Items tagged with Reviews

We have a confession to make (well, several actually, but all the rest date back to our college days, and some secrets are best left untold). Reviewing monitors isn't as fun as it once was. It's not that we've grown jaded over the years, but plain and simple, the monitor market has become stale, lacking the kind of 'gee-whiz' innovations that tend to excite us. Panel makers seemed to stopped pushing the envelope once they developed 30-inch In-Plane Switching (IPS) screens, and for the longest time, that's where the high-end has sector been stuck, as if caught in quicksand with no rope in sight, or so we thought. Out of all the monitor manufacturers out there, it was ASUS that showed up to the... Read more...
We have a confession to make (well, several actually, but all the rest date back to our college days, and some secrets are best left untold). Reviewing monitors isn't as fun as it once was. It's not that we've grown jaded over the years, but plain and simple, the monitor market has become stale, lacking the kind of 'gee-whiz' innovations that tend to excite us. Panel makers seemed to stopped pushing the envelope once they developed 30-inch In-Plane Switching (IPS) screens, and for the longest time, that's where the high-end has sector been stuck, as if caught in quicksand with no rope in sight, or so we thought. Out of all the monitor manufacturers out there, it was ASUS that showed up to... Read more...
Intel's roll-out of their 4th generation Haswell-based Core series processors has been a little pokey, quite frankly, when you compare this launch to the deluge of products that hit the market when Ivy Bridge broke cover last year.  Regardless, Apple always seems to have an inside track on Intel's latest technology and so, as it turns out, our first Haswell-powered notebook has finally arrived and it's none other than the Apple MacBook Air. The new MacBook Air for 2013 is virtually indistinguishable from the previous gen model, though if you'll look closely there actually two tiny pinholes on its left edge, for dual omnidirectional microphones, versus a single mic on previous models. ... Read more...
Ask any person who owns a dual-monitor setup and they'll all tell you they couldn't fathom going back to a single display. Maybe you're one of those people, and if so, you know exactly the feeling we're talking about. But what if you could enjoy all the benefits of a dual-monitor configuration from a single monitor? Would you be game to reclaiming some desk space by trading in two panels for a single display? AOC aims to answer that question with its new 29-inch Q2963PM display. Armed with an UltraWide In-Plane Switching (IPS) panel, this LED-backlit monitor boasts a 2560x1080 resolution with 21:9 aspect ratio, providing viewers with an extra-long panoramic view... AOC Q29630 29" UltraWide IPS... Read more...
Ask any person who owns a dual-monitor setup and they'll all tell you they couldn't fathom going back to a single display. Maybe you're one of those people, and if so, you know exactly the feeling we're talking about. But what if you could enjoy all the benefits of a dual-monitor configuration from a single monitor? Would you be game to reclaiming some desk space by trading in two panels for a single display? AOC aims to answer that question with its new 29-inch Q2963PM display. Armed with an UltraWide In-Plane Switching (IPS) panel, this LED-backlit monitor boasts a 2560x1080 resolution with 21:9 aspect ratio, providing viewers with an extra long panoramic view. It's a cinematic screen, and... Read more...
Things aren't always what they appear to be, and so it is with Dell's Alienware X51 R2, a small form factor (SFF) gaming PC in console digs. It's shaped similar to Microsoft's Xbox 360 Slim, and though it's slightly larger than either a 360 or PlayStation 3, the X51 R2 would be right at home in a living room setting nestled next to a large screen TV. Indeed, it's adept at running Steam's Big Picture mode, and if your primary objective is to play games in the living room, go ahead and consider the X51 R2 a hybrid game console. We know from our autopsy that the X51 R2's internal organs are decidedly PC, just like the original X51 that Dell beamed into our lab last year. The R2 model we're dissecting... Read more...
Remember the Twilight Zone episode in which a race of 9-foot aliens descended upon Earth with seemingly benign intentions? They shared advanced technologies with the human race and appeared to live by a code outlined in a book that U.S. government cryptographers figured out was titled, "To Serve Man." The horrifying reveal at the end of the episode was that it's actually a cookbook, lending a whole new perspective to its contents and what those space invaders were really up to the whole time. The point being here, is that things aren't always what they appear to be. And so it is with Dell's Alienware X51 R2, a small form factor (SFF) gaming PC in console digs. It's shaped similar to Microsoft's... Read more...
There are some interesting things happening in the tablet world. Perhaps the biggest development of all is that Apple's iPad family is finally starting to yield market share to the competition, and that's primarily due to the increasing number of affordable Android slates being pumped out by name brand manufactures. At first, pedestrian price tags were only attached to Android tablets in the 7-inch range, but more recently we've started seeing large slates come down in cost. One of the more intriguing options is the Asus MeMO Pad Smart 10, a 10.1-inch slate that streets for as little as $280, or about half the price of a regular sized iPad. Given that it's one of the least expensive 10.1-inch... Read more...
There are some interesting things happening in the tablet world. Perhaps the biggest development of all is that Apple's iPad family is finally starting to yield market share to the competition, and that's primarily due to the increasing number of affordable Android slates being pumped out by name brand manufactures. At first, pedestrian price tags were only attached to Android tablets in the 7-inch range, but more recently we've started seeing large slates come down in cost. One of the more intriguing options is the Asus MeMO Pad Smart 10, a 10.1-inch slate that streets for as little as $280, or about half the price of a regular sized iPad. Given that it's one of the least expensive 10.1-inch... Read more...
It has been quite a while since we last an mSATA solid state drive (SSD) under the microscope. It's actually only been about two years, and if you care to jump into our time machine, you can see what we had to say about Intel's 310 Series mSATA SSD in 80GB form. The idea then was the same as it is now -- to offer full-size SSD features and performance in a smaller form factor that can wiggle into increasingly thinner Ultrabooks and mini PCs like Intel's Next Unit of Computing (NUC). Intel's forging ahead with mSATA SSD production and just recently released its 525 Series (Lincoln Crest), essentially a smaller version of the company's high octane 2.5-inch 520 Series... Examining Intel's Solid... Read more...
It has been quite a while since we last put an mSATA solid state drive (SSD) under the microscope. It's actually only been about two years, and if you care to jump into our time machine, you can see what we had to say about Intel's 310 Series mSATA SSD in 80GB form. The idea then was the same as it is now -- to offer full-size SSD features and performance in a smaller form factor that can wiggle into increasingly thinner Ultrabooks and mini PCs like Intel's Next Unit of Computing (NUC). Your typical 2.5-inch desktop or notebook SSD measures 7mm or 9.5mm thick and comes housed in a metal or plastic chassis, whereas mSATA SSDs are much smaller (about one-eighth the size) and run around naked, traits... Read more...
Technology marches to the beat of its own drum and the hard part is keeping in step with the rhythm. You may recall, for example, that we already reviewed Dell's XPS 13 Ultrabook a year ago, singing high praise for its edge-to-edge display, stellar battery life, and overall performance, which at the time was the best we'd seen from an Ultrabook. If we were to compare it with today's crop of Ultrabooks, however, we'd have to sing a different tune now that Ivy Bridge is pervasive in the market. Or would we? Dell went back and re-wrote the lyrics without changing the name of the song, which is our way of saying the XPS 13 Ultrabook we have for review is a refreshed model... Revisiting Dell's XPS... Read more...
Technology marches to the beat of its own drum and the hard part is keeping in step with the rhythm. You may recall, for example, that we already reviewed Dell's XPS 13 Ultrabook a year ago, singing high praise for its edge-to-edge display, stellar battery life, and overall performance, which at the time was the best we'd seen from an Ultrabook. If we were to compare it with today's crop of Ultrabooks, however, we'd have to sing a different tune now that Ivy Bridge is pervasive in the market. Or would we? Dell went back and re-wrote the lyrics without changing the name of the song, which is our way of saying the XPS 13 Ultrabook we have for review is a refreshed model. The biggest upgrade comes... Read more...
If our eyes are the windows to the soul, then what does that make our ears? Doorways to our internal sound stage, that's what. But listen up, it doesn't matter how gnarly the guitar riffs your favorite musician is playing or how intense the in-game effects are, if your headphones aren't up to the task, then you might as well go back to the days of MIDI files Ad Lib sound cards. Second-rate headsets rob you of delightful high notes and brain rattling bass, of the subtle sound of footsteps when an opponent tries to sneak up behind you or the blast of a grenade you just hurled behind enemy lines. Conversely, a high-quality headset doesn't just upgrade the audio, it unlocks a brand new experience.... Read more...
The expression "better late than never" fits like a glove when talking about the recent trend towards 15.6-inch Ultrabooks. We fully appreciate that Intel and its hardware partners made a concerted effort to slim down the notebook without sacrificing performance (unlike the once popular netbook form factor), but limiting the segment to 14-inch displays (and smaller) felt like a step back in some ways. Enter Hewlett-Packard's Envy Ultrabook 6t-1000 Series. The Envy Ultrabook signals a return to the 15.6-inch form factor for those who want a larger size display, but otherwise find themselves, well, envious of slimmer laptops. Now you can have your cake and eat it, too, or at least that's the idea...... Read more...
The expression "better late than never" fits like a glove when talking about the recent trend towards 15.6-inch Ultrabooks. We fully appreciate that Intel and its hardware partners made a concerted effort to slim down the notebook without sacrificing performance (unlike the once popular netbook form factor), but limiting the segment to 14-inch displays (and smaller) felt like a step back in some ways. Enter Hewlett-Packard's Envy Ultrabook 6t-1000 Series. The Envy Ultrabook signals a return to the 15.6-inch form factor for those who want a larger size display, but otherwise find themselves, well, envious of slimmer laptops. Now you can have your cake and eat it, too, or at least that's the... Read more...
The "Intel Next Unit of Computing" (NUC), as it's appropriately called, is an ultra-compact desktop system that's small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, while packing a performance punch that belies its diminutive stature. Power users looking to game on their high-resolution 30-inch monitors need not apply, but there are plenty of markets for a system like this, not the least of which is the mainstream buyer. Intel says its NUC is also ideal for digital signage, kiosks, home theater setups, and anywhere else where space is at a premium... Intel's Tiny NUC "Next Unit of Computing" PC... Read more...
Let's dispense with an emerging myth right now: The desktop isn't dead. Far from it. Rather, the desktop is evolving, and this is an exciting time to be a technophile. The advancements we've seen in just the past 12 months are nothing short of remarkable. Solid state drives (SSDs) are getting faster and cheaper, finally making for a viable alternative to the mechanical hard drive that has ruled the desktop for so long. Memory kits are bigger than ever, USB 3.0 is now commonplace, and architectures like Intel's Ivy Bridge have taken processor and integrated graphics performance to whole new levels. These and other advancements are what make Intel's latest desktop evolution possible. The "Intel... Read more...
A growing number of graphics professionals, gamers, and all-around power users are turning to WQHD (Wide Quad High-Definition) monitors as cost-conscious alternatives to pricey 30-inch panels, and ASUS is all too happy to oblige. The PB278Q we're looking at here slips into ASUS' Professional lineup and brings with it a 27-inch PLS (Plane-to-Line Switching) panel with a 2560x1440 display and LED backlighting. At around $700 street, it's one of the least expensive 27-inch WQHD monitors available, yet it boasts some posh features, like swivel support, the ability to rotate into portrait mode, and 100 percent sRGB gamut fidelity. Paper specs and pricing advantages are both fine and dandy, but at... Read more...
A growing number of graphics professionals, gamers, and all-around power users are turning to WQHD (Wide Quad High-Definition) monitors as cost-conscious alternatives to pricey 30-inch panels, and ASUS is all too happy to oblige. The PB278Q we're looking at here slips into ASUS' Professional lineup and brings with it a 27-inch PLS (Plane-to-Line Switching) panel with a 2560x1440 display and LED backlighting. At around $700 street, it's one of the least expensive 27-inch WQHD monitors available, yet it boasts some posh features, like swivel support, the ability to rotate into portrait mode, and 100 percent sRGB gamut fidelity One thing to keep in mind with a monitor this size is that if you plan... Read more...
Calling the Alienware M18x R2 a laptop is like referring to a Harley Davidson as a bicycle. Both have handlebars and ride on two wheels, but when the rubber hits the road, the Harley's going to leave a Schwinn in the rear-view mirror. So it goes with the Alienware system we abducted from Dell. Technically, it's a gaming laptop, but more accurately, it's one hell of a desktop replacement that leaves lesser systems in the dust. Large and in charge, the 2012 model M18x retains the same spacious 18.4-inch LCD panel from last year, but is updated with an Ivy Bridge-based Intel Core i7 processor clocked and two Kepler-based NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680M graphics cards in SLI. It's a potent one-two combo... Read more...
Calling the Alienware M18x R2 a laptop is like referring to a Harley Davidson as a bicycle. Both have handlebars and ride on two wheels, but when the rubber hits the road, the Harley's going to leave a Schwinn in the rear-view mirror. So it goes with the Alienware system we abducted from Dell. Technically, it's a gaming laptop, but more accurately, it's one hell of a desktop replacement that leaves lesser systems in the dust. Large and in charge, the 2012 model M18x retains the same spacious 18.4-inch LCD panel from last year. The display features a Full HD 1080p (1920x1080) screen resolution, which is nothing to write home about compared to the Retina Display Apple's been putting in... Read more...
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