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Our roaming German tech reporter, Johannes Knapp, is on the ground for us in Cologne, Germany at Gamescom 2014. He managed to get some hands-on time with one of Acer's newest toys, the Chromebook 13, Google and Acer's take on an affordable laptop.
Many probably think of the Chromebook as a underpowered device for simple computing tasks such as email and Facebooking, but it looks like Acer and NVIDIA is upping the stakes a bit this time around. The new Chromebook 13 features NVIDIA's Tegra K1 mobile processor, which should deliver quite a bit of punch.
Along with that, the device also has a 13.3-inch screen with a Full HD display, the keyboard looks solid with its Chrome OS key shortcuts, and it features a non-glossy display and surface.
Acer has just announced the new Chromebook 13, which is the industry's first Chromebook that is powered by NVIDIA's very capable Tegra K1 mobile processor. It's also the first Chromebook the company has made with a 13.3-inch display.
The company makes its new Chromebook 13 available with two display options, with the default 13.3-inch display with a resolution of 1366x768, but for those who crave more pixels, there's an option that crams a 1920x1080 resolution onto the 13.3-inch display. Acer's Chromebook 13 does have a star, with that star being the Tegra K1 processor, which features a 192-core GPU. This means that people will be able to have a super-fast device, with great battery life, with the ability to play some games, too.
Acer's new Chromebook 13 is both thin and light, at just 0.71 inches thick, and only 3.31 pounds. The Acer Chromebook 13 is completely fanless, so users will enjoy a near silent system. Acer has provided 802.11ac Wi-Fi connectivity, with the 2x2 MIMO antennae providing plenty of bandwidth for users. There a re also two USB 3.0 ports, and an HDMI port for some video output. We also have a 720p front-facing webcam, two built-in stereo speakers and a microphone.
Dell has just taken the wraps off its new Alienware 13 laptop, which seems to be quite the improvement over the Alienware 14 from last year. We start with a 13-inch HD display, that can be optioned with either a Full HD display, or Quad HD (touchscreen-capable) display if you choose.
Inside of the Alienware 13, we have an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M handling the visual side of things, and a slew of Intel Core processors to do the CPU side of things. Gamers can choose between an SSD and normal HDD in the Alienware 13, too. The company is touting an 8-hour battery life for streaming video, but if you want to get some gaming done, this will reduce, dramatically.
All of this arrives in a laptop that is under 4.5 pounds, which is a huge 2 pounds lighter than the Alienware 14. Dell expects to begin shipping the new Alienware 13 sometime in November.
We should see Apple unveil its MacBook Pro refresh in September, but according to some new leaks, we now know what to expect in the hardware department. As it stands, the 13-inch MBP includes 4GB of RAM, while the 15-inch MBP sports 8GB of RAM by default.
There are of course upgrade options, but it looks like Apple is upping the amount of memory in the stock models of the upcoming refreshed MacBook Pro laptops. We should see the 15-inch MacBook Pro with 16GB of RAM by default, which should open the doors to upgrade it to 32GB of RAM. This will be nice for video editors on-the-go, and other uses where 32GB of RAM is actually used to its full potential.
CPU options should be beefed up, with the current 15-inch MBPs including a 2GHz or 2.3GHz Core i7 processor. The upgrades on these include 2.2GHz, 2.5GHz and 2.8GHz options, with the 2.2GHz model rocking Intel Iris Pro graphics. The two other models feature NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M GPUs with 2GB of dedicated GDDR5 RAM. The new models with 16GB of RAM by default should come with a 2.8Ghz Core i7 processor, and the GT 750M GPU. We should expect the refreshed MacBook Pros to come in at the same $2599 price, but I'm sure we're going to see it clock up closer to $3000, especially when we're talking 16GB or 32GB of RAM.
HP's new Chromebox teases that it features "silent operation of the fanless design" but HP has actually installed a fan inside of it. It looks as though the company has overlooked this fact, but has sent out promotional material pointing to this "fanless" design, even though there's a fan inside of its new Chromebox.
The new Chromebox from HP features an Intel Haswell-based Celeron processor clocked at 1.4GHz, 2GB of RAM, and 16GB of storage. The Intel Celeron processor sports Intel HD Graphics, and a maximum TDP of just 15W. Even with this low TDP, HP couldn't make the Chromebox fanless, which is where the grill on the rear of the device comes into play.
HP even pushes this fanless design as part of the reason that there is no dust build up inside of the machine, but considering there is a fan inside, it'll be interesting to see what the company does to rectify this big issue in marketing.
A few months ago, Sony sold its "VAIO" series notebooks name and dedicated operations to a Japan-based private investment company called Japan Industrial Partners. The investment group re-launched it as a standalone branch with no less than 240 employees.
Sony was facing losses not just in Japan, but also worldwide. The company was not able to keep up with smartphone and tablet business. Eventually, the multinational brand had to lay off many employees and sell away many of its businesses.
Initially, it was rumoured that Lenovo would be taking over Sony VAIO. Later, the electronics giant sold out its TV business and laid off 5,000 employees during February 2014. In May 2014, Sony VAIO's fate was set, as the company sold it to the investment firm and completed the sale was completed by July 2014. Looking at the time frame, it seems that the investment group didn't want to waste time to cash in on VAIO's brand presence among the consumers. The group also is using the same brand name, though only time will tell if the VAIO brand will maintain or grow its reputation in Japan.
Google I/O 2014 - You may not own a Chromebook personally, but Google is doing big things with its notebook platform. Google has 15 devices available in 28 countries right now, with many more planned for the future.
Google has said that ten of the top ten highest-rated laptops on Amazon right now are Chromebooks, an impressive statistic. When it comes to education, Google has seen a huge 600% growth in K-12 schools across the United States.
Computex 2014 - For those who don't want to opt for the 17.3-inch Aorus X7, GIGABYTE has the 13.9-inch Aorus X3 Plus which features a higher resolution display, but cranked down specifications for those who want a lighter, more portable gaming experience.
We have a 13.9-inch QHD display with a resolution of 3200x1800, Intel's Haswell-based Core i7 processor, NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 870M with 6GB of GDDR5 RAM, dual M.2 512GB mSATA SSDs, and is just 0.9 inches (22.9mm) thick, weighing only 4.12 lbs or 1.87kg.
Computex 2014 - After seeing so much tech in my life, it takes something quite big to really impress me - but GIGABYTE did just that last week at Computex. The company had one of its latest Aorus gaming notebooks on display, running Battlefield 4 on a triple-screen setup for a total resolution of 5760x1080. Check out the video below:
Impressive, isn't it?! Inside of the GIGABYTE Aorus X7 gaming notebook, we have a 17.3-inch Full HD display, Intel's Haswell-based Core i7 processor, up to 32GB of DDR3L-1866MHz RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M GDDR5 GPUs in SLI, up to 3 x 512GB mSATA SSDs with a 2TB drive as storage, a 1920x1080 display with 72% NTSC Color Gamut, with all of this arriving in at just 0.9 inches thick, and just 6.6lb or 3kg in weight.
Computex 2014 - The Clevo notebooks are something I just have to see when I'm at Computex, with this year being no different. There were a few great notebooks on display, but the standout was definitely the P377SM-A.
With a name that will make it hard for people to remember it, or notice it, the Clevo P377SM-A is a powerhouse of a notebook. Clevo has crammed in an Intel Core i7 Extreme processor into the 17.3-inch notebook, a display that features a resolution of 1920x1080. The GPUs (yes, plural) in the notebook packs quite the punch. There's an option of NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 880M in SLI, or AMD's Radeon R9 M290X in CrossFire.
For storage, we have two HDDs, or two SSDs, Creative's Sound Blaster X-Fi MB 3, and a gaming keyboard. It's a beauty in person.