Category Archives: Notebook

Samsung’s lightweight Notebook 9 Pen is aimed at creators

Last year at CES 2018, Samsung unveiled the Note 9 Pen, a lightweight 13.3-inch convertible aimed at artists and anyone else who needed decent power with as little weight as possible. The model is back again in a big way, with an all-new design and f…

How to pick the best laptop

So you want to buy a new laptop. You know what you want, but maybe you don't know where to start or what features you should be looking for this year. After all, you don't want to get a new machine now only to find out the next day that it's already…

Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 review: Meet the child of Intel and AMD’s unholy union

Samuel Axon

This new Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 is the first convertible in the XPS 15 line, but that’s not the most interesting thing about it.

Since 2010, Dell’s XPS 15 has been a reliable, 15-inch performance workhorse and a light gaming option for users who aren’t impressed by the over-the-top designs of dedicated gaming laptops. Last year’s model, for example, impressed with strong performance from the discrete GeForce GTX 1050 GPU. But discrete GPUs have many downsides. They take up space, use lots of energy, and generate a lot of heat, which impacts both portability and battery life.

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What Microsoft gets wrong about the tablet-laptop redundancy

While onstage at the Surface Pro 3 event, Microsoft vice president and Surface creator Panos Panay cited a pretty surprising statistic: 96 percent of iPad owners also own a laptop. Tablet and laptop ownership relationships are studied constantly, but I’d never before heard it phrased in such a way that made me feel so dumb for owning both. That was all I needed to hear at the time to buy the argument that tablets should be more like laptops in the quest to unify them, at least for the duration of the presentation.

From Microsoft’s perspective, a tablet and a computer can and should be the same device. “We’re still carrying around a tablet and a separate laptop, and our take is that Surface Pro 3 is a tablet that can replace your laptop,” Jordan Guthmann, a PR representative for Microsoft, told Ars. This felt new as Panay said it, but to look back a couple of years, it’s not a new narrative for Microsoft to push: Windows 8 has been the near-sole driving force behind tablet/laptop hybrids, and many hardware manufacturers have come at the hybrid form factor from every conceivable angle. They have yet to take off.

While the 96-percent statistic seems to support Microsoft’s narrative that tablets and laptops are a redundancy that hardware manufacturers have a duty to fix, overwhelming evidence suggests that is not true. Few people try to or want to use tablets like laptops, save for when they feel like they have to justify the cost and get every last inch of mileage out of it. Tablet popularity arose in a place where people were using laptops like tablets, or smartphones like tablets, but in suboptimal ways that showed a tablet was better.

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How to talk your family out of bad consumer electronics purchases

Somewhere between the turkey and the eggnog, someone in your family is almost certainly going to mention their plans to pick up a cheap tablet or TV set. Or maybe someone will bring up the nearest mall electronics store’s “amazing” deals on HDMI cables. The holidays are no time to slack on the year-round battle that comes from being more tech-savvy than other members of the family; in fact, the end of the year requires extra vigilance to stop those nearest and dearest to you from letting the consumer electronics manufacturer/retailer train take them for an unholy ride. Without our help, family members can all too easily spend too much of their money on bad, outdated, or overpriced products.

But with so many casual consumers in one place planning so much shopping, the battle you face is prodigious. Reasoning with your family about money and buying products may be only a slightly better topic than the latest political issues, but darned if we don’t all try to help them understand, despite knowing how easy both fights are to lose.

Sometimes—not always, but sometimes—the best strategy is to get them to spend a little more money on a far superior product or experience. This certainly isn’t feasible for everyone, but one of the reasons so many people revile technology is that they just don’t know what to look for when comparing and picking out gadgets. A frustrating time spent shopping then ends with a crappy gadget, which results in unhappiness all around. It doesn’t have to be that way, though—some care in the buying will lead to much joy in the owning. It’s up to you to help your families find a good balance and help quality electronics find a good home. Below are some helpful tips you can use to try to help your family see the consumer electronics light.

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Lenovo brings Haswell to rest of ThinkPad line-up, including monstrous ThinkPad W540

Lenovo updates ThinkPad business notebooks with Haswell chips, better security

Lenovo outed no fewer than five new notebooks just last week, but it doesn’t want to stop there. With a distinct focus on business, the world’s biggest notebook maker has come to the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) with a refreshed range of T, W, L and E Series laptops, outfitting them with Intel’s fourth-generation Haswell processors, better graphics, improved security and faster connectivity. Do Lenovo’s new buttoned-down notebooks offer more than their glossy counterparts? Find out after the break.

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Source: Lenovo Newsroom

Panasonic refreshes Let’s Note lineup, says LX is world’s lightest 14-inch notebook

Panasonic refreshes Let's Note lineup in Japan, says LX is world's lightest 14inch model

Though Panasonic’s Let’s Note laptops are only sold in Japan, it’s nice to know how the other half lives, isn’t it? The company just updated three models in the lineup, including the 12.1-inch SX and NX, along with the flagship 14-inch LX. Panasonic claims the latter is now the world’s lightest 14-inch notebook at 1.14kg (about 2.5 pounds), provided it’s equipped with a 256GB SSD and lightweight batteries. Despite that lack of heft, it still manages to pack an Intel Core-i7 CPU, a 1,600 x 900 display, 4GB of RAM, and an 11-hour battery into the boxy case. The 12.1-inch SX and NX are similarly spec’d, but have a Core-i5 processor option as well (the NX can only be had with a Core-i5). Those models will power along for 15 hours with the lightest batteries, while also tipping the scales at around 2.5 pounds. While excellent, that’s still far from the 1.9 pound. 13-inch Inhon Blade carbon — and let’s not even discuss thinness. Pricing and availability have yet to be disclosed.

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Source: Panasonic Japan (translated)

Dell officially unveils Precision M3800 workstation at SIGGRAPH, gives rumored specs a nod

 Dell officially unveils Precision M3800 workstation at SIGGRAPH, gives rumored specs a nod

Remember that Haswell-powered Dell workstation that popped up last week? The company is officially ready to acknowledged its silicon, announcing on its corporate blog that the machine is being unveiled at SIGGRAPH this week. Dell is still reluctant to get into specifics, but confirmed on a teaser page that the Precision M3800 would contain a 4th Generation Intel Core-i7 CPU, NVIDIA Quadro graphics and a 3,200 x 1,800 QHD+ multi-touch display. Even better, all that is set to fit into a tight 0.7-inch chassis that weighs in at 4.5 pounds. Mum’s still the word on specifics, but previous leaks assigned the machine 15GB of RAM and either a 1TB HDD or a 512GB SSD. Dell hasn’t let the workstation’s price slip either, but we don’t expect it to be cheap — nothing thin and powerful ever is.

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Source: Dell (1), (2)

Report: Dell Precision M3800 workstation to launch with 3,200 x 1,800 display option

Dell Precision M3800 laptop

According to a source of Dutch site, which has been spot on with a previous Dell leak, a new laptop known as the M3800 is set to join Dell’s Precision range of fun-hating workstations. An Intel Core i7-4702MQ (Haswell) processor will reportedly power the M3800, with an 2GB NVIDIA Quadro K1100M card taking care of graphics. It’s expected to come with up to 16GB of RAM, a 1TB hard drive or 512MB SSD, and two options for the 15.6-inch screen: a 3,200 x 1,800 resolution or standard 1080p panel. The workstation is said to measure 18mm (around 0.7 inches) at its thickest point, and tip the scales at 2kg (70.5 ounces). Integrated docking found on other Precision models is apparently not in the M3800′s feature set; it’s also missing an Ethernet port, so hard-lines will need to be connected via a USB intermediate. lists an expected price range of $1,699 to $1,999, but now comes the part where we wait for the M3800 to go official and see how correct all this leaked info is.

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ASUS Zenbook Infinity: Hands On with the Most Beautiful Notebook at Computex

I think I just saw the most beautiful notebook at Computex this year. Although it went unannounced in ASUS' Computex 2013 press conference, the Zenbook Infinity garnered a lot of attention from behind its glass case. I managed to come across a fully functional system, equipped with 13.3-inch 2560 x 1440 capacitive touch IPS panel. The back of the display panel is actually covered with Gorilla Glass 3:

The Zenbook Infinity maintains ASUS' radial brushed finish, but thanks to the piece of Gorilla Glass 3 the feel is substantially improved. The combination of the metal and the glass cover results in an almost jewelry-like finish, which looks amazing in person. Photos really don't do this thing justice at all. I sincerely hope this marriage of Zenbook design and a glass finish is part of a new design direction for ASUS. If we had a best of show award, I'd totally give it to ASUS for the Zenbook Infinity.

Although it looked black at the press event, in person the Infinity actually has a blue finish to it. The keyboard and trackpad both felt great, as did the build quality of the prototype machine. The ASUS logo on the back uses the display's backlight for illumination.

The ultra high resolution panel would normally be a mixed blessing on a Windows notebook thanks to horrible DPI scaling in Windows 8 desktop mode, but I'm actually wondering if that's a problem Microsoft will address with Windows 8.1 later this year. Given the way the PC ecosystem works, I can't imagine notebook vendors and Intel putting this much effort into driving high DPI displays without proper support from Microsoft. We'll find out for certain shortly here, but I'm getting a good feeling that the solution to this problem may be close.

Internally, the Zenbook Infinity is also pretty cool. Unlike all other Haswell Ultrabooks we've seen, the ZBI is home to a 28W Haswell ULT: the Core i7-4558U. The dual-core part features Intel's Iris 5100 graphics (GT3 without Crystalwell) as well as a higher base CPU clock frequency. The result should be a very interesting combination of power efficiency and GPU performance on tap. ASUS seems to always pick the right parts to integrate into its mobile devices, and the i7-4558U is definitely an interesting one.

There's no word on when we can expect to see the Zenbook Infinity, but I'm getting the impression that many Haswell Ultrabooks are slated to arrive closer to the launch of Windows 8.1. Between the Zenbook Infinity and some of the other Haswell ULT designs I've played with at the show, I'm very excited about the state of Ultrabooks in the second half of the year.