Reviews Of Laptops And 2-In-1 PCs

Laptop PCs and 2-in-1 convertible tablet/laptop devices are the cornerstone personal computing systems for getting both work and play done on the road. From the big gun firepower of gaming laptops and desktop replacement machines, to ultra-lights and hybrids, we've got you covered here for what's hot in mobile computing.

When Microsoft released the original Surface Pro five years ago, the mobile market was completely different – Windows tablets were an afterthought and weren’t the svelte and snappy performers you can buy today. The first-generation Surface Pro wasn’t perfect, but it was a huge step in the right direction for Windows 2-in-1’s and tablets. Today’s mobile computing device landscape is completely different versus five years ago and one could argue it was significantly re-shaped by the success of the Surface Pro. Each notebook manufacturer has its own interpretation of mobile nirvana. Whether it’s the HP Envy, Dell XPS, Lenovo Yoga or ASUS Zenbook, there are plenty... Read more...
Microsoft just announced a few brand new products: a pair of powerful new Surface Book 2 devices featuring 8th Gen Intel Core Processors and NVIDIA graphics, and a Surface Precision Mouse designed to be the perfect companion to the devices. The new Surface Book 2 borrows virtually all of the physical design cues of the original, but this latest iteration features more powerful hardware, better battery life, enhanced display technology, and a myriad of other refinements that improve upon the first Surface Book. We have a quick hands-on video to share if you’d like a visual tour before we dig in – as you’ll see, from the outside, the Surface Book 2 (especially the 13.5” model featured in the video)... Read more...
A funny thing happened as we were evaluating the latest iteration of Microsoft's Surface Pro, a now iconic 2-in-1 that the company describes as "the most versatile laptop," despite its tablet-first design. A rumor emerged suggesting Microsoft would phase out its Surface line within the next couple of years. It was really more of a prediction than a rumor. During the EMEA Canalys Channels Forum in Venice, Canalys CEO Steve Brazier pointed to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella being a software guy who is more interested in the cloud than hardware. Lenovo COO Gianfranco Lanci backed his assessment during a subsequent Q&A session, saying Microsoft might even abandon its Surface business a bit earlier.... Read more...
A good rule of thumb when purchasing a gaming laptop is to buy one with the fastest GPU you can afford. Unlike desktop PCs, you usually can't rip out the graphics adapter and upgrade to something faster (not in most cases, anyway), so when that once shiny and fast laptop starts feeling a little sluggish, you're looking at dialing down in-game settings until you've saved enough scratch to buy a new laptop. That's an expensive proposition (it's called throwing the baby out with the bath water), but if gaming on the go is what you're after, you don't have much choice in the matter.That's still the situation today, though one thing working to your advantage is NVIDIA's Pascal architecture. Pascal... Read more...
While discussions about the best desktop gaming PCs tend to be divided between do-it-yourselfers and fans of pre-built PCs, gaming laptops spark a different debate, typically between large system builders versus, smaller boutique system integrators. Many of the industry behemoths kick-started or bolstered their gaming system lines by acquiring boutique SIs (think of Voodoo, which was swallowed by HP, and Alienware, which is now a part of Dell), but some niche builders are still going solo, including well-known players like Falcon Northwest and Maingear. Mythlogic is another custom builder providing an alternative to mainstream brands, and we're going to show you one of their machines here --... Read more...
Microsoft is done being undercut by Google and its low-priced, cloud-driven Chromebooks. During its Worldwide Partner Conference, Redmond revealed its own inexpensive alternative, the Acer Aspire One Cloudbook. The $169 Windows 10 notebook will hit stores in August.  Acer's Aspire One Cloudbook will sport an 11.6-inch screen and ship with Microsoft's upcoming Windows 10, and another model will be available with a 14-inch display. We know little else about the Cloudbook, but at $169 the price alone is an aggressive statement. Chromebooks are far from capturing a majority slice of the market, but they're catching on. A recent forecast by Gartner predicts that the Google OS laptops will... Read more...
We think it's fitting for Maingear to bring 3K resolution gaming to its aptly named Pulse line of laptops. Consider that playing games at full HD 1080p (1920x1080) on the desktop is nothing special these days, which is why we're seeing more and more players jump to higher resolution displays, from 2560x1440 (most 27-inch class monitors) on up to the emerging 4K (3840x2160) format. We're finally seeing some innovation again in the monitor market, yet laptop displays were stuck in a state of comatose for a while. Not anymore. Maingear has given its Pulse 15 -- and the gaming laptop segment in general -- some much needed CPR by introducing a 3K IPS (In-Plane Switching) wide-view screen display into... Read more...
MSI's Dominator Pro GT60 packs two significant firsts.  It's the first high-end gaming laptop we've reviewed with a HiDPI display (the GT60's 2880x1660 panel is the equal of the vaunted MacBook Pro's Retina display), and it's the first system we've looked at to sport NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 880M. MSI has also packed this system with a plethora of high-end components in a bid to challenge the dominance of more conventional boutique builders like Alienware. We'll be comparing and contrasting the GT60 against the Alienware 17 we reviewed recently to give you a sense of how the two systems compare head to head. First, though, we want to talk about the specs MSI has brought to the table... Read more...
Thin–and–light is back. If you have any doubts whatsoever, just take a look at the notebook landscape as it is today. Outside of those monster gaming laptops and desktop replacements that still demand their own massive amount of real estate, most everything else these days seems to be aiming for thin. MSI's lineup is no different, with the company's new X460 and X460DX aiming for a solid balance of power and portability. MSI's X Series should be no stranger to those reading these pages, and the unit here on our test bed certainly appears to kick things up a notch. The X460DX straddles two of the more popular form-factors today. It's not an ultraportable, and it's not a mainstream... Read more...
Many enthusiasts generally prefer to roll their own rigs, but when it comes to notebooks, the notion of building a system from scratch becomes less practical and appealing. Things tend to get expensive, your build options aren't as robust as they are with desktops, and working in tight quarters will test your patience. That's where system builders come in, and you have three primary types to choose from: large OEMs like Dell and HP, smaller integrators and resellers that specialize in bang-for-buck setups, and custom gaming boutiques like Maingear, that prefer to push the pedal to the metal in order to differentiate. We recently had a chance to meet with Maingear in person and tour the company's... Read more...
When MSI unveiled the new GT680R gaming laptop at CES this year, the company touted it as one of the "fastest, most powerful gaming notebooks in the world." As one of the first laptops to take advantage of Intel's Sandy Bridge processor, this laptop definitely packs plenty of power. Under the hood, you'll find NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460M graphics with 1.5GB of video memory, 8GB of DDR3 system memory, and two 500GB 7,200rpm hard drives. The GT680R isn't MSI's only new notebook to offer a Sandy Bridge processor. Like MSI's other products based on the second generation Core processors, the GT680R offers USB 3.0 connectivity as well as the MSI Turbo Drive Engine for easy, one-touch overclocking. This... Read more...
Maingear is a custom PC builder that's been making some noise lately, and for good reason. The competition is intense in this space, with a number of companies (CyberPower, Maingear, Falcon Northwest, Digital Storm, Origin, etc.) elbowing each other in order to grab the hard-earned dollars of those in need of a new machine. Maingear, like the others mentioned here, has done an excellent job staying on the cutting edge, and making sure that their lineup is full of new components just as soon as they hit the market.  Back in October, Maingear revealed two notebooks in a new series: Clutch. Today, we're taking a closer look at the smaller of the two, the 13.3" Clutch 13. This machine is... Read more...
We’ve seen plenty of gaming notebooks that are meant to dazzle potential customers with outrageous designs, ultra high-resolution displays, twin GPUs, and quad-core processors. The MSI GT627-216US isn’t such a notebook. Instead, the GT627-216US takes a more subdued approach to offer budget-minded gamers a powerful machine at an affordable price.Although the MSI GT627-216US may take a budget-minded approach, it doesn’t skimp on what’s important to gamers, namely the graphics card. The NVIDIA GeForce 9800M GS at the heart of this notebook helps it to produce more than respectable scores in many gaming benchmarks. In addition, the GT627-216US has an Intel Core 2 Duo P8400 processor and... Read more...
Mobile Gaming At Desktop Speeds Tests & Benchmarks With The Pentium 4M & NVIDIA's GeForce4 440 Go By Dave Altavilla 6/3/02   There was once a time when the average Laptop Computer, even the top of the line models, were designed and built strictly for business.  There were little if any true multimedia capabilities, without the need for DVD Drives, elaborate sound systems, CD-RW drives or 3D Graphics.  You got your basic CPU, Drive, RAM and LCD screen with floppy, keyboard and mouse.  The bells and whistles just weren't available and gaming on these machines was not even considered.  However, as the average end user became more PC savvy and technology made it possible... Read more...