Video Reviews, How-Tos, Events And Our Two And A Half Geeks Webcast

In-depth video reviews, news and Tech event coverage of computers, smartphones, tablets, notebooks, PC components, and tech gadgets. Here you'll find supplemental content that you can also find on our YouTube channel, right here.!

As far as gaming laptops go, Dell's Alienware brand has historically been synonymous with some of the most powerful configurations on the market. And where the trend lately has been toward ever thinner and lighter versions of these otherwise traditional desktop replacement machines, even Dell's recently released Alienware m15 eschews trimming every bit of mass from its design in order to keep from cutting too deeply into its performance-optimized, muscular build. And then there's Alienware's all-new Area-51m that we're looking at here. Although you wouldn't know it at first glance, the Area-51m is nearly a complete departure from traditional gaming laptop platforms, and one that's... Read more...
It seems a little late in the game to be reviewing Arctic's Accelero Xtreme IV GPU cooler, so what gives? Well, I recently upgraded my ASUS ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1070 graphics card to an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition model, and while that is a solid GPU upgrade for sure, it is a downgrade acoustically and thermally. Some people prefer the blower style cooler that ships on Founders Editions cards. I am not one of them. My main system sits in an open air Thermaltake Core P5 chassis, so there really is not a benefit to expelling hot hair out of the rear of the case, as Founders Edition cards do. If anything, the open air design exacerbates the noise since the card and cooler are... Read more...
It took a little longer than we would have liked, but we’ve finally got the AMD and Corsair sponsored Raven Ridge giveaway system built up and ready to ship off to the winner! We put together a short video of the build process for those of you that would like to see how the rig came out. As you’ll see, with all of that beautiful Corsair gear and a streamlined AMD Raven Ridge APU setup, the system is super clean and tidy... The complete parts list for the system included: APU: AMD Ryzen 5 2400G Motherboard: ASRock AB350 Gaming K4 PSU: Corsair RM750X PSU Case: Corsair Crystal Series 570X Memory: 16GB Corsair Vengeance RAM Storage: Toshiba TR200 SSD Keyboard: Corsair K70 Rapidfire Mouse:... Read more...
ASUS boss Jerry Shen went on record saying to expect the company to release a gaming smartphone at some point in the future, though as to when exactly it will materialize and what specific features it will have, he did not offer up any further details. That's okay, because just knowing that ASUS is getting into the gaming phone space is interesting, as it underscores a growing segment. Granted, mobile gaming is not a new thing by any means. However, there have only been a handful of attempts to release smartphones specifically aimed at gamers. More recently, they include the Razer Phone, which marries a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 system-on-chip (SoC) to a 120Hz display panel, the Xiaomi-backed Blackshark... 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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
Though it still hasn't grabbed consumers like some manufacturers had hoped, the smartwatch market is growing rather quickly, and a number of good options are currently available. For some users, price may be one of the key factors holding them back from buying a smartwatch. While many watches cost at least $250, and some can run hundreds of dollars more, ASUS’s latest ZenWatch 2 we'll be showing you here is available for as little as $129. Of course, any time we see a budget-friendly smartphone, laptop, tablet, or smartwatch we assume sacrifices were made to keep the price low. In the case of the ZenWatch 2, this is somewhat true but you may be pleasantly surprised by all the features it has... Read more...
Although updated sales figures haven’t yet been released, and some initial reviews were less than stellar, if the movie is any indicator, EA’s Star Wars Battlefront is poised to be a resounding success in the gaming community. And with an expansion pack inbound, that will likely feature content that ties in with the Force Awakens, it’ll probably continue that success for quite a while. AMD has been offering free copies of Star Wars Battlefront to new buyers of Radeon Fury graphics cards since mid-November 2015 and will continue to do so through the end of this month. But with the recent release of the Radeon R9 380X, the company believes they’ve got a compelling solution... Read more...
Periodically, Amazon updates and revamps its lineup of tablets with upgraded models and new names. While the company's tablets have kept the Fire branding over the years, the combination of letters and numbers that follow have changed. This year, for example, Amazon removed the HDX tag and now offers tablets with simply “Fire” or “Fire HD” branding. As its simpler name may suggest, Amazon’s latest Fire tablet is a more basic model that doesn’t have all of the bells and whistles of the HD series, which is available in three sizes. Instead, the all-new 7-inch Fire tablet has an ultra-low $50 price tag that has the potential to shake up the market and get a tablet in the hands of people who might... Read more...
Competing with Apple in the mobile space isn't rocket science, it's just a matter of sticking to a proven formula for success -- build a premium device with superior specs than the one Apple is selling, inject it with Android, and then undercut the iWhatever in price. That's not to say Apple is the only premium slate target of opportunity but we'd surmise Apple would consider it the sincerest for of flattery anyway. Incidentally, we've just described the ASUS ZenPad S 8.0. It's a well designed Android tablet with Intel inside, and it boasts better specs than the iPad mini 3. It's also less expensive -- as configured (see table below), the model we're reviewing runs a penny shy of $300, which... Read more...
In November, Amazon announced the latest addition to its hardware line-up, the Amazon Echo. The Echo smart speaker doubles as a digital assistant and home entertainment device. It’s an always-connected, always-available Siri or Cortana-like device designed for your home that can provide answers to common questions, play music, provide traffic updates, control your lights, read audiobooks, and much more. Because it’s tied to your Amazon account, the Echo can also be used to reorder products you’ve previously purchased from Amazon. Although the Echo was announced in November, it was available for purchase on an invite-only basis from Amazon. Seven months after it was announced, Amazon made its... Read more...
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