laptop en Microsoft Marks Down HP Pavilion x2 Hybrid PC to $199 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/hp_pavilion_x2.jpg" alt="HP Pavilion x2" title="HP Pavilion x2" width="228" height="107" style="float: right;" />Another solid gift idea</h3> <p>You have to hand it to Microsoft for serving up some tantalizing offers as part of its "12 Days of Deals" promotion that's currently on its second to last day. There's been a little something for everyone, and today, that something is an <strong>HP Pavilion x2, a hybrid 2-in-1 PC that Microsoft marked down to $199</strong> from its original price tag of $329. It's also a Signature Edition system, meaning there's no third-party bloatware.</p> <p>The Pavilion x2 sports a 10.1-inch IPS display with an LED backlight, 1280x800 resolution, and 10-finger multi-touch support. It's powered by an Intel Atom Z3736F processor (1.33GHz to 2.16GHz) and 2GB of DDR3L-RS 1333MHz RAM. Other features include 32GB of eMMC storage, microSD card reader, USB 2.0, micro HDMI, headphone/microphone combo, HD webcam, 802.11n Wi-Fi (Miracast enabled), Bluetooth, and Windows 8.1 with Bing (32-bit).</p> <p>Those aren't the kind of specs that will knock your socks off, though respectable for the money. It also comes with a detachable keyboard and a year of Office 356 Personal, the latter of which is a $70 value.</p> <p>Interested? <a href="" target="_blank">Go here</a> to pick one up. And if not, here's a heads up that tomorrow's deal -- the last of the promotion -- is going to be half off a <a href="" target="_blank">12-month Xbox Music Pass</a> ($49.90 instead of $99.90).</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> 12 days of deals 2-in-1 Hardware hp pavilion x2 laptop microsoft notebook tablet News Thu, 18 Dec 2014 16:47:53 +0000 Paul Lilly 29113 at HP Omen Review <!--paging_filter--><h3>A good sign</h3> <p>The word “omen” generally connotes bad juju for most people. For some longtime PC enthusiasts, however, it evokes fond memories of Voodoo PC’s old beautiful and powerful desktops. While HP isn’t bringing Voodoo PC back from the grave, it hopes to pay homage to the Omen namesake by rebirthing it as a modern gaming notebook.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u99720/hpomen.jpg" alt="HP Omen press shot" width="492" height="366" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>The Omen isn't the most powerful notebook, but it's one of the most polished.</strong></p> <p>Right off the bat, you’ll notice that the 15.6-inch HP Omen is one sleek-looking laptop, with its machined-aluminum chassis. The anodized black finish coupled with its thin 0.8 inch body gives the notebook some added sex appeal. It’s also really portable for its class, weighing four pounds, 11.9 ounces.</p> <p>While we were a little dismayed to hear that it uses a 1080p monitor, something we’ve seen dozens of times over, this isn’t some mediocre display. It uses an IPS panel that features a 72 percent color gamut, which provides beautiful, saturated colors. It also sports a touchscreen, which makes it the first gaming laptop we’ve reviewed that offers one.</p> <p>We were generally pleased with the keyboard, which offers seven customizable color zones that you can tweak using HP’s Omen Control Panel software. The keys themselves offer a satisfying amount of travel and feel quite tactile, as a result. You also get a column of six macro keys on the left side of the keyboard, which is rare to see in a notebook of this size. We weren’t enamored of the Omen’s trackpad, however. Measuring 5.5 inches across, it’s so wide that we often found our resting fingers interfering with our swiping gestures.</p> <p>On opposite ends of the trackpad are a pair of LED lights that pulsate with the sound of your audio. It’s a unique touch that gives the notebook added flair. The speakers themselves are quite good and offer decent volume firepower. Despite being licensed by Beats Audio, a company known for its bass-heavy emphasis, the audio here is balanced.</p> <p>Unlike the sexy chassis, the specs of the laptop aren’t super fancy. It uses a 2.5GHz i7-4710HQ processor for its CPU. For its graphics card, HP went with the GeForce GTX 860M, which is the de facto GPU for thin gaming notebooks. The base model comes with two gigs of GDDR5 VRAM, but ours included four. In regard to system RAM, configs starts out at 8GB, which is fine in most instances, but our maxed-out unit came with 16GB.</p> <p>CPU performance was pretty average, performing ever so slightly faster than our Alienware 14 zero-point’s 2.4GHz i7-4700MQ processor. In GPU perf, we saw respectable gains between 20 and 60 percent. In short, our graphics tests reminds us that the 860M is a midrange card. It will run the majority of modern games at high settings with smooth framerates, but don’t expect to max out games here.</p> <p>While the laptop’s performance didn’t blow us away, neither did its fans (pun intended). The Omen isn’t silent, but it’s very reasonable under load. We’d go so far as to say HP found the perfect balance between performance and acoustics. The laptop is able to keep its cool by using dual fans that pull in cool air from the bottom, which it expels through the back. A benefit of this design is that gamers won’t have to worry about warm wrists.</p> <p>When it came to battery life, the laptop was pretty average. The first time we ran our video-rundown test, the notebook lasted a mediocre 172 minutes. When we turned off all the fancy LED lights, we got an extra half hour. Our biggest concern with the Omen really pertained to storage. While we love the fact that it uses the faster M.2 PCIe standard, we’re a little put off that it doesn’t support traditional hard drives. This means you’re topped off at 512GBs. Luckily, the drive is really fast, and allowed the notebook to boot up in 11 seconds.</p> <p>The Omen may not be the most powerful notebook out there, but it’s extremely polished and well-designed. Everything from its looks, portability, and thermals are top notch. While our decked-out unit cost $2,100, if you’re looking for a more affordable configuration, we recommend going with the $1,800 model, which includes a 512GB SSD, 8GB of RAM, and an 860M with 2GB of VRAM. It’s still a pretty good Omen.</p> Gaming Hardware HP Omen laptop notebook Thin voodoo pc Gaming Reviews Notebooks Wed, 17 Dec 2014 22:45:39 +0000 Jimmy Thang 29111 at Look for More Business-Class Laptops Pairing SSDs with HDDs in 2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/hdd_ssd.jpg" alt="SSD and HDD" title="SSD and HDD" width="228" height="169" style="float: right;" />Falling prices have vendors more willing to adopt low capacity SSDs</h3> <p>Solid state drive pricing has fallen off a cliff in recent years, which is largely the result of lower cost NAND flash memory chips. Since then, SSDs have continued to trickle downwards in price, though at a much slower pace. Nevertheless, with costs still trending downward, <strong>laptop vendors are expected to offer more business-class laptops with both SSD and HDD storage options inside</strong>.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">According to <em>Digitimes</em></a>, the proportion of hybrid business-use notebooks -- laptops equipped with an SSD for the OS and HDD for storage -- currently sits at around 10 percent, though looking ahead to next year, those in the notebook supply chain say they expect that number to double to 20 percent.</p> <p>This is based on the expectation that the price for a 128GB SSD will drop to $60 in the first quarter of 2015, which would be equal to the cost of a 1TB HDD, <em>Digitimes</em> says. So what's likely to happen is there will be a bunch of business notebooks that pair a 128GB SDD with a 500GB HDD.</p> <p>Why the prominence in business-class laptops? These tend to be more expensive than consumer notebooks, which makes it easier to squeeze in upgrades like this. And with cloud-based storage taking off the way it has, vendors don't need to worry so much about equipping laptops with increasingly capacious HDDs, or so the theory goes.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Hard Drive Hardware HDD laptop notebook solid state drive ssd storage News Wed, 17 Dec 2014 17:44:27 +0000 Paul Lilly 29107 at Asus Transformer Book Flip Signature Edition Now Just $299 at Microsoft Store <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/asus_transformer_book_flip.jpg" alt="Asus Transformer Book Flip" title="Asus Transformer Book Flip" width="228" height="111" style="float: right;" />Great price on a snazzy 2-in-1 hybrid</h3> <p>This holiday shopping season has been highlighted by numerous deals on lots of different items, though the sales didn't end after Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Several retailers continue to pitch discounts, including Microsoft, which is in the home stretch of its 12 Days of Deals promotion. Effective today (and today only), <strong>Microsoft is offering the Asus Transformer Book Flip (TP500LA) Signature Edition Laptop for a comparatively low $299</strong>.</p> <p>That's $200 off its normal selling price of $499 and representative of the kinds of ongoing deals that are out there. This happens to be one of the better ones, as the discounted price approaches budget territory for a decently spec'd 15.6-inch 2-in-1 device.</p> <p>The Asus Transformer Book Flip's HD touchscreen display is powered by an Intel Core i3 4030U processor and 4GB of RAM. It also boasts a 500GB HDD, 2-in-1 card reader, two USB 2.0 ports, a single USB 3.0 port, HDMI output, headphone/microphone combo port, GbE LAN, webcam, 802.11n Wi-Fi (Miracast enabled), Bluetooth, and Windows 8.1 64-bit.</p> <p>As its name implies, the Transformer Book Flip's display can flip to any angle from 0 to 360 degrees, allowing you to use it as a laptop or a tablet.</p> <p>It's available now at the <a href="" target="_blank">Microsoft Store for $299</a>, or $379 with Office 365.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> 12 days of deals 2-in-1 asus Hybrid laptop microsoft microsoft store mobile notebook OEM rigs News Mon, 15 Dec 2014 16:10:39 +0000 Paul Lilly 29089 at HP Elitebook 1020 SE Blends MacBook Air Aesthetics with Windows Functionality <!--paging_filter--><h3>Billed as the world's thinnest and lightest business-class laptop</h3> <p><strong><img src="/files/u69/hp_elitebook_1020_shell.jpg" alt="HP Elitebook 1020" title="HP Elitebook 1020" width="228" height="150" style="float: right;" />HP today introduced its Elitebook Folio 1020 family highlighted by the Elitebook 1020 Special Edition (SE)</strong>, supposedly the world's thinnest and lightest laptop in the business world. Comparisons to Apple's MacBook Air are inevitable, and that's because of the physical design -- HP said it used an exclusive blend of magnesium-lithium alloy and reusable carbon fiber to achieve a weight of just 2.2 pounds.</p> <p>"The HP Elitebook 1020 represents game-changing innovation in both materials and mechanical engineering to create the world’s thinnest and lightest business notebooks in a form factor that enables our customers to be more productive in more places," <a href="" target="_blank">said Alex Cho</a>, vice president &amp; general manager, HP Commercial PCs. "Customers demand not only a stylish, thin and light notebook, but also a device that delivers advanced security and can withstand the rigorous demands that come with a highly mobile lifestyle – and the HP Elitebook1020 delivers this complete solution."</p> <p>In terms of durability, the 1020 SE was designed to pass military-grade (MIL-STD 810G) testing for drops, shocks, and exposure to extreme temperatures and humidity, as well as high pressure testing.</p> <p><img src="/files/u69/hp_elitebook_1020_open.jpg" alt="HP Elitebook 1020" title="HP Elitebook 1020" width="620" height="306" /></p> <p>Both the regular Elitebook 1020 and Special Edition measure 15.7mm thin and sport a 12.5-inch display with fanless cooling and SSD storage options. The regular model will have a 1920x1080 resolution and optional touch support, whereas the Special Edition will boast a Quad HD (2560x1440) resolution, also with optional touch.</p> <p>The Elitebook 1020 will be available in February of next year and the Special Edition will release in April.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> elitebook 1020 Hardware hewlett-packard hp laptop mobile notebook OEM rigs News Tue, 02 Dec 2014 20:47:05 +0000 Paul Lilly 29023 at Google's Serving 1TB of Drive Storage for New Chromebook Buyers <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/samsung_chromebook_5.jpg" alt="Samsung Chromebook" title="Samsung Chromebook" width="228" height="145" style="float: right;" />Buy a Chromebook, get 1TB of cloud storage for two years</h3> <p>It's getting to be all-out warfare in the low-cost computing market. In response to the growing interest in cheap Chromebooks, Intel and Microsoft have been working together to push sub-$200 Windows laptops into the market place through its hardware partners. That's caused Chromebooks to come down in price as well, but it isn't stopping there. <strong>Google today announced that new Chromebook buyers can get 1TB of Google Drive cloud storage for two years</strong> at no additional cost.</p> <p>"That’s enough space to keep more than 100,000 <a href="" target="_blank">awkward holiday sweater pics</a> safe and shareable in Drive. With that much free storage, you can use your Chromebook for work, play and pretty much everything else you’ll do this holiday season," Google stated in a <a href="" target="_blank">blog post</a>.</p> <p>Google's free offering works out to a $240 value over the course of two years. To get the 1TB Drive storage, you have to purchase an eligible Chromebook and redeem the offer before January 1, 2015. You'll find eligible models at <a href="" target="_blank">retail stores, online outlets</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Google Play</a>.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> 1tb chromebook cloud drive Google Hardware laptop notebook storage News Fri, 21 Nov 2014 18:36:09 +0000 Paul Lilly 28972 at Acer TravelMate B115 Brings Touch to Entry Level Computing <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/acer_travelmate_b115.jpg" alt="Acer TravelMate B115" title="Acer TravelMate B115" width="228" height="177" style="float: right;" />Touch support at a reasonable price</h3> <p><strong>Acer this morning announced the availability of its new TravelMate B115 laptop</strong> for customers in the U.S. and Canada. It sports an 11.6-inch HD (1366x768) display with support for 10-point multi-touch, once considered a premium feature in laptop land but now available for a comparative pittance -- Acer's asking $380 USD and $439 CAD for the TravelMate B115.</p> <p>The laptop has its eye on "commercial customers, particularly those in education," which is to say it's going up against Chromebooks. While a bit higher priced than most Chromebooks, especially with the recent price drops, the TravelMate B115 brings more to the table.</p> <p>It has an Intel Celeron N2940 processor, 4GB of RAM (expandable to 8GB), 500GB of storage, 892.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, a single USB 3.0 port and two USB 2.0 ports, GbE LAN, HDMI output, 720p webcam, up to 10 hours of battery life, and of course Windows 8.1, all wrapped in a thin and light design.</p> <p><img src="/files/u69/acer_travelmate_b115_ports.jpg" alt="Acer TravelMate B115 Ports" title="Acer TravelMate B115 Ports" width="620" height="335" /></p> <p>"Thanks to its compact size combined with a full-size keyboard, the 11.6-inch notebook is popular with students and teachers alike," <a href="" target="_blank">said Sumit Agnihotry</a>, Acer vice president – product marketing. "The TravelMate B115 provides long battery life, ample power and multi-touch to give students and educators everything they need to be productive in and out of the classroom. Plus, IT managers will appreciate the powerful security and manageability suite of tools for safeguarding data and managing assets remotely."</p> <p>The Acer TravelMate B115 will available to purchase this month.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Acer Hardware laptop notebook OEM rigs touch travelmate b115 News Wed, 19 Nov 2014 14:25:52 +0000 Paul Lilly 28957 at HP Gives Envy x2 a Surface-Like Makeover <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/hp_15t_touch.jpg" alt="HP Envy x2 15t Touch" title="HP Envy x2 15t Touch" width="228" height="161" style="float: right;" />HP's take on Microsoft's Surface design</h3> <p><strong>HP's Envy x2 is back, only this time it looks less like a traditional laptop and is more powerful than before</strong>. Taking a page from Microsoft's Surface design, the Envy x2 now comes with a kickstand. HP is billing it as a detachable PC with mutiple modes, including an all-in-one mode (detached from the keyboard), notebook mode (attached to the keyboard), and tablet mode (detached from the keyboard and used as a tablet).</p> <p>There are two different models available -- <a href="" target="_blank">13t Touch</a> with a 13.3-inch display (1366x768 or 1920x1080) starting at $800 and <a href=";urlLangId=-1&amp;productId=659151&amp;urlRequestType=Base&amp;categoryId=&amp;langId=-1&amp;catalogId=10051&amp;jumpid=cp_r163_us/en/pc_cons/nextgen/convertibles/buynow/Envyx2-15" target="_blank">15t Touch</a> with a 15-inch display (1920x1080) starting at $750. That's not a typo, the smaller version costs $50 more, though both sport an Intel Core M-5Y10 dual-core processor and 4GB of memory.</p> <p>Other standard features include a 500GB 5400 RPM hybrid hard drive (the 13t comes standard with a 128GB SSD, hence the price difference), 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, backlit wireless keyboard, Beats Audio, Full HD webcam, headphone/microphone combo port, two USB 3.0 ports, SD card reader, HDMI output, and Windows 8.1.</p> <p><iframe src="//" width="620" height="349" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> envy x2 hewlett-packard hp laptop mobile notebook OEM rigs tablet News Tue, 18 Nov 2014 20:26:43 +0000 Paul Lilly 28952 at Don’t Count Out Chromebooks Just Yet, $149 Models May Be on the Horizon <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/asus_chromebook.jpg" alt="Asus Chromebook" title="Asus Chromebook" width="228" height="170" style="float: right;" />Laptop limbo -- how low can they go?</h3> <p>Tis the season of the low cost laptop, and if you're looking for a portable system on the cheap, you have a growing number of choices. You won't find them in the Apple Store, of course, but you will find Windows laptops in the $200 range, including a recently reduced <a href="" target="_blank">Asus X205TA model</a> selling for just $170 at the Microsoft Store. In response, Chromebook models are expected to be even more affordable than they already are with <strong>Asus and Lenovo both reportedly planning to release $149 Chromebook models</strong>.</p> <p>At that price, don't expect to find Intel inside. Instead, they'll feature ARM-based System-on-Chip (SoC) options from China's Rockchip, a fabless semiconductor company, <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Digitimes </em>reports</a>.</p> <p>Following up on Lenovo's 10.1-inch Android notebook running Rockchip's RK3188 processor, it's expected the Chinese OEM will launch an 11.6-inch Chromebook built around the RK3288 chip either at the end of the year or by the first half of 2015, around the same time Asus is said to be releasing an 11.6-inch model.</p> <p>Both models will be priced at $149, or 25 percent lower than Acer's C720, <em>Digitimes</em> says. If that turns out to be true, it will be interesting to see where low-cost Windows-based laptops land. There might be some wiggle room left, though not a ton since they're already running Windows 8.1 with Bing for free.</p> <p>There's also the matter of how much performance consumers are willing to trade for a lower price. For example, a $125 Windows laptop would certainly draw eyeballs, but if the performance is on par with crappy first-generation netbooks, then it suddenly becomes a tough sell.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> asus chromebook Hardware laptop lenovo mobile notebook News Thu, 13 Nov 2014 18:43:00 +0000 Paul Lilly 28904 at Asus X205TA Windows Laptop Pops Up Online Starting at $179 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/asus_x205ta.jpg" alt="Asus X205TA" title="Asus X205TA" width="228" height="153" style="float: right;" />The return of the netbook?</h3> <p>We're beginning to notice more low-cost Windows laptops in the $200 range, though one thing we haven't seen is a manufacturer revive the netbook nomenclature. Fair enough, since these machines are more powerful than yesterday's netbooks, and generally cheaper too. The <strong>least expensive so far is the Asus X205TA Signature Edition, a $199 laptop that's been reduced to $179 in the Microsoft Store</strong>.</p> <p>The Asus X205TA sports an 11.6-inch HD (1366x768) display powered by an Intel Atom Z3735F quad-core processor (1.33GHz to 1.83GHZ, 2MB L2 cache) and 2GB of DDR3L-1333 memory. It also features 32GB of eMMC storage, a microSD card slot, 480p webcam, 802.11n Wi-Fi (Miracast enabled), Bluetooth, a pair of USB 2.0 ports, micro HDMI output, headphone/microphone combo port, 2-cell battery good for up to 12 hours of run time, and Windows 8.1 with Bing (32-bit).</p> <p>Asus calls it an ultraportable companion, a seemingly accurate description considering it measures 0.68 inches by 7.61 inches by 11.25 inches and weighs just 2.11 pounds.</p> <p>It's available now at the <a href="" target="_blank">Microsoft Store</a>, and also on Amazon, <a href="" target="_blank">albeit for $199</a>.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> asus Hardware laptop mobile notebook OEM rigs Windows x205ta News Wed, 12 Nov 2014 20:17:32 +0000 Paul Lilly 28897 at Lenovo May Leap into Low-Cost Chromebook Market Next Year <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/lenovo_chromebook_1.jpg" alt="Lenovo Chromebook" title="Lenovo Chromebook" width="228" height="147" style="float: right;" />Low cost laptop wars are brewing</h3> <p>It was easier to make an argument in favor of Chromebooks as early as a month ago. There's plenty they can't do, but they're cheap and sufficient for basic computing tasks, like surfing the web. They're also nice tools if you're heavily tied into Google's ecosystem. Several vendors have jumped on board the Chromebook bandwagon, and <strong>rumor has it Lenovo will offer an ultra-affordable Chromebook model of its own next year</strong>, but has their time in the spotlight come and gone?</p> <p>First things first -- according to <em>Digitimes</em> and the sources it spoke to within Taiwan's supply chain, Lenovo is looking at launching a Chromebook in the sub-$170 range in early 2015. These will be powered by CPUs from China's Rockship Electronics.</p> <p>By lowering the price, Lenovo reportedly expects to ship 1.5 million Chromebooks next year, up 212 percent compared to 2014. However, there's a concerted effort by Intel and Microsoft to push Chromeooks out of the market place with low-cost Windows alternatives.</p> <p>One of the first models out of the gate is the HP Stream. It's a Windows 8.1 laptop that starts at $200 for the 11-inch version and $230 for the 13-inch model. And as time goes on, there will be other competitors in the $200 Windows laptop space. Should Chromebooks dip down to $170, we imagine Windows models will follow suit, though it will be interesting to see where vendors cut costs since the OS is already being provided for free from Microsoft.</p> <p>What do you think -- are Chromebooks long for this world, or will these low-cost Windows laptops drive them out of the market as intended?</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> chromebook Hardware laptop lenovo notebook News Fri, 07 Nov 2014 18:41:44 +0000 Paul Lilly 28862 at Acer Switch 12 is a Five-in-One Convertible Driven by an Intel Core M Processor <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/aspire_switch_12.jpg" alt="Acer Aspire Switch 12" title="Acer Aspire Switch 12" width="228" height="150" style="float: right;" />One device, five modes</h3> <p><strong>Acer today expanded its Switch line introduced earlier this year with the introduction of the Switch 12</strong>, a 12.5-inch Full HD 1080p (1920x1080) hybrid laptop with five distinct modes (notebook, tablet/pad, display, tent, and desktop). Powering the IPS display with Zero Air Gap direct bonding technology is an Intel Core M processor, though Acer isn't yet providing specific details on the choice of CPU.</p> <p>The Switch 12 sports a unique kickstand design with a magnetic and latch-free detachable keyboard. This is what allows the Switch 12 to transition into five different use case scenarios, so you can use it as a traditional laptop, tablet with or without a keyboard, desktop PC, regular display, or in a tent configuration. Obviously Acer is taking some liberties here with pitching the device as a five-in-one hybrid, though we won't deny it's certainly a shape shifter.</p> <p><img src="/files/u69/acer_aspire_switch_12_tent.jpg" alt="Acer Aspire Switch 12 Tent" title="Acer Aspire Switch 12 Tent" width="620" height="264" /></p> <p>Details on specs and configuration options are rather light at the moment, though not totally non-existent. Acer says the Switch 12 will come with 60GB or 128GB SSD options. It will also feature micro USB 3.0 ports and micro HDMI ports, have a battery life of up to 8 hours, and presumably run Windows 8.1.</p> <p>The Switch 12 will be available in the U.S. and Canada in early 2015. Pricing has not yet been determined.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Acer core m Hardware Hybrid intel laptop notebook OEM rigs switch 12 News Tue, 04 Nov 2014 16:51:30 +0000 Paul Lilly 28836 at HP Sends a Thin and Light 'Omen' Laptop into the Gaming Community <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/hp_omen.jpg" alt="HP Omen" title="HP Omen" width="228" height="157" style="float: right;" />Gaming DNA comes to the forefront</h3> <p>HP isn't doing much with its Voodoo brand these days, but at the same time, it hasn't completely forgotten about gamers. Witness the new <strong>HP Omen, a svelte gaming laptop designed to handle triple-A titles</strong> without all the bulk of a desktop replacement. It has a 15.6-inch IPS display with a Full HD 1080p (1920x1080) resolution that's powered by an Intel Core i7 4710HQ processor, 8GB of DDR3L-1600 RAM, and Nvidia GeForce GTX 860M graphics.</p> <p>"Gamers told us they want uncompromised performance in a device that looks good and is designed for portability," said Mike Nash, vice president, Product Management, Consumer Personal Systems, HP. "The HP OMEN delivers the performance that today’s triple-A titles demand and the features to enable customized game play, all in a package that looks great and can be easily carried."</p> <p>Other hardware and features include a 128GB solid state drive, four USB 3.0 ports (all supporting USB Boost), a mini DisplayPort, HDMI output, headphone/microphone combo jack, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, media card reader, 1080p webcam with dual digital microphones, dual speakers with BeatsAudio, and Windows 8.1.</p> <p><img src="/files/u69/hp_omen_front.jpg" alt="HP Omen Front" title="HP Omen Front" width="620" height="477" /></p> <p>The thin (19.9mm) and light (4.68 pounds) chassis is CNC milled from solid aluminum and anodized with a black finish. HP also added a custom chrome hinge designed to elevate the display out of the way of hot exhaust air. Cooling chores are further aided by dual fans that pull cool air through the bottom of the system.</p> <p>HP's Omen laptop is available now starting at $1,500.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Gaming Hardware hewlett-packard hp laptop notebook OEM omen rigs News Tue, 04 Nov 2014 15:39:53 +0000 Paul Lilly 28835 at Acer Expands V Nitro Black Edition Laptop Series to Include a 4K Model <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/acer_v_nitro_black_open.jpg" alt="Acer V Nitro Black Open" title="Acer V Nitro Black Open" width="228" height="157" style="float: right;" />Hello Acer, have we met?</h3> <p>We don't typically associate Acer with premium level gear, though the company's new V Nitro Black Edition laptop line may change that perception. First introduced in late September, <strong>Acer is now offering a V Nitro Black Edition laptop with a 4K Ultra HD (3840x2160) IPS display</strong>, upgraded from the Full HD 1080p panels found on the initial launch models. That's a lot of pixels, though it's not the only high-end trait.</p> <p>The new 15.6-inch V Nitro Black Edition is powered by an Intel Core i7 4710HQ quad-core processor, 16GB of RAM, Nvidia GeForce GTX 860M graphics with 2GB of GDDR5 RAM, and 256GB solid state drive + 1TB hard drive. Other features include a full-size backlit keyboard with dedicated numpad, three USB 3.0 ports, HDMI output, GbE LAN port, headphone/speaker/line-out jack, Kensington lock slot, 802.11n dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, SD card reader, four built-in speakers (8W total), and Windows 8.1.</p> <p>Of course, there are disadvantages to sticking a 4K panel on a 15.6-inch laptop, one of those being scaling issues in Windows along with third-party programs that have yet to get up to speed with the 4K movement. There's also the issue of gaming at the native res -- you need some serious GPU horsepower to play games at 4K.</p> <p><img src="/files/u69/acer_v_nitro_black.jpg" alt="Acer V Nitro Black" title="Acer V Nitro Black" width="620" height="351" /></p> <p>Nevertheless, it's nice to see Acer dipping its toes into the premium sector. It's not just the feature-set, but the design of the V Nitro Black -- from the pictures we've seen, it's a sleek looking machine. Comparatively affordable too, at $1,500 MSRP. <span style="text-decoration: line-through;">And while supplies last, Acer's including a code for Assassin's Creed Unity.</span></p> <p>If the 4K resolution is a deal killer, note that Acer also offers 15.6-inch and 17.3-inch models with 1080p panels starting at $1,100. In addition, Acer has parterned with Ubisoft to offer game codes for Assassin's Creed Unity with purchase from a participating vendor (Amazon, Newegg, and TigerDirect), while supplies last. Not that this only applies to qualifying Full HD 1080p models, and not the 4K version.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> 4k Acer Hardware laptop notebook OEM rigs ultra hd V nitro black News Mon, 03 Nov 2014 17:20:46 +0000 Paul Lilly 28830 at MSI's GT80 Titan is World First Laptop to Sport a Mechanical Keyboard <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/msi_gt80_titan.jpg" alt="MSI GT80 Titan" title="MSI GT80 Titan" width="228" height="187" style="float: right;" />Finally, a gaming laptop with a mechanical plank!</h3> <p>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 <strong>MSI gets a virtual high-five for being the first to plop a mechanical keyboard on a gaming laptop</strong>.</p> <p>MSI's GT80 Titan uses Cherry MX Brown key switches, which are known for being light, tactile, and non-clicky. It's a popular switch among gamers because of their tactile response while remaining relatively quiet compared to Cherry MX Blue switches, which are loud by comparison.</p> <p>Little else is known about the 18.4-inch GT80 Titan, at least on an official basis. Rumor has it the GT80 Titan may wield a GTX 980 SLI configuration and up to 32GB of RAM. Given the laptop's size, we're betting on this being a full-blown desktop replacement.</p> <p>No word yet on price or availability, only that it's "<a href="" target="_blank">coming soon</a>," according to the GT80 Titan's teaser page.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> cherry mx brown Gaming gt80 titan Hardware laptop mechanical keyboard msi notebook OEM rigs News Thu, 30 Oct 2014 16:51:03 +0000 Paul Lilly 28815 at