Video Perspective: Microsoft Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book Preview

Subject: Mobile | October 27, 2015 - 05:26 PM |
Tagged: video, surface pro 4, surface book, surface, Skylake, microsoft, Intel

In early October Microsoft took the wraps off of a pair of new 2-in-1 convertible notebooks in the form of the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book. The Surface Pro 4 is much like the previous tablet designs from the Redmond giant and includes a kick stand and optional Type Cover to make the tablet a notebook in terms of functionality. The update kicks up the processor to Intel's 6th generation Skylake design while increasing storage performance with NVMe Samsung SSDs.

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The Surface Book is definitely the more interesting of the two devices with a unique design that is more notebook than tablet/2-in-1. The 13.5-in 3000x2000 3:2 screen tablet is detachable from a base that includes a full keyboard and track pad, additional battery and even an optional discrete NVIDIA GeForce GPU. The hinge is similar to the watch hinge that Lenovo introduced with the Yoga 3 Pro and uses something Microsoft calls "Muscle Wire" to keep the tablet and keyboard docked firmly using magnets.

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Though I am really just getting started on the review process of these devices, I wanted to share a quick overview of both machines. Check it out in the video embedded below.

So what do you want to know about or see specifically tested on the Surface Pro 4 or Surface Book? Let us know in the comments below!

Lenovo Introduces the Ultra-Thin Yoga 900 Convertible Laptop

Subject: Systems, Mobile | October 20, 2015 - 05:55 AM |
Tagged: Lenovo, yoga 900, convertible, 2-in-1, laptop, notebook, Intel Core i7, QHD+

Lenovo has introduced their latest Yoga convertible notebook, and this one isn’t just thinner and lighter – it’s 14.9 mm thick and weighs just 2.8 lbs – Lenovo claims that it’s the world’s thinnest Intel Core i-series laptop. And the improvements don’t stop with the external design, as Lenovo has upgraded virtually every aspect of the Yoga.

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First off, 14.9 mm (0.59 inches) would be slim for a thin-and-light notebook anyway, but the Yoga’s thinness is even more impressive considering its 2-in-1 convertible design. The unique hinge mechanism is part of what allows Lenovo to keep such a slim profile, and this aspect has also been revised with a new version of the “watch band” hinge for the Yoga 900 that Lenovo says offers smoother movement than before.

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So what’s new under the hood? The latest Intel 6th generation processors to start with, and here are more of the specs:

  • Processor: Up to 6th Generation Intel Core i7
  • Display: 13.3" QHD+ (3200 x 1800) IPS, 300 nits
  • Graphics: Integrated Intel HD Graphics
  • Memory: Up to 16 GB LP-DDR3L
  • Storage: Up to 512 GB Samsung SSD
  • WLAN: 2x2 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0
  • Ports: 2x USB Type A 3.0, 1x USB Type C 3.0 with video out, 1x DC-in with USB 2.0 function, Audio Combo Jack
  • Card Reader: 4-in-1 (SD, MMC, SDXC, SDHC)
  • Webcam: 1MP 720p HD CMOS Camera
  • Audio: JBL Stereo Speakers with Dolby DS 1.0 Home Theater Certification
  • Battery: 4 Cell 66 Wh Li-Polymer, up to 9 hours battery life
  • Operating System: Windows 10 Home
  • Dimensions (W x D x H): 12.75" x 8.86" x 0.59" (324 x 225 x 14.9 mm)
  • Weight: Starting at 2.8 lbs (1.3 kg)

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In keeping with the Yoga name this laptop features a 360-degree hinge design, allowing virtually limitless possibilities for using the machine. This new Yoga also features a battery with much greater density than before – 50% more, according to Lenovo – and a revised cooling system that provides up to 30% better cooling as well as quieter performance.

The Yoga 900 starts at $1199, but the base models will differ in specs depending on where you look. Best Buy seems to have the better deal as they will offer a unit at the introductory price featuring a Core i7-6500u processor, while Lenovo’s base model has an i5-6200u for the same $1199 price. Both versions feature 8 GB of memory, and a 256 GB SSD.

Source: Lenovo

Get 4K video on the go with the Kensington SD4000 USB 3.0 dock

Subject: Mobile | October 19, 2015 - 06:39 PM |
Tagged: usb 3.0, SD4000, kensington, docking station

The Kensington SD4000 USB 3.0 docking station is a very easy way to connect to a single 4K resolution display or a pair of 2K displays even if your laptop technically lacks the ability to support it.  The small 19.5x85x2.75cm (7.7x3.3x1.1") connects to your laptop via a USB 3.0 connection and provides three USB 3.0 out, a LAN Port and DVI, DisplayPort and HDMI out, as well as separate mic and headphone jacks.  There is a sliding plastic cover over the DP and HDMI ports as you can only use one at a time, an handy way to distinguish which one is active.  eTeknix plugged in a 4K display and had no issues getting and external display to show full resolution, though they did not test gaming performance.  As this dock is intended for business and productivity focussed users that does make sense, if that describes you then check out the review.

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"For today’s review I’m venturing a little bit out of my normal area of storage, network, and server components and take a closer look at a very useful gadget for everyone that has a laptop of some sort. Kensington might be most known for their locking system that is present on almost any electronic device, but they do make a lot of different products too. Today I’m taking a closer look at the SD4000 Universal USB Docking Station for laptops."

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Source: eTeknix
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: EMTEC

Meet EMTECs powerful portable peripherals

You may not think you have heard of EMTEC before but if you are old enough to remember audio and video tape then their original name will ring a bell; they were once known as BASF Magnetics.  BASF officially launched their new division in 2000, focused on modern magnetic storage such as hard drives and flash.

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If you have seen an oddly shaped flash drive or ones made in the shapes of Looney Tunes or Angry Birds then you have run into EMTEC products.  As you can see above their product line is quite varied and includes the Power Connect for Mobile devices and the Wi-Fi Hard Drive P600, both of which they have sent for us to review. 

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The packaging is reminiscent of a gaming mouse with Velcro so you can open the box to see the device inside.  Even better is the lack of clamshell packaging, you won't have to risk a finger trying to open them.

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The WiFi Drive P600 is designed for portability, it is slightly larger than a deck of cards and is available in 1TB as well as 500GB models, the latter of which is the version that we received.  You can sync the hard drive wirelessly, over the LAN connection present on the bottom of the device or through the USB 3.0 port which is also the drives recharging port.  You can connect your devices to this drive in numerous ways, including setting it up as a SAMBA server or through DNLA if your devices are compatible.

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The Power Connect U600 is perhaps the more interesting of the two devices for people on the go.  With a large enough MicroSD card installed it can fulfill the same role as the WiFi HDD as it offers the same connectivity choices, including a LAN port, with the exception of DNLA functionality which is replaced with UPNP.  In addition to offering portable storage it can function as a WiFi hot spot and with the internal 5200 mAh battery it will be able to charge your phone when you are away from power.

Continue reading our review of the EMTEC Power Connect and WiFi Hard Drive!!

ASUS Announces ROG G752 G-SYNC Gaming Laptop

Subject: Systems, Mobile | October 13, 2015 - 10:23 AM |
Tagged: ROG G752, ROG, Republic of Gamers, notebook, laptop, Intel Core i7, GTX 980M, gaming laptop, asus

ASUS has announced the Republic of Gamers ROG G752, their newest gaming notebook featuring 6th-gen Intel Core i7 mobile processors and graphics cards ranging from the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M to the GTX 980M. The notebook also features NVIDIA's G-SYNC technology for its 17.3-inch matte IPS panel across the three available versions.

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ASUS is also advertising the laptop's brand new cooling system, a "3D Vapor Chamber" design:

Temperature uniformity vapor chambers are commonly found alongside high-performance, high-voltage graphics cards to increase cooling efficiency. The ROG-exclusive mobile 3D Vapor Chamber, together with the copper heat pipe, create an effective and efficient cooling system that helps improve GPU performance for smooth and stable gaming. ROG G752 is the world’s first laptop to integrate a vapor chamber into its cooling system.

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The ROG G752 offers a new physical design and the new Titanium and Plasma Copper color scheme from ASUS, and in addition to the new cooling system the notebooks are equipped with a new "ergonomically-designed" keyboard that features 2.5mm key-travel distance as well as anti-ghosting with 30-key rollover.

Here are the full specifications:

  • Processor: 6th-generation Intel Core i7 (Skylake) processor
  • Chipset: Mobile Intel CM236
  • Memory: DDR4 2133MHz (upgradable to 64GB)
  • Display: ROG G752VL / ROG G752VT / ROG G752VY - 17.3in anti-glare FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS LED backlit with NVIDIA G-SYNC
  • Graphics card:
    • ROG G752VL - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M with 2GB GDDR5 VRAM
    • ROG G52VT - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M with 3GB / 6GB GDDR5 VRAM
    • ROG G752VY - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M with 4GB / 8GB GDDR5 VRAM
  • Storage:
    • ROG G752VL - 2.5in SATA 2TB (5400 rpm); 2.5in SATA 1TB (7200 rpm); M.2 PCIe X4  NVME 256GB/128GB SSD
    • ROG G752VT/ ROG G752VY - 2.5in SATA 2TB (5400 rpm); 2.5in SATA 1TB (7200 rpm); M.2 PCIe X4  NVME 512GB/256GB/128GB SSD
  • Optical drive: DVD Super-Multi / Blu-ray Combo / Blu-ray writer
  • Camera: Built-in HD camera with array mic
  • Operating system: Windows 10, Windows 10 Professional
  • Size: ROG G752VL / ROG G752VT: 428 x 334 x 23 ~ 43mm; ROG G752VY: 428 x 334 x 23 ~ 53mm 
  • Weight: ROG G752VL / ROG G752VT: 4.06kg (with a 6-cell battery); ROG G752VY: 4.36kg (with a 8-cell battery)

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Pricing and availability were not announced, but expect to see the new ROG G752 laptops in the retail channel soon.

Source: ASUS
Author:
Manufacturer: MSI

Quick Look

Last month NVIDIA introduced the world to the GTX 980 in a new form factor for gaming notebook. Using the same Maxwell GPU, the same performance levels but with slightly tweaked power delivery and TDPs, notebooks powered by the GTX 980 promise to be a noticeable step faster than anything before it.

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Late last week I got my hands on the updated MSI GT72S Dominator Pro G, the first retail ready gaming notebook to not only integrate the new GTX 980 GPU but also an unlocked Skylake mobile processor. 

This machine is something to behold - though it looks very similar to previous GT72 versions, this machine hides hardware unlike anything we have been able to carry in a backpack before. And the sexy red exterior with MSI Dragon Army logo blazoned across the back definitely help it to stand out in a crowd. If you happen to be in a crowd of notebooks.

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A quick spin around the GT72S reveals a sizeable collection of hardware and connections. On the left you'll find a set of four USB 3.0 ports as well as four audio inputs and ouputs and an SD card reader.

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On the opposite side there are two more USB 3.0 ports (totalling six) and the optical / Blu-ray burner. With that many USB 3.0 ports you should never struggle with accessories availability - headset, mouse, keyboard, hard drive and portable fan? Check.

Continue reading our preview of the new MSI GT72S Dominator Pro G with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980!!

Android to iPhone Day 17: SoC Performance

Subject: Processors, Mobile | October 12, 2015 - 11:08 AM |
Tagged: iphone 6s, iphone, ios, google, apple, Android, A9

PC Perspective’s Android to iPhone series explores the opinions, views and experiences of the site’s Editor in Chief, Ryan Shrout, as he moves from the Android smartphone ecosystem to the world of the iPhone and iOS. Having been entrenched in the Android smartphone market for 7+ years, the editorial series is less of a review of the new iPhone 6s as it is an exploration on how the current smartphone market compares to what each sides’ expectations are.

Full Story Listing:

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My iPhone experiment continues, running into the start of the third full week of only carrying and using the new iPhone 6s. Today I am going to focus a bit more on metrics that can be measured in graph form – and that means benchmarks and battery life results. But before I dive into those specifics I need to touch on some other areas.

The most surprising result of this experiment to me, even as I cross into day 17, is that I honestly don’t MISS anything from the previous ecosystem. I theorized at the beginning of this series that I would find applications or use cases that I had adopted with Android that would not be able to be matched on iOS without some significant sacrifices. That isn’t the case – anything that I want to do on the iPhone 6s, I can. Have I needed to find new apps for taking care of my alarms or to monitor my rewards card library? Yes, but the alternatives for iOS are at least as good and often times I find there are more (and often better) solutions. I think it is fair to assume that same feeling of equality would be prevalent for users going in other direction, iPhone to Android, but I can’t be sure without another move back to Android sometime in the future. It may come to that.

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My previous alarm app was replaced with Sleep Cycle

In my Day 3 post I mentioned my worry about the lack of Quick Charging support. Well I don’t know why Apple doesn’t talk it up more but the charging rate for the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus is impressive, and even more so when you pair them with the higher amperage charger that ships with iPads. Though purely non-scientific thus far, my through the day testing showed that I was able to charge the iPhone 6s Plus to 82% (from being dead after a battery test) in the span of 1.5 hours while the OnePlus 2 was only at 35%. I realize the battery on the OnePlus 2 is larger, but based purely on how much use time you get for your charging time wait, the iPhones appear to be just as fast as any Android phone I have used.

Photo taking with the iPhones 6s still impresses me – more so with the speed than the quality. Image quality is fantastic, and we’ll do more analytical testing in the near future, but while attending events over weekend including a Bengals football game (5-0!) and a wedding, the startup process for the camera was snappy and the shutter speed never felt slow. I never thought “Damn, I missed the shot I wanted” and that’s a feeling I’ve had many times over the last several years of phone use.

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You don't want to miss photos like this!

There were a couple of annoyances that cropped up, including what I think is a decrease in accuracy of the fingerprint reader on the home button. In the last 4 days I have had more bouncing “try again” notices on the phone than in the entirety of use before that. It’s possible that the button has additional oils from my hands on it or maybe that I am getting lazier about placement of my fingers on the Touch ID, but it’s hard to tell.

Continue reading day 17 of my Android to iPhone editorial!!

ASUS ROG GX700 Water Cooled Gaming Laptop Specs Revealed

Subject: Systems, Mobile | October 9, 2015 - 06:00 PM |
Tagged: water cooling, NVIDIA GTX 980, liquid cooled, i7-6820HK, gx700, gaming laptop, g-sync, ASUS ROG, asus

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We already saw an announcement from ASUS (at IFA 2015) for their water-cooled Republic of Gamers GX700 gaming laptop, and now we have more details about this unique product, though some are still pending. The specifications (including the full version of the NVIDIA GTX 980) would make a great gaming desktop system, and that's kind of the idea as the performance increases substantially when the laptop is docked in its liquid-cooling base.

There are certainly questions about this concept that won't be answered until hardware in hand, but it's going to be interesting to see just how well a liquid cooling system will work in a dockable format like this.

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Here are the specifications we know so far:

  • CPU: Intel Core i7 6820HK
  • GPU: GeForce GTX 980, 8GB GDDR5
  • Display: 17.3-inch IPS FHD (1920x1080) G-SYNC / Optional 4K/UHD G-SYNC
  • RAM: Up to 64GB DDR4
  • Storage: Up to 1TB PCIe x4 SSD (2 x 512GB)
  • Optical: Blu-ray 6x RW
  • Card reader: SDXC
  • Networking: Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0
  • Keyboard: Anti-ghosting keyboard with 30-key rollover; 2.5mm travel; Illuminated
  • Ports:     
    • 3 x USB 3.0 
    • 1 x USB Type-C / Thunderbolt 3
    • 1 x USB Type-C / USB 3.1     
    • 1 x mini-DisplayPort
    • 1 x HDMI
  • Audio: 1x Headphone/mini-Optical S/PDIF, 1x Microphone input
  • Webcam: 1.2MP HD camera

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A look inside at the GX700 cooling system

Exact numbers on battery capacity, dimensions, and weight are not yet available, and pricing and availability have yet to be announced.

Source: ASUS

MSI shows off their Tetris skills with the GS60 6QE gaming laptop

Subject: Mobile | October 9, 2015 - 03:24 PM |
Tagged: msi, GS60 6QE, gaming laptop, 4k

Inside the impressively thin 15.6" GS60 6QE, 390x266x20mm is a Skylake based i7-6700HQ, a 3GB GTX970M and 16GB of DDR4-2133 along with a 256GB M.2 SSD for your OS plus a 1TB HDD for long term storage.  The integral display does indeed have a resolution of 4K, for external connectivity you can use either the HDMI v1.4b which supports 4Kx2K output or the Mini-Display port that supports 1080p @ 120Hz or 4K @ 60Hz.  For fans of gaming in the dark it sports  SteelSeries FULL back lit keyboard, programmable with the SteelSeries Engine and there is a single USB 3.1 Type C connector if you happen to have a compatible peripheral.  Check out the performance at Kitguru but only if you can stomach the $1800 price tag and the fact that Norton comes pre-installed.

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"There is no doubt that MSI have been releasing some of the most exciting, feature-laden laptops in the last 24 months. Today we take a look at the new GS60 6QE which incorporates a Intel Core i7 6700HQ Skylake processor, 8GB of DDR4 memory, Nvidia GTX970m, M.2 SSD and 4K Ultra HD panel. MSI have managed to cram all this tasty hardware into a chassis that measures only 20mm at the thickest point."

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Source: KitGuru

Dell Releases Redesigned XPS 15 Laptop with InfinityEdge Display

Subject: Systems, Mobile | October 8, 2015 - 10:05 AM |
Tagged: dell, XPS 15, InfinityEdge, laptop, notebook, Skylake, i3-6100H, i5-6300HQ, i7-6700HQ, GTX 960M

The redesigned Dell XPS 15 is here, now a larger clone of the popular XPS 13 including the same minuscule “InfinityEdge” display and featuring optional 4K resolution.

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Image credit: Engadget

The XPS 13 is among the highest-rated Windows laptops of the past year, and the preferred notebook of our own Ryan Shrout. Dell certainly had a big design win with a 13-inch screen on a laptop that would normally only house an 11.6-inch display, thanks to the razor-thin bezel surrounding the LCD panel. This InfinityEdge display makes a lot of sense for the larger XPS 15, and the newly redesigned notebook now occupies the space of a mere 14-inch notebook, while offering both FHD and UHD/4K screen resolutions.

What good would a beautiful screen be without the horsepower to drive it? For this Dell has implemented the latest 6th Generation Intel Skylake mobile processors, namely the Core i3-6100H, Core i5-6300HQ, and Core i7-6700HQ. Graphics duties are performed either by the integrated Intel HD 530 or an NVIDIA GTX 960M GPU, and 8GB of DDR4 memory comes standard with options up to 32GB available (and this is SoDIMM memory so users can upgrade later as well).

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Image credit: Windows Central

Specifications:

  • Processor:
    • 6th Gen Intel Core i3-6100H (3M Cache, up to 2.7 GHz)
    • 6th Gen Intel Core i5-6300HQ Quad-Core (6M Cache, up to 3.2 GHz)
    • 6th Gen Intel Core i7-6700HQ Quad-Core (6M Cache, up to 3.5 GHz)
  • Display: 15.6" FHD (1920x1080) InfinityEdge display or 15.6" UltraSharp 4K Ultra HD (3840x2160) InfinityEdge touch display
  • RAM: 8GB, 16GB or 32GB DDR4 at 2133 MHz (32GB post-RTS) (2 x SoDIMMs)
  • Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 530; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M 2GB GDDR5
  • Storage: 500GB HDD + 32GB Flash or 1TB HDD + 32GB Flash
  • 256GB PCIe SSD, 512GB PCIe SSD, or 1TB PCIe SSD
  • Camera: Widescreen HD (720p) webcam
  • Ports and Connectors: HDMI, USB 3.0 (x2), Headset Jack, SD card reader, Kensington Lock slot, Thunderbolt 3
  • Dimensions: 11-17mm x 357mm x 235mm
  • Weight: Non-touch, starting at 3.9 lbs; Touch, starting at 4.4 lbs

The new Dell XPS 15 is available today and prices start at $999.