Qualcomm Announces Snapdragon 845 Mobile VR Reference Platform

Subject: General Tech | February 21, 2018 - 07:50 PM |
Tagged: VR, snapdragon 845, reference platform, qualcomm, mobile, headset, development

Qualcomm has another mobile-related announcement ahead of MWC, introducing a new VR reference platform based on the Snapdragon 845 in collaboration with HTC. As the new Snapdragon 845 boasts much more powerful graphics from its Adreno 630 GPU compared to the Snapdragon 835 - which was behind the previous mobile VR platform - this represents an important step forward in the mobile VR space.

SVR845.jpg

The increased graphics horsepower isn't the only aspect of the Adreno 630 that should translate into a better mobile VR/AR (now rolled together into the term "XR" for extended reality) experience, as the gains in graphics performance we saw from the SDM845 reference platform are said to come with 30% power savings as well as Adreno Foveation, which allows eye-tracking to direct resources only to the area where the user is looking. Thus Foveation allows for, literally, focused GPU resource allocation, which should translate into better performance with less hardware overhead.

Right view.jpg

The Snapdragon 845 Mobile VR Platform also boasts 6DoF, or "6 degrees of freedom", which incorporates external cameras to improve free movement compared to the previous 3DoF limitations:

"Together, 6DoF and SLAM deliver Roomscale - the ability to track the body and location within a room so you can freely walk around your XR environment without cables or separate room sensors – the first on a mobile standalone device. Much of this is processed on the new dedicated Qualcomm Hexagon Digital Signal Processor (DSP) and Adreno Graphics Processing Unit within the Snapdragon 845. Qualcomm Technologies’ reference designs have supported some of the first wave of standalone VR devices from VR ecosystem leaders like Google Daydream, Oculus and Vive."

Left view.jpg

Qualcomm's goal with the new Snapdragon 845 Mobile VR Platform is to support "the next wave of smartphone and standalone VR headsets", and it seems that mobile hardware is starting to catch up to the ambitions of what is now being called XR.

Source: Qualcomm

Qualcomm signs major carriers and retailers for Always Connected PC launch

Subject: Mobile | February 21, 2018 - 11:10 AM |
Tagged: snapdragon, qualcomm, microsoft, always connected pc

With availability scheduled to begin next month, Qualcomm is prepping for its final push to prepare the market for what it believes is a revolutionary product category for the PC market. Just before the mobile media and analysts focus attention on Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next week, Qualcomm hopes it has completed the final step in the launch of its “Windows 10 on Snapdragon” line. Partners like Amazon, the Microsoft Stores, Verizon, and AT&T will provide the cellular LTE connections to maintain an always-connected state and the retail and online locations to purchase them.

By combining Windows 10 and the company’s Snapdragon mobile platform with efficiency and connectivity advantages other PC chip vendors can’t match, Qualcomm is hoping that its creation of this new sub-category of PC that focuses on being always connected through a smartphone-like cellular connection will pay dividends. Compared to Intel processors that target similar form factors of notebook PCs including 2-in-1s and detachable tablets, the Qualcomm chips differentiate by including the capability for LTE connectivity on every design, without having to pay an upgrade cost.

qcwos1.png

The ability for a Qualcomm-powered Windows 10 PC to have an “instant on” button to turn on the screen without a boot or wake-from-sleep process, again in the same way your smartphone works today, is another touted feature. Battery life is the other tent pole, with Qualcomm often citing disingenuous battery life estimates on Intel-powered systems but “beyond all day” battery life for its own.

Getting these Qualcomm-chip Windows notebooks into the market might seem like a trivial task but inserting a new totally new product category into retail and e-tail takes careful management. Qualcomm will have to educate consumers on how its platform is different and what advantages it can offer over other laptops. Retailers will have to undertake most of that education process, as the customer will need guidance to avoid costly returns and support calls.

The added complexity of a cellular connection will mean that some kind of registration process will have to occur before the PC is truly “always connected.” It will need to be added to a data plan on an existing carrier agreement (think adding a new phone to your cell account) or through a pre-paid arrangement.

qcwos4.jpg

A touchier subject surrounds the retail channel and how PCs are sold in today’s market. Despite the years of legal disputes and resolutions, most in the industry still view Intel as wielding incredible power in the retail and online e-tail sales channels. Through practices like rebates, education programs, and sales clerk discounts, it can be hard for a new player to battle the incumbent without a similar amount of marketing muscle and dollars behind them. Even AMD, with years of practice selling its own processors and systems, struggles at time to get the attention and retail shelf space its products deserve.

In the US market, Microsoft will be taking the helm at the retail channel, stocking and selling the three first Qualcomm Snapdragon Windows 10 PCs from HP, Lenovo, and ASUS. Though the quantity of Microsoft stores is limited, placement here is a big win for Qualcomm and its partners. The Microsoft Stores are generally considered the presentation point for the flagship Windows devices, indicating that Microsoft itself puts a lot of weight behind the category that Qualcomm is creating.

For the online markets, Amazon will be the primary location in the US for sales. In talks with Qualcomm executives, it appears that the online giant will be handling a lot of that education and cellular activation. While I am certain that Qualcomm would love to have had a nationwide brick-and-mortar retailer like Best Buy in the mix, the Minneapolis-based company did not buy in.

Qualcomm has other retailers lined up across the globe, including in Australia, Italy, France, and the UK. China will have sales through JD.com, one of the largest online retailers in the world with more than 266M active users. Qualcomm still has many regions to address with availability and wider distribution as the second wave of PCs comes to market in the holiday of 2018, but it believes it has a solid start under its belt.

carrierlogos.jpg

Graphic Source: TechSpot

Operator support is just as crucial for Qualcomm’s new PC category as retail availability. If a consumer buys a device but isn’t offered service from a mobile telecommunications provider along with it, much of the appeal of the device is lost. Carriers in the UK, Italy, China, France, Germany, Ireland, Spain, Switzerland, and US (including all four major players Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, and T-Mobile), will begin offering plans for the Windows 10 on Snapdragon PCs. Details of what the specific costs will be aren’t being shared and will vary for each carrier.

Affordability of these plans will be critical to the mass market success of the Always Connected PC. Consumers will not pay exorbitant amounts of money to add a device to their existing cell phone plan but providers may be hesitant to offer discounts for a platform that inherently will have potential for greater data consumption. Users on smartphones often get lower resolution video or web pages because of the smaller screen size. But these full capability PCs will likely stream full resolution content and could create additional strain on the networks.

Source: Qualcomm

ZTE Axon 9 Leaks Surface

Subject: Mobile | February 19, 2018 - 07:36 PM |
Tagged: zte, axon 9, qualcomm, snapdragon 845

So there’s a lot to say about this story. The first bit is that the follow up to my current phone, which is a ZTE Axon 7, will be launching later this year. It will be called the ZTE Axon 9, and a bunch of rumored leaks have just dropped on it.

zte-2018-image-gsmarena_002.jpg

Image Credit: ZTE Weibo via GSM Arena

GSMArena cites claims that the device will come with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845. High-end SKUs will have 6GB of RAM and 128 or 256 GB of internal storage. Low-end SKUs will have 4GB of RAM. Personally, I haven’t come close to filling up the 64GB of the original ZTE Axon 7, although that’s just me. This is the first time I checked pretty much since I got the phone, and I still have about 33 GB remaining. That said, you are not me, and you probably know how much space you’ll use.

The choice of SoC is interesting. ZTE seems to go straight for the top of Qualcomm’s product stack with their flagship device, which puts it against the performance of, for instance, Samsung’s latest-and-greatest at the time. The ZTE Axon 7 came out a few months after the Samsung Galaxy S7, had the same processor, and was hundreds of dollars cheaper. ZTE wanted market share, but it looks like they might be continuing the trend.

The new device is said to have a 6-inch screen, which makes it slightly larger than the Axon 7, which has a 5.5-inch screen. Both cameras have also been upgraded. The rear camera will be 20 megapixels, while the front-facing one will be 13 megapixels. This doesn't say much about how it will perform, such as how much light is required to get a good image, but we will find out eventually.

At around the same time, US intelligence agencies are warning against purchasing ZTE and Huawei devices because the two companies have ties with the Chinese government. ZTE and Huawei both rebuke the assertions, of course. Personally, I use the ZTE Axon 7 as my only cellphone.

It doesn’t bother me.

Source: GSMArena

Qualcomm pushes LTE forward again, up to 2 Gbps with Snapdragon X24 modem

Subject: Mobile | February 14, 2018 - 04:46 PM |
Tagged: qualcomm, modem, 4g lte, x24

Hot on the heels of the 5G momentum that saw Qualcomm announce working with 18 different device OEMs and 18  different network providers to bring 5G hardware and carriers online for wide adoption in 2019, the mobile giant is launching another 4G LTE modem. The new Snapdragon X24 LTE modem will provide connectivity speeds as high as 2.0 Gbps (Cat 20) and happens to be the first chip officially announced to be built on a 7nm process technology. It will be shipping in products by the end of 2018.

x24slides-14.jpg

With the 5G wave of products just on the horizon it might seem odd to see Qualcomm launch yet another LTE modem, especially one that offers such high performance and capability. The truth is that while 2019 will see the first nationwide (and global) 5G networks launched, 4G LTE will remain a fallback for the many years going forward. In fact, the first 5G devices (phones, laptops, tablets) will be connected to both 5G and 4G networks simultaneously to maintain connectivity through location changes. This will be temporary as the 5G networks scale to outdoor and internal designs, but expect that to be the case for at least 5 years.

As a result, newer LTE modems will remain a key differentiation point for mobile devices and chipsets. While the Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform (Sebastian recently posted a story with early benchmarks if you’re interested) uses the Snapdragon X20 LTE modem, which only runs at 1.2 Gbps peak download rate, the new X24 will start by shipping as a discrete modem/chip solution. As has been the case with the X16 and X20 before it, you should then expect to see the X24 integrated into the next-generation of Qualcomm Snapdragon application processor.

x24slides-17.jpg

Obviously the flagship feature of this new modem is its ability to raise peak download speeds to 2.0 Gbps, doubling that of the X16 modem that brought Gigabit-class LTE to the world. This is possible due to the chips ability to handle 7x CA (carrier aggregation) downlink and improved unlicensed spectrum support. You can see from the diagram above that the X24 modem greatly increases the complexity and potential combinations of spectrum.

The Snapdragon X24 also marks the first publicly announced 7nm chip in the world. Though it wasn’t confirmed by Qualcomm, this is being made at TSMC, the only foundry with currently available 7nm technology in place. This move to a new technology means Qualcomm can offer a chip that is smaller and more power efficiency than would be possible on 10nm or 14nm nodes. The company also has the world’s first 14nm RF transceiver chip to pair with the X24 modem, another improvement in power and space efficiency.

Qualcomm will be demonstrating the new Snapdragon X24 modem technology running at 2.0 Gbps at Mobile World Congress, working with Ericsson, Telstra, and Netgear later this month.

Source: Qualcomm

Qualcomm 5G devices coming in 2019, leaving Apple behind

Subject: Mobile | February 8, 2018 - 11:01 AM |
Tagged: qualcomm, 5G, 5g nr, x50, snapdragon, apple, Samsung

This story originally appeared on ShroutResearch.com.

With significant pressure to show the value and growth opportunities for the company with a looming hostile takeover bid from Broadcom, mobile chip design house Qualcomm is hoping that its position in the market of next-generation cellular radio technology will be a foundation of its future. The company revealed today partnerships with 18 global OEMs that will be launching 5G-ready devices in 2019 and 18 worldwide cellular carriers will be completing tests of Qualcomm 5G radios in 2018.

5G is the follow up iteration to the current 4G cellular technology in the majority of the world’s smartphones. It will improve speed of connectivity, lower latency, and transform numerous markets from self-driving cars to industrial automation. And it can do all of this while lowering the load on carrier networks, giving all users a noticeable increase in performance and usability.

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Qualcomm has been leaning on this 4G-to-5G transition as a portion of its long-term plan and strategy for many years. As a part of the company’s recent call to action for shareholders to resist the hostile takeover from Broadcom, the San Diego-based company believes that it has a 12-24 month lead over competing connectivity providers, namely Intel. This position will allow Qualcomm to capitalize on what many believe could be the most disruptive and market shifting wireless transition in history.

To maintain the leadership role, despite mass-market availability being limited to 2019 products, Qualcomm has announced partnerships with 18 different OEMs that will build those products using the Snapdragon X50 modem. This modem was the first announced to support the finalized specification of 5G radios. OEMs like LG, HTC, Sony, ASUS, and vivo are committed to using the X50 modem in devices ranging from next-generation smartphones to Windows-based PCs.

There has been talk that 5G products would not be available until 2020, but Qualcomm believes that 5G will have an impact on revenue a year earlier than that. This collection of phone and device providers puts Qualcomm well ahead of Intel in terms of integration and support in the market, something Qualcomm has believed would be the case but is only now finally confirmed. Commercialization of 5G and collaborations with the leading device manufacturers will push Intel further back in the race, with time running out for it to catch up.

Two big OEMs are missing from the list in Qualcomm’s announcement: Samsung and Apple. While it makes sense that Apple would not want to be included in the public statements from Qualcomm considering the continuing legal dispute between the two companies, there is a legitimate question as to whether Apple will be an early-adopter of 5G technology at all. It has shown in the past that it is more than willing to let others experiment and drive wireless technology shifts on the networks, with both the iPhone 3G and first iPhone with LTE (iPhone 5) lagging behind other smartphones by several quarters. If Apple choses to not integrate the Qualcomm modem, it will depend on Intel to provide a solution instead, and could miss out on 5G technology for all of 2019.

Not seeing Samsung as a part of this announcement from Qualcomm is more surprising, but likely an omission of politics than of technology. I recently wrote about the extension and expansion of the licensing agreement between Samsung and Qualcomm and it is unlikely that this contract would not have included the X50 modem for 5G. I expect the 2019 models of Samsung’s Galaxy devices to include the Qualcomm chip as well.

The second part to this story is that 18 different global cellular carriers, including Verizon and AT&T in the US, China Mobile, and SK Telecom, will be testing 5G with Qualcomm devices and infrastructure in 2018. These validation tests are used to demonstrate the capabilities of new wireless technology and finalize the implementation methods for the hardware in the field.

These two announcements put Qualcomm in the driver’s seat for 5G adoption and integration. 5G will offer consumers speeds 4-5x faster than today’s top offerings, lower latency for more responsive web browsing and new capabilities like streaming virtual reality. It will make Wi-Fi less necessary. The cellular carriers will take advantage of 5G for its ability to run more data through existing infrastructure, opening capacity for more users, devices, and upgradable services.

ZTE Axon 7 (US) Update Pushed -- Not Oreo, But Needed

Subject: Mobile | January 27, 2018 - 11:01 PM |
Tagged: zte, axon 7

Until this weekend, the ZTE Axon 7 was running on the August patch level of Android 7.1.1. The phone manufacturer was hinting that Oreo could be provided, and a few leaks have shown Android 8.0 running on the device. My assumption was that ZTE was just holding off on updates until their build of Android 8.0 is ready.

Today, my phone was updated to Android 7.1.1 with the December patch level.

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To me, this says that – well, one, the Blueborne and KRACK vulnerabilities are finally fixed. Two: if ZTE was holding out on updates until Android 8.0, then they no longer expect to ship it in the immediate future. They could still be working on it, and I’m guessing that they are unless they found a showstopper bug that simply cannot be worked around, but it’s slower than they projected.

That said, I’m glad that ZTE is still patching their device, two years later. The availability of updates is a major factor in my choice of which phone to buy. While I’ve had some hiccups with it, it’s been well worth the price, and software support is a big differentiator in that category. Sure, it’s not going to compete with Google’s first-party devices, especially in terms of update frequency, but it’s not competing with Google’s first-party devices.

Let’s see how long the support will last.

Source: ZTE

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

Acer Launches Updated Chromebook Spin 11 Starting at $349

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | January 25, 2018 - 12:12 AM |
Tagged: wacom, convertible tablet, Chromebook, chrome os, apollo lake, Android, acer

Acer is bringing an updated convertible Chromebook to market in March with the Chromebook Spin 11 being available to consumers and not just through educational channels like the previous models. The 2.75-pound notebook with 360-degree hinge and 11.6” IPS display (1366x768) runs Chrome OS, supports Android apps, and is powered by “all day” battery life and Apollo Lake processors. Unfortunately, Acer is not using Intel’s latest Gemini Lake chips, but the Chromebooks do hit more budget friendly MSRPs as a result with the Chromebook Spin 11 starting at $349.

Acer Chromebook Spin 11.jpg

Acer’s updated silver colored Chromebook features a 360-degree hinge allowing it to be used in tablet mode, laptop mode, or anything in between. The hinge connects the top half with the 11.6” touchscreen and 1MP webcam to the bottom half which holds the keyboard, trackpad, I/O ports, and 5MP camera (intended to be used in tablet mode) along with all the internal battery and processing hardware. External I/O is fairly modern and includes two USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C ports, two USB 3.0 Type-A ports, a headphone jack, and one micro SD card reader. Users can also opt for a Wacom EMR stylus to get pen input on the touchscreen display.

Internal hardware includes an Intel Apollo Lake processor of dual or quad core varieties that sit at 6W TDPs, either 4GB or 8GB DDR4 memory, and 32GB or 64GB of eMMC storage. The processor options include the dual core Intel Celeron N3350 (2.4 GHz), Intel Celeron N3450 (4 core / 4 thread at up to 2.2 GHz), and quad core Intel Pentium N4200 at up to 2.5 GHz.

The keys look fairly large and well-spaced for an 11.6” device save for the arrow keys which are squished into the bottom right corner. There appear to be two bottom firing stereo speakers as well. I am curious how much travel the keys have though.

The updated Chromebook Spin 11 is slated for availability in March for North America starting at $349 and in April at €379 for the EMEA market (Europe, Middle East, Africa).

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Source: Ars Technica

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.

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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.

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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: Samsung Plans To Launch Galaxy S9 at MWC Next Month

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | January 11, 2018 - 05:20 PM |
Tagged: snapdragon 845, Samsung, MWC, galaxy s9, galaxy, exynos 9810, CES 2018, CES

Samsung confirmed to ZDNet at CES that it plans to launch its new flagship Galaxy S smartphone at Mobile World Congress next month. The company has managed to keep a tight lid on the new devices, which are expected to be named the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+, with surprisingly few leaks. Samsung will reportedly show off the smartphone and announce the official specifications along with the release date and pricing information at its MWC keynote event.

Samsung.jpg

Thanks to the rumor mill, there are potential specifications floating about with a few conflicting bits of information particularly where the fingerprint scanner is concerned. Looking around there seems to be several corroborated (but still rumored) specifications on the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+. Allegedly the Galaxy smartphones will feature curved Super AMOLED displays with QHD+ (3200x1800) resolutions measuring 5.8" on the Galaxy S9 and 6.2" on the Galaxy S9+. Further, Smasung is equipping them with dual rear-facing cameras, USB-C, and 3.5mm headphone jack. There are conflicting rumors on the fingerprint scanner with some rumors stating it will feature a fingerprint sensor embedded in the display while other rumors claim that Samsung ran into issues and instead opted for a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor.

Internally, the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ will be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 in the US and Samsung's own Exynos 9810 SoC outside of the US. Cat 18 LTE support is present in either case with faster than gigabit download speeds possible (though less in real world situations). The Galaxy S9 will allegedly be offered with 4GB of RAM and either 64GB of 128GB of storage while the S9+ will have 6GB of RAM and up to 256GB of internal flash storage.

In any case, the Galaxy S9 and S9+ are set to be powerhouses with the latest SoCs and (hopefully) large batteries for those infinity displays! It seems that we will have to wait another month for official information, but it should be out within the first quarter which is actually pretty fast considering it seems like the Galaxy S8 just came out (although it was actually last March heh). Mobile World Congress 2018 is scheduled from February 26th to March 1st in Barcelona, Spain.

What are your thoughts on the Galaxy S9 rumors so far? Do you plan to upgrade? This year may be the year I upgrade my LG G3 since the display is dying, but we'll see!

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Source: Ars Technica

Acer's new G-SYNC Predator gaming laptop will cost you

Subject: Mobile | January 9, 2018 - 04:41 PM |
Tagged: acer, predator triton 700, gaming laptop, GTX 1080, 1080p, g-sync, i7-7700hq

The top end model which Kitguru reviewed will cost you well over $3000 but it is an impressive machine.  Part of the cost comes from the G-SYNC IPS display, capable of up to 120Hz as well as the GTX 1080 Max-Q which powers it.  The laptop features a mechanical keyboard and all of the I/O features you would expect, including a Type-C Thunderbolt port.  The touchpad design may not be a strong point however, it is located above the keyboard, directly below the screen which may not be comfortable for frequent use.  It is made of glass and reveals a fan and the GPU heatpipes, a nice visual look with a drawback; after extended usage that glass is hot!

main1.jpg

"With its Predator Triton 700, Acer will be hoping that it has ticked all the boxes when it comes to building a portable gaming powerhouse."

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Source: Kitguru

CES 2018: Dell Introduces XPS 15 2-in-1 Powered By Kaby Lake-G

Subject: Mobile | January 9, 2018 - 01:00 PM |
Tagged: Vega M, rx vega m, laptop, kaby lake-g, dell xps 15 2-in-1, dell, convertible, CES 2018, CES

Following up on its updates to the XPS 13 last week, Dell today is unveiling a new 15-inch model of its XPS 2-in-1 lineup. The XPS 15 2-in-1, as it's officially named, is powered by the new Kaby Lake-G platform, which pairs an 8th Gen Intel Core processor with AMD Radeon RX Vega M graphics.

dell-xps-15-2-in-1-front-side.jpg

The 15.6-inch touchscreen display is available in both 1080p and 4K resolutions with up to 400-nits brightness and 100 percent Adobe RGB coverage. The display also supports Dell's new Active Pen, an optional $99 accessory which offers 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity with tilt support and palm rejection technology.

dell-active-pen.jpg

Despite its powerful Intel and AMD Radeon components, Dell claims that the XPS 15 2-in-1's 75Whr battery is good for up to 15 hours of battery life.

Check out the complete specs:

Processor Options Intel Core i7-8705G
Intel Core i5-8305G
Memory 8GB DDR4 2400MHz
16GB DDR4 2400MHz
Graphics Integrated Radeon RX Vega M
4GB HBM2
Display 15.6-inch 3200x1800 (100% Adobe RGB)
15.6-inch 1920x1080 (100% sRGB)
Capacitive touchscreen with active pen support
Storage 128GB SATA SSD
256GB PCIe SSD
512GB PCIe SSD
1TB PCIe SSD
AC Adapter 130W
Battery 75Whr
Up to 15 hours
I/O 2 x Thunderbolt 3
2 x USB 3.1 Type-C
microSD Card Reader
3.5mm audio in/out
Connectivity Killer 802.11ac Wi-Fi
Intel 802.11ac Wi-Fi
Bluetooth 4.1
Dimensions 354 x 235 x 16mm
Weight Starting at 4.3lbs

dell-xps-15-2-in-1-motion.jpg

Complete pricing information for all configurations is not yet available, but Dell states that the new XPS 15 2-in-1 will start at $1299.99 and will be available for purchase sometime this spring.

Source: Dell

CES 2018: Lenovo Joins the Windows on ARM Rush with the 12-inch Miix 630 2-in-1 PC

Subject: Mobile | January 8, 2018 - 08:00 PM |
Tagged: WOA, windows on arm, snapdragon 835, snapdragon, qualcomm, Lenovo, laptop, convertible, CES 2017, arm, 2-in-1

Lenovo today unveiled the Miix 630, a 12-inch Windows 10 S device powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 processor. With the Miix 630, Lenovo joins HP, ASUS, and other manufacturers in the new Windows on ARM product category of ultraportable, always connected PCs and tablets.

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The Miix 630 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 with integrated Adreno 540 graphics. It features a 12.3-inch 1920x1280 touchscreen display which, when paired with the included Lenovo pen, offers up to 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity for drawing and writing. Other features include a 5MP front facing infrared camera with Windows Hello support, 13MP rear camera, detachable backlit keyboard with touchpad, and integrated LTE for the "always on" feature that distinguishes these devices from those with traditional mobile connectivity options.

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Despite its "always on" capabilities, the Miix 630 joins other Windows on ARM devices in touting lengthy battery life, with negligible battery draw while in standby mode and actual usage time of 20 hours for tasks such as continuous video playback.

The Miix 630's complete specs:

Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
Graphics Adreno 540
Micrphones 2
Speakers 2 x 1 watt
Memory 4GB / 8GB
Storage 64GB / 128GB / 256GB
Battery 48 Whr
Display 12.3-inch
WUXGA+ (1920 x 1280)
Corning Glass Screen
Ports 1 x USB Type-C
1 x 3.5mm Audio In/Out
1 x SD Card
1 x Nano SIM Card
Connectivity 2x2 Wi-Fi 802.11ac
Bluetooth 4.1
LTE Cat11
Dimensions (D) 210mm x (W) 293mm x (H) 15.6mm
Weight 2.93 lbs (1.33 kg)

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Complete pricing for the higher-end configurations is not yet available, but Lenovo states that the Miix 630's base configuration will start at $799. It's expected to launch in the second quarter of this year.

Source:

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.

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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

CES 2018: Acer Unleashes Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop Powered By Ryzen Mobile

Subject: Mobile | January 8, 2018 - 04:46 PM |
Tagged: CES, CES 2018, acer, nitro 5, ryzen mobile, RX 560, Polaris, amd

Acer is showing off a new 15.6" gaming laptop at CES using both AMD's Ryzen Mobile processors and RX 560 discrete graphics cards. The Acer Nitro 5 is a stylized gaming notebook aimed at mainstream and casual gamers that are looking for a mobile platform for LAN parties and portable PC gaming.

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The laser etched top cover and stylish chassis holds a large 15.6" 1080p display and webcam up top and a full backlit keyboard and trackpad on the bottom half. A large crimson red hinge accents the slate gray and black angular body. There is support for USB 3.1 with three USB Type-A ports and one USB Type-C, one headset jack, one HDMI output, one SD card reader, and one Gigabit Ethernet jack. Audio is handled by Dobly Audio Premium and Acer TrueHarmony powered speakers. There is a numpad and the trackpad appears fairly large, but the arrow keys are somewhat squished between the standard keys and the numpad. The WASD keys can be outlined with brighter backlighting and CPU and GPU temps can be monitored with NitroSense software though, so there's that (heh).

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Acer did not provide exact specifications, but the Nitro 5 will be able to be configured with Zen-based Ryzen Mobile processors and Polaris-based AMD RX 560 graphics. It is not clear which specific Ryzen Mobile chips Acer will use or if the Vega-based onboard GPU will be able to be used with the discrete graphics active (perhaps in DX 12 games). The AMD chips are paired with up to 32 GB of DDR4 RAM and 512GB of PCI-E based SSD storage. In addition to the wired networking, the Nitro 5 also has dual stream 802.11ac Wi-Fi.

The AMD-powered Acer Nitro 5 will be available in North America in April starting at $799. EMEA (countries in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa) availability is also slated for April starting at €1,099. It is nice to see AMD getting some design wins with Ryzen Mobile, though discrete mobile Vega would be a nice thing to see happen sooner than later.

Source: Acer

CES 2018: Elgato Shows Off Portable Thunderbolt 3 Mini Dock

Subject: General Tech, Networking, Storage, Mobile | January 8, 2018 - 03:53 PM |
Tagged: CES, CES 2018, Elgato, dock, thunderbolt 3, adapter

Elgato is launching a smaller Thunderbolt 3 dock aptly named the Thunderbolt 3 Mini Dock to its family of docks (how many times can I use dock in one sentence?). The portable dock comes with a tail Thunderbolt 3 cable that is permanently attached and stows away into a groove on the bottom of the dock when not in use.

Elgato Thunderbolt 3 Mini Dock.jpg

Using the single 40 Gbps connection provided by Thunderbolt 3, the Mini Dock offers up display outputs, USB 3.1, and network ports including:

  • DisplayPort 1.2 (4k60)
  • HDMI 2.0 (4k60 and HDCP 2.2)
  • RJ45 (Gigabit Ethernet)
  • USB 3.1 Gen 1 (5Gbps UASP and 0.9A of power).

Users will need a newer laptop or desktop with Thunderbolt running Mac OS Sierra 10.12 or Window 10 operating systems or newer. The compact dock will be available in the sping with as yet unanounced pricing. It should be cheaper than Elgatos larger docks (currently their Thunderbolt 3 Dock is $291) though since it is not powered and offers fewer ports.

As notebooks continue to get thinner, these docks (along with ones based on USB Type-C) are going to become more useful in getting the most out of our faster mobile hardware.

Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more CES news as it develops!

Also read:

Source: Elgato

CES 2018: ASUS Launches ZenBook Flip 14 2-In-1 With Discrete Graphics

Subject: Mobile | January 8, 2018 - 03:24 PM |
Tagged: kaby lake, convertible, CES 2018, CES, asus, 8th generation core, 2-in-1

While the ROG products made the biggest splash at the ASUS booth, ASUS also launched a small 2-in-1 laptop dubbed the ZenBook Flip 14 (UX461). The convertible tablet measures 327.4 x 226.5 x 13.9mm and comes wrapped in an Icicle Gold or Slate Gray colored aluminum unibody with spun metal finish. The ZenBook Flip 14 manages to pack quite a bit of hardware into its 1.5 kg (3.3 pounds) package including a quad core Kaby Lake processor, NVMe storage, and discrete NVIDIA graphics.

Asus’ new 2-in-1 features a 14” 1920 x 1080 resolution multitouch display that dominates the top half of the notebook with an 80% screen-to-body ration thanks to its “NanoEdge” bezels that measure 7.15mm. The display is rated at 100% sRGB and offers 178° viewing angles along with support for the ASUS Pen active stylus. The ZenBook Flip 14 uses a 360° hinge to enable tablet, tent, and laptop modes with the display able to flip all the way around to touch the bottom of the keyboard housing. External I/O includes two USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A, one USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C, one HDMI 2.0, one Micro SD, one combo audio jack, and one DC power input port. There is also an HD webcam and stereo Harman Kardon certified speakers with a two-channel amplifier.

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The Zebook Flip looks nice on the outside, but it is the internal hardware that makes it interesting. Specifically, the half inch thick notebook is powered by an 8th Generation Core (KBL-R) Core i7-8550U quad core (4 core / 8 thread) processor clocked at 1.8 GHz base and up to 3.7 GHz Turbo with Intel UHD 620 graphics (1.1 GHz), up to 16 GB LPDDR3 (2133 MHz) RAM, and up to 512 GB of PCI-E x4-based NVMe solid state storage. The system can further be configured with a standalone GPU up to an NVIDIA MX150 (Pascal-based) though doing so adds slightly more weight (1.5kg bs 1.4kg with only Intel UHD 620 graphics). The laptop has dual band 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.2. ASUS claims “all day” battery life with the 57 Whr Li-Po battery delivering up to 13 hours of usage.

In a nice surprise we do have pricing and availability on this announcement with ASUS announcing that the 14” ZenBook Flip 14 UX461 available in March 2018 starting at $899. Of course, the discrete graphics and fully loading memory and storage will cost you extra, but creative types may want to take a look at this one if the reviews hold out on build quality as it seems to pack quite a bit of power into a small frame while staying portable and stylus-friendly!

Source: ASUS

CES 2018: ASUS ROG Strix SKT T1 Hero Edition and G703 Gaming Laptops

Subject: Systems, Mobile | January 8, 2018 - 09:00 AM |
Tagged: Strix SKT T1, strix, ROG, Republic of Gamers, notebook, laptop, gaming, g703, CES 2018, CES, asus

ASUS has a pair of laptops from their Republic of Gamers lineup at CES this year, and we'll begin with the ROG Strix SKT T1 Hero Edition, a limited-edition laptop which "marks the first collaboration between ROG and top eSports team SK Telecom T1". 

SKT T1.jpg

In addition to bundled ROG/SK Telecom T1 co-branded swag (team jersey, mouse pad, posters) the laptop itself has been externally designed to reflect its affiliation. Hardware reflects its MOBA-inspired gaming approach, which includes an unspecified Intel Core i7 processor, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 GPU, and 120 Hz IPS display (which offers 100% sRGB coverage). The keyboard features N-key rollover, upgraded switches with "20-million-keystroke durability", and RGB lighting.

Next we have the massive 17-inch ROG G703, which was launched back in November, and is "the world's first gaming laptop with an ultra-smooth 17.3-inch Full HD wide-view display with NVIDIA G-SYNC technology for a 144Hz refresh rate" according to ASUS.

G703.jpg

The ROG G703 is powered by an Intel Core i7-7820HK processor which is factory-overclocked for speeds of up to 4.3 GHz, and no less than an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (with a top clock of 1974 MHz) handles gaming duties. The biggest part of the laptop (literally) is the display, as ASUS explains:

"High-refresh-rate displays provide the fluidity and responsiveness demanded by top eSports gamers and enthusiasts, so ROG also created ROG Strix Scar Edition with a 144Hz panel and GTX 1070 graphics. ASUS has also introduced high-refresh-rate displays into the mainstream gaming market with the FX503 laptop, which features a 15.6-inch Full HD display with a 120Hz refresh rate and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 graphics."

The ROG G703 also offers built-in Xbox Wireless capability, freeing up USB ports when connecting Microsoft's gaming controllers.

The ROG G703 is available now with an MSRP starting at $3499, and ASUS says the ROG Strix SKT T1 Hero Edition will carry an MSRP of $1699 with availability in Q1 2018.

Source: ASUS

CES 2018: ASUS Announces New Consumer Laptops and AiO PCs

Subject: Systems, Mobile | January 8, 2018 - 09:00 AM |
Tagged: ZenBook 13, notebook, laptop, desktop, CES 2018, CES, asus vivo, asus, all in one, AIO

The consumer PC annoucements from ASUS include a pair of new consumer notebooks with the ZenBook 13 (model UX331UAL) and ASUS Laptop X507, along with a pair of Vivo all-in-one desktops.

We start with the ZenBook 13 notebook, a lightweight (2.17 lb) with up to 15 hours of battery life according to ASUS.

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ZenBook 13 (UX331UAL)

“The elegantly designed ZenBook 13 is a Windows 10 laptop that's ultralight and powerful. It's designed to provide users the ultimate in mobility, featuring a feather-light 2.17lb all-metal chassis and up to 15-hour battery life. And despite its compact design, ZenBook 13 doesn't compromise on performance. Its 8th Generation Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM and 1TB PCIe SSD lets users blast through all their tasks with ease, and its Harman Kardon audio system delivers powerful immersive sound.”

Next is a more mainstream notebook option with the device called simply ASUS Laptop X507.

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ASUS Laptop X507

“Offering easy portability and uncompromising performance for daily computing, the stylish ASUS Laptop X507 is powered by a 7th Generation Intel Core i7 processor, NVIDIA GeForce MX110 graphics and a flexible, convenient dual-storage design. With its slim-bezel NanoEdge Full HD display for unbounded visuals and Windows 10, ASUS Laptop X507 is the ideal laptop for daily computing and entertainment.”

A pair of AiO desktops are next up, with 27 and 22 inch options.

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Vivo AiO V272

“Vivo AiO V272 features an 8th Generation Intel Core i7 processor and NVIDIA GeForce MX150 graphics for uncompromising performance. The 27-inch multitouch display has a wide 100% sRGB color gamut and 178˚ wide-view technology for truly great visuals and combines with the ASUS SonicMaster audio system with its bass-reflex speakers to offer a superb entertainment experience. The ASUS ZenAnywhere app gives users effortless remote access, and turns Vivo AiO V272 into a personal cloud storage center. Windows 10 provides a secure and familiar computing experience, including Cortana’s voice recognition capability for more efficient and productive computing."

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ASUS Vivo AiO V222

“Vivo AiO V222 has a frameless 22-inch Full HD display that features edge-to-edge visuals. Combined with its advanced ASUS SonicMaster bass-reflex speaker system, exclusive ASUS Splendid and Tru2Life Video technologies, Vivo AiO V222 delivers immersive visuals with crystal-clear audio for the ultimate entertainment experience. The ASUS ZenAnywhere app gives users effortless remote access, and turns Vivo AiO V222 into a personal cloud storage center. Windows 10 provides a secure and familiar computing experience, including Cortana’s voice recognition capability for productive computing.”

All four of these new systems are set for release in the first half of 2018, with pricing to be announced at launch.

Source: ASUS

CES 2018: HP Unveils Intel-Based Version of the ENVY x2 Detachable 2-in-1 PC

Subject: Mobile | January 8, 2018 - 03:01 AM |
Tagged: windows on arm, snapdragon, qualcomm, Intel, hp, envy x2, CES 2018

Following up on its announcement last month of the Snapdragon-powered ENVY x2 12.3-inch detachable 2-in-1 PC, HP today is introducing an Intel-based model of the same device.

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Featuring Intel's 7th generation Y-series processors, the Intel version of the ENVY x2 has the same ports and basic design as its ARM-based counterpart, but adds 1mm of thickness and advertises about 20 percent shorter battery life. The Intel model also ships with Windows 10 Home compared to Windows 10 S, although both are optionally upgradeable to Windows 10 Pro.

Another notable difference is a slight change to how the ENVY x2's detachable keyboard connects while in landscape typing mode. The keyboard on the Snapdragon-based ENVY x2 folds down at the top of its magnetic connection, providing a slightly angled typing surface, while the Intel version folds around the back of the device and lays flat.

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Like other manufacturers of new Windows on ARM devices, HP is focusing on productivity versus mobility to differentiate the two ENVY x2 models. The Snapdragon version offers longer battery life, always-on connectivity via integrated LTE, and, if you elect to stick with Windows 10 S, improved security and reliability. The Intel version offers comparatively shorter battery life and traditional connectivity options (although built-in LTE without the "always on" capability is available), but can run all x86 software and drivers natively.

Further enhancing the productivity benefits of the Intel-based ENVY x2, HP is boosting the TDP of the system's Y-series processors from their default 4.5 watts to 6 watts, a move that the company claims results in up to 20 percent better performance.

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Complete specifications and upgrade options for the Intel-based ENVY x2 are not yet available, but here are the specs HP has unveiled thus far:

  • 7th generation Intel Core processors
  • Up to 15 hours of battery life
  • HP Fast Charge technology (90% charge in 90 minutes)
  • 12.3-inch 1920x1280 IPS display
  • Up to 256GB PCIe flash storage
  • IR camera with support for Windows Hello
  • 7.9mm thick
  • HP Digital Pen and keyboard included

Like the complete specs, pricing information has not yet been revealed, but HP says that the Intel ENVY x2 will begin shipping in "Spring 2018."

Source: