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  • 10 best 2-in-1 laptops 2015: top hybrid laptops reviewed Hybrid laptops, or 2-in-1s, are devices that are able to serve as both a laptop and a tablet, either in a detachable design that sees the touchscreen doubling as a tablet, or a convertible approach in which the notebook's hinge rotates 360 degrees for a similar effect. Hybrid laptops are generally priced in a range between £700 (about 450, AU£800) and £2,000 (around 1,169, AU£2,131). However, some manufacturers, like Acer 1 , make budget hybrids, and there are even 2-in-1s designed specifically for the business user, like the Dell Venue 7000 2 series. Now that Microsoft has released Windows 10 3 , expect an even greater selection 4 of these devices to pop up, like the Lenovo IdeaPad Miix 700 5 , which runs on the new operating system. With that, here are the best 2-in-1 laptops that we've reviewed: 1. Microsoft Surface Pro 3 CPU: 1.9GHz Intel Core i5-4300U (dual-core, 3MB cache, up to 2.9GHz with Turbo Boost) | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 4400 | RAM: 8GB LPDDR3 | Screen: 12-inch, 2160 x 1440 multi-touch (ClearType, 3:2 aspect ratio) | Storage: 256GB SSD | Optical drive: none | Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: Two 5MP webcams (1080p HD video) | Weight: 1.76 pounds Dimensions: 7.93 x 11.5 x 0.36 inches (W x D x H) Sharp display Perfect as laptop and tablet Mediocre battery life Runs hot at times This is not only Microsoft's most striking and versatile device to date, but the most convincing poster child for the hybrid category yet. And this ringing endorsement comes from a long-time skeptic of such devices. This version of the tablet comes in cheaper than the most affordable iPad Air and 13-inch MacBook Air combined, even with the Type Cover, and that's the point. On paper, this slate is more powerful than either Apple device, not to mention most other comparably priced laptops and tablets. The Surface Pro 3 might not be perfect, but it's far and wide the brightest shining example of a potential tablet takeover. If you're not concerned about a downgraded performance, consider the new Surface 3, which doesn't provide as much kick as the Pro, but is lighter and a lot cheaper. Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Pro 3 6 2. HP Spectre x360 CPU: 2.2GHz Intel Core i5-5200 (dual-core, 3MB cache, up to 2.7GHz with Turbo Boost) | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5500 | RAM: 8GB DDR3 (1600Mhz) | Screen: 13.3-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 FHD Radiance LED-backlit touchscreen | Storage: 256GB SSD | Connectivity: 802.11ac (2x2) and Bluetooth 4.0 combo | Camera: HP TrueVision Full HD WVA Webcam (front-facing) | Weight: 3.26 pounds | Dimensions: 12.79 x 8.6 x 0.63 inches (W x D x H) Superbly thin Vibrant, bright display Excellent performance and battery life Too heavy to use as a tablet Weird, wide trackpad Buy the HP Spectre x360. It easily comes as one of my most recommended machines, with an excellent 1080p screen, solid performance, good battery life, and sturdy build quality; all for an excellent deal at £999 ( 899, AU£1,899). If it weren't for a few missteps with the trackpad and being too hefty for tablet use, this laptop would have easily stood amongst the most highly rated laptops TechRadar has ever reviewed. Despite its flaws, though, the Spectre x360 is one of the best-looking and powerful devices HP has ever produced and well worth a look over many, many other 2-in-1 laptops. Read the full review: HP Spectre x360 7 3. Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12 A versatile hybrid ideal for those who work as hard as they play CPU: Intel Core i5-5300U (2C, 2.30/2.90GHz, 3.0MB, 1600Mhz) | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5500 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 1920x1080 | Storage: 180GB SSD OPAL2 | Optical drive: None | Connectivity: Intel Dual-Band Wireless AC 7265 + Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: HD 720p | Weight: 3.48 pounds (1.5kg) Dimensions: 12..44" x 8.70" x 0.74" (31 x 22 x 1.8 cm) Solid performance Versatile design Slightly heavy No ethernet port The Yoga 12 is a versatile bulldog of a device. You can use it as your work laptop. You can use it for play. It won't be the best pick for either of these tasks, but it won't stray too far from the upper tier either. At 3.4 pounds and 0.74 inches thick, it's just light and slim enough to claim portability. With more than seven hours of video playback, its battery is good enough to get through a workday, and it's affordably priced starting at just £845. Packing a full HD display that can bend into four different modes, you'll enjoy this device's flexibility, even though it isn't the lightest or sexiest device on the planet. With that being said, it performs on par or better than any of the devices on this list. If you need a larger screen, the Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 15 8 is also a great option. Read the full review: Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12 9 4. Dell Inspiron 13 7000 An attractive, versatile package CPU: 2.4GHz Intel Core i7-5500 (dual-core, 4MB cache, up to 2.9GHz with Turbo Boost) | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5500 | RAM: 8GB DDR3L (1,600MHz) | Screen: 13.3-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 FHD IPS touchscreen | Storage: 256GB SSD | Connectivity: 802.11ac (2x2) and Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: 720p front-facing webcam; built-in dual digital microphones | Weight: 3.68 pounds (1.67kg) | Dimensions: 12.99 x 8.74 x 0.75 inches (W x D x H; 330 x 222 x 19mm) Attractive design Sturdy construction Lackluster battery life A little hefty This notebook features excellent build quality and overall system performance. It's fast, it's slick, and it is ideal for students who need to bang out papers and general users who want a fast, compact notebook to tote around. Read the full review: Dell Inspiron 13 7000 10 5. Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro Lenovo's former-flagship Ultrabook is a real stunner CPU: 1.6GHz Core i5 4200U | Graphics: Intel HD 4400 | RAM: 4GB of DDR3 | Screen: 3,200 x 1,800 IPS multi-touch display | Storage: 128GB SSD | Optical drive: None | Connectivity: Intel Wireless-N 7260 Wi-Fi | Camera: 720P front-facing camera | Weight: 3.06 pounds Dimensions: 13 x 8.66 x 0.61 inches Unique flexible design Top-notch QHD IPS display No 802.11ac wireless adapter Keyboard complicates tablet mode With the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro (starting at £1,099, 999, AU£1,599), we can now confirm that 3,200 x 1,800 pixels is delicious indeed. On top of the winning Yoga form factor, we loved the solid performance, backlit keyboard, and the snappy SSD, creating mobile device-like response times. At the £1,000 price point, you could put the Yoga 2 Pro in just about anyone's hands and make them quite pleased. For those of you who crave portability more than anything, Lenovo recently unveiled the new LaVie Z, which the company claims is the lightest convertible on the market. For those who want more power and don't mind a little heft, you could also check out the Lenovo Yoga 3 2014. Read the full review: Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro 11 6. Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11S The laptop that will bend over backwards for you CPU: 1.5 GHz Intel Core i7-3689Y | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 4000 (integrated) | RAM: 8GB PC3-12800 DDR3 SDRAM 1600 MHz SODIMM | Screen: 11.6" HD LED Multitouch 1366x768 | Storage: 128GB DDR SSD | Optical drive: none | Connectivity: Lenovo 802.11 b/g/n wireless, Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: 1.0MP 720p HD integrated webcam | Weight: 3.10 lbs Dimensions: 11.73" x 8.03" x 0.67" Extremely portable Strong hinges USB 2.0 not 3.0 Tablet mode leaves keys exposed Yes, another Lenovo hybrid! The 11.6-inch Lenovo Yoga 11S (starting at around £799, 599, AU£1,299) laptop is a flexible machine that can fold over from a typical laptop stance to a stand position, to a position with the keyboard behind the screen, ready for delivering presentations. It comes with HDMI, SD card and USB ports, and boasts a surprisingly impressive Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD for storage. The screen is sharp and bright, though not full HD, and works well with Windows 8. It's also nicely light and small for portability. You can easily use the Yoga 11S as you would any other laptop, replete with a full QWERTY keyboard. Read the full review: Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11S 12 7. Toshiba Satellite Click Mini Affordable and attractive CPU: 1.33GHz Intel Atom Z3735F with Burst Technology 2.0 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics | RAM: 2GB DDR3 SDRAM | Screen: 8.9-inch, 1920 x 1200 IPS LCD, 16:10 aspect ratio, 10 points multi-touch screen | Storage: 32GB eMMC Flash Memory | Connectivity: Wireless LAN 802.11b/g/n (up to 150 Mbps) | Camera: 5 MP Full HD rear camera with auto focus (back) and 2 MP Full HD web camera (front) | Weight: Tablet 1.04 pounds (472g); Tablet with keyboard 2.16 pounds (978g) | Dimensions: Tablet 9.25 x 0.385 x 6.34-inches (235 x 161 x 9.8mm) (W x D x H); Tablet with keyboard 9.25 x 6.72 x 0.78-inches (235 x 170.6 x 19.9mm) Full HD touchscreen Solid build quality Screen colours a little off Can't charge base separately Toshiba has created an incredible value full HD laptop that doubles as a tablet. It's perfect for frequent travelers, students taking notes in lectures, workers in meetings and people on a budget. This machine is well built and it runs smoothly and fast. Read the full review: Toshiba Satellite Click Mini 13 8. Asus Transformer Book T200 Another excellent transforming tablet-laptop from Asus CPU: 1.46GHz Intel Bay Trail-T Quad Core Z3775 | Graphics: Integrated Intel HD Graphics | RAM: 2 GB LPDDR3 | Screen: 11.-inch 16:9 IPS HD (1366 x 768) with multi-touch screen | Storage: 32GB eMMC With 500 GB HDD | Optical drive: None | Connectivity: Integrated 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth V4.0 | Camera: Front 2 Mp and rear 5 MP | Weight: 1.71 pounds Dimensions: 12 x 7.6 x 0.47 inches (W x D x H) Great value hybrid Good connectivity Low resolution screen Fairly bulky If you are looking for a combination of Windows laptop and tablet, the Asus Transformer Book T200 is a very appealing option that offers a fair amount for only £539 ( 349, or AU£690). The T200 is quiet, light, well built and feels responsive during normal usage. Battery life is excellent, so you won't find yourself hunting obsessively for charging points throughout the day. Its "smart" hard drive bay adds plenty of storage space alongside the speedy 32GB SSD, and despite having a disappointing resolution, the IPS display is at least vibrant with good viewing angles. Good connectivity in the form of USB 3.0 and RJ45 ports are welcome additions, with a reasonable pre-loaded software set finishing off the package nicely. Read the full review: Asus Transformer Book T200 14 9. Dell Venue 11 Pro 7000 A powerful, small tablet that wants to play in the big leagues CPU: Intel Core M-5Y71 vPro | Graphics: Intel Gen7 graphics | RAM: 8 GB | Screen: 10.8-inch FHD 1920 X 1080 IPS display | Storage: 128 GB SSD | Optical drive: None | Connectivity: Intel 7265 dual-band 2X2 802.11 ac WiFi & Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: 2-megapixel webcam; 8-megapixel rear camera | Weight: 1.6 pounds (0.72kg) Dimensions: 11.01 x 6.95 x .42 inches (27.97 X 17.65 X 1.07 cm) Performance Battery life Cramped screen Modest battery gains over i5 model At the £700 ( 437 and AU£800) entry price, the Venue Pro 7000 offers a nice balance of performance and portability in a travel-friendly size. However, unless you find yourself accessing CPU and GPU taxing apps, you might find more value in an Atom-based convertible. Going with Atom will lower your cost and give you better battery life. For those who need power and performance, the confines of a 10.8-inch display may be too rigid to maximize productivity. Opening more than a few tabs or windows on the small display will trigger claustrophobia. If you need to be more productive, there are bigger convertible options, like the Surface Pro 3, to choose from that may fit that need better. Or, if you prefer Android OS, and you don't mind a little less kick, you can go with the Dell Venue 10 7000 15 . Read the full review: Dell Venue 11 Pro 7000 16 10. Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi This 2-in-1 laptop takes thinness to a new level CPU: 1.2GHz Intel Core M 5Y71 processor (dual-core, 4MB cache, up to 2.9GHz with turbo boost) | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5300 | RAM: 8GB DDR3L (1600MHz) | Screen: 12.5-inch, 2,560 x 1,440 (WQHD) capacitive multi-touch IPS display | Storage: 128GB SSD | Optical drive: None | Connectivity: Intel Dual Band Wireless-N 7265 + Bluetooth 4.0 LE | Camera: 2MP 720p webcam | Weight: 3.14 pounds Dimensions: 12.5 x 7.5 x 0.65 inches (W x D x H) Vibrant display made for media Flexible use cases Colors a touch too saturated Unimpressive battery life The Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi is one of the first laptops to finally get the hybrid form factor right. Thanks to the use of a magnet latching system and Intel's fanless Core M processor, Asus has been able to produce a lighter tablet-laptop hybrid that's thin to boot. The detachable Bluetooth keyboard also opens up a few alternative ways to use the device. Over the last few weeks, I propped up the screen while I used the keyboard as a remote for Netflix and stood the screen on its side, using it as a makeshift vertical screen. The best thing about all this is it's entirely seamless, letting you easily switch between tablet and laptop modes with ease. Read the full review: Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi 17 Joe Osborne and Kevin Lee contributed to this article References ^ Acer (www.techradar.com) ^ Venue 7000 (www.techradar.com) ^ Windows 10 (www.techradar.com) ^ greater selection (www.techradar.com) ^ Lenovo IdeaPad Miix 700 (www.techradar.com) ^ Microsoft Surface Pro 3 (www.techradar.com) ^ HP Spectre x360 (www.techradar.com) ^ Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 15 (www.techradar.com) ^ Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12 (www.techradar.com) ^ Dell Inspiron 13 7000 (www.techradar.com) ^ Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro (www.techradar.com) ^ Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11S (www.techradar.com) ^ Toshiba Satellite Click Mini (www.techradar.com) ^ Asus Transformer Book T200 (www.techradar.com) ^ Dell Venue 10 7000 (www.techradar.com) ^ Dell Venue 11 Pro 7000 (www.techradar.com) ^ Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi (www.techradar.com)
  • 10 best 2-in-1 laptops 2016: top hybrid laptops reviewed Best 2-in-1 laptops Updated: The HP Spectre x360 15 has joined the ranks of our best 2-in-1 hybrid laptops 2-in-1s laptops, or hybrids, are devices that are able to serve as both a laptop and a tablet, either in a detachable design that sees the touchscreen doubling as a tablet, or a convertible approach in which the notebook's hinge rotates 360 degrees for a similar effect. Hybrid laptops are generally priced in a range between £700 (about 450, AU£800) and £2,000 (around 1,169, AU£2,131). However, some manufacturers, like Acer 1 , make budget hybrids, and there are even 2-in-1s designed specifically for the business user, like the Dell Venue 7000 2 series. Now that Microsoft has released Windows 10 3 , expect an even greater selection 4 of these devices to pop up, like the incredible Microsoft Surface Book 5 , and the stellar Microsoft Surface Pro 4 6 , the Dell XPS 12 7 and the first 4K resolution 2-in-1 the Toshiba Satellite Radius 12 8 . With that, here are the best 2-in-1 laptops that we've reviewed: 1. Lenovo Yoga 900 A thoughtfully refined 2-in-1 convertible CPU: 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-6500U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 520 | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch QHD+ 3,200 x 1,800 IPS display | Storage: 512GB SSD See all prices 9 Gorgeous display Slim design Shallow keyboard Display drivers issues Whereas the Lenovo Yoga Pro 3 had a winning design and underwhelming performance, the Yoga 900 is the full package. By integrating more powerful Intel Core I processors and a larger battery, Lenovo's latest flagship convertible can stand toe-to-toe with most Ultrabooks and even Microsoft's latest Surface Book. All this extra power has only made the Yoga 900 slightly thicker and heavier, however, it still largely retains a very thin and flexible frame that folds back into tablet mode. Read the full review: Lenovo Yoga 900 10 2. Microsoft Surface Book The ultimate Windows 10 hybrid laptop CPU: 2.4GHz Intel Core i5-6300U | Graphics: Intel HD graphics 520; Nvidia GeForce graphics | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.5-inch, 3,000 x 2,000 PixelSense Display | Storage: 256GB PCIe3.0 SSD See more Surface Book deals 11 Futuristic design Seamless tablet separation Battery life falls well below promises Major updates are still in tow Microsoft knocked it out of the park with its first ever laptop, the Surface Book. Though it has a peculiar 3:2 aspect ratio and 13.5-inch screen that's outside of the norm for most Ultrabooks, it's one of the best designed convertible laptops ever created. As a standalone tablet, otherwise known as the Clipboard, it's the most powerful and thinnest Windows 10 computers in the world, then docking it into the keyboard base affords it even more performance by way of its discrete GPU. Read the full review: Surface Book 12 3. HP Spectre x360 Sublime. Near-perfect. CPU: 2.2GHz Intel Core i5-5200 (dual-core, 3MB cache, up to 2.7GHz with Turbo Boost) | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5500 | RAM: 8GB DDR3 (1600Mhz) | Screen: 13.3-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 FHD Radiance LED-backlit touchscreen | Storage: 256GB SSD | Connectivity: 802.11ac (2x2) and Bluetooth 4.0 combo | Camera: HP TrueVision Full HD WVA Webcam (front-facing) | Weight: 3.26 pounds | Dimensions: 12.79 x 8.6 x 0.63 inches (W x D x H) See all prices 13 Superbly thin Vibrant, bright display Excellent performance and battery life Too heavy to use as a tablet Weird, wide trackpad Buy the HP Spectre x360. It easily comes as one of my most recommended machines, with an excellent 1080p screen, solid performance, good battery life, and sturdy build quality; all for an excellent deal at £999 ( 899, AU£1,899). If it weren't for a few missteps with the trackpad and being too hefty for tablet use, this laptop would have easily stood amongst the most highly rated laptops TechRadar has ever reviewed. Despite its flaws, though, the Spectre x360 is one of the best-looking and powerful devices HP has ever produced and well worth a look over many, many other 2-in-1 laptops. Read the full review: HP Spectre x360 14 4. Toshiba Satellite Radius 12 A stylish 4K convertible Ultrabook CPU: 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-6500U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 520 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 12.5-inch, 4K Ultra HD (3,840 x 2,160) TruBrite LED backlit touchscreen | Storage: 256GB SSD | Connectivity: Intel Dual-Band Wireless-AC 7265; Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: HD webcam | Weight: 2.9 pounds | Dimensions: 11.8 x 8.2 x 0.61 inches See more Toshiba Satellite Radius 12 deals 15 Smart design and ergonomics Incredibly colorful screen Strange keyboard layout Dismal battery life Boasting one of the best looking 4K screens on the market, the Toshiba Radius 12 is a spectacular machine both inside and out. This sharp 2-in-1 laptop was designed to be held as a tablet just as much as it was meant to be used on your lap. Thanks to its lightweight and ergonomically designed chassis, this is one transformable notebook you'll actually want to hold in your hand. Read the full review: Toshiba Satellite Radius 12 16 5. HP Pavilion x2 The most affordable Windows 10 convertible CPU: 1.33GHz Intel Atom Z3736F | Graphics: Intel HD graphics | RAM: 2GB| Screen: 10.1-inch, 1,280 x 800 WXGA WLED IPS touchscreen display | Storage: 32GB eMMC | Connectivity: 802.11b WLAN and Bluetooth | Camera: HP TrueVision HD webcam | Weight: 2.61 pounds | Dimensions: 0.39 x 6.81 x 0.78 inches See more HP Pavilion x2 deals 17 Long battery life Absurdly affordable 32-bit Windows 10 Limited storage and memory Getting into the world of Windows 10 convertible's isn't cheap unless we're talking about the Pavilion x2. This 10-inch hybrid comes packing a surprising amount of goods considering its small size. It comes packed with a HD screen and more than enough power to get you through a simple day of web browsing and even image editing. When you're ready kick back with some streaming media, you can pop off the 10-inch works as a great little tablet. And if you're looking for something with a bit more screen real estate there's the 12-inch HP Pavilion x2. Read the full review: HP Pavilion x2 18 6. Dell Inspiron 13 7000 An attractive, versatile package CPU: 2.4GHz Intel Core i7-5500 (dual-core, 4MB cache, up to 2.9GHz with Turbo Boost) | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5500 | RAM: 8GB DDR3L (1,600MHz) | Screen: 13.3-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 FHD IPS touchscreen | Storage: 256GB SSD | Connectivity: 802.11ac (2x2) and Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: 720p front-facing webcam; built-in dual digital microphones | Weight: 3.68 pounds (1.67kg) | Dimensions: 12.99 x 8.74 x 0.75 inches (W x D x H; 330 x 222 x 19mm) See more Dell Inspiron 13 7000 deals 19 Attractive design Sturdy construction Lackluster battery life A little hefty This notebook features excellent build quality and overall system performance. It's fast, it's slick, and it is ideal for students who need to bang out papers and general users who want a fast, compact notebook to tote around. Read the full review: Dell Inspiron 13 7000 20 7. Toshiba Satellite Radius 15 A sharp 4K laptop CPU: 2.4GHz Intel Core i7-5500U (dual-core, 4MB cache up to 3GHz with Turbo Boost) | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5500 | RAM: 12GB DDR3L (1600MHz) | Screen: 15.6-inch, 4K Ultra HD (3,840 x 2,160) TruBrite, LED backlit, IPS touchscreen | Storage: 512GB mSATA SSD | Connectivity: Intel Dual-Band Wireless-AC 7265, Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: 720p HD webcam | Weight: 4.96 pounds | Dimensions: 14.9 x 9.6 x 0.79 inches (W x D x H) See more Toshiba Satellite Radius 15 deals 21 4K screen 12GB of RAM Heavy Short battery life Thanks to the combination of a great price and stacked hardware, the Radius 15 is one of the few successful UHD laptops. It joins a small pantheon of 4K laptops, with the Asus ZenBook Pro UX501 being its closest exemplar. In some ways, the Radius 15 is a better overall system with a more vibrant screen, a sharper design that's also thinner and smaller to boot. The Dell Inspiron 15 7000 is still one of the 15-inch best laptops we've ever reviewed and an incredible deal if you're on a budget. But if you're ready to make the resolution jump into 4K, you can't go wrong with the Toshiba Satellite Radius 15. Read the full review: Toshiba Satellite Radius 15 22 8. Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi Asus' thin and gorgeous 2-in-1 laptop CPU: 1.2GHz Intel Core M 5Y71 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5300 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 12.5-inch, 2,560 x 1,440 (WQHD) capacitive multi-touch IPS display | Storage: 128GB SSD | Connectivity: Intel Dual Band Wireless-N 7265 + Bluetooth 4.0 LE | Camera: 2MP 720p webcam | Weight: 3.14 pounds | Dimensions: 12.5 x 7.5 x 0.65 inches See more Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi deals 23 Flexible and versatile Thin and light design Micro-sized ports Unimpressive battery life If you're looking for a 2-in-1 machine that's much more portable, there aren't many devices that beat the Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi. This 12.5-inch convertible is among one of the thinnest in its class and taking the screen off the keyboard base turns the T300 Chi into a true Windows tablet. Though this device is powered by a low-wattage processor, it packs enough punch to drive a 4K display and get you through all your daily tasks. Sadly battery life is a little on the short side, but otherwise this is an excellent and affordable hybrid. Read the full review: Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi 24 9. HP Spectre x360 15 This 15-inch hybird is more portable than you think CPU: 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-6200U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 520 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 15.6-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 Full HD, WLED-backlit, IPS touchscreen | Storage: 256GB Flash SSD | Connectivity: Intel 802.11ac WLAN and Bluetooth | Camera: HP TrueVision Full HD webcam with dual digital microphones | Weight: 4.02 pounds | Dimensions: 14.8 x 9.75 x 0.63 inches Contrast-rich screen Long battery life for its size Poor ergonomics Weak speakers for their size The Spectre x360 15 is an excellent 2-in-1 laptop that stands out with its thin, all-metal body. It features an excellent 15-inch IPS touch panel and it only gets better if you add on the affordable 4K screen. The biggest characteristics that will help you get through a day is the Spectre x360 15's lightweight body and long battery life. Read the full review: HP Spectre x360 15 25 10. Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12 A versatile hybrid ideal for those who work as hard as they play CPU: 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-5300U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5500 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 12.5" FHD (1,920x1,080) anti-glare multi-touch display | Storage: 128GB SSD | Connectivity: Intel Dual-Band Wireless AC 7265 + Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: HD webcam | Weight: 3.48 pounds | Dimensions: 12..44 x 8.70 x 0.74 inches See more Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12 deals 26 Solid performance Versatile design Slightly heavy No ethernet port The Yoga 12 is a versatile bulldog of a device. You can use it as your work laptop and then you can flip it back into a tablet for play. It won't be the best pick for either of these tasks, but it still a solid solution anyway you spin it. At 3.4 pounds and 0.74 inches thick, it's just light and slim enough to be portable. With more than seven hours of video playback, battery life is long enough to get through a workday, and it's affordable price is just one of its most attractive aspects. Read the full review: Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12 27 Juan Martinez and Joe Osborne has also contributed to this article References ^ Acer (www.techradar.com) ^ Venue 7000 (www.techradar.com) ^ Windows 10 (www.techradar.com) ^ greater selection (www.techradar.com) ^ Microsoft Surface Book (www.techradar.com) ^ Microsoft Surface Pro 4 (www.techradar.com) ^ Dell XPS 12 (www.techradar.com) ^ Toshiba Satellite Radius 12 (www.techradar.com) ^ See all prices (www.techradar.com) ^ Lenovo Yoga 900 (www.techradar.com) ^ See more Surface Book deals (www.techradar.com) ^ Surface Book (www.techradar.com) ^ See all prices (www.techradar.com) ^ HP Spectre x360 (www.techradar.com) ^ See more Toshiba Satellite Radius 12 deals (www.techradar.com) ^ Toshiba Satellite Radius 12 (www.techradar.com) ^ See more HP Pavilion x2 deals (www.techradar.com) ^ HP Pavilion x2 (www.techradar.com) ^ See more Dell Inspiron 13 7000 deals (www.techradar.com) ^ Dell Inspiron 13 7000 (www.techradar.com) ^ See more Toshiba Satellite Radius 15 deals (www.techradar.com) ^ Toshiba Satellite Radius 15 (www.techradar.com) ^ See more Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi deals (www.techradar.com) ^ Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi (www.techradar.com) ^ HP Spectre x360 15 (www.techradar.com) ^ See more Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12 deals (www.in.techradar.com) ^ Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12 (www.in.techradar.com)
  • 10 Best Back-to-School Laptop Backpacks Students carry a heavy burden. They need to move their books, their tech and their food from class to class. In many ways, it's their most important organizational tool. However, not all backpacks are equal. The best bags have water-resistant builds, adjustable straps, a ventilated back and plenty of compartments. But it can't be ignored that your backpack is as much a fashion statement as it is practical. It should reflect the tastes and interests of the student. Whether they are athletic, fashionable or intellectual, there is a bag that matches their personality and their needs. If you re looking for the best options on the market, we ve got your back. Case Logic Prevailer Backpack Basic black goes with everything, and this backpack holds almost anything. The dedicated laptop compartment of the Case Logic Prevalier holds a machine with up to a 17-inch display, plus there's a 10-inch tablet pocket. There's also space for water bottles, gym clothes, headphones, books and whatever else you need on campus. From £29.33 Amazon Hex Brigade Origin Backpack The fatigue woven cotton exterior of the Hex Brigade Origin Backpack is treated to be weather resistant. Dedicated pockets for a 10-inch tablet and a 15-inch laptop will protect against scratches and bumps. Plus, the large main compartment will hold all of your files and books, while the front zipper pocket is perfect for smaller gear and cables. From £79.95 Amazon High Sierra Tactic Backpack Add a little color to your student's life with the High Sierra Tactic Backpack -- and not break the bank. It's available in blue, black, brown, gray, green, and pink, and comes with patterned panels. It can also store your 17-inch laptop and tablet. Plus, there are tons of other compartments for books, cords and more. From £44.99 Amazon Eagle Creek XTA Backpack Perfect for the safety-conscious student, the Eagle Creek XTA Backpack features a sternum strap bucket with a built-in safety whistle. It also sports reflective accents and a loop for hooking a light. A dedicated pocket will keep your 16-inch laptop safe. Choose from black, blue or tan waterproof exteriors. From £99.00 Amazon Timbuk2 Sunset Backpack The Timbuk2 Sunset backpack sports a 1920s-esque, retro style, thanks to its top, snapping straps. An internal slip pocket holds a 13-inch laptop. The side pockets offer magnetic closures, for quick grab-and-go access. The main compartment, while not enormous, is just right for a few books and files you'll need for your trip to the quad or library. From £81.75 Amazon Hedgren Breeze Backpack Available in blue, yellow, red, green and brown, the Hedgren Breeze Backpack shows off your colorful side. The lined interior features pockets for both a 16-inch laptop and a 10-inch tablet. Plus, a side slip pocket offers easy access to smaller items. From £51.99 Amazon Thule EnRoute Triumph 2 Daypack The Thule EnRoute Triumph 2 is the way to go for those who want a backpack that can do double-duty as a school bag and as hiking equipment. The laptop compartment fits a 14-inch PC, as well as a tablet. Airflow channels on the back, padded shoulder straps and a sternum strap will make trekking easier. And don't forget your water bottle. From £89.95 Amazon Booq Daypack The sleek lines of the Booq Daypack exhibit true class. The main compartment is a cavernous space designed to carry all of the things you'll need on campus, including your gym clothes. The laptop sleeve fits a 15.6-inch laptop, and the two side pockets snap shut. The contoured shoulder straps make it easy to haul. From £71.85 Amazon Mobile Edge Razer Tactical Gaming Backpack Your gaming-obsessed academic will thank you for the Razer Tactical Gaming Backpack. It's built to safely carry a 17.3-inch laptop in a padded compartment, with a separate space for a tablet. It's made from the same ballistic nylon that is used to make flak jackets, and it s water-resistant. The Razer comes with a lifetime warranty. From £114.00 Amazon Kensington SecureTrek 15-inch The Kensington SecureTrek not only has dedicated pockets for a 15.6-inch laptop and a 10-inch tablet, but it also features a lock loop to make it easy to stop thieves from walking off with your stuff. It also includes anti-puncture zippers with locks that keep sticky fingers out. From £85.99 Amazon Recommended by Anna Attkisson, Laptop Mag & Tom's Guide Managing Editor A lover of lists and deadlines, Anna Attkisson covers apps, social networking, tablets, chromebooks and accessories. She loves each of her devices equally, including the phablet, three tablets, three laptops and desktop. She joined the Laptop Mag staff in 2007, after working at Time Inc. Content Solutions where she created custom publications for companies from American Express to National Parks Foundation. Anna Attkisson, Laptop Mag & Tom's Guide Managing Editor on
  • 10 Best Ultrabooks 2015: top thin and light laptops reviewed ... Ultrabooks have come a long way since they were first introduced to compete with the MacBook Air world. They're thin and light while featuring powerful Intel Core processors, fast SSD storage and superb battery life. But more than anything else they represent the bleeding edge of laptops; case in point the side shrinking Dell XPS 13 1 and the unbelievably light Lenovo LaVie Z 2 . Of course, this all means Ultrabook also come at a premium. Don't be surprised with prices that start at £999 (around 584, AU£1,064) just for the low-end and nearly £2,000 (around 1,169, AU£2,131) at the very high end. It's an arms race in the Ultrabook world and there's no room for losers in this space, as such it's hard not to find a great machine but below you'll find the very best cream of the crop. 1. Dell XPS 13 Possibly the best laptop on the planet, Dell's latest is a masterpiece CPU: 2.2GHz Intel Core i5-5200 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5500 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 3,200 x 1,800 | Storage: 230GB SSD | Connectivity: 802.11 AC, Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: 720p | Weight: 2.8 pounds Gorgeous display Super lightweight No ethernet port Off-centre webcam The new Dell XPS 13 is a 13.3-inch notebook, but it has the small footprint of an 11-inch machine. Fortunately for us, the XPS 13 isn't all beauty and no brains. This laptop features the horsepower to make work and play enjoyable, and it has just enough battery life to never leave you in a lurch. Regardless of whether you choose to upgrade to the touchscreen quad HD+ version, or if you stand pat with the full HD model, the Dell XPS 13 will provide you with a delightful experience for years to come. Read the full review: Dell XPS 13 3 2. Asus ZenBook UX305 A truly excellent ultrabook at a very agreeable price point CPU: 800MHz Intel Core M 5Y10 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5300 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch 1920x1080 | Storage: 256GB SSD | Connectivity: 802.11n + Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: 720p | Weight: 2.6 pounds | Dimensions: 12.8 x 8.9 x 0.5 inches Very thin and light Incredible performance Wonky video driver Tinny speakers The ZenBook UX305 is a superbly-built, fully metal machine that's thin, light and very attractive. This lightweight system can easily take on any task whether its browsing the web, watching video or editing images. What's more, you get excellent battery life out of this machine all while doing. The most striking thing about the UX305 is that it comes at a £699 or 649 (about AU£902) price. While it isn't exactly a shining symbol of innovation in the Ultrabook space, it is the most affordable Ultrabook out today and it won't disappoint you. Read the full review: Asus ZenBook UX305 4 3. Asus ZenBook Pro UX501 An attractive alternative to a certain fruit-flavoured laptop CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-4720HQ | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 15.6-inch, 3840 x 2160 IPS Display | Storage: 512GB PCIe x4 SSD | Connectivity: Intel PRO Wireless AC 7260 + BT Wireless LAN Combo | Camera: Built-in 720P Video Camera | Weight: 5.0 pounds | Dimensions: 15.08 x 10.04 x 0.84 inches Bright, vibrant screen Excellent performance Feels heavy Mediocre battery life If you're looking for a laptop with a little more meat on its bones but don't want to break the bank, the Asus ZenBook Pro UX501 is a stylish contender. It features a bright, vibrant 4K display and simply flies with the fastest storage drive around. While it's not the lightest Ultrabook around, it comes with a very capable processor and a dedicated graphics card to handle some light gaming too. The UX501's meaty innards and affordability make it an attractive option for content creators and media buffs alike. Read the full review: Asus ZenBook Pro UX501 5 4. Lenovo LaVie Z The lightest Ultrabook in the world CPU: 2.40GHz Intel Core i7-5500U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphic 5500 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch WQHD (2560 x 1440) LED anti-glare | Storage: 256GB SSD | Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 ac and Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: 720p HD | Weight: 1.87 pounds | Dimensions: 12.56 x 0.67 x 8.35 inches Core i7 processor Excellent WQHD screen Mediocre battery life Astronomical price tag By creating the 1.87-pound LaVie Z, Lenovo has created the lightest laptop in the world. Aside from its lightweight chassis, the Lavie Z offers performance and display are among the best available today. However, the laptop's somewhat questionable build quality, inferior battery life, and inflated price tag are qualities that could turn many off from what is an otherwise splendid device. Read the full review: Lenovo LaVie Z 6 5. HP EliteBook Folio 1020 G1 A thin, attractive business laptop posing as an Ultrabook CPU: 1.2GHz dual-core Intel Core M-5Y71 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5300 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: value | Storage: 256GB M.2 SSD | Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0; dual-band 802.11ac (B/G/N), dual-band Wi-Fi | Camera: 720p webcam | Weight: 2.68-pound | Dimensions: 12.2 x 8.27 x 0.62-inch Sleek design and tough construction Fingerprint scanner, enterprise security Underpowered Intel Core M performance No full-sized SD card reader Although it has the look and body of an Ultrabook, the HP EliteBook Folio 1020 G1 is very much a business laptop in disguise. Underneath its MacBook Air like exterior, this machine packs plenty of enterprise perks including fingerprint scanner, enterprise security and the durable build quality to meet a Military Specifications certification. At the same time though, the HP Folio 1020 G1 has a gorgeous design that's atypical of business-class notebooks. Cloaked in a unibody aluminum shell, the fanless Folio is one of the lighter, more attractive business portables in the world. Add in a gorgeous QHD screen, comfortably ergonomic keyboard, and this premium business machine is well worth its slightly premium price tag. Read the full review: HP EliteBook Folio 1020 G1 7 6. Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro A triumph for design, Lenovo's flagship is impressive if a little pricey CPU: Intel Core M | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 530 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13-inch 3200x1800 | Storage: 256GB SSD | Ports: 2 x USB 3.0 | Connectivity: 802.11ac | Camera: 720p | Weight: 2.62 pounds | Dimensions: 13 x 9 x 0.5 inches Slim and light Attractive hinge Quite pricey Poor battery life If you're all about style and don't need a super powerful machine, things don't get much better than Lenovo's latest flagship Ultrabook. While it may not be as punchy as its predecessor (thanks in part to its low-power, fanless Intel Core M chip), it can still manage all of the usual tasks you would throw at it. And given its new metallic hinge and super thin design, the Yoga 3 Pro makes a better case than ever for its multitudes of usage modes. At any rate, this is one of the thinnest, lightest and sharpest Windows laptops to date. And while you'll certainly pay for it, the price for such panache will be worth it for style nuts. Read the full review: Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro 8 7. Samsung Ativ Book 9 Plus With stunning performance and screen, it doesn't get much better than this CPU: 1.6 GHz Intel Core i5-4200U | Graphics: Intel integrated | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 13.3-inch 3,200 x 1,800 | Storage: 128GB SSD | Ports: 3 x USB 3.0 | Connectivity: 802.11ac | Camera: 720p | Weight: 3.06 pounds | Dimensions: 12.6 x 9 x 0.5 inches Incredible touchscreen Excellent battery It's expensive Full of bloatware Samsung was one of the very first PC manufacturers to jump on the Ultrabook bandwagon. It's done a fine job of representing Intel's baby ever since, with some stunning offerings. Now Samsung's Ativ Book 9 Plus (starting at £1,399, 1,412, AU£2,259) has kept the company ahead of the game for a while. It's a wonderful-looking unit that's thin and carefully crafted, with shiny, chamfered edges lining its all-aluminium chassis. But its plain black exterior might lend some clues as to its intent: This is premium-priced Ultrabook focused as much on the business user as the coffee shop regular. Read the full review: Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus 9 8. Acer Aspire S7 Acer's luxurious laptop is an ultraportable star CPU: 2.4 GHz Intel Core i7-550U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5500 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 touchscreen | Storage: 256GB SSD | Connectivity: value | Camera: value | Weight: value | 12.72 x 8.78 x 0.51 | Dimensions: 12.72 x 8.78 x 0.51 inches Attractive glass design Full-day battery life Screen limited to 1080p Too much bloatware If you have a passion for white electronics, the Aspire S7's looks alone may seal the deal, but the laptop is more than just a pretty face. Acer packs in Intel's Broadwell Core i7 processor, a battery that lasts close to a full work day, plenty of storage and RAM all into a sleek body. The Aspire S7 is an attractive and powerful laptop, but not one without compromises. If you're willing to invest a little time to removing bloatware and can live with a keyboard with the shallow key travel, then the Aspire S7 rewards you with a very capable computing experience that will also look good on your desk. Read the full review: Acer Aspire S7 10 9. Toshiba Kirabook A high-res Ultrabook that's easy on the eyes CPU: 2.4GHz Intel Core i7-5500U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5500 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3 inch 2560 x 1440 WQHD touchscreen | Storage: 256GB SSD | Connectivity: Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7265 + Bluetooth 4.0 | Camera: HD webcam | Weight: 2.9 pounds | Dimensions: 12.4 x 8 x 0.37 inches Stylish design Good battery life Expensive Dim, bendy screen The Toshiba Kirabook (otherwise known as the Kira in the UK) sits at the higher end of the Ultrabook spectrum. It offers a high-res screen and a fully metal body that feels so premium, it even gives the MacBook 11 a run for its money. While there were a few missteps with the annoying keyboard and dim screen, you'll be pleased with this long lasting machine that's easy on the eyes. Read the full review: Toshiba Kirabook 12 10. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon An excellent business laptop that (almost) has it all CPU: Intel Core i5-4300U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 4400 | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 14-inch, 2560 x 1440 IPS | Storage: 180GB SSD | Ports: 2x USB 3.0 | Connectivity: 802.11ac | Camera: 720p | Weight: 3.15 pounds | Dimensions: 13.03 x 8.94 x 0.73 inches Clever adaptive keyboard Fantastic design Generally dim screen Average battery life The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (starting at £1,186, 1,198, AU£1,699) is a business laptop that straddles the line between form and function more than ever after this update. For those with a penchant for aesthetics, here's a brand new design with some fantastic new features. And to keep the no-nonsense business user happy, this is a plenty powerful piece of hardware. The connectivity on offer through this Ultrabook's super slim design profile alone is impressive. And the adaptive keys, while divisive, add a ton of function in a limited amount of space and an attractive presentation. Look out, MacBook Pro, you're no longer the only thin and light business option on the block. Read the full review: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 13 References ^ Dell XPS 13 (www.techradar.com) ^ Lenovo LaVie Z (www.techradar.com) ^ Dell XPS 13 (www.techradar.com) ^ Asus ZenBook UX305 (www.techradar.com) ^ Asus ZenBook Pro UX501 (www.techradar.com) ^ Lenovo LaVie Z (www.techradar.com) ^ HP EliteBook Folio 1020 G1 (www.techradar.com) ^ Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro (www.techradar.com) ^ Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus (www.techradar.com) ^ Acer Aspire S7 (www.techradar.com) ^ MacBook (www.techradar.com) ^ Toshiba Kirabook (www.techradar.com) ^ Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (www.techradar.com)
  • 10 gloriously excessive, wildly exotic PC cooling setups There s a common refrain in some corners 1 of the PC enthusiast community: May our frame rates be high and our temperatures low. More than a mere utterance, it s a simple, straightforward embrace of the very best that the PC has to offer. There s a lot of power in those words and some people truly take them to heart. Don t believe me? Witness these utterly magnificent, borderline crazy creations devoted to sending temperatures plummeting and performance skyrocketing. Are these cooling masterworks practical? Nah. But when someone slaps a custom liquid-cooling loop on a router, modem, or Raspberry Pi just because they can , the least you can do is bask in their glory. References ^ some corners (www.reddit.com)
  • 10 inch tablet review Review tablet pc Google Nexus 9 Tablet 10 inch tablet review Review tablet pc Google Nexus 9 Tablet (8.9-Inch, 16 GB, Black). Designed with you in mind Fit for your hand With a soft grip back and subtle curves, the Nexus 9 tablet strikes a slim profile that s light and comfortable for work or play. High-quality construction Built with a thin bezel, brushed metal sides, clean lines and distinct colors, the Nexus 9 tablet is sleek and strong. View, listen, and play Completely sized display screen The 8.9 screen is big enough to work and enjoy on, however little adequate to carry around in one hand. Crisp, clear noise Sound is more immersive, layered and distortion-free with front-facing HTC BoomSound speakers. Powerful processor With the 64-bit processor, easily move in between tabs to examine email, view videos, and tweak docs simultaneously. From work to play and back again Better multitasking Easily switch between editing documents, browsing the web, enjoying movies, and paying attention to music. Get things done The magnetically connected, fully-responsive keyboard allows you to type at various angles. Offered independently, it helps you get stuff done in your home, at the office, and on the go. Introducing Lollipop, our sweetest release yet Nexus gadgets get the current Android OS updates initially, so you have an exceptional software experience. Your gadget, your guidelines For fewer fears and disturbances, adjust your settings so only certain individuals and notifications make it through. When it is very important, react to messages directly from your lockscreen. Beautiful design Colors are vibrant, animations are fluid and shapes are highly textured. And the Lollipop experience is consistent across all of your Android gadgets. Make Computers an Easy Option Picking a device has actually never been simpler. Go to amazon.com/easychoice to find high quality computer recommendations at a great value. Discover more
  • 10 Reasons Why Consumers Should Buy Business Laptops Laptop makers take great pains to differentiate between their consumer- and professional-oriented product lines. But in many cases, home users would be better off if they ignored the marketing spin and bought business laptops. While consumer portables are usually designed for style, business laptops frequently offer a tougher chassis, more configuration options and better usability. Large corporate customers buy these notebooks by the thousands and expect them to last for several years. So if manufacturers want to keep Fortune 500 clients happy, they need to design their business laptops to a higher standard of quality. Even if you don't "work" in the traditional sense all you do on your laptop is write emails, surf the Web and post to social media you can benefit a great deal from a notebook that's optimized for productivity but is still affordable. Here are 10 reasons to consider a business laptop. Built to Last If you want a notebook that can survive drops and spills, a business system is more likely to take the abuse. Lenovo, for example, equips a number of its ThinkPads, including the T450s, with a roll cage that helps it survive. Matte Displays with Better Viewing Angles Glossy displays have become nearly ubiquitous on consumer notebooks, because vendors believe consumers shopping retail will be swayed by their shininess and slightly more vibrant colors. However, the glossier the display, the worse the viewing angles. (Imagine trying to read a Web page and seeing your reflection more than the text.) If they don't come with touch screens, most business systems have matte displays. For example, in Dell's lineup, the consumer-oriented Dell Inspiron 15 5000 1 comes with a glossy panel, while the Dell Latitude 15 5000, which is marketed to corporate customers, comes standard with an anti-glare display. Unfortunately, if you configure the Latitude, or any other business laptop, with a touch screen you will have to live with a glossy surface because that's necessary for touch. MORE: Best Business Laptops 2 Better Keyboards We're not saying that consumer keyboards and touchpads aren't good, just that their business counterparts have to bring something really tactile and responsive to the table to appeal to enterprises, which are always focused on productivity (aka typing). For example, Lenovo's ThinkPad keyboards are the gold standard for all laptops, with snappy feedback, strong travel and large, curved keys that are easy to feel without looking. However, the same company's consumer laptops often suffer from weak travel and shrunken keys. For example, the £949 Yoga 3 14 has shallow, dull keys, whereas the enterprise-friendly ThinkPad Yoga 14 3 , which goes for £959, has 60 percent more vertical travel and 10 percent more actuation force, giving it a much better typing experience. More and Better Pointing Options We can't name a single consumer notebook with anything other than a touchpad for navigation. However, if you like pointing sticks (and we do), several business systems have them in addition to touchpads. Everyone knows that Lenovo ThinkPads have their famous red TrackPoints, but several HP ProBooks, Dell Latitudes and Toshiba Tecras also have pointing sticks between their G and H keys. Many people love these so-called "nubs" because they're more accurate than touchpads and because touch typists don't have to lift their fingers off the home row to use them. The touchpads on business laptops are usually designed for form over function. In many cases, they have discrete buttons, whereas most consumer models force you to click left or right on the entire pad, which is less accurate and less comfortable. Replaceable, Extended Batteries These days most laptops come with sealed-in batteries that you can't remove without taking them to a service center. However, some business systems still let you swap batteries on your own so you can carry a spare or upgrade to a larger unit. For example, you can buy the Latitude 14 5000 with either a 3-cell or a 4-cell battery, with the latter costing just £20.35 more. Less Crapware A large or mid-size business simply can't afford to pay its IT department to sit there uninstalling crapware from each new notebook it orders. Vendors know this and intentionally avoid overloading their business notebooks with too much unwanted trialware. You still find trial versions of security software, but that's usually about it. Biometric Security You won't see too many consumer laptops with fingerprint readers, but many business systems have them standard or as an inexpensive (£20 to £30) option. With a reader, you can swipe-login to Windows or configure a password manager to use your fingerprint as a credential. Long Life Span, More Serviceable Because corporations hold onto their laptops for years, hardware vendors must keep offering parts and service. For that reason, business models usually stay on the market for a year or longer and components, such as replacement batteries and AC Adapters, are available for many years. Although a lot of ultrathin business notebooks are difficult, if not impossible to service on your own, mainstream and larger sizes usually have RAM and storage that you can upgrade. Reasonably Priced Now you might be asking: What about price? Depending on what you compare it with, a business system may cost £100 to £200 more than a consumer model for the same specs. Other times, the price delta is minimal. For example, the consumer-oriented Toshiba Satellite Radius P55W costs just £70 less than a similarly configured Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 15, which is marketed as a business system but provides a much better keyboard, discrete graphics and 3 hours of additional battery life. Bottom Line Many of the major notebook vendors have built their organizations around the idea that businesses and home users have different needs and deserve different products. However, there's no reason to buy into that marketing hype. If you want a laptop as opposed to a tablet or a phone, it's because you have work to do, whether that work is programming a website, composing a newsletter for the PTA, authoring a book report for your third-grade class or keeping up with relatives on Facebook. Many times, a business notebook makes that work a lot easier. Recommended by Avram Piltch, LAPTOP Online Editorial Director The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of Laptopmag.com since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master s degree in English from NYU. Avram Piltch, LAPTOP Online Editorial Director on References ^ Dell Inspiron 15 5000 (www.laptopmag.com) ^ Best Business Laptops (www.laptopmag.com) ^ ThinkPad Yoga 14 (www.laptopmag.com)
  • 10 Tablets with the Longest Battery Life 15 hours: That's the kind of all-day battery life people have been dreaming of since forever. Lenovo's Yoga Tab 3 has it, and as such, might be the best mobile media tablet on the market. Its 8-inch screen is relatively bright, and Lenovo's tablet even comes with a built-in kickstand. The extra-large battery results in a bigger-than-normal design, and the Snapdragon 212 processor can feel a little lethargic at times, but if you're all about watching movies and surfing the Web, the Yoga Tab 3 can go all day.
  • 10 Things You Need to Know: The Apple iPad Pro 9.7-Inch For once, the rumors were uncannily accurate: As we wrote this on March 21, Apple released smaller crab-apple versions of two of its signature mobile products, the iPhone and the iPad Pro. (For our introduction to the Apple iPhone SE, check out our accompanying 10 Things You Need to Know: Apple iPhone SE 1 .) The rumored iPad Air 3 didn't actually emerge, but for the new small stuff, it was still a big news day. The developments surrounding the iPad tablets were technically three-fold: (1) a new, smaller-screened version of the jumbo, pen-enabled Apple 2 iPad Pro 3 tablet; (2) a new, lower entry price £399 on the mainstay model of the iPad line, the Apple iPad Air 2 4 ; and (3) a new top-end capacity for the already released full-size (12.9-inch-screened) iPad Pro. Let's break down the Apple iPad Pro announcement here. 1. The name's the same; the screen is smaller. The new-for-2016 iPad Pro has a 9.7-inch screen, down from the 12.9-inch whopper in the original iPad Pro. In a move to establish a new, discrete multi-member family within the iPad hierarchy, the name is not changing, though. It's still just "iPad Pro," differentiated only by the screen size. (No "iPad Pro Mini" here.) The Apple iPad Pro 9.7-inch atop the 12.9-inch version. If you've held an iPad Air or Air 2, you've pretty much held the new iPad Pro. The overall dimensions of the iPad Pro are 0.24 inch thick, with a 9.4x6.6-inch footprint. It weighs exactly the same amount as the Apple iPad Air 2 (0.96 pound, or about 15.3 ounces), with a few feathers of variance depending on whether you're looking at the Wi-Fi-only or the Wi-Fi-plus-cellular version of each. 2. The capacity standards have shifted. As we mentioned above, with the release of the 9.7-inch Apple iPad Pro, Apple also upped the maximum capacity on the original 12.9-inch iPad Pro. It's now 256GB. (Previously, the big 'Pad Pro topped out at 128GB.) With Apple's iPads lacking the ability to accept an expansion card, the storage capacity at which you buy these tablets matters more than with most tablets. What you buy is what you're stuck with, unless you upload your media or other files to the cloud. Keeping things parallel between the Pros, the new 9.7-inch iPad Pro is debuting at the same capacity increments that the bigger Pro now sells at: 32GB, 128GB, and 256GB. The traditional 16GB and 64GB options have been resigned to history, at least for now. The 256GB capacities of both of these tablets are both on the high-priced side (which we'll get to in a moment), but the move to these capacities makes sense. With the addition of the ability to shoot and edit video in 4K resolution directly on the new iPad Pros, those smaller capacities of yesteryear are liable to fill up fast with giant movie files. 3. Pricing moves, up and down the line. The introduction of the 9.7-inch iPad Pro coincided with a price drop on Apple's mainstay 9.7-inch iPad, the iPad Air 2. That tablet now starts at £399 in its 32GB version, the same price that until the March 21 announcement the original iPad Air 5 was still selling for from Apple. Presumably, the iPad Air (the non-"2" version) will be going away; it had been removed from the Apple Store's iPad pages at the time of the 9.7-inch Pro launch. The 32GB iPad Pro 9.7-inch starts at £599, the 128GB model at £749, and the new 256GB capacity at £899. (Adding cellular support, as we'll get to later, adds to the price of each.) That pricing creates a lot of dollar daylight between the 9.7-inch Apple iPad Pro and the 9.7-inch Apple iPad Air 2 a big £200 difference in starting prices especially considering that one of the iPad Pro's main attractions, the Apple Pencil stylus 6 , is still not included in the box with the Pro models, but remains a £99 add-on. The Apple iPad Pro 9.7-inch with Apple Pencil. 4. We see tweaks to the screen... The screen on the new, smaller iPad Pro may be the same size as that in the iPad Air 2, with the same native "Retina" resolution of 2,048x1,536 pixels. But Apple is putting a bunch of claims out there comparing the two, all in favor of the Pro's screen. (Gotta justify that price premium somehow , right?) The company claims that the new 9.7-inch screen features the "lowest reflectivity of any tablet," with a 25 percent maximum brightness improvement over the iPad Air 2 screen, as well as a 40 percent reduction in reflectivity. Another claimed improvement is in the color gamut and saturation. The percentage claim in the latter case is a 25 percent improvement in saturation levels, as well as a new bank of light sensors that read incoming light levels and adjust the color levels to look their best under the current ambient lighting where the tablet is. We could see this being a feature to disable for applications in which precision color-matching is critical, but it's an interesting development for casual use, image viewing, and the like. We'll report when we get our hands on the tablet, hopefully in the coming weeks. 5. ...including something called "Night Shift." It's increasingly common these days for makers of computer and mobile display devices to pay some marketing attention to the ostensible problem of blue-light emissions. Some users report difficulty in sleeping when exposed excessively to the glow of backlit device screens in the hours before bed, due to the disruption of the body's circadian rhythms, and research has shown a variety of deleterious medical effects; Harvard Health has a good rundown of the blue-light basics here 7 . The ability to filter out some portion of the blue wavelengths has emerged as a feature in certain laptop screens and tablets, and Apple is working that into the iOS 9.3 software update that will accompany these new devices. Night Shift is the result. It uses geolocation to determine the local time for the tablet where it is and auto-adjusts the screen's light profile to reduce the blues when the time is right. This will work with other devices that get the iOS 9.3 upgrade as well. 6. Smaller size, but still quad-audio. We liked the immersive character of the sound input of the iPad Pro 12.9-incher insofar as open-to-air audio can be "immersive," in a tablet. We're surprised, though, that Apple retained the four-speaker array of the 12.9-inch tablet in the 9.7-inch version, especially considering that the 9.7-inch iPad Air 2 is limited to a twin set. The speakers are positioned one at each corner, and while we suspect you'll still get the best results in open-air sound when the tablet is parked up against a hard surface or lying flat, in both cases to reflect the sound back at you (the speakers don't fire forward, alas), the ones in the 12.9-inch tablet were still a marked improvement over those in the iPad Air 2. Also, in an interesting (literal) twist, the iPad Pro auto-adjusts the speaker output according to the tablet's orientation. High frequencies get emphasized in the uppermost two speakers, regardless of whether the tablet is rotated horizontally or vertically. This matters because, in most cases, you'd watch video in landscape mode on this tablet, but many gaming apps are designed for portrait-orientation play. The audio circuitry can compensate for both. 7. The built-in cams get a boost. It's tough to do much more with the cameras in a skinny tablet without making some kind of fundamental hardware change to accommodate the lens. The 8-megapixel shooter in the 12.9-inch iPad Pro got a boost and a bump (literally!) in the 9.7-incher, though. Now, it's a 12-megapixel cam (the rear one that Apple typically calls "iSight") sticking out the back of the chassis. We do indeed mean sticking out . It's not very big, but a ring around the lens protrudes from the upper corner of the iPad Pro 9.7-inch, where previous iPad cams were typically flush. Still, there is some payoff beyond the simpel megapixel boost. The cam and its extra prominence now support up to 63-megapixel panorama shots and the whole panoply of Apple photography jiggery-pokery: Live Photos (which are still pics that move briefly when touched, a bit like a short Vine video), 4K audio capture, and 240fps slow-motion video recording. We also appreciated a clever development with the front FaceTime HD camera, in the form of the Retina Flash feature. This makes use of the screen itself as a source of extra "flash-bulb"-style light when you're taking selfies. It flashes to fill in the shot when you're shooting your own mug in a dim environment. 8. Color schemes: Rose joins the pack. The rear-panel colors on the iPad Pro 9.7-inch comprise the usual suspects: silver, gold, and Apple's Space Grey. A new addition here, though, is a rose-gold hue from the iPhone side of the aisle. The 9.7-inch iPad Pro is the only one of the iPads to feature the rose-gold option. All of the other current-gen iPads come in just silver, Space Grey, and gold, with the exception of the iPad Mini 2, which is limited to just the silver and grey. The four colors of the new, smaller iPad Pro. 9. The connectivity gets kicked up. At least, that's the case with the cellular versions of the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. Apple dubs these the "Wi-Fi + Cellular" models, and they cost the usual £130 kick-up at any given storage capacity, in parallel with Apple's other iPads. The cellular-capable iPad Pro, like the cell versions of the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 4, includes the Apple SIM, which is a flexible-plan SIM card that works with multiple carriers (at this writing, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint). Humble Wi-Fi is still leading-edge stuff here, in the form of 802.11ac. The 9.7-inch iPad Pro also adds support for LTE Advanced, an enhanced-speed service available under certain plans with specific wireless carriers. LTE support for these devices is region-dependent, as well; see this Apple LTE support guide 8 for details on LTE bands, and regional carriers, specific to the iPads. 10. Same accessories, but different sizes. The big add-on for the Apple iPad Pro of either size is the Apple Pencil, which remains a £99 option but is the main reason that many users would opt for the iPad Pro over the iPad Air 2 in the first place. You'll want to factor it into your shopping considerations with any iPad Pro. The Pencil was fairly big relative to the size of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, so it's positively huge compared to the 9.7-inch version. The other major Apple accessory for the new Pro is scaled to size, though. That's the add-on Smart Keyboard, which now comes in versions right-sized for the 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch tablet models. The reduction in size means just a modest drop in price, though. The 12.9-inch-compatible Smart Keyboard was and remains £169 (a bit high, we thought, at its debut), while the new 9.7-inch iPad Pro's version of the Smart Keyboard is £149. Apple's Smart Keyboard accessory attached to the iPad Pro 9.7-inch. Apple has also augmented its Silicone Case and Smart Cover lines to fit the new 9.7-inch Pro. Each is £10 less than its 12.9-inch iPad Pro counterpart: £69 and £49 respectively. Each will come in a choice of a dozen colors. Smart Cover for the Apple iPad Pro 9.7-inch. The iPad Pro 9.7-inch begins pre-orders on March 24 and is expected to ship, according to Apple, starting on March 31. Stay tuned for a full review of this new iPad Pro when we get our mitts on one. References ^ 10 Things You Need to Know: Apple iPhone SE (www.computershopper.com) ^ Apple (www.computershopper.com) ^ iPad Pro (www.computershopper.com) ^ Apple iPad Air 2 (www.computershopper.com) ^ the original iPad Air (www.computershopper.com) ^ the Apple Pencil stylus (www.pcmag.com) ^ Harvard Health has a good rundown of the blue-light basics here (www.health.harvard.edu) ^ see this Apple LTE support guide (www.apple.com)
  • 10.5-inch iPad Pro Rumored for Release Next Year Apple is reportedly prepping a new tablet with a screen size between the two current iPad Pro models. This unconfirmed information comes from an industry analyst, who also predicts the second generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro 1 won t be released until 2017. Ming-Chi Kuo from KGI Securities said in a research note We expect three new iPads (12.9 iPad Pro 2, new size 10.5 iPad Pro & low-cost 9.7 iPad) to be launched in 2017. He didn t cite a source for this information. 9.7- and 12.9-inch iPad Pro The display in Apple s 12.9-inch model has 78% more area than the 9.7-inch one, so it s certainly arguable that there s room for a 10.5-inch iPad Pro between those two. Kuo indicated that this version would appeal to business and education buyers. Presumably, the 10.5-inch device s cost would be about £699, halfway between the price of the two current models. A version of the Apple Smart Keyboard 2 is also a strong possibility if this tablet turns out to be real. Other Predictions In addition, the KGI Securities analyst predicted that Apple would introduce model with a display the same size as the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, but at a lower price point. This could be the replacement for the £499 iPad Air 2. The only other detail reveled is that this computer will use the Apple A9X processor, the same as in the current iPad Pros, while the other new devices will go to a more powerful A10X chip. Kuo s note made no mention of replacement for the iPad mini 4 3 . It s possible Apple is moving away from this size, as sales of this 7.9-inch model have slowed as people instead purchased larger smartphones, like the iPhone 6s Plus. Kuo also didn t say anything about a second-generation 9.7-inch iPad Pro 4 . Why isn t clear, as one is generally expected to be on store shelves next spring, a year after the debut of the original. Another mystery is why Apple would delay the release of the next-gen 12.9-inch iPad Pro to 2017, and not introduce it this fall, a year after the original hit store shelves. Source 5 References ^ 12.9-inch iPad Pro (www.tabletpcreview.com) ^ Apple Smart Keyboard (www.tabletpcreview.com) ^ iPad mini 4 (www.tabletpcreview.com) ^ 9.7-inch iPad Pro (www.tabletpcreview.com) ^ Source (www.macrumors.com)
  • 11 PC-speakersets review: cacophonous or melodious? Introduction The market for pc-speakers has not been the most lively one, however there are still quite some sets on offer. Although there are the necessary alternatives for listening to music on the computer, there is also something to say for the old-fashioned sets. We tested 11 speakers, all with very different results. The late 90s and the early 2000s were the heydays for the market of pc-speakers. The supply was huge, both in numbers and in differing quality and price levels. Nowadays it is quite different. Leaving out a few exceptions here and there, the supply has been reduced to 2.0 and 2.1 sets with a price below 85 pounds / 100 eurosc:us110 dollars{/c:us. That is actually rather remarkable, because with the upcoming streaming audio and video there are only more reasons for non-gaming users to want decent sound with their computers. The reason for this impoverishment seems to lie mainly in the fact that modern forms of entertainment are not consumed on a computer, but on a smartphone or a tablet, or by means of a media player or game console. For mobile devices a wireless speaker seems more like an obvious solution. The market for the Bluetooth-speakers has been booming, whereas the one for pc speakers has collapsed, luxurious audio streamers have been doing better as well. Besides the old-school Sonos, almost every self-respecting audio brand has an active speaker with a built-in wifi-receiver in its collection. These solutions also often work fine when paired with a laptop or a computer. Adding to that, the number of households with a permanent placement for their computer has not exactly increased the vast majority of the market still buys a laptop, not a desktop and it will be clear that the need for or desirability of a separate set of speakers that you plug in with a wire is decreasing rather than increasing. However, there are still people who do have a permanent place for their computer and who are not particularly charmed by either an affordable, but mono Bluetooth speaker, or a pricey likewise mono audiostreamer. For this target group a pc-speaker set is potentially a not too expensive, yet good solution. Gamers can benefit from it as well, although the surround-experience is naturally not a good as stereo speakers that do not use HRTF, in contrast to headsets. In short: it is time for a new comparison test.
  • 12 best Google Cardboard apps 2015 UK 12 best Google Cardboard apps 2015 UK Google Cardboard is a wicked toy and a brilliant gift idea, allowing you to turn any Android 4.1+ phone into a virtual-reality headset for a tenner. But the apps found within the Cardboard app are relatively limited and can get boring quick. Here are some of our favourite alternative Google Cardboard apps. We reveal our pick of the best Google Cardboard apps you can download and play with free in the UK in 2015 By Marie Brewis 1 | 36 mins ago Google Cardboard is a wicked toy and a brilliant gift idea, allowing you to turn any Android 4.1+ phone into a virtual-reality headset for a tenner. But the apps found within the Cardboard app are relatively limited and can get boring quick. Also see: How to make a Google Cardboard VR headset 2 3 To find new apps 4 for Cardboard just open Google Play and search for Cardboard. Some apps require a keyboard or joystick; all you need for the apps below is Google Cardboard and your phone. Here are some of our favourite third-party Google Cardboard apps. Learn more about virtual reality: see Oculus Rift 5 , Project Morpheus 6 and Samsung Gear VR 7 . Plus: Samsung Gear VR vs Oculus Rift 8 . 12 best Google Cardboard apps Snow Shaker Maker This one's perfect for the run up to Christmas, and ideal for kids. It lets you, using Google Cardboard, turn your Android phone into a snow shaker and then add a new character each day during Advent. The app is free from Google Play, but as a charity project Brilliant Basics also sells the cardboard viewers on its website for 12, of which 5 will go to the Kid's Co Charity. Alternatively, you can download a free template. Head to Brilliant Basics 9 for further details. Google Cardboard Camera Taking 360-degree panoramas with your phone is nothing new. In fact, the latest version of Google's camera app on Android includes this option: you can then scroll around the photo in the gallery viewer to see the entire room or place where you were. Thanks to the new Cardboard Camera app 10 you can capture something similar - a stereoscopic panorama - that you can view with Google Cardboard. You can also record audio so friends or family with Google Cardboard know what they're looking at Orbulus Orbulus is a must-have VR smartphone app, allowing you to explore everywhere from the Sydney Opera House to Paris at night, San Francisco's Chinatown or even the inside of a washing machine. So, you'll get go to places Christopher Columbus himself would (possibly) be jealous of. Seriously, though, great graphics make this free app well worth the massive 216MB download (make sure you do so only over Wi-Fi unless you have unlimited mobile data). Rollercoaster Rollercoaster is a fantastic VR simulator, putting you in the scariest seat of all at the front of this terrifying ride as it twists and turns up, down, around and around, hurtling past city buildings and skyscrapers. You can look up, you can look side to side; don't look down. Turn around and you're not alone. (And she's screaming, too.) Hang Gliding Hang Gliding comes from the same developer as Rollercoaster, and it's arguably even more sickly. It's difficult to know what's more worrying: that pretty mountain rapidly apporoaching your face or whether that's sky or sea below you. People do this for fun? Dive Deep Dive Deep takes you down to the depths of the ocean where you can swim among fish, sharks and whales, all without donning a wetsuit and goggles or ruining your hair do. The graphics could be better, but Dive Deep is a great concept. VR-JurassicLand If your kids love dinosaurs then they'll love JurrasicLand (for which there is a free trial version or you can pay 1.86 for the full app). You get to sit in a Jurassic Park-style Jeep and, if you dare, go offroad to meet the dinosaurs. And while it might look as though that Giganotosaurus is about to step on your head, he's a big teddy bear really. (Well, he doesn't stand on your head anyway.) There are five dinosaurs to meet and apparently more to come, including T-Rex, Giganotosaurus, Apatosaurus, Euoplocephalus and Triceratops - of which I've heard of two (my nephew would be so disappointed in me), so a tour guide might be a good idea. Seriously, one of the largest carnivores is called a Giganotosaurus - isn't that the same kind of thing as a DoYouThinkHeSaurus? Cartoon Village VR Cartoon Village VR is a cute app that places you in a bright and colourful 3D cartoon environment. You move from scene to scene, taking a good look at every nook and cranny and having a general nose about. You can change the season and time of day, and tweak the camera mode and walking speed. Not a lot happens in this cartoon village, but the graphics are nice - the butterflies, insects and leaves that flutter around you are particularly cool. Tuscany Dive Tuscany Dive is a nice app from Oculus VR that lets you explore beautiful Tuscany. You need a powerful smartphone and it's irritating that you must touch the screen to begin or change the graphics (our phone is in a box), but it's worth the hassle. As with several VR apps we've tried, you must look down at your feet to begin the auto-walk. Obviously. Who needs to see where they're going these days? Well, in Tuscany you just might want to open your eyes. VR Dance Club VR Dance Club is cheesy-cool. It's just a bunch of skeletons dancing to terrible music (neither Daft Punk nor The Chemical Brothers). Some of them have hats. We like that. Let us play our own music and we'd like it even more. VR-GunDefense Many of the games available for Google Cardboard require a keyboard or joystick, but VR-GunDefense is one of the few that doesn't. It feels a bit like zombies shooting zombies, except you're not a zombie. The weird angle at which we had to hold our head to shoot them (the gun was in our right arm rather than shown as crosshairs on the screen) meant we probably looked like one, though. The best thing about VR-GunDefense is you'll die before you run out of bullets, which is handy because your gun is constantly firing. VR Cinema for Cardboard VR Cinema is an app of two halves: one that lets you watch any video stored on your phone on a cinematic screen; and one that does something weird with your camera and basically shows you the view through the lens if that lens was rubbish. You can't take photos, and the view is blurred and dark. We're not sure what to make of the camera functionality, but the video viewer could be pretty neat with the right movie. Also check out Chrome Experiments for Cardboard Visit g.co/chromever 11 using the Chrome browser on your Android phone. From here you can take a virtual helicopter ride over the Great Barrier Reef, watch a three-dimensional musical score, visit some Russian bears and more. Follow Marie Brewis on Twitter 12 . References ^ see more by Marie Brewis (www.pcadvisor.co.uk) ^ phone (www.pcadvisor.co.uk) ^ How to make a Google Cardboard VR headset (www.pcadvisor.co.uk) ^ apps (www.pcadvisor.co.uk) ^ Oculus Rift (www.pcadvisor.co.uk) ^ Project Morpheus (www.pcadvisor.co.uk) ^ Samsung Gear VR (www.pcadvisor.co.uk) ^ Samsung Gear VR vs Oculus Rift (www.pcadvisor.co.uk) ^ Brilliant Basics (snowglobe.brilliantbasics.com) ^ new Cardboard Camera app (play.google.com) ^ g.co/chromever (g.co) ^ Twitter (www.twitter.com)
  • 12 Things You Can Replace With a £38 Tablet Click To View Slideshow The Ubislate 7Ci isn't a very good tablet, but as a wall clock, it's fantastic! When Steve Jobs introduced the world to the "magical" world of modern touch-screen tablets 1 in 2010, he surely didn't have Datawind's £38 Ubislate 7Ci 2 in mind. This 7Ci is the inevitable endpoint in the evolution of any gadget: Phase 1) an exciting new gadget is introduced at a premium price; Phase 2) the technology and price are improved upon by competing high-end manufacturers; and finally some years down the road, Phase 3) no-name manufacturers cut every corner there is until they can create a no-frills device affordable to every member of the economic spectrum. If you've ever operated an iPad, you'll be fantastically disappointed by the 7Ci. Its performance is lugubrious; its camera is horrible; the battery life is wanting; and if you view the screen at too sharp an angle, it turns monochrome. The Android tab has just enough oomph to cover the digital basics: Wi-Fi Internet access, lo-fi communication, and a basic app ecosystem. You wouldn't use this to catch up on Girls on HBO GO. But it's also by far the cheapest tablet we've ever come across. However, let us not dwell on what the 7Ci can't do, let's consider what it can do! It's still a flat touch-screen device that can connect to the Internet and run apps which means it's not just a tablet, it's a clock, camera, pedometer, guitar tuner, or just about anything we want it to be. And that's where things get interesting we can use this slate to replace all the things in our lives. While you wouldn't want to waste a £400 iPad as a wall clock, you wouldn't really think about it for a £38 7Ci. Here are 12 things around the house and office we were able to replace with the 7Ci. References ^ modern touch-screen tablets (www.pcmag.com) ^ Datawind's £38 Ubislate 7Ci (www.pcmag.com)
  • 12 Tips to Make You a Chromebook Pro They're inexpensive and easy to use, but these tricks make Chromebooks even more user friendly. Chromebooks are a relatively inexpensive alternative to traditional laptops. While they don't offer the full functionality of a Windows PC or a MacBook, they are great for those who spend most of their screen time online and need some basic productivity programs. There are a lot of nifty features inside. Chrome OS has Google Now integrated into the Launcher, meaning that weather, calendar, and other info is as accessible as it is on an Android device. You can also search your Chromebook with your voice 1 . In general, Chromebooks are pretty intuitive to use right from the start, but there are lots of tips and tricks that are not so apparent and could be a huge help. For one thing, you might have a moment of surprise when you go to express your extreme emotions in caps lock and can't find the button. Find out what we mean, as well as 11 other things you should know, in the slideshow. If you're reading this because you don't yet have a Chromebook but are thinking about getting one, then check out PCMag's roundup of the best Chromebooks 2 . We tested these tips out on a Dell Chromebook 11 3 . References ^ with your voice (www.pcmag.com) ^ roundup of the best Chromebooks (www.pcmag.com) ^ Dell Chromebook 11 (www.pcmag.com)
  • 12-inch Retina MacBook Review: Best MacBook yet if you believe in Apple's vision The newest MacBook is a winner. That is if you agree with Apple's design philosophy. That credo is centered on mobility, which means the design must be as light as possible but also deliver acceptable performance and good battery life. And the 12-inch Retina MacBook (starting at £1,299) delivers on all three. It excels most at being thin and light so much so that it might be mistaken for an iPad. The point: a laptop can be as minimalist as a tablet but also be a full-time productivity (work) computer. Related: Wearables like Fitbit, Apple Watch are popular holiday buys 1 Keyboard: I would argue that the linchpin of the design is the keyboard because, more than anything (with the exception of the battery), it allows Apple to build a 0.52-thick laptop that is only 2 pounds. And based on Apple's copious ad copy 2 about the keyboard, that's probably accurate. The keys are 40 percent thinner than a typical Apple laptop and 17 percent larger. I'm typing on the keyboard now and can see that the keys are larger than the excellent keyboard on the 2.68 pound Hewlett-Packard EliteBook Folio 1020 that I use as my regular laptop. Do I feel the size difference when typing? Yes. Am I a more accurate touch-typist with the keyboard? Yes. Is it a better keyboard than the Folio s? Read on. The most radical difference is the travel (the distance needed to push the key). Again, I'm going to compare the MacBook to the Folio s keyboard because HP s is probably the best keyboard I've used in the last five years (and note that the Folio is only 0.62 inches thick, almost as thin as the MacBook). The upshot is that the MacBook's keys are firm. Not uncomfortably firm but certainly firmer than the ones on HP's keyboard. Some reviews have compared the MacBook's keys to typing on the glass surface of an iPad. I wouldn't go that far but let's just say it's not for everybody. Related: iPad Pro first-take review: Yes, it can be a laptop stand-in 3 That said, it is far and away better than the ultra-thin keyboards of scores of other laptop makers in recent decades. Mitsubishi and HP, for example, tried it in 1998 with the Pedion 4 . The most salient examples are probably the Dell XPS 11 5 and the Microsoft Surface Touch Cover. Dell's 0.6-inch thick design sports flat keys with practically no travel. And it s no different than typing on a tablet's glass surface (I tried it). The Surface's Touch Cover is a little better but not much. The MacBook's keyboard beats both of those. And, as is always the case with MacBooks, the trackpad is outstanding. Would I recommend it? Yes. The larger keys make a difference. And despite the relative lack of travel compared to the Folio s keyboard, the experience beats the Folio. Again, that s saying a lot because the Folio s keyboard is excellent. But if you like "softer" keyboards with travel, it might not be for you. Performance: This is one of those things that you can never ignore. If your ultra-portable laptop is insidiously slow (meaning that the performance seems fine when doing light tasks but slows down under heavier loads), I guarantee that the sluggishness will reveal itself when you least want it to. For example, you're on a deadline and, bam, suddenly you have an unresponsive system. So far, I have not encountered that on the MacBook. That's a pleasant surprise because it uses an Intel Core M processor (as the HP Folio does). The Core M chip is reserved for only the thinnest laptops and 2-in-1s because it's the only Intel Core series processor designed to be fanless. And, by design, it offers less performance than mainstream Intel chips that require fans to keep them cool. For raw benchmarks, I'll defer to others 6 . But, like the HP Folio, it holds up under moderately heavy business application loads. Where the Core M does slow down, however, is on some multimedia-intensive tasks such as video editing (and exporting). Related: Apple's iPad Pro arrives, vies with Microsoft's Surface Book to kill traditional PCs 7 Size/weight: Probably the single best feature. That is, as I said above, if you subscribe to Apple's design ethos. The 12-inch MacBook is probably the closest you can get, with a traditional clamshell laptop, to a tablet. At 2 pounds, it's only a little heavier than the iPad Pro and a shade lighter than Microsoft's Surface Pro 4 tablet and its Type Cover keyboard combined. I feel the lightness every time I pick it up and carry it in my bag. That's important to me: if I can get adequate performance in a 2-pound laptop, it makes a huge difference when traveling or even when taking it to a local Starbucks, then a meeting later in the day. Battery life: Good. The challenge for Apple is that there's only so much battery capacity you can squeeze into a 0.52-inch chassis. But, again, Apple has done its homework. Traditional rectangular batteries leave unused space when seated in a curved enclosure. So, Apple created a new type of terraced battery cell that translates into more capacity than would be possible with a traditional cell design. I've been on battery-only for about 14 hours and am down to about 5 percent of the remaining charge. Let me be clear, this hasn't been unceasing heavy use, where I'm pounding away on the keyboard every hour, watching movies in the evening, and doing video editing on the side. But it has been consistent enough (the equivalent of roughly 8 hours of constant use) and taxing enough that I would rate the battery life slightly better than the HP Folio and better than my 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro (late 2013 model). And I keep the display bright -- between 80 and 90 percent. Display: Speaking of the display, the 12-inch 2,304 x 1,440 resolution Retina screen is up to Apple standards. Display expert Raymond Soneira at DisplayMate Technologies has shown over the years that Apple displays are typically some of the best in the industry. This display meets those high Apple standards. I would ordinarily defer to Soneira's expertise but he hasn't evaluated the 12-inch MacBook's display. (http://www.displaymate.com/about.html). For this review, I will defer to others that have run a battery of tests 8 , citing good brightness, high color accuracy, and a wide color gamut 9 . Ports: I m pretty sure I m in a distinct minority when I say I don t have a major issue with the single connector a USB-C port. This is the one aspect of the laptop that reviewers have almost universally panned. My take is that you have to be bold if you re going to redefine the laptop (which I would argue Apple is trying to do with the 12-inch Retina MacBook). I see the 12-inch MacBook as being more of a mobile device, less a laptop. It s kind of like an iPad Pro Plus because you have the option to hook it up an external display. Down the road, if I need to hook it up to a bigger display, I ll get the USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter, which lets you connect to an HDMI monitor, while also connecting a standard USB device and a USB-C charging cable. That s all I ll say on this subject because I currently don t have any of the adapters and have been perfectly satisfied using the built-in, 12-inch display. Verdict: I ve owned both the 13-inch and 11-inch MacBook Air and currently have a 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro. The 12-inch Retina MacBook is a completely different beast and I mean that in a good way. It s the best MacBook that Apple has ever built. Configuration as reviewed: £1,299. Intel Core M processor 1.1GHz, 8GB Memory, 256GB Flash Storage. References ^ Wearables like Fitbit, Apple Watch are popular holiday buys (www.foxnews.com) ^ Apple's copious ad copy (www.apple.com) ^ iPad Pro first-take review: Yes, it can be a laptop stand-in (www.foxnews.com) ^ Pedion (www.wired.com) ^ Dell XPS 11 (www.cnet.com) ^ others (www.mobiletechreview.com) ^ Apple's iPad Pro arrives, vies with Microsoft's Surface Book to kill traditional PCs (www.foxnews.com) ^ others that have run a battery of tests (www.techradar.com) ^ good brightness, high color accuracy, and a wide color gamut (www.mobiletechreview.com)
  • 12″ Apple MacBook Review: Great Laptop Priced Wrong Posted on December 24, 2015 Apple pulled out every bit of magical marketing it could during the announcement of the 12-inch MacBook. The elaborate and beautifully produced videos are like a crack addiction with Jony Ive s British accent luring you in. The new MacBook was touted to be revolutionary no surprise there and groundbreaking. But did Apple hit the mark with the new MacBook, let s find out in our 12 Apple MacBook review. Specifications Design Whether you re a fan of Apple or not, its design is usually one of the best things about buying an Apple product and the 12 MacBook doesn t disappoint. It s super thin and super light, coming in at 2.03lbs, which is amazing and easy to carry around all day. Honestly, the machine feels and looks like an iPad Air 2 with a keyboard cover on it. Speaking of keyboard, the new keyboard design is nice. It will take time to get used to the new, shallower butterfly keys and you may or may not like them. The trackpad design is awesome, as are all MacBook trackpads. This one has the added benefit of Force Touch and that makes it even nicer to use. Two ports, this is all you get with the MacBook. One headphone jack and one USB-C port. This limits the amount of peripherals you can use with this machine to basically almost none. Unless you get dongles and extensions, you re looking at very limited interface options. I also have to say that I miss the mag-safe connector. I have five kids and the mag-safe connector has saved my MacBook Pro Retina more than a few times. With the new connector, you ll have to be more vigilant where you plug-in. Overall, the design, look and feel of the 12 MacBook is one of its strongest selling points and Apple really did an amazing job on this one. Display The MacBook sports a 12 LED IPS display with a 2304-by-1440 resolution and 226PPI and it is the second selling point of this laptop. The display is absolutely mind-blowingly beautiful and working and looking at this display is a great experience. Colors are spot on, not oversaturated but balanced. Blacks and whites are great and watching video on this machine is a joy. Overall the display is a home run, Apple did another great job at making a crisp, balanced and functional display. Software / Ecosystem OS X El Capitan has proven to be a nice improvement over OS X Yosemite. Even on my 15 MacBook Pro Retina it seemingly runs much faster and smoother. If you live in the Apple ecosystem everything will just fall into place nice and smooth. I guess the best way to say this is. Those who hate Apple will hate OS X, simply because they hate Apple. Those who currently use OS X will be happy. Those who ve never used OS X should know that it is very worthwhile considering it as your operating system. Performance The 12 MacBook is running a dual-core Intel Core M processor, which you can configure from 1.1GHz to 1.3GHz. The base MacBook comes with the 1.1GHz and it does a great job at running the basics and then some. Before I go on, let s be clear, this MacBook is not going to be a power user machine. That being said, the 1.1GHz Intel M processor is surprisingly great. You also get two storage options, 256GB or 512GB. My reasons for buying the MacBook were two fold; I wanted something light and easy to carry during CES 2016 and I wanted OS X. Some of the other stuff I need it for is photo and video editing. Before I purchased the MacBook I researched heavily. In my research, I found most of the it pointed at this machine being able to handle light photo and video editing and that is indeed true. I m not running Photoshop on the MacBook, instead I opted for Affinity as it s lighter and it runs great on the MacBook. Word of warning though, as I said before, this is not a power user machine so heavy photo editing is probably going to bog it down. Still, I was able to comfortably have a dozen files open in Affinity and the MacBook never flinched. Running Final Cut Pro also works and rendering 1080p video works pretty well, I wouldn t even attempt 4K video editing here. I would also stay away from heavy video editing, this is a portable and take-on-the-run laptop, the Intel M is not going to handle huge files very well. Overall though, the Intel M in the MacBook does surprisingly well. I m able to run photo and video editing software to do basic, small editing projects. Everything else a computer should do works just fine on the MacBook. Email, browsing, social media etc etc, you ll have no issues running day to day Internet and word processing type tasks. Speakers / Sound In two words holy crap! I wasn t expecting great sound from this little machine but the MacBook delivers. Watching movies on this with those speakers is a very enjoyable experience. Camera In two words total crap! On the reverse side of the speakers I was expecting the FaceTime camera to at least be a 720p (at minimum) shooter. Instead, Apple went to the dumpsters and retrieved their old stock of 2007 white MacBook iSight cameras. Battery Life Apple advertises around nine hours of battery life using the web only. I was able to get around 7-8 hours with my regular use which includes photo editing with Affinity Photo. The battery life is pretty decent and USB-C charges the MacBook fairly fast. Price / Value In two words seriously overpriced! For all the great things the 12 MacBook brings to the table it s price tag is the single biggest reasons NOT to buy this machine. Starting at £1,299 and heading close to the £1,800 territory specced out, Apple really got greedy with this laptop. While there s a lot to love about this laptop, I don t think it s enough to justify that crazy price. You can get a better specced MacBook Air for £999, minus the Retina display, which will run heavier apps and be more of a power machine. The only thing that pushed me to purchase the MacBook was my need for a light laptop for CES 2016 and not wanting to leave the OS X ecosystem to do it. Walking around CES with a full size laptop in a backpack along with other gear for 6-7 days is tiring and that is the only reason I pulled the trigger. Apple got my money but for the price, I wanted more. This would have been a better value priced at £899. Wrap Up A powerful and portable laptop with an amazing screen, great build quality, good battery life and OS X. But Apple priced this way too high. Only buy this if you really are curious, otherwise, buy a MacBook Air or a Windows equivalent. 12 Bottom Line A powerful and portable laptop with an amazing screen, great build quality, good battery life and OS X. But Apple priced this way too high, only buy this if you really are curious, otherwise, buy a MacBook Air or a Windows equivalent. *We reviewed a retail unit of the MacBook purchased by the reviewer.
  • 13 Ways to Make a Slow Laptop Faster Your laptop may be slow, but that doesn't mean you need to replace it. Through heavy use, your notebook will collect a ton of excess files and programs, not to mention some literal dust. The parts will age, and software updates will become more demanding. But before you go computer shopping, there are a few hardware and software fixes you should try. A little time, a screwdriver and a few settings changes can have your laptop running as though it were new. Here are 13 ways to speed up your system. Add an SSD Adding a solid-state drive (SSD) is the single biggest hardware change you can make to speed up a laptop. It makes everything faster; booting up, shutting down and launching apps will all occur in the blink of any eye when compared to traditional hard drives. More and more laptops are coming with built-in SSDs, but not all of them do. And if your old laptop has a traditional hard drive inside, you can crack it open for a significant speed boost at a reasonable price. A 256GB SSD, which is a decent capacity for most users, can cost as little as £75. Upgrade Your RAM You should have at least 8GB of RAM. These days, your best bet is to buy your laptop with that much memory, as more and more manufacturers are soldering it to the motherboard, making it impossible to add more. A number of laptops still let you open them up, and RAM is relatively cheap. If you have 4GB, upgrade to 8GB, as the additional memory will probably cost you less than £25. Few people need 16GB of RAM right now. Update Your Startup Programs Anything running in the background will slow your computer's boot-up time and devote resources to programs you may not even be using. Luckily, it's simple to turn these off. In Windows 10, go to Task Manager > Startup to see the list of programs you have running when you turn on your computer. On a MacBook, go to System Preferences > Users & Groups > Login Items to adjust which programs launch when you turn on the computer. Uninstall Unused Apps Unused programs take up storage on your hard drive and can suck resources from the CPU. Delete the junk to free up space and processing power for a faster computer. Be sure to check your library files for any junk that may stick around. Run Regular Malware Scans It's possible that something you didn't install intentionally malicious software could be the reason your laptop is slow. Run regular virus and malware scans 1 to prevent something malicious from slowing down your laptop or worse. Being vigilant can help you avoid and eliminate threats that are hoarding resources or filling your laptop with junk files. Kill Animations The animations in your OS look cool, but they take up resources that could be going elsewhere. In Windows: 1. Search for "View advanced system settings." 2. Choose Settings under Performance. 3. Choose "Adjust for best performance," which will turn off a bunch of special effects and animations. In OS X: 1. Go to System Preferences > Dock. 2. Check the boxes to turn off magnification and stop the animations in opening applications. Speed Up Your Shutdowns When you go to shut down Windows, you often have to wait a long time while the computer attempts to close open programs that won't close gracefully on their own. If you're willing to dig into your registry, you can force the shutdown process to kill these rebel apps right away. Be sure you always save your work when you do this, as it will close open programs without prejudice. Disable Web Results In Windows 10, Cortana searches the web and your local files when you search. This takes time to download and can be a drag on your system. If you use the Cortana box primarily to find files and apps that live on your hard drive, Windows 10 makes it easy to turn off web results. Speed Up Your Downloads Folder The File Explorer, one of the most-used folders in Windows, can take forever to load if it's chock-full of your downloads. If you're seeing a loading bar every time you open the folder, you'll want to optimize it. Keep It Clean Don't let your laptop get too dusty, or you'll risk letting it overheat. When that happens, the processor and graphics card have to work harder to perform well. Get a can of compressed air 2 , and clean out the vents to give your processor and graphics card a breather. Change Your Browser Some browsers are faster than others. If you're a heavy user, Chrome can eventually hog your RAM, especially with a whole bunch of tabs open. Microsoft's Edge isn't as full-featured yet, but it has the benefit of being lighter and faster. On Macs, you can try Safari. Update Your Drivers Some new drivers can breathe new life into your hardware and fix any issues it may be having. Be sure to check your manufacturer's website to make sure your drivers are up-to-date. Top Image: Bastian Weltjen / Shutterstock 3 Laptop Guide Laptop Guide Recommended by Andrew E. Freedman, Andrew joined Laptopmag.com in 2015, reviewing computers and keeping up with the latest news. He holds a M.S. in Journalism (Digital Media) from Columbia University. A lover of all things gaming and tech, his previous work has shown up in Kotaku, PCMag and Complex, among others. Follow him on Twitter @FreedmanAE. Andrew E. Freedman, on References ^ regular virus and malware scans (www.tomsguide.com) ^ can of compressed air (www.amazon.com) ^ Bastian Weltjen / Shutterstock (www.shutterstock.com)
  • 13.3 Inch Designer Laptop Case Sleeve Cover Bag - Apple Macbook Pro 13" / Macbook Air 13" Snug Fit - Waterproof Notebook Computer Ultrabook Neoprene Carrying Bag Pouch Skin - Lavolta Urban Pattern Collection - Mega Price
  • 13.3" Inch Apple Macbook Soft Carry Case Sleeve - Black - Mega Value
  • 17-inch gaming laptops are one big compromise EVGA, a hardware company best known for a successful line of Nvidia graphics cards and my favorite alien mouse 1 this year launched its first foray into designing and building whole computers with its mighty 17-inch SC17 laptop. Needless to say, it s a gaming powerhouse, touting a 4K screen, a 2.7GHz Core i7-6820HK processor, 32GB of RAM, and a GTX 980M graphics card. I ve put it through its paces with demanding games like The Witcher 3 and Battlefield 4 and it s barely broken a sweat, and what s more, EVGA has just introduced a version of this laptop with a GeForce GTX 1070 inside it (not a mobile version, the actual desktop card 2 ). So can you game on this thing? Hell yes. But then for £2,499, it had better be able to run Crysis like Usain Bolt handles sprints. EVGA SC17: Full specs and features 3 The interesting questions about the SC17 relate to its practicality, not its performance. This laptop weighs a full 10lbs (4.5kg), the equivalent of five Asus ZenBook 3s 4 or ten 9.7-inch iPad Pros, and I ve felt the full heft of it every time I ve tried to transport it. Now, that s not for nothing, as the SC17 is encased in a seriously tough aluminum unibody shell that gives it protection, rigidity, and long-term durability. I just can t call this a portable computer in any meaningful sense. It qualifies as transportable , but then so do all-in-one PCs, which have a number of ergonomic advantages and don t come with the same miniaturization premium as a laptop. Vlad Savov To test both my stamina and the SC17 s mobility, I took it on a trip back to Bulgaria at the start of this month. The first issue I encountered was that none of my techie backpacks could accommodate this PC, so I had to use a small suitcase instead (Ed. note: LOL). EVGA is addressing this pain point head-on by now providing a free backpack with purchases of the laptop. And another helpful touch from the company is the design of its 240W power adapter, which is wide and long, but also short so it packs flat rather than fat. All the same, I find these to be only slight mitigations to the pervasive issue of this computer s size and weight. Even moving it between rooms is a complex activity that requires planning and clearing out a big enough landing spot. A big laptop that has all the power you need, but not the ergonomics Once at home in Bulgaria, I realized just how many adaptations I d made while testing the SC17 back in London. The first thing I did was elevate it on a laptop stand, because as nice as the 4K display might look bonus points for being matte! it s anchored to the keyboard and that puts it too low on my desktop for optimal ergonomics. But then when I have the PC on the stand, the keyboard is away from me, so I have to connect an external one. A mouse is another must for any halfway-serious PC gaming, so that figures on the list of necessary accessories, too. And then disaster strikes when I find that just plugging in my basic peripherals occupies the two regular USB ports and if I have something extra like a gaming headset that connects via USB, I d better hope I have a USB-C adapter handy. EVGA provides one but I left it in London, and that s really the crux of the problem: you wind up needing more external accessories with this giant machine than you do with the famously connector-starved 5 Apple MacBook. No SD card slot here either. Two other issues hamper the SC17 s usability, which might be easily predicted given its emphasis on high performance: heat and noise. I had initially hoped to be able to test playing on this PC with its own keyboard, but that dream was dashed when its wrist rest heated up to an uncomfortably high temperature. The fan also grows annoyingly loud during longer gaming sessions, so the only choice is to play with headphones. That s a shame, frankly, because the SC17 s loudspeakers are really quite decent and provide reasonable spatial imaging. Battery life, heat, and noise: the eternal foes of mobile gaming machines In the heat of the Bulgarian summer, I simply couldn t tolerate the SC17 s furnace-like operation to bother with playing any games. This computer has amazing reserves of power and performance, and it boots in an instant, but I m dissuaded from tapping its full potential because of the compromises it demands from me. I restricted my vacation use of the SC17 to watching Valve s Dota 2 tournament on Twitch and YouTube, which I could have done much more comfortably on an iPad. I did try using EVGA s laptop in bed, and I can confirm that it s possible, but I wouldn t advise anyone else to experiment in that way. You don t want to fall asleep and have a 10lb slab of hard metal landing on your nose. I feel torn about the SC17, because I see some very good and clever engineering at work, but for every upside there seems to be a corresponding downside. The keyboard is spacious, has a nicely extended key travel and pleasant tactile feel, but it s matched to a poorly performing Synaptics touchpad that seems unwilling to remember my scrolling preferences. The screen is the undisputed highlight of the SC17, offering rich, slightly boosted saturation and exemplary viewing angles, but then it suffers from lingering scaling issues in Windows that mean some UI elements (such as Steam overlays and Logitech s Gaming Software) appear unusably tiny when operating in full 4K resolution. Need I also relate the fact that all the almighty performance of the SC17 comes at the dire cost of battery life? Even when I m not doing anything more than browsing the web, this machine s battery never threatens to last longer than four hours. Usually you pay a higher price for fewer compromises, not more of them Aside from the SC17, I ve spent time with Alienware s souped-up gaming laptops and have experienced a few of the alternatives from Asus, MSI, and Razer as well. EVGA s first entry into the category is admirably executed, but it clashes against the same limitations that all of its competitors do. There s a basic mismatch between the power and ergonomics that full-fat PC gaming requires and the portability exigencies of a mobile computer. Is the SC17 a bad gaming laptop? Not at all. But that s a meager compliment when you consider the category as a whole, which is populated by machines that promise and cost a lot, but deliver too many compromises. The Breakdown More times than not, the Verge score is based on the average of the subscores below. However, since this is a non-weighted average, we reserve the right to tweak the overall score if we feel it doesn't reflect our overall assessment and price of the product. Read more about how we test and rate products 6 . Design 8 Keyboard 8 Touchpad 5 Display 9 Performance 9 Heat / noise 4 Battery life 4 Software 8 References ^ alien mouse (www.theverge.com) ^ the actual desktop card (www.theverge.com) ^ Full specs and features (www.evga.com) ^ Asus ZenBook 3s (www.theverge.com) ^ connector-starved (www.theverge.com) ^ how we test and rate products (www.theverge.com)
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  • 2015 BMW 7 Series 730Ld review What is it?: It's BMW's new flagship model, and one that is looking to derail the sizeable market share that Mercedes has accumulated with its undeniably impressive S-Class. More than that, the 7 Series seems to be out to steal some of the limelight the S-Class enjoys as a known benchmark for cutting-edge technology and safety. BMW has really gone to town. Not only has it used carbonfibre in the 7 Series construction but it has also included a wirelessly chargeable key with a 2.2in screen that acts as a remote for various functions as standard - including, eventually, remotely driving the car from the outside. Its exterior cameras will also recognise traffic jams and roadworks, then beam them back to a central hub before warning other BMW drivers. For relatively little extra, you can have a tablet included in the back, too. Maybe the biggest hint that it's out to ruffle the S-Class's feathers is the Executive Drive Pro option, which acts like Mercedes' Magic Ride by studying the road ahead and slackening the suspension to glide over large bumps. BMW is keen to point out, though, that unlike with the Mercedes, it can be fitted to both diesel and petrol models and works in the dark and rain. Oh, and while the Mercedes provides four perfume choices to be pumped one at a time into its S-Class's interior, BMW has developed eight, two of which you can flick between at your leisure. Now that's progress. Here we drive what's likely to be the best seller, the 30d diesel, in what should be the similarly popular long-wheelbase form. It's a compelling package, being closely priced to the equivalent S-Class, but quicker, and officially cleaner and more frugal. What's it like?: A noticeably better prospect than that which went before in terms of interior quality, ride comfort and technology. Its engine, though, remains as good as it ever was. Although revised from the old 30d unit, there's the similarly smooth punch of torque just a flex of the foot away. Speed builds extremely quickly and linearly, with the eight-speed automatic gearbox exploiting the engine s torque band superbly well. The previous 7 was always as concerned with agility as it was with ride comfort, hence a greater front-end urgency than its biggest rivals possess and also a firmer ride. However, BMW has fitted adjustable air suspension as standard to both of the new car s axles, to ensure a better blend of work and play. The result is certainly a more comfortable prospect than before; the way the 7 Series sponges away sleeping policemen and cushions undulating roads in its most compliant Comfort mode is an improvement. Unfortunately, though, as the roads on our route back to the UK changed from French to English, there was still a fidget to the secondary ride at low speeds from which an S-Class just doesn't seem to suffer. Dial it to Sport, and while the 7 Series is far from a properly engaging driver's car, there's certainly some fun to be had. Its steering is a little artificially weighted and just a touch vague off centre, but there's enough precision, grip and willingness from the chassis for it to feel light on its feet. The front passengers get a suitably massive range of seat adjustment and enough room to literally stretch out. Likewise, It's almost impossible to be uncomfortable - or bored - in our long-wheelbase model's executive seating, complete with heated, massaging seats, twin screens and snap-in tablet computer. BMW's iDrive has been turned up a notch for the new 7 Series. Its screen can now be controlled by both the rotary dial and touch, which makes hitting larger buttons quickly that little bit easier. Its sharp and colourful 10.3in screen looks fantastic, too, while for a further 160 it's possible to control various functions by performing different hand gestures in front of the dashboard. Cabin quality is a step up from BMW's previous attempt, with the standard leather upgraded, a greater use and choice of different wood veneers and more advanced interior lighting options. Our car s Bowers & Wilkins sound system is expensive at 4675, but it sounds superb and thanks to its intricate construction and soft backlighting, looks it, too. Okay, so there's ample opportunity to spend serious cash on options, but the standard equipment list is long. Even on the entry-level short-wheelbase 730d at 64,530, you can expect 18in wheels, leather seats heated front and rear, that Smart Display key, four-zone climate control, BMW's highest level of iDrive with Bluetooth, DAB radio and sat-nav, keyless entry and drive and adaptive cruise control. Should I buy one?: There are many reasons why the 7 Series is a much better car than it was. It's still one of the better luxury saloons to drive spiritedly, its cabin quality has been boosted to a far more competitive level and its combination of performance and efficiency in 30d form will appeal to private, company and fleet buyers alike. There are still question marks over its low-speed ride, though, even if it never actually reaches uncomfortable levels. For those buying the 7 Series as much to drive as to be driven in, it'll be a trade-off worth putting up with, but for luxury car buyers in search of the most pillowy progress, an S-Class still manages to keep its nose in front. BMW 730Ld Location France and the UK; On sale Now; Price 68,480; Engine 6 cyls, 2993cc, twin-turbocharged, diesel; Power 261bhp at 4000rpm; Torque 457lb ft at 2000-2500rpm; Gearbox 8-spd automatic; Kerb weight 1795kg; 0-62mph 6.2sec; Top speed 155mph; Economy 58.9mpg (combined); CO2/tax band 127g/km, 23%
  • 2015 BMW 730Ld review What is it?: It's BMW's new flagship model, and one that is looking to derail the sizeable market share that Mercedes has accumulated with its undeniably impressive S-Class. More than that, the 7 Series seems to be out to steal some of the limelight the S-Class enjoys as a known benchmark for cutting-edge technology and safety. BMW has really gone to town. Not only has it used carbonfibre in the 7 Series construction but it has also included a wirelessly chargeable key with a 2.2in screen that acts as a remote for various functions as standard - including, eventually, remotely driving the car from the outside. Its exterior cameras will also recognise traffic jams and roadworks, then beam them back to a central hub before warning other BMW drivers. For relatively little extra, you can have a tablet included in the back, too. Maybe the biggest hint that it's out to ruffle the S-Class's feathers is the Executive Drive Pro option, which acts like Mercedes' Magic Ride by studying the road ahead and slackening the suspension to glide over large bumps. BMW is keen to point out, though, that unlike with the Mercedes, it can be fitted to both diesel and petrol models and works in the dark and rain. Oh, and while the Mercedes provides four perfume choices to be pumped one at a time into its S-Class's interior, BMW has developed eight, two of which you can flick between at your leisure. Now that's progress. Here we drive what's likely to be the best seller, the 30d diesel, in what should be the similarly popular long-wheelbase form. It's a compelling package, being closely priced to the equivalent S-Class, but quicker, and officially cleaner and more frugal. What's it like?: A noticeably better prospect than that which went before in terms of interior quality, ride comfort and technology. Its engine, though, remains as good as it ever was. Although revised from the old 30d unit, there's the similarly smooth punch of torque just a flex of the foot away. Speed builds extremely quickly and linearly, with the eight-speed automatic gearbox exploiting the engine s torque band superbly well. The previous 7 was always as concerned with agility as it was with ride comfort, hence a greater front-end urgency than its biggest rivals possess and also a firmer ride. However, BMW has fitted adjustable air suspension as standard to both of the new car s axles, to ensure a better blend of work and play. The result is certainly a more comfortable prospect than before; the way the 7 Series sponges away sleeping policemen and cushions undulating roads in its most compliant Comfort mode is an improvement. Unfortunately, though, as the roads on our route back to the UK changed from French to English, there was still a fidget to the secondary ride at low speeds from which an S-Class just doesn't seem to suffer. Dial it to Sport, and while the 7 Series is far from a properly engaging driver's car, there's certainly some fun to be had. Its steering is a little artificially weighted and just a touch vague off centre, but there's enough precision, grip and willingness from the chassis for it to feel light on its feet. The front passengers get a suitably massive range of seat adjustment and enough room to literally stretch out. Likewise, It's almost impossible to be uncomfortable - or bored - in our long-wheelbase model's executive seating, complete with heated, massaging seats, twin screens and snap-in tablet computer. BMW's iDrive has been turned up a notch for the new 7 Series. Its screen can now be controlled by both the rotary dial and touch, which makes hitting larger buttons quickly that little bit easier. Its sharp and colourful 10.3in screen looks fantastic, too, while for a further 160 it's possible to control various functions by performing different hand gestures in front of the dashboard. Cabin quality is a step up from BMW's previous attempt, with the standard leather upgraded, a greater use and choice of different wood veneers and more advanced interior lighting options. Our car s Bowers & Wilkins sound system is expensive at 4675, but it sounds superb and thanks, to its intricate construction and soft backlighting, looks it, too. Okay, so there's ample opportunity to spend serious cash on options, but the standard equipment list is long. Even on the entry-level short-wheelbase 730d at 64,530, you can expect 18in wheels, leather seats heated front and rear, that Smart Display key, four-zone climate control, BMW's highest level of iDrive with Bluetooth, DAB radio and sat-nav, keyless entry and drive and adaptive cruise control. Should I buy one?: There are many reasons why the 7 Series is a much better car than it was. It's still one of the better luxury saloons to drive spiritedly, its cabin quality has been boosted to a far more competitive level and its combination of performance and efficiency in 30d form will appeal to private, company and fleet buyers alike. There are still question marks over its low-speed ride, though, even if it never actually reaches uncomfortable levels. For those buying the 7 Series as much to drive as to be driven in, it'll be a trade-off worth putting up with, but for luxury car buyers in search of the most pillowy progress, an S-Class still manages to keep its nose in front. BMW 730Ld Location France and the UK; On sale Now; Price 68,480; Engine 6 cyls, 2993cc, twin-turbocharged, diesel; Power 261bhp at 4000rpm; Torque 457lb ft at 2000-2500rpm; Gearbox 8-spd automatic; Kerb weight 1795kg; 0-62mph 6.2sec; Top speed 155mph; Economy 58.9mpg (combined); CO2/tax band 127g/km, 23%
  • 2015 iMac release date rumours, specs, price & features: new 21in 4K Retina ... 21in Retina iMacs with 4K displays coming this autumn Share This Apple recently introduced a new 27in iMac with Retina display for 1,599, but the rest of the range is untouched, with the 21in iMac not having been updated since September 2013 (with the exception of the entry-level model). It's time Apple updated the iMac! Luckily it looks like an update is planned... It's been two years since Apple last updated the non-Retina versions of the iMac (if you don't include the cheaper iMac 1 which Apple introduced in June 2014 - now a year old). The big surprise was that Apple has left the non-Retina iMacs untouched, while recently adding a new, cheaper 27in Retina model to its line up. The new Retina model costs 1,599 (the same price as Apple's top of the line non-Retina 27in iMac did previously). Notably absent from 2014 and 2015 s upgrade cycles (so far) was the rest of the iMac range, with the four original iMacs remaining untouched since they were updated on 24 September 2013. We are still waiting for these iMacs to be updated, and new processors from Intel that could be destined for the iMacs have been shipping for some time. We had hoped that the 21.5in iMac would get an update at WWDC on 8 June, and then at the 9 September event, but no update happened. Now reports are appearing that suggets Apple will update the iMac range this autumn. In additon, code in the El Capitan beta suggests that the new 21.5in iMac could be getting a 4K Retina display. Read more about El Capitan here: Mac OS X 10.11 El Capitan: expected release date and new features. 2 3 Here, we bring you everything you need to know about when Apple will upgrade the iMac range, including the new iMac's specs, features, UK price and expected release date. To discover what we think about the original Retina 5K iMac, take a look at our Retina iMac review 4 . If you are in the market for a new Mac, read our iMac or Mac mini - Mac desktops compared 5 and Best Mac to buy: Mac Buying Guide 6 . Apple has also introduced new series of 15in MacBook Pro with Retina display 7 but they also lack the newer processors. Also read: When will Apple update the Mac mini and Everything Apple announced at the iPhone launch 8 9 New 21in iMacs launch date The new 21in iMac with 4K Retina display may not have put in an appearance at the iPhone launch on 9 September, but that doesn t mean it won t be arriving soon. According to a report 10 on DigiTimes, production of the new iMac has already begun and it will be released in November. This follows claims by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo that the iMac is going to be getting a significant update in the next few months. Kuo believes Apple will introduce new iMac models in the third quarter. Which would suggest that the update could even come before the end of September. Kuo notes that the timing would help Apple drive Mac sales growth in the Back to School quarter, notes MacRumors, 11 but it may be the case that Apple has missed the boat there as the launch didn't happen by the end of August. New 21.5in iMac could offer Retina display It looks like Apple has plans to improve the display of the 21in iMac code in an early El Capitan beta suggests that a 4K 21.5in iMac may be in the pipeline. According to reports, one of the developer betas for OS X 10.11 El Cap included a reference to a Mac with a 4096 x 2304 resolution display also known as a 4K display. That is smaller than the display on the 27in iMac, which is 5120 by 2880 resolution, while the 15in Retina MacBook Pro offers 2880 by 1800 pixels. Therefore it is likely that this 4K display is destined for the 21.5in iMac. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo also expects the new iMacs to offer better displays. He predicts that the panel will use a "LED phosphor material called KSF to notably boost color saturation". Yet more evidence has emerged in the El Capitan beta that suggests the 21in iMac is going to get a Retina display. According to a report 12 on French website Consomac, there are images in the beta that hint at the resolution of a new 21.5-inch iMac with a Retina display. That would be a native resolution of 4096 x 2304, which is just over twice the current resolution of 1920 x 1080. Is the 21in iMac gains this new high res display it will be possible to watch 4K video on it. New iMac specs: Price Another important question is how much will the new iMacs cost if, and when, they do launch? The current line up is priced as follows: 21.5in, 1.4GHz dual-core i5, 899 21.5in, 2.7GHz quad-core i5, 1,049 21.5in, 2.9GHz quad-core i5, 1,199 27in, 3.2 quad-core i5, 1,449 27in Retina 5K, 3.3 quad-core i5, 1,599 27in, Retina 5K display, 3.5 quad-core i5, 1,849 We expect that Apple won t change the prices a lot when the new models launch, although it is possible that by gaining Retina displays the 21in iMac range may go up in price. The non-Retina 27in iMac may be discontinued. How long has it been since Apple updated the iMac? If you ignore the 899 iMac and the Retina iMac, which were both introduced in 2014, and the recent addition of a new, cheaper, 27in Retina iMac, the last time the iMac 13 saw a proper update was in September 2013 when Apple added the Haswell processor, new graphics, next generation Wi-Fi and faster PCIe flash storage options. Read our review of the 2013 iMacs 14 . You can read all our iMac reviews here 15 . What features do you think the iMac needs most? Take part in our Poll Will the new iMac have a Broadwell or Skylake processor? At the beginning of June, Intel finally announced its quad-core range of Broadwell processors the ones we were all expecting Apple to use in the new 27in iMacs and 15in Retina MacBook Pro. Strangely Apple chose to stick with Haswell processors when it announced a new 27in Retina iMac a couple of weeks previously, rather than use the newer Broadwell versions. Many have quesitoned why Apple didn t just wait a few more weeks? The general consensus is that Apple has skipped Broadwell in favour of Skylake for its high end Macs. Skylake should be here before the end of the year, so we may see a pro-level iMac and MacBook update in October. But back to the rest of the iMacs, will Apple wait until October to update the rest of the iMac range, or will it update them now with these new Broadwell processors? We think that an update could be immanent. The MacBook Air and the 13in MacBook Pro both use new Broadwell dual core processors, so surely the 21.5in iMac can accept the Broadwell treatment too. In fact, we think that one reason why Apple rushed out the updates to the 27in Retina iMac models was so that the lack of Broadwell chip wouldn t be so noticeable when it updates the 21.5in iMac models. The 21.5in iMacs currently come in three configurations: The entry level 1.4GHz Intel Core i5 Haswell dual-core processor The 2.7GHz Intel Core i5 Haswell quad-core processor And the 2.9GHz Intel Core i5 Haswell quad-core processor Now that the Broadwell quad-core chips are finally shipping, Apple could update these Macs as long as the launched chips aren t intended only for mobile. Alternatively Apple might wait until later in the year to update all the iMacs to Skylake, but the current iMacs are so old now nearly two years so it seems more likely that an update will happen sooner rather than later. New iMac specs: Graphics card The current line up of iMacs features the Intel HD Graphics 5000 at the entry-level and the next model up offers Intel Iris Pro Graphics. You can expect to see updates to these cards the new MacBook Pro 13in offers Intel Iris Graphics 6100, for example, so we d expect this to appear in the iMacs too. The higher-end iMacs feature NVIDIA GeForce graphics the 21.5in iMac offers a GT 750M, the entry-level 27in has a GT 755M and the top of the range (excluding the Retina model) offers a GT 775M. The GeForce 700 series have been around for some time now, first introduced back in May 2013, so they could be described as a bit long in the tooth by now. The GeForce 800 series was introduced in March 2014, so even those graphics cards are now a year old. If Apple is going to stick with NVIDIA then it looks like the GT 900 (introduced in September 2014) might fit the bill. There s a new GT 1000 series on the horizon, but it s not expected until 2016. The iMac with Retina display runs an AMD Radeon R9 M290X processor, so it is feasible that Apple might switch from NVIDIA to AMD, as they have in the past. The company may even move to integrated graphics cards, which are part of the motherboard, but if Apple does this it is likely to upset a lot of pro users. The El Capitan code also includes a reference to Intel graphics chipset the Iris Pro 6200, which isn t in any current Macs. It is logical to suppose that this graphics processor (which is integrated in Intel s Broadwell processors and launched earlier this month) will be finding its way into this future 4K iMac, notes 16 9to5Mac. There are also references to four new AMD Radeon R9 processors (M380, M390, M395 and M395X) in the beta, but it s not clear where these would be destined for. Will the non-retina 27in iMac be updated? Like the 21.5in models, the non-Retina 27in iMac model may also get an update this autumn, or, more likely, it may disappear from the line up. That model currently comes in the following configuration: 3.2GHz Intel Core i5 Haswell quad-core processor New cheaper Retina iMac launched, price of 1,999 model reduced Apple first released the 27in Retina 5K iMac 17 in October 2014, alongside the iPad Air 2 18 , iPad mini 3 19 and a new Mac mini 20 . When it launched the 27in Retina iMac cost 1,999 and offered a 3.5GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor, 1TB Fusion Drive and AMD Radeon R9 M290X graphics. The price of this model has now been reduced by 150 to 1,849. Read our preview of the 3.3GHz Retina iMac here 21 . On 19 May, Apple added a new 27in Retina iMac to it's line up. You can now purchase a 27in iMac with 5K Retina display with a 3.3GHz processor for 1,599. This new, entry-level model comes with 3.3GHz quad core Intel Core i5 (we were presuming this was a newer Broadwell chip but it turns out that Apple is still using Haswell as the Quad-Core Broadwell still isn't available), 8GB RAM, 1TB hard drive and an AMD Radeon R9 M290 graphics card. It costs 1,599. In adding this new 3.3GHz Retina iMac, Apple has removed the 3.4GHz non-Retina iMac from the line up, which was also priced at 1,599. Apparently, people who order the non-Retina 1,599 iMac before the recent update are receiving the new Retina version of that Mac, according 22 to a Reddit post, via 23 AppleInsider. Previously the only iMac with Retina display offered a 3.5GHz processor, 8GB RAM, and a AMD Radeon R9 M290X graphics card 1,999. It shipped with 1TB Fusion Drive as standard, which gave users the benefit of a faster flash drive to use alongside the hard drive. The flagship iMac still offers a 3.5GHz quad core Intel Core i5 appears to be unchanged, 8GB RAM, 1TB Fusion Drive and an AMD Radeon R9 M290X graphics card. It now costs 1,849, 150 less than when it was introduced. New 27in Retina iMac: Why didn't Apple use the Broadwell processor? The 27in Retina iMac models still feature Intel s Haswell processors, rather than the newer Broadwell, suggesting Apple is skipping the much delayed Broadwell processors and waiting for Skylake. While it's possible Broadwell wouldn t have made a great deal of improvement to the 2014 models, the fact that Apple has skipped that generation of chips will raise eyebrows. Unfortunately the quad-core Broadwell chips that Apple would have required for the iMac models (and the new 15in MacBook Pro models that were also introduced) hadn't launched at the time Apple revealed the new updated models. However, just a few weeks later Intel released the quad-core Broadwell chips everyone thought would feature in these Macs. All eyes will be on Intel as the company gears up to release Skylake, which is what everyone is really waiting for. Hopefully it won t take Intel another year to release Quad-core versions of Skylake - we've heard that the new processors could arrive before the end of the year. Everyone has been waiting for Intel s Broadwell processor to arrive in the iMac, but the new Intel processors have been delayed to such an extent that it is thought that Apple is now waiting for their successor - Skylake - to launch. Intel s new generation of processors, Broadwell, faced major delays. Broadwell uses the 14nm manufacturing process and is said to consume 30% less power than its predecessor Haswell. That should be good news for battery life on the portable Macs, but also for those Macs with especially power hungry screens. The successor to Broadwell, Skylake is on the horizon, and due to launch before the end of 2015. Skylake will also use the 14nm manufacturing process, but it will bring even greater CPU and GPU performance, along with reduced power consumption. Features of Skylake will include PCI Express 4.0 and Thunderbolt 3.0, which are likely to appear in the Macs that feature those chips. After Skylake the next round of processors will be Cannonlake, using the 10nm process but don t expect to see them before 2017. Read on for more of our predictions of when Apple will update the 21in iMac range. New iMac specs: storage We really hope that Apple brings flash storage to the new range of iMacs in the form of a Fusion Drive, like the one added as standard to the Retina 5K iMac. The current iMac range is crippled somewhat by the slower hard drives that Apple uses. While a hard drive has the benefit of offering more storage in the case of these iMacs 1TB it is a lot slower than the flash drives used in all of Apple s laptops. To the extent that Mac laptops with similar processors will perform better than the equivalent iMac due to the faster SSD drive. Apple offers a Fusion Drive currently as a 200 build to order option, we think it should be offered as standard in all Apple s desktops. Alternatively Apple could start to offer flash drives as standard. New iMac specs: Ports & USB Type-C Of all the features on the new MacBook 24 , USB Type-C has probably got the most attention - due to the fact that it s the only port on the MacBook (read why we think the new MacBook doesn t deserve all the criticism it s getting 25 ). When that Mac arrived with the single USB Type-C port there was some concern that it might spell the end for Thunberbolt. Given that Apple has strongly promoted this technology, which it describes as revolutionary I/O technology that supports high-resolution displays and high-performance data devices through a single, compact port, the company is very unlikely to be planning to drop it, plus as you can see above, Thunderbolt 3.0 is on its way. The current line up of iMacs features Thunderbolt 1 (with the exception of the Retina iMac which has Thunderbolt 2). Thunderbolt 1 offers 10Gbp/s. Because they weren t updated in 2014 these iMacs didn t gain Thunderbolt 2, which offers 20Gbp/s. When it arrives Thunderbolt 3 will offer 40Gbp/s and be able to drive two external 4K displays (or a single external 5K display). The USB Type-C port is compatible with USB 3.1 and therefore offers 10Gbp/s (double that of USB 3), but it also allows for charging, as it is able to deliver power at up to 100 watts at 20 volts. You are able to charge the MacBook via this port. However, as yet USB-C only features on the new MacBook. Will it make its way onto the new iMacs? It seems likely that it will, but simply as a replacement for USB 3.0, we definitely don't expect it to replace Thunderbolt. The current iMac line up offers the following ports and standards: Headphone SDXC card slot Four USB 3 prots Two Thunderbolt ports Ethernet Kensington lock slot 802.11ac WiFi Bluetooth 4.0 New iMac specs: Design Could the design of the new iMacs change in the next generation? The slim unibody of the current style of iMac was introduced in November 2012, prior to that the design hadn t really changed since 2009 when the Aluminium unibody design in 21.5in and 27in launched. Previous to that the Aluminium iMac launched in 2007 and came in 20in and 24in versions, and back in 2006 Apple launched the Intel iMac with it s plastic finish, similar in design to the iMac G5 that launched in 2004. Two years prior to that was the lampstand-like iMac G4 in 2002, and in 1998 the original iMac launched. That s a change of design every two or three years, so some might think a new look iMac is due. However, we like the look of the current iMac and can t think of any way it could change for the better, looking back at the generations of iMacs that preceded it, it does look like evolution to this point, we can t imagine what can follow. Sure it can get thinner, but the weight and dimensions don t really matter for a desktop machine. Features some people would like to see probably include an extendable base to the iMac so that you can position it differently currently it isn t possible to raise up the iMac for a more ergonomic position. Aside from that people would probably like to see a Retina display come to the rest of the range. Read our: 2014 iMac with Fusion Drive review 26 and 2014 budget iMac review 27 as well as our iMac Retina review 28 and the review of the 2013 iMacs 29 . 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Confirmed at iPhone 6s review: Hands-on with 3D Touch, Live Photos & more in the new iPhone 6s References ^ cheaper iMac (www.macworld.co.uk) ^ El Capitan (www.macworld.co.uk) ^ OS X El Capitan release date (www.macworld.co.uk) ^ Retina iMac review (www.macworld.co.uk) ^ iMac or Mac mini - Mac desktops compared (www.macworld.co.uk) ^ Best Mac to buy: Mac Buying Guide (www.macworld.co.uk) ^ New 15in MacBook Pro Retina out (www.macworld.co.uk) ^ 2015 Mac mini release date (www.macworld.co.uk) ^ What Apple announced at the 9 Sept 2015 event (www.macworld.co.uk) ^ report (www.digitimes.com) ^ MacRumors, (www.macrumors.com) ^ report (consomac.fr) ^ iMac (www.macworld.co.uk) ^ review of the 2013 iMacs (www.macworld.co.uk) ^ read all our iMac reviews here (www.macworld.co.uk) ^ notes (9to5mac.com) ^ 27in Retina 5K iMac (www.macworld.co.uk) ^ iPad Air 2 (www.macworld.co.uk) ^ iPad mini 3 (www.macworld.co.uk) ^ new Mac mini (www.macworld.co.uk) ^ 3.3GHz Retina iMac review (www.macworld.co.uk) ^ according (www.reddit.com) ^ via (iphone.appleinsider.com) ^ new MacBook (www.macworld.co.uk) ^ the new MacBook doesn t deserve all the criticism it s getting (www.macworld.co.uk) ^ 2014 iMac with Fusion Drive review (www.macworld.co.uk) ^ 2014 budget iMac review (www.macworld.co.uk) ^ iMac Retina review (www.macworld.co.uk) ^ 2013 iMacs (www.macworld.co.uk)
  • 2016 Guide: Best Apple Laptops and Desktops for Students Apple computers have been fixtures in classrooms since before today's students were born actually, since before some of today's students' parents were born. Nowadays, Macs are a natural choice for scholars raised on iTunes or those seldom seen without their iPads or iPhones, thanks to the close ties between Apple's OS X (now called macOS 1 , for laptops and desktops) and iOS (tablet/phone) operating systems, as well as the iCloud storage service. Macs, under certain circumstances, are also better deals than you might suspect, in part thanks to Apple's education-specific pricing. Oftentimes, Apple offers £20 to £300 discounts for college students, parents buying for college students, faculty at all grade levels, and home-school teachers. You might find this special pricing via the institution itself (at a physical or virtual campus bookstore or computer store), but you can also browse education discounts at Apple's own online Education Store 2 . In addition, Macs come with much of the software students need, whether they'll be laying down music tracks in GarageBand; editing a video in iMovie; or putting together reports, spreadsheets, and presentations in Pages, Numbers, and Keynote respectively. The latter three lack the extreme depth of features of Microsoft Office, but they are prettier and arguably easier to use. And, of course, if you need Office, you can buy it for the Mac and if you desire (or a class requires) a particular Windows app, you can buy Microsoft's OS and run it on the Mac, a turnabout trick that PCs can't match. Here in summer 2016, of the current Mac pantheon we consider six Mac systems particularly good picks for students: two screen sizes apiece in the dorm-room-ready iMac desktop line and superportable MacBook Air laptop line, the even more ultraportable new 2016 MacBook, and one of the power-focused MacBook Pro laptops. Plus, this summer, if you purchase a Mac directly from Apple, certain models come gratis with a pair of Beats headphones. First, the MacBooks Let's start with the laptops. Our favorite for carrying around campus is Apple's archetypal mix of lightweight portability and long battery life, the MacBook Air. The 11-inch MacBook Air 3 , which has an 11.6-inch, 1,366x768 screen, weighs just 2.4 pounds, making it easy to slip into a backpack or bag. It offers a comfortable keyboard, a bright display, and better-than-all-day battery life nearly 11 hours in our tests for lecture-hall and library note-taking. It starts at £849 under Apple's education pricing scheme 4 . Like its smaller sibling, the 13-inch MacBook Air 5 hasn't changed much over the last two or three years. It has seen minor price adjustments (now starting at £949) and upward CPU-speed and architecture bumps, but it has kept its relatively low-resolution (1,440x900-pixel) display. But the 13-inch (really 13.3-inch) Air shares the 11-inch model's ultra-slim (0.68-inch) wedge profile, and at a hair under three pounds, it's virtually as portable. Plus, it has the SD-card slot whose omission is one of our very few gripes with the smaller Air. And its battery life is even better nearly 15 hours of real-world use when we reviewed the 2015 model. No wonder it's still the top target of Windows ultrabook designers everywhere. MacBook Pro With Retina Display If even 2.4 pounds is too heavy for you, Cupertino's lightest laptop is just 2.03 pounds. The new Apple MacBook 6 (simply "MacBook," no suffix) is a bit more expensive, starting at £1,249, but a real showpiece, with a sharp 12-inch Retina display with 2,304x1,440 resolution. This machine is so leading-edge that it has just one port. It's a tiny USB 3.1 Type-C, used for both physical connectivity and recharging the laptop. Our biggest beef with this luxe laptop is just that: having just one port. You'll need to invest in adapters or a hub to plug in a monitor or USB flash drive while charging up. If you crave true desktop-replacement capability but still want a laptop you can tote across campus or take home for a weekend (at 4.5 pounds, it's one of the lightest in its class), the Apple for you is the 15-inch MacBook Pro With Retina Display 7 . It's not cheap, starting at £1,899. But it's nonetheless one of the best laptops Computer Shopper has ever tested, for everything from its quad-core Intel Core i7 performance to its razor-sharp 2,880x1,800 screen a professional-caliber system that'll easily take you through four years of college. (There's also a 13-inch version of the MacBook Pro 8 , but we think its main appeal Retina resolution in a smaller size has been taken by the new MacBook.) On the Desktop: The iMac Lineup The iMac is Apple's famous all-in-one desktop that fits the computer components into the barely bulging back of a flat-panel monitor. Here in summer 2016, it's available in two screen sizes: the 21.5-inch iMac 9 , starting at £1,049 (though we most recently tested the £1,499 model with a stunning 4K-resolution display), and the 27-inch iMac, starting at £1,799. (On the bigger iMac, we prefer the £1,999 model 10 with a spectacular Retina 5K display with 5,120x2,880 resolution.) Apple iMac with Retina 5K Display The iMacs do have some limitations or potential frustrations. To make their super-slim designs possible, their USB ports and SD card slots are located, inconveniently, around the back. You can't upgrade the 21.5-inch model's memory (or any other internal component). Though the Retina 5K display is to die for, neither iMac has the HDMI-in port found on many Windows all-in-ones, which would let you use the screen with a dorm-room game console or other video source. But if you want a one-piece, one-stop-computing solution, they're about as nice as desktop PCs get. (Asus' Zen AiO Pro 11 gets pretty close, on the Windows side of the computing world.) For the record, if you don't want a one-piece solution if you already have a monitor, keyboard, and mouse but the computer that once went with them is too old or underpowered to cut it for college you're a candidate for Apple's smallest and most affordable desktop, the Mac Mini 12 (£499 and up). Though not one of our six Apple picks, it crams a bushel of engineering into a 7.7-inch-square, 1.4-inch-tall aluminum package. The most tempting option available for it: the 1TB Fusion Drive (also available in the iMacs), which seamlessly and automatically melds a hard drive and solid-state storage for optimum performance. What About an iPad Pro? Opting for an iPad (along with a keyboard case) instead of a full-fledged laptop or desktop may sound appealing at first, thanks to the comparatively low cost of entry, long battery life, and light weight. And relying on an iPad for productivity is more feasible these days, thanks to Apple's introduction of its iPad Pro 13 tablets. These iOS-based models, available in laptop-size 12.9-inch and iPad-ordinary 9.7-inch screen sizes, are designed for multitasking, with support for the Apple Pencil 14 active stylus. If you're used to iPadding, you may consider making an iPad Pro your main computing squeeze. Note, though, that pricing will rise dramatically once you add Apple's Smart Keyboard 15 cover (an essential option at £149 to £169, if you want to type anything longer than a text), the £99 Apple Pencil, or other accessories, making a kitted-out iPad cost as much as (or more than) a MacBook Air. And if any of your classes requires the use of specific software that's designed to run on a Mac or Windows PC, it's not going to work with your iPad Pro, although Microsoft's Word and other Office apps are available via iTunes. So though an iPad Pro plus a Smart Keyboard may look like a laptop substitute, know that it has some key limitations. References ^ macOS (www.apple.com) ^ Apple's own online Education Store (www.apple.com) ^ Apple MacBook Air 11 (2014) (www.computershopper.com) ^ under Apple's education pricing scheme (www.apple.com) ^ Apple MacBook Air 13 (2013) (www.computershopper.com) ^ Apple MacBook (2015) (www.computershopper.com) ^ Apple MacBook Pro 15 Retina (2013) (www.computershopper.com) ^ 13-inch version of the MacBook Pro (www.computershopper.com) ^ Apple iMac 21.5-inch (2014) (www.computershopper.com) ^ Apple iMac with Retina 5K Display (2015) (www.computershopper.com) ^ Zen AiO Pro (www.computershopper.com) ^ Apple Mac Mini (2014) (www.computershopper.com) ^ iPad Pro (www.computershopper.com) ^ Apple Pencil (www.apple.com) ^ Smart Keyboard (www.apple.com)
  • 2016 Guide: The Best 17-Inch Gaming Notebooks When it comes to computing gear, bigger is sometimes indeed better, especially when it comes to gaming. It s hard to beat gaming on a big screen. Today s largest gaming notebooks sport 17.3-inch (and in rare instances, larger) screens. An often-underappreciated aspect of those ample chassis, though, is that they allow these laptops to fit the most powerful bleeding-edge technology. Heat dissipation is often what keeps high-end hardware out of laptops, but we ve seen some beastly models sport full-power desktop processors, and more notably, Nvidia s GeForce GTX 980 mobile desktop graphics card. Yes, all that in a portable computer. (Well, a computer that s more portable than a desktop, at any rate). Notebooks this large, of course, aren t your daily travelers. Most of them weigh in the neighborhood of eight or more pounds, and you ll need to go shopping for a roller bag or oversize laptop backpack to transport them. Exclusive of their size, however, today s 17.3-inch gaming notebooks are more hospitable to use in mobile fashion, off-plug, than those of past years. We ve seen a few reach seven or more hours of battery life. (Mind you, that's in everyday productivity use; gaming will trim that number considerably.) Even half of that would have been unheard of several years back. Cooling has improved across the board as well; it s rare we have any thermal issues during the review process, though some machines blow their fans louder than others. EVGA's SC17 packs overclockable hardware in a thin frame. On the performance front, gaming notebooks have narrowed, though not closed, the gap between them and their desktop brothers. Standard mobile graphics are now within 70 to 80 percent of the desktop cards they re based on. It s actually a literal dead heat in the exclusive semi-portable notebooks that house desktop-class components, like the aforementioned mobile desktop GTX 980. It s a heck of a feat, and it didn t happen overnight. Although technology itself changes quickly, the top tech always seems to be expensive. That s even truer with notebooks than desktops, since it costs more to engineer smaller components that fit into today's laptops' tight tolerances. As a result, you could spend £3,000 or more on a big-screen gaming notebook without looking too hard. However, it s by no means a requirement to spend that much if you re looking for a quality gameplay experience. In this article, we ll be taking a look at a few more budget-minded notebooks, some down around the £1,000 mark. This year brings new challenges for the PC gaming industry. With the advent of 3K (3,200x1,800-pixel) and 4K (3,840x2,160) ultra-high-resolution displays, and a few odd resolutions in between, mobile graphics chips simply can t be fast enough . As a matter of fact, today s solutions simply aren t! Some exclusive gaming notebooks sport twin graphics processors in SLI, but even they can be overtaxed at the highest pixel counts. For now, the sweet spot for performance and quality is full HD, or FHD (1,920x1,080). Without spending a fortune, you can get a gaming notebook that provides you with a great visual experience at that resolution. Lenovo's Ideapad Y700 starts at just north of £1,000. As with other classes of notebooks, gaming notebooks are sold in different tiers. Expect to spend about £1,000 to £1,200 for a basic gaming notebook with a 17.3-inch screen. Another 50 percent on top of that will get you a considerably more capable model, one that can run today s games more or less maxed out. And for about £2,000, you can pick from among some of the most powerful gaming notebooks on the market, although the true elite models can easily top £4,000. But first, let s see what specific components you should target when shopping for a gaming notebook. Buying Basics: Gaming Notebooks Unlike desktops, notebooks generally aren t upgradable outside of their primary system memory (RAM, not to be confused with the graphics memory) and in some cases, the storage. You re going to be stuck with the screen, graphics chip, and processor you opt for, so choose wisely. If you can stretch your budget a bit to get the next-tier component, it can pay dividends in terms of usable life. Expect your gaming notebook to stay relevant (as in, capable of playing the latest games at high detail and resolution settings) for about two years, perhaps a bit more for a higher-end notebook. Naturally, the faster the notebook (especially in the graphics sense), the longer it ll be able to play games at the higher quality settings. You ll want to focus on getting a system that s more than just good enough for today s games, as you can bet the ranch that good-enough performance probably won t be good enough in a year or two. GRAPHICS PROCESSOR. The dedicated graphics chip (made by Nvidia or AMD) is the backbone of any gaming computer. You may spot AMD integrated graphics solutions in some machines (these laptops tend to use AMD's A- or E-Series processors with built-in graphics), but few gaming-geared machines in 2016 use dedicated AMD graphics. Gaming notebooks in 2016 are almost exclusively powered by Nvidia GeForce GTX graphics chips. At this writing, the entry-level GeForce gaming chip is the GeForce GTX 960M, typically found in models starting around £1,000. It s capable of playing most of today s games at an FHD resolution with medium settings. Keep in mind that the GTX 960M is just on the edge of playability at that resolution. If you can spend a few hundred more and step up to a GeForce GTX 970M, we d highly recommend it. It has up to 50 percent better performance at high resolutions relative to the GTX 960M. You ll generally have a hard time finding a gaming notebook with a GTX 970M for less than £1,500, with well-equipped models hitting around £1,700. Inside Origin's EON17-SLX, which uses a monster GeForce GTX 980. The GeForce GTX 980M is the next step up from there, and generally the fastest you ll find in any normal gaming notebook. (More on what constitutes "normal" in a moment.) The 980M is found almost exclusively in £2,000-and-up notebooks. It s almost as much of a step up from the GTX 970M as the GTX 970M is from the GTX 960M. This monster is unquestionably capable of pushing through today s games without compromising one setting, at least at FHD. If you re always playing the most cutting-edge games, and your laptop of choice offers a screen resolution higher than FHD, it could be worth the extra dough. For the truly adventurous (and deep-pocketed), Nvidia has released a mobile desktop version of its desktop GeForce GTX 980 graphics card. It s simply called the GeForce GTX 980, without the M, because it is a desktop graphics card, yet it fits in a notebook. It s the fastest single-card solution available in a notebook at this time, but it won t come cheap. Take a look at Origin s gigantic EON17-SLX 1 to see how fast and expensive it gets. It s the sole mobile card that can play at well above FHD without fiddling with the settings too much. The beastly Origin EON17-SLX. SCREEN. Two specs are of interest when discussing 17.3-inch screens: resolution and panel quality. Most screens this size have an FHD (1,920x1,080 pixels) resolution, which is ideal for the latest games. You ll have trouble finding even a high-end gaming notebook capable of producing playable frame rates much beyond this resolution at high settings. Budget models will pretty much exclusively have FHD, while some pricier models into the £2,000 range may have 3K or 4K displays. You can, of course, run games at a lower resolution on a higher-resolution display, but the picture usually won t look as sharp. It s hard to go wrong sticking with FHD. The other spec to watch for is panel type. You ll want to go for an in-plane switching (IPS) panel if at all possible, as they generally offer the best viewing angles and colors. They're not as common at the 17-inch size as on smaller screens. Also uncommon is touch-screen input. It's generally not a standard feature in gaming laptops, especially at the largest screen sizes. One optional spec that s nice to have in a gaming notebook screen is support for Nvidia's G-Sync technology. This can help smooth out how the game looks onscreen by locking the refresh rate of the display to what the video card is capable of. It s a more important feature on gaming notebooks that push 60 frames per second or more consistently, like those with GTX 980M graphics. Take a look at our teardown on the G-Sync technology (and AMD's competing FreeSync) here 2 . PROCESSOR/CPU. Today s games, especially of the MMORPG and real-time-strategy (RTS) varieties, tend to hammer the processor. Dual-core processors generally aren t found in gaming notebooks, for good reason: Some newer games explicitly call for quad-core CPUs. The ideal processor choice in a gaming notebook is the Intel Core i7-6700HQ quad-core. It s readily available even in some lower-priced models. It runs at 2.5GHz, and can Turbo Boost to 3.5GHz under the right thermal conditions. It s well-suited to all of today s games. For the more budget-conscious, you could look for a machine equipped with a Core i5-6300HQ quad-core, which shouldn t have any problems with today s games, either. The Core i7-6700HQ won t add much to the price, though, and it has the advantage of being able to process eight threads, versus four on the Core i5-6300HQ, thanks to its support for Intel's Hyper-Threading feature. This gives the Core i7-6700HQ an advantage in games that can take advantage of multiple concurrent processing threads. MEMORY/RAM. The minimum amount of memory you ll want in a gaming notebook is 8GB. Memory is one component that s usually upgradable after purchase, so you can skimp if it means shuffling funds to a faster graphics chip or main processor. Thoroughly research to find out if the memory is indeed user-upgradable before making assumptions, though. The memory banks of the Asus Republic of Gamers G752VT, exposed. Given how inexpensive large amounts of memory have become, it s common to see 16GB even in midrange-priced gaming notebooks, and 32GB in the pricier models. Remember, 8GB is the minimum. We d go with 16GB if possible; it s the ideal balance between price and performance. 32GB is overkill for gaming, though it could be useful for other demanding applications. STORAGE. In terms of gaming performance, the storage subsystem mainly affects game loading and in-game level changes. It can be of special importance in MMORPGs, where huge environments are loaded in real time. Thus, having fast SSD-based storage becomes desirable. The advantage with a 17.3-inch gaming notebook is that, because of their big chassis, they usually have two storage options. You can opt for a dual-drive approach, with a smaller SSD to store the operating system and a few games, and a large, economical hard drive for all of your games that don t need quick loading times. In terms of SSDs, you should only opt for an SSD boot drive at this point in time; the performance "feel" between a hard drive and an SSD boot drive is just too great. Some SSDs now come on compact M.2 modules (which are the size of a gumstick), but they aren't inherently faster than ordinary SSDs unless they specifically support a PCI Express interface and/or the NVMe protocol. These are the speed buzzwords to watch out for these days in laptop storage. Gaming Notebooks: The Key Makers and Models There s no shortage of gaming notebooks to choose from, so we ll take this on a per-make basis. ACER. You ll usually see Acer s name on smaller, budget-priced notebooks, Chromebooks, and desktops, but the relatively new Acer Predator gaming notebook line is, as our latest reviews show, sublime. The Acer Predator 17 3 is the company s most fearsome offering, living every bit up to its name. This is one of the largest and most powerful notebooks on the market, available with a Core i7-6700HQ processor, GeForce GTX 980M graphics, 32GB of RAM, and 512GB of PCI Express SSD storage. It furthermore has one of the best keyboards we ve used on any gaming notebook, and stellar speakers. It s pricey, at £2,599 in our test configuration, but it's hard to argue you don t get a solid value. (Also check out our spring 2016 preview of the Predator 17X 4 , Acer's next generation of this laptop.) ASUS. Asus Republic of Gamers (RoG) brand spans both its desktop and notebook products. Our experience with the RoG gaming notebooks has been mostly positive, especially with the recently-reviewed 17.3-inch Republic of Gamers G752VT 5 . Asus generally goes all-out on gamer-targeted design, more so than other makes. At £1,799, the G752VT-DH72 model we reviewed delivered solid gameplay, with one of the quietest cooling systems you ll find on a big-time gaming notebook. Its Nvidia G-Sync-compatible display is first-rate, too. The same model series is offered with a GTX 980M for a few hundred more. Asus Republic of Gamers G752VT LENOVO. Lenovo is the budget gamer s best friend. The PC giant's newly revamped IdeaPad Y700 (17-Inch) 6 offers outstanding value, starting at just over £1,000. (Be sure to look for online coupons and limited-time markdowns; Lenovo's pricing fluctuates all the time.) That includes a beautiful FHD IPS display, Core i7-6700HQ quad-core processor, and Nvidia s GTX 960M graphics. Our £1,199 review model included 16GB of RAM, plus a 128GB SSD/1TB hard drive combo. It also got seven-and-a-half hours of battery life in our video-playback battery rundown test. That s tough to beat. (See also our preview of the Lenovo Ideapad Y900 7 , the company's coming flagship, from CES 2016.) Light-up keys on the Lenovo IdeaPad Y700. GIGABYTE. Taiwan-based Gigabyte offers more subtle-looking gaming notebooks, with a high level of quality and performance. If you're not into red LEDs and other "gamer" bling, the sober Gigabyte P57W 8 will be one of the better values you ll find in the 17.3-inch market, with a Core i7-6700HQ, GTX 970M, and 16GB of RAM for £1,699. If you re looking for something fancier and more gamer-styled, Gigabyte s sub-brand, Aorus, offers a few exclusive big-screen models, among them the dual-graphics Aorus X7 Pro 9 . EVGA. Traditionally the tuners of Nvidia desktop graphics cards, and producers of power supplies and motherboards, EVGA is now in the gaming-notebook market. The EVGA SC17 10 is the company's one and only offering, at least for now. It s far from inexpensive (our review unit clocked in at £2,699), but it gives you a fully overclockable Core i7-6820HK unlocked processor, GTX 980M 8GB graphics, a stunning 4K display, and an all-aluminum chassis. Its BIOS even allows you to tweak the XMP profiles on its 32GB of DDR4-2666 memory, if you re so inclined. If you can spend this much on a gaming notebook, the SC17 is a great ride. MSI. Like Asus, MSI is also known across the notebook and desktop industry for its gaming-centric components. Its laptop line more fully embraces the gaming aesthetic than any other. Even MSI's "budget" gaming notebooks offer aluminum-clad exteriors, FHD displays, and SteelSeries-designed keyboards with multi-colored backlighting. The GT72 Dominator Pro 11 , an evolution of the company's flagship machine, offers top-notch performance for £2,099, with a Core i7 processor, GTX 980M graphics, a G-Sync display, and 16GB of RAM. It s none-too-shabby-looking, either. ( See our preview of the next-generation version, the MSI GT73 Titan 12 , exhibited at Computex Taipei in June 2016.) Keyboard lighting on the MSI GT72 Dominator Pro. Plus, MSI offers a killer outlier of a big-screen gaming machine in the GT80 Titan SLI 13 , a brutally large and heavy 18.4-inch-screened behemoth with a full-size true Cherry mechanical keyboard built in, dual GTX 980M graphics, and a clever touch pad to the right of the keyboard that transforms into a number pad. It's about as non-portable as today's big gaming laptops come, but it's quite the processing and gaming brute, and a dream to play and type on. (See also our preview of the GT80's successor, the GT83 Titan 14 , from Computex 2016.) References ^ Origin s gigantic EON17-SLX (www.computershopper.com) ^ our teardown on the G-Sync technology (and AMD's competing FreeSync) here (www.computershopper.com) ^ Acer Predator 17 (www.computershopper.com) ^ check out our spring 2016 preview of the Predator 17X (www.computershopper.com) ^ 17.3-inch Republic of Gamers G752VT (www.computershopper.com) ^ IdeaPad Y700 (17-Inch) (www.computershopper.com) ^ our preview of the Lenovo Ideapad Y900 (www.computershopper.com) ^ Gigabyte P57W (www.computershopper.com) ^ Aorus X7 Pro (www.computershopper.com) ^ EVGA SC17 (www.computershopper.com) ^ GT72 Dominator Pro (www.computershopper.com) ^ See our preview of the next-generation version, the MSI GT73 Titan (www.computershopper.com) ^ GT80 Titan SLI (www.computershopper.com) ^ our preview of the GT80's successor, the GT83 Titan (www.computershopper.com)
  • 2016 Guide: The Best 17-Inch Laptops Can a laptop replace a desktop PC or be your only computer? That question was settled years ago yes, absolutely . Can a laptop, in fact, outperform your desktop? Unless your desktop is a nearly new, top-of-the-line Godzilla gaming rig or workstation, that's a "yes," too. In fact, you may be startled by what you can get from one of mobile computing's top power tools: a 17-inch laptop. Lenovo Ideapad Y700 (17-Inch) Two different audiences or groups of users swear by 17-inch notebooks. First are folks who seek the most desktop-like experience from their desktop-replacement systems: While no laptop has the expandability or upgradability of a big tower desktop, a number of 17-inch models provide component access to let you upgrade the RAM or the onboard storage. (And all make room for more ports and features than smaller systems, by the very nature of their bigger chassis.) More important for daily use, though, their screens and keyboards are the biggest and most comfortable available in the notebook arena. Because of the wide body required to make room for the giant screen, the keyboard will typically have a full numeric keypad, like on a desktop keyboard. The second group consists of gamers. A thriving class of 17-inch laptops courts the hard-core with speedy CPUs and dedicated graphics, as well as all the bells and whistles required to create space civilizations or battle zombie hordes. If sleek ultrabooks and convertibles are the sports cars, these are the beefy muscle cars or tricked-out SUVs of the mobile world. But Yes, 17 Inches Is Huge Of course, the words "beefy" and "portable" rarely go together. Seen on one of those quadrant diagrams, 17-inch laptops would be far along the capability axis but near the bottom in mobility. At seven to eight pounds or more, they're more luggable than liftable occasionally hauled down the hall to a conference-room presentation or stuffed into a backpack for a gaming party, but almost never seen in coffee shops or on airline tray tables. MSI's GE72 6QD Apache Pro: a "budget" gaming 17-incher. They're rarely seen away from AC power outlets, either. The typical battery life is just three or four hours, compared to six or eight for slimmer travelers. Finally, while some 17-inch consumer notebooks are affordably priced under £700, all bets are off in the elite gaming segment, where with just a few exceptions, £1,500 is a bargain and topliners can climb past £3,000. (That trend may be breaking, though. We recently looked at a pair of legit under-£1,500 17-inch gaming machines, in the form of the Lenovo Ideapad Y700 17.3-inch 1 and the MSI GE72 Apache Pro 2 .) Nevertheless, the best 17-inch laptops deliver a luxurious and powerful computing experience, with big-screen, easy-on-the-eyes viewing for videos and office apps and serious chops for multimedia work such as video editing. Let's take a quick look at what a king-size laptop can give you. DISPLAY RESOLUTION & TECHNOLOGY. The term "17-inch laptop" is actually a generic one for this size class; most screens in this segment actually measure 17.3 inches on the diagonal. (Biggest exception? The outlier MSI GT80 Titan SLI 3 's display, which we're including in this XXL class, is a whopping 18.4 inches.) Almost all offer screen resolutions of full HD or 1,920x1,080 (often abbreviated "FHD" or "1080p"). One thing to know about 17-inch-class screens: Despite the prevalence of the touch-friendly Windows 10 in these machines, and the equally touch-centric Windows 8 before it, touch screens in laptops of this size are rare. Also, in-plane switching (IPS) technology, which allows for broader viewing angles on smaller displays, is even rarer. It's a good idea to look at any 17-inch screen in person, if you can, to make sure you're satisfied with the viewing angles and general appearance before buying. Also, you'll usually see matte screens, as opposed to glossy ones, in this size class. They will also tend to have chunkier bezels than most and a recessed panel, as opposed to edge-to-edge glass. CHOOSING THE G RAPHICS PROCESSOR (GPU). Though fine for productivity apps and casual gaming, the integrated graphics built into today's Intel and AMD CPUs can't cut it for serious gaming or other pixel-pushing, so look for a dedicated graphics chip if you mean to play any kind of serious games on your 17-incher. The most common gaming-grade chips at this writing in 17-inch laptops were the Nvidia GeForce GTX 950M, GTX 960M, GTX 965M, GTX 970M, and GTX 980M. (The AMD Radeon R7 M360 has also made an appearance in the occasional AMD-powered laptop from HP and Lenovo, but dedicated AMD GPUs are otherwise scarce in late-model big-screen laptops.) The dual-GPU Aorus X7 Pro At this writing, Nvidia had recently announced a step up from its mobile graphics flagship, the GeForce GTX 980M, called the GTX 980 (without the "M," just like the desktop version of the chip). This is actually a desktop -equivalent version of the GTX 980 meant for mobile use, appearing in gonzo gaming machines like the liquid-cooled Asus Republic of Gamers GX700 4 and the Origin EON17-SLX 5 . Benchmarking on the Origin machine showed the GTX 980 graphics chip to be a beast. That may be the best chip you can get if you're a gamer, but a few exotic gaming rigs even feature dual graphics adapters akin to their Nvidia SLI or AMD CrossFire desktop cousins. The Aorus X7 Pro 6 , for one, has a pair of GeForce GTX 970M GPUs, and MSI vends a near-£5,000 version of its GT80 Titan SLI with two GTX 980 (note, not GTX 980M!) graphics chips aboard. Now, a configuration like that will give anyone GPU envy. But the thing to bear in mind? You should match up the native resolution of the screen in your 17-inch laptop to an appropriately powerful graphics chip, and not let that bleed into overkill. Most 17-inch screens will feature a 1080p native resolution, and the sweet spot for PC gaming at that resolution is a GeForce GTX 960M, GTX 965M, or GTX 970M chip. Assuming that PC gaming matters to you, you probably don't need a GTX 980 or GTX 980M for gaming on that screen unless you're looking to future-proof your laptop for years out, or you intend to run your game on an external monitor (or monitors) with a higher native resolution than the screen in the laptop itself. C PU, MEMORY, & STORAGE. While some economy 17-inch models sport value processors such as Intel's Core i3, the 17-inch norm is a quad-core powerhouse like the Core i7-4710HQ or its "Skylake"/6th-Generation Core i7-6000-series equivalents, which have become the norm in new gaming laptops in 2016. A few boutique systems from the likes of Origin PC or Eurocom laugh at the very notion of battery power by using overclocked desktop chips (typically, a Core i7), but these are appropriate only for desk-bound video editors and others who need the most raw processing power available for media-centric editing and crunching/conversion tasks. To our eyes, if you're looking at a stacked gaming configuration, you're probably going to get a Core i5 or Core i7 chip by default. MSI's beastly GT80 Titan SLI Like with the CPU, entry-level laptops may make do with 4GB of system memory, but 8GB or more is far preferable. Because of the chassis size, you are more likely than on most sizes of laptop to have access to the RAM bays via a hatch or removable lid on the underside of the machine, so it's good to look for this upgradability in advance if you think you might want to boost the RAM later on. As for storage, look for at least a 500GB and preferably a 1TB hard drive and for performance-oriented gaming rigs, a 1TB hard drive plus at least one solid-state drive to speed the booting-up process and program loads. You can go overboard in this regard; configurations of the MSI GT72 Dominator Pro 7 are available with an outrageous four SSDs in a RAID array. But in 2016, we think an SSD boot drive is a near necessity in anything but the most budget-oriented laptop configurations, and in a 17-inch laptop, the laptop maker doesn't have the excuse that there's not enough room for an SSD and a hard drive inside. One of the benefits of a 17-inch laptop is that most models are also big enough to host an optical drive, an endangered species on smaller laptops, even many 15-inch models. Upscale models also boast Blu-ray rather than DVD drives, the better to enjoy 1080p movies on their sparkling screens, and subwoofers to make the most of music, movies, and game audio. K EYBOARD. We alluded to it earlier, but 17-inch laptops have space for some of the best keyboards in portable computing, with numeric keypads for spreadsheet jockeys and, in some models, dedicated macro keys for gaming junkies. Alienware's gaming rigs are famous not just for backlit keyboards, but keyboards with multiple multicolored customizable lighting zones. A 17-inch keyboard deck also lets the keys spread out; we especially liked the well-isolated design of the arrow-key cluster on the new Acer Predator 17 8 gaming laptop. The keyboard (and isolated arrow-key "T") of the Acer Predator 17. There's also the issue of key travel; big 17-inchers have more vertical room for comfortable key travel than most laptops. But you'll want to try before you buy to make sure the laptop maker took advantage of the bigger chassis and passed on the benefits to the keyboard. MSI is one laptop maker that generally gets that part right. Many MSI laptop keyboards are designed in concert with SteelSeries, a leading manufacturer of gaming peripherals; and the MSI GT80 Titan is the only notebook we know of on the market at this writing with a genuine mechanical keyboard, with the clicky switches that gamers love. ( Lenovo's upcoming Ideapad Y900 9 will join that elite group of one later this year.) References ^ Lenovo Ideapad Y700 17.3-inch (www.computershopper.com) ^ MSI GE72 Apache Pro (www.computershopper.com) ^ MSI GT80 Titan SLI (www.computershopper.com) ^ Asus Republic of Gamers GX700 (www.computershopper.com) ^ Origin EON17-SLX (www.computershopper.com) ^ Aorus X7 Pro (www.computershopper.com) ^ MSI GT72 Dominator Pro (www.computershopper.com) ^ Acer Predator 17 (www.computershopper.com) ^ Lenovo's upcoming Ideapad Y900 (www.computershopper.com)
  • 2016 Guide: The Best Cheap Gaming Laptops There's finding the Holy Grail. Then, there's the Ark of the Covenant. And then , there's finding a serious gaming laptop that's both future-proof and doesn't cost a bundle. Not long ago, you might as well have hunted for one in that fabled Indiana Jones warehouse full of crates. MSI's GE72 Apache Pro: £1,299 in our test configuration, a big-screen, budget 17.3-incher. Back just a few years, a gaming laptop capable of playing the very latest PC games at decently high detail settings cost an easy £2,000 or more, if you wanted a model that would be viable for more than a year or two. Today, things have changed a bit though the degree of change does depend on how you define a gaming laptop. Here at Computer Shopper, we don't consider any machine a true gaming laptop unless it comes with a dedicated graphics chipset . The lines are a little blurry here, mind you. That's because plenty of older games and casual games will run just fine on the integrated graphics that are a part of the latest CPUs from Intel and AMD, particularly if you dial back the games' detail settings and resolution. A plain value: Gigabyte's P55W v4, £1,299 as tested, takes it easy on styling. If that's the extent of your gaming, you might be able to get by with a cheaper laptop that doesn't have its own dedicated graphics chip at all and relies on that circuitry that's part of the CPU. The best integrated graphics to be found at this writing are the various HD Graphics aboard some of Intel's late-model "Skylake" 6th-Generation processors, as well as the seldom-seen Iris flavors of integrated graphics that were a part of a few chips in Intel's 5th-Generation Core ("Broadwell") processor line. (Mostly, they were used in MacBooks.) And let's not forget the variants of Radeon integrated graphics that are part of AMD's A series mobile processors, seen in the occasional low-end or midrange laptop. Mobile Graphics Chips: The Big Differentiators For real gaming, however, you'll want a dedicated graphics chip. On an AMD CPU-based laptop, this will be a Radeon chipset with the designation "M" for mobile. That said, gaming laptops that are all-AMD (that is, with both an AMD CPU and a dedicated AMD graphics chip) are pretty scarce here in 2016. Dell's Inspiron 15 7559: A £799 budget machine with GeForce GTX 960M. It's a bit different on machines that use an Intel CPU. Any dedicated graphics will be the mobile versions of either an AMD Radeon M200- or M300-series chip or ( much more commonly, these days) Nvidia's GeForce silicon. Nvidia, too, uses an "M" to differentiate its laptop and desktop graphics parts. In current laptops for sale, you may see some last-generation GeForce 800M series GPUs, but the new stuff is the GeForce 900M series. The higher-end GPUs in both lines are prefaced with "GTX." The 900M series ranges from the GeForce 920M up to the GeForce GTX 980M; the GeForce GTX 960M and up is where serious gamers will want to start paying attention. (You might recall that older Nvidia-based laptops signalled their lower-end GPUs with "GeForce GT"; not anymore.) You're not likely to find the top of Nvidia's or AMD's line in an under-£1,500 gaming laptop, but with luck, you can land two or three notches from the top. (Nvidia also now has a GeForce GTX 980 for laptops note, there's no "M" there, as it's a desktop-grade chip for laptops but you won't see it in low-cost gaming machines.) The landscape around budget gaming machines has changed quite a bit over the last year. Component maker Gigabyte has continued to release conservative-looking, good-value gaming units alongside machines from its Aorus brand, which offer more typical gaming-laptop styling and e-sports-centric extras like dedicated hardware encoders to assist with game streaming. Asus' Republic of Gamers brand now spans down into some budget models. MSI remains a leading player in this market, with models starting under £1,000 and rising to multiples of that. And Lenovo has established a solid presence in lower-end gaming machines with its late-2015 Ideapad Y700 models. In short: You no longer have to opt for third-string brands or end-of-life models in this price range. All of these brands offer viable new options under £1,500 now, and some under £1,000. (Even Dell itself has wiggled into that space, separately from its iconic Alienware gaming brand, with its highly intriguing Inspiron 15 7559 1 , a £799, GeForce GTX 960M-based unit.) Pricing & Buying Basics: What to Look For Which brings us to pricing. Our price range for cheap gaming laptops is a lot higher than for other kinds of cheap notebooks. A budget Windows laptop these days will go for £200 to £400. If you're looking for a laptop with a dedicated graphics chipset, most of these models start around £1,000 and reach to the skies, though you can find isolated models in the £750 to £1,000 range. Our filter, for the purposes of this "cheap" roundup, is from £800 to £1,500. Note, though, that most of the machines below you can find for more or less than the cited prices because many are available in multiple or customizable configurations. Take the selections we've made below as just a starting point as suggestions for the laptop lines and vendors to investigate. Here are the key criteria to look for in low-cost gaming machines. PROCESSOR & RAM. A maxed-out CPU like an Intel Core i7 is less crucial for budget gaming than it is for processor-intensive tasks like video editing or media-file production work. On the AMD side of the fence, in the rare gaming laptops you'll find based on AMD CPUs, gamers will see mostly AMD A10 chips paired with an AMD Radeon chip. (We haven't tested any of these of late, but Lenovo recently introduced an AMD A10/Radeon R7 M380 version of its Ideapad Y700 2 , which we tested in Intel/Nvidia trim.) These won't provide world-beating productivity performance, but they're good picks for budget gaming. Lenovo's Ideapad Y700: Available in Intel/Nvidia or AMD trim. On the much more common Intel side, the grade of the dedicated GPU is more important than the specific CPU, assuming you're getting one of the 5th-Generation "Broadwell" or 6th-Generation "Skylake" Intel Core chips, either a Core i5 or a Core i7. We've seen decent battery-life results from these chips as a whole, especially combined with late-model Nvidia GPUs, but these are gaming laptops, and gamers will tend to spend most of their time near an AC outlet. Gaming laptops have been notorious, as a class, for running just a couple of hours off their batteries, but chips and power management have gotten better over the years. You can't expect a full day of battery life from a gaming machine, but things have improved. Meanwhile, on the memory front, 4GB is the usual minimum these days, but 8GB is a good upper target. Much beyond that will deliver diminishing returns for games and boost the price, which is a concern for systems in this price range. Every dollar needs to count. STORAGE. A year or two ago, you'd be dealing strictly with ordinary hard drives, rather than smaller but speedier solid-state drives (SSDs), in gaming machines in this price range. Hard drives still have their place, as games are among the most space-hogging programs out there, but an SSD boot drive, or an SSD boot drive paired with a second (platter) hard drive for mass storage is a much better solution to speed up perceived performance. SSDs and games are a great match; levels load faster, and games load more quickly than with hard drives, assuming the key game files are stored on the SSD. An SSD boot drive of at least 256GB is ideal (that space fills up faster than you'd think!), but in this price range, you're more likely to see 128GB SSDs, which can suffice if you manage the space well and uninstall games as you complete them. We like the 128GB SSD/1TB hard drive combination we saw in our £999, 15.6-inch screened Best Buy review unit of the Lenovo Ideapad Y700 we mentioned earlier. The Alienware 15: In our test unit, squeaked in under £1,500 with GeForce GTX 970M power. D ISPLAY SIZE & INPUT. Except for a handful of 14-inch slim-line models like the Razer Blade 3 or MSI GS40 Phantom 4 , cheap or not, most gaming laptops follow the "more is better" philosophy of screen space. That translates to 15.6- or 17.3-inch displays, usually with 1,920x1,080 resolution. (The 15.6-inch screen is an especially common match in this class of gaming laptops, as panel makers manage the greatest efficiencies when manufacturing displays at that size.) The 1,920x1,080 resolution, commonly called "1080p," is a good match for GeForce GTX 960M and GTX 970M graphics processors, which are the mobile-graphics sweet-spot choices for gaming at that resolution without much compromise on detail settings. Note, however, that touch-screen input is not the norm on gaming machines. If you want touch input (and it is undeniably handy for Windows 10), you'll have to shop carefully. References ^ Inspiron 15 7559 (www.computershopper.com) ^ Ideapad Y700 (www.computershopper.com) ^ Razer Blade (www.computershopper.com) ^ MSI GS40 Phantom (www.computershopper.com)
  • 2016 Hyundai Ioniq HEV review What is it?: This is Hyundai s 1 first mainstream hybrid car, which is part of Hyundai s aim to have 22 eco-friendly cars on sale by 2020: 12 hybrids, six plug-in hybrids, two electric vehicles and two fuel cell vehicles. Interestingly, the Ioniq will account for three of these new models. As well as a conventional hybrid model, the car will also be sold as a plug-in hybrid and a pure EV. The core of the Ioniq s 2 engineering is to keep it simple, and it s certainly rather simpler than Toyota s Prius 3 . This simplicity is also intended to keep the costs down, so this hybrid should arrive in showrooms with a price that is not much more than a modern diesel car with an EU6-rated engine. Hyundai says it also wanted to fix a couple of other issues that have been criticised on hybrids such as the Prius and Honda Insight 4 . Most important was eliminating the droning and elastic sense of acceleration associated with CVT hybrid transmissions. Hyundai is also trying to engender a degree of driving pleasure and to try to make the car as refined as possible. The first money-saving move was to build the Ioniq on a modified version of the new platform underpinning the new Vauxhall Astra 5 -sized Elantra model. As well as getting a bespoke multi-link rear axle (and having much of the suspension components made of aluminium), the rear half of the floorpan is modified to incorporate three different battery capacities. This hybrid version gets a small 1.5kWh battery that is slotted into the same space under the rear seats as the fuel tank. The latter is squeezed down to a 45-litre capacity. Work on refinement included upgraded insulation behind the dash and in the A and B-pillars, thicker window glass and a sound-deadening film on the windscreen. The plug-in hybrid and EV versions of the Ioniq get progressively bigger battery packs that are squeezed under the boot floor and, in the EV, also replace the fuel tank. There s no news on the size of these battery packs, but Hyundai is estimating an EV-only range of 32 miles for the PHEV and 155 miles for the EV. The new hybrid transmission also has simplicity on its side. Hyundai says it is the first company to build a DSG gearbox that shifts quickly enough to be used in conjunction with a petrol engine and the electric motor. The six-speed box uses dry clutches, gets Sport and Eco settings and is said to be 95% efficient in transferring the engine s power. The petrol engine is a development of the company s existing Kappa petrol family, which is said to be 40% thermally efficient - unusually high for a petrol motor and matching the latest Toyota petrol units for theoretical efficiency. The exterior styling deliberately avoids Prius-like individuality. It s quite modestly sized - not dissimilar to the Mk2 Honda Insight - and there are a few obvious eco car markers such as the large, blank grille, sizeable LED running lights and the twin-window hatchback. The interior is similarly toned down and restrained. It s dominated by the 7.0in dash screen and neatly aligned rows of switches for the audio, navigation and climate control systems. There s a big, useful cubby space at the base of the centre console that has twin power sockets and an induction charging pad for mobile phones. There s even a big slot moulded by the centre armrest for a tablet computer. The Ioniq further advances the clever heater technology from the Kia Soul EV, offering a driver-only setting, which helps to reduce power consumption. What's it like?: Effortless is probably the best way of describing the Ioniq. Driving it out into the Seoul morning traffic, it s clear within the first few hundred yards that this is a car engineered for the lower speeds and heavy traffic of cities such as Tokyo and Los Angeles. The chassis tuning - in this Korean-spec version at least - is on the pleasant side of firm. There s a little bump-thump from the rear end at low speeds on inner-city roads, but the Ioniq is almost EV-like in its progress. There s no hesitation from this transmission - the company really has delivered on developing a hybrid with a sense of direct drive - and it s smooth and very refined in city situations, especially when the engine is in stop-start mode. The braking system also seemed a step ahead of many regenerative systems, switching smoothly between braking on the motor and braking mechanically. On a Seoul urban motorway network with a speed limit of just 56mph, it was difficult to tell how well the Ioniq would cope with the high-speed traffic on UK motorways. But again, the DSG transmission is impressively normal in its responses to demands for acceleration, shifting quickly and locking the engine back into the front wheels without hunting. On the run out to the hills east of Seoul, the Ioniq averaged nearly 52mpg - impressive when the engine had just 500 miles under its camshafts and the exterior temperature was -6deg. Then again, the whole journey was run at a near-ideal speed for maximum economy. A short drive along undulating A-roads showed the car in particularly impressive form. Watching the live graphic showing how the Ioniq shuttles between using engine power, battery power and coasting (when heading downhill), revealed a transmission that s extremely reactive and quick-thinking. These road conditions showed that the chassis has some life and character, although it is hardly a compelling driver s car. The steering is light but quite well judged to allow the driver to place the car accurately and the body control is nicely judged. Should I buy one?: The Ioniq is probably the most normal-feeling small hybrid yet. Hyundai was quite right in identifying what could be improved on the benchmark Prius 3. This car has a lightness about it and a pleasant transmission that is also well suited to motorway use. It is particularly impressive on A-roads, where the very quick-thinking engine control software takes best advantage of the immediate road conditions. On the downside, it may be a little too self-effacing both in presentation and driving character. It would be a difficult switch from a conventional turbodiesel to a car like the Ioniq. While a driver can push the diesel quite hard and still be rewarded with a combination of speed and frugality, this hybrid would have to be piloted thoughtfully to extract maximum economy. It s not a car that wants to be pushed along. It requires a light foot and a light touch on the wheel. But it is quite satisfying when driven in that way, especially when keeping a close eye on the car s energy use. With the real-world pollution of diesel cars likely to be under scrutiny for the next few years, the Ioniq looks like it will finally offer a price competitive alternative to derv. It ll be whisper-clean in urban areas, but it requires a different mindset to make the best of it. Hyundai Ioniq HEV Location Seoul, Korea; On sale March 2016; Price 18,000 (from, est); Engine 4 cyls, 1595cc and electric motor; Power 104bhp at 5700rpm and 43bhp electric motor; Torque 196Ib ft combined; Kerb weight tbc; Gearbox 6-spd auto; 0-60mph 10.8s; Top speed 115mph; Economy 79.0mpg (combined); CO2/tax band 81g/km, 13% References ^ Hyundai s (www.autocar.co.uk) ^ Ioniq s (www.autocar.co.uk) ^ Toyota s Prius (www.autocar.co.uk) ^ Honda Insight (www.autocar.co.uk) ^ Vauxhall Astra (www.autocar.co.uk)
  • 2016 Mac mini release date, specs, features, UK price: Broadwell processor ... Will a new Mac mini launch this year? The cheapest Mac wasn't updated at all in 2015... We think Apple should add Skylake processors to the Mac mini. Here's what we are expecting including everything you need to know including UK price, specs, features and release date. Apple has given nothing away about the new Mac mini yet, but based on past experience and the existing specs of other Macs, it is easy to surmise what to expect from the new Mac mini. We are also pretty sure that the Mac mini will be updated soon, given that it wasn't touched at all in 2015! In this story we round up the latest information based on what we deem to be credible rumours and speculation, and our own analysis of Apple rumours. We'll update this story as new rumours and evidence comes in, so keep checking back. After a two year wait, Apple finally updated the Mac mini on 16 October 2014, but Mac mini fans are now waiting for the next iteration of the smallest/cheapest Mac, hopefully coming in 2016. Find out more about the latest Mac mini in our Mac mini (Late 2014) 1.4 GHz review and Mac mini (Late 2014) 2.8GHz review. 1 2 Also read: Apple rumours and predictions for 2016 3 Mac mini 2016 release date: When is the new Mac mini coming out? We had expected that Apple could announce a new Mac mini in the autumn of 2015, possibly along side the new iMac with 4K Retina display 4 , or at the same time as the El Capitan 5 launch. But those opportunities have both been and gone and we've still not got a new Mac mini. We're getting impatient! The 2014 Mac mini became available to buy immediately after Apple's 16 October 2014 keynote ended, and you can still order a new Mac mini on the Online Apple Store 6 . Shipping times are not clear since Apple changed its online store - now products just say "Get Delivery Dates", but a search by postcode suggests the unit will ship in 24 hours, suggesting an imminent launch is unlikley. However, an update is overdue. Since the introduction of the Mac mini in 2014, Apple has added new processors to it's range of laptops - with the MacBook Air and the 13in MacBook Pro models gained Broadwell processors (however, the 15in model is still using Haswell!) Plus, the 21.5in iMac now has Broadwell and the bigger 27in iMac has the even newer Skylake chips. We think that the Mac mini is in line to get a new processor soon too. Also read: Mac mini or MacBook Air: the best low-cost Mac for your money 7 Mac mini 2016 price: How much will the new Mac mini cost? There are currently three models of the Mac mini available, depending on your budget and your specification needs. The cheapest model currently costs 399, the middle model is 569, and the priciest model is 799. These prices ware significant because they marked a reduction of 100 compared to its price before the Mac mini came out, previously the cheapest Mac mini was 499, for example. Of course, you'll need to factor in the price of a monitor, keyboard and mouse with the Mac mini, though. However, we don't anticipate Apple reducing the price further with the new model when it launches, so you can expect similar pricing, but hopefully better specs. iMac or Mac mini - Mac desktops compared 8 Best Mac to buy: Mac Buying Guide 9 What is the Mac mini? It's understandable that you might not be aware the the Mac mini even exists - sometimes it looks like even Apple isn't aware of its presence (if the long gap before the 2014 model was launched is anything to go by). The Mac mini is Apple's smallest desktop Mac 10 and also its cheapest Mac, at 399. It's a full-blown OS X desktop that fits into a self-contained chassis no bigger than a set-top box. An inexpensive living room Mac that lacks the power of even some MacBooks and comes with no keyboard, mouse or display, but one that works perfectly as the centre of your digital home not least because it comes with HDMI sockets making plugging it into a modern TV a doddle. There used to be a Mac mini with OS X server available for 849 but Apple removed that option from the line up in October 2014. Don't forget: when you buy a Mac mini you also need a screen, mouse, and keyboard... Is Apple going to discontinue the Mac mini? in 2013 we were starting to worry that Apple would discontinue the Mac mini, indeed we speculated about whether Apple might discontinue the Mac mini 11 in this article 12 . We think Apple is wise to continue to ship this low cost of entry Mac because, despite the declines in the PC market, there is a lot of interest in Macs, as evidenced by the increase in Mac marketshare while the rest of the PC industry is in decline. In the future the Mac could become even more important for Apple. New 2016 Mac mini specs and features: Processor It seems likely that Apple has been waiting for Intel to ship the new Skylake chips before launching the new Mac mini, although it is also possible that they will use Broadwell chips. Broadwell is the successors to Haswell, Skylake replaced Broadwell (but Broadwell was so delayed that Skylake basically came out around the same time). There's been a bit of a delay waiting for Skylake processors that have integrated graphics chips though, which may explain why Apple hasn't issued an update yet. 2016 Mac mini rumours: Design It's possible that the Mac mini will get a new design. We're not expecting a major visual or build redesign, but it is certainly possible that it could get thinner and smaller, especially since it no longer has to accommodate a CD drive. Right now the dimensions are 3.6cm high, 19.7cm wide, and it weighs 1.22kg. How about a Mac mini that has similar dimensions to an Apple TV (9.8cm wide, 2.3cm high, 0.27kg). There was some speculation that the reason for the long delay prior to the Mac mini update in 2014 was that Apple was looking at redesiging the Mac mini along the lines of the Mac Pro 13 . This was probably intended as an April Fool's Day prank, but we like this render of a flat Mac mini, as seen on 14 Apple User. Even better, how about a Mac mini that was also an Apple TV 15 ! Adding Apple TV functionality to a Mac mini would be a great way of getting the Mac mini into people's living rooms as a home entertainment device. 2016 Mac mini rumours: RAM Currently the entry-level Mac mini features just 4GB RAM as standard, we would like to see that ramped up to 8GB in the new entry-level model. 2016 Mac mini rumours: flash storage The other big change we hope to see in the 2015 Mac mini is more flash drive options. Currently the 2.8GHz model comes with a Fusion Drive, or you can add 256GB flash storage to that model, or the 2.8GHz model. While the 500GB hard drive in the current entry level model (and the 1TB hard drive as standard in the 569 model) might appear attractive to some, flash memory is so much faster that we believe it is well worth the compromise of storing additional files on an external hard drive. However, it seems unlikely that Apple would do away with the hard drive storage option all together as many workgroups choose the Mac mini as a server and will need the extra capacity and lower prices that HD storage makes possible. 2016 Mac mini specs As well as the new price tag mentioned earlier, the 2014 Mac mini differed from its predecessor when it comes to specs, though the overall design of the Mac mini remains the same. It features Intel's Haswell processors, 802.11ac WiFi and Thunderbolt 2. The 2014 Mac mini is available with the choice of three processors, all dual-core Intel Core i5. Those options are 1.4GHz, 2.6GHz or 2.8GHz. The two higher-end models are configurable, though, allowing you to add a 3.0GHz dual-core Intel i7 processor if you choose (at an additional cost, of course). The 1.4GHz model comes with a 500GB hard drive, while the 2.6GHz model features a 1TB hard drive and the 2.8GHz model has a 1TB Fusion Drive. When it comes to memory, the 399 model features 4GB, while the other two models have 8GB of memory, but all are configurable up to 16GB. The 399 model will give you Intel HD Graphics 5000, while the two more expensive models both feature Intel Iris Graphics. Apple says that this means up to 90 percent faster graphics performance than the previous generation. You'll now find two Thunderbolt 2 ports on the Mac mini, as well as the faster 802.11ac WiFi standard. We hope to see Thunderbolt 3 coming to the Mac mini soon, which will incorporate USB Type-C. References ^ Mac mini review, 2014, 1.4GHz (www.macworld.co.uk) ^ Best Mac mini review (www.macworld.co.uk) ^ Apple rumours and predictions for 2016 (www.macworld.co.uk) ^ New 21in iMac release date (www.macworld.co.uk) ^ El Capitan review (www.macworld.co.uk) ^ the Online Apple Store (store.apple.com) ^ Best cheap Mac, MacBook Air or Mac mini (www.macworld.co.uk) ^ Mac mini or iMac (www.macworld.co.uk) ^ Which Mac to buy (www.macworld.co.uk) ^ Desktop Mac reviews (www.macworld.co.uk) ^ Will Apple ditch Mac mini (www.macworld.co.uk) ^ Why Mac mini discontinued (www.macworld.co.uk) ^ Mac Pro (www.macworld.co.uk) ^ as seen on (appleuser.com) ^ Apple TV review (www.macworld.co.uk)
  • 2016 Mac mini release date, specs, features, UK price: Broadwell processor bump anticipated soon Will a new Mac mini launch this year? The cheapest Mac wasn't updated at all in 2015... We think Apple should add Skylake processors to the Mac mini. Here's what we are expecting including everything you need to know including UK price, specs, features and release date. Apple has given nothing away about the new Mac mini yet, but based on past experience and the existing specs of other Macs, it is easy to surmise what to expect from the new Mac mini. We are also pretty sure that the Mac mini will be updated soon, given that it wasn't touched at all in 2015! In this story we round up the latest information based on what we deem to be credible rumours and speculation, and our own analysis of Apple rumours. We'll update this story as new rumours and evidence comes in, so keep checking back. After a two year wait, Apple finally updated the Mac mini on 16 October 2014, but Mac mini fans are now waiting for the next iteration of the smallest/cheapest Mac, hopefully coming in 2016. Find out more about the latest Mac mini in our Mac mini (Late 2014) 1.4 GHz review and Mac mini (Late 2014) 2.8GHz review. 1 2 Also read: Apple rumours and predictions for 2016 3 Mac mini 2016 release date: When is the new Mac mini coming out? We had expected that Apple could announce a new Mac mini in the autumn of 2015, possibly along side the new iMac with 4K Retina display 4 , or at the same time as the El Capitan 5 launch. But those opportunities have both been and gone and we've still not got a new Mac mini. We're getting impatient! The 2014 Mac mini became available to buy immediately after Apple's 16 October 2014 keynote ended, and you can still order a new Mac mini on the Online Apple Store 6 . Shipping times are not clear since Apple changed its online store - now products just say "Get Delivery Dates", but a search by postcode suggests the unit will ship in 24 hours, suggesting an imminent launch is unlikley. However, an update is overdue. Since the introduction of the Mac mini in 2014, Apple has added new processors to it's range of laptops - with the MacBook Air and the 13in MacBook Pro models gained Broadwell processors (however, the 15in model is still using Haswell!) Plus, the 21.5in iMac now has Broadwell and the bigger 27in iMac has the even newer Skylake chips. We think that the Mac mini is in line to get a new processor soon too. Also read: Mac mini or MacBook Air: the best low-cost Mac for your money 7 Mac mini 2016 price: How much will the new Mac mini cost? There are currently three models of the Mac mini available, depending on your budget and your specification needs. The cheapest model currently costs 399, the middle model is 569, and the priciest model is 799. These prices ware significant because they marked a reduction of 100 compared to its price before the Mac mini came out, previously the cheapest Mac mini was 499, for example. Of course, you'll need to factor in the price of a monitor, keyboard and mouse with the Mac mini, though. However, we don't anticipate Apple reducing the price further with the new model when it launches, so you can expect similar pricing, but hopefully better specs. iMac or Mac mini - Mac desktops compared 8 Best Mac to buy: Mac Buying Guide 9 What is the Mac mini? It's understandable that you might not be aware the the Mac mini even exists - sometimes it looks like even Apple isn't aware of its presence (if the long gap before the 2014 model was launched is anything to go by). The Mac mini is Apple's smallest desktop Mac 10 and also its cheapest Mac, at 399. It's a full-blown OS X desktop that fits into a self-contained chassis no bigger than a set-top box. An inexpensive living room Mac that lacks the power of even some MacBooks and comes with no keyboard, mouse or display, but one that works perfectly as the centre of your digital home not least because it comes with HDMI sockets making plugging it into a modern TV a doddle. There used to be a Mac mini with OS X server available for 849 but Apple removed that option from the line up in October 2014. Don't forget: when you buy a Mac mini you also need a screen, mouse, and keyboard... Is Apple going to discontinue the Mac mini? in 2013 we were starting to worry that Apple would discontinue the Mac mini, indeed we speculated about whether Apple might discontinue the Mac mini 11 in this article 12 . We think Apple is wise to continue to ship this low cost of entry Mac because, despite the declines in the PC market, there is a lot of interest in Macs, as evidenced by the increase in Mac marketshare while the rest of the PC industry is in decline. In the future the Mac could become even more important for Apple. New 2016 Mac mini specs and features: Processor It seems likely that Apple has been waiting for Intel to ship the new Skylake chips before launching the new Mac mini, although it is also possible that they will use Broadwell chips. Broadwell is the successors to Haswell, Skylake replaced Broadwell (but Broadwell was so delayed that Skylake basically came out around the same time). There's been a bit of a delay waiting for Skylake processors that have integrated graphics chips though, which may explain why Apple hasn't issued an update yet. 2016 Mac mini rumours: Design It's possible that the Mac mini will get a new design. We're not expecting a major visual or build redesign, but it is certainly possible that it could get thinner and smaller, especially since it no longer has to accommodate a CD drive. Right now the dimensions are 3.6cm high, 19.7cm wide, and it weighs 1.22kg. How about a Mac mini that has similar dimensions to an Apple TV (9.8cm wide, 2.3cm high, 0.27kg). There was some speculation that the reason for the long delay prior to the Mac mini update in 2014 was that Apple was looking at redesiging the Mac mini along the lines of the Mac Pro 13 . This was probably intended as an April Fool's Day prank, but we like this render of a flat Mac mini, as seen on 14 Apple User. Even better, how about a Mac mini that was also an Apple TV 15 ! Adding Apple TV functionality to a Mac mini would be a great way of getting the Mac mini into people's living rooms as a home entertainment device. 2016 Mac mini rumours: RAM Currently the entry-level Mac mini features just 4GB RAM as standard, we would like to see that ramped up to 8GB in the new entry-level model. 2016 Mac mini rumours: flash storage The other big change we hope to see in the 2015 Mac mini is more flash drive options. Currently the 2.8GHz model comes with a Fusion Drive, or you can add 256GB flash storage to that model, or the 2.8GHz model. While the 500GB hard drive in the current entry level model (and the 1TB hard drive as standard in the 569 model) might appear attractive to some, flash memory is so much faster that we believe it is well worth the compromise of storing additional files on an external hard drive. However, it seems unlikely that Apple would do away with the hard drive storage option all together as many workgroups choose the Mac mini as a server and will need the extra capacity and lower prices that HD storage makes possible. 2016 Mac mini specs As well as the new price tag mentioned earlier, the 2014 Mac mini differed from its predecessor when it comes to specs, though the overall design of the Mac mini remains the same. It features Intel's Haswell processors, 802.11ac WiFi and Thunderbolt 2. The 2014 Mac mini is available with the choice of three processors, all dual-core Intel Core i5. Those options are 1.4GHz, 2.6GHz or 2.8GHz. The two higher-end models are configurable, though, allowing you to add a 3.0GHz dual-core Intel i7 processor if you choose (at an additional cost, of course). The 1.4GHz model comes with a 500GB hard drive, while the 2.6GHz model features a 1TB hard drive and the 2.8GHz model has a 1TB Fusion Drive. When it comes to memory, the 399 model features 4GB, while the other two models have 8GB of memory, but all are configurable up to 16GB. The 399 model will give you Intel HD Graphics 5000, while the two more expensive models both feature Intel Iris Graphics. Apple says that this means up to 90 percent faster graphics performance than the previous generation. You'll now find two Thunderbolt 2 ports on the Mac mini, as well as the faster 802.11ac WiFi standard. We hope to see Thunderbolt 3 coming to the Mac mini soon, which will incorporate USB Type-C. References ^ Mac mini review, 2014, 1.4GHz (www.macworld.co.uk) ^ Best Mac mini review (www.macworld.co.uk) ^ Apple rumours and predictions for 2016 (www.macworld.co.uk) ^ New 21in iMac release date (www.macworld.co.uk) ^ El Capitan review (www.macworld.co.uk) ^ the Online Apple Store (store.apple.com) ^ Best cheap Mac, MacBook Air or Mac mini (www.macworld.co.uk) ^ Mac mini or iMac (www.macworld.co.uk) ^ Which Mac to buy (www.macworld.co.uk) ^ Desktop Mac reviews (www.macworld.co.uk) ^ Will Apple ditch Mac mini (www.macworld.co.uk) ^ Why Mac mini discontinued (www.macworld.co.uk) ^ Mac Pro (www.macworld.co.uk) ^ as seen on (appleuser.com) ^ Apple TV review (www.macworld.co.uk)
  • 2016 MacBook review: A laptop with a point of view The MacBook isn t just a laptop. It s a statement. It doesn t happen with every Apple product, but every so often the company creates a product that comes with a point of view so strong, it s like a statement of personal belief if a technology product from a many-billion-dollar corporation could ever be that. It s impossible not to look at the MacBook and see its idiosyncrasies. Size and weight have been prioritized over everything else. It s as narrow a laptop as can exist while still having a full-sized keyboard; it s so thin that the key travel on the keyboard is minuscule. This is the laptop designed like an iPad, fanless and thin and with a single USB-C port. MacBook demands your criticism The price of making a statement is that it doesn t just invite criticism, it demands it. If everyone agreed that the MacBook was the right sort of computer, it wouldn t be a statement it would be obvious. So last year, when this MacBook design hit the scene, its quirks were rightly and fairly criticized. It s a device with a lot of limitations, and while reasonable critics can differ about whether those limitations are relevant for most of the MacBook s target audience, their existence isn t in question. What s less reasonable is transmuting last year s fair criticism into outrage that Apple hasn t given the MacBook an immediate rethink. Given the lead time it takes to redesign hardware, the cramped space inside the MacBook shell, and Apple s track record in keeping product designs around for at least two years, changing the MacBook design now would have been tantamount to Apple admitting that the statement it was making with the MacBook was misguided. While I m sure that Apple has heard the criticism and possibly even agreed with some of it, do I think that Apple regrets the overall statement that the MacBook makes? Not on your life. The MacBook is inhabiting the role that the MacBook Air used to fill in Apple s product line it s the future, the cutting edge, a product that seems outlandish today but will appear commonplace tomorrow. (I ll remind you that the MacBook Air also debuted as an impractical low-powered laptop with a single USB port and it was nearly three years before Apple redesigned the Air hardware.) I m also not entirely sure why Apple would regret it. Does every computer need to offer every feature to appeal to every user? We heap our expectation and desire on every new Apple product, and the MacBook s design pushes back. It is unabashedly a product that is not created to check all the boxes. In fact, it checks some you didn t know existed and ignores the existence of ones you considered givens. Though I m not entirely convinced that we re all evolving beyond our need for wired peripherals, there s certainly an argument to be made that most MacBook users won t miss the lack of USB ports. (Indeed, Apple s choice to move to USB-C breaking compatibility with previous peripherals seems like more of a speed bump.) In a year or two, when Apple will likely take the opportunity to re-engineer the MacBook hardware, the wild design decisions of 2015 1 will seem a bit less wild, and more powerful and smaller parts will allow Apple to make that hardware more functional without giving up on its vision for the product. (Idle speculation: If Apple s really ditching the headphone jack in the iPhone 7, perhaps a future MacBook will have two USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 ports, one on either side of the case. The ultra-thin design wouldn t be compromised, and people who need to hook up headphones or speakers would either use Bluetooth or a USB-C audio adapter. I m not saying I love the idea, but it does sound like something Apple would do.) It s the same, only better Meta-commentary on the reaction to the MacBook aside, the fact remains: This is a speed bump to an existing product design, as almost always happens in the second year of an Apple hardware release. Some things on the inside have changed, but the basic facts of this product remain the same. Yes, the keyboard still lacks in terms of key travel, and whether you will find it problematic is a matter of personal taste. I don t really love typing on it, but I can type at full speed. Perhaps the keyboard instills a little less trepidation in me now that Apple has released the Magic Keyboard, which suggests that the company isn t using the MacBook s keyboard as the basis for all of its other keyboards going forward. While I don t love the MacBook keyboard, it does the job and probably isn t going to infest the rest of the product line. I ll take it. The MacBook also has a Force Touch Trackpad, and again, personal taste applies. I think it s just fine, and after a few days of using it you d never notice that it s not really depressing when you push on it, just vibrating in a way to make you feel like you ve clicked it. However, Apple has done a poor job 2 of making Force Touch an essential feature on OS X, so the trackpad s support for sensing various levels of pressure feels largely irrelevant. Perhaps a future OS X update will make this feature more relevant. That one USB-C port is still there, and if you need to charge your laptop while plugging in something, you ll need a hub. (And for all your old USB devices, you ll need an adapter.) If you plug USB devices in a lot, this is worth considering: You ll need to travel with extra gear or park a hub at your workspace to use as a dock when you re not roaming. Fortunately, there are many more USB-C accessories, especially hubs, available today than when the MacBook was originally available last year. But if you travel a lot and need to plug in external devices, you ll need to carry some sort of dongle, which is a drag. The rest of the MacBook is also still intact and unchanged: A spectacularly good Retina display at 2304-by-1440 pixels. It weighs two pounds and even makes my 11-inch MacBook Air look large. It even makes my 12.9-inch iPad Pro look big. (For the record, the iPad Pro is a little less than half a pound lighter, but its screen is bigger.) When it s closed, the MacBook feels like an iPad in a shell. 2015 s MacBook model really did struggle when it came to its Intel Core M processor, a poorer performer than the Core i5 chips common in other Apple laptops. The Core M runs cooler than the i5, and since the MacBook doesn t have a cooling fan, that was a necessary trade-off. The 2016 models are still running Core M-family processors, but these models (part of Intel s Skylake generation of chips) are definitely upgrades. As with the 2015 model, Apple is selling three different processor variants for the 2016 MacBook: You can get a model with a 1.1GHz Intel Core m3, a 1.2GHz Intel Core m5, or (as a build-to-order option) the 1.3GHz Core m7. I tested the 1.2Ghz Core m5 model, which offers Turbo Boost up to 2.7GHz. Using GeekBench 3, it managed to score higher than my 2013 Core i7 MacBook Air on the single-core test, while being a bit behind on the multi-core test. It was appreciably faster than last year s model, which is great news. (I should also mention that my 12.9-inch iPad Pro beat both of these laptops on the single-core GeekBench 3 test, though it lagged behind both on the multi-core test.) A good tool is designed with purpose, a point of view, and an intended user 3 . The MacBook may be a good tool for you, if you use a computer in a way that fits Apple s vision. This is a light, thin device that provides a decent (but not more) amount of computing power in a traditional computer interface. Apple makes products that surround the MacBook that offer more of one thing or less of another. If you want something smaller and more flexible, and don t require that traditional cursor-and-keyboard interface, the iPad Pro might be a better choice. And if you want more of everything power, ports, display size the MacBook Pro is going to be a better fit. (I m hopeful than in the coming months, we ll see new MacBook Pros that incorporate some of the same philosophy that led to the MacBook, but in less extreme measure.) My daughter has repelled my suggestions that she use an iPad 4 , preferring an old Chromebook I gave her. When she saw the new MacBook, I could see it in her eyes this is a computer she d love to have. It provides everything she needs, and nothing she doesn t and it would save me from having to let her onto my iMac when she needs to run real software. It s a good fit for her. It might be for you. Or it might not. That s the thing about products with a point of view: Not everyone will share it. If you appreciate articles like this one, help us continue doing Six Colors (and get some fun benefits) by becoming a Six Colors subscriber . ] References ^ wild design decisions of 2015 (www.macworld.com) ^ done a poor job (www.macworld.com) ^ is designed with purpose, a point of view, and an intended user (www.macworld.com) ^ repelled my suggestions that she use an iPad (www.macworld.com) ^ becoming a Six Colors subscriber (sixcolors.com)
  • 2016 NFL Draft Scouting Notebook for Week 13 In speaking to a source close to former UCLA linebacker Myles Jack , I learned he's well ahead of his rehab schedule and is already doing weighted squats and field work as he recovers from a torn meniscus. Jack, who played running back and linebacker for the Bruins, projects as a top-15 pick at linebacker. Keep an eye on Auburn left tackle Shon Coleman . The junior is a cancer survivor (leukemia) and a top-tier athlete with a big mean streak. Former NFL 1 lineman and current offensive lineman trainer LeCharles Bentley compared him to Willie Roaf 2 this week. Eastern Washington receiver Cooper Kupp has dominated the record books in his last two seasons, and the junior announced on his Instagram account 3 that he'll return for one more season at EWU and not enter the 2016 NFL draft. Former Ohio State defensive end Noah Spence dominated at Eastern Kentucky this fall, and in a conversation this week he told me he's been invited to the 2016 Senior Bowl and plans to accept the invite. Although he's a junior, Spence graduates from EKU on December 11 and is therefore eligible for the Senior Bowl. A first-round talent on the field, but he must answer questions about failed drug tests that led to his dismissal from Ohio State. This from an area scout via text this week: "You guys the media are too low on Leonard Floyd . He's going to be top-10 for us." The Georgia linebacker has been linked to the NFL draft and recently tweeted 4 about leaving Georgia for the NFL. The 2016 quarterback class is underwhelming, according to multiple NFL scouts I've spoken to, but one name they all like as a potential starter is Carson Wentz from North Dakota State. One team I spoke to this week said Wentz could go as early as the late first round. South Carolina linebacker Skai Moore is leaning toward entering the draft as an underclassman. That's from both team sources at USC and a family member I spoke to this week. Moore is undersized (6'2", currently 225 pounds) but should test very well. Sources at Nebraska told me this week that defensive tackle Maliek Collins is expected to declare for the draft. Collins is expected to receive a first-round grade from the NFL draft advisory board. Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright has missed much of the 2015 season due to injuries, but I was told by a source close to his family that the junior has taken meetings with agents and is at this time expected to enter the draft a year early. Five Names to Know 5. No. 92 EDGE DeVonte Fields, Louisville As the regular season comes to a close, one name to file away to remember once the predraft events warm up is DeVonte Fields (6'4", 250 lbs) at Louisville. The former TCU defensive end was a star in the Big 12 before being dismissed from school. He's landed on his feet at Louisville and has stayed out of trouble while producing for the Cardinals. 4. No. 24 LB Terrance Smith, Florida State Athletic outside linebackers are all the rage in a 4-3 defense as teams try to adjust and adapt to speedier, pass-heavy offenses. To combat that, we're seeing guys like Terrance Smith (6'3", 222 lbs) play a ton of downs in the NFL. He's equipped to hold up in pass coverage, but like a traditional linebacker, he's able to stop the run and get after the quarterback some. He projects well as a 4-3 weak-side linebacker. 3. No. 3 QB Vernon Adams, Oregon Two months ago, I was ready to write off Vernon Adams, but then he came back from an early-season thumb injury, and ever since he's been fantastic. The film review on Adams is fascinating because he's been a polar opposite player since coming back healthy. He's undersized (5'11", 200 lbs) but has a quick whip on his delivery and a knack for making plays. 2. No. 78 G Landon Turner, North Carolina The offensive guard class isn't particularly strong, especially the seniors, but Landon Turner (6'3", 315 lbs) is the kind of mauler NFL scouts will fall in love with. How well he handles a fantastic Clemson defense in the ACC Championship Game will say a lot about his NFL draft stock. 1. No. 28 RB Kenneth Dixon, Louisiana Tech The running back class looks good again in 2015, and one of my favorites is a small-school stud. Kenneth Dixon (5'9", 212 lbs) reminds me of how Thomas Rawls looked last year in college, but this time around NFL scouts won't sleep on the bone-jarring running ability. Scouting Report: Reggie Ragland, Alabama Throughout the 2016 draft season, I'll highlight one draft prospect each week with a first-look scouting report. No. 19 Linebacker Reggie Ragland, Alabama (6'2", 254 lbs, est. 4.80 speed) Strengths: A two-year starter, senior Reggie Ragland has the measurables you want in a middle linebacker. He's a sturdy 6'2", and at 250-plus pounds he can bang with guards and fullbacks in the middle of the defense. Ragland isn't a speedster, but he has adequate speed for his size and has shown better field speed than track speed. In coverage, Ragland does a better job than I expected. Watching him against Arkansas tight end Hunter Henry, the No. 1 tight end in the country, Ragland showed he could flip his hips and run in-phase with the smooth-moving target. He uses his length and size well to redirect tight ends and will jam and get physical at the line of scrimmage. Ragland won't have to be removed on passing downs. Against the run, you see the toughness to handle blockers and the length to stack them up and then shed to attack the ball. Ragland is a hard hitter, and he closes on the ball in a hurry. Watching him run alleys and attack the ball, you see a first-round talent. Positionally, Ragland can play "Mike" (middle) or "Sam" (strong-side) linebacker in a 4-3 scheme. Teams running a 3-4 defense will like him as an inside linebacker, but he does have experience playing off the edge and has been productive there. Weaknesses: The biggest knock I heard from scouts all fall was that Ragland didn't have great football instincts, and that does show up some on film. He can be a late reactor to the ball, and in college that can be hidden by a great defensive line in front of him and good athleticism. In the NFL, you can't be a second or two late to the ball. This is something scouts must focus on when viewing Ragland against premier competition, and it is something teams can evaluate on the whiteboard at the NFL combine and in private meetings. Pro Comparison: Dont'a Hightower Generally speaking, school-to-school comparisons are something I don't like, but this one fits. Hightower was a three-down nightmare for offenses at Alabama and showed he could impact the game from all over the field. Ragland does that too, and while he's a bit leaner and more athletic than Hightower, I see them having very similar pro careers. Currently, Ragland projects as a top-25 player and the best true inside linebacker in this class. The Big Board Next week, I'll be publishing a new Top 100 big board with the top 10 players at each position, but it's been a long time since the last update, so I'm posting a Top 25 sneak peek here. Expect the full big board Thursday. Updated 2016 NFL Draft Big Board Rank Player Pos. School 1 Jared Goff QB California 2 Jaylon Smith LB Notre Dame 3 Joey Bosa EDGE Ohio State 4 Robert Nkemdiche DL Ole Miss 5 Ronnie Stanley T Notre Dame 6 Laremy Tunsil T Ole Miss 7 Vernon Hargreaves CB Florida 8 Jalen Ramsey FS FSU 9 Laquon Treadwell WR Ole Miss 10 Myles Jack LB UCLA 11 Mackensie Alexander CB Clemson 12 DeForest Buckner DL Oregon 13 Ezekiel Elliott RB Ohio State 14 Josh Doctson WR TCU 15 Leonard Floyd EDGE Georgia 16 Shaq Lawson EDGE Clemson 17 Paxton Lynch QB Memphis 18 Su'a Cravens LB USC 19 Andrew Billings DL Baylor 20 Maliek Collins DL Nebraska 21 Kenny Clark DL UCLA 22 Michael Thomas WR Ohio State 23 Reggie Ragland LB Alabama 24 Shon Coleman T Auburn 25 Jayron Kearse FS Clemson Matt Miller Parting Shots 10. The 2016 Senior Bowl roster is starting to take shape with another announcement of accepted invitations coming out each Tuesday. Here's the roster as it stands now, but remember, players can (and will) drop out between now and late January. Updated 2016 Senior Bowl Rosters QB Jeff Driskel, Louisiana Tech DE Jason Fanaika, Utah QB Carson Wentz, North Dakota State DE Dadi Nicolas, Virginia Tech RB Kenneth Dixon, Louisiana Tech DE Sheldon Rankins, Louisville RB Jonathan Williams, Arkansas DE Charles Tapper, Oklahoma FB Dan Vitale, Northwestern DE Jihad Ward, Illinois WR Jay Lee, Baylor DT Vernon Butler, Louisiana Tech WR Kolby Listenbee, TCU DT Matt Ioannidis, Temple WR Malcolm Mitchell, Georgia LB Kentrell Brothers, Missouri WR Chris Moore, Cincinnati LB Jordan Jenkins, Georgia WR Sterling Shepard, Oklahoma LB Blake Martinez, Stanford TE Jake McGee, Florida LB Tyler Matakevich, Temple TE Bryce Williams, East Carolina LB Jared Norris, Utah T Willie Beavers, Western Michigan LB Josh Perry, Ohio State T Joe Dahl, Washington State LB Joe Schobert, Wisconsin T Kyle Murphy, Stanford LB Eric Striker, Oklahoma T Jason Spriggs, Indiana CB James Bradberry, Samford T John Theus, Georgia CB Maurice Canady, Virginia T Cole Toner, Harvard CB Sean Davis, Maryland G Josh Garnett, Stanford CB Deiondre' Hall, Northern Iowa G Connor McGovern, Missouri CB William Jackson, Houston G Sebastian Tretola, Arkansas CB Jordan Lucas, Penn State G Christian Westerman, Arizona State CB Harlan Miller, SE Louisiana C Evan Boehm, Missouri CB Eric Murray, Minnesota S Kevin Byard, Middle Tennessee State S Miles Killebrew, Southern Utah S Darian Thompson, Boise State www.seniorbowl.com 9. Underclassman declarations are starting to be announced as players make plans before the January 18 deadline to enter the 2016 NFL draft. Here's a look at the notable announcements thus far. 2016 NFL Draft Underclassmen Expected to Declare Returning to School RB Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State (declared) WR Will Fuller, Notre Dame RB Jonathan Williams, Arkansas (declared) G Pat Elflein, Ohio State WR Pharoh Cooper, South Carolina (declared) DL Darius Hamilton, Rutgers WR Corey Coleman, Baylor DL Drew Ott, Iowa (injured) T Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame CB Jourdan Lewis, Michigan T Germain Ifedi, Texas A&M DE Joey Bosa, Ohio State DL Kenny Clark, UCLA DL Maliek Collins, Nebraska DL Yannick Ngakoue, Maryland (declared) DL Emmanuel Ogbah, Oklahoma State LB Leonard Floyd, Georgia (declared) LB Myles Jack, UCLA (declared) LB Skai Moore, South Carolina CB Mackensie Alexander, Clemson Matt Miller 8. Every now and then I'm going to recycle some old content because it's topical, and this week I wanted to reshare my 10 scouting rules from last year. Here they are: A lot of great football players are crappy people. A lot of crappy football players are good people. What a college coach or scheme asked the player to do isn't always all that he can do. Production must be the result of traits not a result of scheme or competition. Russell Wilson 5 was an exception, not the rule. Three games are a minimum before any report can be filed. Don't cheat it. Fall reports are meant to be updated. Don't hold yourself to early-season grades. Change is OK. Football character and personal character are different, but both can't be bad. Look for what a player can do, not what a player can't do. The Teddy Bridgewater Rule: Trust the film, not the workouts. When you're wrong, and you will be, admit it and learn from it. Self-study is crucial. 7. College coaching moves have a major impact on NFL draft declarations, and two moves this week point to significant decisions among the quarterbacks in this draft class. Memphis head coach Justin Fuente accepted the head coaching job at Virginia Tech, which points to junior quarterback Paxton Lynch's leaving school for the NFL after this season. Likewise, I'm hearing Cal head coach Sonny Dykes has been rumored for many openings, and if he leaves it would indicate quarterback Jared Goff will exit school early for the NFL. 6. What the heck is going on in Cleveland? Johnny Manziel 6 is being punished for breaking his promise to the team about drinking and for lying about what he did during the bye week, per Jay Glazer 7 of Fox Sports, and that's good. Manziel needs accountability, something he didn't have at Texas A&M. He has to learn discipline, something that's apparently missing from his life. But why are the Browns continuing down this road with him? The best move, for all involved, would be to simply cut Manziel and let him learn his lesson somewhere else. It doesn't benefit the Browns to have this negative attention hanging around the club, and it doesn't help Manziel to have the clear disapproval of the head coach and team following him around. 5. The NFL announced this week that for the first time, compensatory draft picks are to be traded starting with the 2017 draft class. That's great news for teams that lose free agents and are awarded compensatory picks. The way the system works now, if a team loses a free agent to another team, it can be awarded a draft pick as compensation for losing the player. The best pick a team can receive is a third-rounder (which doesn't happen often), and there is a maximum number of 32 compensatory picks awarded each year. The value is based on the money the departed free agent signs for versus any additional signings the team made before Week 1 of the NFL season. For example, the Detroit Lions lost Ndamukong Suh to the Miami Dolphins and didn't make a signing of their own to offset that move. It would be fair to expect the Lions to receive a compensatory pick at the end of the third round in the 2016 draft as a sort of payment for losing a star player. 4. The Denver Broncos are coming up on a very tough decision this offseason play tag with Von Miller or Brock Osweiler? The Broncos will likely need to use their franchise tag designation on one of the players, with both coming up on free agency, and the smart money would be on Miller if the team can't come to a long-term agreement before the February 16 date when teams can start applying the franchise tag. Depending on how Osweiler plays, the transition tag could be an option, but the expected £17 million price tag may scare off the Broncos. 3. Speaking of franchise tags, free agency and the NFL draft, here's a quick look at the key dates for this coming offseason. January 10, 2016: Assistant coaches on playoff teams with a bye can interview for open head coaching jobs. January 17: Assistant coaches on playoff teams that won their wild-card games can interview for head coaching jobs. January 18: Deadline for underclassmen to enter the 2016 NFL draft. January 22: Deadline for underclassmen to remove names from the 2016 NFL draft. January 23: East-West Shrine Game in St. Petersburg, Florida. January 30: Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. February 22: First day franchise or transition tags can be applied. March 7: Deadline to apply franchise or transition tags. March 12-15: NFL teams can begin contacting free agents. March 15: 2016 league year and free agency begin at 4 p.m. ET. April 28-30: NFL draft in Chicago. 2. Prepare to hear from anonymous scouts who don't like the 2016 quarterback class. I've already started hearing the rumblings that scouts don't like Paxton Lynch (Memphis) or Jared Goff (California) as sure-thing top-five picks. Add to that the big question marks about Connor Cook (on and off the field, given talk within the scouting community of attitude issues and being a prima donna), and you really don't have much to like in this class early on. That's not to say Goff and Lynch won't go early they will if they enter this draft but when NFL teams start talking about how their big boards are stacked, it's likely no quarterback will be in the top 10 when discussing a consensus ranking. 1. A prediction to end the week: Though this isn't based on any inside information, there have been a lot of rumblings about a disconnect at Ohio State between the players and head coach Urban Meyer. The smart money is on those issues, and the talent level there, leading to a lot of Buckeyes underclassmen heading to the NFL after this season ends for them. Already we've seen running back Ezekiel Elliott and quarterback Cardale Jones indicate they've played their last game in Columbus, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see Joey Bosa (DE), Michael Thomas (WR), Darron Lee (LB), Eli Apple (CB) and Vonn Bell (SS) join the ranks as underclassmen heading to the pros instead of going back for a shot at another national title in 2016. Matt Miller 8 covers the NFL and NFL draft for Bleacher Report. References ^ NFL (bleacherreport.com) ^ compared him to Willie Roaf (twitter.com) ^ announced on his Instagram account (www.instagram.com) ^ recently tweeted (twitter.com) ^ Russell Wilson (bleacherreport.com) ^ Johnny Manziel (bleacherreport.com) ^ Jay Glazer (www.foxsports.com) ^ Matt Miller (www.twitter.com)
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  • 3Glasses D2 Vanguard Edition review VR, or virtual reality headsets that take things beyond the entry-level experiences of the Google Glass or Samsung Gear VR are usually pretty expensive. At a more affordable £400, the 3Glasses D2 Vanguard Edition 1 VR headset sits somewhere in the middle. So how middle-of-the-road does it turn out to be? To get to that price, the Chinese manufacturer cut some corners and is relying on its own content development along with the charity and interest of third-party developers to give consumers using the headset plenty to work with. We used it for almost two months and came away feeling like there was always something missing. Under the hood The 3Glasses D2 has a 5.5-inch TFT-LCD display, with 2K resolution (2,560 1,440) and pixel density of 534ppi. That s roughly 1080p in each eye, with a 110-degree field of view, putting it in line with other VR headsets like the HTC Vive 2 and Oculus Rift 3 , albeit with a modest, 60Hz refresh rate. It s somewhat offset by a 13-millisecond response time, but the mix in specs here does have consequences for usability. Related: Google s Daydream could be the Gear VR s worst nightmare 4 The D2 doesn t have positional tracking, so the content on it isn t going to require much footwork. Instead, it uses a combination of accelerometers and angular rate sensors to more precisely measure head movement. Ted Kritsonis/Digital Trends Ted Kritsonis/Digital Trends The headset has an HDMI and USB 2.0 plug protruding out of it, so connections are pretty straightforward, in that respect. Weighing 8.7 ounces, it doesn t feel heavy, and the two head straps keep the D2 nicely in place, with the only real consequence being bad hair after wearing it for a while. The two lenses are non-spherical, and two sliders at the bottom help adjust focus. Technically, the headset is compatible with the Oculus Rift Development Kit 1 (DK1), but not Kit 2. 3Glasses also has its own SDK (software development kit) available to developers. The headset also comes in two color configurations: black with white trim and all black. A not-so-easy setup It s hard to say if it was specifically because I was using the 3Glasses headset with a Windows 10 gaming laptop, but the setup was an exercise in frustration virtually unmatched by any other product I ve tested. The eponymous Chinese company doesn t include a manual, opting instead to offer step-by-step instructions via a YouTube video and downloadable PowerPoint file. The setup was an exercise in frustration virtually unmatched by any other product I ve tested. While a nice way to help the environment, the footage is out of date with the current website s design, and it focuses on Windows 7 and 8, saying nothing about Windows 10. It hadn t occurred to me that the latest version of Microsoft s operating system would know that the 3Glasses was connected and adjust the second screen accordingly. Or at least I thought so. Initially, there s not a whole lot to the connections. I plugged the HDMI and USB cables into their corresponding ports, and the headset s front logo lit up. On an Alienware 17 R3 laptop, the HDMI port is in the back, while the USB ports are on the sides. The cord on the 3Glasses headset doesn t have a lot of slack when it forks into two, making the plugs awkward to slot in for that particular computer. This may not be the case with most laptops or desktops, but it only added to the bizarre process. I then followed the instructions to download and install 3Linker, the management software designed to handle the headset and content playback. It immediately recognized the 3Glasses D2, and all seemed headed on the right track. The screen orientation was initially out of whack, then with an adjustment in settings on the laptop, it was better, yet now off-centered, forcing me to tilt my eyes up to see the full display through the lenses. It took repeated trial-and-error to get it right, all of which could have probably been alleviated had 3Glasses updated to explain what, if anything, a user should do when using a Windows 10 machine. The software is decent, but 3Glasses, which offers existing games and 360 video on its own site, doesn t populate any into 3Linker after downloading and unpacking them. They each have to be added manually through the Add button or by dragging and dropping them into the app something that wasn t immediately evident during our testing because it only started working the third time we attempted it. Why that happened, we have no idea. Content immersion Finding content to run on the headset is easy enough because 3Glasses has it on its website, though without any standalone apps as of this review. Some are games, while most are video clips that mix picturesque landscapes in China with other miscellaneous footage in 360 degrees or 3D. A couple are a little bizarre, like the Disposing of the Corpse, a morbid scene showing an actor lying in a blood-soaked bathtub, and CouchKnights , an augmented reality scene with a couch and coffee table. Others are nice point-of-view perspectives from a hand glider, go kart racer and slam dunk contest. Ted Kritsonis/Digital Trends Games are fewer in number, with only three really being made available off the bat. The aptly-titled ShooterGame is the most fast-paced as a first-person shooter game, and compatible with an Xbox One controller. Lilith is a puzzle game that also works with the controller, and is a decent opening title to play. Showdown may be the most captivating because of the explosive action and mechanized enemy. Using a keyboard and mouse is another option, in case you don t have a compatible controller. Beyond that, however, content largely has to come from elsewhere and becomes a lesson in what can and can t run on the unit. There is zero compatibility with Macs, game consoles, and Blu-ray players, so everything has to pass through a Windows PC. 3Glasses claims to be working with game developers in China, and up to eight games will be launched by the end of the year. With 3Glasses D2 Vanguard Edition, you get what you pay for: a cheap system. In the end, there isn t a lot of content to sift through that can work on this headset, unfortunately. Some left/right split-screen 3D games and video should be fine, but I found driver and software issues sometimes messed with how smooth the experience was. Watching 2D content was also unsatisfying for the lack of consistency. At times, the display seemed tilted too far up, while other times, subtitles wouldn t appear. Regular PC games were totally incompatible. Watching a video through Windows Media Player did make it appear on the headset, only with an orientation that was way off. I tried adjusting it through the Windows display settings, but that only made it worse. If there was a foolproof way to get certain content to play without incident, it wasn t evident here. For someone who is interested in VR, but not especially tech-savvy, most of the problems and issues I uncovered would be a total non-starter. The experience from setup to playback is rife with complications that simply don t happen with other VR headsets, including the most acclaimed models. Warranty 3Glasses offers a one-year warranty upon proof of purchase. Full refunds or exchanges are available within 15 days of receiving the headset, so long as it s free of physical defects. For defective or damaged units out of the box, there is a 30-day window to send it back for repair or replacement. Related: We jumped in a VR spacecraft with real copilots and found the social side of VR 5 Note that only the display, motherboard, and plastic headband buckle are fully covered under that one-year warranty. The lenses, fabric headband, padding, and cables are not. Conclusion The DT Accessory Pack Understandably, it s early in the consumer VR space, so what 3Glasses has attempted must be viewed within an early adopter context. The problem is that it doesn t really do what it should: draw in VR newcomers who don t want to break the bank with the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift. Indeed, you do get what you pay for. Those two headsets are more advanced, perform better, and offer a bevy of content already. Had 3Glasses come to market with something like this last year, it might have been the red carpet that showed people the way to what VR offers. Instead, it feels like a rushed product that sits in no-man s land. With Google s recent unveiling of its Daydream VR standard 6 , along with the expectation that Samsung and other major manufacturers are prepping new VR headsets, it s hard to recommend the 3Glasses D2 Vanguard Edition. References ^ 3Glasses D2 Vanguard Edition (the3glasses.com) ^ HTC Vive (www.digitaltrends.com) ^ Oculus Rift (www.digitaltrends.com) ^ Google s Daydream could be the Gear VR s worst nightmare (www.digitaltrends.com) ^ We jumped in a VR spacecraft with real copilots and found the social side of VR (www.digitaltrends.com) ^ its Daydream VR standard (www.digitaltrends.com)
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  • 4 tablets so good you don't need a stylus, but they have one anyway Some people just prefer the handiness of a stylus; maybe you're an artist who draws online comics, a writer who depends on hand-written notes or a germaphobe who doesn't want to smudge the screen too much. Whatever the reason, you have a few options if you're interested in buying up a tablet 1 you can scribble on. Below you'll find a list of Windows, Android 2 and iOS tablets that might suit your needs. Just note that some styluses, like most accessories, are sold separately. Sarah Tew/CNET HP Spectre X2 If you're interested in a laptop inside of a tablet's body, the HP Spectre X2 3 is a prime candidate. It has a slim, portable design with a keyboard that's included in the base price. It's not as sleek as the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 (below), but it makes up for lack of style with a lower price. Read the full review 4 . Sarah Tew/CNET Microsoft Surface Pro 4 The Microsoft Surface Pro 4 5 is one of the best laptop-replacing tablets and it comes with a stylus, the Surface Pen. It also offers one of the best keyboards for a tablet 6 ; however, it's sold separately. You can't win them all. Read the full review 7 . Sarah Tew/CNET Apple iPad Pro Aspiring artist? Apple's biggest fan? Either way, you won't be disappointed by the latest iPad Pro 8 . Though it's smaller, sitting at 9.7 inches (like the iPad Air 2 9 ), it's more powerful than the larger 12.9-inch 10 iPad Pro. The Apple Pencil is an excellent stylus that's comfortable to use, and it's great for graphic designers and other creative professionals. Of course, it's sold separately. Read the full review of the iPad Pro 9.7 11 and iPad Pro 12.9 12 . Josh Miller/CNET Huawei MateBook The Huawei MateBook 13 hasn't hit stores yet, but it's worth adding to this list because its optional stylus has a built-in laser. Yes, a laser. Whether you use it to make a point during a business presentation, or to entertain your cat, is up to you. I'm not judging. Read CNET's hands-on take 14 . References ^ tablet (www.cnet.com) ^ Android (www.cnet.com) ^ HP Spectre X2 (www.cnet.com) ^ Read the full review (www.cnet.com) ^ Microsoft Surface Pro 4 (www.cnet.com) ^ keyboards for a tablet (www.cnet.com) ^ full review (www.cnet.com) ^ latest iPad Pro (www.cnet.com) ^ iPad Air 2 (www.cnet.com) ^ larger 12.9-inch (www.cnet.com) ^ iPad Pro 9.7 (www.cnet.com) ^ iPad Pro 12.9 (www.cnet.com) ^ Huawei MateBook (www.cnet.com) ^ hands-on take (www.cnet.com)
  • 4 Tips to Make Your Windows 10 Computer Run Faster Microsoft s newest operating system is getting better all the time, and if you ve already updated, you re no doubt wondering how to get the best software experience you can. These tips should help you improve performance on your computer by cleaning the clutter you don t really need. Here are four things you can do to streamline your Windows 10 experience: 1 1. Stop programs loading at startup Windows launches several programs at startup, so that they re instantly available when you need them. The problem is it can actually slow down your computer. You can stop some of these apps from launching just by navigating through a few folders in the settings. Visit the Startup tab of the Task Manager ( Ctrl+Shift+Esc ) or use Microsoft s official (and free) Autoruns for Windows 2 tool to see what s launching alongside the OS. From there, you can disable anything you don t want. If there s a particular entry you re not sure about, err on the side of caution and leave it be. Advertisement 2. Ditch applications you don t need Unused applications don t necessarily do your PC any direct harm, but they take up valuable hard disk space and room in the memory, and tend to mean Windows is working harder than it needs to. They can also cause unexpected bugs and incompatibility issues with other devices and apps. Type uninstall in the taskbar search box then pick Change or remove a program to see all the applications currently stored on your machine. For any that have been gathering dust for a few months, click the relevant icon and select Uninstall , then follow the instructions on screen to complete the process. 3. Disable background apps Microsoft is a big fan of its native universal apps, which might be why it allows them to run in the background even when you haven t actually launched them. That means you can access their features more quickly, but it s a waste of system resources if you don t use these apps on a regular basis. To modify software running in the background, go to Settings from the Start menu then click Privacy and Background apps . Turn off the toggle switches next to the apps you don t want to have running all the time. Of course, you can still launch these programs manually if you need them. 4. Clean up your disks Microsoft s Disk Cleaner utility has survived through all of the recent Windows upheaval, and it s still a great way to sweep out some of the temporary data and unnecessary files taking up room on your hard drive. Even better, now it s mostly automatic and easy to navigate. Right-click on any drive in File Explorer, then choose Properties and Disk Cleanup (under the General tab) to find the program. It targets files including system memory dump files, temporary internet files and more, and you can review its findings before clicking on the OK button to confirm. Advertisement Contact the author at david.nield@gizmodo.com 3 . References ^ newest operating system (reviews.gizmodo.com) ^ Autoruns for Windows (technet.microsoft.com) ^ david.nield@gizmodo.com (gizmodo.com)
  • 4-Ounce Wireless Server Streams 2TB, Even Underwater Laptops 1 Tablets 2 Windows 10 3 Ultrabooks 4 Accessories 5 Reviews 6 News 7 Follow Us: SEARCH Laptops 8 Tablets 9 Windows 10 10 Ultrabooks 11 Accessories 12 Reviews 13 News 14 Best Laptops 15 Best Tablets 16 Best 2-in-1s 17 Laptops for College 18 Best SSDs 19 Laptops By Brand Acer 21 Apple 22 ASUS 23 Dell 24 HP Lenovo 25 MSI 26 Samsung 27 Toshiba 28 20 Laptop Configurator 29 By Avram Piltch, LAPTOP Online Editorial Director | January 7, 2016 01:30 pm 30 MORE References ^ Laptops (www.laptopmag.com) ^ Tablets (www.laptopmag.com) ^ Windows 10 (www.laptopmag.com) ^ Ultrabooks (www.laptopmag.com) ^ Accessories (www.laptopmag.com) ^ Reviews (www.laptopmag.com) ^ News (www.laptopmag.com) ^ Laptops (www.laptopmag.com) ^ Tablets (www.laptopmag.com) ^ Windows 10 (www.laptopmag.com) ^ Ultrabooks (www.laptopmag.com) ^ Accessories (www.laptopmag.com) ^ Reviews (www.laptopmag.com) ^ News (www.laptopmag.com) ^ Best Laptops (www.laptopmag.com) ^ Best Tablets (www.laptopmag.com) ^ Best 2-in-1s (www.laptopmag.com) ^ Laptops for College (www.laptopmag.com) ^ Best SSDs (www.laptopmag.com) ^ Laptops By Brand (www.laptopmag.com) ^ Acer (www.laptopmag.com) ^ Apple (www.laptopmag.com) ^ ASUS (www.laptopmag.com) ^ Dell (www.laptopmag.com) ^ Lenovo (www.laptopmag.com) ^ MSI (www.laptopmag.com) ^ Samsung (www.laptopmag.com) ^ Toshiba (www.laptopmag.com) ^ Laptop Configurator (www.laptopmag.com) ^ Avram Piltch, LAPTOP Online Editorial Director (plus.google.com)
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  • 5 Key Takeaways from Microsoft Build Microsoft's Build conference is nearly entirely aimed at developers. But that's not to say that this year's Build came and went without any announcements that directly benefit end users like you and me. For example, an update to Windows 10 will offer greatly enhanced pen capabilities, Cortana is getting a lot smarter and bots are going to be at your beck and call. Here are five key announcements from the Build keynote that you need to know about. 1. Better Inking Microsoft's digital drawing and writing tools are getting expanded powers in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update 1 slated for this summer. Jot down a time in a sticky note, and that time becomes tappable so that you can set up a reminder with the Cortana assistant. Draw a line between two points on a map, and you'll not only get a calculation of the distance, but directions between the two points as well. And, in a feature that put a song in my cold editor's heart, you can use a stylus to cross out entire paragraphs in a Word document, and all that text will get deleted. Microsoft's Ink demo came out a week after Apple took the wraps off a 9.7-inch version of the iPad Pro 2 , touting that tablet's sketching capabilities when you spring for the £99 Apple Pencil accessory. I'm not suggesting today's Ink announcement is a direct response to that Microsoft has clearly been working on these new Ink features for a while but it's fascinating to see both Microsoft and Apple emphasize all the tools at our disposal when we use these devices to draw. 2. Microsoft Wants to Get More Apps Running on its Devices You could be forgiven for tuning out when Microsoft went deep on all the developer tools for creating apps in Windows. (The person seated in front of me in the press section started reading news headlines about the 2016 election.) But know that Microsoft is doing all that it can to get more apps on its platform. For starters, Microsoft is adding support for Bash, the Linux command line, aimed at bringing more developers into the fold. If you've got a Win32 or .NET app lying around, Microsoft built a Desktop App Converter tool that can turn those offerings into modern desktop apps that can appear on the Windows App Store. For game makers, Microsoft's adding tools that can convert a retail Xbox One console into a development kit. "There really has been no better time to be a Windows developer," Microsoft executive vice president Terry Myerson said during today's keynote. Microsoft's betting that it'll be an even better time for Windows users should these developer tools bear fruit. MORE: Windows 10: Full Review 3 3. Skype and Cortana Are Becoming Best Friends Generally, I use Skype 4 only when people insist upon connecting with me there. But I'm willing to rethink that policy now that Microsoft's adding integration with its Cortana personal assistant. As demoed during the Build keynote, the forthcoming Skype update will let you book travel from within the app, serve up hyperlinks with information relevant to your conversation, and mark off appointments in your calendar. I particularly liked Skype's visual videomail feature, not because I necessarily crave video messages from friends and co-workers but because a transcript of the message appears right below it. That's potentially a real time-saver. 4. Meet the Bots Given Microsoft's recent track record with bots 5 , you might have have thought the company would be little gun-shy about giving artificial intelligence any stage time at Build. But bots which can carry on conversations with you with an eye toward carrying out tasks and fielding requests are a major part of what Microsoft's working on, and you'll be interacting with them sooner rather than later. Making hotel reservations through Skype, for example, will put you in contact with bots. In an on-stage demo, a bot from the Westin hotel chain took care of booking a room. For now, Microsoft is focusing on bringing bots to messaging in Skype, but eventually it wants to add them to audio and video calls as well. You can experience the bold bot future yourself. Microsoft released updates of Skype for Windows, Android, and iOS that feature preview bots you can interact with. 5. Apps Are Getting More Human embedded content It's still a developer tool at this point, but Microsoft's Cognitive Services figure to dramatically expand what the apps you use are capable of doing. Microsoft has released 22 APIs capable of detecting faces and speech while tapping into knowledge databases and web searches. App makers will be able to build these tools into their apps, with the goal of providing more contextual uses. Microsoft showed a hint at last year's Build with a demo of its How Old Are You 6 tool a website that guessed your age (often incorrectly) just by looking at a picture. Microsoft's made significant progress in the past year, though, if the last demo of this year's Build keynote is anything to go by. It featured Saqib Shaikh, a blind Microsoft software engineer, who developed an AI-assisted app running on a headset that can describe everything from people's expressions to any objects in view. The demo got the most enthusiastic reaction of the day, not just because it's a moving story, but also because it shows just how apps can be created that improve our daily lives. Recommended by References ^ Windows 10 Anniversary Update (www.laptopmag.com) ^ 9.7-inch version of the iPad Pro (www.laptopmag.com) ^ Windows 10: Full Review (www.laptopmag.com) ^ use Skype (www.laptopmag.com) ^ recent track record with bots (www.tomsguide.com) ^ How Old Are You (www.tomsguide.com)
  • 5 Reasons The 2016 MacBook Pro Will Be A Disappointment; Specs & Feature Review SAN JOSE, CA - OCTOBER 23: Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide product marketing Phil Schiller announces the new 13-inch MacBook Pro during an Apple special event at the historic California Theater on October 23, 2012 in San Jose, California. Apple is expected to introduce a smaller, less expensive version of the iPad. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) The rumors and leaks of the much anticipated 2016 MacBook Pro keep hitting the digital trends and majority are eyeing the upgraded notebook a great deal. We cannot help but feast on the image teasers and ambitious functions. However, the following speculations about its specs and features will tell you why the 2016 MacBook Pro will be a disappointment. 1. The OLED function keys are not happening The Next Web 1 revealed that Apple will keep the new MacBook Pro uncomplicated, thus, installing an OLED Bar as a replacement for the machine's function keys is highly unlikely. 2. The LTE feature is improbable An additional LTE element is unlikely as it might compromise the sales of Apple's other devices, such as the iPhone. 3. Touch ID is not necessary A secured authentication is vital which prompted MacBook Pro users to sign in through the Apple Watch, therefore another level of verifying one s information will be redundant and time consuming. 4. The Thunderbolt 3 USB-C port is impractical Having a lightning port for headphones will definitely consume space and might result in errors in the process of transferring data. 5. The claims of a thinner and lighter form are not reasonable 2 The all new MacBook Pro is set for a better performance, thus, certain upgrades are expected which will require extra room for every function. It means it has to be more powerful and the Pro does not possess an integrated chipset design to master a slim design. Do you think the said features are not possible? Indeed Apple is a leader in the notebook industry but limitations have to be set. The 2016 MacBook Pro will be available by the last quarter of this year. By then, speculations will come to an end and you ll have yourself as a critic. 2016 iTech Post 3 All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission. References ^ Next Web (thenextweb.com) ^ thinner and lighter form are not reasonable (www.parentherald.com) ^ iTech Post (www.itechpost.com)
  • 5 reasons why the 9.7-inch iPad Pro can't be a PC replacement Apple's new iPad Pro falls short in several areas as a true substitute. Apple is taking a shot at Windows PCs with its new 9.7-inch iPad Pro tablet, calling it the ultimate PC replacement. 1 The new iPad Pro would be an improvement for about 600 million PCs that are five years or older and need an upgrade, said Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple, at an event Monday. The number of old PCs still in use is really sad, Schiller said. The new iPad Pro has the processing power and features to replace a PC, he added. While there are merits to Schiller s argument, the new iPad Pro isn t an ideal PC replacement. The new iPad Pro rates high with its lightweight design and mobility, but here are five areas where it falls short. Storage The new iPad Pro has a maximum of 256GB of storage and no SD or memory card slots to expand storage. Many new hybrid devices running Windows provide more storage capacity and have ports for attaching extra storage. For example, the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 offers up to 1TB of storage. Storage is important because the iPad Pro is capable of shooting 4K video, and more internal capacity will be needed for those large video files. USB port The new iPad Pro lacks a USB Type-C port, which is now making its way into laptops and hybrids. The Type-C port charges many hybrid Windows PCs, and it also allows devices to connect to monitors and external storage devices. Some USB Type-C connections also support Thunderbolt 3, which transfers data at a super-fast speed of 40Gbps (bits per second). Apple has its own Lightning connector in the iPad Pro, and offers a Lightning to USB Type-C connector 2 , but it isn t able to handle Thunderbolt 3 speeds. Design flexibility The 9.7-inch iPad Pro tablet can be turned into a laptop with a flat keyboard attachment, but it doesn t have the design flexibility of many new Windows hybrids. The screens on the Windows hybrids can be detached and turned into tablets. Many business hybrids have hardwired keyboards, and they turn into tablets when users rotate their screens. Processing power Apple s iPad Pro tablet uses the A9X processor, which the company claims offers PC-like performance. But it s widely acknowledged that Intel s fastest Core i5 and i7 chips which are also in MacBook Airs 3 and some Windows hybrids can outperform A9X, which is based on the ARM architecture. The question for potential buyers is whether they need the processing power of a Core i7, which is useful for intense applications like image editing and video processing. Apps and user interface The new iPad has the iOS interface, which is the same as the iPhone. The simple user interface may be advantageous for people comfortable with mobile computing, but not power users. The iOS interface doesn t offer fine-grained control over the file system, storage and applications like in Mac OS X or Windows 10 computers. The versions of applications like Microsoft Office for full-fledged computers also have more features than mobile editions of the software. It is also easier for users to multitask and switch between applications on PCs. References ^ ultimate PC replacement. (www.pcworld.com) ^ Lightning to USB Type-C connector (www.apple.com) ^ also in MacBook Airs (www.apple.com)
  • 5 super-sized tablets for the enterprise List: Find out about offerings from Apple, Samsung, Microsoft and others. The big tablet market is big business. Enterprises and industry are using tablets to perform increasingly demanding tasks, and for this they need big screens. CBR rounds up some of the biggest tablets on the market. 1. iPad Pro Apple's latest tablet has a 12.9 inch Retina display, with 5.6 million pixels. To power these hefty visuals, Apple has given the Pro 1 an A9X chip which delivers up to 1.8 times the CPU performance and double the graphics performance of iPad Air 2. Despite the large display, the tablet is 6.9 mm thick and 713g. The Pro uses the Apple Pencil, a smart stylus sensitive to variations in touch and pressure. It also comes with Touch ID biometric security. It starts at 679. 2. Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Somewhat more expensive than Apple's offering at 749.00, Microsoft's super-sized tablet aims to fill the space between tablet and laptop. It has a 12.3 PixelSense display and weighs in at 766g. The device can be purchased with 6th Generation Intel Core m3, i5 and i7 processors. It comes with a 5MP front-facing camera and an 8 MP rear-facing camera. It also boasts a hefty 9 hour battery life. It runs the Windows 10 operating system, meaning that it can tap into the ecosystem of seamless connectivity that Microsoft 2 is building, in which documents and apps can be accessed across a range of devices. 3. Dell Venue 10 7000 This Android-based device measures in at 10.5 inches, sporting a 2560 by 1600 OLED display. This packs in 288 pixels per inch. It is powered by a quad-core 2.3 GHz Intel Atom Z3580 and carries 16GB eMMC and 2GB LP DDR3 RAM integrated memory. Dell's tablet starts at around 320, rising to 437 with a keyboard. 4. Samsung Galaxy Pro Tab 12.2 Samsung's 12-inch tablet sports a screen boasting a mighty 4 million pixels, and 2560 by 1600 resolution. It is powered by a 1.9 GHz octa-core processor and comes with 3GB RAM and 32GB storage. It features an 8 MP rear camera, a 2 MP front camera and enough battery to run web browsing for 13 hours. Like the other tablets on this list, it emphasises portability: it is 7.95mm thick and weighs 734g. The device costs 549. 5. nabi Big Tab 24 If size really matters in your choice of tablet, then the Big Tab is way out in front of contenders at 24 inches featuring 93 pixels per inch. Running on the Android operating system, the tablet is designed for the family market, with Blue Morpho OS offering a range of features for kids. It costs around 260 and sports a 1.6GHz quad-core Nvidia Tegra 4 T40S system-on-a-chip with 2GB RAM. However, it only has a 30 minute battery life when not plugged in. Latest News References ^ Pro (www.cbronline.com) ^ Microsoft (www.cbronline.com)
  • 5 Ways Microsoft Can Promote Windows 10 Without Fooling Users Come on, Microsoft! There are so many great reasons for people to upgrade to Windows 10. But when the company resorts to deception and UI trickery 1 in an effort to get users to install the new OS, it undermines all of its arguments. This week, several Windows 7 and 8 users noticed that, when they clicked the Close button on a Windows 10 upgrade alert, the new operating system installed anyway. Microsoft considers the unwanted installations a "feature," not a bug, the company confirmed in a statement 2 to Windows Expert Paul Thurrott this week. Closing the notification window only signifies to Microsoft that you want to hide the alert, not that you want to avoid the upgrade. It's easy to understand why Microsoft is eager to get users onto Windows 10. The new flagship operating system does more than just provide new features and enhanced performance; it enables the current Windows Store and an ecosystem of "universal apps." The cut of revenue Microsoft gets from selling these mostly third-party apps to users could be huge. Apple's share of its App Store sales netted that company £6 billion in 2015 alone. Windows 10 also collects some valuable but anonymized data from users that Microsoft can use for advertisements. Unfortunately, forcing an upgrade on unsuspecting users will not lead to a lot of Windows 10 fans. So here's my advice. These are five ways Microsoft should promote Windows 10, without fooling people. 1. Extend the July 29th free-upgrade deadline. Microsoft recently reiterated that it plans to stop offering free Windows 10 upgrades after July 29, the operating system's one-year anniversary. After that date, Windows 7 and 8 users who want to install the upgrade will have to pay at least £119 (for Windows 10 Home). This hard deadline for upgrading makes little sense. If you really want people to upgrade and they didn't do it for free in the first 12 months, why on earth would they pay £119 thereafter? Perhaps Microsoft believes that setting an end point and sticking with it will encourage procrastinators to take the leap, but what about those who don't? A recent Computerworld article 3 theorizes that Microsoft has to stick with its deadline because the free upgrades are suppressing PC sales from consumers who will now buy new computers with the OS preloaded. But again, if someone wouldn't upgrade their laptop to Windows 10 for free, why would they pay extra in this case, more than a hundred dollars extra just to get it? PC sales are shrinking for a lot of reasons, but a free Windows 10 upgrade isn't one of them. 2. Lower manufacturer licensing fees across the board. One reason for the decline in PC sales is the high cost of upgrade-worthy hardware 4 . Nobody wants to buy a £500 laptop, because most of today's £500 laptops aren't significantly better than consumers' still-working models from 2011. Along with the cost of components such as the CPU and RAM, every PC vendor has to pay Microsoft licensing fees to install Windows on their computers. The amount that major manufacturers like Dell and Lenovo pay per license is a well-guarded secret, but it definitely adds to the overall price of their products. A couple of years ago, Microsoft started offering manufacturers free Windows on the company's cheapest devices, in order to compete with Chromebooks. And, lo and behold, the sub-£300 laptop market is booming, with a growth rate of 19 percent year over year in the first quarter, according to NPD Group. However, to qualify for free Windows, laptops have to have the worst specs possible. The specs aren't public, but we've heard from reliable sources that devices don't qualify for free Windows if they have more than 2GB of RAM. If Microsoft included more-robust laptops in its free Windows program and cut the licensing fees it charges manufacturers for other systems, the price of PCs would drop accordingly. Sales of Windows 10 computers would increase, and so would the user base of app-purchasing consumers. 3. Stop punishing system builders. While we don't know what manufacturers like Dell pay to put Windows on their computers, we can imagine that it is far less than the £119 Microsoft charges consumers for Windows 10 Home. So, if you buy a "bare-bones" computer, such as the Intel NUC, or you build your own PC from scratch, you need to add £119 to the cost. That's a huge disincentive for people to buy those products, and it further suppresses computer sales and the user base. If the company is willing to sell Acer a Windows 10 license for £50 (just throwing out a guess here), it should charge you the same amount when you buy a mini PC and have to install your own OS. 4. Offer Windows Store credit. How about incentivizing users to upgrade, rather than trying to fool them? For some people, the increased performance and functionality of Windows 10 are good enough reasons to upgrade, but that's not the case for everyone. How about offering consumers £10 or £20 of credit to use for apps in the Windows store? That may sound like a huge and expensive giveaway, but it's also a great way to get consumers accustomed to buying apps in Windows 10, which is the ultimate reward for Microsoft. 5. Add killer first-party apps. Like Microsoft's previous operating systems, Windows 10 comes with plenty of first-party apps preloaded, but unfortunately, those apps are not particularly compelling. The built-in email software pales in comparison to web-based tools such as Gmail, and the News (sports and finance) apps provide no real advantages over just visiting the Bing website or another news source. Microsoft needs to take a page from Apple's book and include really strong built-in programs. It desperately needs a good Windows 10 video editor that's comparable to Apple's iMovie. (Windows Live Movie Maker is still available as a download, but it hasn't been updated in years.) It should provide a friendly backup tool that's on a par with Time Machine and a preloaded audio editor that's half as good as GarageBand. It would even help Microsoft's case if the company made the full version of Solitaire free, when now you have to pay to unlock all of its features. Bottom Line Yes, all of my proposals involve Microsoft giving up some money, either in terms of licensing fees, incentives or app development. However, if Microsoft really wants users to upgrade, it has to invest in its ecosystem for the long term. In 2016, Microsoft is the only major software vendor that charges money for its operating system. Mac users get free upgrades to the latest version of OS X every year, while iPhone and iPad owners get the latest iOS without a fee. Google doesn't charge device makers a fee for Android or Chrome OS. Ubuntu and the other leading Linux systems have always been free. These other companies see the value of building their user bases over turning a direct profit on the OS. Windows 10 is worth paying for, but if Microsoft wants to grow its ecosystem, get people to use its app store and encourage developers to build universal apps, it needs to give users more incentives to upgrade. Top image credit: Shutterstock / Antonio Guillem Windows 10 Basics Windows 10 Basics Recommended by Avram Piltch, LAPTOP Online Editorial Director The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of Laptopmag.com since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master s degree in English from NYU. Avram Piltch, LAPTOP Online Editorial Director on References ^ deception and UI trickery (www.laptopmag.com) ^ confirmed in a statement (www.thurrott.com) ^ Computerworld article (www.computerworld.com) ^ high cost of upgrade-worthy hardware (www.laptopmag.com)
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  • 60W Lavolta® Laptop Charger Magnetic AC Adapter for Apple MacBook white 13"/ MacBook Pro 13", MacBook white Unibody 13"/ MacBook Pro Unibody 13", MacBook Aluminium Unibody 13"/ MacBook Pro Alu Unibody 13", Apple MacBook Pro 15" inch 2,53 GHz [until Summer 2012 Models] MB990, MB991, MC118, MC700, MC724, MC374, MC375, MD101, MD102, MD313, MD314 Notebook Adaptor Power Supply Plug Cord L-Shape - 16.5V 3.65A, fits A1181, A1184, A1330, A1334, A1344, 661-4269, 661-4485, 661-3957, ADP-60AD - Mega Price
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  • 7 Computer Pranks That Will Drive Your Friends Crazy Most people would hate it if someone messed with their laptop. It's an expensive productivity tool, and someone screwing around with it could cost time, work or even hundreds of dollars. But if you've got a rebellious streak (or a grudge), there are ways to escalate your interoffice prank war by changing a few settings on someone else's computer. Just remember, if you can do it to them, they may be able to do it to you, too. DISCLAIMER: Try these at your own risk. They're fun if your friends and co-workers have a sense of humor, but they can also get you fired for messing with company hardware. Don't be a jerk, and pick your victims very carefully. Here are some of our favorite PC pranks. Fake Desktop You can make a computer seem like it is perpetually frozen. Take a screenshot of someone's desktop, shortcuts and all. Set it as the wallpaper, and then remove the existing shortcuts and hide the menu bar. When the person on the receiving end of the prank gets back to the computer, they'll be clicking at nothing in frustration. Set the Screen Saver to the Blue Screen of Death Nothing is worse than thinking your computer is completely done for, and Windows' Blue Screen of Death is the biggest symbol of that dread. If you want to get a co-worker's heart racing, you can change his or her screensaver to the BSOD. When they come back, they'll think their computer is gone for good . . . until they try moving their mouse. Rotate the Display Rotating someone's display is quick and easy to execute (and just as easy to fix). On Windows, pressing Alt + Ctrl and the arrow keys flips the screen to any orientation you choose, such as turning your victim's screen upside down. If the computer is connected to a DisplayLink dock, those monitors won't be affected, so this is best done on singular screens or laptops. On Macs, you have to go to System Preferences > Displays to pick a new display orientation. Switch Out Dongles for Mice and Keyboards If your office uses wireless mice and keyboards with USB dongles, you can move the receivers around to cause a little mayhem. You'll cackle in your seat as co-workers around you wonder why their mouse is moving on its own, or how someone else's emails are composing themselves on their computers. Invert Colors Another quick-and-dirty scheme, inverting the colors, enables an accessibility feature few people know about. Enabling a computer's high-contrast mode shows white or yellow text on a black background in programs and on the desktop. Make sure you install a high-contrast theme 1 in Chrome as well, if your victim uses Google's browser. On Windows, use the shortcut Shift + Alt + Print Screen to activate it. On Mac, go to System Preferences > Accessibility > Display > Invert colors. "Broken" Monitor A quick change of wallpaper can mess with your co-workers and friends. Pick a wallpaper that looks like the screen 2 is cracked or on the fritz. Prepare for a minor freak-out. Change the Mouse Pointer When you see an icon next to your mouse, you assume that something's going on in the background. What if it never stopped? What if a reboot didn't get rid of it? You can make the mouse pointer look perpetually busy. In Windows, go to Control Panel, Appearance and Personalization > Personalization > Change mouse pointers to see your options. We recommend "busy" or "working in background." Laptop Guide Laptop Guide Recommended by Andrew E. Freedman, Andrew joined Laptopmag.com in 2015, reviewing computers and keeping up with the latest news. He holds a M.S. in Journalism (Digital Media) from Columbia University. A lover of all things gaming and tech, his previous work has shown up in Kotaku, PCMag and Complex, among others. Follow him on Twitter @FreedmanAE. Andrew E. Freedman, on References ^ a high-contrast theme (chrome.google.com) ^ a wallpaper that looks like the screen (www.google.com)
  • 7 Points on The AWESOME Chromebook Pixel: Specs, Features & Software For years laptops have been rapidly eating into the desktop marketplace, becoming the preferred version of the PC most people want to own. And why not? It s great to be able to take your entire computer with you instead of being chained to your desk with it. And when it comes to laptops there s no denying that one of the hottest and most genre-defining has been the MacBook Air. But Apple isn t the only one winning praise for the sleek and sexy laptop look. Google has also won widespread acclaim for its Chromebook Pixel what s known as a thin client notebook. The always-online, stripped down working experience embodied by ChromeOS machines is divisive, a lot of people do not like it, but like most concepts it has plenty of advocates too. As the saying goes: there s more than one way to skin a cat. Microsoft is hedging its bets on a unified Windows 10 platform, whereas Apple is merging elements of iOS into OS X in order to create a smooth, cross-over experience whenever you re using Apple-built hardware. Google, meanwhile, has ChromeOS and Android and, in case you were wondering, yes, Android is by far and away the biggest mobile OS on the planet. There has been talk about Google merging ChromeOS inside Android and our very own Richard has speculated that the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Note 6, with its 6GB of RAM and rumoured dummy-laptop accessory, could well be the first of a new type of Android/ChromeOS machines that melds the two worlds together and forms Google s pitch for the post-PC market we re all heading towards. As for now, though, Google is happily making decent inroads with ChromeOS. Chromebook machines are cheap, portable and designed for work on the move, in the office and at school. The Pixel, however, is a different beast entirely it is the poster boy for Google s ChromeOS, a knight in shining armour, armed with gorgeous design and bleeding edge specs and hardware. "With the Pixel, we set out to rethink all elements of a computer in order to design the best laptop possible, especially for power users who have fully embraced the cloud. The philosophy of Chrome 1 has always been to minimize the chrome of the browser. In much the same way, the goal of the Pixel is to make the pixels disappear, giving people the best, said Google at the launch of the Chromebook Pixel in 2013. This Chromebook has the highest pixel density (239 pixels per inch) of any laptop screen on the market today. Packed with 4.3 million pixels, the display offers sharp text, vivid colors and extra-wide viewing angles. With a screen this rich and engaging, you want to reach out and touch it so we added touch for a more immersive experience. Touch makes it simple and intuitive to do things like organize tabs, swipe through apps and edit photos with the tip of your finger. This is very much a third way if ever there was one in the PC and laptop space because ChromeOS does not try and be Windows or OS X. It is completely different and is aimed at a completely different type of user those brought up on mobile; those who are used to doing everything online. Little wonder these things (well, the cheaper ones at least) are insanely popular with school kids and students. We ll have a full review of the Chromebook Pixel coming up, but for now heres a quick overview of everything you need to know. Chromebook Pixel: What's A Thin Client Notebook? The Chromebook Pixel is referred to as a thin client notebook because for the most part it relies on a constant Internet connection or technically a connection to the millions of servers that make up the Internet to get anything done. The Chromebook Pixel runs Chrome OS, which is essentially the Chrome web browser in OS form. On a Chromebook Pixel most of your files live online via Google s services like Drive, Photos, Documents, and more and you just access them using the Chrome OS on the Chromebook Pixel. Without an Internet connection the Chromebook Pixel can t access a lot of data, making it pretty limited in its uses. Chromebook Pixel: Specs But just because the Chromebook Pixel is a thin client and requires the Internet for most thing doesn t mean it s a bad laptop. Matter of fact it could be the perfect laptop for some people mainly those who solely use Google s services. If that s you, then you ll be impressed with its specs. Dimensions: 11.7 x 8.8 x 0.6 / 297.7mm x 224.55mm x 15.3mm Weight: 3.3 lbs/ 1.5 Kg Screen: 12.85 display with a web-friendly 3:2 aspect ratio, 2560 x 1700, at 239 PPI, 400 nit screen, 178 extra-wide viewing angle Processor: Intel Core i5 Processor, 2.2GHz or Intel Core i7 processor, 2.4GHz Inputs: Multi-touch screen, Backlit Chrome keyboard, Fully clickable, etched-glass trackpad Battery: Up to 12 hours of battery life Ports & Connectors: 2 USB Type-C (up to 5 Gbps data, 4K display out with optional HDMI or DisplayPort adapter, 60W charging), 2 USB 3.0 ports, SD Card, Headphone/Mic combo Camera: 720P HD Wide Angle camera with Blue Glass Memory: 8GB or 16GB of RAM Storage: 32GB or 64GB of Flash Storage Wireless: 802.11ac Wireless with support for A/B/G/N/AC, 2.4 and 5ghz, 2x2 spatial streams, Bluetooth 4.0 BR/EDR/LE Smart Ready controller Audio: High Power Stereo Speakers, Dual Microphones, Headset jack, Support for headset with microphone Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5500 (Integrated) Video: Supports 4K video output over DisplayPort or HDMI with optional Type-C video adapter cable Charger: Type-C USB Charger, new industry standard Chromebook Pixel: Price As you ll notice from the specs above there are two versions of the Chromebook Pixel. For 799 you get a 2.2Ghz Intel Core i5 Processor, 8GB RAM, and 32 GB SSD. For 999 you get a 2.4Ghz Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB RAM, and 64 GB SSD. Granted this is still rather pricey for what is essentially a laptop that runs a web browser, but once you spend some time with the Pixel you begin to realise that this isn t actually a bad thing. Boot times are insane, it switches on in the blink of an eye, Google s services are now more robust than ever, giving you access to spreadsheets, word processing, image editing and presentation software, and the app selection inside the Chrome Web Store is pretty decent too. You can have all your most used applications running across the bottom of ChromeOS UX, similar to how it s done in OS X, and Settings are easily access via a simple click in bottom right-hand corner. The device itself won t be for everyone. But if all you need to get on is a web browser -- like me -- and a selection of core applications (Docs, Spotify, Polarr, Tweetdeck and Office) to get your stuff done, the Chromebook Pixel and its awesomely lightweight ChromeOS starts to make a lot of sense. Chromebook Pixel: It Can Run More Than One OS Contrary to popular belief the Chromebook Pixel actually isn t limited to only running Chrome OS. You can actually wipe the drive and install other operating systems including Ubuntu and Android. Running either of these OSes on the Chromebook Pixel help make it more than a thin client since both Android and Ubuntu support apps and local file systems in the traditional sense. Chromebook Pixel: The Display Is INSANE As Is The Aspect Ratio Another thing you notice about the Chromebook Pixel is that it has a unique aspect ratio. Unlike most 13-inch notebooks that have a 16:10 aspect ratio, the slightly smaller Chromebook Pixel comes in at 12.85-inches and has a 3:2 aspect ratio meaning it s almost as tall as it is wide. Why did Google do this? Because it allows more information from web pages to be displayed on the screen. Since Chrome OS essentially only displays web pages 99% of the time this seemed like a no brainer to the Google engineers. Chromebook Pixel: Yep, It's Also A Touch-Screen Too The Chromebook Pixel also has another unique laptop screen feature: it s a touchscreen. That s right, you can tap anything on the screen to select it just like you can do on your smartphone. While this may seem like a cool feature it worth noting it means you could quickly acquire gorilla arm syndrome 2 . Chromebook Pixel: USB Type-C Comes As Standard The Chromebook Pixel comes with two standard USB 3.0 ports, but it also includes two brand new USB Type-C ports. This new Type-C connection acts as the power port on the device. But not only is USB Type-C able to supply power to a device, it can also transfer data just like other USB ports as well as power displays. This means with the Chromebook Pixel s USB Type-C ports you can power your laptop, connect external displays to it, and transfer data between it and other devices all using a single port. References ^ Chrome (googleblog.blogspot.com) ^ gorilla arm syndrome (en.wikipedia.org)
  • 7 Reasons You Might Just Love The Chromebook Pixel For years laptops have been rapidly eating into the desktop marketplace, becoming the preferred version of the PC most people want to own. And why not? It s great to be able to take your entire computer with you instead of being chained to your desk with it. And when it comes to laptops there s no denying that one of the hottest and most genre-defining has been the MacBook Air. But Apple isn t the only one winning praise for the sleek and sexy laptop look. Google has also won widespread acclaim for its Chromebook Pixel what s known as a thin client notebook. The always-online, stripped down working experience embodied by ChromeOS machines is divisive, a lot of people do not like it, but like most concepts it has plenty of advocates too. Chromebook machines are cheap, portable and designed for work on the move, in the office and at school. The Pixel, however, is a different beast entirely it is the poster boy for Google s ChromeOS, a knight in shining armour, armed with gorgeous design and bleeding edge specs and hardware. "With the Pixel, we set out to rethink all elements of a computer in order to design the best laptop possible, especially for power users who have fully embraced the cloud. The philosophy of Chrome 1 has always been to minimize the chrome of the browser. In much the same way, the goal of the Pixel is to make the pixels disappear, giving people the best, said Google at the launch of the Chromebook Pixel in 2013. This Chromebook has the highest pixel density (239 pixels per inch) of any laptop screen on the market today. Packed with 4.3 million pixels, the display offers sharp text, vivid colors and extra-wide viewing angles. With a screen this rich and engaging, you want to reach out and touch it so we added touch for a more immersive experience. Touch makes it simple and intuitive to do things like organize tabs, swipe through apps and edit photos with the tip of your finger. This is very much a third way if ever there was one in the PC and laptop space because ChromeOS does not try and be Windows or OS X. It is completely different and is aimed at a completely different type of user those brought up on mobile; those who are used to doing everything online. Little wonder these things (well, the cheaper ones at least) are insanely popular with school kids and students. We ll have a full review of the Chromebook Pixel coming up, but for now heres a quick overview of everything you need to know. Chromebook Pixel: What's A Thin Client Notebook? The Chromebook Pixel is referred to as a thin client notebook because for the most part it relies on a constant Internet connection or technically a connection to the millions of servers that make up the Internet to get anything done. The Chromebook Pixel runs Chrome OS, which is essentially the Chrome web browser in OS form. On a Chromebook Pixel most of your files live online via Google s services like Drive, Photos, Documents, and more and you just access them using the Chrome OS on the Chromebook Pixel. Without an Internet connection the Chromebook Pixel can t access a lot of data, making it pretty limited in its uses. Chromebook Pixel: Specs But just because the Chromebook Pixel is a thin client and requires the Internet for most thing doesn t mean it s a bad laptop. Matter of fact it could be the perfect laptop for some people mainly those who solely use Google s services. If that s you, then you ll be impressed with its specs. Dimensions: 11.7 x 8.8 x 0.6 / 297.7mm x 224.55mm x 15.3mm Weight: 3.3 lbs/ 1.5 Kg Screen: 12.85 display with a web-friendly 3:2 aspect ratio, 2560 x 1700, at 239 PPI, 400 nit screen, 178 extra-wide viewing angle Processor: Intel Core i5 Processor, 2.2GHz or Intel Core i7 processor, 2.4GHz Inputs: Multi-touch screen, Backlit Chrome keyboard, Fully clickable, etched-glass trackpad Battery: Up to 12 hours of battery life Ports & Connectors: 2 USB Type-C (up to 5 Gbps data, 4K display out with optional HDMI or DisplayPort adapter, 60W charging), 2 USB 3.0 ports, SD Card, Headphone/Mic combo Camera: 720P HD Wide Angle camera with Blue Glass Memory: 8GB or 16GB of RAM Storage: 32GB or 64GB of Flash Storage Wireless: 802.11ac Wireless with support for A/B/G/N/AC, 2.4 and 5ghz, 2x2 spatial streams, Bluetooth 4.0 BR/EDR/LE Smart Ready controller Audio: High Power Stereo Speakers, Dual Microphones, Headset jack, Support for headset with microphone Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5500 (Integrated) Video: Supports 4K video output over DisplayPort or HDMI with optional Type-C video adapter cable Charger: Type-C USB Charger, new industry standard Chromebook Pixel: Price As you ll notice from the specs above there are two versions of the Chromebook Pixel. For 799 you get a 2.2Ghz Intel Core i5 Processor, 8GB RAM, and 32 GB SSD. For 999 you get a 2.4Ghz Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB RAM, and 64 GB SSD. Granted this is still rather pricey for what is essentially a laptop that runs a web browser, but once you spend some time with the Pixel you begin to realise that this isn t actually a bad thing. Boot times are insane, it switches on in the blink of an eye, Google s services are now more robust than ever, giving you access to spreadsheets, word processing, image editing and presentation software, and the app selection inside the Chrome Web Store is pretty decent too. You can have all your most used applications running across the bottom of ChromeOS UX, similar to how it s done in OS X, and Settings are easily access via a simple click in bottom right-hand corner. The device itself won t be for everyone. But if all you need to get on is a web browser -- like me -- and a selection of core applications (Docs, Spotify, Polarr, Tweetdeck and Office) to get your stuff done, the Chromebook Pixel and its awesomely lightweight ChromeOS starts to make a lot of sense. Chromebook Pixel: It Can Run More Than One OS Contrary to popular belief the Chromebook Pixel actually isn t limited to only running Chrome OS. You can actually wipe the drive and install other operating systems including Ubuntu and Android. Running either of these OSes on the Chromebook Pixel help make it more than a thin client since both Android and Ubuntu support apps and local file systems in the traditional sense. Chromebook Pixel: The Display Is INSANE As Is The Aspect Ratio Another thing you notice about the Chromebook Pixel is that it has a unique aspect ratio. Unlike most 13-inch notebooks that have a 16:10 aspect ratio, the slightly smaller Chromebook Pixel comes in at 12.85-inches and has a 3:2 aspect ratio meaning it s almost as tall as it is wide. Why did Google do this? Because it allows more information from web pages to be displayed on the screen. Since Chrome OS essentially only displays web pages 99% of the time this seemed like a no brainer to the Google engineers. Chromebook Pixel: Yep, It's Also A Touch-Screen Too The Chromebook Pixel also has another unique laptop screen feature: it s a touchscreen. That s right, you can tap anything on the screen to select it just like you can do on your smartphone. While this may seem like a cool feature it worth noting it means you could quickly acquire gorilla arm syndrome 2 . Chromebook Pixel: USB Type-C Comes As Standard The Chromebook Pixel comes with two standard USB 3.0 ports, but it also includes two brand new USB Type-C ports. This new Type-C connection acts as the power port on the device. But not only is USB Type-C able to supply power to a device, it can also transfer data just like other USB ports as well as power displays. This means with the Chromebook Pixel s USB Type-C ports you can power your laptop, connect external displays to it, and transfer data between it and other devices all using a single port. References ^ Chrome (googleblog.blogspot.com) ^ gorilla arm syndrome (en.wikipedia.org)
  • 7. Apple iPad Pro Review: Size Matters The 12.9-inch display makes the iPad Pro the most productive tablet Apple has ever produced, and also the best suited for watching video. It's certainly not as portable as the company's 9.7-inch models, though. Over the years, many businesspeople who like Apple s previous tablets asked for a larger version because a 9.7-inch display isn t ideal for use all day long. The result is the iPad Pro, a tablet with a screen that s 78% larger than the iPad Air 2 s. Professionals also demand a lot of their computers, so this new model has the fastest processor of any iPad, as well as twice as much RAM. Apple also offers a keyboard to turn it into a 2-in-1 notebook 1 and a pen to make this tablet into a drawing tool. We ve tested the iPad Pro for business and personal use to see how well it lives up to Apple s promises that it can do the job of a laptop. To anyone who is accustomed to using an iPad Air 2 2 , the iPad Pro feels huge when it s first picked up. It s a whopping 12.0 x 8.7 x 0.3 inches (306 x 221 x 7.0 mm), which makes it 4 inches wider, and 3.3 inches taller and the Air 2. It weighs 1.6 pounds (299 g), more than twice as much. After a few days of use, however, one becomes more accustomed to the larger form factor. Plus, it s definitely much smaller and lighter than most laptops. iPad Pro, iPad Air 2, iPad mini 4 Its size is its greatest strength, and its most significant weakness. The 12.9-inch display makes this the most productive iPad ever, and it s an outstanding way to watch video, but it s a lot to carry around and hold in the lap. It feels especially hefty when being used as an eBook reader like reading a coffee-table book. As with all Apple products, the build quality is impeccable. The device feels rock solid, and we were unable to make it noticeably flex by twisting it. It is offered in silver, grey, and gold, but these colors appear only on the back and the very slim edges. The silver and gold versions have a white bezel around the display, while the grey version has a black one. We recommend the grey version for this reason, as the darker bezels are less noticeable in day-to-day use. A majority of the front of the iPad Pro is screen, with bezels that are slim but still wide enough to make it easy to hold the device. Display In the past, Apple s rivals have competed by offering larger tablets, like the 12.3-inch Microsoft Surface Pro 4 3 or the 12.2-inch Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 4 . But Apple now offers one of the largest displays of any tablet. The 12.9-inch screen has a 2732-by-1248 resolution, giving it a density of 264 pixels per inch, the same density as the iPad Air 2. For comparison, Samsung s new flagship Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 5 also has 264 ppi, while the Surface Pro 4 s screen has 267 ppi. Apple iPad Pro in Silver, Gold, Grey As the iPad s screen is near the highest resolution of any tablet on the market, there s no hint of pixelizaton. Text on the screen looks like it s printed on paper and images are crystal clear. Colors are vivid and strong. In our tests, we found the iPad Pro to be quite viewable out of doors, even in direct sunlight, as long as the backlight is at 100%. The nearly 13-inch, high-res screen makes this the best tablet Apple has ever released for watching video. It is also clearly the reason why side-by-side multitasking 6 was added to iOS 9, so that two applications can be displayed at the same time, like a web browser in one window and Microsoft Word in another. Apple has also been emphasizing that this large display is well suited for use as an electronic drawing pad with the Apple Pencil, which is sold separately for £99. The screen is 10.3 inches wide in landscape mode, giving plenty of room for the virtual keyboard. It s not really practical to touchtype with an on-screen keyboard no matter its size, but the iPad Pro gives plenty of room for a complete set of keys. Holding the device in landscape mode and typing with the thumbs is also something that s not practical, but it s quite doable in portrait mode. The screen is 7.7 inches wide when held this way, the same as the iPad Air 2 is in landscape mode. There is an antireflective coating on the screen, but it can nevertheless be used as a black mirror. And the despite the fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating, the iPad Pro is going to need to be wiped off on a daily basis. But these are aspects of all tablets. Buttons, Ports, and Speakers Apple chief designer Jony Ive believes in simplicity, and the iPad Pro has a minimal number of buttons. The major one is the Home button on the front, which also serves as a fingerprint scanner for the Touch ID biometric security system. In our tests, we found this to be quite reliable, always recognizing the fingertips it was trained to look for and giving no false positives. It s a bit slow, however. A pair of buttons on the right side control the volume, and there is a power button on the top. The headset port is also on the top. iPad Pro Right Side This tablet uses Apple s Lightning Connector for its charging and data port. A better option would have been the industry standard USB Type-C, which Apple includes on its newest MacBooks 7 , but the company decided to stick with its proprietary port, which means USB keyboards and other accessories can t be used with the iPad Pro. There s no built-in memory card reader, but there are third-party microSD card readers that can be used with this computer, including the Leef iAccess 8 . This accessory connects via to Lightning port, as do a number of flash drives, such as the SanDisk iXpand 9 . No one who needs to carry large amounts of data on business trips will find themselves without an option, especially when cloud storage services are factored in. This is the first model with the Smart Connector, added so the tablet can communicate and power accessories like Apple s own Smart Keyboard 10 , as well as rival add-in keyboards that can turn this tablet into a 2-in-1 laptop. The Connector is located along the left edge of the device. One of the issues with using previous iPad models for watching video is that the speakers weren t particularly loud. Apple didn t do what it should have: set the iPad Pro s speakers so that they face the user. Instead it doubled the number so that are four of them, with two speakers on each end of the tablet. These produce a quite respectable amount of sound, easily enough to allow someone to watch a movie without straining to hear what characters are saying. References ^ 2-in-1 notebook (www.notebookreview.com) ^ iPad Air 2 (www.tabletpcreview.com) ^ Microsoft Surface Pro 4 (www.tabletpcreview.com) ^ Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 (www.tabletpcreview.com) ^ Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 (www.tabletpcreview.com) ^ side-by-side multitasking (93b00a24bd188d49d428-5353a8a2802c90717395ac989c1a694a.r74.cf1.rackcdn.com) ^ its newest MacBooks (www.notebookreview.com) ^ Leef iAccess (www.tabletpcreview.com) ^ SanDisk iXpand (www.tabletpcreview.com) ^ Smart Keyboard (93b00a24bd188d49d428-5353a8a2802c90717395ac989c1a694a.r74.cf1.rackcdn.com)
  • 7.9-inch iPad Pro Preview The more I use Apple's smaller Pro tablet, the less likely I am to reach for the larger one. I have tested the 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch tabs side-by-side since March 31st and the bigger one is my primary 1 PC (most days). Unquestionably, the behemoth is capable of replacing a laptop, as Apple CEO Tim Cook asserts. The smaller-size model is a fine notebook companion, and certainly can substitute sometimes. But more than two weeks using this surprisingly satisfying kit, I can't yet (and may never) recommend it as your next PC. The 9.7-inch iPad Pro, which screen measures like all its forebears, falls into a category I griped about in September 2015: Apple products without purpose 2 or none that's easily obvious to majority of shoppers. Don't misunderstand. The technology under the hood is quite innovative, and I really, really, really enjoy using this tablet. But I'm not most people, and looking at the broader consumer marketplace, I see the device as being more for the few than appealing to the many; that is until the next release cycle, when current prices decrease. Now , putting aside these caveats, 9.7-inch iPad Pro is the device I most often grab first. Many of the benefits have purpose that is subtle. The question: Are they good enough for you? Apple unveiled the smaller iPad Pro 3 on March 21, 2016. The tablet uses the same A9X chip as the 12.9-incher but cuts memory in half from 4GB. But the hand that taketh away also giveth. The smaller tab packs several nice-to-haves that will appeal to some people but won't justify the price premium for others. Configuration: 9.7-inch multi-touchscreen, 2048-by-1536 resolution at 264 pixels per inch and 423-nit brightness; Apple A9X microprocessor and M9 graphics; 2GB RAM; 32GB, 128GB, or 256GB non-expandable storage; two microphones; four speakers (two on each screen-flanking bezel); 12-megapixel, f/2.2 rear camera that also records 4K video at 30 frames per second; 5MP f/2.2 front camera that shoots 720p vids; fingerprint sensor; WiFi ac; Bluetooth 4.2; cellular with assisted GPS and GLONASS (some models); accelerometer; ambient-light sensor; barometer; compass; gyroscope; proximity sensors. Smaller iPad Pro measures 240 x 169.5 x 6.1 mm (9.4 x 6.6 x .24 inches). The cellular plus WiFi variant weights 444 grams (.98 pounds), while the non-LTE tab is 7 grams less (.96 pounds). Four colors are available: space grey, silver, gold, and rose gold. Those are the basics, now for broader, specific impressions: 1. The display is fantastic better than great. Colors are accurate but vivid; contrast is balanced, not saturated; text is super sharp, crisp. The 9.7-inch iPad Pro packs what Apple calls the True Tone display, which uses sensors to correct color regardless the hue of your environment. The tech is clever, works well, but surprises the eyes at first. Then you get used to the feature and miss it on other devices. True Tone is a magnificently useful feature for people who need it, and that's not the largest audience. Anyone who creates content artists, filmmakers, graphic designers, photographers, web designers, and the like can benefit from the improved color accuracy, regardless whether they're working under bright fluorescent lights or shaded canopy seating outside the local Starbucks. I scoffed at Apple's launch day presentation about True Tone, but seeing is believing. The changes are subtle but most certainly noticeable, and surprising. This is one of those rare product benefits that can't be explained to appreciate. You have to see it. 2. The four speakers bellow rich timber and expansive soundstage. Perhaps it's my imagination, but the audio fidelity exceeds 12.9-inch iPad Pro. Sound fills my office and reverberates off the walls. While there's no surround-sound thumping bass, you will hear every tingle of glass and background conversions as a movie's main characters chat in a restaurant. I would expect front-facing speakers to give greater aural swag, but the four side-facers placed on either bezel when held in landscape mode delight the ears. 3. Video consumption is best of class. True Tone display, and those speakers make movies and other videos Coachella 4 live on YouTube, for example exceptionally enjoyable, regardless the smaller screen size. Snuggle up with your honey for a more intimate date-night film. The flat-screen TV is so impersonal . 4. The cameras are sleeper features. When watching Apple's launch keynote, I chuckled at putting such kick-ass cams on a tablet. Seriously, who needs 4K video on a device like this? Then I started testing the tab, and the rational made sense. What looks like a feature without purpose, actually has plenty. Hypothetical: You're scouting movie locations and find one you want to present to the director. iPad Pro is portable enough to carry along, and the screen plenty large enough to compose your on-the-spot shot captured in 4K and edited on the tab. After sending the clip, you flip to landscape mode and FaceTime video chat with director and cinematographer using the 5-megapixel front-facing camera. I can envision plenty of other scenarios, where someone working in the arts could make great use of the two camera, or the stylus (e.g. Apple Pencil). 5. If the canvas is big enough for you, the Pencil experience beats 12.9-inch iPad Pro. I'm no artist but can nevertheless handle the Pencil well enough. I find the experience to be better smaller, and that may be totally subjective like two artists choosing different size sketch books. One prefers larger, the other smaller size. 6. Like its larger sibling, 9.7-inch iPad Pro is first and foremost for artists and other content creators. Take your pick: drawing, filmmaking, photography, and more. The tools are best for people who can produce using several tools, which elsewhere would be disparate. That's the product with purpose . However, people who want to mostly consume content could be better satisfied spending less on iPad Air 2. 7. Performance is excellent for a tablet, but only good as a PC replacement. Compared to the 12.9-incher, Apple's smaller iPad Pro lags a little. The tab is super fast but still slows occasionally, even with modest number apps open. The larger sibling's speed is perfect and as good as or better than any Mac or Windows laptop. Considering my Chromebook Pixel LS 5 and MacBook Pro 6 pack Intel Core i7 processors and 16GB RAM, comparable subjective performance is mighty big accomplishment. But 9.7-inch iPad Pro doesn't keep pace, although in my testing it doesn't fall far behind, either. That said, as tablet or even PC companion, this little jump-starter has more than enough leap. Caveat: In my early testing. 8. Buyers are short-changed on RAM. Both iPads pack the same A9X chip and M9 graphics processor. But memory is only 2GB on the smaller tab (4GB on the other). More memory might make all the difference in performance, and I see no reason why Apple halves the gigabytes. C`mon, Mr. Cook. You give buyers the same chips and architecture, why differentiate on RAM when doing so is so unnecessary? iPad Pro screen and physical sizes are the first criteria for choosing one over the other, followed by some of the extra goodies, like display, speakers, and cameras. Users would benefit more from Apple spending shekels on 4GB RAM for all configs rather than offering 256GB storage on one model. 9. Using Apple's Smart Keyboard is good, not great. Here's one place where bigger is better. My finger's dance across the larger iPad Pro's Smart Keyboard, touch-typing with surprising accuracy. The peripheral also acts as a stand but with one position. You can't change it, like Google Pixel C 7 or Microsoft Surface Pro 4. For me, angle is perfect on the larger tab but not on the smaller one. The view looking down is too sharp, while the keyboard feels confined and too close to the body to comfortably and accurately type. That is, without practice. That said, as stated at the start, I increasingly grab the 9.7-inch iPad Pro instead of the 12.9-incher; that includes writing. While the experience isn't as good, other benefits (like that gorgeous screen) compel me to adapt. I'll delve deeper into this topic during my eventual product review. 10. The 9.7-inch iPad Pro is a superb PC companion. As stated previously, I would recommend the larger tablet to replace a laptop. I wouldn't at this juncture give the smaller device the same endorsement. However, as my full review will explain, the tablet is a great companion to an existing PC and worthy purchase instead of a new computer. Meaning: The benefits are great enough to make 9.7-inch iPad Pro your most-of-the-time companion, while relying on your old clunker occasionally. In other words, unless that laptop pushes up daises consider giving Apple your money instead. If your budget allows either/or, you won't want new both because iPad Pro pricing is laptop-like. WiFi: £599, £749, £899. Cellular: £729, £879, £1,029. All are 32GB, 128GB, or 256GB storage, respectively. The latter two capacities push into typical laptop SSDs. I will have lots more to say on this topic in the review, which will harp a bit about "good enough" computing and why this device crosses the threshold for creative types but won't for the majority of buyers. Unless, they've got lots of disposable income for toys. Okay, that's a wrap. The review is weeks away, as I give both iPad Pros my full, all-day, every-day attention. I want to knuckle down with both tabs for some time; so you won't have to. Photo Credit: Joe Wilcox References ^ bigger one is my primary (betanews.com) ^ Apple products without purpose (betanews.com) ^ Apple unveiled the smaller iPad Pro (betanews.com) ^ Coachella (www.youtube.com) ^ Chromebook Pixel LS (betanews.com) ^ MacBook Pro (joewilcox.com) ^ Google Pixel C (betanews.com)
  • 7″ ebook reader tablet pc review | Samsung galaxy s3, s4, s5 tips ... seven ebook reader tablet computer evaluation The 7 ebook reader tablet computer is massive enough and makes it attainable to get pleasure from reading through your e-books without having having to strain. For a very good price, the 7 e book reader tablet computer comes with ample display, abbreviate design and style, microSDHC-primarily based anamnesis expansion, and an accustomed Android operating program, all of which contribute to an outstanding knowledge for the user. The only poor thing with this ebook reader is its arresting blow awning which is clunky, the processor is sluggish, accumulator is skimpy, and basal buttons for home awning and aggregate ascendancy are missing. There s no abutment for Adobe Flash, Bluetooth, GPS, video output, accelerometer, agenda compass, and multitouch, and antecedent Archos guide add-ons are incompatible. Some of the 7 e-book reader tablet pc is somewhat a miss therefore generating it not as great as it is alleged to be. It comes with features that can allow you connect to the world with a lot of ease! The entry to internet, e mail and perform back support tends to make it the greatest iPad substitute that can be discovered. The cost of the 7 e-book reader tablet pc is at the £ 199 mark and provides the greatest value for your money. It is accessible in a quantity of on the internet retailers and has proved to be the most favored selection for a lot of people. Like a good deal of guide computer systems, seven e-book reader tablet computer is not abundant to attending at. It s an artificial slab that measures 8 inches advanced by four.25 inches alpine by .five inch thick the ambit feel wonderful and each individual can be relaxed with it Taking a cue from Apple, seven ebook reader tablet pc architecture has couple of buttons and ports. There s an capability about-face up prime, forth with a microSDHC amplification slot. On the appropriate side, 7 e book reader tablet computer has sockets for headphones, the included capacity adapter, and a Micro-USB port. 7 ebook reader tablet pc is a single of the sensible e book readers that you will value buying at the most affordable price possible. There are some far more beneficial that you stand to acquire from the use of 7 ebook reader tablet pc . There are several applications at the apps retailer. The functions are really easy to use and can be relied to provide outstanding support.

ACER LAPTOPS APPLE LAPTOPS ASUS LAPTOPS COMPAQ LAPTOPS DELL LAPTOPS HP LAPTOPS LENOVO LAPTOPS MSI LAPTOPS SAMSUNG LAPTOPS SONY LAPTOPS TOSHIBA LAPTOPS