Category Archives: Laptops
Happy New Year, in the coming months of 2013 there will be a large amount of new tech news with CES13 coming up when big tech companies try to sell suppliers there new products they will make available this year. This brings new tablets, tvs, computers, phones, and lots of other gadgets.
Hope you have a good year, and Tek4.Me will be here to bring you tech news that is useful, while getting things back up and going now that the holidays are over. Were working to get more content every day.
Today on my Field Trip I got to play with the Mac Book Pro with Retina display at Best Buy and I was impressed with the system, while the extra cost and not so obvious benefit of the Retina display seemed to underwhelmed me.
After looking at the iPad Mini I looked for the Mac Books to see how they were, I didn’t even see any Mac Pro desktops but there was a nice 27″ display sitting there. I skipped over the Mac Airs and found the newer 15″ Mac Book Pro with Retina and I didn’t seem to find any difference between how the display looked with a 15″ Mac Book Pro right next to it. I could see a difference in contrast the Retina seemed to be darker but still easy to use.
As for the upgrade to the system it was very clean, thin and light. It seemed like a system you could just slip in a case and take everywhere you went to have a powerful computer. I also liked how it seems to have no fans or cooling at all. Also the connectors all were located along the back sides of the system making it so no connections would be sticking out in strange places, most PC laptops have USB ports right in front or the power cord on the back, on the Mac Books it was all clean in the back.
The Mac OS was seemed very responsive and loaded programs and switched around fast. I did some testing using the keyboard, it was strange for me because I use an older mechanical keyboard on my desktop when I do most of my typing and a no space plastic keyboard on my older laptop. But the chiclet keys that Apple use are very easy to press but you have to get use to the gaps of aluminum that separate all the keys. I made only 1 or 2 mistakes typing on the keyboard and when I did the OS was able to help me fix the problems very easily in the note application.
While I wasn’t able to test the full power the system was nice and worked well, I liked the quality of the camera built-in and the display was good but I didn’t see any difference. If you are going to buy a Mac Book Pro I may be worth it for the better screen and just the updated system specifications. This makes me want to go Mac but the price is way more than I can afford right now. You can also check out the full specs of these systems on the release article.
Just took a Field Trip to the Verizon and Best Buy stores after lunch today, I’m going to call these posts Field Trips because I have to go out and play with new tech. Some of the main things I played with at the store were the iPad Mini, MacBook Pro with Retina display, Kindle Fire HD, and Nokia Lumia 822. I also played with some of the ASUS gaming laptops and a dead Samsung Chromebook.
While these aren’t the best settings for playing with them because I could not spend a lot of time playing and they were tethered to the display I did my best just playing with them. I also would like to get some of these in as review units or if some donations come in for a specific product I would review it also.
Mac Book Pro with Retina Display is a very powerful laptop computer, and with the higher resolution screen it looked nice but is it going to be worth the extra $500 or so for that nicer screen. I liked how it worked and had the older model side by side and couldn’t see much difference other than the Retina had more contrast, I’m sure more using it from the older model you may see a difference. Read the full mini review for more.
Nokia Lumia 822 is one of the flagship Windows Phone 8 devices while it has smooth operation and looked good, Windows Phone 8 seemed empty and just lacking in non-core apps even from a display model. See what I saw in the mini review.
Those are the big ones I played with but I did look over some other devices such as the ASUS gaming laptop that had good specs and all the keyboard was kind of clunky and seemed overpriced for what I could get a Mac Book for almost the same specs. I also don’t like Windows 8 all that much on a non-tablet or touch screen.
The Samsung Chromebook was set up kind of off to the side in an under equipped display that only had one left in a box that looked like it was taped closed after being opened at Best Buy I wanted to see it work but the system said click to start but I only got a spinning indicator and even after trying to power cycle it nothing came up so I left not knowing how things will work on that system. Too bad because I wanted to know how the system performed but bad displays will not sell these even with a low price tag.
More Chromebooks are out this time a new one from Acer and is only $199. That’s an amazing price for a laptop, while it is a glorified web browser it is still a great deal. A few weeks ago Google put out the Samsung Chromebook for $249 that had an ARM processor but this one from Acer has a Dual-Core Intel Celeron Processor and a 320GB hard drive. Not sure how open the platform is you could probably put Linux or Windows 7 on this could be fun.
But for it running ChromeOS it seems like a good enough device and also has that cool deal of getting 100GB Google Drive for 20 years. There is also a set of 12 GoGo Inflight Internet connections included along with both HDMI and VGA connectors so you can have more than one screen. If you’re looking for a second or even third laptop for say your kids or just to have around these Chromebooks may be a good way to get it on the cheap.
|Thickness + Weight||1″ + 3 lbs.|
|processor||Dual-Core Intel Celeron|
|Storage||320GB HDD + 100GB Google Drive|
|Network||Dual Band WIFI + Ethernet|
|Ports||3x USB 2.0, 1x HDMI, 1x VGA|
At the Apple “event” today one of the first announcements was an update to the 13-inch MacBook Pro to include a high resolution Retina display. The 13.3 inch IPS display has a native resolution of 2560 x 1600 and the Mac OS is updated to take advantage of this display. There is also an update to the processor and reduction in how thick the laptop is. To get it only 0.75 inch thick body, they removed the DVD drive. You can get this laptop in a standard 2.4 Ghz Intel Core i5 processor 8GB RAM, Flash storage, Intel HD Graphics 4000, and up to 7 hours of battery while using wireless internet. You can upgrade the system to include a 2.9 GHz Intel Core i7 and up to 768GB of Flash storage.
Below is a table of the two stock laptops:
|Processor||2.5 GHz||2.5 GHz|
|Memory||8GB DDR3L||8GB DDR3L|
The popular Linux distribution Ubuntu has been updated to version 12.10 today. While most of the update is a roll up of most of the open source applications that are part of the distribution they had added some user interface additions. Users can now create Web Apps for things like Gmail and Facebook that don’t require you to open the web browser then go to the site it just shows up as an item on your launcher or desktop. You can also now search online files and stores for things such as music, photos, and video. This works with Flickr and Google Drive. Finally they have what they call Dash Previews; basically you can play music or apps from Ubuntu One before you buy or install them without having to open any additional applications.
I have the release preview installed on my laptop and all seemed to work good, still have a problem with the Intel graphics drivers not controlling the screen resolution right but that seems to be something that lots of people with different laptops and distributions are having for well over 3 years. But if you run Ubuntu its doesn’t cost anything to update, or if you want to try it out download the DVD image and boot a system without having to change anything and see if you can use it for your computer.
Google has updated the line of Chromebook laptops with a new Chromebook that will only cost $249. This is the point where these computers start to look like a good deal. They run Chrome OS, which is a Linux distribution that is focused on only running the Chrome Web Browser. It makes it secure and keeps the system always up-to-date because you are expected to be working online all the time with this system. Lots of people have said this is a great system for their parents so they can get online to check email, Facebook, and get info on the Internet but not have to worry about the system getting messed up. But by having a limited system they have made a lot of changes to the OS to make it more like a traditional OS. Also with the new price drop this makes the system seem like a good deal now.
The main difference with this new Chromebook is the change from an Intel processor to an ARM process that would account for the main reason why the price is so low now, along with reduced RAM down to 2GB from the 4GB of older devices. You also get 100GB of Google Drive storage along with the built in 16GB SSD that most of the storage would be used by the OS giving a smaller than expected storage area on the computer, Google expects you to be storing everything in the Cloud so you could just login on any Chrome OS device and it seems like you were always there.
The full specs are listed below, but this is only an 11.6 inch screen, gets 6.5 hours of battery, and runs on a Samsung Exynos 5 Dual Processor. Also check out the full gallery of what things look like.
|Processor||ARM Samsung Exynos 5 Dual Processor|
|Screen||11.6 inch (1366×768)|
|Size and Weight||0.8 inch thick, 2.5 lbs|
|Storage||16 GB SSD with 100GB Google Drive for 2 years|
|Wireless||Dual band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0|
|Ports||1 USB 3.0, 1 USB 2.0, HDMI|
Lenovo announced the pre-order of four new Windows 8 mobile systems, the IdeaPad Yoga 13, Yoga 11, Lynx, and Twist. The Yoga is a convertible laptop tablet that hinges to fold the keyboard flat with the display going backward, this gives it the ability to be used as a tablet or stand up in interesting ways. This was first seen at CES 2012 and got lots of attention. It will come two sizes at 11.6 inch and 13.3 inches. The big difference between the two is the 13 has an Intel 3rd Generation i7 processor running Windows 8 Pro and it earns being a Ultrabook. Where the 11 runs on a NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor with Windows RT with less battery life and won’t run any old Windows applications because it runs the ARM processor. Full tech specs of the four systems below.
As for the Lynx, it is a low powered Dual Core Intel Atom powered 11.6 inch tablet that runs Windows 8 but has a keyboard that can be attached to transform it into a laptop type computer. They claim that with the 16 hours of batter you can use it all day and also use it for applications like the included Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
The Twist is the only one specifically built for business users, it has an Intel Core i7 processor and is also a Ultrabook running Windows 8 Pro with the option to have 3G data and more storage options. They also make note that it will have a normal ThinkPad keyboard that so many people like to type on if they have a laptop. The display is also a high-definition IPS with multi-touch that twists around so you can use it like a tablet. This would be a good power user laptop if you are looking to get a Windows 8 Pro device.
|IdeaPad:||Yoga 13||Yoga 11||Lynx||Twist|
|Processor||Intel Core i7||NVIDIA Tegra 3||Intel Dual Core Atom||Intel Core i7|
|OS||Windows 8 Pro||Windows 8 RT||Windows 8||Windows 8 Pro|
|Battery||8 Hours||13 Hours||16 Hours w/ Dock||7 Hours|
|Storage||256GB SSD||64GB eMMC||64GB eMMC||500GB HDD / 128GB SSD|
|Price MSRP Starts At||$1,099||$799||$649||$849|
These specs are if you max out things such as getting the fastest processor or largest SSD, and they only gave prices for the lowest of the spec base systems so the prices will be way different. You can pre-order the Yoga 13 at Best Buy October 12 2012.
If you have a Windows 7 computer you most likely had Windows Essentials installed by the maker or would want to get this set of applications that help do more with your Windows system. It was also called Windows Live Essentials but they seem to have dropped the “Live” from the name.
The main pack includes the following programs: Photo Gallery, Movie Maker, Messenger, Mail, Writer, Outlook Connector, SkyDrive, and Family Safety. Lots of these applications were part of Windows in the past, but they now get updated more often than when Windows OS gets updated.
The two applications they are showing the biggest updates include Movie Maker and Photo Gallery. Movie Maker is a free video editing package that lets you easily edit home videos and put them up on sites such as YouTube.com or make them into DVDs. Photo Gallery is a photo organization and manipulation tool, it lets you fix problems with your images and do things like panoramas.
The update to Movie Maker includes a new Video Stabilization to reduce the shake that may be in your videos if the camera wasn’t on a tripod or a windy day. There are also more options for adding music from online music sites and how they are added to your video. They also improved adding text overlays to the videos so it will be easier to read. And finally they now by default encode video in H.264 rather than Windows Media Video making sharing easier.
As for the Photo Gallery they only did a few little updates such as making a Auto Collage and updating services you can export to.
Another note that the other applications get bug fixes if you had them installed and will require you to restart your computer for them to be setup so expect that. But this is a nice set of additional applications that make using Windows better, there are a lot of other applications that do all of this but these integrate with Windows. In most cases you can do all of this Online now using Google or Office Live.
A few weeks ago Apple had an update to their Mac Book Pro line of laptops, and with most other computer venders focusing on building Ultra Books they had to do something that would be different than what most new laptops are going to have in them by the holidays. There trick was an updated 15-inch display using what they call Retina, that has 220 pixels-per-inch to give it one of the best looking displays out. This same technology was used in there iPhone 4s to make the screen look better. One problem with this display is that most applications and websites do not have high enough resolutions to have this be worth much at this time.
The rest of the laptop is about the same as any other high end laptop, Intel Core i7, NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M, up to 16GB of 1600MHz RAM and up to 768GB flash based storage. As for ports it has Thunderbolt, USB 3.0, HDMI and an updated MagSafe 2 power plug. They claim 7 hours of battery life, HD webcam, 802.11n Wi-Fi, and a full size backlight keyboard.
For the base model the price starts at $2,199 USD and goes way up from there. For that price you can get a great Ultra Book or a Gaming class Windows 7 Laptop, but with Apple you always have the old Apple Tax for the name. If I had the extra money to drop I would get something else, maybe next year it would be great with the Retina Display. But if you’re in the market for an Apple laptop go ahead and get this it’s only more and comes with more memory in the base price.