Xiaomi Notebook Air

This Macbook lookalike promises insane power for $750

By on July 27, 2016 at 2:00 PM.

This Macbook lookalike promises insane power for $750

Xiaomi is a Chinese tech company best known for making cheap-and-cheerful Android phones which offer flagship-phone specs for half price. So it’s not surprising that the company is applying the same formula for its first laptop.

What is surprising is how much it looks like a Macbook, but also how good the specs are for $750. Laptops this cheap aren’t meant to have integrated graphics, an inch-thick aluminum body and 8GB of RAM, but clearly Xiaomi didn’t get the memo.

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Nvidia Titan X 2016 Price Release Date

Nvidia’s new Titan X graphics card might actually be worth the $1,200 asking price

By on July 22, 2016 at 5:38 PM.

Nvidia’s new Titan X graphics card might actually be worth the $1,200 asking price

Over the past several weeks, Nvidia and AMD have been attempting to one-up each other by launching increasingly affordable graphics cards. Nvidia struck first with the GTX 1070 and GTX 1080. AMD followed with the $199 RX 480. Nvidia hit back days later with its own sub-$300 GTX 1060.

But after weeks of fighting over the low-end, it’s time to bring out the big guns.

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Best Gaming Laptop

Two insanely powerful gaming laptops are on sale right now on Amazon

By on July 21, 2016 at 8:28 AM.

Two insanely powerful gaming laptops are on sale right now on Amazon

If you’ve been holding off on buying a new gaming laptop because you’re waiting for the perfect deal, your wait might be over. Amazon has a new sale going on high-powered gaming laptops that just started today and runs for the next two weeks. There are a few different models covered in the sale, which ends at midnight PT on August 3, and we’ve picked out our two favorites below. More →

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Nvidia GTX 1060 Review Roundup

Nvidia’s new GTX 1060 graphics card makes amazing VR cheaper than ever

By on July 19, 2016 at 4:20 PM.

Nvidia’s new GTX 1060 graphics card makes amazing VR cheaper than ever

It’s the summer of graphics cards, and reviews for Nvidia’s affordable GTX 1060 have begun to hit the internet. The GTX 1060 is actually the third graphics card that Nvidia has launched this year (along with the GTX 1080 and GTX 1070), but this card carries the distinction of being the best deal of the bunch.

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Dell’s XPS 15: The best big-screen laptop

By on July 15, 2016 at 9:00 PM.

Dell’s XPS 15: The best big-screen laptop

Dell’s XPS 15 has become the new trendsetter for big-screen laptops. Like Apple, Dell has come up with a stable, high-quality design.

I try out a lot of laptops and laptop-tablet hybrids, so it’s never easy to settle on one machine for long. But Dell’s 2016 update of the XPS 15 has been my main machine for the last month. Here’s why.

Big screen: Dell’s 15.6-inch display is so big that you probably won’t want anything bigger. But the company has done a good job making its biggest XPS laptop small and light for its size. The XPS 15’s almost-borderless display allows Dell to compress the chassis to the size of some 14-inch laptops. And the 3.9-pound starting weight (4.4 pounds with the larger battery) is well distributed, making it eminently portable for a 15-inch class laptop.

Dell is one of the few top-tier laptop manufacturers to use a so-called bezel-less (borderless) display (though others are finally beginning to catch on). This accomplishes two critical things: it makes for a really cool looking laptop and, as I said above, it keeps the weight and size down. Dell has also done this with great success on the XPS 13, which is essentially a smaller version of the XPS 15.

But getting back to the display’s size. What a 15.6-inch screen gets you is something pretty close to a standalone desktop display. It’s easy to unplug my external 25-inch Dell display and just use the XPS’s. In fact, if I owned an XPS 15 there would be really no reason for an external display. That’s why a big-screen laptop will always have a following: it’s essentially a movable desktop PC.

And be warned, once you start using a big-screen laptop, it’s really hard to go back to anything under 14 inches. Dell makes it even harder if you opt for the 4K Ultra HD (3,840-by-2,160) touch display – it has 3 million more pixels than the display on Apple’s 15.4-inch MacBook Pro. Made by Japan-based Sharp and co-developed with Dell, it’s easily the best big display I’ve used on a laptop. Windows 10 in high resolution is very different than Windows running on a lower-resolution laptop. And Dell and Sharp have done their homework with color accuracy and color reproduction.

Materials: Dell’s choice of materials sets it apart from the competition too. In order to keep the weight down, Dell uses a carbon fiber composite on the area surrounding the keyboard and touchpad. The soft feel of the weaved carbon fiber while you type is a nice contrast with the all-aluminum laptops prevalent today – the MacBook being the most prominent example. The only downside is that the carbon fiber can be a body oil magnet. (I find I generally need to clean the area around the touchpad every other day with a soft cloth moistened with soapy water.) The rest of the laptop (top and bottom) is aluminum. Overall, it’s a remarkably sturdy machine considering its light weight and thickness – only 0.66 inches at its thickest point.

Performance: The model I have packs a lot of punch with Intel’s newest i7-6700HQ 6th generation quad-core processor. It also has a no-holds-barred feature set, including 16GB of DDR4 RAM, a fast 512GB solid-state drive, an Nvidia GTX 960M graphics chip, and an 84 WHr (watt-hour) battery.

Big-screen laptops are often fast, because they can accommodate robust cooling systems and fans to keep even the speediest silicon from overheating. Fast silicon does make a difference. There really isn’t anything that can slow down the XPS 15 that I’m using. Opening a browser with dozens of tabs, or playing a 1080p video full-screen while tweaking an Excel spreadsheet, or diving into photo or video editing doesn’t faze it. And while I don’t play games, it can also keep up with some of the faster gaming laptops, based on tech site reviews. All of that speed can make it painful to return to less performance-oriented laptops.

Battery life: My computer has the extra-large battery so the XPS 15 can stay charged all day based on my on-and-off usage, as long as you turn down the display brightness to about 60 percent and don’t spend a lot of time watching movies or playing 1080p games. Battery life will jump appreciably if you opt for the cheaper version of the XPS 15 with a less-power-hungry, standard-resolution display.

Ports/connectors: The XPS 15 comes with an SD card slot, two USB 3.0 connectors, an HDMI port, and a USB-C/ThunderBolt 3 port.

Price: Pricing starts at $999 for a model with a standard-resolution (1,920-by-1,080) display and dual-core processor and jumps quickly into the $1,600 to $2,950 range if you opt for the high-resolution display and quad-core processor.

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Prime Day 2016 Deals

The 5 best Prime Day deals on laptops

By on July 12, 2016 at 3:06 PM.

The 5 best Prime Day deals on laptops

Prime Day has been pretty crazy so far, but it’s not over quite yet. Amazon has referred to the monster sale as “Black Friday in July” and so far, that descriptor has been quite apropos. We’ve seen crazy deals come and go on thousands upon thousands of great products from a wide range of categories, but this sale is nowhere close to being done just yet.

We’ve pointed out plenty of particularly good deals thus far, and now we’re back to bring your attention to the five best laptop deals Amazon is currently offering for Prime Day. Remember, these deals are only good while supplies last, or until midnight tonight. More →

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Windows 10 Download

Final countdown: You have 3 weeks left to update to Windows 10 for free

By on July 8, 2016 at 5:30 PM.

Final countdown: You have 3 weeks left to update to Windows 10 for free

Look, we’re going to level with you: there are definitely some valid reasons to skip the update to Windows 10. Maybe you’re on a work PC and your IT department hasn’t authorized the update. Maybe you have some crazy custom legacy software that you’ve confirmed just won’t work on Windows 10. Maybe you’re afraid Windows 10 is going to spy on you.

We’re not going to judge you in any of those cases but to be frank, Windows 10 is pretty awesome. Microsoft did a terrific job of listening to customers complain about everything they hated in Windows 8 and undoing most of the damage. But be warned: If you ever plan to update to Windows 10, now is the time to do it. More →

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Nvidia GTX 1060 Price Release Date

Nvidia’s GTX 1060 is a high-end PC graphics card for a budget price

By on July 7, 2016 at 12:58 PM.

Nvidia’s GTX 1060 is a high-end PC graphics card for a budget price

Two months ago, Nvidia unveiled two new graphics cards: the GTX 1080 and the GTX 1070. They provided a significant power boost over the previous generation of GeForce cards at a fraction of the cost, but they were still a bit pricey for PC gamers with a strict budget. That’s where the GTX 1060 comes in.

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Microsoft Surface 2016: Book AIO

After iPad and MacBook Pro, Microsoft is taking on the iMac with new kind of Surface

By on July 5, 2016 at 10:20 PM.

After iPad and MacBook Pro, Microsoft is taking on the iMac with new kind of Surface

Microsoft surprised fans last year with a great MacBook Pro alternative, a high-end 2-in-1 Surface Book laptop that nobody saw coming. The Surface Book line joined the regular Surface models to better compete against Apple’ MacBooks and iPads. A report that flew under the radar last week claims that Microsoft is working on the next generation of Surface-branded devices. Among them, there’s an iMac-killer as well, which would become the company’s first Surface desktop. More →

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MacBook Pro 2016 Laptops

Check out all the exciting new tech coming to your next laptop

By on July 1, 2016 at 9:35 PM.

Check out all the exciting new tech coming to your next laptop

Apple keeps telling us that iPad is the future of computing, and that may indeed be the case. The iPad Pro can certainly replace a laptop for many of our daily computing needs, but laptops are still the better choice when it comes to work. MacBooks are still setting the tone in the business, while Windows 10 is allowing OEMs to offer users exciting 2-in-1 notebooks that operate both as a tablet and a laptop. While sales aren’t what they used to be for most notebook makers, this year’s generation of laptops are shaping up to be more exciting than ever. More →

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Best Chromebook 15 Inch

Black Friday is the only time Acer’s Chromebook 15 was cheaper than it is right now

By on July 1, 2016 at 8:43 AM.

Black Friday is the only time Acer’s Chromebook 15 was cheaper than it is right now

The Acer Chromebook 15 CB5-571-C4T3 packs a 15.6-inch high-definition screen, 2GB of RAM and a 16GB SSD into a sleek notebook computer with remarkable 9-hour battery life. It’s not as cheap as some of the Chrome laptops out there since the display is so large, but from now through the end of the day on Saturday it’s on sale for $220 shipped, its lowest price since this past Black Friday. More →

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Windows 10 Anniversary Update Release Date

Microsoft announces free Windows 10 Anniversary Update will roll out on August 2nd

By on June 29, 2016 at 8:49 AM.

Microsoft announces free Windows 10 Anniversary Update will roll out on August 2nd

The first major content update for Windows 10 finally has a release date.

On Wednesday, Microsoft announced that Windows 10 Anniversary Edition — a free update for all Windows 10 users — is launching on August 2nd. The update was originally unveiled at Microsoft’s Build Developer Conference in March, but the company wasn’t ready to show off all of the new features and upgrades.

Now, with just a few weeks until launch, the curtain has been pulled back.

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