Laptop vendors are left sitting on the sidelines waiting for the next waltz to start

Subject: General Tech | June 27, 2018 - 02:34 PM |
Tagged: hp, dell, Lenovo, acer, asus, Intel

Intel's delayed release of a new processor is going to have a noticeable effect on the laptop market this year.  As there is little chance of seeing anything new until towards the end of this year, laptop designers will not be able to offer new models for the holidays and will instead have to rework existing products.  DigiTimes suggests we will see trimmed down models with lower price tags to try to entice consumers into purchasing something, as they expect lower demand than we saw last year.  Hopefully some gaming machines may become more affordable, or we will start to see models incorporating AMD's new chips become more common.

old is new.jpg

"Global notebook vendors including HP, Dell, Lenovo, Acer and Asustek Computer will be unable to launch new models fitted with Intel's new-generation CPUs in the second half of 2018 as scheduled, as the release of Intel's new offerings will not come soon enough for this year's high season, according to industry sources."

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Source: DigiTimes

Alienware strikes back?

Subject: General Tech | June 20, 2018 - 12:47 PM |
Tagged: dell, Lenovo, acer, asus, msi, gaming laptop, hp

The gaming laptop market is going through some big changes, with the two market leaders seeing their dominance challenged by companies more frequently associated with business models.  While ASUS and MSI still account for half of the entire market, both with over a million units sold in the first half of 2018, Dell has already hit 500K and DigiTimes predicts Lenovo to hit 800-900K units by the end of the year

It will be interesting to see how the market changes now that you can once again buy a GPU for less than the price of one of these gaming laptops; not to mention what this competition will do to pricing and design.

dell-dude-1.jpg

"But their market leaderships are being undermined by Dell, Lenovo, HP and even Acer, all of which are strengthening their shipment momentum via pricing competition in the first half of 2018, with both ASP and gross margins for gaming notebooks driven down as a result."

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Source: DigiTimes

The beast with two screens, Lenovo teases us with new AI powered Yoga

Subject: General Tech | June 5, 2018 - 01:47 PM |
Tagged: Lenovo, Yoga 2

The first Yoga book with the Halo keyboard, a touchscreen which shows a keyboard as well as accepting input from a stylus, did not get high marks from Ken when he reviewed it last year.  The concept itself was not the problem, it was the lack of any travel on the trackpad and keyboard, even enabling the tactile feedback was not enough to help with typing or clicking and dragging icons.  For short tasks it was acceptable, once you grow accustomed to the interface, but you wouldn't want to compose a lengthy document.  The next generation will have an faster processor as well as AI to assist with typing, one expects predictive text a la most mobile phones and improved stylus input. 

You can see a bit of the brief tease they offered over at The Inquirer.

LenovoYogaBook2-580x358.png

"Teased during Intel's keynote at Computex, where the chipmaker unveiled a 'limited edition 5GHz Core i7', Lenovo's Yoga Book 2 retains the firm's unusual 'Halo keyboard'. Basically, it's a second screen, with a touchscreen surface acting as a digital keyboard."

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Source: The Inquirer

A new year means a new Yoga 920

Subject: Mobile | May 22, 2018 - 12:58 PM |
Tagged: Yoga 920, Lenovo, yoga, Kaby Lake R

Lenovo has been updating their Yoga lineup for more than a few years now, with the 920 model being one of the more popular models in recent years.   This refresh keeps the same body and watchband hinge, instead the updates are all hidden inside.  The base model features a Kaby Lake R Core i7-8550U, 8 GB of DDR4-2400, a 256GB NVMe SSD and a 1080p display, these can be upgraded to 8 GB of RAM, a 1TB NVMe drive and a 4k display if you so choose.  Regardless of the display you choose, the touchscreen has been developed by Wacom and offers 4096 levels of sensitivity which makes grabbing a stylus a very good idea, though including one would have been even better.

Take a look at Techgage's full review to see how the new Yoga 920 performs as well as more details about the included features.

Lenovo-Yoga-920-14-inch-2-in-1-Yoga-Stretching-680x417.jpg

"Lenovo’s Yoga series has long been respected for its notebooks’ ability to bend to your will, and the 920 (14) proves to be one of the best models the series has seen. With its incredibly sturdy design, sharp watchband hinge, super-thin frame, and beautiful aesthetics, the Yoga 920 is the ultralight 2-in-1 to consider."

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Source: Techgage

Podcast #494 - Intel 8th Gen launch, Samsung Z-NAND, and more!

Subject: General Tech | April 5, 2018 - 12:11 PM |
Tagged: Z-NAND, video, Samsung, project trillium, podcast, p20 pro, nuc, msi, Lenovo, Jedi Challenges, Intel 8th Gen, Intel, Huawei, H370, gigabyte, fractal design, Bloody Gaming, asus, apple, adata

PC Perspective Podcast #494 - 04/05/18

Join us this week for Intel 8th Gen launch, Samsung Z-NAND, and more!!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Allyn Malventano, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath

Peanut Gallery: Ken Addison, Alex Lustenberg

Program length: 1:53:12

Podcast topics of discussion:

  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Picks of the Week:
    1. Alex: Altered Carbon Trilogy
  4. Closing/outro
Source:
Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Lenovo

The tides are turning. Over the last few years, the technology industry sung with praises and predictions on virtual reality. The past year, however, tides have begun to shift. While VR remains prohibitively expensive and still wanting in the kind of experiences gamers crave, Augmented Reality is becoming the head-mounted hope for mainstream saturation.

Today, we’re taking a look at one of the first major consumer AR products with Lenovo Star Wars: Jedi Challenges. The set marries exciting technology with exciting IP, but is it enough to justify the $199 MSRP?

Specifications

  • MSRP: $199.99 ($169.99 on Amazon as of this writing)

  • Lightsaber Controller

    • Dimensions: 315.5mm x 47.2mm
    • Weight: 275g
    • Buttons: Power, Activation Matrix, Control Button
    • Battery: Micro-USB Rechargable
  • Lenovo Mirage AR Headset

    • Dimensions: 209.2mm x 83.4mm x 154.8mm
    • Weight: 477g
    • Buttons: Select, Cancel, Menu
    • Camera: Dual motion tracking cameras
    • Battery: Micro-USB Rechargable
  • Tracking Beacon

    • Dimensions: 94.1mm x 76.7mm
    • Weight: 117g
    • Buttons: Power/color switch
    • AA batteries (x2) required
  • Additional Info

    • Connection: Bluetooth connection to phone
    • Languages: English, German, Japanese, French, Spanish

1.jpg

The set comes in a large box that doubles as a storage container when the headset and isn’t in use. Everything is nicely packaged, but especially the lightsaber which rests in a nice foam cut-out just under the top half of the box. The unboxing experience is befittingly premium for a product such as this.

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The attention to detail on the lightsaber is impressive. It’s a loving recreation of Luke’s lightsaber from A New Hope. The top illuminates white or blue to indicate when it’s paired with your phone. In-game, pressing the side buttons causes the blade to rise up with the iconic sound effect; if you’re a Star Wars fan, it’s beyond neat.

Continue reading our review of the Lenovo Star Wars: Jedi Challenges!

Lenovo's Yoga 920; Thunderbolt and a battery chock full of lightning

Subject: Mobile | January 25, 2018 - 02:08 PM |
Tagged: Lenovo, Yoga 920

Sadly this is not the Yoda 920 model, however even the non-special model of Lenovo's Yoga 920 is worth taking a look at.  The entire body of the 14" convertible is metal to lend this tiny machine some stability and it features Lenovo's lovely watchband style hinge.  As you can see in the picture below, a Sharpie is thicker than the Yoga 920 which does mean the chiclet style keys do not have much travel, which TechSport noted but did not find to offer a bad typing experience.  The new Yoga also features Thunderbolt 3.0 and a 70WH battery which fared very well in the battery tests they performed in the full review.

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"With a 14" foldable display, an 8th-gen Core i7 CPU, and a premium-looking design, the new Lenovo Yoga 920 is aimed at business professionals who want a sleek laptop that is a solid companion on the go and for use in the board room, too."

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Source: Techspot

New Ryzen Mobile Notebooks Now For Sale from Acer, Lenovo

Subject: Mobile | January 24, 2018 - 12:20 PM |
Tagged: vega APU, vega 8, vega 10, swift 3, ryzen mobile, raven ridge, Lenovo, ideapad 720s, amd, acer, 2700u, 2500U

Last October, when AMD launched their mobile-oriented Ryzen Processor with Radeon Vega Graphics product line (Raven Ridge), they talked about several different notebooks that would be shipping with these new parts. However, up until now, there has only been one officially launched and shipping product—the HP Envy x360.

We have an article on the performance of the Ryzen 5 2500U and the HP Envy x360 coming very soon, but today Ryzen Mobile-enabled notebooks have become available to order from both Acer and Lenovo.

First, we'll take a look at Acer's offering, the Swift 3.

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For anyone who might be familiar with Acer's current notebook offerings, the Ryzen Swift 3 will seem very similar. From the photos, it appears to be nearly identical to its 8th Generation Intel equipped counterpart. That's certainly not a negative though, as I have been impressed with the Intel variant during some recent testing.

Acer Swift 3
MSRP $749 $949
Screen 15.6” FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS Display
CPU Ryzen 5 2500U Ryzen 7 2700U
GPU Integrated Radeon Vega 8 Integrated Radeon Vega 10
RAM 8GB DDR4 Dual Channel (non-upgradable)
Storage 256GB SSD 512GB SSD
Network 802.11ac Dual Band 2x2 MU-MIMO
Display Output

1 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C
2 x USB 3.0 Type-A
1 x USB 2.0 
1x HDMI

Battery

48Wh Battery, "Up to 8 Hours Battery Life"

As far as specs are concerned, Acer seems to be checking all of the boxes. RAM will ship in a dual-channel configuration (although we don't know at what speed it will be running, likely 2133 or 2400,) but will not be user replaceable according to questions answered by an Acer representative on their Amazon listing.

RR-specs.png

Additionally, Acer seems to be the only notebook maker set to ship the Ryzen 5 2700U variant. Not only does the 2700U give users increased clock speeds of 200MHz at base speeds on the CPU portion, but the GPU sees a significant bump. The 2700U gets an upgrade from Vega 8 graphics with 512 stream processors running at 1100MHz to Vega 10 graphics with 640 stream processors at 1300MHz. This should provide a nice performance boost for the extra $200 Acer is asking.

The Acer Swift 3 is set to start shipping on February 9th from Amazon.

Next up is Lenovo, with their Ideapad 720S.

ideapad720s-RR.jpg

The only 13" Ryzen Mobile option to be announced, the Lenovo Ideapad 720S also shares a lot of design DNA with Lenovo's Intel counterparts.

Lenovo Ideapad 720S
Processor AMD Ryzen 5 2500U
Graphics Integrated Radeon Vega 8
Memory 8GB DDR4-2133 (Single Channel)
Screen 13.3-in 1920x1080 IPS
Storage 512GB PCIe SSD
Camera 720p / Dual Digital Array Microphone
Wireless 802.11AC (1x1) + Bluetooth® 4.1
Connections 2 x USB 3.0
1 x USB 3.0 Type-C (DP & Power Delivery)
1 x USB 3.0 Type-C (DP)
Audio jack
Battery 48Wh "Up to 9.5 hours battery life"
Dimensions

12.0" x 8.4" x 0.5" / 305.9 x 213.8 x 13.6 (mm) 

2.5 lbs (1.14 kg)

OS Windows 10 Home
Price $1049 - Lenovo.com

Disappointingly, the Lenovo Ideapad 720S will ship only in a single memory channel configuration. This will significantly affect the performance of the integrated graphics, as it is highly dependant on memory bandwidth. I wouldn't expect the memory to be user upgradable either; it's likely a single DIMMs worth of memory soldered onto the motherboard.

ideapad720s-specs.png

Curiously, although AMD listed a 2700U variant of the Ideapad 720S in their slides in October, those models have yet to be seen. However, we've seen this before from Lenovo where they start skipping a single SKU that is the most popular configuration and then filling out the rest of the options shortly after.

The Lenovo Ideapad 720S is available to order now directly from Lenovo, with an estimated shipping date or 5-7 business days.

At a price premium above the Acer Swift 3, the Ideapad 720S seems like a hard sell with lack of dual channel memory. However, for users who may be set on a 13" screen size, it appears it will be the only option.

Overall, I am excited to see more AMD-powered options in the thin-and-light notebook category, and I look forward to getting our hands on some of these new models soon!

CES 2018: Lenovo Announces Mirage VR Camera and Untethered Motion-Tracking Daydream Headset

Subject: General Tech | January 9, 2018 - 02:15 PM |
Tagged: VR, lenovo mirage, Lenovo, daydream, CES 2018, CES, camera

UPDATE (2018-01-09 7:38 PM EST): Lenovo has announced new pricing information for its Mirage Solo headset and Mirage VR Camera. In lieu of the specific pricing originally reported, the Mirage Camera will now start at "under $300" while the Mirage Solo will start "under $400." Original article follows below.

Lenovo today announced the Mirage Solo, the first standalone headset compatible with Google's Daydream virtual reality platform. In addition to keeping the processing power, display, and power all confined to the headset for a completely untethered experience, the Mirage Solo also supports "WorldSense," a motion tracking technology that lets users move within a 1.5-meter range of compatible Daydream experiences without the need for external cameras or sensors.

lenovo-mirage-solo-front.jpg

The Mirage Solo is based on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 VR platform with 4GB of RAM. On-board storage is provided by microSD and can be expanded up to 256GB. The 256x1440 display offers a 110-degree filed of view, and the whole headset weighs in at 1.42 pounds.

lenovo-mirage-solo-back.jpg

The headset's 4000mAh battery is good for up to 7 hours per charge, although Lenovo notes that this number may vary based on the complexity of the Daydream content and the amount of motion involved.

The Mirage Solo includes a wireless Daydream controller and will start at $449.99 "under $400" when it ships in the second quarter.

Mirage Camera

In addition to the Mirage Solo headset, Lenovo is also launching a product for those who wish to create and share virtual reality experiences. The Mirage Camera is a compact VR capture device that records 180 degrees of video via two 13MP fisheye lenses.

lenovo-mirage-camera-1.jpg

Once captured, the camera features integrated uploading to Google Photos and YouTube for easy sharing. The videos are recorded in the VR180 format, which allows for immersive 3D playback with compatible devices, or controllable 2D video for those without a headset.

The Mirage Camera includes 16GB of built-in storage and can be expanded with up to 128GB of additional storage via a microSD card. The removable battery offers up to two hours of continuous recording per charge.

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The Mirage Camera starts at $299.99 "under $300" and will launch in the second quarter. A model with integrated LTE is also planned, but Lenovo has not yet revealed pricing or release window for that version.

Source: Lenovo

CES 2018: Lenovo Updates ThinkPad X1 Lineup With 8th Gen Intel CPUs and HDR Displays

Subject: Mobile | January 8, 2018 - 08:00 PM |
Tagged: ThinkPad X1 Yoga, ThinkPad X1 Tablet, ThinkPad X1 Carbon, Thinkpad, Lenovo, laptop, CES 2018, CES

After updating other members of its ThinkPad line last week, Lenovo today is turning its attention to its flagship ThinkPad X1 series, introducing a number of performance and design updates to the X1 Carbon, X1 Yoga, and X1 Tablet.

ThinkPad X1 Tablet

The new ThinkPad X1 Tablet sees a change in form factor, moving from a 12-inch "2K" display (2160x1440) to a 13-inch "3K" display (3000x2000), as well as processing power with the switch to 8th generation Intel Core processors. The new display is also HDR compatible for vivid content consumption and creation.

thinkpad-x1-tablet.jpg

The complete specs:

Processor Up to 8th Gen Intel Core i7
OS Up to Windows 10 Pro
Graphics Intel UHD Graphics 620
Memory Up to 16GB LPDDR3
Storage Up to 1TB PCIe SSD
Battery Up to 9.5 hours
Display 13-inch 3000x2000 IPS
Corning Gorilla Glass
Weight 1.9lbs tablet only
2.79lbs with keyboard
Dimensions 304 x 226 x 8.9mm
I/O 2 x Thunderbolt 3
1 x microSD Card Reader
1 x 3.5mm audio in/out
1 x Nano SIM
Connectivity Intel 802.11ac Wi-Fi
Bluetooth 4.2
Integrated LTE

The new third generation ThinkPad X1 Tablet starts at $1599 and will be available starting in March.

ThinkPad X1 Carbon & Yoga

Like the X1 Tablet, the third generation X1 Yoga and sixth generation X1 Carbon also receive upgraded displays. Featuring a peak brightness of 500 nits, both displays are the first to be compatible with Dolby Vision HDR. On the audio side, new 360-degree Far-Field Communication microphones support Wake-on-Voice functionality and, when it launches as part of a free update later this year, integrated hands-free Amazon Alexa support.

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The specs:

Category X1 Carbon 6th Gen X1 Yoga 3rd Gen
Processor Up to 8th Gen Intel Core i7 Up to 8th Gen Intel Core i7
OS Up to Windows 10 Pro Up to Windows 10 Pro
Graphics Intel UHD Graphics 620 Intel UHD Graphics 620
Memory Up to 16GB LPDDR3 Up to 16GB LPDDR3
Storage Up to 1TB PCIe SSD Up to 1TB PCIe SSD
Battery Up to 15 hours Up to 15 hours
Display 14-inch 2560x1440 IPS
Dolby Vision HDR
14-inch 2560x1440 IPS
Dolby Vision HDR
Touchscreen
Weight Starting at 2.49lbs Starting at 3.08lbs
Dimensions 304 x 226 x 8.9mm 333 x 229 x 17.05mm
I/O 2 x USB 3.0 Type-A
2 x Thunderbolt 3
1 x 3.5mm audio in/out
1 x microSD Card
1 x HDMI
1 x Lenovo Docking Connector
2 x USB 3.0 Type-A
2 x Thunderbolt 3
1 x 3.5mm audio in/out
1 x microSD Card
1 x HDMI
1 x Gigabit Ethernet
Connectivity Intel 802.11ac Wi-Fi
Bluetooth 4.2
Optional Integrated LTE
Intel 802.11ac Wi-Fi
Bluetooth 4.2
Integrated LTE

The 6th gen ThinkPad X1 Carbon starts at $1709 while the 3rd gen ThinkPad X1 Yoga starts at $1889. Both will be available later this month.

Source: Lenovo