Items tagged with review

Dell's Alienware gaming PC division recently announced a refresh of their 13, 15 and 17 notebook product lines, starting with the introduction of their 15 and 17 inch models and more recently unchaining their smaller but just as scrappy 13-inch beast. While the new machines don't usher in Intel's latest Kaby Lake 7th Gen Core series processors (of which only dual-core variants are currently available), they are now packing NVIDIA Pascal firepower, with a GeForce GTX 1080, GeForce GTX 1070 and GeForce GTX 1060 powering the Alienware 17, 15 and 13 models respectively. It was a clean sweep for NVIDIA and the Alienware team also took the opportunity to tighten-up the build quality of their gaming... Read more...
Suit-up mech pilots! Titanfall 2 has landed! Developer Respawn has returned with a sequel to its frenectic-paced FPS from 2014, offering yet even more stylistic wall-running, double-jumping and a bit of mech-on-mech action peppered throughout. Titanfall 2 is not your average first-person shooter, to say the least. The original TitanFall was fun but quaint affair that felt under supported, with DLC distribution that essentially fragmented the community. Acknowledging this shortcoming  for the sequel, EA and Respawn are promising that all additional content made available post-purchase, (maps, cosmetics, missions, modes etc.), will be free of charge to all who own Titanfall 2. Moreover the... Read more...
Consumer WiFi router products are generally classified by three major performance characteristics: overall throughput or bandwidth, multi-client performance, and range. Although throughput and multi-client bandwidth has scaled-up nicely over the years, range perhaps hasn't improved quite as robustly and even the most powerful WiFi routers, like Netgear's own beastly Nighthawk X8, with its active antennas, can still leave dead spots in large home or office installations. That's where the recent crop of mesh router technologies, that startups like Eero and Google with Google WiFi, are making significant advancements. By spreading out multiple, interconnected router access points (as well as their... Read more...
Moto introduced the Moto Z family back in July with the launch of the Moto Z and Moto Z Force. Packed with flagship worthy hardware like the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, both phones made a serious statement (click for full review) thanks to their modular capabilities, by way of Moto Mods. Moto Mods tune the already premium smartphones to a whole new level when attached. We were impressed by the Moto Mods we played with, including JBL's SoundBoost and the Moto Insta-Share Projector. Unfortunately, these phones were tied to Verizon at the time of our review, but unlocked variants are now trickling onto store shelves. Today, however, we take a close look at the newest sibling in the Moto Z family... Read more...
Although most of us would prefer to own all of the latest and greatest smartphones, there are plenty of us who don’t need all of the power and features today’s top phones have to offer. In addition, the high price tags on today's flagship phones presents a barrier for many. For casual smartphone users, there isn’t enough to gain by spending many hundreds of dollars more on a high end phone versus a more modest (and budget-friendly) model. It is for these reasons that Moto created the Moto G4 Play. As the third member of the new Moto G family, the Moto G4 Play is designed for fundamental smartphone functionality -- staying in touch with family and friends, catching up on the news, playing games,... Read more...
On October 11, Gear of War 4 landed with boots on the ground for Microsoft Windows and the Xbox One console. This fifth entry in the series marks the first time a Gears title has launched simultaneously on both the PC and Xbox. It's also breaking new ground with cross-play functionality between the two platforms and is part of the Microsoft Xbox Play Anywhere program. That means if you picked the title up on PC you can also access it on Xbox One for no additional charge. Gears of War 4 is a great looking game that makes impressive use of Epic Games' Unreal Engine 4 and the rich visual effects and rendering the powerful game engine offers. Gloriously, those playing on the PC... Read more...
Although they were initially announced all the way back at Computex, ASUS held a casual event in NYC this past Wednesday (Oct. 5) to officially launch an array of new products, including the ZenBook 3, ZenWatch 3, ZenPhone 3, and Transformer Pro 3 and Mini. We’ve got some initial coverage of all of those products here at HotHardware if you’d like some additional background on the full line-up, including hands-on video of the latest ZenBook and smartwatch. However, we couldn’t wait to dive in a little deeper with the ZenBook 3 for a couple of reasons. First off, the ZenBook 3 is the first Ultrabook to hit the lab built around Intel’s brand-new Kaby Lake-based 7th Generation Core series processors.... Read more...
Android 7, aka Nougat, has been rolling out primarily to Google's Nexus and new Pixel phones, as well as a few Motorola handsets, but a new Nougat contender has entered the fray, hot off the press from LG. The LG V20 is the follow-on to last year’s LG V10 and a current follow-up to the modular LG G5 that we reviewed recently. LG’s V series focuses on high quality, premium, larger-format designs that are feature-rich and the new LG V20 very much sticks to that mantra. Sporting a large 5.7-inch QHD display with 2560X1440 resolution and powered by Qualcomm's venerable Snapdragon 820 SoC (System on Chip), the V20 brings with it a few tried and true tricks from LG's V's series, coupled with a... Read more...
We have another premium Z170-based motherboard on the test bench today, by way of MSI. The MSI Z170A Gaming M9 ACK motherboard is the company’s top end gaming board for use with Intel 6th Generation Skylake-based Core series processors. The MSI Z170A Gaming M9 is packed with a host of premium features aimed at improving and enhancing your experience. Like most gaming enthusiast boards, this one also commands top dollar, but still manages to ring in $100 shy of the wallet-busting ASUS Z170 ROG Maximus VIII we previously reviewed. Some of the more notable features on this motherboard include a built-in armored backplate and a DoubleShot Pro compatible networking solution from Killer Networking... Read more...
Now, more than ever, manufacturers are exploring alternative ways to differentiate smartphones. One savior to the oversaturated smartphone market, that is rife with products with similar specifications, may come in the form of modularity. The promise of a modular phone, is an ability to adapt to a user’s needs in the moment. Purchasing a smartphone is traditionally a long-term investment. What might perfectly address day-to-day use, however, could come up short under specific use cases. We already took a close look at the Moto Z family and see promise in Moto Mods, but modular smartphones are not easy. The long promised modular smartphone program from Google, dubbed Project Ara, which helped... Read more...
The ThinkPad X1 Yoga marks a marriage between two of Lenovo's premium notebook lines: the ThinkPad X1 Carbon and the ThinkPad Yoga. The X1 Carbon line was introduced in 2012, bringing a largely carbon-fiber filled construction to decrease weight and increase durability compared to their previous X1 ultrabooks, while still maintaining the classic ThinkPad design established way back by IBM. The ThinkPad Yoga line, introduced a year later in 2013, consists of smaller 11 and 13 inch 2-in-1 form factors with a reinforced hinge capable of folding beyond 180 degrees into tent, stand or even tablet modes. Larger Yoga models are now available as well.  Unlike the X1 Carbon, the ThinkPad Yoga maintained... Read more...
Mainstream notebooks, laptops, and convertible devices have been significantly refined over the last few generations. The $500-$900 price range generally features laptops that are thin and light, built well, have decent battery life, and deliver solid multimedia experiences. Intel has a stranglehold on the CPUs and graphics in many of these mid-level systems, so PC makers seem to be emphasizing design differences lately. As important as performance is, you may well choose your next laptop because it converts into a mode or use case that fits your needs, rather than because of its technical specifications. HP aims the Pavilion x360 series at buyers who are looking for a non-traditional laptop.... Read more...
No Man’s Sky, the interstellar survival/exploration title from Hello Games, hit the PC and console platforms this month, roughly two years after its now infamous reveal at the 2013 VGX Awards. There it received exuberant praise and took home several awards—including a “Special Commendation for Innovation.” During that showing, what impressed industry insiders most were its seamless transitions from outer-space travel to atmospheric burn-in, to boots on the ground. No Man's Sky features a massively open environment that remains one of the cooler aspects of the game--it never seems to get old once you've had a chance to experience it. And experience it, we have. Damn you, Google Maps! While NMS... Read more...
Motorola recently launched two new flagship Droid offerings, the Moto Z and Moto Z Force. We really liked them for their ultra-premium design, strong performance, and innovative Moto Mods add-on features. However, Moto is also ushering in a refresh of their more mainstream, cost-effective Moto G family as well. We last looked at the Moto G in 2014. We weren't blown away by performance, however, we were impressed how much the device managed to offer for just $149. The Moto G delivered Android’s core experience with good enough web browsing and general productivity performance to stand above other budget smartphones at the time. For once, “budget” did not mean a laggy experience... Read more...
3D printers have come a long way since our first round-up review in 2012. This exciting technology has created everything from toys to running shoes, to prostheses for amputees. Is 3D printing, however, practical in a home office or in a classroom use case? The New Matter MOD-t 3D printer claims to be the most user-friendly printer ever and is supposedly “designed for 3D printing beginners and enthusiasts alike.” Is this device, however, something that truly belongs in your home office or a teacher’s classroom? Naturally, that's what we're here to find out. First, what is 3D printing and how is it accomplished? 3D printing or “additive manufacturing” is the process of making three dimensional... Read more...
Last month, the partnership between Motorola and Lenovo seemed to crystalize when the combined company stepped out with its first co-branded smartphone products that will ship here in the United States. Lenovo acquired Motorola's Mobility division from Google a couple of years back, but has rightfully lead with the iconic Moto brand for new smartphone (and smartwatch) product introductions since the acquisition. It wasn't until we saw Lenovo's Product Engineer/Spokesman, Ashton Kutcher take the stage last month at Lenovo Tech World to launch the new Moto Z and Moto Z Force, that it became apparent the assimilation of Moto within Lenovo was complete. The Lenovo-Motorola Moto Z Droid, Moto... Read more...
The race to build the world's thinnest laptop hasn't always resulted in quality design innovation or utility over more full-figured machines. For example, comparatively, Apple's MacBook Air line looks a little plain-Jane versus some of the nicer thin and light laptops on the market these days, and certainly HP's Spectre line as well. HP recently saw fit to fully revamp its Spectre series across multiple sizes and formats, the latest of which is simply branded Spectre. The HP Spectre is actually a 13-inch machine, so you might refer to it as such (Spectre 13), if it helps you make the distinction. There's also the Spectre X360, HP's 15-inch convertible machine that we reviewed recently, and though... Read more...
The ultrabook market shows no signs of cooling off any time soon. We've recently explored different flavors from all the top vendors including HP's Spectre x360 15t, Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Yoga, ASUS's Zenbook UX-305CA and our reigning Editor's Choice in Dell's XPS 13. There's a lot to love about these premium thin and light machines. And though each offers its own careful balance of tradeoffs, it's tough to have it all in such a slim package. Most ultrabooks these days offer the likes of Intel's U Series processors or even Intel Core M chips when they really want to push boundaries and sack an onboard cooling fan altogether. These packages also usually lack a dedicated graphics chip so high end... 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...
Whether you have a $10,000 beast of a gaming rig or a hand me down that isn't any more powerful than a toaster, having the right input devices can make a significant improvement in your work and play. Mice in particular come in all shapes and sizes to meet anyone's comfort and performance needs. That bargain bin mouse may be fine for browsing cat pictures, but its cheap sensor and total lack of ergonomics may be holding you back from pwning n00bs like you deserve.To help step your game up we're checking out three new mice that recently slid across our desk: Tesoro's Sagitta Spectrum H6L Gaming Mouse, Corsair's new M65 Pro RGB Gaming Mouse, and Logitech's G900 Chaos Spectrum Professional-Grade... Read more...
Overwatch, the team-based multiplayer shooter from Blizzard Entertainment has proven to be an unstoppable force in the industry having now reached the hands of more than 7 million gamers within a week of launch. Many predicted as much once the early beta saw nearly 10 million users. Admittedly, we too have been immovably glued to the game since installing the PC version early last week. It features a wide variety of characters, and play styles, with frenetic-pace gameplay that is easy and intuitive for casual players. Yet Overwatch dishes out plenty of depth and strategy for crafty players who strive at filling specific roles in a team-based setting.That’s us for sure. So after about 100 intense... Read more...
Intel's successful line of NUC (Next Unit of Computing) mini PCs have done well for the company, for various use cases where an ultra-small form factor computer might come in handy. In areas where a PC either needs to stay out of sight, blend in with its surroundings or squeeze in places where other, larger computers just couldn't go, a NUC can make a lot of sense. Tiny boxes like the Intel NUC5i5RYK can pack a fair amount of CPU horsepower in their petite, silver 4.5-inch frames, but some users still want more juice and beefier graphics for heavier gaming and content creation workloads.Fortunately, Intel's process technology and CPU architecture marched on at its typical relentless pace and... Read more...
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