Items tagged with Reviews

Had things gone to plan, Steam Machines would be a shipping product by now. However, Valve threw a wrench into the works when it decided that more time was needed to tweak its custom Linux-based Steam OS and fine tune the platform's accompanying Steam Controller. That decision left several partnering OEMs and boutique system builders in limbo, as they had already put in the necessary R&D to develop living room boxes that would serve as official Steam Machines. Hence a new category was born -- the PC gaming console. Systems like the Syber Vapor are full-fledged PCs stuffed inside console-sized cases that could have and would have served as Steam Machines. Since they lack Steam OS, they're... Read more...
It was being hunted... The monster had been avoiding a team of four hunters ever since it saw them jump out of the spaceship. But by the time the hunters’ feet had touched the ground, the monster was already distancing itself, jumping over large boulders and running through trees in order to get away from the human threat. Along the way, it would slay any of the indigenous wildlife in its path, to devour, in order to evolve and become stronger. Time passed, as the monster played a dangerous game of cat and mouse with the four hunters, while continuing to feed. Now, it felt strong enough to take on its pursuers. But before it could take the fight to them, a blue dome came down around it, trapping... Read more...
All in one systems are all about balance.  Attempting to cram an entire PC’s worth of components into the back of what amounts to a slightly wider-than-normal display can be an iffy proposition. Pare down the specifications too much and you wind up with a limp machine that’s obsolete by the time you get it. Jam in too many high-performance components and the price skyrockets to a point that you wonder if a different form factor might have been a better option, not to mention the additional thermal and acoustic concerns. Lenovo’s B Series all in one systems are decidedly mid-range in both name and performance. You can opt for the low end in the C Series, which come with either a Celeron... Read more...
We applaud companies willing to push the envelope with innovative new design approaches. Sometimes their efforts aren't rewarded with complete market acceptance, but unique features and hardware that attempt to blaze new trails in existing markets, are always interesting to say the least. In a way, the Galaxy Note Edge fits this description. Similar to 4K curved televisions, one has to wonder if the world truly needs a flagship smartphone with 160 extra pixels along its right edge with an additional curved display. But, as was the case when the original Note launched and many experts shook their heads in disapproval, the Note Edge could strike a chord with consumers and usher in... Read more...
Welcome to the era of dual-mode devices, where the mantra "bigger is better" rules the day. Need an example? Take smartphones -- Samsung's been serving up large size handsets for the past several years, some of which are so big that it warranted creating a brand new category. Even Apple jumped on the big device bandwagon with the recent launch of its iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus models. Do you know what you end up with if you take that same mantra and apply it to PCs? You get "Dell's XPS 18 Portable All-in-One Desktop with Touch," a hybrid system that turns a giant sized Windows 8.1 tablet into a full blown desktop PC, and the result is brilliant... Dell XPS 18 Portable All-in-One Review: Haswell... Read more...
Welcome to the era of dual-mode devices, where the mantra "bigger is better" rules the day. Need an example? Take smartphones -- Samsung's been serving up large size handsets for the past several years, some of which are so big that it warranted creating a brand new category. Even Apple jumped on the big device bandwagon with the recent launch of its iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus models. Do you know what you end up with if you take that same mantra and apply it to PCs? You get "Dell's XPS 18 Portable All-in-One Desktop with Touch," a hybrid system that turns a giant sized Windows 8.1 tablet into a full blown desktop PC, and the result is brilliant. We can say that because this isn't... Read more...
We think it's fitting for Maingear to bring 3K resolution gaming to its 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. On paper, the Pulse 15 is a potent machine armed with an Intel Core i7 4710HQ mobile processor, 16GB of DDR3-1600 memory, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M graphics with Optimus technology, and... 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...
Today we're evaluating NEC's new MultiSync EA244UHD, a 24-inch 4K Ultra HD monitor. As part of NEC's EA series, this monitor is intended for high-end desktop users as opposed to professional graphics users, though there are features of the EA244UHD that may tempt potential customers who fall into the latter category. Things that separate this monitor from a traditional desktop display include extras like up to four-way display matrix support (there are multiple inputs for connecting multiple PCs), a ControlSync feature that lets users control the settings for up to half a dozen daisy-chained displays, a high-speed USB 3.0 hub, and a standard warranty that even covers the backlight for the first... Read more...
While you were busy blinking, a new development was fast tracking its way onto the monitor scene. We're talking about the transition to 4K, otherwise known as Ultra High Definition (UHD). No matter what you want to call it, the technology shift treats your eyeballs to four times as many pixels as the current standard, which is Full HD 1080p. That's a huge increase, not just in the number of pixels, but in the resulting picture quality that comes from having so many more dots crammed into the same space. Usually when there's a major shift in technology, it comes with a standoff between hardware makers and content creators, each of which is waiting on the other to create a category big enough to... Read more...
Today we're looking at the Sound Blaster ZxR, Creative's flagship audio solution for PC power users. It's also one of three available cards in Creative's ultra high-performance Z-Series of sound cards, the ZxR being the top-end solution. It boasts a signal-to-noise (SNR) of 124dB that Creative claims is 89.1 times better than your motherboard's integrated audio solution. It also features a built-in headphone amplifier, beamforming microphone, a multi-core Sound Core3D audio processor, and various proprietary audio technologies. We'll examine the Sound Blaster ZxR in detail and figure out what kind of audience is best suited for a card of this caliber. To do that, we'll compare the ZxR to onboard... Read more...
Back in the day (which, for you youngsters, is a scientific measurement of time reserved for anyone who used to walk to school during snowstorms, uphill, both ways), integrated audio solutions had trouble earning respect. Many enthusiasts considered a sound card an essential piece to the PC building puzzle. Depending on how far your PC gaming roots go back, you may recall fierce competition in the discrete audio space between AdLib and Sound Blaster, two heavy hitters that pretty much pioneered the category. While AdLib would eventually end up as a footnote in the history of PC audio, the Sound Blaster brand lives on. It's been 25 years since the first Sound Blaster card was introduced, a pretty... Read more...
We've all heard the phrase "Go big or go home," but how about "Go wide or go home?" The latter is the message Lenovo is sending with its B750 All-in-One Desktop PC, which offers a spacious and brilliant 29-inch super-widescreen In-Plane Switching (IPS) display to play with. It has a Full HD 2560x1080 resolution, which works out to a 21:9 aspect ratio with copious horizontal screen estate to maneuver your documents and windows. It's also adept at watching movies, as the aspect ratio is very close to the true value of 64:27, allowing for little or no discernible black bars.  Oddly enough, Lenovo opted against touch support, an increasingly rare decision in the Windows 8/8.1 era. Touch enthusiasts... Read more...
We've all heard the phrase "Go big or go home," but how about "Go wide or go home?" The latter is the message Lenovo is sending with its B750 All-in-One Desktop PC, which offers a spacious and brilliant 29-inch super-widescreen In-Plane Switching (IPS) display to play with. It has a Full HD 2560x1080 resolution, which works out to a 21:9 aspect ratio with copious horizontal screen estate to maneuver your documents and windows. It's also adept at watching movies, as the aspect ratio is very close to the true value of 64:27, allowing for little or no discernible black bars. Oddly enough, Lenovo opted against touch support, an increasingly rare decision in the Windows 8/8.1 era. Touch enthusiasts... Read more...
In case you didn't get the memo, the 4K Ultra HD revolution has begun. Services like YouTube and Netflix are already serving up 4K streams, while hardware makers like Dell are stepping to the plate with displays that can playback 4K video in all its native glory. The latter is what we have here for review -- a Dell UltraSharp UP3214Q monitor with a 31.5-inch IGZO panel. With its 3840x2160 resolution, there's a massive number of pixels to play with on the UP3214Q, especially for multitasking chores, content creators who routinely work with large images or videos, and power users in general. Even gamers can get in on the action, though the refresh rate maxes out at 60Hz (via DisplayPort 1.2) and... Read more...
In case you didn't get the memo, the 4K Ultra HD revolution has begun. What's been remarkable about the ongoing transition from Full HD 1080p to 4K Ultra HD is that hardware makers and content creators didn't get stuck in a 'chicken and egg' scenario. Typically when new technology emerges, hardware makers wait for software developers to come out with content that can take advantage of the new capabilities, while software developers are reluctant to code for new hardware until there's a big enough userbase to justify the investment. In this case, we're talking about monitor manufacturers and 4K video producers, both of which have been willing to take a leap of faith. On the content side,... Read more...
Dell's XPS line of laptops have always been about foregoing compromise in the pursuit of a premium mobile experience. The company's latest lineup of XPS 15 touch-enabled systems carry that tradition into a new era of computing, driven by Microsoft's Windows 8.1 operating system. These machines are anything but cookie cutter, and even if you're not a fan of the unified approach Microsoft took with Windows, there's more here than just a touch computing experience. Much more. To begin with, the real star of the show is the optional 15.6-inch Quad HD+ (3200x1800) display. Dell's the first system builder to employ a QHD+ IGZO panel, which trumps any of Apple's MacBooks with Retina-class displays.... Read more...
Dell's XPS line of laptops have always been about foregoing compromise in the pursuit of a premium mobile experience. The company's latest lineup of XPS 15 touch-enabled systems carry that tradition into a new era of computing, driven by Microsoft's Windows 8.1 operating system. These machines are anything but cookie cutter, and even if you're not a fan of the unified approach Microsoft took with Windows, there's more here than just a touch computing experience. Much more. To begin with, the real star of the show is the optional 15.6-inch Quad HD+ (3200x1800) display. Dell's the first system builder to employ a QHD+ IGZO panel, which trumps any of Apple's MacBooks with Retina-class displays.... Read more...
When Microsoft launched Windows 8, the company gambled on consumers welcoming touch on the desktop, just as they had on mobile handheld devices, namely tablets and smartphones. It remains to be seen if that gamble will pay off, but in the meantime, peripheral makers and other hardware partners have stepped up with products built to take advantage of Windows 8's touch friendly interface. That includes Dell, which sent us its 27-inch P2714T Touch Monitor to test drive. The P2714T brings support for 10 points of multi-touch input, so if you want to get up close and friendly with two hands, it won't wig out on you. Multi-touch support also means you and a friend can play touch-oriented games, and... Read more...
When Microsoft launched Windows 8, the company gambled on consumers welcoming touch on the desktop, just as they had on mobile handheld devices, namely tablets and smartphones. It remains to be seen if that gamble will pay off, but in the meantime, peripheral makers and other hardware partners have stepped up with products built to take advantage of Windows 8's touch friendly interface. That includes Dell, which sent us its 27-inch P2714T Touch Monitor to test drive. The P2714T brings support for 10 points of multi-touch input, so if you want to get up close and friendly with two hands, it won't wig out on you. Multi-touch support also means you and a friend can play touch-oriented... Read more...
It's hard to believe there's a full fledged system packed inside Apple's slim and sexy iMac chassis. It was roughly a year ago when Apple revamped its all-in-one line, tasking the company's engineers to flatten the design as much as possible without sacrificing performance. What emerged was a sleek display measuring just 5mm at its edge with up to 40 percent less volume than the previous generation. It was such a radical design change that Apple had to abandon traditional welding methods in favor of a process called friction-stir welding, which combines friction-generated heat and pressure to force molecules from two separate aluminum surfaces to mingle with one another. Apple's late 2013 edition... Read more...
It's hard to believe there's a full fledged system packed inside Apple's slim and sexy iMac chassis. It was roughly a year ago when Apple revamped its all-in-one line, tasking the company's engineers to flatten the design as much as possible without sacrificing performance. What emerged was a sleek display measuring just 5mm at its edge with up to 40 percent less volume than the previous generation. It was such a radical design change that Apple had to abandon traditional welding methods in favor of a process called friction-stir welding, which combines friction-generated heat and pressure to force molecules from two separate aluminum surfaces to mingle with one another. It's a process commonly... Read more...
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