Category Archives: Ultrabook

Samsung teases new Notebook 9 Pen with 15-hour battery life before CES 2019

Samsung

We weren’t impressed with this year’s Notebook 9 Pen, Samsung’s attempt at a high-end ultrabook, but the company will be trying again in 2019. Samsung announced two new versions of the Notebook 9 Pen—a 13-inch and a 15-inch model—that it will show off at CES in January and release sometime in 2019. At first glance, not much seems to have changed in the new convertibles, but upon closer inspection, Samsung has made some changes that will (hopefully) make the new devices worth their inevitably high price tags.

Regardless of how you feel about the blue-and-gold color scheme on this year’s Note 9 smartphone, Samsung clearly likes it because the company brought it over to the Notebook 9 Pen. The new device has that navy blue over most of its chassis, and its edges remain the only parts where silver pokes through.

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Huawei Matebook X Pro review: No longer just a MacBook clone

Enlarge (credit: Valentina Palladino)

Last year’s Matebook X pushed Huawei further into the PC market than it ever had been before. While it had a design that allowed it to masquerade as a trendy ultrabook, it demanded quite a few compromises from users. Its sub-par battery life and too-little memory, among other shortcomings, made the Matebook X less attractive than its shiny exterior suggested.

Huawei zeroed-in on the shortcomings of the Matebook X with its successor: the new Matebook X Pro. On paper, the new laptop appears leaps and bounds better than the original: an 8th-gen CPU, a 3K touchscreen, an estimated 15-hour battery life, and even a discrete graphics card.

But beefing up the Matebook X Pro forced Huawei to make a few sacrifices. Thankfully, those sacrifices do not overshadow the well-executed improvements that make this device a more capable laptop than the original.

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HP refreshes ZBook laptops, introduces “no compromise” ZBook Studio

(credit: Valentina Palladino)

At HP’s event in New York City today, the company expressed a goal to “bring the sexy back to workstations.” With that in mind, the company unveiled a newly refreshed line of ZBook laptops, including redesigned ZBook 15 and ZBook 17 models. However, the most exciting member of the family is the all-new ZBook Studio, which attempts to take on powerful machines like the MacBook Pro as the first quad-core workstation ultrabook.

The Studio sits in between the refreshed ZBook 15u and ZBooks 15 and 17 in terms of power and features. HP labels it as the “no compromise” option, as it supports Intel Xeon processors as well as Core i5 and i7 processors. It can store up to 2TB of data (with HP Z Turbo Drive G2), which is double that of the most expensive MacBook Pro and Microsoft Surface Book models, and it has up to 32GB of ECC memory. It sports quite a few graphics options as well, including an Nvidia Quadro M1000M with 2GB of dedicated GDDR5, an Intel HD graphics 530 or P530, and an Intel Iris Pro Graph.

The 15.6-inch ultrabook features the same thin and light redesign as the rest of the ZBook series, measuring 18mm thin and weighing 4.4 pounds. This is similar to the MacBook Pro, and that’s what HP is hoping people notice. The ZBook Studio may be a workstation, but the company wants customers to admire it for its sleek design and for how conveniently it lets them take all of their work anywhere.

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Lenovo Yoga 900: Core M ditched for full-fat Skylake, sensible keyboard returns

It’s safe to say that Lenovo made a few, let’s say, less-than-ideal tweaks to its flagship Yoga ultrabook with the launch of the Yoga Pro 3. Sure, the overall sleek design and wonderfully over-engineered hinge remained highlights, but the switch to a slower Core M processor and the sacrilegious alteration of its keyboard made the Pro 3 something of a step down from its predecessor.

Rejoice then, ye Lenovo faithful, for the new Yoga 900 makes up for much of the Pro 3′s flaws. For starters, the Core M has been ditched in favour of a full-fat i5 or i7 Skylake processor, while the keyboard regains its dedicated function key row. It’ll come in three different configurations, starting with a £1199 Core i5 version with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SATA SSD. £1299 gets you the same spec with an i7, while £1399 bumps up the SATA SSD to 512GB. Sadly, there’s no option at all for a quicker PCIe-based SSD. Pricing starts at $1,199 (!) in the US, but PR wouldn’t tell us anything further.

All models come with the same non-replaceable 66Whr battery (up from 44Whr in the Pro 3, and good for around nine hours of battery life according to Lenovo), a 13.3-inch 3200×1800 (276 PPS) IPS touchscreen, Windows 10, two USB 3.0 ports, a USB Type-C port, a headphone jack, and an SD card reader. Lenovo’s also boasting that it features a 32 percent larger fan, and thus runs quieter than its predecessor.

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Leaked slides reveal what may be a streamlined Skylake Ultrabook CPU lineup

The Intel Developer Forum is right around the corner, and the company is expected to give us a whole lot more information about its new Skylake processors (beyond, that is, the high-end desktop chips we’ve already tested). The people over at FanlessTech couldn’t wait, though—they’ve posted what appears to be more information about part of the Skylake lineup, specifically the U-series processors bound for thin-and-light Ultrabooks and mini PCs.

It’s possible that this isn’t a complete list, and that details could change when we get official information from Intel. But based on these slides, it looks like Intel could be bringing some much-needed simplicity to the lineup.

Eight CPUs, two GPUs, two chipsets

These slides show a total of eight dual-core processors: two Core i7s, two Core i5s, a single Core i3, a single Pentium, and a pair of Celerons. All chips share the same 15W TDP, the same as Haswell and Broadwell, and like Haswell and Broadwell that number should include both the CPU/GPU die and the chipset die mounted on the same package.

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The Ars Windows laptop guide: Spring 2015

Driven by Moore’s law, Dennard scaling, and other material advances, technology continues to push for ever greater miniaturisation. As such, the standard workhorse computer of the day has repeatedly slimmed down over time. First it was the room-sized mainframe, then the minicomputer, then the desktop PC.

Today, the laptop reigns supreme. It represents a solid blend of price, performance, battery life, and features. For heavy lifting or in situations where mobility simply isn’t required, you can always turn to a desktop PC. And in fact, we have now witnessed the beginnings of a shift towards form factors that are even more mobile than laptops, as tablets and convertibles each offer almost-laptop-level performance in a more portable package.

The vast majority of users and usage scenarios still find a decent laptop is more than enough, however. And currently discussing laptops means navigating the vast array of third-parties offering such machines running Windows. That’s where this Spring 2015 guide comes in. We looked at new laptops from the major Windows OEMs—Dell, HP, Lenovo, Asus—plus Microsoft itself. Know up front this is not fully exhaustive: there are thousands of different laptops on the market today, and it would be impossible to test them all. But this exercise provides a useful snapshot of the current landscape much like our 2014 smartphone guide. (If we have missed a laptop that should absolutely be on this list, let us know and we’ll do our best to obtain a review unit for later inclusion.)

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Dell releases updated XPS-13 Developer Edition in wide variety of configs

Following last month’s release of the Ubuntu-loaded M3800 Developer Edition, Dell has today formally announced the availability of the smaller and lighter 2015-model XPS-13 Developer Edition. The new XPS-13 Developer Edition replaces the original one, which we reviewed two years ago, bringing all the improvements we loved with the 2015-model XPS-13 Ultrabook under the Project Sputnik umbrella.

The new XPS-13 Developer Edition is available immediately in North America and Europe. According to Dell’s announcement blog post, there is a wide variety of possible configurations available (visible on the XPS-13 Developer Edition store page), but all will have Ubuntu 14.04 SP1, solid state disks, Broadwell i5 or i7 CPUs with integrated Intel HD Graphics 5500 GPUs, and 8GB of RAM; the different configuration options will be CPU type, SSD size, and whether the included 13.3-inch display is 1920×1080 or 3200×1800 with touch.

Interestingly, the blog post also includes details on testing that the company has done with various other Linux distros on the XPS-13, including Fedora and Debian. Knowing that not everyone will be happy with Ubuntu 14.04 as an operating system choice (something Ars readers made clear in the M3800 Developer Edition review’s comments), this time around Dell has provided quick run-downs on how to get the XPS-13 working with a few alternate distros—including recommendations for kernel choices and BIOS revisions to load.

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HP Spectre x360: The surprisingly good offspring of a MacBook Air and Lenovo Yoga

Specs at a glance: HP Spectre x360-13t
Entry level Top spec As reviewed
SCREEN 1920×1080 IPS at 13.3″ (166 ppi), multitouch 2560×1440 IPS at 13.3″ (220 ppi), multitouch 1920×1080 IPS at 13.3″ (166 ppi), multitouch
OS Windows 8.1 64-bit Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit Windows 8.1 64-bit
CPU 2.2-2.7GHz Core i5-5200U 2.4-3.0GHz Core i7-5500U 2.2-2.7GHz Core i7-5600U
RAM 4GB 1600MHz DDR3 8GB 1600MHz DDR3 8GB 1600MHz DDR3
GPU Intel HD Graphics 5500
HDD 128GB SATA SSD 512GB SATA SSD 256GB SATA SSD
NETWORKING Dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 2×2, Bluetooth 4.0
WWAN None
PORTS 3x USB 3.0, mini-DisplayPort, HDMI, headphone/microphone dual jack
SIZE 12.79×8.6×0.63″
WEIGHT 3.26lb
BATTERY 3-cell 56Wh Li-ion
WARRANTY 1 year depot 3 year onsite 1 year depot
PRICE $899.99 $1,769.98 $1,149.99
OTHER PERKS 1080p webcam, SD card reader

The HP Spectre x360 is a straightforward proposition. It’s a PC Ultrabook that, like so many others, is clearly inspired by the MacBook Air: metal body, thin and light, favoring portability and longevity over performance or expandability. To that basic package, it borrows a trick from Lenovo’s Yoga line. The hinge folds all the way back, turning a slimline laptop into a slightly chunky tablet.

The latest iterations of the MacBook Air and Yoga both have some shortcomings. The MacBook Air continues to be lumbered with screens that are, these days, just not up to scratch. Their resolution is relatively low, and their TN technology results in poor viewing angles and color accuracy. This was unexceptional when the MacBook Air was first introduced, but today devices with IPS screens are abundant, both from Apple and others. They easily outclass the MacBook Air displays.

The Yoga Pro 3 has a pretty screen and an extraordinarily elaborate hinge, but its performance—using a new Broadwell Core M processor—left something to be desired. This might have been OK if the battery life had been magnificent, but it wasn’t. The laptop managed just over five hours in our browsing-based test and three and a half hours in our 3D test.

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Acer Aspire S7 review (2013): the second time’s a charm for Acer’s flagship Ultrabook

Acer Aspire S7 review (2013): the second time's a charm for Acer's flagship Ultrabook

It wasn’t easy writing a conclusion (much less a headline) for our original Acer Aspire S7-391 review. The company’s third Ultrabook was near-perfect, with a stunning full HD display, exceptionally fast performance, an extra-light chassis and one of the most sophisticated designs we’d seen on any Acer machine, ever. Even so, the battery could barely last past the four-hour mark — a poor showing, even compared to other machines on the market. Plus, the fan noise was some of the loudest we’d heard, so you couldn’t enjoy that blazing SSD without a good deal of distraction. We ultimately recommended it, but with a sigh. This wasn’t the Ultrabook we thought it would be.

Fortunately for us, we no longer have to hem and haw over whether to recommend an exquisite laptop with worst-in-class battery life: Acer recently released an update to the S7, aptly called the S7-392. Available with a 13-inch screen (the 11-inch version has been discontinued), it arrives with Haswell processors, a larger battery and the promise of seven-hour runtime. Additionally, Acer retooled its cooling setup so that the fans supposedly operate much more quietly. Otherwise, it’s the same laptop: same keyboard, same thin and light design, same 1080p screen. So can we crown it a winner now?

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Dell unveils Latitude 7000 series Ultrabooks with Haswell inside

Dell slips out Latitude 7000 series Ultrabooks with Haswell inside

Dell’s Haswell-based Latitude laptops have been a tad on the chunky side so far, but the company is making amends by quietly launching its new Latitude 7000 series Ultrabooks. Both the 12.5-inch E7240 and 14-inch E7440 fit Intel’s new low-voltage, 1.7GHz Core i3 CPU into an aluminum shell that’s about 0.8 inch thick, yet meets military standards for resistance to dust, water and shock. They also support Dell’s WiGig Wireless Dock and WiDi. Neither will come close to the Precision M3800 in features, however. The two Latitudes both start with 4GB of RAM and a 1,366 x 768 display, and there’s no way to upgrade the performance or screen quality. They’re also expensive — the E7240 is launching at a $1,169 sale price with a 128GB SSD inside, while the E7440 with a 320GB hard drive isn’t much cheaper at $1,049. Still, we wouldn’t complain (much) if an IT manager plunked either of these Ultrabooks on our desks.

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Via: Liliputing

Source: Dell (E7240), (E7440)