After the latest MacBook Pro refresh failed to deliver the kind of features buyers really wanted, Apple's competitors sensed weaknesss. Instead of an overabundance of USB-C ports and gimmicky touch screens above the keyboard, systems like the new Spectre x360 15 are hoping to entice users back to PC land by offering way better flexibility, faster performance and the ability to live life dongle-free.
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The diversity of the Android and Windows ecosystems are one of their biggest advantages over Apple's alternatives. However, with two different companies in charge of development, sometimes it's hard to get everyone together to create the kind of tightly integrated platforms Mac and iPhone fans are so proud of.
A couple months ago I reviewed MSI's GT75VR, and even though I respect how hard it is to cram desktop-level components, ridiculously loud speakers, and a custom mechanical keyboard in a laptop body, gigantic 17-inch systems like that don't really do it for me. That's because weighing in at almost 5kg and measuring 5cm thick, the GT75VR doesn't really deliver the portability I expect from a gaming laptops. With a starting price of $3799, it sure as hell ain't cheap either. But the GS63VR Stealth Pro is a whole 'nother story. It's slim, it's sleek, and it's got one of the most colourful RGB keyboards out there - all starting at $2,999.
For years, Microsoft and others have been trying to figure out how to get Windows running on chips other than x86 processors most commonly made by Intel and AMD. The hope is that by broadening the platform to makers of mobile devices, Windows on ARM-based chips will lead to cheaper, more accessible systems than the standard laptops we have now.
I'm sitting here, looking at a screen that's way too tall, waiting, seconds turning into minutes, just so I can log into Windows. Thank god I didn't have to cold boot. Five minutes later, when my laptop finally approaches a functioning state, I reach down to move the mouse cursor over the Slack icon only to be greeted with a bare patch of hard black plastic - then I remember my 11-year-old Thinkpad doesn't even have a touchpad. This isn't going to be nearly as fun as I thought. Do I even try to install Photoshop? Screw it, let's go nuts. But before getting any deeper in this wasteland of retro tech, let me backup and explain how I got here.
AMD buddy, we've missed you. A few years ago there was a genuine choice between laptops with Intel inside and those with AMD. Then Intel continued to update and improve its processors while AMD did not. It was a big bummer if you wanted options when picking out a laptop and it was particularly painful for cheap laptop fans, as AMD-based laptops tend to be less costly than their Intel rivals.
There are always going to be people who want a big, powerful laptop. I'm talking about people like developers that want to show off early game builds at trade shows or stubborn people who simply can't compromise on performance when they are away from home. But is there any benefit to turning these 17-inch behemoths into something that thin and light too?
The US Federal Aviation Administration wants the world's airlines to stop letting passengers put large electronic devices like laptops in checked bags on international flights. The proposal, which will no doubt upset some frequent travellers, will be considered by the United Nations in the coming weeks.
People have been forecasting the death of the PC for years, and while all that noise is clearly overblown, there is one segment of the computing world that should probably go away: the traditional clamshell laptop. Now I'm not saying we should do away with notebooks PCs as we know them or more specialised notebooks like mobile workstations or gaming laptops, I just think it's past time we replaced all the boring old notebooks with 2-in-1s.
About a month ago, Intel announced its new 8th-gen CPUs, so we put together a little roundup of all the coolest notebooks getting new Core silicon. But one company was notably left off the list, because it didn't have anything to share at that time. Now, HP is finally ready to show off its new Spectre and Spectre x360, and even though the saying goes beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I think it's HP -- not Apple, Dell or Microsoft -- that's now making the best looking laptops on the market.
Slim laptops and fast graphics barely ever mix. Nvidia's Max-Q tech promised to change that, though, and we're seeing results -- including a new Gigabyte Aero 15 X, a laptop that is less than 20mm thick but hides away Nvidia's GeForce GTX 1070 graphics inside.
For fans of Lenovo's (and before that IBM's) no-nonsense business systems, 2017 marks a momentous occasion as it's the 25th anniversary of the ThinkPad line. And for quite a while, rumours were floating around that Lenovo was going to make a special throwback ThinkPad to celebrate the date, to the point that Lenovo later came out and confirmed it was happening. However, despite that admission, Lenovo's secretive approach had many wondering what its commemorative laptop would actually look like.
There's no shortage of computer makers that would like to sell you a big, expensive gaming laptop. So in an effort to differentiate themselves, companies are thinking of ways to make a portable screen attached to a keyboard and some silicon inside seem more attractive. Asus latched onto Nvidia's new Max Q design program for its new Zephyrus gaming laptop and crammed top-of-the-line specs into previously unheard of thin-and-light body. Meanwhile, Acer's Predator 21x stretches the very definition of a laptop (and your wallet) by packing pretty much anything the company could think of into an absolutely monstrous body. Lenovo is taking a different, and unfortunately, slightly more sedate path with its flagship Legion Y920 gaming laptop -- this laptop looks like one made by everyone else, and for Lenovo, which is known for some really out there and often stunning design choices, this is an uninspiring take.
A couple of weeks ago, Intel announced its first batch of 8th-generation CPUs. They're improved versions of the current Kaby Lake chips, but with double the cores. This results is that Intel says these chips offer up to 44 per cent better performance with a negligible impact on battery life. While these chips might not have the fancy new Intel 14nm++ architecture we were expecting, the new 8th-gen chips allow PC makers put quad-core chips in systems that previously capped out at two and that's still damn cool.
The new Razer Blade Stealth is an unusual beast, in a good way. It exists as a product manufactured by a company that proudly states on the cardboard box that it ships in they are “For Gamers, By Gamers” but, like the previous model, it doesn’t really feel like a gaming laptop.
No, the Blade Stealth isn’t a gaming laptop.
But it is one of the best ultrabooks you can buy.
There's a never-ending list of things you can do on a laptop, but at their core, they are pretty simple devices. More often than not, it's feature bloat and things you never even wanted to use that cause a system to go haywire. Instead of gussying up systems with magical touchbars and ridiculous expandable screens, laptop makers should take a page from LG's playbook and keep things light and simple.