube, a small form factor gaming PC with a micro ATX foundation. The chassis features expanded customizable storage and lighting options while maintaining a low-profile design that's portable for traveling, and on the inside, you'll find the latest CPU options from Intel and AMD, along with support for for up to two top-shelf graphics cards, such as Nvidia's GeForce GTX 980 or AMD's Radeon R9 290X.
Gone are the days when the only gaming laptops on the block are the ones that carry ultra-premium price tags. These days you can get gaming goodness on the go for relatively cheap, at least compared to what these systems used to cost. Such is underscored by CyberPowerPC's new Fangbook III HX6, a 15.6-inch laptop for gamers equipped with an Intel Core i7 4700MQ processor, Nvidia GeForce GTX 860M graphics, and starting price of $1,100.
Leather-wrapped Chromebook 2 models from Samsung start at $250
If the only thing that's stopping you from picking up a Chromebook is that you're waiting for a company to stitch a strip of leather-like material to the lid, well, you're in luck. Samsung today announced that it's taking pre-orders for its 11.6-inch Chromebook 2. According to Samsung, the build is nearly seamless, supported by a strong metal frame from top to bottom and covered with a leather-like case, giving the system the appearance of an expensive briefcase.
MSI has gone and upgraded its 27-inch all-in-one gaming PCs with Nvidia's recently announced Maxwell-based mobile GPUs, the GeForce GTX 970M and 980M. These are supposedly the first AIO systems to feature Maxwell in mobile form, though the story doesn't end there -- they also feature a 4th generation Intel Core i7 4860HQ quad-core processor clocked at 2.4GHz (up to 3.6GHz via Turbo) and up to 16GB of DDR3L-1600 RAM.
Why's Ashton Kutcher hanging around Lenovo, you ask? The short answer, quite simply, is marketing. But the longer answer is that he joined Lenovo as a product engineer a year ago and purportedly helped develop the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro, one of three new products Lenovo just rolled out. The other two are the non-pro version of the Yoga Tablet and the Yoga 3 Pro, an ultraslim convertible.
Built for PC gaming and entertainment, but don't call it a PC
Valve kind of dropped the ball on the whole Steam Machine initiative when it decided to delay the platform's official launch until next year so that it could have additional time to tweak the controller. The fallout from that decision is that third-party hardware partners are left holding Steam Machine designs that are ready to go now. What's a company to do? Drop the Steam Machine nomenclature and roll with what you have. For iBuyPower, that means announcing the SBX Entertainment System.
Retail PC sales rise up on Chromebook and Mac shipments
As we've said time and again, the PC sector is alive is well. According to NPD Group, retail PC sales grew nearly 3 percent during the 10-week back-to-school shopping season that went from July 4th through Labor Day week), compared to a 2.5 percent decline in the same period a year ago. Where things get interesting is when you break down those sales to look for trends in consumer spending.