Category Archives: Tablets

Surface Pro 6 review: Still the best 2-in-1 PC

Microsoft's Surface Pro 6 is the ideal hybrid tablet. It's a slate that can run all of the Windows apps you need, and together with its keyboard cover, it can also serve as a solid ultraportable laptop. But honestly, the same was true for last ye…

Surface Pro 6 and Surface Laptop 2: New internals, new color, old ports


I know, dear reader, that some of you do not care. You do not understand the fuss about Thunderbolt 3; you view it as, at best, a nice-to-have feature and not a dealbreaker. But I’m afraid I am going to stick to my guns. Premium portable systems should include some number of Thunderbolt 3 ports; it’s not optional, it’s mandatory. The high-speed interconnect is really starting to show its value; external GPU solutions are mature and widespread, there are all manner of high-speed Thunderbolt 3 storage options out there, and single cable monitor-dock-charger solutions are either on the market or arriving imminently. Thunderbolt 3 has proven its value, and more broadly, Type-C ports are small and versatile.

The new refreshes of the Surface Pro and Surface Laptop lack Thunderbolt 3 and USB Type-C entirely, and for the life of me I cannot understand why. They’re premium machines, and their competitors—from HP, from Dell, from Lenovo, from Apple, from Razer, and from more besides—all have at least one Thunderbolt 3 port, often more. I thought this was disappointing in 2016, when Microsoft failed to take what would arguably have been a leadership position with the interface. I thought it was a significant flaw in 2017, though I hoped the Surface Book 2 (which has a single Type-C port used for USB 3.1 generation 1 and charging, but not Thunderbolt 3) was a sign that a corner had been turned. In the fourth quarter of 2018, I think the absence is inexcusable.

Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Microsoft to launch new hardware on October 2

Article intro image

Enlarge / Surface Laptop. (credit: Justin Wolfson)

Microsoft is holding a hardware event in New York City on October 2.

We’re expecting the event to be relatively low-key, with a focus on refreshes of existing form factors rather than anything extraordinary and new. The release of the Whiskey Lake and Amber Lake processors by Intel means that the Surface Laptop, Surface Pro, and Surface Book 2 could all stand to see a processor bump. The niche Surface Studio would also be a good candidate for an update (its processor is two generations old and its GPU is one generation old), but we’re not honestly sure if Microsoft is even continuing to develop that particular form factor.

The one thing we can be confident that we won’t see is a Surface Phone. The last rumors around Andromeda, Microsoft’s alleged dual-screen handheld pocket-sized device, were that it was being delayed because the software wasn’t ready and nobody is quite sure what it’s good for. Since then, we’ve heard nothing more, so we’d expect this to still be the case.

Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Surface Go review: The ideal cheap Windows tablet… almost

The Surface Go is Microsoft's smallest and cheapest tablet yet, with specs that would make hardware nerds laugh. But in many ways, it brings Microsoft closer to its original dream for the Surface line: It's almost as light as an iPad, but it can…

Report: Microsoft is going to try to make a cheap Surface tablet… again

The Surface 3′s non-LTE version.

Bloomberg reports that Microsoft is going to release a $400, 10-inch, Intel-powered Surface tablet in the second half of the year, in a renewed effort to take on the iPad.

This represents a return to a strategy the company has tried before. The original ARM Surface RT and Surface 2 and the Intel-equipped Surface 3 were all attempts to offer a low(ish) priced tablet operating in the same approximate market as the iPad. None saw any great success, however, and the Surface 3 was discontinued in late 2016. The winner in the Surface line has been the more expensive Surface Pro series: Microsoft found a formula that worked with the Surface Pro 3 and has seen steady sales and a proliferation of copycat devices.

The problem with Surface Pro is the price: the current-generation Surface Pro starts at $799. This makes it a hard sell for markets such as education, where it’s going up against systems such as Apple’s new $329 iPad (sold to schools for $299), and various Chromebooks running Google’s Chrome OS.

Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

How to Make Screen Time Rules That Work for Your Family

Not long ago, pediatricians recommended limiting the amount of time kids spend on phones and tablets to just one or two hours a day, with toddlers getting none at all. That has changed, and now parents are supposed to make sure kids have a healthy relationship with their devices. Where do you begin? Here are a few ways to approach the task.

Remember That Screen Time Isn’t Everything

Especially when children are young, it’s tempting to assume that any time they look at a phone or a tablet or a TV, they are wasting their time. But not all screen time is the same: children might be drooling and staring at a dumb cartoon, or they might be playing a game that requires creativity or problem solving. Once they get a little bit older, they might be using “screen time” as a way to communicate with their friends, or research real-world activities like crafts they want to build or decisions about what to buy with their allowance.

If you want to set limits, pay attention to what your child is actually doing when they have “screen time.” I see a huge difference between my seven-year-old watching videos versus building things in Minecraft. (I feel truly conflicted when he watches videos about Minecraft—he’s passively consuming media, but he’s also learning skills that he turns around and uses to create.)

Rather than setting time limits, Devorah Heitner, author of Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive in Their Digital World, suggests encouraging children to spend their time on more creative pursuits: making videos rather than watching them, for example, or learning to code their own video games when they are old enough.

You may still feel you need to set limits, but they don’t have to be restrictions on spending time with screens at all. Instead, you could use a tool like Circle to block access to certain websites at certain times. And you could follow the American Academy of Pediatrics’ guideline to keep mealtimes and bedtime tech-free.

Make Sure the Phone Isn’t the Only Fun Thing Around

We know that children need real-world play time, and interactions with real people. But just like us, they can gravitate to electronics because those devices are more convenient to use. “Are the dress-up clothes and the legos and the musical instruments as accessible as the screens?” Heitner suggests asking yourself as you look around your child’s environment.

If you’re trying to eat healthy, we’ve already explained how you can manipulate your environment to make healthy food more available and junk food out of sight and out of mind. That’s the same idea here. Even if you set firm rules, kids may spend their time whining about when they can watch YouTube next. But if their favorite toys are easy to get to, they may forget about the phones and tablets, at least temporarily.

That may mean an inconvenient tradeoff for you as a parent: watching videos can keep kids quiet, and is definitely less messy than a Lego explosion.

Look at Your Own Media Use

It’s hard to get kids to look up from their phones if you never do, either. I’m definitely guilty of this, especially if I’m on deadline. Heitner mentions that sometimes she has to arrange meetings with people in other time zones, so she can’t always put her phone away in the evenings. But she makes sure to put her phone away at certain times of day as part of her family’s routine.

“A great parenting tactic is to be honest with our kids when we’re busy,” she says. “But I also think we shouldn’t have a default be that we’re always connected and never unplugged.”

Decide Which Rules Make Sense

I didn’t really name my kids off the winter storm lists, but I was tempted.

When the AAP announced their 2016 guidelines about device use for kids, they also launched a Media Plan tool that helps you make a list of rules that work for your family. As you go through, you can check off rules for each of your children, and add your own as you go.

I hoped that the result would be a concise list of family rules I could post on my fridge, but the tool produced a lengthy printout. Still, it was useful to go through all of the rules and consider which ones I actually wanted to follow, and which I didn’t.

The biggest impact of the AAP’s guidelines, Heitner says (and I agree!) is that parents no longer have to pretend that they do, or should, set strict limits on screen time for their children. And we don’t need to look down on families who give their kids more screen time than we do. “It’s harder to talk to other parents because we’re so busy judging them,” she observes.

Without the guilt of the old rules, it may be easier to speak more openly with other parents about what they do when their child throws a tantrum about giving up the screen at bedtime. Or how they decided whether their middle schooler was ready for their own phone. Preschool teachers and special needs therapists (such as speech therapists) are a fantastic resource on early childhood learning, she points out. If you feel comfortable discussing tablet use with teachers, you can get great suggestions for apps that are appropriate for your child—or even for offline activities that could help your kid’s playtime to be more well rounded.

Illustration by Sam Woolley. Photos by Roy Luck and Josh Engroff.

McDonald’s places a large order of Samsung tablets in the UK

If you make a trip to a McDonald's in the coming months, expect to see a few tablets. As part of an agreement with device management company SOTI, the fast food chain plans to install Samsung Galaxy Tabs in the "majority" of its UK restaurants, givin…

The big Vaio, Toshiba and Fujitsu merger is still on

We've been reporting on rumors that three of Japan's PC makers, Vaio, Toshiba and Fujitsu are planning to merge their computing divisions for a while. Now, Bloomberg has apparently received confirmation that a deal is on the cards thanks to Hidemi Mo…

The best Cyber Monday deals

So you successfully emerged from Black Friday shopping relatively unscathed, and you've got the cash for an extra tech gift (or, let's be honest, a treat for yourself). Where do you go to spend that dough? Don't worry: we've rounded up some of the be…

The Best Deal of Black Friday: Amazon Fire Tablet For $35

The Best Deal of Black Friday: Amazon Fire Tablet For $35

Tablets don’t have to be amazing to be useful, and there’s no better standard bearer of that philosophy than Amazon’s $50 Fire Tablet.…

$50 is already a pretty insane deal for a 7” internet-connected screen that you can carry around and watch videos on, but its $15 Black Friday discount just went live, pushing it well into impulse buy territory. If you have any need for a portable “TV” screen, or a cheap gaming device for your kids, this is the best deal of Black Friday. [Amazon Fire, $35]…

If you expect a little more from your tablet, the faster, sharper Fire HD 6 is also $30 off today. [Amazon Fire HD 6, $70]…

More Amazon Devices On Sale:

Amazon Echo ($149) | Amazon…

Amazon Fire TV Stick ($25) | Amazon | $35 with a voice remote…

Amazon 4K Fire TV ($75) | Amazon…

More Black Friday Deals…

Commerce Content is independent of Editorial and Advertising, and if you buy something through our posts, we may get a small share of the sale. Click here to learn more. We want your feedback.

Send deal submissions to Deals@Gawker and all other inquiries to Shane@Gawker.