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.

As far as gaming laptops go, Dell's Alienware brand has historically been synonymous with some of the most powerful configurations on the market. And where the trend lately has been toward ever thinner and lighter versions of these otherwise traditional desktop replacement machines, even Dell's recently released Alienware m15 eschews trimming every bit of mass from its design in order to keep from cutting too deeply into its performance-optimized, muscular build. And then there's Alienware's all-new Area-51m that we're looking at here. Although you wouldn't know it at first glance, the Area-51m is nearly a complete departure from traditional gaming laptop platforms, and one that's... Read more...
When you think of Dell or its Alienware brand, the first thing that comes to mind is probably a PCs and not a peripheral. Be that as it may, Dell is uniquely positioned to capitalize on the peripheral market as part of a larger play, one in which it can sell gamers on a unified ecosystem through its Alienware division. You could, for example, buy an Alienware desktop and plug it into an Alienware monitor (even a giant 55-inch OLED display, if you have the bankroll), and then surround it with Alienware peripherals. Talk about an invasion! Whether you would want to is another question, and to help answer that, Dell sent us its AW988 Wireless Gaming Headset and AW959 Elite Gaming Mouse. We're already... Read more...
The gaming laptop market is one of one of the largest and most diverse segments of the PC industry, with systems ranging in price from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. Dell's Alienware gaming machines typically lean towards the higher-end of the price spectrum, with premium build quality and strong component configurations, like the Alienware m15 that we're looking at here today. Dell's Alienware gaming division has re-tooled this machine as well, almost from the ground-up, while still preserving its classic Alienware design signature. The new Alienware m15 ranges in price from $1,379.99 up to just under $4,000, if you want to go for broke. Our exact test unit is well-equipped, but sits... Read more...
Do you even game on your phone, bro? Sorry, we'll slap ourselves silly for the obnoxious comment, but it's actually a valid question. Some people primarily use their phone to snap pictures for posting on Facebook and Instagram, while others go old school and -- gasp -- make actual phone calls with their handset. The ASUS ROG Phone does both of those things with aplomb, but it was really built for playing games first and foremost. Purpose-built gaming phones are a relatively new thing, at least to the extent that they are starting to become popular. There have been attempts to capitalize on this concept before, like when Nokia tried (and failed) to grab the attention of gamers with its N-Gage... Read more...
Japanese Apple fans will soon be able to get the iPhone XR at a discounted price; new NTT DOCOMO customers will be able to save roughly $100 over the life of their plan. The price reduction is part of Apple’s rumored plan to cut back on 2018 iPhone model production. Previously, the iPhone XR 64GB with a 24-month contract would have cost NTT DOCOMO customers ¥36,000 JPY (over $315 USD). Now the device will ring in at ¥24,000 (roughly $211), not including mandatory contract fees. Many new NTT DOCOMO customers will be able to snag an entire iPhone XR 64GB contract package for ¥7000 yen ($62) per month. NTT DOCOMO is one of the biggest mobile carriers in Japan and its serves more... Read more...
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 supporting a 144Hz refresh rate, Intel 8th generation Core processor options, and faster storage. It... 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 sent to evaluate, however, doesn't sit at the top of the Swift 3 stack. Although, it does have some... 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 brings decisive improvements to power and efficiency. Arm’s processor engineers worked with a... 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 learning feasible “on the edge.” The edge largely describes standalone devices such as smartphones... 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 life. But in the end, we were left with a few questions as well, after testing the model we picked... 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, Ryzen has proven itself to be very competitive versus Intel Core series processors, especially considering... 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. Both processors feature four cores capable of executing 8 threads with SMT. However, there are differences... 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 supports Daydream, Google's virtual reality play. Being Daydream-ready is not quite as exclusive as... 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 got the same overall design signature and major features. The machine even comes with a similar carrying... Read more...
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