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Do you remember the beginning of the Tablet craze? Even schools have adopted tablets and it seems that almost everyone owns or previous owned one of these devices - however we're now seeing them on the decline. Alongside this information, we've just seen reports that touchscreen PC's are also on their way out.
At Computex in Taiwan in 2013, Intel announced that it would use its Ultrabook fund to boost their production of large touchscreens, claiming a projected 3-5 times increase in consumer demand in the coming years. Alongside this, they stated that their Haswell platform laptops with touchscreens have tripled the sales of their previous generation, the Ivy Bridge.
Reading ZDNET's findings, it seems that touchscreen laptops are still in abundance in the North American brick-and-mortar retail market.
Self proclaimed as "Australia's Largest Retailer", Kogan is well known amongst tech savvy Aussie locals as providing a cheaper alternative for devices such as TV's, monitors and camera hardware. However, in latest news they've just released a Windows 8.1 operational laptop for just $329 AUD with decent specifications.
Named the Kogan Atlas X1510 Laptop, this $329 bargain will be released to the public on December the 15th - said to be just in time for Christmas. Based around an Intel N3540 quad-core processor running at 2.16GHz, it comes coupled with 4GB or DDR3L RAM and a 500GB HDD. The display comes in the form of a 15.6-inch screen displaying at 1366 x 768 pixels and sees the device measure at a total of 274mm long, 259mm deep and 2.1kg in weight. Although well-priced, it's not a particularly small object, but it does offer the user a reported 9.5 hours of battery life.
Connectivity is fairly standard on this device, offering up a HDMI port, VGA capabilities, one Gigabit Ethernet port, one USB 3.0 port, three USB 2.0 ports, a headphone and separate microphone port, full-sized SD card reader and provides you with the ability to connect through 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. Reportedly being released with a $15 discount for Office 365, this laptop looks good so far - we're interested to see what the build quality, feel and actual operation are like however.
ASUS has just taken the wrapping off of its new EeeBook X205, an Intel Atom-powered notebook that features an 11.6-inch display, full-sized keyboard, large touchpad and much more.
The ASUS EeeBook X205 is powered by the Intel Atom Z3735 processor, which is the company's Bay Trail-T processor, backed up by 2GB of RAM, an 11.6-inch 1366x768 LED backlit HD display, running Microsoft's Windows 8.1 OS. We also have the usual 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi-, Bluetooth 4.0, a microSD card slot, micro HDMI, two USB 2.0 ports, and a 3.5mm audio jack. There's also a VGA front-facing camera, and a 38Wh hour battery that should be good for up to 12 hours of web browsing according to ASUS.
The new EeeBook X205 has a price of $329 AUD, which is around $286 or so USD. It's available right now, too.
Acer has just taken off the covers from its new entry in its V series of laptops, the new V Nitro Black Edition. Acer's V Nitro Black Edition comes in two flavors: the V15, and V17, with the new configuration on the V15 model featuring some upgraded innards, including an Ultra HD display.
The new V15 series VN7-591G-70JY features a 15.6-inch IPS-based 4K display, so we have 3840x2160 as its resolution. We have Intel's Core i7-4710HQ CPU, providing four cores at up to 3.5GHz each, 16GB of DDR3 RAM, NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 860M with 2GB of dedicated GDDR5 RAM, a 256GB SSD backed up by a 1TB mechanical drive, no optical drive, three USB 3.0 ports, SD card reader, Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, and a starting price of $1500.
Given that there is a 3840x2160 display on the new V Nitro laptop, the relatively weak GeForce GTX 860M isn't going to do well at 4K. Acer really should've optioned the new Maxwell-based GTX 900M series, which would've suited the new laptop much more.
Chromebook devices are seeing strong growth, with sales increasing 67 percent quarter over quarter, but still have a long way to go, according to ABI Research. Acer leads the current Chromebook market, ahead of Samsung, Hewlett-Packard and Dell - but each company hopes to see the low-cost laptops continue to see increased interest from consumers and vertical industries in 2015.
"Consumers are hungry for a product that is cost effective but also provides the versatility and functionality of a laptop," said Stephanie Van Vactor, ABI Research Analyst, in a statement. "The growth of the Chromebook market demonstrates a niche that is gaining traction among consumers."
The price of mobile hardware is dropping in price, and Chromebooks are often significantly cheaper than other laptops, so it will take time for the market to develop. Total Chromebook-powered device shipments are expected to tally 4.1 million in 2014, a drop in the bucket compared to the estimated 300 million shipments of traditional PCs.
Samsung today announced the Chromebook 2 powered by an Intel Celeron processor, as the company continues to support Google-powered operating systems. The Chromebook 2 is a light device designed to power on fast and utilize cloud-based storage - it likely won't be a desktop replacement for business users, but could be a fun, inexpensive product for consumers to play with.
The device runs Google Chrome and is powered by an Intel Celeron N2840 (2.58 GhZ) processor, 2GB DR3L RAM, 16GB storage, Intel HD graphics, and supports 1366 x 768 resolution. The Chromebook has an 11.6" screen and weighs just 2.65 lbs., with battery life up to nine hours.
The Samsung Chromebook 2 with Intel Celeron processor is now available for pre-order with a $249.99 MSRP, and will be released next week.
ASUS has unveiled its new Republic of Gamers G751 series gaming laptop, which can be configured up to be a serious gaming powerhouse. This includes the option of an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 900M series GPU, the second-generation Maxwell chip that is doing wonders for gamers, as well as the exclusive ASUS TurboMaster GPU overclocking technology from ASUS.
First up, the G751 has a "stealthy F-22 Raptor-inspired" design, which definitely looks like a mean gaming machine. On top of that, we have a 17.3-inch Full HD display, with touch support being included on the G751JM model. The configurable specs start with multiple options of Intel's Core range of processors. We have the i7-4860HQ and i7-4710HQ for the G751JT model, the i7-4710HQ for the G751JT, and finally, the Core i7-4710HQ or i5-4200H for the G751JM.
The ASUS ROG G751 can house up to 32GB of DDR3L 1600MHz RAM, a slew of storage options with up to a 512GB NGFF PCIe-based SSD, but when it comes to GPUs, this is where it gets fun. The new gaming notebook from ASUS can be configured with up to the new Maxwell-based, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M with 4GB of GDDR5 RAM, on the G751JY at least. The G751JT features the GeForce GTX 970M with 3GB of RAM, while the G751JM includes the GTX 860M with 2GB of RAM.
Alienware has a very powerful gaming laptop in its new Alienware 18, but now news is coming out that the gaming laptop can be configured with its Core i7-4940MX processor overclocked to an incredible 4.4GHz. While this clock speed might not be all that impressive on the desktop, for a notebook with limited cooling abilities, and a very limited space to dissipate heat, this is damn impressive.
The smaller, and cheaper Alienware 17 can be configured with an overclocked Core i7 processor, with its i7-4910MQ capable of being configured to hit 4.1GHz. Intel's latest Core i7-4940MX has a stock clock speed of 3.1GHz, and boost clock of 4.1GHz. Alienware's laptop system designers decided to crank it up a bit with some factory overclocking, with Intel writing through its 'Chip Shot' blog that the overclocked i7-4940MX to "enable some of the highest-performance laptop PCs on the market". The company is aware of the thermal issues with an overclocked processor in a gaming notebook, where it added "Alienware engineers really got creative and developed a new thermal solution to ensure reliable and cool operation in such a small system".
The Alienware 18 gaming notebook is quite a beast, with an 18.4-inch 1920x1080 display, configurable with up to two, yes two NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880Ms in SLI, or two AMD Radeon R9 M290X GPUs in Crossfire. Up to 32GB of dual-channel DDR3 1600MHz RAM, a slew of storage and ODD options, as well as an 8-cell 86wHr battery. The Alienware 18 starts at $2099, but if you build it up as serious as those aforementioned specs, you're looking at closer to $5000.
Lenovo has the best Windows notebook on the market, where I totally fell in love with, and still gloss over, the Yoga 2 Pro. The company has just unveiled its successor, the Yoga 3 Pro, which improves on the small amount of things the Y2P had problems with.
The Yoga 3 Pro is 17% thinner, and 15% lighter than the Y2P, with Lenovo claiming that the change in results has it "weighing less than a bottle of water". We still have the 13.3-inch 3200x1800 QHD+ display, which was super crisp on the Y2P. Lenovo has spent time improving the already great hinge design, with the Y3P featuring a "watchband" hinge that Lenovo claims is "hand-assembled from more than 800 individual pieces of steel and aluminum".
Inside, we have Intel's Broadwell-based Core M-70 processor running the show, backed up with up to 8GB of RAM (still no 16GB, Lenovo?), and up to 512GB of SSD. The company has fixed the Wi-Fi issue on the Y3P, baking in a new 5GHz 802.11ac chip into the Yoga 3 Pro. Lenovo has also improved the software inside of the Y3P, with something it calls "Harmony" that automatically adjusts settings to optimize whatever software you're using. If you were to be reading an e-book for example, Lenovo's Harmony software will "change the brightness and color temperature according to the environment lighting". If you are watching a movie, Harmony will automatically adjust the audio settings to give you a better sense of immersion.
NVIDIA Editor's Day 2014 - What's the use of an improved notebook GPU if it's going to suck down more battery life than ever? Oh wait, the Maxwell-based GTX 900M series doesn't use more power, it actually gives you longer battery life when you're not tethered to a power socket.
With NVIDIA's testing on an MSI GT72 notebook, powered by its new GeForce GTX 980M GPU running 1080p Ultra on the three games above (League of Legends, GRID 2 and Tomb Raider), the improvements are huge.
As you can see, we have a 30% boost for League of Legends, 29% boost for GRID 2, and a huge 55% boost in Tomb Raider on the GTX 980M.
Which gaming notebook should you buy? Here's a head start.