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.

ASUS takes gaming seriously. So seriously, in fact, that it has two sub-brands dedicated to hardware for gamers. One is the Republic of Gamers (ROG), a brand ASUS created in 2006 to designate products that deliver "innovative hardcore PC performance," and the other is Strix, a more recent creation that's taken from the ancient Roman and Greek word for owl. No, we're not kidding. "Strix means the keenest hearing and sharpest eyesight. Strix means feeling your environment so that you detect and react to the slightest movement. Strix means survival on the very edge of instinct. Strix is in your blood, as it is in ours," ASUS explains. Though the two brands exist separate from one another, ASUS has... Read more...
There's a first time for everything, as the saying goes, and the Alienware 13 OLED is a first for us without question. Though there were a couple of OLED (Organic LED) display driven laptops at CES 2016 this year, Dell's Alienware division is the first in the door here at HotHardware with a retail ready product. OLED displays offer better brightness, contrast, saturation and pixel response times versus legacy display types like IPS, and in in general they're more power efficient as well. OLED displays are somewhat common these days in smartphones and as it turns out, OLED-enabled handsets like the Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge are some of our favorite devices in this arena, primarily... Read more...
Update: 6/25/16 - Check out our full review and deep dive of the Alienware 13 OLED right here. Dell's Alienware 13 gaming notebook has been a favorite among gamers on the go and power users that want a little more horsepower in a light, 13-inch machine. However, over the past couple of years, the Alienware team hasn't changed-up the design much, until today that is. The company is officially making the OLED display powered Alienware 13, that we saw back in January at CES, available today in conjunction with the E3 show out in LA. Our initial impressions in the short time we've had the system in-house are similar to our first impressions at CES; hell yes, that OLED display sure... Read more...
Earlier this month, we told you a bit about the next generation 64-bit ARM v8-A mobile processor core, codenamed Artemis. Artemis is built using TSMC’s 10nm FinFET process technology and promises some pretty sizable performance and efficiency gains over the Cortex-A72, which is built using a 16nm FinFET process. Today, we’re able to disclose the official name and a number of details for ARM's next-gen mobile processor core and a new GPU as well: Cortex-A73 and Mali-G71. ARM is billing the 11-stage pipeline Cortex-A73 as the the world’s most efficient premium mobile CPU, as it offers up to 30 percent greater performance than the outgoing Cortex-A72 while operating within a similar or lower... Read more...
ARM has been working closely with TSMC – the Taiwanese Semiconductor Manufacturing Company – for a number of years now. Over the last six years or so especially, ARM and TSMC have collaborated to ensure that the latter’s cutting-edge process technologies work well with the former’s processor IP. So, with every generation since 2010, the companies have built ARM’s most advanced processor cores on TSMC’s most advanced emerging process nodes.The collaboration successfully began with a test chip produced at 28nm, but today ARM is announcing the successful tape-out of a test chip featuring next-generation, premium 64-Bit ARM v8-A mobile processor cores, codenamed Artemis, and manufactured using TSMC’s... Read more...
Internet privacy is kind of like a VCR or CD player, in that one day our kids will ask us “you used to have that?” It’s staggering how much of our online activity is tracked, catalogued, and used for a wide array of purposes, most of them related to commerce. But if you’re a dissident, journalist, someone who lives in a country where the Internet is restricted, or just want to browse the web without being tracked, your options are becoming increasingly limited. It’s likely the situation will only get worse in the future, as companies devise more sophisticated ways of tracking our every move online. The Tor project was designed to combat this scourge. Tor is a freely accessible network of global... Read more...
Amazon’s current generation of Fire tablets offer something for everyone, from the budget-conscious user who wants a super-cheap $50 tablet, to the consumer who’s willing to spend more in exchange for a larger format device with all the bells and whistles. Today, we’re going to take a look at Amazon’s Fire HD 10 tablet which finds itself at the top of Amazon’s current slate offerings but for a very reasonable price for a 10-inch device. Amazon designed the Fire HD 10 with entertainment in mind. The tablet features a 10.1-inch wide aspect HD display that supports a resolution of 1280x800 with a density of 149ppi. This display features a 16:10 aspect ratio that gives you 22 percent more horizontal... Read more...
At a glance, you may assume the phone we're testing here is one you've seen before -- a Nokia Lumia 1020 clone perhaps? Despite having a similar circular camera fixture on the handset's back side, suggesting a strong focus on photography, this is actually a newly released phone produced by ASUS. The ASUS ZenFone Zoom is an interesting beast. Though it was initially released for a more international audience, ASUS has since seen fit to bring the device to North American shores. It makes sense, though. Other than calling or texting, cameras have long been a key smartphone feature that gets used most frequently and many consumers will tell you that photo image quality is paramount when it comes... Read more...
When ASUS released the ZenFone 2 Laser, the company’s goal was to offer a premium smartphone experience with strong camera performance at an affordable price. On the surface the ZenFone 2 Laser has many of the key features of a premium phone, including an octa-core SoC with Adreno graphics, dual active SIM capabilities, a 5.5-inch 1080p display, a 13-megapixel camera, and a removable battery. Given that many flagship Android phones sell for $599 and up for an unlocked version, ASUS’s price of $249 for the high-end 32GB model of the ZenFone 2 Laser is very reasonable. If you want to save some cash, ASUS is also offering this phone with 16GB of storage for $199. This phone is compatible with GSM... Read more...
We had good things to say about Asus’ super-slim ZenBook UX305 when we evaluated it early last year. Attractive, sturdy, and downright tiny, the UX305 was a good value for the price, and it had good looks too. A year later, the ZenBook is back with the updated UX305CA, so we got one in to see if the newer version is as balanced a machine as last year’s model. The Zenbook UX305CA we will be showing you here has Windows 10 and an updated Core M processor, along with improved graphics, but many things haven’t changed: it’s still tiny, it has the same wedge design and the lid still props the keyboard up at angle when opened. If you liked the UX305, you’ll be happy to know that many of its best features... Read more...
Though it still hasn't grabbed consumers like some manufacturers had hoped, the smartwatch market is growing rather quickly, and a number of good options are currently available. For some users, price may be one of the key factors holding them back from buying a smartwatch. While many watches cost at least $250, and some can run hundreds of dollars more, ASUS’s latest ZenWatch 2 we'll be showing you here is available for as little as $129. Of course, any time we see a budget-friendly smartphone, laptop, tablet, or smartwatch we assume sacrifices were made to keep the price low. In the case of the ZenWatch 2, this is somewhat true but you may be pleasantly surprised by all the features it has... Read more...
You could almost hear the collective groan from the enthusiast community when Dell announced it had purchased Alienware, in what now feels like 100 years ago. It has actually been just shy of a decade since Dell took ownership, and rather than let the Alienware brand wither into irrelevance like some other boutique vendors that were later absorbed by major OEMs (Voodoo who?), Dell's gaming gear division has continued to thrive and innovate with the help of the company's deeper resources. If we're being totally honest (as we always are), passionate consumers come out of the woodwork whenever the Alienware name is invoked. Some are rational and offer up observational criticism or praise, as well... Read more...
Periodically, Amazon updates and revamps its lineup of tablets with upgraded models and new names. While the company's tablets have kept the Fire branding over the years, the combination of letters and numbers that follow have changed. This year, for example, Amazon removed the HDX tag and now offers tablets with simply “Fire” or “Fire HD” branding. As its simpler name may suggest, Amazon’s latest Fire tablet is a more basic model that doesn’t have all of the bells and whistles of the HD series, which is available in three sizes. Instead, the all-new 7-inch Fire tablet has an ultra-low $50 price tag that has the potential to shake up the market and get a tablet in the hands of people who might... Read more...
New processor architectures inevitably lead to a flurry of refreshed product lines from PC makers. That's how things have been playing out with Skylake, a "tock" in Intel's tick-tock design cadence and its 6th generation Core processor family. As usual, ASUS is on the bleeding edge with new Skylake systems ready to go, one of which is the ROG G752VT. The specific model ASUS sent us is the ROG G752VT-DH72, a slightly toned down update to the ROG G751JY-DB72 we reviewed back in September. Like that laptop, the G752VT falls into the desktop replacement category and takes aim at gamers with high-end hardware and, the coup de grâce, a 17.3-inch IPS panel supporting NVIDIA's G-Sync technology. If this... Read more...
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