Movies, Music, Video Games, Social Networks and Lifestyle News And Reviews

Product reviews and news of digital entertainment products and services in movies, music, video games, game streaming, social networks and lifestyle products.

Dell’s Alienware gaming team impressed us with its Area 51 desktop earlier this year and we’ve been impatiently awaiting the 2015 version of the Alienware 15 mobile gamer ever since. The laptop is finally here, and there’s a twist: Instead of sending a money-is-no-object configuration (like it did with the Area 51), the company sent us a more budget-friendly Alienware 15 – assuming, that is, that your budget is in the $1,500 range.At $1,499.99, the Alienware 15 we checked out is in the middle of the price range for Dell’s 15-inch Alienware gamer laptop series. Gamers with tighter budgets can pick up an less powerful Alienware 15 for $1,199.99; the high end starts at $2,399.99. With the exception... Read more...
Valve’s Steam Machine was all the rage at CES 2014 in Las Vegas, but as we enter 2015, the SteamOS gaming platform (and Valve’s tantalizing Steam Controller) are still works in progress. SteamOS hasn’t been written off, but Dell, which was one of the first PC makers to build a custom console-sized system for SteamOS, isn’t waiting around. Its Alienware gaming brand launched the Alienware Alpha, which is meant to be your next (or your first) living room gaming PC. The Alienware Alpha plugs the holes left by Valve with Microsoft hardware and software and a simple 10-ft UI developed in house. Instead of shipping with a Steam Controller, for example, the Alpha features an Xbox 360 wireless controller.... Read more...
The PC laptop market is a funny place. Good laptops are fairly easy to find, but great laptops are staggeringly rare. This is true even at the boutique end of the market, where manufacturers have a tendency to choose powerful components, but cram them into a chassis that can't handle the heat without sounding like a jet turbine, or pick great, quiet hardware but opt for a sub-par 1080p screen whose quality leaves something to be desired. The Asus G751 is not a good laptop. The G751 is a great laptop. It is, in fact, the single best gaming laptop I have ever reviewed. If you're in the market for a system of this type, we hope you read on. This machine is powered by the excellent,... Read more...
In the interest of full disclosure, I’m going to start this piece off with a bit of a confession: Last year, when I was first exposed to NVIDIA’s G-SYNC technology, I turned to one of our contacts at the company and said, “The moment someone comes out with a nice 4K version, I’ll hand over my credit card”. At the time, I had been riding along on a 30” HP display with a resolution of 2560x1600 for a few years, and quite frankly, was itching to upgrade. After all, smartphones and tablets were already available with high-resolution screens that put the pixel densities of typical PC displays to shame. And after years of upgrading every other part of my... Read more...
The ability to stream movies and other content to your TV is relatively commonplace thanks to set top boxes such as the Roku 3, Apple TV, gaming consoles that support streaming, and built-in functionality that comes with many of today’s Blu-ray players and TVs. Even so, there’s always room for additional competition, right? Amazon believes there is, and recently launched its Fire TV to prove it. Amazon Fire TV provides access to a number of popular services including Netflix, Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, WatchESPN, Showtime Anytime, Pandora, tunein, YouTube, Vimeo, Crackle, and much more. You can also rent videos, view photos, stream music, and play games using the Fire TV. Recognizing... Read more...
NVIDIA holds the lion's share of the market in mobile graphics hardware, but it's not the only competitor. When Alienware asked if we'd be interested in looking at a notebook based on AMD's top-end R9 M290X in a single-GPU configuration, we agreed. This system is based on exactly the same hardware and chassis as the Alienware 18-inch model that we reviewed last fall, but it's somewhat more modest hardware whacks a full $2000 off the price. Unlike the massive system we reviewed last time around, this rig's performance aims at what, on a desktop, would be considered a midrange GPU with a moderately high-end CPU core. The high-speed storage, plentiful RAM, and high-DPI screen (for a PC, anyway)... Read more...
There’s a new battlefront in the tech field, it involves air space and the Internet, and it’s an exciting front. Google and Facebook are forerunners here, and the former just snapped up drone maker Titan Aerospace, which the latter was reportedly interested in buying recently. Facebook ended up with drone maker Ascenta, and now Google has reportedly secured Titan Aerospace for an undisclosed sum, according to the WSJ. Both purchases are aimed at developing new ways to bring Internet access and related technological perks to areas of the world that don’t already have it, and the Titan purchase would also aid Google in collecting images. Titan Aerospace's Solara (Credit: Titan... Read more...
AMD's Andrew Feldman announced today that the company is preparing to sample its new eight-core ARM SoC (codename: Seattle). Feldman gave a keynote presentation at the fifth annual Open Compute Summit. The Open Compute Project (OCP) is Facebook's effort to decentralize and unpack the datacenter, breaking the replication of resources and low volume, high-margin parts that have traditionally been Intel's bread-and-butter. We've known for months that AMD was working on its own ARM server core, but announcing imminent sampling means that the company is confident of shipping the part in fairly short order. The eight-core chip isn't HSA compatible -- it's not clear what GPU IP is used to provide a... Read more...
Major tech firms are lobbying for more user privacy as it pertains to the U.S. government's practice of collecting sensitive data. In an open letter to President Barack Obama and Congress, eight technology companies said there's a need to "reform government surveillance" now that the balance has tipped too far in favor of the state and away from individuals. "We understand that governments have a duty to protect their citizens, but this summer's revelations highlighted the urgent need to reform government surveillance practices worldwide," the companies wrote. The firms behind the letter include, in alphabetical order, AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter. and Yahoo. Each... Read more...
Leaks are all-too-common in the tech industry, and really, they can come from virtually anywhere. Sometimes, people at the source of the product manufacturing could spill the beans, and other times, people at the company's HQ can feel a little mischievous. Sometimes, it could even be a completely unrelated party, such as a company related to the product by name alone. On its German Facebook fan page, Nestle beat Google to the punch by announcing Android 4.4's release date: " Android 4.4 KIT KAT ist ab Oktober verfügbar." According to my excellent Google Translate skills, I've deciphered that to be "Android 4.4 Kit kat is available in October." Well then, there we have it. At this point,... Read more...
Years ago, privacy never stuck me as being a truly hot topic online, and if there's a reason for that, it's likely because many of us didn't realize the extent that some companies go to, to make it almost nonexistent. As has been proven time and time again, your privacy online is almost nil if you make use of any social networking site, but that doesn't mean that these companies automatically earn the right to assume that you simply don't care. Facebook is a great example of a company, that like Google (as we talked about earlier), loves nothing more than putting the data it has on you to good use. In a recent proposed privacy policy update, the company even went as far to say that it has the... Read more...
Edward Snowden's leaks have shaken something loose in the IT industry. For years, companies have been afraid to talk about the requests and data sharing procedures the NSA and FBI have forced upon them as a result of the Patriot Act. Companies that went to court to fight these demands lost, and lost in silence, forbidden to even reveal that such requests were taking place. Now that the programs are common knowledge, multiple corporations have joined in to demand the right to tell us just how they participate in NSA requests. Today, a coalition of 63 companies, non-profits, and organizations issued a letter requesting the right to communicate the following: The number of government requests for... Read more...
Politicians and fear mongers love to blame society's ills on violent video games. It's a rally call we've heard time and again, despite the fact that there are numerous studies out there -- both old and new -- debunking the claims that violent games transform gamers into these unfeeling creatures that go on shooting sprees and everything else you see in the news. Let's forget about real-world violence for a moment, do titles like Grand Theft Auto lead to anti-social behavior? The answer is no, according to a new study conducted by Morgan J. Tear and Mark Nielsen, both from the School of Psychology at the University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Queensland, Australia. "Past research has found that... Read more...
Parties just aren't what they used to be, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. In the digital world, celebrations are often much broader, with friends from all over the world chiming in to wish someone well on their special day. As social networks and the like aim to bring in additional revenue, sites like Facebook are also encouraging folks to gift their friends digitally. And now, Amazon's getting into the action with a twist. The company today introduced Amazon Birthday Gift, a new way for customers to surprise friends on their birthdays by joining together to send Amazon.com Gift Cards with birthday messages on Facebook. Once a single friend starts a gift, any of the recipient’s... Read more...
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