Items tagged with review

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...
The Asus Z170 ROG Maximus VIII Extreme motherboard is the latest in Asus' flagship line of enthusiast-class motherboards for gamers. It’s a top-end premium solution with a dizzying array of tuning options to supercharge your next build and tweak overall performance in games, networking and more. Our previous motherboard eval featured the Gigabyte Z170X-UD5 Ultra Durable, which was a budget-friendly Z170 motherboard that offered strong performance, without a ton of superfluous bells and whistles. Yet the Gigabyte board was quite the performer, holding its own in most tests and even coming out ahead of a couple of competing Z170 boards in others.The Asus Z170 ROG Maximus VIII ExtremeThe Asus Z170... Read more...
You read the headline correctly – this is not a review of a Synology NAS, but instead a wireless router. If this sounds unusual to you, you are not alone. Synology is a Network-Attached Storage (NAS) company, or at least it used to be, as it's now taking all its networking expertise and jumping into the router market, and the black beauty you see below is its maiden attempt. Plainly named, the Synology RT1900ac Router, the company’s fledgling entry into this crowded market, is a dual-band AC unit. As you might have guessed, it’s capable of 1,900Mb/s of bandwidth across its 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, offering up to 600Mb/s on the 2.4GHz spectrum, 1,300Mb/s on the 5GHz spectrum and is 802.11ac compatible... Read more...
Dell recently refreshed its popular XPS 13 with new hardware to bring it up to date with current CPU and storage offerings.  The updated model now sports a Skylake-based Intel processor and a Samsung PM951 NVMe solid state drive, plus a few minor tweaks to its already impressive design.  When the current iteration of the Dell XPS 13 debuted back in January of last year, it was nearly unrivaled in terms of its power to size ratio, and overall value in the space. The ultrabook market has heated-up a lot since then though, and the XPS 13 has some stiff competition at the moment. In addition to checking out Dell's tiny powerhouse, we should also mention Intel's SpeedShift technology, available... Read more...
Rise of the Tomb Raider has hit the PC lining it up in our gun sights for graphics, gameplay and performance analysis. The game launched on the Xbox family of consoles a few months back and has since been ported to PC thanks to NIXXES Software. It’s a competent console to PC port updated with many graphics settings and effects to tweak and dial to your particular tastes and system capabilities. Some of the rendering and effects features include, Ambient Occlusion, Depth of Field, Dynamic Foliage, Bloom shader effects, Tessellation and several more. But before we get ahead of ourselves, let's give you some backdrop on the Tomb Raider series.  Rise of the Tomb Raider is the sequel for the... Read more...
The 2-in-1 and convertible PC space has changed significantly over the past couple of years. What was once a cluttered mess of kludges is now a well-defined market segment packed with refinement, power, and plenty of options. You could partially credit Microsoft's Surface line for making 2-in-1s an object of desire, but it's also products like the Dell XPS 12 that make today's line-up of convertible devices so much more interesting. Dell's XPS 12, which was first announced last fall, is just as capable as a laptop as it is a tablet. That's no small feat, and it's multifaceted abilities are largely due to Dell's top-shelf keyboard cases. Though it's engineered as a tablet first, the 12.5-inch... 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...
Huawei may not be a household name here in the US, nor does the brand name roll off the tongue easily for many Americans, but you might be surprised to learn that the Chinese networking and telecommunications manufacturer is the 3rd largest smartphone supplier in the world, behind Apple and Samsung. Much of that global market share comes from China, but the company has been making significant inroads here in the US with devices like Google's Nexus 6P, which is a Huawei private labeled device.  Further, like Samsung and Apple, Huawei has access to significant manufacturing capabilities, including their own semiconductor design house called HiSilicon, which is a wholly owned subsidiary. In... 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...
EVGA decided to branch out this year. No, not with AMD graphics; the company's GPU offerings are still very much based on reference cards from Team Green. Yet, in an effort to expand their product lines, the largest North American vendor of NVIDIA graphics cards now offers their own branded memory modules in both DDR3 and DDR4 flavors, spanning 10 different SKUs. Today, we’re checking out the burliest DRAM module set on offer—the High Performance 2800 SuperSC DDR4 Series 16GB kit (4x4GB). Many DIY builders still using older platforms and DDR3 are wondering if they'll see concrete benefits from a move to a newer platform and DDR4. Newer DDR4 memory is indeed more efficient, faster and made with... Read more...
Dell's Alienware Steam Machine is under the microscope today. In partnership with several leading PC makers, Valve has finally taken their often-talked about Steam Machine with custom SteamOS to market, promising the depth and precision of PC gaming driven by a purpose-built operating system, that offers a standardized platform similar to a tried and true "just push play" console gaming experience.The Alienware Steam Machine seems like just the thing for PC gamers looking for a simpler way to game without a lot of fuss and configuration. What’s a Steam Machine, you ask? The Steam Machine is a PC-based set top box that functions as a dedicated portal into the Steam digital marketplace, where players... Read more...
The original Google Nexus 5 shipped right around this time two full years ago. Much has evolved in the smartphone space in the 24 months since then, but little has changed in terms of branding with this latest LG-built Nexus device. The 5.2-inch Nexus 5X we will be showing you here is positioned as the mainstream Nexus phone in the Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) lineup, with an unlocked base price of only $379, though street prices are actually lower. Nexus 5X on the left; Nexus 6P on the right Put simply, the Nexus 5X is designed for mainstream smartphone users, looking for a strong value. Google thinks this phone hits a sweet spot in the lineup, and we'd probably agree with that assessment.... Read more...
The nascent smartwatch market has delivered a number of near-winners thus far. The Apple Watch and Microsoft Band, for example, are better-than-average fitness trackers and smart timepieces. The 2nd generation Moto 360 is impressive from an aesthetics standpoint. The Huawei Watch hits the mark for those looking for a good-looking, functional, timepiece that also happens to feature smartphone notifications. And then, there's Samsung. In a bid to be first to market, the original Galaxy Gear was launched with a less-than-optimal design, poor battery life, and a camera that wasn't very useful. That was just over two years ago though, and the company has since popped out a multitude of wearables... Read more...
If you're a PC gamer or into enthusiast computing, how would you describe your ideal monitor? For many, it might go something like a 32 - 34-inch IPS panel with a high refresh rate of 100Hz plus, 4K resolution, along with NVIDIA G-SYNC or AMD FreeSync technology. And with displays this big, adding a slight curve might be high on your wish list as well. The good news is, with the recent advancements in display technologies, that "holy grail" set of specifications is beginning to take shape, as display manufacturers like Acer, ASUS, Samsung, Dell and others begin to build all this great new tech into bigger and better high-end displays. In fact, the new Acer Predator X34 series captures three out... Read more...
There's a reason the Lenovo Stack has a ThinkPad logo emblazoned on each component. Over the years, the name ThinkPad has become synonymous with mobile professionals. For the most part, ThinkPad has been reserved for tablets and laptops, but with the Lenovo Stack the company is introducing the brand to an entirely new category: accessories. First unveiled at CES 2015, Stack is as much a new concept as it is a product line. In a nutshell, this is Lenovo's take on a line of peripherals that all work with one another - or stack together - via a custom connector. It's applying the modular computing concept to the world of peripherals. Razer did likewise with its Christine modular PC, and Xi3's Piston followed... Read more...
One of the first times we laid eyes on a curved monitor in the flesh was back at CES 2015 where Dell was showing off this 34-inch bad boy to the masses. Since then curved monitors have been cropping up all over the place, and even a few curved all-in-ones have made a showing here in Q4. Acer recently stepped up with its Predator line of displays including the 34-inch curvaceous Predator X34 that we immediately sat-up and took note of. The Predator X34 is not only a 34-inch curved panel targeted at gamers with refresh rate overclocking up to 100Hz, but it also comes with two flavors of Adaptive Refresh Rate (ARR) technology - either NVIDIA G-SYNC or AMD FreeSync. The G-SYNC enabled model sports... Read more...
It’s been quite some time since we last looked at an all-in-one PC. Although there is clearly a niche market for AiOs, the product segment has always kept a consistent rythm in all facets of computing - consumer, enterprise and SMB. These types of systems appeal to style-conscious users and businesses that need computing utility with good looks, that blends in and stays out of the way. And though many are not powerhouses, a few do catch our enthusiast eye, and one of those few is the Asus Zen AiO Pro Z240IC, which Asus is billing as “The pinnacle of Windows all-in-one PCs.”That may be a stretch and certainly a bold claim, but the Zen AiO Pro also looks pretty strong on its rap sheet, with a 4K... Read more...
As we head into the holiday shopping season, there are a number of really great smartphones on the market for buyers to consider. Among this group is LG’s latest flagship Android superphone, the V10. As the first phone in LG’s new V Series, the V10 has a number of unique features including dual displays, two front-facing cameras, a removable battery and a manual video mode. The V10 also features high-end hardware, as you’d expect from a top-end model, including a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 64 bit hexa-core processor, 5.7-inch QHD main display, 64GB of storage, 4GB of RAM and even a secondary display. The V10 also features high-end hardware, as you’d expect from a top-end model, including a... Read more...
Today we're going take a look at Google's latest Nexus-branded phablet, the Nexus 6P. Arriving just under a year after the Motorola-built, 5.96-inch Nexus 6, the Nexus 6P is actually a hair smaller, thinner and indeed, slightly more manageable. The 6P also marks Huawei's first foray into Google's Nexus family of products, which may allow the company to make a larger impact on the U.S. market -- a market which has been hesitant to embrace the brand on its own to this point. The Nexus 6P is the big brother to the Nexus 5X (review forthcoming), which launched alongside it, but there's a lot more to discuss here than sheer size. Sure, the 5.7-inch WQHD display dwarfs the 5.2-inch 1080p panel found... Read more...
What a difference a year can make. Now that Intel's Skylake processors are widely available, desktop, tablets, and hybrid convertibles are all being refreshed with the latest hardware. Lenovo, for example, recently introduced its Yoga 900. Though the nomenclature has changed a bit, this machine  is effectively a revised Yoga 3 Pro. The unique watchband hinge should all but give it away; it's the token feature on a potent, high-powered machine that acts first and foremost as a laptop, and secondarily as a slate. That's something we've also seen recently from Microsoft with its Surface Book and a few other machines. Rather than crafting a tablet and hoping that it could take the... Read more...
Fallout 4 is finally here. Channeling its best 50's era paranoia and the allure of a warm, radiation-free bomb shelter, Bethesda’s newest RPG tells us doomsday prepping and cryogenics actually work—yay! Well, that is until they malfunction and you’re thrust topside to an irradiated, post-apocalyptic wasteland filled with vile mutated everything, all gunning and clawing for you.The world of Fallout 4 is a hostile place, much like Fallout New Vegas and Fallout 3 before it, though we’re glad to be back on the game world's radioactive soil, becuase it has been nearly a decade since the latter launched. In that time Bethesda has moved the game from the Gamebryo engine to the newer Creation Engine,... Read more...
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