Netflix Isn’t Against Offline Viewing

Netflix is a huge company, with price increases to help cover the increased traffic that people use with the HD streaming experience. In a recent call though Netflix may look at helping you watch those movies on the go while avoiding the data usage costs that come with offline viewing.

CEO Reed Hastings responded to questions about the possibility of letting its subscribers watch shows offline by saying that they would “keep an open mind on all this”. Part of the reason Hastings gives for this open approach is the “uneven set of networks” that Netflix is noticing as they expand to new areas of the world.

With Netflix’s Chief Product Officer, Neil Hunt, stating last year that they wouldn’t add the feature thanks to the “complexity [it brings] to your life”, directly followed by “with Amazon Prime”. Amazon Prime lets you download and stream shows, and with a new pricing model offering monthly subscriptions, Netflix may be changing their tone to help fight off the competition in the media streaming market.

With services like Sky Go, Amazon Prime and even BBC’s iPlayer letting you watch content offline, Netflix is one of the few services that doesn’t offer offline viewing, something that can often put people on or off services when their internet cuts out mid-show.

PiPO KB2 – A Folding Keyboard That’s Also Windows 10 PC!

People love small computers, the ability to sit and use your smartphone or a tablet to play games or write an essay while you wait for the bus or your order at a restaurant. So what about if you got a computer you could fold into your pocket? that’s the idea behind the PiPO KB2, one of a new series of PC’s hidden with keyboards.

The PiPO keyboards will be released in two batches, starting with the KB1’s which will be released soon. If you’re interested the KB1 will feature an Intel Atom x5-Z8300 (also known as a Cherry Trail) processor and  either 32GB or 64GB of memory to back up the 4GB Ram. If you didn’t want to spend so much, you could grab a KB1 with an Intel Atom Z3736F or Z3735 processor (from the Bay Trail series) with 2GB of RAM. With 2 USB ports, an ethernet port, microSD slot, a VGA connector and an HDMI port the inbuilt speakers, battery and touchpad are rounded off with Wi-FI and a battery.

If you want something a little more pocketable, you could wait until September and get the KB2 featuring the same storage options of 2/4GB of RAM, 32/64GB of storage and even the same Cherry Trail processor as the KB1 model. Going with the upgrade, the KB2 will feature a USB 3.0port, a micro USB port, and Bluetooth. For the added bonus of being able to fold and pocket the keyboard PC, you lose the touchpad, something which I’m sure people will compensate with their own travel mice.

With both devices running Windows 10, are you interested in being able to carry around a pocket PC to plug into your friend’s TV or do you think that you’ll stick with your laptop and tablets for now?

HP Unveils The World’s Thinnest Laptop

Laptop manufacturers including Apple, Lenovo and HP have become obsessed about creating the thinnest possible form factor. While these design decisions can help forge a beautiful finish, it’s not always a practical idea. For example, laptops prioritizing thin construction over cooling hardware have the potential to run extremely hot especially if the end-user attempts demanding tasks. Saying that, whenever a company creates an innovate project, it’s always worth giving them recognition. Today, HP unveiled the world’s slimmest laptop which features an ultra thin 10.4mm frame. This is astounding and I’m absolutely in awe of the HP Spectre’s aesthetic. It evokes a premium feel and it’s one of the best laptop designs I’ve seen for some time.

Kevin Frost, vice president and general manager, consumer personal systems, HP Inc described the new laptop and said:

“The HP Spectre is the thinnest notebook in the world, and unlike the majority of other super thin PCs on the market, this laptop doesn’t compromise power or features,” 

“A beautiful Full HD edge-to-edge display, Intel Core i processors coupled with Bang & Olufsen sound and a sexy and thin design, HP amazing engineers set a new standard with the all new Spectre.”

Here we can see a brief overview of the device’s key features:

  • A carbon fiber bottom creates a thin profile that is both durable and lightweight, keeping the total weight of the notebook at just 2.45 pounds
  • CNC machined aluminum chassis as thin as an AAA-battery at just 10.4 mm.
  • High gloss copper accents reflect a hand-polished, jewelry-like finish and an innovative hidden piston hinge creates the illusion of a hinge-less design to offer an unmatched premium look-and-feel.
  • An innovative hybrid battery split into two thinner pieces delivers the same wattage as a single battery for up to 9 and half hours of battery life while enabling the world’s thinnest laptop
  • Full HD IPS edge-to-edge display featuring Corning Gorilla delivers a superb viewing experience for editing photos, perfecting a presentation, or watching a movie.
  • 6th generation Intel Core i5 and i7 processors and a lightning fast PCIe SSD with storage up to 512 GB with up to 8 GB of memory for maximum performance. Integration of Intel hyperbaric cooling system keeps the machine running cool even with powerful processors in a small package.
  • Stereo speakers by Bang & Olufsen with HP Audio Boost technology, a combination of hardware and software to give customers the depth they want.
  • Three full function USB Type-C connectors, including two of which support Thunderbolt, to provide a fast, versatile I/O connection.

In terms of pricing, the 13.3″ diagonal HP Spectre is planned to be available on HP.com and BBY.com on April 25 for pre-order with a starting price at $1,169.99 and is planned to be available in Best Buy stores on May 22 with a starting price at $1,249.99.

Microsoft Patents A Smart Ring

Microsoft is known for working on cutting edge technology, with the technology used in the Kinect becoming a dream piece that was quickly built and mirrored in other gadgets and systems. The next piece of technology they want you using? How about something to go with your smart phone, a smart ring.

Back in November and December, Microsoft patented the designs for a smart ring, a device that would look and feel like a ring but would give you control of your devices as if it was a mouse. The smart ring would detect your fingers movements, acting almost as if you were using a touchscreen in thin air, and thought the use of a small laser, could even detect the position and movement of the finger. Felt like clicking a table and opening your family photos? Look no further!

With both the fingers movement and pose being tracked the input device could be used for anything from a smartphone to a desktop PC, with the complete control of your system (and sorry for saying this) at your fingertips.

The device is patented as working with several other components, from tablets, TV’s, Kinect’s and even smart glasses and smart watches. You’ve got the display in your glasses so why not touch it in thin air?

Are you excited by this concept? I am, imagine being able to control your computer at work like Iron Man with a flick of the wrist, this would also avoid the large motion and input detecting systems that many AR (augmented reality) headsets are having to mount to give you the full Iron Man experience.

Gigabyte P35W v5 Gaming Laptop Review

Introduction


Consumers typically purchase gaming laptops over their desktop counterparts due to portability and requiring hefty processing power on the move. Saying that, it’s exceedingly difficult to offer adequate thermal dissipation in a slim form factor which limits the convenience factor of many flagship gaming laptops. These tend to be rather bulky and difficult to carry around on public transportation where space is quite restricted. Thankfully, efficiency improvements on mobile graphics chipsets and CPUs have enabled manufacturers to create a better balance between performance and size. Granted, the top-tier options with dual GPUs still feel heavy but less extreme alternatives can be surprising portable. For example, the Gigabyte P34W v3 provides a superb gaming experience and weighs a mere 1.81Kg. Back when I reviewed this, the performance to size ratio astounded me. Although, the system’s load temperatures were higher than I hoped and felt like a concession too far.

The latest gaming laptop to prioritize a thin design from Gigabyte is the P35W v5 sporting an Intel i7-6700HQ, ultra fast 128GB NVMe boot drive, and GTX 970M. Unlike the P34W v3, Gigabyte has opted for a 6GB variant of this graphics chip but I can’t see the increased video memory making a substantial difference. On the other hand, some games with high memory utilization might fare better with an improved minimum frame-rate. Another key benefit is the inclusion of DDR4 memory, and a greatly improved battery. As always, you can customize the specification to suit your needs and the standard package utilizes a 1920×1080 display. If this seems a little underwhelming, you can select a 4K panel for an additional fee but this has some drawbacks when it comes to performance. Given the P35W v5’s marvellously thin design, I’m interested to see the thermals under stress and determine if the cooling hardware is up to scratch.

Specifications

  • Name: Gigabyte P35W v5
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-6700HQ (2.6GHz base frequency, 3.5GHz turbo)
  • System Memory: 16GB Dual Channel DDR4 2133MHz
  • Main Boot Drive: Samsung NVMe MZVPV128 M.2 128GB SSD
  • Additional Storage Drive(s): HGST 1TB 7200RPM HDD
  • Graphics card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M 6GB
  • Peripherals: N/A
  • Display: 15.6-inch 3840×2160 IPS LCD
  • Optical Drive: MATSHITA DVD-RAM UJ8G2
  • Wireless: Intel Dual Band Wireless AC 8260
  • Battery: Li-Polymer 11.1V, 75.81Wh
  • Weight: 2.3Kg with Battery
  • Dimensions: 385(W) x 270(D) x 20.9(H) mm
  • OS: Windows 10 Home
  • Warranty: 2 Year
  • Price: £1399

Packing and Accessories

Gigabyte has adopted a fairly understated theme to the packaging which showcases the beautiful display and professional aesthetic design. Furthermore, there’s a brief description about the laptop’s unique selling features but I have to say the translation is confusing and doesn’t make a lot of sense. Perhaps, this is because the press sample originates from the factory and I’m sure Gigabyte will update the message for western markets.

The opposite side is almost identical barring another stunning snapshot of the product’s thin profile. This level of uniformity works well and evokes a premium feel. The packaging’s durable cardboard shell and soft inserts protect the item during transit meaning you shouldn’t encounter any cosmetic imperfections.

Included with the laptop is a power adapter, user’s guide, warranty card, driver disk, PowerDVD 12 software, swappable storage bay and light stickers. The swappable storage bay is an ingenious extra which allows you to remove the optical drive and fit an internal 9.5mm SSD instead. This is a great idea because many people use flash storage devices instead of optical media and the ability to easily house a traditional SATA SSD greatly enhances the laptop’s flexibility.

The 4K model contains a removable orange sticker near the lid which can be replaced with either a green or turquoise colour. Gigabyte even provides a complimentary pair of tweezers to obtain a neat finish and customize the theme to your own personal taste. Small touches like this creates the perception every customer’s needs have been attended to.

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How Dell Plan to get More People Using Linux

When you buy a new PC, it’s almost certain that it’ll be running one of two types of operating systems, Microsoft Windows or Mac OSX. Despite this market dominance, Dell plans to get more of their customers using Linux with its series of “Project Sputnik” laptops that hope to secure a following of their own.

The newest Sputnik laptop from Dell is the XPS 13 Developer Edition and it looks far different from the typical view of Linux, sporting a sleek, thin design. This XPS 13 also brings a number of features that users typically expect from Windows and Mac laptops including a 4k screen, Intel Skylake processors and even Thunderbolt 3 support, all of which are firsts for a Linux laptop. Due to the lack of support for Skylake chips in Ubuntu, the Linux version of the laptop was released later than its Windows-running cousin, which is unfortunate.

Sputnik’s main goal is to bring new laptop technologies to Linux, which will allow it to match most equivalent Windows laptops and has already been in the works for four years. Originally, Sputnik planned to focus on Ultrabook-form laptops and touch screens as the main technologies, both of which were new at the time, but the project has come a long way since then. Dell’s next goal is to incorporate docking technology into the XPS 13 DE as well as continuing to develop the software and drivers that may be required to make use of even higher resolution screens that could feature in future Sputnik laptops.

While Dell’s main focus may always be on the more mainstream Windows laptop market, Project Sputnik is totally unique, making Dell the only major PC manufacturer with such a focus on releasing Linux-running products. Dell even reports that they have seen Mac users moving over to their Sputnik laptops, due to both Linux and OSX being Unix-based making the switch easier than from Windows. While Linux diehards may choose to install their operating system of choice regardless of the laptop, it is hard to deny that a trusted name like Dell throwing their support behind Linux and releasing it pre-installed on a number of their laptops is a bad thing. Will it lead to a Linux revolution? Probably not, but Dell may just get a few extra customers from Linux-fans and converts alike.

Surface Book Launches in the UK

Microsoft is probably most well-known for their software, with everything from the Windows operating system to the Office tool suite commonplace in homes around the world. One thing that Microsoft have been keen on expanding though is their hardware. With the success of the Microsoft Surface, a tablet that featured a magnetically docked keyboard and was well-known for its high power and low profile. Now the next phase in Microsoft hardware has been unleashed in the UK in the form of the Surface book.

The Surface Book was announced half way through last year, with Microsoft creating a system for people to swap out their Macbook’s for a Surface book, with claims that it would be twice as powerful as a Macbook Pro. Surprisingly this didn’t go down too well with Tom Cook over at Apple who then described the Surface Book as deluded.

The new Surface Book will set you back, at least, £1,299 if you are looking at an i5 model  but upgrading it to the top of the line will set you back £2,249 for an i7 and dedicated NVIDIA graphics (rumoured to be NVIDIA’s 940M).

Are you interested in the Surface Book? For the price tag is the 13.5 inch screen a little too small for your taste? If you are looking at buying one you can find out more at the Microsoft store.

Gigabyte Unveils AORUS Laptop Range @ CES 2016

CES 2016: AORUS is name given to Gigabyte’s extreme level of hardware which spans across gaming laptops, peripherals, backpacks and more! The range often receives a great deal of critical acclaim and implements groundbreaking exclusives features such as the AORUS Fusion Keyboard, AORUS Audio, and Hardware Live Stream Engine.

Here we can see the X5, which is the world’s first gaming laptop with per-key backlighting. This makes it possible to add special effects, choose individual key illumination and create a custom setup. This level of flexibility is unbelievable and not what you would expect from a gaming laptop.

The software allows you to choose from a wide array of effects including breathing, fade on keypress and more. After using the software briefly, I can confidently say, it’s intuitive and has enough settings to create something which feels personal to your specific needs.

Another unique technology is entitled, Gameplay Now which acts as a video capture tool to stream or record footage without any impact on game performance. This works via an M.2 card from AverMedia and provides up to 30% extra frames-per-second while capturing gameplay. There’s also an overlay which outlines the frame-rate and CPU utilization.

The AORUS team also showcased the limited edition camouflage X5 design which looks spectacular. Notice how the vinyl cover extends into the speaker grill and doesn’t have any abnormalities in the finish. The rep at CES told me that they are gauging the popularity of the skin, and if the response is good, will make other lavish designs in the future.

Zolt Produces “World’s Smallest, Lightest, Smartest Laptop Charger” @ CES 2016

CES 2016: Travelling around the world often requires a huge array of cables due to different power outlets and cable sizes used on different laptops. As a result, it’s quite inconvenient to find the correct adapter and adds a great deal of weight to your backpack. Thankfully, Zolt has engineered an ingenious solution which contains three USB charging ports, fold out prongs, and up to 70 watts of charging power. Furthermore, the device is compatible with the majority of laptops on the market including Acer, Asus, Compaq, Dell, Gateway, HP, IBM/Lenovo, MSI, Samsung, Toshiba, and others. You can also refer to the Compatibility Checker for specific models.

The unit is incredibly small and measures a mere Zolt 93mm in length, 34mm in diameter and weighs 100g. This is a third of the size of most laptop chargers. In terms of pricing, the Zolt charger is currently available for $99.99.

Origin’s Beastly Gaming Laptop Packs in a Core i7 and Two GTX 980Ms in SLI

Florida-based PC manufacturer Origin has built a laptop set to make the eyes of even the most ardent desktop gamer water; the EON17-SLX packs in either a single desktop NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 graphics card or two 8GB GTX 980M cards in SLI, an Intel Core i7 processor, and 32GB of RAM [4 x 8GB DDR4-2133 sticks) into its compact case. Origin also promises that, in future, a 64GB (2400MHz) model will be available.

The customisable laptop can be seriously overpowered by integrating an Intel Core i7 6700K Quad-Core 4.0GHz (4.2GHz TurboBoost) and Dual 8GB NVIDIA GTX 980M with G-SYNC in SLI, and then taking advantage of Origin’s professional graphics card and processor overclocking service.

The EON17-SLX comes with a 17.3-inch IPS true 1080p, 16:9 display which utilises NVIDIA G-SYNC technology for tear-free gaming and support for up to three displays simultaneously.

Despite being packed to the gills, there is also space for two 2.5-inch HDD or SSD drives, plus two SATA m.2 SSDs, both of which can be configured into a RAID 0 or RAID 1 array.

As far as connectivity goes, the EON17-SLX offers built-in Dual Killer E2400 gigabit Ethernet, Intel PRO Wireless AC 7265 WiFi, SuperSpeed+ USB 3.1 Type-C and SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports, and Thunderbolt 3 for data transfer speeds of up to 40Gbps.

The Origin EON17-SLX is priced at around $2,000 for the top-end version.

MSI GT72S 6QE Dominator Pro Gaming Laptop Review

Introduction


MSI is an established player in the gaming laptop scene and produces a huge range of products to suit various usage scenarios. Whether you’re prioritizing portability or simply require raw horsepower, MSI has a laptop to suit your specific needs. The company’s quintessential styling and robust construction beautifully balances performance with unique features and includes a comprehensive software package. This magical combination has proved to be incredibly popular among the gaming audience. Previously, we reviewed the budget-orientated MSI GE62 6QD Apache Pro which performed remarkably well in 3D benchmarks despite its relatively affordable price point.

While the gaming prowess of laptops around the £1000 mark are good, some users have higher demands to reach 60 frames-per-second at extreme graphical presets. The type of laptop which caters to this demographic is the GT72S 6QE Dominator Pro and comes in a number of top-tier configurations. The review unit we’re looking at today features an Intel i7-6820HK, 16GB DDR4 2133MHz RAM, GTX 980M and 128GB NVMe PCIe SSD boot drive. Furthermore, the system opts for a 17.3″ 1920×1080 display, 9-cell battery, and 1TB data drive. As you can see, this is a stunning specification and more than capable of competing with high-powered desktops. On another note, the pioneering MXM graphics module offers an upgrade path for the future and makes the investment seem more worthwhile. Overall, I expect the system to shine in gaming tests at extreme graphical settings.

Specifications

  • Name: MSI GT72S 6QE Dominator Pro
  • Case: Brushed Aluminum Laptop Chassis
  • Processor: 6th Gen. Intel Core Skylake i7-6820HK @ 3.6GHz
  • System Memory: 16GB (2x8GB) DDR4 2133MHz
  • Main Boot Drive: Toshiba 128GB NVMe PCIe SSD
  • Additional Storage Drive(s): HGST 1TB 7200RPM  
  • Graphics card: NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 980M 8GB GDDR5
  • Battery: 9 Cell Li-Polymer
  • Optical DriveBlu-ray Writer
  • Wireless: 802.11 b/g/n/ac Killer Double Shot Pro AC
  • OS: Windows 10 64 Bit
  • Display: 17.3″ 1920 x 1080 FHD Anti Glare Wide View Angle with NVIDIA G-SYNC
  • Weight: 3.78Kg (With Battery)
  • Dimensions: 428(W) x 294(D) x 48(H)mm
  • Warranty: 2-Year Collect and Return (1 year global)
  • Price: £1962.20 as configured delivered.

Packing and Accessories

Given the laptop’s hefty construction, MSI decided to employ a thick cardboard box to adequately protect the sample during transit and reduce the impact of any small knocks.

The inner packaging adopts MSI’s iconic gaming dragon logo and outlines the system’s key specification.

Once opened, we can see the laptop’s accessories are divided into segments which makes the unboxing process a more pleasant experience. Furthermore, MSI opted for a durable plastic cover, and luxurious protective cloth which reduces the likelihood of damage occurring during shipping.

In terms of accessories, the laptop is bundled with a soft cleaning cloth, documentation, driver disk and power supply. The felt cloth feels beautiful in the hand and evokes a sense of luxury. While the power supply is on the larger side, this is expected given the laptop’s immense specification.

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Dell and HP Tech Support Discouraging Customers to Update to Windows 10

The adoption of Windows 10 has occurred at a blistering pace as many users take advantage of the free upgrade promotion. On the whole, Windows 10 has received a fairly positive reception, but there are concerns regarding privacy and the lack of polish. As part of a research programme, Laptop investigated various comments made by customer service representatives working for Dell and HP and the company’s advice about Windows 10. One HP Support Agent adviser said:

“I really don’t recommend [that] customers upgrade to Windows 10.”

Since the research paper was published, HP and Dell have clarified that the advice was intended to rectify customer problems in the fastest possible time. Since Windows 10 is still a fairly new operating system, the support teams believe there is a greater chance of undocumented errors occurring. Despite this, it seems a number of vendors are pushing customers away from Windows 10 for the time being, and this is a PR disaster. How can Microsoft expect people to upgrade if vendors like HP and Dell are influencing their opinion of the operating system?

On another note, Rescuecom, a third-party support service, divulged that more than 56 percent customer calls during Q3 revolved around Windows 10 problems. This doesn’t paint the operating system in a good light and it’s quite embarrassing. However, the roll-out of any operating system is usually marred by bugs, and user complaints. In reality, it takes a great deal of testing on a huge scale to find out how polished Windows 10 really is. Dell, HP and others have a long-term plan to support Windows 10, but in its current form, it appears to be resulting in a high influx of calls.

If you could only use one word to describe Windows 10, what would it be?

Eurocom Announces GTX 980 Sky X9 Gaming Notebook

Eurocom’s Sky X9 gaming notebook features a Core i7-6700K, up to 64GB DDR4 RAM, a desktop GTX 980 graphics card and choice between a 1920×1080 or 3840×2160 display. This staggering core specification is capable of supporting dual PCIe M.2 SSDs, two SATA 2.5″ drives and contains five USB 3.0 ports and single USB 3.1/Thunderbolt.

The laptop also utilizes Sound Blaster X-Fi MB3 audio with two integrated ONKYO speakers which produce superb clarity under high and low volumes. On another note, the UEFI BIOS is unlocked and allows you to overclock the CPU in a similar vein to a standard desktop.  The unit’s superb thermal management gives some headroom to increase the i7-6700K’s frequency.

Mark Bialic, Eurocom President, discussed the changing nature of laptops over the years and said:

“In 1989 we created the first Desktop Replacement Notebook, in 2015 we have no created the first “desktop laptop’ system with socket based desktop Intel processor support and slot based MXM NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 desktop graphics support to along with 64 GB of DDR4 memory”.

 

To add some visual flair, the Sky X9 features an RGB keyboard, and lighting customization integrated into the chassis. Eurocom’s incredibly powerful system allows for a number of upgrades including a G-Sync display. This really makes for a desktop-grade experience but there’s no wording about the recommend retail price.

1TB Microsoft Surface Book Costs a Whopping $3,199

Following the release of the 512GB SSD iteration of its new Surface Book tablet/laptop hybrid, Microsoft boasted that it was a 1TB version would soon be en route. Indeed, the higher-storage model is now available for pre-order from the Microsoft Store, but it’ll cost you an outrageous $3,199.

While the 1TB Surface Book also includes 16GB RAM and a Core i7 processor, the $500 difference between that and the 512GB model seems steep.

According to the Microsoft Store, this is what you’ll get for your money:

Tech Specs

Software Windows 10 Pro • Office 30-day trial
Exterior Casing: Magnesium • Color: Silver • Physical buttons: Volume, Power
Dimensions Laptop: 9.14 x 12.30 x 0.51- 0.90 in ( 232.1 x 312.3 x 13 -22.8 mm)
Clipboard: 8.67 x 12.30 x 0.30 in (220.2 x 312.3 x 7.7 mm)
Weight 3.48 pounds (1576 grams)
Storage3 Solid state drive (SSD) 1TB
Display Screen: 13.5” PixelSense display • Resolution: 3000 x 2000 (267 PPI) • Aspect ratio: 3:2 • Touch: 10 point multi-touch
Battery Life Up to 12 hours of video playback1
Processor 6th Gen Intel Core i7
Graphics i7: NVIDIA GeForce graphics (GPU)
Security TPM chip for enterprise security
Memory 16GB RAM
Wireless 802.11ac Wi-Fi wireless networking; IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n compatible
Bluetooth 4.0 wireless technology
Ports Two full-size USB 3.0
Full-size SD card reader
Surface Connect
Headset jack
Mini DisplayPort
Cameras, video and audio 5.0 megapixel front-facing camera
8.0 megapixel rear-facing camera with autofocus, with 1080p HD video recording
Dual Microphones, front and rear facing
Front-facing stereo speakers with Dolby audio
Sensors Ambient light sensor • Accelerometer • Gyroscope • Magnetometer
What’s in the box Surface Book
Surface Pen
Power Supply
Quick Start Guide
Safety and warranty documents
Warranty 1-Year limited

Would you buy one?

MSI GE62 6QD Apache Pro Gaming Laptop Review

Introduction


MSI’s GT and GE gaming laptop range have been a phenomenal success due to the feature-rich package, astonishingly-high build quality, and affordable pricing compared to the competition. The combination of class-leading components in a cool and quiet chassis creates a wonderful laptop experience which legitimately rivals large full-tower PCs without having to make too many concessions. Furthermore, each unit is designed with portability in mind opting for a sleek profile and surprisingly light weight even with the battery installed. MSI’s design team managed to maintain a slim profile without impacting on battery life or cooling proficiency. As a result, the final build is perfectly balanced and feels like a meticulously planned piece of equipment.

The latest addition to MSI’s gaming laptop series, is the GE62 6QD. This model features Intel’s latest Skylake mobile architecture and high-bandwidth DDR4 memory. In this particular configuration, the unit is bundled with an i7-6700HQ, 8GB DDR4-2133MHz RAM and the remarkably efficient GTX 960M chipset. This works splendidly with the 1920×1080 PLS panel and provides enough graphical horsepower to tackle demanding 3D tasks. In terms of storage, the laptop includes a 128GB M.2 boot drive, and 1TB 7200 RPM mechanical data disk. As you might expect, MSI incorporates an expansive software suite containing tools to monitor the core components or stream like a professional with the free 1-year XSplit license. Overall, the main specification and premium extras make the GE62 6QD an exciting prospect and I expect to see fairly impressive benchmarks given the reasonable price point.

Specifications

  • Name: MSI GE62 6QD Apache Pro
  • Case: Brushed Aluminum Laptop Chassis
  • Processor: 4th Gen. Intel Core Skylake i7-6700HQ (2.6GHz Core, 3.5GHz Turbo)
  • System Memory: 1x8GB DDR4 2133MHz
  • Main Boot Drive: Toshiba 128GB M.2 SSD
  • Additional Storage Drive(s): 1TB 7200RPM mechanical disk drive
  • Graphics card: NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 960M 2GB GDDR5
  • Battery: 6-cell Li-Polymer
  • Optical Drive: HL-DT-ST DVD-RAM
  • Wireless:  Intel dual-band Wireless-AC 3165
  • OS: Windows 10 64 Bit
  • Display: 15.6″ Anti-Glare (1920×1080) PLS Wide Viewing Angle
  • Weight: 2.4kg with battery
  • Dimensions: 383(W) x 268(D) x 27(H)mm
  • Warranty: 2-Year Collect and Return (1 year global)
  • Price: £1079 as configured delivered.

Packing and Accessories

MSI opted for a durable outer cardboard box which doesn’t increase the shipping weight too much but manages to reinforce the main packaging. The top is sealed using heavy-duty tape and prevents the package from uncoupling during transit.

Once the outer packaging has been removed, we can now see the aesthetically pleasing retail box which employ MSI’s gaming dragon theme. This red and black colour scheme evokes a premium tone and illustrates the laptop’s target market. On another note, the strong handle, taped top section and thick tabs adds a great deal of protection and should eliminate any kind of accidental damage by a courier.

The laptop edges are protected by two cardboard cutouts which helps to maintain the packaging’s default arrangement and stop the unit from moving around. Also, the GE62 6QD is cushioned by a gorgeous MSI-branded felt cover to stop any cosmetic imperfections from occurring.

In terms of accessories, the system comes with a huge array of documentation informing the purchaser about key features, the setup process, and a thorough warranty guide.  There is also a fairly large power brick and UK AC adapter. It’s certainly not the most intrusive I’ve seen and should be portable enough to fit in most laptop bags without any problems.

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Surface Book All Sold Out From Microsofts Site

Microsoft recently pushed quite hard on the smaller devices market, with the release of windows 10 supporting most of their devices they have two devices that are looking for release soon. First up was the next in the surface series, the Surface 4, running all the latest bits of technology and looks to be released by the end of the month. Then the new kid on the block is the Surface book. Essentially the bigger brother of the Surface the book was announced and we covered the details here. The problem with it being an amazing product is that people want it, quite badly it would seem.

As of this moment, it would seem that you can’t pre-order the new device from Microsoft’s store, instead users are greeted by a message asking them for their email address so Microsoft can contact you when it’s next available.

This is both good and bad. It is great news for Microsoft who are the probably celebrating the fact that their new devices have been so clearly and whole heartedly desired by the public. On the other hand, it means that they are going to need to step up production and give the public what they want.

While you can still get it from all the other places like Amazon, there is no reason to not look at the product before it’s released on the 29th October.

Thank you PC World for the information.

HP and Disney Create a Star Wars Themed Laptop Like No Other

When it comes to fandoms, then the Star Wars fans will probably be one of the biggest groups around and also one where the ages span from very young to very old. With a new Star Wars movie just around the corner, the merchandise deals begin to roll in and we get all sorts of Star Wars branded items. One of them comes from HP that teamed up with Disney to produce this special edition version of their 15.6-inch Pavilion laptop.

The special edition Star Wars laptop is wrapped in a special Empire skin and the trackpad got the X-Wing targeting computer pattern. The LED lit keyboard looks really sweet and gives a nice contrast to the grey laptop. The customized theme comes with the Aurebesh font and a best of all, your trashcan is now a Death star while sounds such as R2D2 and lightsaber swooshes provide the right sound ambiance.

If the Star Wars laptop isn’t enough for you, then you’ll also be able to get a Star Wars themed wireless mouse and a laptop sleeve that will cost you an extra £26 each.

The Star Wars goodies don’t stop here and HP also loaded it with the Star Wars Command Center that will allow users to browse through behind the scenes photos, storyboards, artwork, classic photos, and design documents. A grand total of over 1100 images from the past 40 years of Star Wars.

The hardware in itself isn’t bad, but it isn’t spectacular either. You get a Full-HD 1080p display, an Intel i5 or i7 CPU, up to 12GB RAM, and up to 2TB storage. The basic model will cost you £461 over the £362 that it would cost without the Star Wars theming which is quite a bit more. You do however get a one-year membership for Fandor included, with access to a library of indie movies.

Thank You TechRadar for providing us with this information

MSI Announces GS40 Gaming Laptop Range

MSI has unleashed the GS40 Phantom series featuring Intel’s 6th generation Skylake i7 6700HQ processor which provides 20% improved performance than the i7 4720HQ in typical usage scenarios. The GS40 range offers portability without sacrificing on power demands and incorporates the highly capable GTX 970M into a stylish brushed-aluminium chassis. Furthermore, the laptop only weighs 1.6kg and has a height profile of 19.5~21.8mm.

On another note, the GS40 contains a PCI-E Gen3 SSD slot which allows for extreme read speeds up to a staggering 2200MB/s. Also, the range supports up to 32GB of memory, with the basic model opting for 8GB DDR4-2133MHz. Other features include premium-quality DYNAUDIO speakers accompanied by the highly regarded Nahimic Audio Enhancer. There is even an ESS SABRE HiFi Audio DAC to help accentuate subtle sounds in a loud mix.

MSI’s Cooler Boost 3 technology utilizes 5 heat pipes and dual fans to create a quiet, and extremely cool user-experience. The Super Port enables the end-user to transfer large files up to 1000MB/s and fast charging for smart-devices up to 3A. The laptop series opts for RGB lighting via the SteelSeries Engine 3 and contains a vast array of customization. MSI decided to use Killer networking to prioritize gaming traffic and prevent lag spikes.

Finally, any laptop in the GS40 Phantom range is bundled with a 1-year license of XSplit to professionally stream games in superior quality. Here is a rundown of the complete specification:

Microsoft Unveils the Surface Pro 4

Following the reveal of the Surface Book laptop, Microsoft has officially unveiled the Surface Pro 4, the latest in its line of tablet/laptop hybrids, and it’s more powerful, lighter, and thinner than its predecessors, but boasts a larger screen, Windows 10, and a revised Surface Pen.

Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President and creator of the Surface Panos Panay presented the new system by reminding us of the catchphrase used to promote every Surface thus far: “This challenge of the tablet and the laptop… which do you buy? Remember that problem? It’s gone.”

The Surface Pro 4 runs on Intel’s new Skylake processors, and its new keyboard includes a fingerprint sensor, while the tablet, with its 12/3-inch display, features Cortana integration. Thankfully, owners of previous models will find that older Surface keyboards are still compatible. The new, improved Surface Pen has 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity, and even an eraser at the base.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Gh4o9IqeEU

In order to squeeze the Intel Core processor – with the company claiming that the Surface Pro 4 is 50% faster than an Apple MacBook Air – into its thinnest ever tablet, Microsoft has heavily optimised its innards, using a G5 chipset to control the optical stack and covering the screen with 0.4mm Gorilla Glass 4.

The Microsoft Surface Pro 4 is available for preorder now, starting at $899/£749 for the 128GB 6th Generation Intel Core M3, 4GB RAM iteration, ahead of its 26th October release.

Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information.

Microsoft Announce Surface Book Laptop

Microsoft recently pushed hard on their smaller devices, with some rather large devices joining in for good measure. With the rework of the Windows mobiles, the Surface 4 coming after a strong stretch of tablets from Microsoft and even the Surface Hub for all your work based whiteboard needs. It would seem Microsoft are looking at pushing the market yet again with their latest announcement, the Microsoft Surface Book.

Designed with the portability of the Surface series in mind, the screen can be removed to be used as a tablet, or even just propped up at an angle by the keyboard. The Surface book will feature a 13.5-inch screen and features the “dynamic fulcrum”, a twist on the classic hinge used to connect screen to keyboard.

Designed to be a bigger version of the surfaces, the keyboard is heralded as silent while the screen will work exactly like all the previous surfaces. Featuring processors like the Skylake i5 and i7 and a Nvidia GeForce with GDDR5 memory housed in the base giving you that extra graphical kick.

With prices stated to be around $1,4999 (approximately £985), the device looks to bring high prices to match the high-quality components and materials that make it up. With pre-orders to begin on the 7th October, could you see yourself using a new surface book?

https://youtu.be/XVfOe5mFbAE

Thank you The Verge for the information and images.

Kensington SD4000 Universal USB 3.0 Docking Station with 4K UHD Review

Introduction


For today’s review I’m venturing a little bit out of my normal area of storage, network, and server components and take a closer look at a very useful gadget for everyone that has a laptop of some sort. Kensington might be most known for their locking system that is present on almost any electronic device, but they do make a lot of different products too. Today I’m taking a closer look at the SD4000 Universal USB Docking Station for laptops.

While a docking station like this would work with any system and as such isn’t limited to portable ones, it will be a rare scenario that someone will connect it to their desktop. That said, it could still provide some beneficial uses there too.

While most laptop manufacturers also provide docking stations for some of their models, they are usually very expensive and only compatible to very few models. The use of a universal docking station like this opens a lot more options and best of all, you can take it with you to any other system that you might upgrade to in the future.

The Kensington SD4000 Universal Docking Station connects to your system via a single USB 3.0 host port and in return it offers you three USB 3.0 connectors, a DVI port, a DisplayPort or HDMI, a Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 port, and headset connections. Those are all useful connections to have, especially on ultrabooks and netbooks that barely have any native connections at all anymore.

The Docking Station doesn’t just serve as USB hub, it also enables 4K Ultra HD resolutions, even when your laptop doesn’t have a graphics card that supports these resolutions. You can connect a single 4K monitor or TV via an HDMI or DisplayPort connection for Ultra HD resolution at 3840 x 2160 pixels.

4K Ultra HD resolution sadly only works with one monitor connected, but you can run up to 2K when using dual monitors. Ideal for users not ready to make the transition to 4K, this option can support the typical two-monitor setup with 1920 x 1200 and 2048 x 1152 resolution for each screen.

Speedy charging for power hungry devices such as tablets is also supported thanks to the 2.1 AMP fast charging USB port labeled with an extra lightning character. The Gigabit Ethernet port is also one that’s often missing on netbooks as they rely solely on wireless.

Features

  • 4K Ultra HD resolution (3840×2160) to one monitor via an HDMI cable or DisplayPort connection
  • Enables 4K UHD even if laptop does not have 4K graphics card
  • 2K resolution (1920×1200/2048×1152) for two-monitor setup via DisplayPort or HDMI/DVI
  • 3 universal USB 3.0 ports for seamless productivity with your accessories
  • 2.1A fast charging port to power up a tablet or smartphone
  • Gigabit Ethernet port for wired connectivity to the Internet
  • Includes speaker port, microphone jack, Kensington Security Slot
  • Compatible with Windows 8.1/8/7

Specifications

  • UPC: 085896339830
  • Best For: Convertible and 2-in-1 Laptops, Laptops, Ultrabooks, Windows Tablets
  • Compatibility: Windows 10, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1
  • Connections: 1 x RJ-45 Ethernet (LAN) Female, Host Interface: USB 3.0, Host upstream link: USB (B Type)
  • Female, HUB downstream link: USB (A Type) Female
  • Connectivity: Wired
  • Features: Extended Display, Kensington Security Slot, Mirrored Display, Power Indicator (Blue), USB Hub Link
  • Indicator (Green)
  • Dimensions: 7.71” x 3.34” x 1.08” (19.5 cm x 85 cm x 2.75 cm)

Packaging and Accessories

The package of the SD4000 Universal Docking Station comes in s a simple yet elegant wrapping. It shows what it does on the front without much extra.

The rear of the package explains what type of connectors it has, what’s in the box, and what it is compatible with. Everything you’ll want to know before you purchase.

Inside the box, we find a power supply with both an EU and UK replaceable plug, a setup guide, a USB cable to connect it and the docking station itself.

Toshiba Unveils Budget-Friendly ‘Click’ Laptop

The tablet and laptop hybrid design, made famous by the Microsoft Surface, is becoming more widely adopted as shown by the iPad Pro. Usually, these devices incur a rather hefty cost and out of the reach of most consumers. However, the Toshiba Satellite Click 10 is solely focused on the lower-end segment and retails for $349.99. In terms of its specification, the Click 10 features an Intel Atom x5 Z8300 processor, 2GB RAM, 10.1-inch 1920×1200 multi-touch display and choice between 32GB or 64GB of SSD storage. Furthermore, the maximum storage can be increased via an integrated MicroSD slot.

Toshiba also managed to include a Micro HDMI port, Dolby Digital Plus stereo speakers, front 8-megapixel camera and rear 2-megapixel rear cameras. While it’s not the most powerful device out there, the Click 10 is beautifully designed due to a 2.2 pound weight with the clip-on keyboard. Once removed, the weight reduces to 1.2 pounds and has a 9mm thick frame. This makes it extremely portable and more than capable of performing basic tasks on-the-move.

There are a number of other solid features such as Bluetooth 4.1, 802.11a/g/n Wi-Fi, and an optional external DVD drive. Overall, the lower price point allows more consumers to give the form factor a try to upgrade to flagship models in the near future.

Apacer Releases 64GB 3000MHz NOX DDR4 SO-DIMM

The times where the best hardware was limited to desktop PCs is long over and we can get all that power in portable units today too, may it be high-end i7 CPUs or multiple graphics card solutions. All this raw power also needs some memory and Apacer’s latest offering might come in handy here. The newly released Apacer NOX DDR4 modules take all that goodness and brings it down to the smaller SO-DIMM form factor.

The new Apacer NOX DDR4 SO-DIMMs are available with an impressive capacity of 64GB and speeds of up to 3000MHz while only consuming 1.2V. This is so far the most impressive and highest capacity SO-DIMM on the market. The NOX DDR4 SO-DIMM series also comes in slower speeds for those who don’t need as much. Other options include 2400, 2666, and 2800MHz.

The modules have all undergone strict testing and have been built with handpicked DRAM IC to create the best possible product. Apacer did not reveal the pricing at this point, but that will follow at the end of this month. Whether the availability will be at the same time is anyone’s guess. We will just have to wait and see. Either way, this is a seriously impressive memory module.

Dell XPS 12 Featuring Windows 10 And 4K Edge To Edge Display Set For Release

Companies like releasing products at the same time, often with the same kind of things. With everything from games consoles to laptops, they become ‘generations’ groups of products that are released alongside one another in the hope that each company with benefit where the other lacks something. The most recent addition to this is courtesy of some leaked slides from Dell showing off what their new XPS 12 will be featuring.

The XPS 12 is set to be a 12-inch hybrid tablet with a docking keyboard. The main attraction of which seems to be a 4K ‘Infinity’ edge to edge touchscreen display. With a resolution of 3840 by 2160, the device will also boast an attractive 10-hour battery and 8MP camera built in.

The tablet will include a thunderbolt 3 connection, boasting 8x faster transfer speeds than those provided by USB 3.0. With a magnetic keyboard dock featuring a precision touchpad and illuminated keys the XPS 12 looks to enable the creature comforts of both a tablet and a laptop.

Titled for an October release date, the XPS 12 will not only be going against the Surface 4 which is set to be released at Microsoft Mega Event, but also the Apple iPad Pro.

Are you looking for a new Tablet or Laptop? Would the XPS 12 interest you? Or are you more of an iPad or Surface person?

Thank you VR-Zone for the information and the image.

Four Men Charged Over $1m MacBook Air Heist

It just goes to show the strength of Apple’s brand or pricing structure when criminals decide to plan to conspire in a robbery of expensive computers. Four men have been charged over the theft of approximately 1200 MacBook Air computers which have an estimated value of $1 million dollars (£660,000) and were thought to be in the process of being delivered to two high schools in New Jersey.

According to federal prosecutors, an individual by the name of Anton Saljanin was hired to transport the computers from a technology compound in Massachusetts to New Jersey on the 16 January 2014. Mr Saljanin reported to police that said delivery van had been stolen from a car park near his home where he parked it overnight. Sounds plausible, but for a few key details, firstly the gentleman in question claimed to have spotted the truck when driving along a highway by chance 27 miles away in Connecticut when out looking for the stolen vehicle. Police investigated this and ran tests before concluding that the truck “would not have been visible in the (Connecticut) Parking Lot to a driver passing by on Interstate 84”.

Further investigation by the FBI into Mr Saljanin phone records indicated that he in fact did not take the route in question when he claimed to have been searching for the truck; he was subsequently arrested along with his three alleged accomplices and charged with participating in a scheme to steal, transport, and sell the shipment of computers. It is also claimed that the four individuals sold at least a dozen MacBook Airs between January 2014 and April 2014 for between $500 – $800 dollars each, this is far below the retail price of around $1000 dollars per machine. Each person paid in cash and were handed the computer in brown cardboard packaging, this is certainly different to the well designed authentic Apple packaging.

What is evident is high-end tech products are a target for criminals with a propensity for theft albeit allegedly at this stage. It would have been ironic if Mr Saljanin had used an iPhone when police analysed it for phone data records.

Thank you ibtimes for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of the-anecdotes

MSI Launches Skylake Gaming Notebook Range

MSI has unveiled the latest additions to its highly-acclaimed gaming laptop range featuring Intel’s Skylake architecture and a host of intriguing upgrades. The GT72 Dominator Pro G is the company’s flagship product which contains an NVIDIA G-Sync display, and choice between Intel’s I7 6820HK, or 6700HQ. Additionally, the laptop supports up to 32GB DDR4 RAM, 2 PCI-E SSDs in RAID 0 and GTX 980M/970M graphics cards.

The Stealth/Ghost laptops prioritize portability and maximize performance in a thin form factor. This is achieved without making any major concessions and implements the Intel Core i7 6700HQ, GTX 970M/970M, a PCI-E SSD and memory capacity up to 16GB. MSI has also opted for a similar approach with the Apache Pro series and aims to provide stunning gaming performance without making each device too bulky. MSI described their latest plans in a press release which reads:

“We’re focusing only on high-end mobile gaming systems. We pack in the best available performance hardware in the form of RAID solutions of SSDs, where we’ve been leading the way in storage transfer speeds with our SSD solution Super RAID for years. The latest iteration, Super RAID 4 will hit 3300MB/s, up from 1500MB/s in Super RAID 3. We also use the greatest graphics cards from NVIDIA, such as two GeForce GTX 980M in SLI in our GT80, these are paired to high-end monitor panels, available with G-Sync, to create real, measurable value for end-users. As a silver lining to the cloud that is our lineup, we can now add the 6th-Gen Intel Core to our packages,”

Perhaps the most innovative change is the all-new SABRE HIFI which incorporates a premium-grade ESS DAC reaching a sampling rate over 24bit/192kbps. As a result, the on-board audio should provide impeccable tonal output for compressed and and audiophile formats such as FLAC.

Here is a complete run-down of each device’s specification:

Gigabyte Unveils Skylake-Powered Gaming Laptops

Gigabyte has announced an updated gaming laptop range featuring Intel’s latest 6th generation, i7 processors, M.2 PCIe storage, DDR4 RAM, USB 3.1 with Type-C connectors and HDMI 2.0 which outputs HDCP 2.2 to provide a stunning 4K experience. The 17″ P37, 15″ P35 and 14″ P35 offer unrivalled gaming performance in such a slim, portable form factor. This continues Gigabyte’s focus on thin but powerful laptops such as the P34W v3 which we reviewed not so long ago. There is a wide array of options when it comes to selecting a graphics card including the GTX 965M, 970M and 980M.

The P37 and P35 also feature a hot-swappable ODD/HDD bay which enhances the device’s storage capabilities. Interestingly, the P37 contains exclusive Macro Keys and a Macro Hub which allows for a whole host of unique and complex commands.  The 15″ P55 and 17″ P57 adopt a beautiful matte black finish and choice between the GTX 956M or 970M. In terms of optical media, both laptops can be fitted with an optional Blu-Ray drive.

Moving onto the 15″ P15 and 17″ P17 which provides a superb gaming experience on a tight budget. Both of these models are powered by the GTX 950M GPU and includes a swappable HDD/ODD tray. Additional, each version contains an attractive cover with sleek angular diamond lines.

Are you looking to get a Skylake-powered laptop?

Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information.