Notebooks, Tablets, Smartphones, Wearables And Gadgets

In-depth product reviews and news of notebooks, tablets, smartphones, wearable technologies and gadgets. We're now living in a contextually-aware computing world and mobile devices can not only help us enjoy the ride but create and capture new experiences as well.

When Acer debuted its Predator Helios 300 laptop line a little over a year ago, it quickly garnered praise for delivering an unexpected level of gaming performance for the price. At the time, the Predator Helios 300 came equipped with an assortment of hardware that could typically be found only on more expensive laptops. As such, we've had multiple requests to get our hands on one of the newer models and give it a full review. Well, for those who asked (and those who didn't), that's exactly what we're doing here. This past summer, Acer refreshed its Predator Helios 300 with an upgraded display... Read more...
There's a wide range of ultra-premium laptops on the market at the moment. However, many of them are simply out of reach for the average mainstream consumer due to budget constraints. There are more budget friendly options though, such as the Acer Swift 3 we are looking at today. The base model in the series starts at a thrifty $650 USD, and that gets you an Intel 8th Gen Core i5-8250U processor, a 14-inch FHD display, and a 256GB SSD. Along with that premium hardware, the exterior also features a sleek brushed aluminum chassis and its display sports relatively thin bezels.  The model we were... Read more...
Last week, Arm showed off the inner workings of its new Machine Learning Processor design, but that is not all that company had waiting in the wings. Arm is also detailing more cutting-edge technology in the form of its Cortex-A76 CPU, Mali-G76 GPU, and Mali-V76 VPU designs. All three chips are slated to be heavy-hitters in their respective categories, and thanks to some on-campus, in depth briefings earlier this month, we have all of the details to share... Cortex A-76 The Cortex-A76 represents Arm’s most radical overhaul over previous designs. The A76’s brand-new architecture... Read more...
After taking a measured, wait-and-see approach to machine learning, Arm is ready to jump into the fold full throttle. Today, the company is following up on its Project Trillium announcement from back in February with new details surrounding its machine learning processor, also known as the neural-network processing unit or NPU. To quickly recap, Project Trillium encompasses Arm’s push to leverage machine learning and neural network operations across their line-up of processors – whether that processing takes place on the CPU, GPU, or its new NPU. Arm’s goal is to make machine... Read more...
When we launched our early preview look at AMD Ryzen Mobile performance with the new HP Envy x360 15z laptop last week, we expected it would pull in a few eyeballs. Our benchmark results were likely some of the first anyone had seen that showed what AMD's Ryzen core CPU architecture, coupled with its Radeon RX Vega GPU on the same piece of silicon, could do versus a plethora of Intel 7th and 8th Gen Core series laptops. We wanted to paint a detailed picture of its performance characteristics across various workloads and answer a few other questions a long the way regarding other aspects, like battery... Read more...
AMD’s Zen processor microarchitecture is targeted for deployment across the company’s entire processor product stack, from desktop with Ryzen and Threadripper, to the data center with EPYC, and finally in laptops and convertibles with Ryzen Mobile. Ryzen is set to yet again take on Intel’s dominant position in the market. However, in this latest implementation, Zen is being coupled with AMD’s Vega graphics cores for a fully integrated laptop solution with the potential for a significantly more robust multimedia and gaming experience as a result. On the desktop,... Read more...
AMD has had a banner year thanks to the launch of the many incarnations of its Zen processor architecture (Ryzen, Ryzen Threadripper, EPYC), as well as its Vega graphics cards (Radeon RX Vega 56, Radeon RX Vega 64). Now, however, the company is set to launch the combination of those standout architectures in a single die linked together with its Infinity Fabric. The result is what's internally known at AMD as Raven Ridge, and now will simply be referred to as Ryzen Mobile. There are two initial chips in the processor family that AMD is announcing today: the Ryzen 5 2500U and the Ryzen 7 2700U.... Read more...
Owners of the ASUS ZenFone AR may be tempted to ask their friends and co-workers, "Do you even AR, bro?". Asking that question is a surefire way to solicit puzzled (and perhaps annoyed) looks, but once they see what the ZenFone AR is capable of, those dirty glances and quizzical faces will quickly morph into ones of excited curiosity, and maybe even jealously. That's because this whole augmented reality business is rather new, and the ZenFone AR is one of only two smartphones to support Google's Tango (formerly Project Tango) AR platform (Lenovo's Phab 2 Pro being the other). The ZenFone AR also... Read more...
ASUS has earned high praise over the years for its ZenBook line of ultraportables. They marry sleek ultrabook designs with generally good value. We usually don’t see a lot of groundbreaking new technology from the line-up, but not everyone needs that and consistent quality builds are more generally the ZenBook hallmark. Some people just want a thin, light laptop that gets the job done and looks good doing it. The ASUS ZenBook Deluxe 3 UX490UA is the big brother of the UX390UA we previously reviewed. It is, essentially, the same laptop bumped up from a 12.5-inch display to a 14-inch display. It’s... Read more...
There was a time when laptop options were basically a choice between desktop-like performance in a heavy and bulky form-factor, an ultralight with integrated graphics, or something in the middle, around 5-lbs with a low-end GPU. NVIDIA sought to solve this choice compromise with its Max-Q Design initiative that was announced at Computex last month. Max-Q Design is a holistic approach to notebook graphics design that ensures a svelte exterior, light weight, quiet thermals and optimal performance.ASUS and NVIDIA joined forces to produce the 15.6-inch Republic of Gamers (ROG) Zephyrus GX501, the first... Read more...
Dell updated its Alienware 17 gaming laptop at PAX West 2016 with NVIDIA Pascal graphics, but at the time Intel’s quad-core Kaby Lake mobile processors weren’t available yet. It was a short-lived update, however, as the Kaby Lake-powered Alienware 17 was announced a short time later at the start of the Consumer Electronics Show this past January. Today, we’re checking out the newest Alienware 17 R4 gaming laptop featuring the latest of both technologies. The chassis may look familiar, but its all-new on the inside with two 7th-Generation Intel Core i7 processor and four NVIDIA Pascal graphics options.... Read more...
NVIDIA's Computex 2017 unveiling of the new GeForce GTX with Max-Q Design technology for laptops was presented with the usual charismatic polish and enthusiasm that the company's leather-clad CEO, Jen-Hsun Huang is well known for. Frankly, it seemed a little too good to be true. In one hand, Huang held a legacy 10-pound boat anchor of a gaming notebook, while in the other he held the new ASUS ROG Zephyrus, a sub-5 pound machine that's just 17.9mm thick. Extolling the virtues of the new ASUS notebook powered by a GeForce GTX 1080 with Max-Q Design technology, he pointed out that the new machine... Read more...
ARM has developed a new generation of mobile chips that will empower smartphones and tablets of tomorrow with machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities, along with claimed significant increases in power efficiency and performance. The company's new Cortex-A75 CPU core for premium, high performance device requirements and Cortex-A55 processors for mobile power-efficient workload processing will also both be the first to feature ARM's DynamIQ technology, which gives design partners like Qualcomm more flexibility in how they pair CPU clusters. Prior to ARM's DynamIQ design, Qualcomm... Read more...
Shrimp on the barbie? Try Apple on the barbie. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is suing Apple over “Error 53”, which bricked iPhones and iPads last year that were repaired by third-parties. The ACCC claims that the forced software bricking violated Australian consumer law. Last February, several iPhone 6 users received the “Error 53” message after trying to upgrade to iOS 9. The message effectively bricked the phones. It turns out that these users had repaired their screens and other components through "unauthorized" third-party service centers. iPhone 6 screen replacements... Read more...
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