Dell Refreshes The XPS Line: 15, 13 And Now The Surface-Like 12

dell-xps-family-late-2015There are now three distinct Dell XPS laptops in the wild, starting today. The first of which is the much-beloved-by-reviewers Dell XPS 13, now updated with sixth-generation Intel Core i processors. Upping the amount of storage to 1TB at max and 16GB RAM, the XPS 13 also benefits from the chip upgrade with a manufacturer’s suggested battery life of 18 hours with an FHD display, starting at $799.

The XPS 15 is an enlarged version of that, with a weight of 3.9 pounds (not bad for a 15-inch machine!), thickness of 11-17mm, a 4K Ultra HD screen option, up to GTX 960M graphics, 16GB at 2133MHz, up to a 1TB SSD and 17 hours suggested battery life (uhh, no), with the FHD screen. Starting price is $999.

Alright, and now the newest, but also potentially least exciting addition to the XPS line: the new guy. The XPS 12. It’s a 2-in-1 machine, with a 4K display option, comes with an 8MP world-facing camera and a 5MP user-facing (for Windows Hello) and comes standard with backlit keyboard and touchpad. Its dock doesn’t allow for setting different viewing angles, only in tablet mode it can. Also, for a starting price of $999, you’ll have to make do with weaker Intel Core M chips — just a thought.

By now, we’ve seen every major PC manufacturers produce a Surface clone at this point, and it goes without saying  that from looking at press images and the spec sheet, the XPS 12 isn’t the most exciting of the bunch. The 13 and 15 however seem to be the best Windows laptops (with the prettiest outlines) you can buy in those sizes.

HP’s Crown Jewel In Gaming: The Star Wars Special Edition Notebook

Star WarsTM Special Edition_center facing

It comes as a surprise that HP has been working with Disney for the past 12 months on building a mid-range gaming machine themed around Star Wars, and better yet, with 1,100 never-before-seen files pertaining to current and past Star Wars media.

It’s a plethora of happiness for the Star Wars diehard or newcomer, and even comes with sound packs that derive directly from the sounds certain characters make, like R2-D2.

Regarding the chassis, HP is siding with the dark side, because “honestly it sells better” (words taken from an HP representative). Thus, a “battle-worn” look is achieved through a scratched aesthetic. Even the packaging is centered around the theme; the foam inserts that keep the laptop protected inside the box are actually modeled after TIE fighters — the dedication by HP here is real.

Star Wars happiness aside, this is a tech blog, and this is a gaming machine we’re talking about here, s specs are important. A full HD display (touch optional version) at 15.6 inches is your window into the digital world, Skylake (sixth-gen) Intel Core i5 or Core i7 processors, up to 2TB of HDD and 12GB of RAM, optional HD Graphics 520 and NVIDIA GeForce 940M GPUs, an optical drive, and dual speakers and audio mastered by none other than the Denmark-based Bang & Olufsen.

The starting price is $699, and it launches later this Fall.

This Year’s HP Spectre x360 Is A Gorgeous Convertible Laptop

HP Spectre x360_rear_left facingLook at it.

It’s truly beautiful, plus this year an Ash Silver (with copper accents) model will sell alongside the usual gray. An all-CNC aluminum chassis means that it’s every bit robust as it is sharp, and I can attest to this in my (albeit brief) hands-on with a pre-release Spectre x360.

It’s still thin and is lightweight: 3.2 pounds and 0.6 inches thin, the Spectre x360 still retains the ability to house sixth-generation Intel Core i5 or Core i7 processors, 4GB or 8GB RAM configurations, three USB 3.0 ports, full-size HDMI and mini Displayport 1.2m, a Bang & Olufsen speaker package, full-sized backlit keyboard with 1.5mm of travel and a manufacturer suggested 13 hours of battery life — real-world testing will determine that spec to be true or not. Storage ranges from 128GB, 256GB or 512GB SSDs.

The real trick that HP bills the Spectre x360 for is for its 13.3 inch FHD or QHD screen with 72% color gamut. Because it can be pulled back fully, the Spectre x360 can work as tent, lay flat, or be used as a traditional clamshell. Windows 10’s Continuum features handles the transition between tablet and laptop mode on its own, so that any potential software awkwardness is eliminated.

The starting price for the Spectre x360 is $899. It launches later this Fall.

HP Taps The Surface, Develops The Spectre x2

HP Spectre x2_left facing

Another day, another Windows 10 machine that is tablet-first, notebook second but is designed to do both tasks incredibly well (read: Microsoft Surface anyone?). Without a doubt, HP does try and make the Spectre x2 as original as possible to differentiate itself from other offerings that are the same or similar in form factor.

Weighing just 1.78 pounds, the Spectre x2 is 8mm thin in tablet mode, and 2.69 pounds and 13.15mm thin with its backlit keyboard attached. Optional Core M3, M5 or M7 processors mean that you can picking the processing power best suited towards your needs, while still remaining part of the fanless design club.

The display itself a 12-inch, 1920 x 1080 display (shame that Hp couldn’t go for something higher res) with 128, 256 or 512GB SSD storage options. Audio and speakers are handled by Bang & Olufsen; HP is slowly rolling out this partnership with all of its higher-end systems. Two on the tablet and other pair on the keyboard, because why not?

In a product demo, HP demoed the three cameras that are part of the Spectre x2 package: one 8 megapixel rear-facing, a 5MP front-facign and an Intel RealSense 3D camera, which brings the Spectre x2 closer to being competent when 3D interactions on Windows 10 go mainstream.

Of course, with limited space comes a war for ports, but HP covered that rather thoroughly: two USB Type-C connectors with a USB-C to USB-A dongle, a microSD card reader, a full size HDMI and Displayport 1.2 for projecting,

An interesting design choice by HP is the U-shaped friction metal kickstand; you activate it with releasing a small latch and pulling it back or forward to your desired angle. Oh, and Wacom stylus support is offered, if that’s your thing.

As for special capabilities, a 4G LTE connection is made possible Verizon Wireless and a pre-paid data plan, so you can “work” pretty much anywhere.

The HP Spectre X2 starts at $799 and launches later this Fall.

Vizio’s Reference Series Is A Strong Entry In ‘Most Beautiful 4K TV’

IMG_20151006_184507213Today ,Vizio invited guests to an artsy street under the High Line to debut its Reference series: two television they’ve been working on for years, and only now are satisfied with their current specs to unveil them to the world.

The first Vizio set in the Reference series is a 65-inch, 4K TV with Dolby Vision speakers and a price tag of $5,999. By using 384 “LED Zones” to bring light to the screen, Vizio sidesteps the edged lighting that most other high-end (and quite frankly, all) TVs and monitors use. This way, more precise and individual areas of the screen can be lit up at a time, with deep blacks and vivid whites that help contrast the image.

Specs worth noting about the Reference series include an 800-nit display brightness, an integrated 5.1 sound bar, 5 HDMI 2.0 inputs, 802.11ac dual-band WiFi, and a quad-core GPU + dual-core CPU to keep the show running.

In-person, I can easily tell you that every frame is bright, striking, sharp and vivid. If it is acceptable to say, it’s almost too striking, too vivid and too fluid — an uncanny feast for the eyes and an initially deceptive introduction to the brain.

But of course, Vizio has something more — extravagant. For a rather flattering $129,999.99, Vizio can send a custom installation company to bring the 120-inch version of the Reference series to your home (or apartment, because why not?).

It’s true: 4K TVs are incredibly expensive, no matter how you spin it. But, Vizio is the purveyor of the inexpensive but high-end HDTV, and as a result, has plans to bring some of this technology down the range to more affordable sets. It sounds like a no-brainer, doesn’t it?

More images, after the break.

Surface Book: When Microsoft Designs Its Own Hybrid Laptop

Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 1.04.10 PMIf you think about it, why hasn’t Microsoft ever designed its very own laptop? The perfect time is now then, because they have and are introducing it to the world. The Surface Book is a 13.5-inch touchscreen hybrid laptop with 267ppi (that’s a 3000 x 2000 resolution); the screen of which is optically bonded to the glass, creating a sharp and consistent image (i.e. that’s good). Starting storage specs include 8GB RAM and 128GB SSD storage.

For processors, the Surface Book uses the latest Intel Skylake processors, in Core i5 or Core i7 configurations. An NVIDIA GeForce GPU with GDDR5 memory rests in the base of the laptop, with the keyboard (which has 1.4mm travel and is billed as practically silent).

The Surface Book is a complete package, which is worth noting, because it comes with the keyboard and the Surface Pen. When all is said and done, Microsoft says that the Surface Book will run for 12 hours on a charge. Weight with keyboard is 3.34 pounds, which is still within ultrabook territory. Ports include the charging port, 2 USB 3.0 ports, SD card slot, headset jack and a mini DisplayPort.

The Surface Book will go on sale October 26th, prices starting at $1,499; preorders begin October 7th.

Via: Microsoft

Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4 Is Currently The World’s Most Powerful Tablet, Hands Down

Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 12.50.33 PMThe Surface Pro 4 is a Windows 10 tablet, that like all the other products announced at Microsoft’s press conference today, serve as flagships for the platform.

Now for the engineering, which as usual,is most impressive with the screen: PixelGlass. It’s what Microsoft calls the over 5 million pixels that inhabit the 12.3-inch display, at 267ppi with 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity — it works with the new Surface Pen (now with eraser), which attaches magnetically to the Pro 4’s thinner, 8.4mm body.

Internally, 16GB of RAM, 1TB of storage and a sixth-generation Core i7 processor keeps the Windwos 10 show going. A new Type Cover keeps the Surface Pro 4 productivity capable, along with Windows Hello (facial recognition login).

The Microsoft Surface Pro 4 starts at $899 with preorders starting October 7; the official launch is October 26.

Via: Microsoft

Microsoft New Flagship Windows 10 Phones: The Lumia 950 And 950XL

Lumia 950/XL

The Lumia 950 will carry the Windows 10 smartphone banner — a banner that has not been well-represented in recent years, and is in dire need of some sort of revitalization. Nadella’s Microsoft knows that, and the Lumia 950 is the smartphone designed to at least have Microsoft hold a flag up to iOS and Android, who have insurmountable market share, developer support and device selection.

Naturally, that means some impressive spec sheets. A 5.2-inch WQHD (2,560 x 1,440) OLED display, a hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 3000mAh battery,  with 32GB of internal storage.

A Triple RGB LED flash, paired with a 20-megapixel PureView camera on the back brings forth some of the best photos the Windows 10 platform has seen. Carl Zeiss optics on the camera ensures Optical Image Stabilization, with gorgeous 4K video supplementing that.

The XL version is the same in principle, but with a bigger 5.7 inch screen at 518 PPI.32GB of storage, octa-core processor, expandable via microSD card up to a whopping 2TB, along with a bigger 3340mah battery.

Quick charging comes as a part of the USB-C port, a revolution we’re seeing in Google’s new Nexus devices, Apple’s new Macbook and now with Windows Phones.

The asking price when launched will be $549 for the 950 and $649 for the 950XL; carrier partners will offer payment plans, per the current state of the U.S. mobile carrier market.