The original Razer Blade gaming notebook hit the airwaves with some pretty big words behind it, being hailed as the "world's first true gaming laptop". It was impressive in some parts, but quite disappointing in others.
Razer have stepped up though, and introduced the new Blade, faster, better, stronger and best of all, cheaper. Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan has talked of the new Blade, where he said that the new Blade is the result of feedback not only from customers, but reviewers, too.
Razer have baked in some more powerful hardware this time, switching from the underwhelming NVIDIA GeForce GT 555M GPU to the GTX 660M, as well as throwing out the old Core i7-2640M with a new third-generation Core i7. Razer haven't stopped there, they've also changed the original 250GB SSD with a 500GB SATA drive and 64GB SSD, the wireless tech has been updated, fans are quieter, the USB ports are now 3.0, too.
Finally, we're seeing a company branch out from the usual 11- and 13-inch Ultrabooks, and announce a 15-inch Ultrabook. ASUS have announced the Zenbook U500VZ which sports a 1920x1080 15-inch IPS-based panel, drool.
Thanks to its larger design, it has the room for a separate numeric keypad, if that's your thing. The entire keyboard is backlit, and all of this arrives in a package which measures just 19.7mm at its thickest point.
ASUS' Zenbook U500VZ, if you've noticed, has lost the Prime suffix, because the design of the Ultrabook isn't ultra-thin. It does however tag along the Zenbook Prime's upgraded screen and new keyboard. The ASUS Zenbook U500VZ sports Intel's Ivy Bridge Core i7 processor, an optional NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M GPU, and storage-wise you've got some options. The Ultrabook sports two 2.5-inch drive bays, meaning you can scoop up two large SSDs if you really wanted to. ASUS offers a 128GB SSD + 500GB HDD option, if you want the best of both worlds.
If you are shopping for a new laptop, your choices just got a bit harder. With the slew of Windows 8 laptops and tablets starting to be announced, you know have more choices than ever and you have to decide whether or not to wait until the end of October to purchase a new machine, not always something a college student can do.
"With the introduction of our new Slate PCs, we are providing customers with greater choice while maintaining the power of a traditional PC," said Todd Bouman, vice president of marketing at Samsung's Enterprise Business Division. "We created our Slate PCs with a focus on beautiful design, powerful performance and ease of use, attributes that our customers have come to expect in their Samsung computing experience. Our mobile PC business has grown significantly over the past year, which is a testament to our ability to meet customer needs in this space, and we expect strong growth to continue with our new Slate PCs."
The new devices by Samsung weighs in at less than 2 pounds, so it is really pretty portable. The Series 7 slate also features a full Core i5 processor, so it should perform beautifully, if not a bit on the hot side. In the press release, Samsung says, "Samsung's renowned design inspiration is evident through the device's curved edges and smooth lines"--I just hope these lines and curved edges don't get them sued by Apple.
The Series 7 features a 1920x1080 11.6-inch display. The Series 5 both feature a 1366x768 11.6-inch scre
Today must be the day given by Microsoft for manufacturers to announce their new Windows 8 products, because we are seeing a slew of new Windows 8 based devices being announced today. HP joins the party with three new models, one of which is a convertible Ultrabook, meaning the screen comes off and becomes a tablet.
The HP ENVY x2 is the convertible offering previously mentioned. If you need to head out on the run, just pop it off of the keyboard dock and take off. The screen portion becomes a full-blown tablet that features a 1366x768 IPS screen and x86 processor, thought to be one of Intel's upcoming Clover Trail ones.
Then we have the HP SpectreXT TouchSmart Ultrabook and the HP ENVY TouchSmart Ultrabook 4. The former features a 15.6-inch IPS screen and Intel's Thunderbolt technology. The latter features a 14-inch screen, a backlit keyboard, and up to 8 hours of battery life. Furthermore, an AMD graphics card can be configured in the machine.
Brace yourselves, Windows 8 devices are coming! Today, the Acer Aspire S7 has broken cover and are we glad it did. This thing is absolutely gorgeous. Thin, stylish, and constructed from aluminium and magnesium, this device could be in the running for best looking laptop ever, if there were such a competition.
Of course, since it features Windows 8, this super sleek notebook features a capacitive touchscreen. According to The Verge, who got their hands on the device at IFA, "it's the prettiest laptop I've come across since first laying eyes on Apple's 2010 MacBook Air redesign." However, that's not to say it's perfect.
While using it, they experienced issues open the lid due to the stiff hinge, something that is required to have a touchscreen notebook, and the weird cutout that was supposed to aid lifting the screen. In a world of ever pushing the envelope, machines have gotten larger and less portable while just squeaking by Intel's specs.
This machine doesn't just squeak by. It is a true Ultrabook.
Digital Storm will announce their new gaming laptop in just a little bit, but we wanted to give you the scoop before anyone else. The new behemoth is a 17-inch monster that Digital Storm calls the X17E. Digital Storm is advertising this as the world's fastest gaming laptop, and by looking at the specs, I don't doubt it.
The laptop will be sold with a choice of either AMD's beefy 7970M or NVIDIA's incredible 680M, both of which are flagship mobile cards. Digital Storm continues the trend of using only the best in this laptop by equipping it with Intel's i7-3920XM. However, they didn't just leave it stock as "Digital Storm's technicians can stably overclock Intel's latest i7-3920XM CPU to an impressive 4.5 GHz."
Configurable with up to 32GB of RAM, you should never ever need to add more. The keyboard supports seven different color options and different lighting zones so the system can be adequately customized to a user's preferences. The price? Under $2000, which is incredible considering what you're getting in a laptop package.
Samsung are looking to make IFA big this year, with some reveals of their upcoming products. SamMobile are reporting that Samsung have trademarked a couple of names that will see the Galaxy maker branch out from the popular naming scheme of previous years.
Ativ is their latest name, and they've trademarked two models under this new brand: Ativ Tab, and Ativ S. It looks like Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8-based devices will turn away from the Android-powered Galaxy branding, to Ativ. Ativ S will most likely end up as their Windows Phone 8-based smartphone, as it sports the same oversized S of the Galaxy S range that Google's mobile OS, Android, powers.
Ativ Tab will most likely be a Windows 8-based tablet, but we're not entirely sure right now. Things could change, and this could be wrong, but the fact remains that Samsung have trademarked two new Ativ-branded device names, and we should hopefully see the reveal next week at IFA in Berlin.
CNET are reporting that the 13.3-inch Retina MacBook Pro displays have gone into production, with NPD DisplaySearch analyst, Richard Shim, telling the site "The supply chain indications are that it's for a MacBook Pro 13.3 -- not a MacBook Air".
Shim continues to reveal that the displays are being made by Samsung, LGD and Sharp. He also reveals that the launch supplies for the 13-inch model will be much better than the 15-inch model, which goes to show just how popular the 13-inch MBP really is. Shim continues "with the 15.4 it's production of a few hundred thousand units versus one or two million for the 13.3".
So, we're looking at a considerable jump in stock, and I think this model will be the one that really dukes it out with the Ultrabooks. It'll be interesting to see what resolution the 13.3-inch model ends up getting.
GIGABYTE are known for their motherboards and video cards here at TweakTown, receiving generally good reviews and awards for their range of products. It may come to you as a surprise that they have also been producing notebooks for the past five years. Today, GIGABYTE Australia announced their latest models in the Ultrabook and high performance gaming market space and I was there to cover it.
The P2542G 15.6" gaming laptop promises to 'unleash fury' on the latest PC games such as Battlefield 3 which was showcased at the media event. With a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M powering the punch, we saw the notebook running BF3 at an average of 38fps on the highest settings (Ultra settings/4xAA/1920x1080) and mirrored onto the 52" Sony TV at the same FHD resolution. "The notebook is only 2.6KG, so it's good for LAN parties." said Hanif Wong, Marketing Specialist for GIGABYTE Taiwan, "but it's not just a notebook for gaming, it's also a notebook for multimedia with its amazing audio."
GIGABYTE will only release the P2542G in a yellow colour only because they are targeting users who wants to stand out from the sea of black and beige notebooks, but a black colour is a possibility and will be considered if the demand is high explained Wong. The battery life of this machine is estimated to be about 3-5 hours depending on the workload. Unfortunately no gaming accessories will be bundled with the notebook when purchased...
ASUS have already pledged to Microsoft's Windows RT, but they've just been joined by Samsung, Dell and Lenovo. HP is still MIA when it comes to Windows RT-based devices. When Microsoft announced their Surface tablets, HP said they've start out by building Intel-based business notebooks only. They'd wait for input from their customers for the move to Windows RT.
HP feels that the already established x86 platform provides the best customer experience right now, and in the immediate future. Microsoft does fan the flames out that we won't be seeing only ARM-based tablets from these manufacturers, with some of them making full-sized notebooks, too.
Samsung's first dedicated gaming notebook has come and gone, and the refresh is just pulling up on the finishing line. Samsung's Series 7 Gamer notebook has been refreshed, with the company using their Samsung Tomorrow blog to tell the world.
The new build is called Series 7 Gamer Yellow 3D, and if the 'yellow' and '3D' weren't strong enough hints, we're looking at the GPU being upgraded, the screen is 3D-capable, and it comes in yellow. The GPU in question is AMD's Radeon HD 7870M, and the screen is a 14.3-inch SuperBright (400 nit) 3D LED display.
The refreshed Series 7 Gamer comes with an 128GB SSD and a 1TB HDD for storage. Availability isn't known just yet, but those in Samsung's homeland can grab one of these bad boys for 2.99 million Won, which is around $2,643 US.
Apple have today expanded the available options for configuring a new Retina MacBook Pro. The company is now offering a heap of individual upgrade options on the base model that starts at $2199. Previously, if you wanted a base model rMBP, you were stuck with the 2.3GHz Core i7 model with 256GB of SSD storage, with the only configurable onboard option being a RAM upgrade from 8GB to 16GB for $200.
If you wanted a faster CPU, or more flash storage, you were required to jump to the high-end $2799 model, which sports a 2.6GHz Core i7 processor, and 512GB of storage. But now, Apple are offering a slew of upgrades to the processor, memory and storage options. Customers can now upgrade storage on the base $2199 model from the stock 256GB to 512GB for an additional $500, or 768GB for an additional, wait for it, $1000.
The CPU options can also get upped from the base 2.3GHz Core i7 to the 2.6GHz model for $100 extra, or for $350 extra you can get it ramped up to 2.7GHz. Memory options stay the same with an upgrade option to 16GB for the same $200. Apple still has a 1-2 week shipping estimate for the rMBP, as they try to keep up with demand. I really want one, but dumping down that much moola on a single product is hard.
Intel's Ultrabook quest is really just beginning, 40 touchscreen Win8-based Ultrabooks for 2013, SoC for PC coming in 2013, too
Intel's Ultrabook Symposium starts tomorrow in Taipei, but Netbook News have sat down with Navin Shenoy, Vice President of Intel Architecture Group and General Manager of Mobile Client Platform before the event starts, to talk about various topics before the event itself.
Shenoy has confirmed that there are 140 Ultrabook designs, with only 35 of these being seen by the public. As of next month, we should expect sub-$700 Ultrabooks, across the Ultrabook board, with more than one model. One of the biggest nuggets of information here is that there are set to be 40 Windows 8-based Ultrabooks with Touch launching in Q4 of this year.
This means before the end of this year, and the end of Mayan long-count calender (and all the doom associated with it), Intel are Microsoft (and various partners) are set to unleash 40 Ultrabooks with touch screens, which is exciting news. Intel's fourth-generation Core processor, Haswell, is destined for the 22nm process, and will be the first System-on-Chip (SoC) for PC. Shenoy pointed out that the idle power consumption of Haswell will be 20 times less than Ivy Bridge, this in itself is an amazing achievement. Haswell is also said to not just be an incremental step forward, but a giant leap in performance.
Even though Power Nap was one of the features Apple talked about post-release of their next-gen OS Mountain Lion, which was released two days ago now, it was missing from the release itself.
Apple today rolled out a new SMC update, which adds Power Nap to recent, compatible MacBooks. Power Nap enables a low-power state which provides just a very small amount of power to periodically download new e-mail, notifications, sync calendars, reminds, contacts and more.
If the MacBook is on AC power, the power state also allows the downloading and installing of security updates, backups, indexing and other battery-draining tasks, all while pretending its having a nap. During these tasks, a Power Nap-enabled MacBook will appear as though its just sitting there on standby, but between those updates and checks, the system will effectively be asleep.
MSI, a manufacturer of computer hardware products and solutions, has updated two laptops, the GT60 and GT70, with the NVIDIA GTX 680M, which just happens to be the fastest mobile GPU to date. The laptops also sport some other incredible specifications which turn these rigs into a powerhouse gaming rig.
The two rigs also include a Intel Core i7-3610QM Processor, Killer E2200 Game Network, Dynaudio Tech speakers with THX Surround Sound and SteelSeries Programmable Backlit Keyboard. "The addition of NVIDIA's latest GPU adds the extra power to boost the already acclaimed G Series over the top," said Andy Tung, vice president of sales for MSI US. "MSI is committed to the gaming community and we believe that exceptional gaming experience and performance start with outstanding components."
The flagship 17-inch model GT70 0NE-276US also comes with 16 GB of DDR3 at 1600 MHz, two 128 GB of SSD storage at RAID 0 with 750 GB of additional HDD storage, Blu-ray Burner, Gold Flashed Audio ports with Headset AMP, 3 USB 3.0 ports and 2 USB 2.0 ports to ensure maximum performance. Pricing on these machines are well over $1,000.
Earlier this year, Dell launched an experiment to see if they could build a compelling Linux laptop for software developers. It was called Project Sputnik, and infused an XPS 13 Ultrabook with Ubuntu 12.04.
The software environment is tailored for developers, where it features a bunch of useful tools and a framework for automating the installation of specific development stacks and cloud deployment tools. Dell also worked on hardware enablement, where they tweaked drivers which improved touchpad support, as well as adding support for toggling Wi-Fi from the keyboard.
Project Sputnik was a six-month pilot program, where Dell would evaluate the potential of turning the concept into a real product. This week, Dell announced that it will proceed with the project. Sputnik is destined to take-off later this year, and will be available to consumers in selected markets. Dell are also going to be using developer feedback into the product itself.
Dell marketing director Barton George said in a statement:
Since we announced project Sputnik a little over two months ago, we have continued to be amazed by the amount and quality of interest and input we have received. By listening to developers, Dell can provide them with solutions and products to help make them more productive and allow for greater innovation.
Our friends over at Netbook News have just received a shiny new Acer Aspire One 756 notebook, which is an 11.6-inch device powered by Intel's surprisingly quick Celeron 877 processor. Netbook News report that the Aspire One 756 actually scores significantly better performance than a netbook sporting an Intel Atom processor, with a Windows Experience Index score of 4.4!
They report that Windows 7 boots up in a snappy 25 seconds, and since it's priced at just $330 on Amazon, Netbook News call it "the new netbook". I concur, because at that price, for a faster machine, how can you complain?
They've also provided an unboxing video, which goes into much more nitty-gritty details, if that's what you're into. They go over the Aspire One 756 and compare it to some of the previous generation Acer netbooks.
The Retina display-powered MacBook Pro is out in 15-inch, but what of the smaller 13-inch model? Well, it appears that unverified benchmarks of an unreleased MacBook Pro model running an unreleased build of Mountain Lion ended up in the logs of benchmarking tool, Geekbench.
The new non-Retina 13-inch MBP has the model identifier "MacBookPro9,2", while the 5-inch non-Retina model is "MacBookPro9,1" and the corresponding Retina model is "MacBookPro10,1". Of course, the machine name for the MacBookPro10,2 could have been faked, but the information listed on the Geekbench result is pretty consistent with what would be expected from a new 13-inch MBP.
The unreleased machine is, according to the Geekbench results, running a 2.9GHz Intel Core i7-3520M, and runs Built 12A2056 of OS X Mountain Lion. We should hear more of a 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro in the coming months once we get closer to its launch.
We reported on the Retina Display-powered MacBook Pros from Apple, where some have been experiencing screen ghosting issues, as well as the resolution of the screen itself not running at the advertised 2880x1800. But now Apple have published a FAQ on the matter, dealing with questions regarding the rMRP's.
Within the FAQ, Apple mentions a fix for some programs that aren't running in the high-resolution mode, tips for working with multiple displays, and they address concerns over Boot Camp and other multi-boot environments. It will be a while until more program support the 2880x1800 res, so until then there will be situations where some programs look weird, or have odd artifacts.
Apple's new Retina-powered MacBook Pros may be experiencing screen ghosting, according to some comments from Apple's community forums, YouTube, and long-time Mac pros (not the system, but users).
Lloyd Chambers, whose Mac Performance Guide website for pro photographers and "performance addicts" has shown a photo of the ghosting problem. Chambers wrote on his website:
A latest image 'burns in' to the desktop when a window is left on screen. This has now happened repeatedly. The problem occurs in as little as 20 minutes; close the window and the desktop is left with a latent image; a ghost image of whatever text or graphic was in the window left on screen.
Whereas, on Apple's support site, user "Aut0maticdan" writes:
Hey, those of you having this issue, I'd love to know what part of the screen your burn-in occurs.
I was messing with it last night and the mark goes from the bottom to about an inch above the bottom of the screen. Its about two inches wide above the F8, F9, F10 keys. ... I didn't notice it until I changed my desktop background to be a solid color, but its also noticeable in apps like Aperture.
Apple's latest MacBook Pro may feature that gorgeous 2880x1800 resolution with it being dubbed 'Retina display', but it seems that the notebook doesn't run that high resolution by default. The new Retina MacBook Pro (or rMBP) uses the screens extra pixels to display a higher level of detail on a canvas representing the previous 1440x900 resolution.
The result of this? All windows and user interface elements all appear to have the same relative size as the rMBP's predecessor with the 15-inch 1440x900 display, but with 400-percent more detail. If owners of the new rMBP wish to use a high resolution, then you can go to System Preferences and select a different resolution, all the way up to 1920x1200.
Those who want even more screen real estate, ranging up to the eye-busting 2880x1800 will have to use a workaround that is, wait for it, not authorized by Apple. Macworld reports that in order to get to the 2880x1800 resolution, you'll need to use either a third-party app like the paid SwitchResX, or one of a number of free options suhc as Change Resolution.
Personally, I think Apple should note this to their users, as it is probably the selling point of the entire Retina-powered MacBook Pro.