Items tagged with review

Origin PC has been making the case for buying a premium PC from a boutique builder, ever since its founders set up shop in Florida nearly a decade ago. A little more recently, Origin PC started quite literally making the case, designing a custom chassis for its Genesis (full-tower) and Millennium (mid-tower) desktops that were first introduced in 2014. We are now in 2018 (barely) and to drive home the pun, Origin PC is still making the case (get it?) for these desktop lines. With a new year came an opportunity for Origin PC to refresh these desktops, and that is exactly what it did, both inside and out. As you might expect, the Millennium setup the company sent us is running the latest hardware,... Read more...
When Lenovo launched the Yoga 910, it was beautifully styled, powerful enough for most mobile users, and it offered reasonably good battery life. However, the public reception of the 2-in-1 convertible was a bit mixed and perhaps not quite what the company had hoped for. Some critics took issue with the Yoga 910's thermal characteristics, fan noise, and its awkwardly-placed upward-facing web cam. However, Lenovo took this feedback into consideration and developed the new Yoga 920 we'll be showing you here. From the outside, the Yoga 910 and 920 look similar at first glance, but there are a multitude of significant updates that improve the machine in a number of ways. Nestled inside an all-aluminum... Read more...
If you've shopped for a custom built gaming desktops recently, you might have come across a company called Xidax, a relative newcomer to the boutique building scene. Xidax launched online in 2013, right in the midst of a resurgence in PC gaming. To some, it may have seemed downright crazy at the time to enter a market that had previously chewed up and spit out other players (does anyone remember Hypersonic?). But Xidax forged ahead anyway in hopes of rising in the ranks of brand recognition. Xidax is not quite there yet among the more established brands, though it is definitely more recognizable today than it was even just two years ago, let alone when it first arrived on the scene. Even then,... Read more...
The mega-popular PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, aka PUBG, is finally here in full release form. With its time in the Steam Early Access easy-bake oven complete, the inspiring battle royal FPS game is now ready for mass retail consumption with an impressive new map, new weapons, vehicles and lots more. Back in September we had a blast running, gunning and dying quite a bit, to show you how the game had integrated NVIDIA’s Shadowplay Highlight’s custom replay features. Now we're giving this masterpiece of mayhem the formal treatment with its own gameplay and performance review.  Much of Miramar is open country for snipers PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds is the leading battle-royale... Read more...
Dell has been updating its XPS line of laptops at a brisk clip as of late. Though we just showed you a recent update of the highly decorated Dell XPS 13 here, with Intel 8th Gen Kaby Lake R technology on board, we're back again today with yet another update to the XPS 13 family, and this time its beauty is not just skin-deep.   What you're looking at above is the Rose Gold version of the latest XPS 13 with its Alpine White, woven glass fiber keyboard deck. The material for the palm rest is comprised of woven crystaline silicon fiber for low weight, high tensile strength and durability, combined with textured lattice fibers that provides a smooth, slightly hatched appearance and feel that's... Read more...
We could have predicted that HP would refresh its laptop lineup after Intel introduced its 8th Generation Core processor family in mobile form (Kaby Lake Refresh, or Kaby Lake-R, not to be confused with Coffee Lake on the desktop). By extension, our crystal ball, if we had one, would have also told us the new lineup would be faster than the previous generation, especially in multi-threaded applications where upgrading from a dual-core 7th Generation CPU to a quad-core 8th Generation chip would pay the biggest dividends. But what we could not have foreseen is that subtle changes beyond swapping out the engine that drives its systems would add up to an appreciably superior experience. Spoiler—it... 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...
Anyone that has worked with laptops for a while might recall the ThinkPad brand from back in the day before Lenovo purchased the client PC division from IBM. One of the most notable things about the old-school ThinkPads was the keyboard, complete with a blue enter key and a red trackpoint nub smack dab in the center. After Lenovo took over the ThinkPad line, some of the beloved industrial styling cues from those workhorse machines left along with the IBM logo. However, Lenovo is now celebrating the 25th anniversary of the ThinkPad brand with a unique ThinkPad 25 Anniversary Edition notebook that combines some aspects of IBM's retro-style circa 1992 with the features and performance... Read more...
Dell has continued to push the recent design innovations of its premium XPS family further down its product stack, in an effort to enhance its mainstream consumer products as well. When we reviewed Dell’s XPS 27 7760 All-in-One desktop PC earlier this year, we were impressed with its performance, features, and design aesthetic, including its impressive sound system. Continuing that effort to marry both form and function, we received the new Dell Inspiron 27 7000 All-in-One desktop for review. It turns out this system was the winner of a 2017 COMPUTEX Design and Innovation Award, but it has been updated since then. In addition, the model we have in for testing happens to be powered by something... Read more...
Dell has not done much to tweak the physical design of its XPS 13 laptop over the past couple years, though it's not out of laziness or complacency. The past few models have exemplified excellence in engineering, with the size and weight of the XPS 13 belying what lays in wait when you crack open the lid. Its InfinityEdge display all but eliminates bezel and delivers a larger-than-expected viewing area based on the laptop's overall dimensions, and the hardware powering it has, for the most part, been cutting edge. In keeping with that latter theme, Dell upgraded its XPS 13 for late 2017 with a new 8th generation Intel Core i7 processor, specifically the Core i7-8550U, effectively doubling the... Read more...
Destiny 2 recently arrived on the PC, following its successful console launch on September 6 of this year. The original installment in the franchise was a console-exclusive title, despite petitions and pleading from PC gamers to port the title over to Windows. That makes Destiny 2 the first time PC gamers get to use their inner-Guardian to shoot, Sparrow-ride, and loot their way through Bungie’s open-word, action-RPG franchise. In Destiny 2, you are a “Guardian”, a mortal being who has been granted incredible abilities after receiving the Traveler’s Light. Choosing from three distinct class types, your task is to restore and protect Earth’s last safe city from hordes of alien races. To do... Read more...
If there's a sleeper phone that's been on our radar for a while here, it's the LG V30. LG has been teasing this phone for what seems like an eternity. We actually got our first hands-on time with it a couple of months ago in August. However, LG has been conservative with its last couple of handset roll-outs, taking the same preview tease approach with the LG G6, where we got an early look prototype unit and firm rules of engagement with it before final production units arrived. The G6 was one of the first generation thin bezel phones on the market at the time and LG wanted to make doubly sure it was ready for prime time when it shipped. The same can be said for the new V30, as this device feels... Read more...
The war resumes in Middle-Earth Shadow of War and we’re on the front-lines reporting in with a fresh review and performance analysis. This month Warner Bros. Interactive released their action-RPG sequel to 2014’s Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor. Middle-Earth: Shadow of War is here placing players in the familiar shoes of Talion, a highly-capable human Ranger with special powers. Together with the dead Elf King Celebrimbor, whom shares his body, they must use their combined skills to traverse the various lands of Middle-Earth, dispatching or "Dominating" the many Orc hordes in hopes of amassing an army formidable enough to topple Sauron for good. Shadow of Mordor fans will be pleased to know that... Read more...
Google has been designing and building premium Android smartphones for many years, co-branding with various hardware partners since back in the days of the company's Nexus devices. More recently with its first generation Pixel series, the Mountain View team has taken more prominent ownership of the brand, with devices specifically underscored as "Made By Google." And indeed the design signatures of the first generation Pixel and Pixel XL were distinctly different from any other handset on the market, as are the latest Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL that Google is launching today, along with a redesigned Daydream View VR headset. Designed by Google but manufactured by HTC (Pixel 2) and LG (Pixel... Read more...
One could argue that the two primary features of a modern laptop, that can most prominently define the user experience, would be its display and keyboard. After all, these two aspects make up the majority of a notebook PC's human-computer interface. If that's the case, then Lenovo's latest ThinkPad X1 Yoga (Gen 2) with OLED display has a rather unfair advantage. As we've noted in the past, Lenovo has some of the best laptop keyboards in the business, at least in terms of usability and feel. And when you couple a 14-inch OLED (Organic LED) display with one of the best laptop keyboard designs on the market, you're definitely starting with a winning combination. Of course, the keyboard and display... 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...
The PC gaming market continues to grow, thanks in part to the increasing popularity of eSports. While Lenovo is best known for its Thinkpad and Yoga family of notebooks with legendary reliability and slick form factors, it was time the company got serious about gaming. So, Lenovo took the plunge and launched a new sub-brand at CES this year – Legion. The new Legion family of gaming notebooks include the entry-level Y520, mid-level Y720, and high-end Y920. Lenovo sent over the mid-level 15.6-inch Legion Y720 series for us to check out, which provides a step up in build quality over the entry-level Y520 without going all-in with the beefier 17.3-inch Y920. The headlining feature of the Legion Y720... Read more...
AMD’s unrelenting attack on the desktop CPU market continues today, with the official launch of the company's beastly Ryzen Threadripper processors. If, by some cruel joke, you are unfamiliar with Threadripper, it is AMD’s premium, high-end, many-core desktop processor, that leverages the same Zen microarchitecture that debuted with the Ryzen 7 series a few months back. The flagship chip in the initial AMD Ryzen Threadripper line-up packs 16 physical processor cores and supports 32 threads through the use of SMT (Simultaneous Multithreading). To date, the largest number of cores supported on standard desktop platforms, without resorting to enterprise-class processors or dual-socket setups was... Read more...
It was not that long ago when the idea of buying a gaming laptop meant spending a heavy premium versus a desktop setup. That was always a tough pill to swallow, because for the most part, there was no way to upgrade critical components like a GPU, down the road a bit. What you got is what you would have to live with for the life of your laptop. That latter restriction remains today but now, more than ever with more powerful mobile platforms, gaming laptops can offer a reasonably good return on investment. That is certainly true of the EON15-S from Origin PC, the 15.6-inch frag-ready notebook we're looking at today.With a starting price of $999, the EON15-S is not an expensive gaming laptop... Read more...
Adjustable sit-stand desks are all the rage these days, after some smart person in the healthcare field put two and two together to figure out that planting your backside in an office chair all day long is really not good for you, and in more ways than one. Adjustable height desks come generally in two variants, stand-alone models like the Autonomous Smart Desk 2 you see above and desktop risers that essentially convert a standard desk to sit-stand positioning capability. Pricing for the various model types out there range from the cheesy $149 versions, to north of $500 or so for premium, motorized adjustable models. However, the Autonomous Smart Desk 2 is a bit of an enigma. The cleanly-styled... 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...
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 complete Max-Q Design gaming notebook to hit the market, though others from Alienware and Gigabyte... Read more...
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