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.

Forget almost everything you’ve read about the Microsoft Lumia 950 XL up to this point. We know that’s a bold statement, but bear with us here. Save for the phone’s specifications, if there’s one thing we’ve learned evaluating the 950 XL over the last few weeks it’s that virtually everything from the OS to the camera app has been changed or updated very recently, and it has affected battery life, responsiveness, and browsing, among many other things. Information published about the Lumia 950 XL that's any more than a couple of weeks old is simply outdated. It seems that Microsoft was tweaking a large number of elements and features in preparation for Windows 10 Mobile’s “official” release on... 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...
If three's company, we'd say Motorola has gone and made a full-on family out of its Moto 360 smartwatch. Hot on the heels of its second-generation Moto 360 comes the Moto 360 Sport, an Android Wear timepiece designed to compete not with TAG or Sony or Samsung, but with FitBit, Polar, Garmin, and TomTom. The ruggedized or sports smartwatch field is an interesting one. The target market isn't your typical smartwatch buyer. Instead, it's the fitness tracker buyer that a company hopes to upsell to.   At $300, the Moto 360 Sport isn't exactly cheap. It's a full $50 cheaper than the Apple Watch Sport but it's $100+ more than a lot of the fitness trackers it's competing with. Now that the... Read more...
The Lumia 950 and 950 XL are important products for Microsoft, but not for the reasons you may expect. Microsoft isn’t trying to set the mobile market ablaze with these two smartphones. They are not necessarily meant to be explosive sales successes that take significant market share from Android and iOS. If they were, Microsoft would have thrown huge amounts of marketing muscle and dollars behind them, launched a massive advertising campaign, and worked deals with every major wireless carrier it could. But Microsoft didn't.  The Lumia 950 and 950 XL are more about laying a foundation and setting the direction and course for Windows 10 Mobile as well as Microsoft’s latest mobile strategy.... Read more...
Not long ago, we kicked the tires on Motorola’s well-received Moto X Pure Edition. The smartphone impressed us with its Quad HD display and overall build quality, as well as its $399 price tag, which places it more reasonably below the lofty prices of the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Apple iPhone 6S lines. Today, we’re taking a look at two new smartphones from the Lenovo-owned Motorola - the Droid Turbo 2 and the Droid Maxx 2, which bring their own unique value proposition. Whereas the Moto X Pure Edition isn’t carrier-specific, the Turbo 2 and Maxx 2 are part of the Verizon Droid line. The Turbo 2, which starts at $624, has higher-end hardware than the Maxx 2 and features Motorola’s new ShatterShield... Read more...
Technology moves quickly, but when it comes to smartwatches, things seem to be moving more rapidly than usual. We published our Moto 360 review early last year and here we are merely half a year later testing the second generation of that device. In many ways, the original Moto 360 felt like the hero device for Android Wear. Google still hasn't created a watch of its own, nor has it partnered with a manufacturer to ship a "Nexus" branded Android Wear device. So, the Moto 360 continues to carry the torch. But much has changed since the 360 was ushered onto the scene. LG, Huawei, and Samsung have all shipped at least one smartwatch, and the round face -- which was the original Moto 360's unique... Read more...
Apple and Samsung have already launched their latest flagship devices for 2015, and now, Motorola is taking its turn. For the third year in a row, a new Moto X has arrived that's built upon the successes of the original. There's no mistaking the design -- visual cues that created the silhouette of the original still remain on the Moto X Pure Edition, but it's clear that the company is evolving its flagship phone based on market demands. For instance, the 5.7-inch Quad HD (2,560 x 1,440) display would've been viewed as monstrous in 2013, but today, it feels wholly natural. Moto has also included a few useful extras like TurboPower (which injects 10 hours of life into the phone after just 15 minutes... 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...
Microsoft's third iteration of the Surface Pro was a monumental improvement over the first two incarnations. For many, the third time really was the charm. It was powerful enough to replace most laptops, and versatile enough to serve as two device types without major compromises on either side. A year later now, and Microsoft presents us with the third iteration of the standard Surface. You know, the one without the "Pro" dangling from the end. It's cheaper, slimmer, and toned down, but it's also aimed at a broader swath of consumers. The base Surface 3 checks in at an alluring $499, but that's probably not the machine you'll want. The upgraded spec, which gets 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage,... Read more...
Not long ago, the battle for consumer dollars occurred on a field littered with ultralight notebooks. A few years later, that transitioned to smartphones and tablets. Today, the next major tussle is occurring on one’s wrist, in the red-hot "wearables" market in general. Motorola’s Moto 360 made waves by being the first major smartwatch to actually look like a watch - a real timepiece, not just a gadget. Most of its primary rivals are more akin to something Dick Tracy would wear, but Moto zigged when everyone else zagged. Instead of selling a computer with a band, the 360 is a timepiece that just so happens to run Android Wear. Despite being on the market for a few months now, the Moto 360 is... Read more...
Update 9/30/2015: Motorola just launched the Moto X Pure Edition, a larger flagship device with a 5.7-inch display, a faster processor, more RAM and the latest Android 5.1.1 Lollipop OS, along with an enhanced camera and some interesting new hands-free voice-activated features. The second gen Moto X you see here is still a great midrange phone but Motorola has just release a new flagship, so we'd highly suggest you check that out as well. When Motorola introduced the Moto X last year, the company was owned by Google. In our hands-on review of the first-generation Moto X, we pointed out that the collaboration between Motorola and Android engineers led to an incredibly sleek device and a good... Read more...
When NVIDIA launched the powerful GTX 980 and 970 last month, it was obvious that these cards would be coming to mobile sooner rather than later. The significant leap forward that Maxwell offers in performance-per-watt means that these GPUs would shine in mobile contexts -- maybe even more than in desktop. The mobile Maxwell die Today, NVIDIA is putting paid to that hypothesis with two new mobile GPUs -- the GeForce GTX 970M and 980M. Both cards are based on Maxwell's 28nm architecture, and both are trimmed slightly from the full desktop implementation. The GeForce GTX 980M is a 1536-core chip (just like the GTX 680 / 680M) while the GTX 970 will pack 1280 cores. Clock speeds are 1038MHz base... Read more...
If your any kind of a computing enthusiast, you're quite familiar with EVGA, even if you haven't bought and of their hardware. From power supplies to motherboards and graphics cards, the company has established a solid reputation for producing high-quality, enthusiast equipment. EVGA recently sent over one of their new Torq X10 gaming mice -- does this new entrant into the crowded high-end mouse market deserve your gaming dollar? Let's take a look. Of Mice and Markets: Ask ten gamers if a high-end mouse is important for gaming and you'll likely hear universal agreement. Ask them to name the best gaming mouse, and you may end up with a fight on your hands. Just as mechanical keyboards... 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...
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