laptop en Notebooks Makes Ready 2-in-1 Chromebook Models for Release in Q2 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/chromebook_2-in-1.jpg" alt="Asus Chromebook 2-in-1" title="Asus Chromebook 2-in-1" width="228" height="122" style="float: right;" />Chrome OS versus Windows, round 2: FIGHT!</h3> <p>After getting off to a slow start, Chromebooks finally began to grow in popularity as lower cost alternatives to Windows-based machines. And for a long while, Chromebooks represented the top selling laptops on Amazon.&nbsp; Now that Windows laptops can be bought for $250 or less, Chromebooks aren't as enticing, but what about 2-in-1 systems? We're about to find out as <strong>laptop makers ready 2-in-1 Chromebook models for a second quarter release</strong>.</p> <p>Citing sources from within the upstream supply chain, <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Digitimes</em> says</a> Intel is planning to partner with Google and notebook players like Asus, Acer, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, Quanta Computer, and Pegatron Technology to launch convertible Chromebooks next quarter. Initially these will be 11-inch to 13-inch devices.</p> <p>Like traditional Chromebooks, these 2-in-1 devices will compete on price. They'll also target students in the U.S., as that seems to be the niche that's most responsive to Chrome OS. After that, laptop makers will push 2-in-1 Chromebooks into emerging markets such as Eastern Europe, Latin America, and Southeast Asia.</p> <p>There's no word on specific pricing at this point, though it's expected these devices will undercut Windows 2-in-1 systems by about 10 percent.</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> 2-in-1 chromebook Hardware intel laptop notebook News Thu, 26 Mar 2015 18:58:26 +0000 Paul Lilly 29647 at Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Goes on Sale as Surface Pro 4 Rumors Heat Up <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/surface_4.jpg" alt="Surface Pro 3" title="Surface Pro 3" width="228" height="169" style="float: right;" />Save up to $150 on Surface Pro 3</h3> <p>Microsoft has been wheeling and dealing its Surface Pro 3 tablets at reduced prices recently, and you have to wonder why the company doesn't just go ahead and permanently lower the cost. Regardless, <strong>Surface Pro 3 tablets are again on sale</strong> with savings of up to $150 off retail. The timing of the sale comes as reports of the Surface Pro 4 being an iPad Pro killer start to emerge.</p> <p>First let's talk about the Surface 3 Pro pricing. The entry level model is the only one that isn't being offered up at a discount -- it's still priced at $799 for a Core i3 4020Y processor and 64GB of storage. Here's how the rest shake out:</p> <ul> <li>Surface Pro 3 w/ Core i5 4300U (1.9GHz to 2.9GHz) and 128GB SSD: $899, down from $999 (save $100)</li> <li>Surface Pro 3 w/ Core i5 4300U (1.9GHz to 2.9GHz) and 256GB SSD: $1,149, down from $1,299 (save $150)</li> <li>Surface Pro 3 w/ Core i7 4650U (1.7GHz to 3.3GHz) and 256GB SSD: $1,399, down from $1,549 (save $150)</li> <li>Surface Pro 3 2/ Core i7 4650U (1.7Ghz to 3.3GHz ) and 512GB SSD: $1,799, down from $1,949 (save $150)</li> </ul> <p>Microsoft is also offering a free sleeve valued at $40 with the purchase of a Surface Pro 3. There are 14 different designs to choose from. And for an additional $130, you can add a Surface Pro Type Cover.</p> <p>You'll find the Surface Pro 3 deals at the <a href=";tduid=05cd4f4e8c88be70094588d0b5d3beed" target="_blank">Microsoft Store</a>.</p> <h3>Surface Pro 4 Rumor</h3> <p>As to the Surface Pro 4, <a href="" target="_blank"><em>The Fuse Joplin</em></a> claims there are multiple rumors suggesting the tablet will launch in July. Citing the various rumors, <em>TFJ</em> says there will be two versions -- one with a 1.1GHz dual-core processor and one with a 2.4GHz CPU, both of which are mobile Intel chips.</p> <p>There are also rumors saying the two versions will feature different sized displays, one with a 12-inch panel and the other with a 14-inch display. Interestingly, both are said to run at 2160x1440, so the screen real estate will effectively be the same, assuming the information is accurate.</p> <p>It's said the Surface Pro 4 will have a better webcam than the 480p one found on the new Macbook. Other untold features will supposedly also give the Surface Pro 4 a leg up against the rumored iPad Pro.</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> Hardware laptop microsoft notebook surface pro 3 Surface Pro 4 tablet News Mon, 23 Mar 2015 15:16:09 +0000 Paul Lilly 29626 at Acer Upgrades Chromebook with Core i5 CPU, Claims It's the Fastest on the Block <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/acer_c910.jpg" alt="Acer C910" title="Acer C910" width="228" height="176" style="float: right;" />Fastest commercial Chromebook around?</h3> <p><strong>Acer later today will be adding a new configuration to its C910 line of Chromebooks</strong>, one that will sport an Intel Core i5 5200U processor. Equipped with the new chip, Acer says it feels confident claiming that it's the fastest performing commercial Chromebook on the market. At the same time, the C910 offers all-day battery life of up to 8 hours before needing to be recharged.</p> <p>The Core i5 5200U is a fifth generation part based on Intel's 14nm Broadwell-U architecture. It has two cores and four threads clocked at 2.2GHz to 2.7GHz with 3MB of cache, Intel HD Graphics 5500 (300MHz to 900MHz), and a 15W TDP. The same chip is also found in some Ultrabook models.</p> <p>"The new faster performing Acer C910 Chromebook with an Intel Core i5 processor is raising the bar for Chromebook performance," said Carlos Siqueiros, mobility business manager, Acer America. "The advanced technology will boost productivity and help our education and commercial customers get the most out of their Chromebook experience for collaboration on important projects and research."</p> <p>Also unique to the C910 is its 15.6-inch display, the industry's first Chromebook to go that big. It's available with either a 1366x768 (HD) or 1920x1080 (Full HD 1080p) resolution. Both versions sport Acer's ComfyView with anti-glare properties to minimize reflection and eye strain.</p> <p>Othe features include 4GB of RAM, 32GB SSD, 802.11ac Wi-Fi with MIMO technology, full-sized upward facing speakers, Bluetooth 4.0, USB 3.0 and 2.0 ports (one each), HDMI output, and an SD memory card reader.</p> <p>The Acer C910-54M1 with Core i5 5200 will be available next month starting at $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> Acer C910 chromebook core i5 Hardware intel laptop notebook OEM News Thu, 19 Mar 2015 15:55:21 +0000 Paul Lilly 29612 at Asus ROG Lifts Curtain Ultra Slim G501 Laptop with 4K Display, Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M GPU <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/asus_rog_g501.jpg" alt="Asus ROG G501" title="Asus ROG G501" width="228" height="164" style="float: right;" />Slim and sexy, but is it fast enough?</h3> <p>Typically when a graphics company announces a new GPU, as Nvidia did yesterday with its GeForce GTX 960M and 950M additions, hardware partners follow suit with systems build around the parts. And so it goes, as today <strong>Asus Republic of Gamers (ROG) unveiled the G501, a thin and light 15.6-inch gaming laptop</strong> with a 4K Ultra High Definition resolution powered by the GTX 960M.</p> <p>As a mid-range GPU in Nvidia's GeForce GTX 900M Series, I'm not sure the GTX 960M packs enough punch to drive a comfortable gaming experience at 4K (3840x2160; 282 pixels per inch), though I'll reserve judgement until the benchmarks provide a definitive answer. If not, there's always the option of dialing down the resolution and/or display settings. Since there are other benefits to a 4K display, doing so while gaming wouldn't necessarily defeat the purpose, though it's certainly something to consider.</p> <p>Both the GTX 950M and 960M were designed specifically for slim systems like the G501. In this instance, the G501 measures just 0.81 inches thick and weighs 4.54 pounds. Part of that is due to the lightweight aluminum construction. It also sports red bezel accents for added visual appeal, along with a red-backlit keyboard with 1.6mm of key travel and marked WASD cursor keys.</p> <p>Cooling chores are handed by two fans and copper heat pipes. The CPU and GPU are independently cooled based on each one's demands, resulting in a cool and quiet laptop.</p> <p>Rounding out the feature-set is an Intel Core i7 4720HQ processor, 16GB of DDR3 RAM, 512GB PCI-E x4 solid state drive, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, SD card reader, three USB 3.0 ports, HDMI, Thunderbolt, headphone/mic combo port, 96Wh battery, and Windows 8.1 64-bit.</p> <p>The Asus ROG G501 will begin shipping in April for $1,999.</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 G501 Gaming GeForce GTX 960M Hardware laptop notebook OEM Republic of Gamers rigs ROG News Fri, 13 Mar 2015 16:40:50 +0000 Paul Lilly 29581 at Razer Upgrades Blade Pro Laptop with GeForce GTX 960M GPU and More Storage <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/razer_blade_pro.jpg" alt="Razer Blade Pro" title="Razer Blade Pro" width="228" height="161" style="float: right;" />A sharpened Blade</h3> <p>Nvidia earlier today <a href="">announced two new GPUs</a> for thin and light gaming laptops, the GeForce GTX 950M and 960M, and right on cue, several hardware partners have jumped on board with new and revised notebook models. One of them is <strong>Razer, which today announced the release of its refreshed Blade Pro laptop</strong> with GeForce GTX 960M graphics and a higher storage ceiling, up to 1TB.</p> <p>The 960M with 4GB of GDDR5 memory replaces the GeForce GTX 860M that was shipping with the previous version. And as for storage capacity, instead of topping out at 256GB (SSD), you can now configure up to 512GB of SSD storage and up to a 1TB hard drive.</p> <p>Razer's 17.3-inch (1920x1080) Blade Pro starts at $2,300 and comes standard with an Intel Core i7 4720HQ processor, 16GB of DDR3L-1600 RAM, 128GB SSD + 500GB HDD (256GB SSD + 500GB HDD and 512GB SSD + 1TB HDD options available), GeForce GTX 960M GPU, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, GbE LAN port, three USB 3.0 ports, HDMI 1.4a output, stereo speakers, 3.5mm mic/headphone combo jack, 2MP webcam, Windows 8.1 64-big, and various other bits.</p> <p>You can configure and order a <a href="" target="_blank">Blade Pro here</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> Blade Pro GeForce GTX 960M Hardware laptop notebook OEM razer rigs News Thu, 12 Mar 2015 16:03:49 +0000 Paul Lilly 29576 at Eurocom M4 Review <!--paging_filter--><h3>Turns out 3K is just OK</h3> <p>While 4K may be all the rage these days, we’ve yet to see that resolution grace the screens of our gaming laptop panels. The next best thing, however, may be here. Eurocom’s M4 gaming notebook made its way into our Lab sporting a super sharp 13.3-inch 3200x1800-resolution display. Dubbed 3K, it has a pixel density of 276 pixels per inch (PPI). This makes it poopoo all over Apple’s much-touted MacBook Pro Retina display. What, 227 PPI? Is this 2013 or something?</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u187432/mpc103.rev_eurocom.1.jpg" width="620" height="350" /></p> <p>In general, the screen is excellent and the little Ultra HD (UHD) video content out there on the web looks great. Its beauty is aided by the fact that it’s running on an IPS panel, so colors look vibrant and accurate. The visual experience isn’t perfect, however. Because its resolution is so high, many programs are not optimized for it and end up looking super tiny.&nbsp; Furthermore, both Chrome and Steam look incredibly soft on the M4. When we fi red up Steam’s Big Picture Mode, the screen started glitching out and became unusable. It’s clear that many of these programs aren’t optimized for UHD displays and it’s a shame that there isn’t more super high resolution video content out there. Perhaps these issues will be resolved someday, but they’re real gripes today.</p> <p>In addition to the scaling issues, another quandary for ultra-sharp monitors is that they need really high-end GPUs; that is, if you plan to game on them. Powering our Eurocom M4 is Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 860M. The card actually runs on the company’s new Maxwell architecture and features a 1,029MHz GPU clock, 2,500MHz memory clock, and has 2GB of GDDR5 VRAM. It’s in the mid-tier of mobile GPUs by today’s standard, but manages to blow away our zeropoint’s older midrange 765M by roughly 30–70 percent in our graphics benchmarks, which is really impressive. For 1080p gaming, it’s great. In BioShock Infinite, we garnered average framerates in the mid-70s on the game’s default medium settings. At 3K, however, it got ugly. The M4 could only muster average framerates in the mid-20s. We fired up Left 4 Dead 2 to see how the notebook would handle a non-taxing game and we actually got low-40s average framerates playing the game maxed out. While this is technically playable, we’d probably opt to lower the res for a smoother experience. In general, we’d crank this down to 1080p resolution for the majority of today’s games so that you can run them with more bells and whistles turned up while getting a smoother framerate.</p> <p>While the GPU may not be the highestend card out there, our overall confi guration still rang in at $2,319, which is by no means cheap. That said, it did come with good components. Inside the relatively small 13.2x9.9x1.28-inch chassis is an Intel quad-core 3GHz Core i7-4930MX, which can turbo up to 3.9GHz, and 16GB of DDR3/1866 RAM. At $1,096, the CPU itself accounts for almost half the price of the notebook. In our CPU tests, the M4 performed between 5 percent to 9 percent better than our zeropoint’s Core i7-4700MQ. In terms of storage, our unit came with a 120GB Micron M500 mSATA SSD, and for mass storage, a 1TB 7,200rpm HDD. In the battery department, the M4 comes with a 6-cell lithium ion, which lasted over 3.5 hours in our video rundown test. Rounding out the chassis, we have a competent backlit keyboard and trackpad with two dedicated buttons.</p> <p>In general, the M4 has a lot going for it, but it does have its fair share of issues. While the laptop never got hot, it did get plenty loud when we were gaming. In addition, the speakers are weak, and it didn’t help that the headphone jack would randomly not work at times. The M4’s biggest issue, however, is its price. Spending over $2K for halfway-optimized 3K may not be worth it for many.</p> 4k laptop From the Magazine Mon, 02 Mar 2015 06:14:07 +0000 Jimmy Thang 29506 at Aspire Switch 10 Review <!--paging_filter--><h3>Not quite ready to steal the crown</h3> <p>If Amazon’s list of best-selling laptops is any indication, there’s a quite a market for Windows 8.1 convertible laptops—and as of late, the lion’s share of buyers has been sinking their money into Asus’s Transformer Book T100. Acer seems eager to take on the people’s choice with its Aspire Switch 10, a similarly spec’d 10.1-inch convertible with two key design differences.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u187432/mpc103.rev_switch10.acer_.jpg" width="620" height="350" /></p> <p>When it comes down to internals, the Switch 10 essentially contains the same guts as the T100. Its 1.33GHz Atom Z3745 CPU is just a slightly newer version of the T100’s Z3740 that features a few small adjustments to the onboard graphics specs, and the benchmarks reflect the narrow gap in performance. In our 3DMark Ice Storm, Stitch, and ProShow 5 tests, the Switch 10 edged out the T100 by slim margins—for Stitch and ProShow, it bested the T100 by just a minute or two.</p> <p>Where the Switch 10 sets itself apart is through its magnetic connector between the keyboard and tablet sections, as well as its trackpad. The former is a handy feature, and one we much prefer over having to press a button in order to pull away the tablet for independent use. Even clumsy folks (like some of us on staff) will find it easy to separate and reattach the Switch 10’s parts without having to place the laptop on a table for stability—something we had to do with the T100.</p> <p>The trackpad is also notable, but for traits are its responsive, firm buttons and its generous size, but the downside to the latter is accidental mousing when typing on the diminutive keyboard. If you’ve got large hands, you’ll be in for a lot of frustration if you don’t adjust the angle of your hands while typing, as there’s no palm rejection option available.</p> <p>If that were our only main quibble with the Switch 10, we’d likely still pick it over the T100 (which we gave a 7, too), as it has a brighter screen, better battery life, and runs just as smoothly for basic productivity and the kind of light media consumption these lower-end laptops are meant for. Its handful of ports—HDMI, microSD, headset/ mic jack, micro USB, and full USB—let us do day-to-day tasks like transfer photos from a camera, chat over Google Hangouts, and watch Netflix on a much bigger second screen; YouTube videos and ripped Bluray files ran without a hitch while Spotify, Word, Excel, and Firefox with a handful of tabs were loaded in the background. We also got an hour more of battery life in our rundown test than on the Asus. And while the Switch 10 feels a bit too dense to just throw into a bag and carry everywhere with you at all times, it’s still lightweight enough to take on an extended trip and get some work done—a sort of netbook successor that offers what netbooks should have in the first place. It, like the T100, even comes with a complimentary copy of Office 2013.</p> <p>Unfortunately, the Switch 10’s keyboard more mixed reasons. Among its positive makes it suitable only for the most emphatic typers (or those willing to, for whatever reason, bring a separate Bluetooth keyboard along with them). Light typers will find themselves swearing constantly under their breath when a key doesn’t register. This, in addition to a lack of USB 3.0 ports, make it hard to see this particular convertible unseating the current king just yet. But it should win the hearts of some of the populace.</p> Acer convertible laptop convertible tablet laptop From the Magazine Mon, 02 Mar 2015 03:53:45 +0000 Alaina Yee 29503 at Should AMD Jump on the Chromebook Bandwagon? <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/chromebooks_2.jpg" alt="Chromebooks" title="Chromebooks" width="228" height="175" style="float: right;" />Chromebooks and AMD don't currently mix</h3> <p>You have options when it comes to Chromebooks. Some have touch displays, a few are rugged so they can endure a day at the playground, many are relatively inexpensive at around $200, while others like the Chromebook Pixel ($1,300) are quite a bit more. But one option you don't have is buying a Chromebook powered by AMD -- it's either ARM or Intel. That may change someday, but for now, <strong>AMD simply isn't interested in the Chromebook category</strong>.</p> <p>We know this because AMD chief technical officer Mark Papermaster said as much earlier this week during the International Solid State Circuits (ISSCC) conference.</p> <p>"You have to really look at the Chromebook, and what Google's objective with it is," Papermaster told a small group of reporters at ISSCC, <a href="" target="_blank">according <em>PCWorld</em></a>. "For us, it's just a business decision, when you need our type of CPU and graphics technology that can make a difference."</p> <p>For now, it isn't hurting AMD to ignore Chromebooks -- only around 4.6 million units were sold in 2014, representing a mere 1.5 percent of the PC market. However, the category is growing, with double the number of Chromebooks sold in 2014 compared to 2013.</p> <p>AMD is gambling that Chromebooks never become anything more than a niche product, or if they do, that it can jump in and become a player. And the Sunnyvale chip designer might be right. I've pointed out several times in the past that the top selling notebooks on Amazon are Chromebooks, but a glance today shows that's no longer the case.</p> <p>Instead, the top selling laptop is now a 15.6-inch Asus machine running a dual-core Celeron chip for $249, followed by the HP Stream 11 (No. 2), HP Stream 13 (No. 3), a 15.6-inch Acer Aspire (No. 4), and another HP Stream 13 (No. 5). None of these are more than $250, which suggests that customers weren't necessarily interested in Chromebooks for many of the reasons Google laid out other than price.</p> <p>Now that Windows laptops can be had at similar price points, Chromebooks aren't as popular, at least on Amazon. They only comprise the No. 7 and No. 8 spots out of the site's 10 best selling notebooks, whereas before they led the pack.</p> <p>"For us, it’s when do you need our CPU and graphics capability that can make a difference," Papermaster added. "Again, you’ll see that there’s these rock-bottom markets... so those don’t have our value proposition."</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> amd chromebook Google laptop notebook News Thu, 26 Feb 2015 19:33:28 +0000 Paul Lilly 29480 at Toshiba Updates Kirabook with Broadwell <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/toshiba_kirabook_0.jpg" alt="Toshiba Kirabook" title="Toshiba Kirabook" width="228" height="164" style="float: right;" />Laptop refresh sees an upgrade to Intel's Core i7-5500U CPU</h3> <p><strong>Toshiba today announced that its premium Kirabook 13 i7S1 Touch Ultrabook is now rocking a 5th Generation Intel Core i7-5500U processor</strong> based on the Santa Clara chip maker's Broadwell architecture. The new part is a dual-core chip with four threads with a base frequency of 2.4GHz and turbo frequency of 3GHz. It also sports 4MB of cache, Intel HD Graphics 5500, and a 15W TDP.</p> <p>Like the previous generation Kirabook, the upgraded model features a 13.3-inch WQHD (2560x1440) PixelPure touchscreen display, 8GB of DDR3-1600 memory, 256GB mSATA solid state drive, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, HD webcam, stereo microphone, HDMI output with 4K capability, three USB 3.0 ports (one with Sleep and Charge), and Windows 8.1 Pro. Toshiba also tosses in the full version of Adobe Photoshop Elements 12.</p> <p>The Kirabook sports a luxury design with a magnesium-alloy body that weighs 2.91 pounds. We reviewed a similar spec'd version a couple of years ago and gave it a 9 verdict -- you can read that <a href="">review here</a>. Or if you'd rather not click, about the only thing we could ding it for was the price.</p> <p>At the time of that review, it was going for $2,000. The upgraded model on <a href="" target="_blank">Toshiba's website</a> goes for $1,700, though you may be able to get it for less -- when tried to leave the website, Toshiba offered us a $75 discount in exchanging for receiving weekly email specials.</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> broadwell Hardware kirabook laptop notebook OEM rigs toshiba News Thu, 19 Feb 2015 17:14:43 +0000 Paul Lilly 29446 at Microsoft Extends Surface Pro 3 Sale to Entry Level Model, Takes Trade-Ins <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/surface_pro_3_coffee.jpg" alt="Surface Pro 3" title="Surface Pro 3" width="228" height="130" style="float: right;" />Surface Pro 3 starts at $699 for a limited time</h3> <p>Maybe Microsoft is still scarred from having to take a <a href="">$900 million charge</a> on unsold Surface RT tablets a year and a half ago, or perhaps a refresh is around the bend. Either way, the Redmond outfit is trying its best to entice people to pick up a Surface Pro 3 tablet. It started earlier this month when <strong>Microsoft slashed $100 off the price of every model except the entry-level configuration, and now that too is included in the sale</strong>. You can save even more if trade up from an older Surface.</p> <p>The original sale was only supposed to run until February 7, though here we are in the middle of the month and all five configurations are selling for $100 off. Here's a handy breakdown:</p> <ul> <li>Core i3 4020Y / 64GB: $699 (down from $799)</li> <li>Core i5 4300U / 128GB: $899 (down from $999)</li> <li>Core i5 4300U / 256GB: $1,199 (down from $1,299)</li> <li>Core i7 4650U / 256GB: $1,449 (down from $1,549)</li> <li>Core i7 4670U / 512GB: $1,849 (down from $1,949)</li> </ul> <p>Now let's talk trade ins. If you got stuck with one of those Surface RT tablets and still have it, you can trade it in to Microsoft and receive $84 (32GB) or $94 (64GB) in credit towards a Surface Pro 3, provided the unit you're swapping out is in working order. Power adapter must be included, and you can get extra if you also trade in a touch or type cover.</p> <p>Newer models command more, as do the higher capacity builds. To see specifically how much you can get, go here to have your system appraised. And if you do decided to pick up a Surface Pro 3 on sale, you'll find those items <a href="" target="_blank">here</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> Hardware laptop microsoft notebook OEM rigs surface pro 3 tablet News Wed, 18 Feb 2015 13:53:02 +0000 Paul Lilly 29438 at Asus Now Taking Orders for Super Slim Zenbook UX305 Ultrabook <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/asus_zenbook_ux305.jpg" alt="Asus Zenbook UX305" title="Asus Zenbook UX305" width="228" height="162" style="float: right;" />Premium looks at an affordable price tag</h3> <p>The newly available <strong>Asus Zenbook UX305 might be the sexiest 13.3-inch Ultrabook you can buy for $699</strong>. According to Asus, it's certainly the slimmest -- measuring just 0.48 inches thin weighing a mere 2.6 pounds, we won't argue that claim. But getting back to the price tag, Asus manages to cram a surprising amount of amenities into this svelte laptop without breaking the bank, including an In-Plane Switching (IPS) Full HD 1080p display.</p> <p>Other standard features include an Intel Core M 5Y10 dual-core processor, 8GB of LPDDR3-1600 RAM, 256GB solid state drive, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, 720p HD webcam, micro HDMI output, three USB 3.0 ports (one is a charging port), audio jack combo, SD card reader, Asus SonicMaster audio system, 45Wh battery, and Windows 8.1.</p> <p>A quad-core chip would be nice, but that's still a decent collection of hardware and features for the money. It all comes wrapped in a solid aluminum chassis with a wedge-shaped design and diamond-cut highlights. Depending on how much you value aesthetics, it's worth pointing out that the Zenbook UX305 has a few design awards under its belt.</p> <p>"A refined new shape that incorporates the DNA of the classic ZenBook gives the UX305 a subtle new wedge design with elegantly-tapered and smooth diamond-cut edges that emphasize the sleek ultra-thin chassis. The full-size ergonomic keyboard features an improved layout for comfortable and accurate typing coupled with a large responsive touchpad that supports Smart Gestures for precise control of Windows 8.1," <a href="" target="_blank">Asus says</a>.</p> <p>"Continuing the long-established ZenBook tradition of combining performance with luxury, the gorgeous UX305 ultraportable, which weighs only 2.6lbs, is available in a sophisticated new Obsidian Stone color with ZenBook's signature spun-metal finish with its Zen-inspired concentric circle pattern," the company continued.</p> <p>If you're interested, you can order the Zenbook UX305 now direct from <a href="" target="_blank">Asus for $699</a>. Alternately, a model with a QHD+ (3200x1800) display will be available at a later date, though Asus didn't say for how much.</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 notebook OEM rigs ultrabook Zenbook UX305 News Mon, 16 Feb 2015 18:36:43 +0000 Paul Lilly 29431 at Panasonic’s 14” Toughbook 54 is Thin, Light and ‘Semi-Rugged’ <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u46168/toughbook_54.png" alt="Panasonic Toughbook 54" title="Toughbook 54" width="228" height="181" style="float: right;" />The Toughbook 54 sacrifices a bit of ruggedness on the altar of portability</h3> <p>It’s not often that laptop manufacturers tout the lightness and thinness of a rugged or semi-rugged device. Panasonic’s announcement of the all-new Broadwell-powered Toughbook 54 on Friday was one such rare occasion. The latest in a long line of semi-rugged laptops going back to 1998, the <strong>Toughbook 54 is said to be the thinnest and lightest device in its class.</strong></p> <p>At 4.2 lbs, the Toughbook 54’s base model is over 25 percent lighter than the lightest configuration of last year’s Toughbook 53. And in case you haven’t inferred as much already, the Toughbook 54&nbsp; is also considerably thinner than its Haswell-based predecessor.</p> <p>The significant reduction in size and weight has come at a cost, though. The <a href="" target="_blank">Toughbook 54 (PDF)</a> can only <a href="" target="_blank">withstand drops from a height of 76cm</a>, which is a significant drop (pun intended) from its predecessor’s 1-meter impact rating. </p> <p>Here’s a quick rundown of its specs:</p> <ul> <li>Processor:&nbsp; 5th Generation Intel Core i5-5300U vPro (3MB cache, 2.3GHz up to 2.9GHz)</li> <li>Display: 14.0” IPS 1080p full HD display (Gloved Multi Touch and Performance</li> <li>models) or 768p HD display (Lite and Prime models) </li> <li>RAM: 4-16GB RAM (8-16GB on Performance model)</li> <li>Storage:&nbsp; 500GB HDD main drive (optional 128GB SSD, 256GB SSD, 1TB 7200rpm HDD); 128GB SSD or 256GB SSD optional second drive</li> <li>Graphics:&nbsp; Intel HD Graphics 5500 (all models); AMD FirePro M5100 graphics (Performance model)</li> <li>Ports and Connectivity: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0,&nbsp; Intel Wireless Display (WiDi), 10/100/1000 Ethernet (two LAN ports on all models except Lite), 4G LTE (optional), three USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, HDMI, VGA (optional), GPS (optional) and contactless SmartCard/NFC reader (optional).</li> <li>Battery: 8 hours (15 hours with opt. 2nd battery) for Lite model; 11 hours (18 hours with opt. 2nd battery) for all other models</li> </ul> <p>According to the company, the IP5X- and MIL-STD-810G-certified Toughbook 54 will go on sale later this month starting at&nbsp; $1,499.<strong><br /></strong></p> <p><em>Follow Pulkit on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a></em></p> laptop notebook panasonic semi rugged toughbook 53 toughbook 54 News Mon, 16 Feb 2015 04:21:30 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 29424 at Dell Chromebook 11 Boasts Schoolyard Durability <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/dell_chromebook_11_0.jpg" alt="Dell Chromebook 11" title="Dell Chromebook 11" width="228" height="144" style="float: right;" />Can withstand the rigors of school life</h3> <p>Where Chromebooks currently thrive is in the education field, so it makes sense to focus on durability when designing new models.<strong> That's what Dell did with its Chromebook 11, the company's second generation Chromebook</strong> that will be available to order later this week. According to Dell, the Chromebook 11 is "schoolyard tough" and can handle bumps, drops, spills, and other hazards that students encounter on a daily basis.</p> <p>Dell subjected the Chromebook 11 to MIL-STD 810G testing for pressure, temperature, shock, and vibration. The OEM isn't billing it as a rugged laptop, though there are a few characteristics that sway in that direction, such as a rubberized trim to absorb shock when accidentally dropped, <a href="" target="_blank">the company said</a>.</p> <p>It also has a liquid-resistant keyboard and Corning Gorilla Glass to protect to the 11.6-inch TN display. With the latter, Dell wasn't necessarily thinking about scratches -- instead, the <a href="" target="_blank">OEM told <em>PCWorld</em></a> that one of the ways students end up breaking Chromebooks is by closing the lid without clearing the keyboard of pencils and other objects.</p> <p>The Chromebook 11 features an Intel Celeron N2840 CPU based on Bay Trail M, 2GB or 4GB of DDR3L RAM, 16GB of internal storage, 2x2 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, front-facing HD webcam, and up to 10 hours of battery life.</p> <p>In related news, Dell also announced the Venue 10 and Venue 10 Pro, a pair of new tablets also aimed at education customers. The former runs Android 5.0 Lollipop and the latter is a Windows 8.1 slate, both with a 10.1-inch HD or Full HD display.</p> <p>Dell's Chromebook 11 will be available on February 12 starting at $250. The Venue 10 Pro will make a debut on March 3 starting at $330 for the tablet or $380 with a keyboard option, while the Venue 10 will launch sometime this spring.</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 11 dell education Hardware laptop notebook OEM rigs News Thu, 12 Feb 2015 18:17:38 +0000 Paul Lilly 29418 at Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Review <!--paging_filter--><p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u187432/mpc102.rev_surface3.1.jpg" width="620" height="350" /></p> <p>When the original Surface Pro launched, no one quite knew how to classify the hybrid. Was it a tablet that was trying to be a laptop? A laptop trying to be a tablet?</p> <p>Well, call us contrarians: We’re going to come right out and say the Surface Pro line is neither and doesn’t need to be—particularly in the case of the Surface Pro 3, which combines the best of both worlds.</p> <p>At just 1.76lbs (2.42lbs with the optional Type Cover attached) and 0.36-inches thick, it’s one of the lightest and slimmest x86 ultraportables we’ve gotten our hands on yet. When thrown into a backpack or shoulder bag, the Surface Pro 3’s barely noticeable, even when on you’re on your feet all day. And given its generous size—the SP3 has a 12.1-inch, 2160x1440 IPS screen—it’s a bit of a marvel that its internals include a Core i5-4300U CPU, 8GB of DDR3 RAM, and a 256GB mSATA SSD. And unlike its first-generation predecessor, the Surface Pro 3 runs cool and, for the most part, very quiet. Even when the fan starts running under load, it’s still more of a hum than the turbo-engine whirling you’d hear in an SP1.</p> <p>Of course, there are trade-offs for cramming so much into so little space, with the additional requirement of being cool and quiet. While it performed slightly better than our zero-point (the original Surface Pro), during intensive loads we saw a decrease in performance. We suspect this is due to the system favoring thermals over performance—a way of still improving on SP1’s well-deserved reputation for running unabashedly loud and hot when pushed. Don’t expect to play triple-A titles on the SP3—or even farm league games; we barely cracked 16fps in Batman: Arkham Origins’ benchmark. It did run the Little League–level Super Meat Boy at 50 fps and Limbo at 29.4 fps, so there is some fun. Heavily threaded loads also are best left to a beefier systems, as our ProShow 5 benchmark (which is limited to four threads) took almost an hour to complete.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u187432/benchmarks.png" width="525" height="240" /></p> <p>But as a hybrid, the Surface Pro 3’s hard to beat. With its multi-point kickstand, you can adapt it to a wide variety of scenarios (like drawing, lying stretched out, sitting in a car)—particularly when combined with the updated Type Cover, which sports a magnetic strip that clings to the bottom edge of the SP3 to provide additional stability. We liked being able to do actual work—between its ample screen real estate and 3:2 aspect ratio, doing daily tasks like writing articles, crunching numbers, and creating presentations are actually comfortable on the go—while also jumping to more tablet-like functions like watching Netflix, trawling through YouTube for cat videos, and reading magazines through Zinio (without having to zoom to read tiny text, to boot). Taking notes by hand via OneNote on the touchscreen is as good as in previous models, though sadly, nothing will ever counteract our chicken scrawl. And its battery life is pretty good, lasting 242 minutes in our rundown test.</p> <p>Our real quibble with this machine has not to do with its hybrid status, but with its accessories. Though the Type Cover’s trackpad is vastly improved over the SP2’s version, it can be a bit hypersensitive. It’s also surprising that the Type Cover is still as expensive as it is; its street price is 10 percent of the cost of our review unit. We’re also not huge fans of the pen loop that holds the stylus, as we’re pretty sure we’ll lose the instrument due to the loop tearing or losing its adhesive stickiness in about a month.</p> <p>Still, these are entirely minor complaints, and we’re still more than happy to deal with them as part of being able to trade a few devices in our bag for just one. Haters are going to kvetch about how it’s not what they’d spend their money on, but if you’ve been an ultraportable fanatic well before Intel began its Ultrabook push, you’ll love just how much hardware is in this svelte form.</p> laptop Microsoft Surface Pro surface pro 3 tablet From the Magazine Sun, 08 Feb 2015 21:49:29 +0000 Alaina Yee 29391 at Google Adds Remote Lock Feature to Chromebook for Admins <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/chromebook_disabled_message.jpg" alt="Chromebook Disabled Message" title="Chromebook Disabled Message" width="228" height="181" style="float: right;" />Now admins can disable a stolen Chromebook</h3> <p>Well, this was a long time coming. As Chromebooks grow in popularity, so does the risk of one being stolen -- it's just a numbers game, really. It sucks if that happens, but on the bright side, <strong>Google has issued an update that will finally allow admins to place lost or stolen Chrome OS devices in a disabled state</strong>. They can flip the switch right from their web-based management console.</p> <p>They can also input a custom message to be displayed on the disabled device's screen. That could come in handy if you think the system's been lost rather than stolen, allowing you to put a "Reward if found" message or something to that effect. Or if it's stolen, "I know where you live -- return this laptop within 24 hours and I'll spare your pets."</p> <p>Google's François Beaufort announced the new feature on his <a href="" target="_blank">Google+ page</a>, and also linked to a related <a href="" target="_blank">support document</a>. Clicking through reveals some additional information, including the fact that the new feature requires the device to be running Chrome version 40 or later.</p> <p>Once you enable the feature, any user that's signed in gets signed out and taken to the device disabled page. Once that page is displayed, the user can't sign back in, and it will stay in that state until an admin re-enables or deprovisions the devices. It also returns licenses associated with the device to the license pool while disabled, and removes the serial number from the default ("Provisioned") view.</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 Google laptop notebook remote lock Security News Fri, 06 Feb 2015 19:32:49 +0000 Paul Lilly 29386 at