The Best Shop For Electronics & Photography The Best Deals Are Here Mon, 13 Jan 2020 11:28:18 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 The Best Shop For Electronics & Photography 32 32 What is Dolby Vision? Sun, 12 Jan 2020 14:51:14 +0000 THE DYNAMIC HDR FORMAT TOTALLY DISCUSSED Of all the brand-new TELEVISION technologies to emerge over the last couple of years, it’s arguable that none has actually had as huge an influence on total photo quality as High Dynamic Variety, or HDR. When properly executed, HDR can make a substantial distinction in viewed image quality. We […]

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Of all the brand-new TELEVISION technologies to emerge over the last couple of years, it’s arguable that none has actually had as huge an influence on total photo quality as High Dynamic Variety, or HDR. When properly executed, HDR can make a substantial distinction in viewed image quality.

We believe it has been more impactful than the move from Complete HD( 1080p )to 4K Ultra HD and even 8K resolution. However not all HDR is created equivalent; in reality, HDR is a catch-all term. It describes several unique and competitive innovations. The one with the most significant brand name acknowledgment is Dolby Vision. Dolby Labs has actually done such a great task of marketing Dolby Vision as its own platform, that people aren’t aware that it’s an HDR format. That should not be a surprise: Televisions that have this technology, are frequently labeled as “4K HDR TV with Dolby Vision” making it seem as though the 2 terms aren’t related.

However what is it?

How is it various than other HDR formats?

And more importantly, how can you get it at home?

What is HDR?

Before we enter into Dolbys technology particularly, let’s quickly wrap up HDR in basic. High Dynamic Range is a technology that lets filmmakers and content creators produce videos with increased brightness, higher color precision, and much better contrast than what was formerly possible. While HDR is often used in high-quality theaters, it has also ended up being increasingly popular for home viewing. When HDR content is seen on a quality HDR-compatible TELEVISION, you can tell immediately. As the boost in overall photo quality is remarkable, using a touch of cinematic quality on the small screen.

There are five significant HDR formats to talk about for home use: Two fixed formats and 3 dynamic ones.

The 2 static formats are HDR10, the version that every HDR-capable TV supports, and HLG, a version created for broadcast applications. Static in this case means that the data needed to reveal HDR material is determined when based upon the whole motion picture. When the video begins to play, that information does not alter.

The 3 dynamic formats consist of Advanced HDR by Technicolor. Two far more typically known formats for the home: HDR10+, a license-free format established in part by Samsung/ Also Dolby Vision. Unlike fixed formats, dynamic formats can adapt as you enjoy, improving or decreasing HDR aspects based on each scene. This goes down to a frame-by-frame level of detail. It takes way more data to do HDR in this manner, but specialists agree: Being able to fine-tune color, contrast, and brightness for each scene can have a huge influence on HDR quality.

So what’s so unique about Dolby Vision?

It is a proprietary, vibrant HDR format developed by Dolby Labs. By adjusting the photo on a scene-by-scene(and even frame-by-frame)basis, it lets you see more detail with better color accuracy. It is constantly making changes so that each image on the screen is enhanced. But there’s more to it than that. In addition to the ability for content creators to fine-tune image settings at an extremely granular level, It supports a much larger range of possible settings than the more standard(and fixed)HDR10. For instance, HDR10 supports a maximum photo brightness of 1,000 nits for TVs. Dolby Vision can go much brighter– as much as 10,000 nits.

The exact same is true for color accuracy. HDR10 lets content developers define color utilizing 10 bits data, whereas Dolby Vision supports as much as 12 bits. That spec may not appear like a huge offer. After all, that’s only a distinction of 2 bits. However it makes a big difference. With 10 bits, you can select from amongst 1,024 tones of each primary color, which offers you over a billion overall possible colors. Once again, that sounds substantial till you recognize that 12 bits give you 4,096 shades and a total of over 68 billion colors.

If that sounds like overkill, when it pertains to your TELEVISION, it is. For the moment, there are no Televisions you can purchase that can displaying 10,000 bits of brightness or the 68 billion colors. Even the brightest TVs on the market tend to max out at 2,000 bits of brightness.Not even LG’s newest 8K OLED TELEVISION deals much better than 10-bit color assistance. That said, TELEVISION innovation is advancing extremely quickly so Dolbys technology currently above-and-beyond specs may seem completely reasonable in another 5 years.

What about HDR10+?

The Samsung-backed HDR10+ format is similar to Dolby Vision because it’s a vibrant format that can optimize on-screen images on a scene-by-scene basis. It has support for greater brightness and color-depth than the HDR10. But it does not go as far as Dolby does in its specs. In theory, this indicates that you’ll get improved outcomes with Dolby Vision. However for now, the biggest distinction in between the two requirements is availability.

A Couple of devices currently support HDR10+ and even fewer sources offer  HDR10+, If you’re questioning future assistance for these completing formats,  remember: Any device that presently supports Dolby Vision should have the ability to support HDR10+ too, via a firmware upgrade. There would be little cost to makers that chose to do this. The same is not real for Dolby Vision, which includes a licensing expense in addition to the cost of developing the firmware itself.

Which Televisions support Dolby Vision?

While Dolby Vision is more popular than HDR10+, not all brand-new TVs are compatible. One popular brand that does not support it is Samsung, which is all in on HDR10+. Significant brand names that offer Dolby Vision include LG, TCL, Vizio, and Sony. Check out the TV as support can vary from design and model. Prior to buying, make certain to check out the full specs for the design you’re thinking about. If it deals with Dolby it will say so.

What else do I need for Dolby Vision?

You’ll need a source of Dolby Vision video. Lots of 4K Ultra HD Blu-rays support it, and video streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have a good selection in the format. Disney+ and Apple TELEVISION+ both have deep support for Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. Where you won’t find it is relayed tv, HDR content from over-the-air channels is unusual, and when it’s offered it utilizes either HDR10 or HLG .

You Need A Dolby capable gadget

If you utilize a set-top box, game console, or Blu-ray gamer for your streaming video content, it also requires to be Dolby Vision-compatible. Not all of them are. Roku streaming gadgets like the Roku Streaming Stick+. These just support HDR10. By contrast, some Roku TVs, like those made by TCL, do support Dolby Vision.

The Apple TV 4K supports Vision, but the Apple TV HD doesn’t. Amazon’s 4K Fire TELEVISION Stick is among the couple of gadgets that supports all four of the leading HDR formats: HDR10, HLG, HDR10 +, and Dolby Vision.

Nvidia’s older Guard TV streamers do not support it, however the 2019 Nvidia Guard TV and Shield TELEVISION Pro do.

Microsoft’s Xbox One S and One X have actually supported Dolby Vision given that 2018, however you won’t discover it on the basic Xbox One.

Sony’s PlayStations do not support Vision.Once again, it pays to do your research.

In conclusion

Lastly, if your picked Dolby device requires an HDMI cable televisionmake sure you purchase an HDMI cable that is suitable with Dolby Vision. Any cable television that bears the “HDMI Premium Qualified”label is ideal.

Cable televisions that are rated for lower speeds might work.  However be prepared in the event that they don’t.

 What else do you need to know?

We have discovered circumstances where even if you have a Dolby Vision source, playback device, and TV, you still do not get Dolby Vision. One current example originates from Disney +. Where some audiences were amazed to discover they still weren’t getting Dolby Vision on their Xbox consoles. The reason? The Xbox Disney+ app does not yet support Dolby Vision. Even though numerous titles on the service are labeled Dolby Vision.

Another problem you might have found out about other associations with Dolby Vision and Disney+. Some experts have disagreed with how The Mandalorian– a special Disney + streaming looks. They state it looks too dark, and that even the brightest screens aren’t as brilliant as they expect from a Dolby Vision title. Are they right? As it ends up, yes and no. Yes, The Mandalorian looks dark. But it’s not the fault of Dolby Vision or Disney +’s handling of Dolby Vision. Rather, the show’s creators made a choice to scale back on the brightness .they did this  in order to infuse the scenes with a more mournful tone.

The secret here is this: Even if a movie or show is offered in Dolby Vision, it doesn’t mean you’ll experience every possible color. Creators will still pick to utilize Dolby Vision to express their imaginative intent.

At CES 2020,

Dolby Labs debuted a brand-new video technology called Dolby Vision IQ. You can think of it as an enhancement to the original: It uses light sensing units built into brand-new IQ-enabled Televisions. This software can enhance Dolby material based on the ambient light in your room. In this way, Dolby ends up being even more dynamic: It changes the extra color and contrast information on a scene by scene basis. Then changes it once again based upon your viewing conditions. At the minute, only LG and Panasonic support IQ, but more makers are expected soon.

So there you have it.

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Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro Sun, 12 Jan 2020 14:30:01 +0000 SAMSUNG INTRODUCES GALAXY XCOVER PRO The Pro that was unveiled recently in Finland alongside the Galaxy A51 and Galaxy A71. It now gets an introduction by Samsung. The Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro is an enterprise-ready rugged mobile phone. It is targeted at organisation experts and field employees. It includes Samsung KNOX to secure essential business […]

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The Pro that was unveiled recently in Finland alongside the Galaxy A51 and Galaxy A71. It now gets an introduction by Samsung. The Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro is an enterprise-ready rugged mobile phone. It is targeted at organisation experts and field employees. It includes Samsung KNOX to secure essential business info. Also there’s Microsoft Teams in tow with walkie-talkie capability.

The Galaxy XCover Pro supports Samsung POS, which permits the phone to be utilized at the mobile-based point of sale. Besides, it comes with features that let you track inventory and scan barcodes. The Galaxy XCover Pro has 2 programmable buttons that can be personalized, (to perform different actions with a click -like opening an app and turning on the flashlight). The phone is IP68-certified for water and dust resistance. It and can survive drops from a height of as much as 1.5 m. It can hold up against severe weather as testified by its MIL-STD-810G certification

Xcover Pro Specs

The Pro is constructed around a 6.3″FHD + Infinity Show. Which can be used with gloves and even when it’s damp. On the inside, the XCover Pro has an Exynos 9611 SoC with 4GB RAM. It has Android 10 and has 64GB of storage onboard. Thjis can be expanded by approximately 512GB using a microSD card. The Galaxy XCover Pro has a dual video camera on the back.-25MP f/1.7 and 8MP f/2.2 modules.

For selfies and video calls, there’s a 13MP f/2.0 camera on the front inside.

Samsung introduces Galaxy XCover Pro, for real this time

The Samsung  XCover Pro includes a side-mounted fingerprint reader and packs an NFC chip. It ships with a 4,050 mAh detachable battery. Which supports 15W quickly charging. The XCover Pro will go on sale beginning January 31 for EUR500.

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Google tests biometric support for its autofill function on Android Sun, 12 Jan 2020 14:29:57 +0000 You may well already have the Google autofill function, which remembers your passwords, addresses, credit cards, and other details. Then puts them into folders for you on Android and inside Chrome. Now it looks as though the tool is getting a security boost. As spotted by XDA Developers, Android code that’s not yet been allowed […]

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You may well already have the Google autofill function, which remembers your passwords, addresses, credit cards, and other details. Then puts them into folders for you on Android and inside Chrome. Now it looks as though the tool is getting a security boost.

As spotted by XDA Developers, Android code that’s not yet been allowed recommends biometric authentication. This will soon be added to the auto fill function. So you’ll require a fingerprint or a face unlock to utilize it.

At the moment, anybody who gets access to your Android phone or Chrome web internet browser can utilize the information held by autofill. They can log into sites, complete forms with your information, and so on.

That’s why having some form of lock screen security is so crucial on a smart device. Since as far as auto fill and most of your apps are concerned, as soon as you get past that phase, you are who you say you are.

Security initially

This extra biometric security layer, will bring Google’s aut ofill more into line with third-party password supervisors. The majority of these apps need a fingerprint or face unlock before they’ll release your details.

Based on the early code it looks as though biometrics will be able to be used for both payment info and login credentials, with toggle switches for each. The settings can be discovered under Languages &  input in the System menu in Android settings.

Probably if the feature does happen, it’ll support the most recent Face Unlock technology. Google has used this on the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL, both of which let you avoid the lock screen using facial recognition.

This code isn’t evidence that the autofill security upgrade is on the way, however it certainly makes sense for Google to implement it. We might hear more about it– and about Android 11– at the Google IO developer conference in May.

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Acer Swift 3 evaluation Sun, 12 Jan 2020 07:19:44 +0000 Acer Swift 3 The Acer Swift 3’s discrete graphics inject a shot of efficiency in an otherwise plain laptop. Solid efficiency Entry-level gaming thanks to discrete GPU Very good battery life Comfy keyboard and touch pad Great value The Acer Swift is efficient and offers discrete graphics. However, effective graphics and an economical price don’t […]

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Acer Swift 3

  • The Acer Swift 3’s discrete graphics inject a shot of efficiency in an otherwise plain laptop.
  • Solid efficiency
  • Entry-level gaming thanks to discrete GPU
  • Very good battery life
  • Comfy keyboard and touch pad
  • Great value

The Acer Swift is efficient and offers discrete graphics. However, effective graphics and an economical price don’t generally go together. That can be an issue for students or creative specialists on a budget. Acer’s 2019 refresh of its Swift 3 14-inch laptop computer is a prime example. It’s ideal at the premium cutoff of $1,000 and it consists of an Nvidia GeForce MX150 that’s excellent enough for light video gaming and accelerating innovative applications.

Acer sent us the high-end configuration that costs $1,000. It’s fully equipped, sporting

  • an 8th-gen Whiskey Lake Core i7-8565U CPU,
  • 8GB of RAM,
  • a 256GB PCIe solid-state drive (SSD),
  • and a 14-inch IPS Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) screen.

The previous version of the laptopv cost $680 for the very same quantity of RAM and storage however with a Core i5. Plus it was limited to integrated Intel HD graphics. Does the change in processor and graphics power do enough to call for the considerably greater price?

Acer Swift silver chassis …

The Acer Swift 3 has a silver, all-aluminum chassis with chrome chamfered edges, and black trim around the screen,  Simply put, it’s similar to every other clamshell laptop with a silver chassis and comparable trimmings. It looks a lot like the Acer Swift 5, just smaller sized, while another 14-inch laptop computer, the Asus ZenBook 14 UX433, is far more striking and vibrant.

Not every all-aluminum chassis is developed the very same, though. The lid and keyboard deck are just a bit too flexible. There’s insufficient give to make us question its durability. However we like the ZenBook 14 and Asus ZenBook 13 UX333 for their more solid chassis (and their MIL-STD-810g accreditation that promises sturdiness). Once again, the Swift 3 is fine, but it’s not the very best we’ve tested. The Swift 3 loses to the ZenBook 14 is in terms of its chassis size.

Asus has actually completely embraced the tiny bezel motion, and the ZenBook’s 92 percent screen-to-body ratio is a class leader. That makes the Swift 3’s side bezels– though smaller sized than the previous generation– and rather large top and bottom bezels seem comically big in comparison. Those bezels let the ZenBook 14 available in at 12.56 inches broad by 7.83 inches deep, compared to the Swift 3 at 12.72 inches by 8.98 inches.

More About The build

The Acer Swift 3 is thinner than the ZenBook 14, at 0.59 inches versus 0.63 inches, and that’s a plus. It’s much heavier, however, at 2.98 pounds compared to 2.62 pounds. The size of the Swift 3 is extremely near the Huawei MateBook X Pro with its less common 3:2 element ratio 14-inch display screen is really close at 0.57 inches and 2.9 pounds. That makes the Acer 3 thin and light for a 14-inch laptop.

Connectivity is decent for such a thin laptop, with a USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 port supporting display and power, 2 USB-A 3.0 ports, and a full-size HDMI port. There’s no SD card reader, which is a disappointment, but there’s a Kensington Lock slot for the security-conscious.

Wireless connection is cutting edge, with an Intel combination chip that offers gigabit Wi-Fi 802.11 a/c and the most recent Bluetooth 5.0.  You will not have the ability to link an external GPU, therefore the integrated graphics will need to fit you.


The keyboard is simply a touch too firm Getting the best keyboard feel isbe a difficult. Too loose or mushy or too tight, and long typing sessions can be stressful. The Swift 3‘s rather normal island keyboard with black chiclet secrets falls just inside that spectrum. It has adequate travel and a nice click, making it exact. However the mechanism is simply the slightest bit too firm.

The ZenBook 14 and the Dell XPS 13 have stylish keyboards  with a lighter touch, making them somewhat more comfy. The Swift 3’s plastic touchpad is less enigmatic. It takes up the readily available space on the keyboard deck and allows for comfy swiping.  Its plastic texture provides simply the right mix of smooth feedback. It’s a Microsoft Precision touchpad therefore it supports the complete variety of Windows 10 multitouch gestures. It’s the equal of the best Windows touchpads around.

The display isn’t touch-enabled, though, which’s a disappointment. When you have actually gotten used to quickly tapping buttons and scrolling long web pages with a finger and a thumb, it feels odd when a screen doesn’t react. There are some small weight and power cost savings, not to point out the expense, however at $1,000, the Swift 3 feels insufficient without a touchscreen.

Finally, the Swift 3 counts on a finger print scanner to the right of the keyboard for Windows 10 password-less login. We had some problem training it, and then it wasn’t constantly responsive in real-life use. Hopefully, that’s something Acer can enhance with a software application update.

Acer Swift Full HD display

Acer uses the Swift 3 with simply one screen choice: A shiny 14-inch Full HD (1,920 x 1,080 or 157 PPI) screen. It’s sharp enough for a lot of users, and as an IPS panel, it promises good viewing angles and a pleasant experience.

According to our colorimeter, that’s precisely what you’re getting. The display is right in line with other contemporary mainstream laptop computer panels. That means it’s an excellent screen that the majority of people will enjoy. However it may not fulfill the requirements of creative types.

Brightness was listed below our preferred 300 nit threshold, at 260 nits. It will be intense enough for the typical office.  However extreme overhead lighting and definitely sunlight will overwhelm things and make the display screen tough to check out. The contrast was simply okay at 710:1, which is ideal in the middle of our contrast group, ahead of the Lenovo Yoga C930 however behind the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon and XPS 13.

Unless you’re a creative expert, the Swift 3’s screen ought to satisfy.

The color range is also typical, at 73 percent of AdobeRGB. All however spending plan screens fall in this range, and you’ll wish to look at more premium choices to get into the 90 percent range that assures the best colors for image and video modifying. The ThinkPad X1 Carbon is slightly much better while the ZenBook 14 and Yoga C930 are slightly worse. Color precision was 1.34, which is very good (less than 1.0 is considered outstanding) and ahead of all the laptops in our comparison group.

Lastly, gamma is a bit off at 2.1 (2.2 is best), implying that Netflix videos will be a bit brighter than the should. In general, though, we found the display rather enjoyable to utilize. It doesn’t stand out, however unless you’re an innovative type trying to find a really vibrant screen, then the Swift 3’s panel need to satisfy.

The audio didn’t impress us one way or another. The dual downward-firing speakers on the bottom of the chassis provided plenty of volume without considerable distortion, however the quality didn’t rise above the common laptop experience. There’s no bass to mention, therefore you’ll want to pull out some headphones to really enjoy your tunes and Netflix binging.

Strong but not spectacular efficiency

The Swift 3 runs on the current and biggest Intel CPU, the Scotch Lake 8th-generation quad-core Core i7-8565U. In our experience, that generally indicates solid productivity performance and excellent performance.

We used our normal benchmark tests and found that the Swift 3 makes good use of its parts. In the Geekbench 4 artificial benchmark, the Acer scored 5,231 in the single-core test and 15,116 in the multi-core test. That’s in line with the same CPU amongst our contrast group in the single-core criteria, and right in the middle when utilizing numerous cores.

In our Handbrake test that encodes a 420MB video to H. 265, the Swift 3 finish in 269 seconds. That’s not as fast as the ZenBook 14 or Dell Inspiron 13 7386, however it matches the XPS 13. The Core i5-8250 in the ThinkPad X1 Carbon was much slower at 370 seconds.

The Kingston PCIe SSD, on the other hand, was slower than we like. It scored 857 megabytes per 2nd (MB/s) in the CrystalDiskMark 5.x read test and 765 MB/s in the compose test. Those ratings aren’t terrific for PCIe drives, with the Swift 3 coming close to the ZenBook 14’s performance but falling well behind the remainder of the field in read performance.

If you can step down in performance, then there’s a Core i5-8265U choice that will save some cash. Oddly, you can upgrade to a 512GB SSD with the Core i5 however there’s no option for the bigger capability to opt for the much faster Core i7. The Swift 3 is not user-upgradeable.

Thermal performance was a real strength of the Swift 3. During our most aggressive screening, consisting of encoding a video, running our gaming criteria, and running 3DMark tension tests, the chassis never got more than warm, and the fans were never too loud. The highest temperature we measured was on the bottom near the rear, which only reached 101 degrees F.

Overall, you’re getting plenty of performance for the laptop’s $1,000 cost– you might spend hundreds more and not see a significant distinction. The laptop computer is plenty fast for whatever productivity task you throw at it, and then the discrete GPU means that imaginative applications can enjoy a genuine increase also.

Entry-level video gaming is in the cards

Nvidia’s GeForce MX150 graphics typically guarantee entry-level gaming efficiency that’s a genuine step up from Intel’s incorporated GPUs. We were anticipating seeing if the Swift 3 would make great usage of that additional video gaming performance.

Performance testing

First, we ran the 3DMark Fire Strike test, where the Swift 3 scored 2,607. That’s more than twice as fast as our comparison laptops with incorporated Intel UHD 620 graphics, and somewhat much better than the MX150-equipped version of the ZenBook 14.

To gauge the Swift 3 in regards to its real-world performance, we ran a number of video gaming standards that are in line with the level of CPU. In Civilization VI, the Acer managed a playable 37 frames per second (FPS) at 1080p and medium graphics, which dropped to 16 FPS at ultra graphics. In Fortnite, the Swift 3 struck 32 FPS at 1080p and high graphics and 28 FPS at ultra graphics. That makes the Acer somewhat faster than the ZenBook 14 in Civilization VI and nearly identical in Fortnite.

While the laptop computer can’t keep up with those running much faster GeForce GTX or RTX GPUs, it’s good enough for esports titles and for some modern titles at 1080p and with the graphical quality refused. More importantly, it’s significantly much better than laptop computers that are limited to Intel’s integrated graphics.

Battery life is strong if you’re not pushing the CPU

The Swift 3 packs in 50 watt-hours of battery capability, which is a little light for a 14-inch laptop computer that doesn’t try to be the tiniest around. The Scotch Lake 8th-gen CPU is efficient, and the Full HD resolution suggests the battery won’t be taxed by powering too many pixels.

Acer Swift Testing

In our standard tests, the Acer succeeded, but it didn’t break any records. In our most requiring Basemark web benchmark, for example, the Swift 3 handled simply over 3 hours. Which is lower than the ZenBook 14’s somewhat more than four hours and the ThinkPad X1 Carbon’s 6 hours.

Unless you’re pressing the CPU, the Swift 3 will likely last you a complete working day.

In our web searching test, the Swift 3 was more powerful at 9 hours, vanquishing the ZenBook 14’s roughly 8 hours and destroying the ThinkPad X1 Carbon’s six and a half hours. And when looping our regional test Avengers trailer, the Swift 3 was once again really strong at over 15 hours. The ZenBook 14 barely lasted 11 hours, and the ThinkPad X1 Carbon petered out after just eight hours.

The bottom line is that unless you’re pushing the CPU, the Swift 3 will likely last you a full working day. Note that engaging the discrete GPU during video gaming and while running creativity applications will suck down a lot more power.

Acer Swift Conclusion

In the beginning the Acer Swift 3 is underwhelming. It’s not fantastic looking, its build quality is excellent but not terrific, and its rate appears a little high. However then when you consider the discrete GPU, look at its strong efficiency, and then consider its excellent battery life. Then the Swift 3 becomes a more compelling option.

Is there a much better option?

If we look specifically at 14-inch laptops, the Asus ZenBook 14 is the most direct contrast. It’s much smaller thanks to some tiny bezels, it offers comparable performance, but its battery life can’t keep up. You could buy the MX150 variation in the United States at $1,300 with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. If you can deal with integrated graphics, then the ZenBook 14 is likewise $1,000 for a Core i5-8265U CPU, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD.

You could likewise think about the Asus ZenBook 13 if you want to drop down a bit in screen size. The current UX333 version sports the exact same excellent looks as the ZenBook 13. You’ll lose the discrete GPU and you’ll step down in processor performance. However you’ll also pay just $850 for a Core i5-8265U, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD. And the ZenBook 13’s display has far better contrast and is a really enjoyable panel overall.

If you’re willing to leap up in rate, then the Huawei MateBook X Pro is a good option. It offers a beautiful 3:2 display screen that’s terrific for performance, and offers strong build quality. It’s significantly more pricey, however, at over $2,000 for similarly equipped devices.

The length of time will it last?

The Acer Swift 3 isn’t the most robust construction around, however it should still last you as long along time. There’s a basic 1-year guarantee that, as usual, is disappointing however an industry requirement.

Should you purchase the Acer Swift?

Yes. If you’re in the market for a workhorse 14-inch laptop with some gaming and imaginative chops. It will keep you working all day long and won’t break the bank. The Swift 3 is a great choice.

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Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Gen 2 Sun, 12 Jan 2020 06:58:48 +0000 Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet Gen 2 Here is what you get with the Lenovo ThinkPad X1. “The Lenovo’ThinkPad X1 Tablet is a workhorse 2-in-1, but it’s expensive.” Solid productivity performance Excellent detachable keyboard Unique expansion options Fanless design Strong build quality test for MIL-SPEC 810G Not as sleek as Surface Pro Can get hot when […]

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Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet Gen 2

Here is what you get with the Lenovo ThinkPad X1.

“The Lenovo’ThinkPad X1 Tablet is a workhorse 2-in-1, but it’s expensive.”

  • Solid productivity performance
  • Excellent detachable keyboard
  • Unique expansion options
  • Fanless design
  • Strong build quality test for MIL-SPEC 810G
  • Not as sleek as Surface Pro
  • Can get hot when working hard
  • Display doesn’t measure up for the price
  • Battery life is just ok

Microsoft wanted Windows 2-in-1s to happen so badly that it stopped waiting for the OEMs and built its own. After years of mixed results, devices like the Surface Pro and the Surface Book are highly regarded today. Showing the world just how useful a Windows tablet can be. That has left computer manufacturers in the odd position of trying to catch up with Microsoft,and increasingly, they’re succeeding.

The latest ThinkPad

Lenovo’s latest Surface competitor, the ThinkPad X1 Tablet, is currently in its second generation. It could be one of the recent success stories. The device, which comes complete with a ThinkPad keyboard and ThinkPad Pen Pro. It starts at $1,449.

It has a seventh-generation Intel Core i5-7Y54 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 128G SSD. The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet reviewed was priced at $1,689, and upgraded to Intel’s Core i5-7Y57, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD. That places it at about $130 less than the price of the similarly equipped Microsoft Surface Pro.

Can the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet Gen 2 manage to be a tablet and a ThinkPad? And is there any reason to get this over a Surface Pro?

Effective, though confusing at first

The ThinkPad brand has had a particular look since the 90s, and Lenovo has always been careful to respect that. The ThinkPad X1 Tablet Gen 2 brings that look to the tablet market. With some obvious influence from the Surface Pro line thrown in. The result is exactly what you’d expect when you hear the words “ThinkPad tablet. Right down to the defined corners and the iconic face of the keyboard.

When we first picked up the ThinkPad X1 Tablet, we were slightly puzzled. The keyboard attachment and the tablet were easy to identify Putting them together isn’t rocket science by any means. A secure magnetic latch snaps into place and holds firm. But to sit everything on a desk or table, the user needs to unlock the metal kickstand on the back. The mechanism’s workings aren’t obvious at a glance.

ThinkPad X1 Tablet Gen 2 is easy to set

Once you work this out, using the ThinkPad X1 Tablet Gen 2 is easy. To adjust the angle of the screen, just adjust the kickstand. The hinge is solid, and its presence means the keyboard doesn’t have to serve as counterweight to the tablet, which saves both space and weight. Overall, the design is just as solid as typical for the ThinkPad line, with the machine tested to meet MIL-SPEC 810G requirements for durability.

This otherwise top-heavy tablet works comfortably docked on a desk, or even your lap. The Lenovo also differs from the Surface Pro and similar machines in that the kickstand hinge is at the bottom rather than the middle of the chassis. The kickstand therefore levers downward to lay flat on a surface — which does tend to make it a more comfortable laptop experience than Microsoft’s design.

Size of the Tablet

The tablet is 11.45 by 8.24 inches, and weighs 2.4 pounds with the keyboard attached, dimensions that are the same as the original model. The tablet itself is .33 inches thick, which is the same as the Surface Pro and slightly thicker than the iPad Pro’s .27 inches. The ThinkPad X1’s keyboard attachment is .20 inches thick, so everything is just over a half inch thick when docked and closed.

These dimensions make the ThinkPad X1 Tablet relatively large and heavy for a 2-in-1. However, a total thickness of a half-inch with keyboard isn’t massive, and the size never annoyed us. Overall, the ThinkPad X1 manages to be like a tablet and a ThinkPad all at once, which isn’t easy to pull off.

ThinkPad X1 input devices

Our ThinkPad X1 Tablet came with five distinct input devices. There’s the touchscreen, the optional ThinkPad Pen Pro, and the keyboard attachment, which in addition to its keys offers a touchpad and a trackpointer.

The touchscreen felt great in our tests. The surface was smooth and consistent, as you’d expect, and gestures were all correctly identified. And if you want more precision than your greasy fingers can offer, the ThinkPad Pen Pro delivers. It makes stylus input quite natural, and works well with the Windows 10 desktop . Hover a bit above the screen and you’ll see a pointer, which makes it easy to avoid accidentally tapping a button or icon. Naturally, the Pen Pro supports all of the usual Windows 10 Ink functionality.

The design is just as solid as usual for the ThinkPad line, highlighted by MIL-SPEC 810G durability testing.


While the ThinkPad X1 Tablet keyboard doesn’t quite measure up to the keyboard on a ThinkPad laptop, it comes close. The keys are what you’d expect from a ThinkPad. They’re well-spaced, and give enough feedback for touch typists to develop a flow. Of course, certain compromises had to be made to fit a keyboard into a small cover, so don’t expect the full ThinkPad keyboard experience. The depth of each keystroke is noticeably shorter, which dampens the tactile experience. Having said that, this is the closest thing to a ThinkPad keyboard available for any tablet, and is among the nicest tablet keyboards we’ve used.

The keyboard is backlit with two brightness levels and an ambient light sensor for automatic brightness, though backlighting is disabled by default. To enable it, you’ll need to hold “Fn” and hit “Space,” which are easy enough keys to find in the dark. Speaking of the keys, some were in odd places, such as the left Fn and Ctrl keys that are reversed and take some real getting used to.

Some magnets placed in the keyboard cover snap onto the bezel, giving you a pleasant angle for typing. Typing is easier at an angle, but this arrangement does create some keyboard flexing that makes typing a bit louder. That could be a problem if you’re using the tablet beside a sensitive neighbor.

Bill Roberson/ Digital Trends

The Touchpad

The touchpad is quite small, two by three and a half inches.
Input was accurate, and the texture is pleasant.
As with most ThinkPad touchpads, it’s smaller than it could be because of the
need to offer buttons to trackpointer users.
Speaking of, there’s the trackpoint, the longtime staple of the ThinkPad line.
It honestly seems like an anachronism on a tablet, but we’re sure longtime
ThinkPad fans will enjoy its inclusion. It works well, as usual, with smooth
tracking that offers another efficient control option.

Users hoping to login to their tablet without a touchpad will enjoy the Windows Hello compatible fingerprint reader. It’s located next to the display on the right-hand side, so it’s readily accessible no matter how you’re using the 2-in-1 device.

Not many ports, but you can buy attachments for more

The ThinkPad X1 Tablet offers one USB 3.0 port on the side of the tablet itself, alongside a USB type-C port for connecting the tablet to a power supply. A mini-DisplayPort makes it possible to connect external displays, and a headphone jack works with external speakers. There’s also a microSD port.

Battery life was improved over the previous model but could certainly be better.

There are no ports whatsoever on the keyboard, but Lenovo has left room for more with a unique module system. You can snap attachments between the keyboard and the tablet, giving you extra features.  A $150 productivity module gives you an HDMI port, a Onelink+ Port for docking, another USB 3.0 port, and a two-cell battery rated for five additional hours of usage. Another attachment offers a built-in projector. We weren’t able to try any of these attachments out, but they’re interesting in concept.

Wireless capabilities are handled by the Intel 8265AC+BT card, which provides 2×2 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.1 connectivity. There’s also a NanoSIM port for adding in cellular connectivity.

The display gets the job done

The 12-inch display offered by the ThinkPad X1 Tablet offers a resolution of 2,160 by 1,440, which is generous. The display is unchanged on the updated version. Despite being relatively small, there always seems to be room to work.

Color is more of an issue. Our results showed the Tablet X1 Gen 2 hitting just 69 percent of the AdobeRGB standard, which isn’t terrible, but is one of the lower results we’ve seen among high-end devices lately. The sRGB scale rating was 93 percent, which is also below average for the class. Microsoft’s Surface Pro hit 71 percent and 96 percent, and Samsung’s Galaxy Book 12 hit 98 and 100 percent, respectively. Color accuracy wasn’t bad, however, at 1.99, although scores less than 1.0 are considered excellent in this test.

Bill Roberson/ Digital Trends

In conclusion

Numbers are one thing. Experience is another. While the X1 doesn’t quite measure up on paper, it’s still good enough to deliver an enjoyable experience, and it’s certainly a great productivity experience with its sharpness and solid — albeit slightly muted colors.

Moving on to live action, we watched the trailer for Star Trek Beyond. It was easy to make out every detail of the unnecessary chaos and carnage, even in darker scenes with a lot of shadow. The spirit of exploration and hopefulness that once defined this franchise could not be detected, but that is no fault of the display.

If anything, the ThinkPad X1’s lackluster showing is evidence of how far mobile PC displays have come. You might think it’s fine if it’s all you ever saw. When placed next to a Surface Pro or Samsung Galaxy Book, though, its flaws are easy to notice.

Grab your headphones. Seriously.

Audio is a different matter. Everything is clear and easy to make out, but bass and midrange tones are muddled. You can’t really rock out to these speakers, but you’ll be able to make out music or podcasts from across the room. External speakers or headphones are highly recommended.

Of course, many small PCs suffer speaker woes. Yet we’ve noticed some improvement in this area. The Samsung Galaxy Book was very strong, and Huawei’s super-thin Matebook X laptop delivers incredible volume for its size.

A powerful mobile processor

The ThinkPad X1 Tablet Gen 2 is now powered by a seventh-generation Intel Core i5-7Y57 processor. The Core Y-Series (which used to be labeled with the M designation) isn’t as powerful as the better-known Core i5 and i7, as it seeks to balance performance with better battery life.

Performance was good enough that we forgot this entire machine was crammed into a tablet form factor.

Our more demanding Handbrake test, however, which encodes a 420MB video file to H.265 format, tells a different story. In this test, The ThinkPad X1 Tablet Gen 2 took 1,810 seconds to complete the run, which is second only to the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 that, surprisingly, uses the somewhat faster Core i7-7Y75. Other Intel Core-based systems posted much stronger scores, demonstrating that there’s a reason why the Core Y-Series is reserved to thin systems.

Day-to-day usage

In day-to-day usage, however, performance was good enough that we forgot this entire machine was crammed into a tablet form factor. Browsing the web and writing were no problem, and neither were more demanding productivity tasks. We just wouldn’t suggest you consider the machine if you need to perform more processor-intensive tasks such as video encoding. For that kind of work, the Surface Pro is a much better tablet choice.

Another important note is that this version of the ThinkPad X1 Tablet is fanless, just like the previous version. That means it stays completely silent no matter the workload. The back of the machine does become hot, however. That’s not as much of a concern with this class of machine when it’s upright on your lap, but it can get uncomfortable when you’re holding it in your hands.

Very solid state performance

The ThinkPad X1 Tablet Gen 2 stepped up to the excellent Samsung PM961 solid-state disk (SSD), which is an improvement over the previous model’s Samsung M.2 2280 SSD. Our review unit was equipped with the 256GB version of this drive, which is important, because the 128GB model uses the much slower SATA connection.

How fast is the drive? Simply put, it’s a significant improvement over the previous model. Our CrystalDiskMark benchmark showed a read speed of 1,478 megabytes per second, which is a very good score, although a little low for this SSD. Write speed came in at 1,237 MB/s, which is simply an excellent score. That places the ThinkPad X1 Tablet Gen 2 on solid footing compared to its competition.

In practice, the machine was just as fast as expected. It boots quickly, and opening and saving files was quick and efficient. You won’t find storage speed to be an issue with this detachable tablet.

Not much for gaming

There’s not a lot of room for dedicated graphics cards inside tablets, so they’re powered by on-board graphics. The ThinkPad X1 Tablet Gen 2 uses Intel HD graphics 615, which isn’t a powerhouse.

Not surprisingly, the Lenovo met our very low expectations. Its Fire Strike score of 688 is about what you’d expect, and slightly below the typical tablet. The Surface Pro’s Intel Iris Plus graphics were far more powerful in this test, as was the discrete Nvidia GeForce 940MX GPU in the much larger HP Spectre x360 15 2-in-1.

Testing Gaming

To see how this 2-in-1 handles real-world gaming, we fired up Civilization VI. We started at Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) resolution and Medium graphics options and not resolution, and proceeded to watch what was essentially a slide show. The ThinkPad X1 Tablet Gen 2 could only manage 7.7 frames per second (FPS) on these settings, which dropped to a little more than half when we ran the benchmark on Ultra graphics settings.

Obviously, detachable tablets aren’t meant for running modern games, and Lenovo’s latest version is no different. You can play some casual games and older titles if you like, but certainly don’t grab a tablet if hardcore gaming is anywhere on your horizon.

Light on its feet

This tablet weighs 2.4 pounds when docked with the keyboard, and is just over a half-inch thick total. It can easily fit in your bag, and is light enough that you’ll wonder multiple times during a long trip whether you’ve forgotten it somewhere. The ThinkPad X1 Tablet Gen 2 retains the 37 watt-hour battery of the previous model, which was a bit underwhelming in terms of longevity.

Intel’s more efficient seventh-generation CPU

Lenovo’s upgrade to Intel’s more efficient seventh-generation CPU did improve battery life. On our Peacekeeper battery benchmark, which runs several browser-based tasks on a loop until the battery ultimately dies, gave us five hours and two minutes, a stronger score than the last version’s three hours and four minutes of battery life. That puts the machine in a much more competitive position.

The new model fell off a bit in our web browsing loop, during which a number of popular websites are loaded automatically until the battery dies. It lasted only five hours and 20 minutes, compared to the previous model’s five hours and 46 minutes. The Gen 2 model battery redeemed itself a bit while looping a movie trailer, lasting eight hours and 16 minutes compared to the first generation’s seven hours and 40 minutes.

Bill Roberson/ Digital Trends

The improvements put the ThinkPad X1 Tablet Gen 2 in somewhat better standing against its competition. The Surface Pro, for example, ran for five hours and 21 minutes in our Peacekeeper test, just 19 minutes longer than the Lenovo, with an almost identical difference in our web browsing test. And the ThinkPad X1 Tablet surpassed the Samsung Galaxy Book 12 on both tests.

Further testing

The Lenovo did fall short in our video looping test, however. Both the Surface Pro and the Samsung Galaxy Book 12 exceeded 10 hours, while the ThinkPad X1 Tablet barely broke the eight-hour mark. That’s not a terrible score but it does fall short of its main competition.

Overall, battery life was improved over the previous model, but could certainly be better, which is probably why Lenovo is selling an attachment with an extra battery.


Lenovo didn’t overburden the ThinkPad X1 Tablet Gen 2, a Microsoft Signature Edition unit, with much extraneous software. In addition, to the usual Microsoft first-party Windows 10 apps and handful of games, there are a couple of useful Lenovo utilities. The Lenovo Settings app, in particular, is handy for getting at specialized settings like the Intelligent Cooling function that can keep things from getting too hot and the microphone settings to suppress keyboard noise while recording and optimize for voice communications.


Lenovo offers a one-year warranty for the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet Gen 2, which is standard for laptops and tablets.

Our Take

The ThinkPad X1 Tablet is not a perfect 2-in-1, but it is a good one. It offers a robust build that’s more resistant to dings and dents than most tablets, and its detachable keyboard is superior to most. It’s held back, however, by a mediocre display and so-so battery life, two traits important to every tablet.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Is there a better alternative?

The most obvious competitor to the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet Gen 2 is Microsoft’s new Surface Pro. They’re both priced similarly, for example. Our X1 review unit with an Intel Core i5-7Y57 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB SSD came in at $1,689. A similarly equipped Surface Pro with a faster Intel Core i5-7200U CPU goes for $1,299. However, Lenovo includes the keyboard and pen, while Microsoft’s Signature Type Cover is $160 and Surface Pen is $100. That means the ThinkPad X1 Tablet is just $130 more.

The Surface Pro wins out in terms of performance and battery life, however. It’s significantly faster, particularly in more processor-intensive tasks, even though it uses a full-power processor, it also lasts longer on a charge thanks to its larger battery. And, its display is significantly better than the one used on the ThinkPad X1 Tablet. Unless you need the ThinkPad’s more robust design, then it’s hard to recommend over Microsoft’s offering.

A 360-degree 2-in-1 is also a viable alternative to a detachable tablet today, and they tend to be a little more reasonably priced. The HP Spectre x360 13, for example, it runs at $1,090 with the same components.  Plus a 4K UHD (3,840 x 2,160) display. The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 is another great option, and it too is a bit more attractively priced at $1,400.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 How long will it last?

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet Gen 2 benefits from its USB Type-C port, generous connectivity add-ons, and durability. Its performance and battery life are enough to keep you going for years, at least in today’s and tomorrow’s productivity tasks. All in all, the machine is a solid long-term investment.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1Should you buy it?

Only if you need a MIL-SPEC tested tablet with numerous connectivity options. The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet Gen 2 is durable, and has many useful add-ons that most competitors don’t even try to offer. However, the X1 falls behind the Surface Pro in key areas, and it’s incredibly expensive.

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The best laptop Review Tue, 24 Dec 2019 07:08:35 +0000 Want a PC you can reach out and touch? These are the best touchscreen laptops By Mark Coppock December 21, 2019 10:00AM PST If you are looking for the best laptop around and want it to be touch screen then read on.The best touchscreen laptop you can buy is the HP Spectre x360 13. It’s super fast in […]

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Want a PC you can reach out and touch? These are the best touchscreen laptops

By Mark Coppock December 21, 2019 10:00AM PST

If you are looking for the best laptop around and want it to be touch screen then read on.The best touchscreen laptop you can buy is the HP Spectre x360 13. It’s super fast in both laptop and tablet mode, offering fantastic performance and portability. The added ability of its touchscreen give it a unique blend of ultra-functional computing that’s hard to beat for versatility.

But it’s not the only great touchscreen laptop out there. We’ve tested dozens of convertible laptops over the years, and we’ve got great recommendations for other brands, budget levels, and form factors. Below you will find a mixture of Chromebooks and Windows 10 PCs, with great budget and 15-inch models on offer across the board.

The best touchscreen laptops at a glance

HP Spectre x360 13 The best touchscreen laptop:

HP Spectre x360 13 (2019)

Why you should buy this: You want a flexible laptop that performs great in all categories.

HP Spectre x360 13 (2019)
HP Spectre x360 13 (2019)

HP Spectre x360 13 (2019)

An excellent laptop with incredible performance – this is an easy recommendation.$1,069 FROM AMAZON $850 FROM HP

Who’s it for: Professionals, perfectionists, and people who want a really good laptop.

Why we picked the HP Spectre x360 13:

It’s not often that we reward any laptops a perfect review score, but finding a laptop like the HP Spectre x360 13 is a rare occurrence. This incredible laptop has a beautiful “gem-cut” design, amazing battery life, a keyboard that feels great to use, and 2-in-1 features if you want to convert it to tablet form to sketch, takes notes, etc. It has a little of everything, and manages to do it all well.

The touchscreen itself is a bright HD display that comes with a handy power saving mode that can adjust the screen so your battery doesn’t waste too much juice on it. As can be expected with HP laptops, there are plenty of security features onboard, including a facial recognition camera and a fingerprint scanner. Ports include two USB-C with Thunderbolt 3 support, USB-A 3.1, and microSD.

The model we tested offered an 8th-gen Core i7 process, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD, but these specs can vary based on your picks, and you can make the laptop significantly more powerful if you want. Even better, HP has announced an updated Spectre x360 13 that fixes the 2-in-1’s main issue — huge bezels — with a tiny-bezel design, ramps up the power with Intel’s new 10th-gen CPUs, and offers a new 4K OLED display option.

Chromebook: HP Chromebook x2

HP Chromebook x2

Why you should buy this: It’s a versatile and affordable laptop with speedy Chrome OS.

HP Chromebook x2
HP Chromebook x2

HP Chromebook x2

An affordable and high-quality Chromebook.$458 FROM AMAZON $479 FROM WALMART

Who’s it for: Students, on-the-go people who don’t need much storage

Why we picked the HP Chromebook x2:

There are a lot of Chromebooks out there to choose from, but HP’s Chromebook x2 is one of the best choices. The 2-in-1 design of the 12.3-inch laptop makes it easy to detach and use as a tablet when necessary, while both front and rear cameras allow you to use the laptop in a variety of ways. The display offers a healthy 2,400 x 1,600 resolution.

The light Chrome OS doesn’t need much under the hood, which is why the Chromebook x2 gets along just fine with an Intel Core m3-7Y30 1GHz processor, 23GB of SSD storage, and 4GB of RAM. There’s a USB-C port for attaching various accessories and more data out of the Chromebook as you need to, which means this model pairs especially well with a compatible external hard drive if you need more storage.

While the keyboard feels excellent for a 2-in-1 model, we did notice that the laptop is a little wobbly when attached to the keyboard, which could be annoying for some users. Also note that while our battery test lasted only around four and a half hours, it did perform better than similar models like the Pixelbook and Surface Pro.

2-in-1: Microsoft Surface Pro 6 a great touch screen laptop

Microsoft Surface Pro 6

Why you should buy this: It’s the best 2-in-1 you can buy, hands down.

Microsoft Surface Pro 6
Microsoft Surface Pro 6

Microsoft Surface Pro 6

A remarkable 2-in-1 for the professional world and beyond with great performance and a gorgeous screen.$649 FROM AMAZON


Who’s it for: Mobile professionals and those who want a Windows 10 tablet.

Why we picked the Microsoft Surface Pro 6:

When paired with a Surface keyboard, the Surface Pro 6 is one of the best touchscreen laptops around, sporting a particularly excellent and lightweight design that is nonetheless quite durable. If you need Windows 10 on the go, especially in tablet form, the Pro 6 is absolutely worth a look. We were especially impressed with the excellent 12.3-inch display with its 2,736 x 1,824 resolution and high brightness levels.

Inside, the Pro 6 uses an Intel 8-gen quad-core processor (i5 or i7) that’s an upgrade from older models, although not at the level of Whiskey Lake chips. You have options for anywhere from 128GB to 1TB of storage, and either 8GB or 16GB of memory. The battery life is excellent, offering around 9.5 hours of web browsing and more than 14 hours of video playback.

On the downside, the Surface Pro 6 only comes with USB-A, mini-DisplayPort, and a microSD, so ports are a bit limited especially if you are looking for USB-C. Speaking of USB-C, Microsoft just announced the Surface Pro 7 that includes the more modern port as well as updates to Intel 10th-gen processors.

The best laptop under $500: Dell Inspiron 14 7000

Dell Inspiron 14 7000

Why you should buy this: A solid laptop that’s more affordable than ever.

Dell Inspiron 14 7000 Series
Dell Inspiron 14 7000

Dell Inspiron 14 7000 Series

An affordable, well-rounded laptop.$599 FROM AMAZON $358 FROM BLINQ

Who’s it for: Those who need a touchscreen on a budget but don’t want to sacrifice quality.

Why we picked the Dell Inspiron 14 7000:

This 14-inch Inspiron model offers a larger screen than many of our picks, and has a particularly low price for a lightweight touchscreen laptop, a great option for those looking to save money. The model has an Intel Core i5 processor and 6GB of RAM—upgrades to these specs are available, but that will also increase the cost. Storage, however, can easily go up to 1TB without affecting the price too much. Ports include USB-A 3.0, SD card slot, and HDMI and are well positioned, highlighting the strong design of this Dell laptop.

Of course, you do give up a bit for the lower price. The display is only 1080p, which serviceable for most tasks but disappointing if you were looking for ultra HD. There’s no USB-C option for more advanced connections either. Battery life is passable at around 8 hours and 10 minutes for our basic “Readers” test. Given the affordable price though, those negatives feel like understandable compromises.

The best laptop for students: Microsoft Surface Go

Microsoft Surface Go

Why you should buy this: This 2-in-1 is an easy, durable choice when you’re always on the move.

Microsoft Surface Go
Microsoft Surface Go

Microsoft Surface Go (Silver)

The Surface Go is a great starter for students.$445 FROM AMAZON $371 FROM BLINQ

Who’s it for: Students and professionals who don’t need to get a Surface Pro.

Why we picked the Microsoft Surface Go:

Affordable, lightweight, and nimble, the Surface Go is an excellent compromise for those who aren’t really interested in Chromebooks but don’t need a Surface Pro model either. The Go is a smaller, 10-inch tablet that runs on an Intel Pentium chip and weighs only a little over a pound. The Type Cover accessory is, as with the Surface models, a simple magnetic attachment, but it’s also an extra $130 purchase, so keep that in mind when buying. Thankfully, ports include a USB-C connection as well as a headphone jack. The display itself is a great 1,800 x 1,200 resolution with surprisingly high brightness levels.

When buying, you can use between 4 and 8GB of RAM, and between 64 and 128GB of SSD storage. While the battery is rated at nine hours, our tests from that it made it to just over 8 hours on video playback with low brightness, and around five hours when web browsing.

Research and buying tips

Do touchscreen laptops use more battery?

They can, but this question is trickier than it seems. All sorts of laptop display settings can drain your battery, especially screen brightness.

Touchscreens use a simple capacitive layer on the display to detect your fingers, which uses hardly any electricity at all. However, as touchscreen laptops have grown more complex, there are more features “watching” for touch inputs, which can drain battery life over time. For a variety of reasons, touchscreen laptops tend to use their batteries faster than models without a touchscreen. Oh, and disabling the touchscreen won’t make a difference. Most laptops simply set the screen to ignore all touches, accidental or otherwise, but the battery-draining features are still there.

The real reason touchscreen laptops tend to get worse battery life is because sometimes they are limited to higher resolution configurations, such as with the Dell XPS 13. A 4K screen is the primary battery-sucker here, not the touchscreen addition.

Are touchscreen laptops good for drawing?

This is a very model specific question! Some touchscreen laptops are horrible for drawing, while others are actually very good at it. Look for a 2-in-1 model that’s stylus compatible with something like the Surface Pen (Microsoft’s Surface models, Lenovo Yoga models, etc.). Then look carefully at reviews and see if people find that the laptop model is good for sketching and drawing. If the display isn’t able to lay completely flat, it’s probably not a good choice as a drawing surface.

Does Apple have a touchscreen laptop?

Yes, it’s called the iPad Pro. We know, it’s not really a laptop, but hear us out! With mouse support and increased multitasking support in the recently-announced iPadOS, it’s becoming more and more like a laptop by the day.

Beyond that, Apple doesn’t have any interest in making MacBooks with touchscreens at this time, because Apple’s designers just don’t like the idea. However, with MacOS Catalina, Apple did introduce a feature called Sidecar. Sidecar allows you to connect your iPad to your MacBook so that the iPad screen shows your MacBook screen with direct syncing. You can then use the Apple Pencil or your fingers to interact with Mac apps. This is particularly helpful for drawing, but can be used for other tasks too.

Are all 2-in-1 laptops touchscreen laptops?

The term “2-in-1” means that the laptop can be converted to a tablet. Usually by folding the screen back or removing the keyboard . Since the laptop is designed to be used as a tablet when necessary, it absolutely has to have a touchscreen. There is no 2-in-1 laptop without touchscreen capabilities.

There are, however, some clamshell laptops with touchscreens. These are standard laptops, but they just happened to have a touch-capable display. Examples are the Surface Laptop 2 or some configurations of the Dell XPS 13.

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Amazfit verge Review Tue, 24 Dec 2019 02:37:47 +0000 Amazfit Verge review: More features, less money” From GPS efficiency to multisport physical fitness tracking, the $ 160 Amazfit Verge never ceased to amaze. “Budget friendly Light-weight Built-in GPS Dynamic AMOLED display screen Alexa assistance Action tracking. Mobile app, Not water resistant. Low price is often equated with poor quality However does the low rate […]

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Amazfit Verge review: More features, less money”

From GPS efficiency to multisport physical fitness tracking, the $ 160 Amazfit Verge never ceased to amaze.

“Budget friendly Light-weight Built-in GPS Dynamic AMOLED display screen Alexa assistance Action tracking. Mobile app, Not water resistant.

Low price is often equated with poor quality

However does the low rate of the Brink translate into poor performance? We kept up the watch, treked with the watch, and used it 24/7 to discover.

What we found out

The Amazfit Brink feels excellent on your wrist thanks to its comfy, lightweight style. The Edge impressed us with its comfort, however its material options were frustrating. Unlike other watches that sport a resilient stainless steel bezel and strengthened polymer case. The Verge is plastic through and through. Having a plastic housing and a plastic bezel. The bezel is raised which helps secure the display from scratching, but it is not really rugged.

The watch is also not waterproof. It can stand some light exposure to rain, but do not swim, shower, or get it soaking wet. The Brink measures 43 mm throughout the face and is 12.6 mm high, so it’s a bit clunky-looking. Truthfully, it looks more spirited than professional. I didn’t mind using it to the health club, however I took it off before I went to any meetings.

Amazfit Verge More features

The biggest selling function of the Amazfit Verge is the 1.39-inch, 360 x 360 pixel AMOLED screen. The display screen is intense and the colors just pop off the screen. The screen is as good as the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 or the Fitbit Versa 2. Like most AMOLED displays, it is simple to check out both outdoors in the sun and inside under artificial lighting.

Basic user interface

If you understand your way around physical fitness watches, you’ll have no issue navigating the interface. If this is your very first watch, be prepared to fire up your computer system and download the online handbook. The Amazfit Edge combines a touchscreen user interface with a single button. This is utilized to unlock the watch, return to the watch face, and initiate Alexa. The interface is instinctive because it is simple. You have a customisable watch face. Two widgets and several apps that let you explore your health, see your activities, and more. With simply a couple of swipes, you can access most of the major features of the watch.

There is a good health overview screen with actions, stairs, and more, but it is hard to gain access to. By default, it is buried inside the health app and just available after you tap and swipe several times. You can set up the watch to display this info as one of the two available widgets. You have to link the watch to the phone and make the changes utilizing the mobile app. I ‘d love to see this details accessible from the watch face right from the start. I ‘d likewise love to see more than two widgets. Competing watches from Garmin and Suunto provide a wide range of widgets for health, weather, music controls and more. Health and wellness tracking surpassed expectation I didn’t have high expectations, however I was pleasantly shocked by the watch’s efficiency. The watch supports as much as 12 different sports including running, climbing, cycling, strolling, tennis, elliptical, skiing, soccer, and more.

Minor disappointments

Despite my overwhelmingly positive experience, there were a few foibles. Step tracking was consistently 2,000 to 4,000 steps lower than my other watches. I’m not exactly sure what triggered this anomaly but it was disappointing to reach my 10,000 step objective on my other watches and not on the Brink. My watch likewise got here with continuous heart rate tracking and auto-syncing disabled, so my impressions of the watch weren’t fantastic. I could not view any heart rate patterns and needed to open the app to sync the workout and wellness information. After a discouraging couple of days, I poked around the software application settings and discovered how to turn on these functions. Folks who are not knowledgeable about fitness watches may not take the time to find these settings and might be annoyed by these perceived constraints.

Sleep Tracking

Amazfit keeps it simple with standard sleep tracking that spots deep sleep, light sleep, and awake time however not Rapid Eye Movement. Deep sleep was precise compared to Fitbit and Garmin, however Amazfit’s computation of light sleep was not as accurate. Garmin and Fitbit both break light sleep down into REM and light sleep, while Amazfit lumps the two together.

Amazfit reports two times as much light sleep as competing watches.

As an outcome, Amazfit reports twice as much light sleep as completing watches. The Amazfit watch likewise struggled to discriminate in between sleep and laying still in bed. I sometimes read for 20 minutes before going to sleep and Amazfit counted my reading time as sleep time.

On the plus side, the Brink does provide a nightly sleep rating that evaluates the quality of your sleep and supplies tips to improve your sleep. Recently, I have actually been getting only 6 hours of sleep which is well under the suggest seven to nine hours. The Amazfit software application not only observed that I wasn’t getting enough sleep, but it likewise picked up on my habit of going to sleep too late.

Precise GPS with breadcrumb maps

Comparable to its fitness tracking, the GPS efficiency on the Amazfit Edge was remarkably good. Like the majority of GPS watches, the first GPS connection in an area took a couple of minutes, but subsequent connections just took a minute or so. The GPS tracking and elevation profiles were accurate enough for many purposes and compared favorably to my Garmin and Suunto watches.

As well there is no standalone navigation on the Brink that lets you plot a course to a sight, however there is breadcrumb navigation that displays your path as you run or hike. There is likewise a compass if you only need to find your bearings.The Amazfit Edge links to your smartphone via Bluetooth LE and sends along notices from your phone. The watch chimes when an alert is received so you rarely miss out on an incoming alert.

Thanks to the AMOLED display, the entire material of the notification is simple to read. On the iPhone, you are restricted to notifications, however Android owners have the capability to respond to call straight on the watch. Telephone call work in a pinch– the speaker is loud, however the microphone is a bit tinny to the person on the other end of the line.

Adequate battery life,

The Amazfit Verge holds its own in the battery department. The watch averages three to four days on a full charge, just short of the assured five days. I pressed the watch to its limit with continuous heart rate tracking enabled, all notifies switched on, and GPS tracking for my day-to-day, hour-long hikes or trail runs.

Unlike Garmin and Suunto which provide power-saving profiles, the Verge has none. You can squeeze out some extra battery life by manually turning off 24/7 heart rate tracking or calling down your notifications by limiting which apps send alerts.

Mobile app

Amafit Edge syncs to the Amazfit app which compiles your physical fitness and wellness data into one place. All the basic metrics exist including sleep, actions, and a breakdown of your activities. The app has a clean user interface, however it is not as organized or as intuitive as the Fitbit app, which has one of the best app user interfaces on the market.

It is likewise not as in-depth oriented as Garmin Link, which excels at breaking down your information into trends and metrics that attract major professional athletes. Amazfit does support third-party services but the alternatives are limited. I had the ability to sync to Strava and Apple Health, but not other services like Training Peaks. There is no web-based app to view or examine your information.

Music and Alexa

The Amazfit Edge has music, but it is not as robust as Garmin and Fitbit which can sync to Spotify. You can download music tracks to the Verge and play them off the watch. You also can utilize the watch to control music on your linked phone. These music features work, however they are not as polished as they are on completing gadgets. One handy function found on the Amazfit Edge is Alexa, Amazon’s voice assistant.

When you link the Amazfit app with your Amazon account, you can utilize Alexa on the watch. Just brief press the side button when the watch is unlocked and ask a concern or speak a command. You can utilize Alexa to find the regional weather condition, get sports updates, and control Alexa-enabled devices.

Amazfit Verge Prices, schedule, and warranty information

The Amazfit Brink is available from Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy and Amazfit for $ 160. The Brink consists of a 30-day satisfaction warranty that lets you return the gadget if you are not satisfied with its performance. There’s also an one-year restricted guarantee that covers maker problems. The service warranty applies to the original owner and is not transferable.

Amazfit Verge Conclusion

The $160 Amazfit Verge is an outstanding value as long as you know what you are getting. It does not have the durable building and the deep feature set of Garmin and Suunto watches, but it is half the price. The Amazfit Verge remains in a league of its own– you will not discover another GPS-equipped watch with constant heart-rate monitoring and numerous sports modes at this rate point.

Is there a better alternative?

With onboard GPS, an AMOLED display screen, and multi-sports tracking, the Amazfit Brink is excellent for an entry-level GPS physical fitness watch. While it is perfect for standard fitness tracking, it lacks the deep feature set and durable building and construction of its competitors.

One alternative is the $200 Fitbit Versa 2. It costs a bit more than the Brink, however it has an AMOLED display, an elegant style, and a robust app experience, as long as you don’t mind the brand-new subscription design.

Another alternative is the $400 Garmin Venu. Though it costs almost twice as much, the Venu is far more rugged than the Verge. The Venu has strong polymer case, a stainless-steel bezel, and a layer of Gorilla Glass to safeguard the gorgeous AMOLED screen. Garmin also bundled into the Venu a suite of new health and health metrics such as respiration, sweat loss, and more.

How long will it last?

The Amazfit Brink is plastic and does not have the rugged building of a metal or a polymer-based watch. I anticipate the plastic casing and bezel to last for as much as two years under typical use.

Should you buy it?

Yes. The Amazfit Verge is an exceptional value for active individuals who want a GPS-equipped fitness tracker however do not wish to spend a great deal of cash on one.

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Digital Storm Lynx evaluation Mon, 23 Dec 2019 10:44:15 +0000 Digital Storm Lynx Modern design with tempered glass side panel Competitive pricing Spacious interior for easy upgrades RGB lighting options for visual interest Can support up to two GPUs Lack of USB-C, Thunderbolt 3 ports No build-to-order option for RTX 2080 Ti graphics While Digital Storm’s flagship Aventum X is a powerful showpiece melding together the best […]

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Digital Storm Lynx

Modern design with tempered glass side panel

Competitive pricing

Spacious interior for easy upgrades

RGB lighting options for visual interest

Can support up to two GPUs

Lack of USB-C, Thunderbolt 3 ports

No build-to-order option for RTX 2080 Ti graphics

While Digital Storm’s flagship Aventum X is a powerful showpiece melding together the best of modern technologies in a massive tower, the company’s Lynx gaming PC is a stylish workhorse that doesn’t weigh more than 50 pounds. Like the Aventum, the Lynx is capable of supporting multiple graphics cards, and the tower’s smaller but still spacious interior promises tinkerers an easy path to perform upgrades without the hassle of building a system from scratch.

What you get!

Starting at $799, the Lynx is a PC that you can invest in today and make powerful tomorrow. Enthusiasts will want to upgrade to the top-of-the-line configuration, like our review unit, which comes in at $1,999 and ships with a 9th-generation Intel Core i7-9700K processor, GeForce RTX 2070 graphics, and a solid-state drive.

Digital Storm Lynx

Simple, but aggressive

As the newest member of the Digital Storm family, the Lynx is a handsome gaming PC with a premium style that is both aggressive and minimalist. While the Aventum has a simple block-shaped enclosure, the Lynx’s radiator-like front panel, with a stylized and backlit Digital Storm thunderbolt logo, gives this gaming PC an edgy vibe. Overall, it’s devoid of the garish flourishes on competing gaming desktops.

The combination of a mutedly aggressive front grill and simple side panels add up to a modern design that most gamers will appreciate. If you find yourself needing more show, you can activate the RGB backlighting inside the case.

Under the hood

Measuring 18 x 8 x 18 inches, the Lynx shares a similar footprint to other mid-sized towers, like HP’s Omen Obelisk, rival boutique PC manufacturer Origin PC’s Neuron, Dell’s Alienware Aurora R7, and Asus’ ROG Strix GL12CP. Compared to the Neuron’s use of a mini ITX board, the larger ATX motherboard on the Lynx not only provides ample space to add components, but is roomy enough for your hands to maneuver with ease when making upgrades.

The unit’s internals can be accessed through removable side panels on either side, both of which are secured by thumbscrews to provide a tool-less way to access the insides. Removing the tinted glass panel will give you access to the motherboard, solid-state drive, RAM, and graphics card, while the power supply and the hard drive are found behind the metal side panel on the opposite side.

Given the Lynx’s high-end processors and graphics, it’s not hard to envision small business owners adopting it for productivity.

Tinted glass gives the unit a clean appearance when the Lynx is powered off. When you turn on the unit, there’s plenty of visual interest, from the RGB backlighting throughout the case, to the liquid-cooled processor. Cable management is top notch, which keeps things looking tidy and helps with airflow. The Lynx also comes with magnetically-attached dust filters on the top and bottom.

Though the Lynx ships with a single graphics card, users have the option to add a second GPU, a feature that’s also supported on the Alienware Aurora R7 and Origin PC Neuron. High-end gamers and users who need workstation-like performance can take advantage of dual-graphics support to add even more performance to future-proof their investments.

An abundance of ports needed for VR

True to its gaming pedigree, the Lynx ships with plenty of ports to connect all your favorite peripherals. The front ports, which are accessible on the top of the case, include two USB-A 3.0 ports, audio and headphone jacks, and a power button. You’ll find an even more ample array of ports on the rear, including six USB ports, Ethernet jack, two legacy PS/2 ports for older mouse and keyboard connections, audio and headphone jacks, and an array of video output ports, including DisplayPort and HDMI connections.

Because of Digital Storm’s decision to top the unit out with RTX 2070 graphics instead of an upgraded RTX 2080 card, you won’t find a USB-C port on the Lynx, making this rig less future-proof even in its upgraded configuration.

Though the RTX 2070 delivers plenty of power to drive virtual reality headsets, the lack of a USB-C port means that this system can’t take advantage of the single VirtualLink connector. Instead, you’ll need to plug in multiple cables to drive your headset. And ironically, despite the glowing stylized thunderbolt emblem on the front that Digital Storm uses as its corporate logo, there is no Thunderbolt 3 port on this unit.

Ready for work

Though Digital Storm bills the Lynx as a gaming PC, it’s not hard to envision small business owners and home users adopting the Lynx for productivity tasks given the unit’s options for high-end processors and graphics. Our upgraded review configuration ships with a 9th-generation Intel processor, but to keep costs more affordable, the Lynx tops out with an Intel Core i7-9700K processor rather than the beefier Core i9-9900K on our flagship Aventum X unit.

The main difference between these two processors

— other than clock speeds — is that the i7 silicon doesn’t benefit from Intel’s Hyper-Threading technology. To compensate for this loss, Intel added two additional processing cores to this year’s i7 compared to last year’s model, bringing the silicon to a total of eight cores from six.

As expected, results from our Geekbench 4 benchmark showed that performance of the Lynx’s 9th-generation Core i7 processor is better than last year’s Core i7 processor, but slightly lower than the more powerful Core i9. The Lynx’s single-core score of 6,037 and multi-core score of 29,974 trailed the Core i9-9900K results from competing units, like the Origin Chronos, Asus ROG Strix GL12X, Origin Millenium, and Digital Storm Aventum X, but not by a significant margin. The Aventum X, for example, posted scores of 6,0367 and 32,328, respectively. Last year’s six-core Core i7-8700 processor on HP’s Omen Obelisk configured with RTX 2080 graphics, trailed the pack, posting scores of 5,606 and 26,529, respectively.

These results suggest that the biggest difference across the range of Intel processors rests in multi-core workloads, and the Core i7-9700K does a great job keeping up with the beefier Core i9-9900K on more premium units. In real-world usage using the Lynx for web browsing, moderate photo-editing, and heavy productivity tasks, most users won’t notice any performance hit with the Lynx’s Core i7.

More intensive tasks, such as video encoding, will require slightly more time to complete on the Lynx. Our Handbrake encoding test took just under 90 seconds to complete on the Lynx, compared to approximately 80 seconds on units with a Core i9-9900K processor. Both Intel 9th-generation processors were faster than the Omen Obelisk’s 8th-generation processor, which took 124 seconds to finish the same task.

Our Lynx unit shipped with a speedy 512GB Samsung EVO 970 M.2 solid-state drive coupled with a larger 2TB hard drive to house larger files. While 512GB isn’t the largest capacity we’ve seen on a gaming PC, it delivers fast 1,259 MB/sec read and 1,022 MB/s write speeds. Both drives are easily upgradeable should you find yourself needing more space to store your documents, photos, videos, and game files.

Middling graphics

Though the Lynx benefits from strong processing performance, the unit’s midrange RTX 2070 graphics might keep the unit out of consideration for enthusiast-level gamers when newer features, like ray tracing, are enabled at higher resolutions. That said, most modern games run without any noticeable drop in frame rates in up to 2K, or 1440p, resolution with high detail on the Lynx’s RTX 2070 card.

When benchmarked using 3DMark’s Time Spy tool, the Lynx’s score of 8,680 points places it behind other units with Nvidia’s RTX 2080 graphics and ahead of laptops with mobile RTX 2070 graphics. The Origin Chronos, with a single flagship Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti graphics card, edged ahead of the Lynx with a score of 13,817, while the Razer Blade 2019, which uses a Max-Q design to bring mobile RTX 2070 graphics to thin and light gaming laptops, scored just 6,363 points.

Given that the RTX 2070 can render most modern games with modest graphics, like Epic’s Fortnite and 2K Games’ Civilization VI, at framerates above 60 frames per second (fps), some gamers won’t benefit from a system with a stronger — and more expensive — graphics card. Though the framerates delivered by the Lynx weren’t as high as competing systems with RTX 2080 or RTX 2080 Ti graphics, performance was smooth. Civilization VI played between 68 fps at the highest settings in 4K and 189 fps on medium settings and medium details at 1080p, compared to the Omen Obelisk’s scores of 102 and 155 fps, respectively.

However, performance dropped in more graphics-intensive games like Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. At 1080p resolution with high detail, the game’s 96 FPS is surprisingly even better than the Origin PC Millennium with its dual-RTX 2080 Ti graphics, but the Millennium delivered stronger performance than the Lynx at higher resolutions and higher game settings thanks to its dual-2080 Ti graphics.

The Lynx is an attractive and powerful alternative from having to build your own gaming rig, but it’s not a PC without its own compromises.

In fact, the Millennium’s framerate only dips below 60 at 4K in ultra-high details, whereas the Lynx drops to 54 fps starting at 1440p with ultra-high details. Even above 60 fps, stuttering became apparent at 1080p on ultra-high details on the Lynx, and the choppiness became more noticeable at 1440p and 4K in both high and ultra-high settings on the Lynx.

Comparing the desktop RTX 2070 against the same mobile graphics chip, the Lynx has a performance advantage against the Razer Blade, which ships with a mobile RTX 2070 Max-Q design. At 1080p in high settings, the Lynx has a 20-fps advantage over the Blade. The game played at 36 fps at 4K and ultra settings on the Lynx, compared to just 28 fps on the Blade.

With ray tracing enabled, the Lynx scored 4,756 points in Underwriter Laboratories’ Port Royale benchmark at 22 frames per second, short of the 5,598 score at 26 fps posted by the RTX 2080 card on the HP Omen Obelisk. Although the RTX 2070 is capable of real-time ray tracing, the midrange card is best for gamers looking to play games at 1080p resolution.

Weaker real-time ray tracing performance was evident in EA Dice’s Battlefield V. When the feature was disabled, the RTX 2070 only dipped below 60 fps in 4K at ultra settings. When ray tracing was turned on, the Lynx dipped below 60 fps at 1440p and medium settings, with the game showing noticeable choppiness at 1440p and ultra settings.


Digital Storm’s warranty policy for the Lynx is a bit meager next to competing boutique firms, like rival Origin PC. Both companies offer customers lifetime telephone support should an issue arise, but Digital Storm only covers the Lynx for three years of labor and one year for defective parts. In contrast, Origin PC offers a more generous policy, extending labor coverage to lifetime while maintaining the same one-year term for parts.

Where Origin PC stands out is its Evolve coverage for parts upgrades and exchange. This optional coverage, which can be extended to three years, will give you current market value when you trade-in your existing components. This could have been an extremely useful benefit if Digital Storm adopted a similar strategy for users looking to upgrade the RTX 2070 graphics in the Lynx for either an RTX 2080 or RTX 2080 Ti. As it stands, Lynx owners will either have to eat the cost of the included RTX 2070 card or resell the card themselves should they wish to upgrade the unit’s GPU.

Our Take

The Lynx is an attractive and powerful alternative from having to build your own gaming rig from scratch, but it’s not a PC without its own compromises. While the Lynx ships with the latest processor and graphics card on the market — Intel’s 9th-generation CPU and Nvidia’s RTX-series graphics are par for the course — the unit cannot be configured with the best available silicon. This compromise was likely made to keep costs at bay, but enthusiasts may be deterred by the lack of a more premium configuration.

Is there a better alternative?

As configured, the Lynx is a competitively priced premium gaming PC. Although the Lynx costs the same as HP’s Omen Obelisk, Digital Storm made different compromises to get to the same $2,000 price. HP’s gaming strategy with the Obelisk is to focus on the graphics, so the company went with an older 8th-generation Intel processor to keep costs down. The Lynx, on the other hand, comes with a newer 9th-generation processor but comes with a slightly weaker RTX GPU. If you’re willing to wait until spring, HP’s 2019 version of the Omen Obelisk will come with a 9th-generation Intel processor, upgraded RTX 2080 Ti graphics, and liquid cooling for a starting price that’s only $249 more than the Lynx. At that price, you’re getting a much better graphics card.

Both units are more affordable than other premium options, like Origin PC’s Neuron. Although the Neuron can support dual graphics cards like the Lynx, Origin PC gives prospective owners options to configure the unit with higher-end silicon. When configured with better Intel Core i9-9900K processor, Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti graphics, upgraded 32GB RAM, and a 500GB SSD along with 2TB hard drive, the Neuron comes in at almost $1,700 more expensive. While Digital Storm’s more moderate pricing for its midrange build is commendable, we wish the company would give performance users more upgraded configurations for the Lynx.

Another pre-built PC that supports dual graphics is Dell’s Alienware Aurora R7. With a more bulbous design, the Alienware desktop doesn’t share the edgy aesthetics as the Lynx or the Neuron, but pricing appears to be competitive with the Lynx. The $2,099 Aurora comes with a similar Core i7-9700K processor and RTX 2070 graphics, but Dell offers higher end builds that top out with Intel’s Core i9-9900K and Nvidia’s 2080 Ti for a whopping $5,449.

How long will it last?

The 9th-generation Intel processor and Nvidia RTX graphics will make the Lynx a great investment for years to come, but if you’ve managed to outgrow Digital Storm’s configuration, the roomy midsize case design allows you to easily make DIY upgrades as your needs grow. High-end users can even add a second graphics card to amp up performance.

Should you buy it?

Without investing the work in building your own rig from scratch, you’re relying on the choices that Digital Storm made. That means that even though you’re getting a handsomely designed, water-cooled system that packs in ample performance to get you started, you’re not necessarily getting the best components. And for gamers, the compromises Digital Storm made shows, as the midrange 2070 graphics trails higher-end options in the RTX range. For advanced users, the biggest draw to the Lynx is the unit’s untapped potential. With a spacious interior and room to add a second graphics card, the Lynx can be a serious performer, but only if you invest the time in making the DIY upgrades yourself.

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tablets and 2-in-1s to buy Mon, 23 Dec 2019 08:17:55 +0000 The best tablets around today are listed below. While the iPad looms large over this category, there’s actually still plenty of choice in tablets. The iPad is incredibly expensive but there are other great options The review will cover all operating systems and all sizes. Plus some 2-in-1 devices that are basically Windows PCs, but have a detachable […]

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The best tablets around today are listed below. While the iPad looms large over this category, there’s actually still plenty of choice in tablets. The iPad is incredibly expensive but there are other great options

The review will cover all operating systems and all sizes. Plus some 2-in-1 devices that are basically Windows PCs, but have a detachable keyboard

Remember that in the tablets, market. The newest doesn’t always mean best. the tablet category moves a lot slower than phones, so a tablet that’s even a couple of years old is still worth considering. Here are the best tablets to consider, ordered by size.

Best 7 and 8-inch tablets

Amazon Fire
Amazon Fire

Amazon Fire 7

The Amazon Fire 7 won’t win any awards for its design, but it does offer a solid build, great value for money and seamless integration with your Amazon account. Its screen resolution isn’t the best, it’s not the quickest to charge and the battery life could be better. However, the Fire 7 is easy to recommend for anyone looking for a tablet for kids. 

If you want something larger than your phone for browsing and shopping, or watching catch-up TV or movies in bed. Then the Fire 7 is an great choice. It’s a tablet that is so affordable, it’s almost disposable. As a bedside companion or travel pacifier for the children, the Fire 7 should be the among first devices that you consider.

Amazon Fire 8
Amazon Fire 8

Amazon Fire 8 HD

The Fire HD 8 sits in a sweet spot between Amazon’s incredibly good value Fire 7 and the larger Fire HD 10. While the performance and features of the Fire HD 8 betters those of the Fire 7, it also manages to outlast the Fire HD 10. Making it a slightly more enticing proposition for those who want to travel with it.

The Fire HD 8 positions itself well for entertainment, especially for those who are Prime members. Whether you’re a globetrotter, looking for a travel tablet, or just something to entertain your kids, the Fire HD 8 is well worth considering. At this price point, there’s very little else that comes close.

Apple iPad mini
Apple iPad mini

Apple iPad mini Tablet (2019)

The Apple iPad mini 5 is faster, slimmer and more accomplished than its predecessor. It’s now supremely powerful and is as much iPad as many people will need. A lovely, compact tablet with an anti-reflective screen coating that makes it good for watching movies, playing games, and reading or writing on the go.

As well as unparalleled power for its price point, the 2019 iPad mini retains the device’s most recognisable features. It has the 7.9-inch screen size alongside Touch ID. Expect Face ID to come to its successor, though. 

Huawei MediaPad M5
Huawei MediaPad M5

Huawei MediaPad M5 Tablet

There’s a lot to like about the Huawei MediaPad M5. It is as much as you might want from a tablet designed to entertain you It is a great portal for your browsing, movies and gaming and it offers the performance that will satisfy many. It’s also well built, a pleasure to use, delivers good audio performance and it’s got a smart fingerprint sensor too.

Its biggest challenge is that it’s similar in price to the iPad mini and even the larger 10.2-inch iPad, too. 

Best 9 and 10-inch tablets

Apple iPad (2019)
Apple iPad (2019)

Apple iPad (2019)

The Apple iPad (2019) replaces the 2018 model (a little further down this list) with a larger display and a Smart Connector for keyboard and accessory support. It misses a couple of features off its list compared to the more expensive iPads, such as Face ID, an anti-reflective display and it opts for an older processor, but this tablet remains the best affordable tablet money can buy at this size.

It has the ideal performance for apps and media consumption, an affordable price point, Apple Pencil support and iPadOS is excellent for multi-tasking. Despite numerous other iPad options, the iPad 10.2 (2019) is the perfect iPad option for many – as there’s no better entry-level tablet around.

Samsung Galaxy Tablet S5e
Samsung Galaxy Tablet S5e

Samsung Galaxy Tablet S5e

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e features most of the fundamentals of Samsung’s top-end Galaxy Tab S6 but for a lot less money. It offers excellent speakers – perfect for entertainment – a lovely bold OLED screen and a great battery life, along with a solid design.

There’s no stylus support and no 3.5 mm headphone jack, but that’s pretty much as far as its weaknesses go. 

Apple iPad Air (2019)
Apple iPad Air (2019)

Apple iPad Air (2019)

The Apple iPad Air (2019) is pricier than the iPad 10.2 above but it’s a lot like the more expensive iPad Pro models. Just without the name, Face ID, USB Type-C connector and the uniform bezels. 

This iPad delivers a powerful and speedy performance, a battery life that will last all day. Also great features like Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard support and the iPadOS user interface only improves the experience. With a sub-£500 price point, the iPad Air (2019) is a very compelling offering. 

Apple iPad 9.7 (2018)
Apple iPad 9.7 (2018)

Apple iPad 9.7 (2018)

The 2018 Apple iPad might have been succeeded by the 10.2-inch model but it still offers a solid, consistent tablet experience at a great price .

Its design is still lovely, it’s compatible with iPadOS and its performance is both slick and reliable. There’s also support for the super – if costly – original version of the Apple Pencil, though no Smart Connector for the keyboard like the new model. It’s not the iPad to pick if you want a laptop replacement, but it’s a great tablet for entertainment and general tasks.

Lenovo Tab 4 10 Plus
Lenovo Tab 4 10 Plus

Lenovo Tab 4 10 Plus

Lenovo’s Tab 4 10 Plus is a few years old now but it offers good screen quality and general performance.

It’s not as well built or considered as an iPad, despite costing a similar sum of money but as a media consumption machine, the Tab 4 10 Plus fits in comfortably with day-to-day life. It offers an easy-to-use, simple and reliable platform for watching Netflix in bed, or keeping up your progress in Real Racing 3.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 has been replaced by the Tab S5e and the Tab S6. But it’s still worth bearing in mind, especially considering its price point is much lower now. It might not offer the latest design but it still is still good-looking, slim and lightweight. It offers a fabulous AMOLED display that packs in pixels and HDR brightness.

A brilliant S Pen stylus is included in the box and despite being succeeded by more powerful models, as Android tablets go, the Tab S3 shouldn’t be ignored if you can find a good price.

Best 2-in-1 tablets

Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2018)
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2018)

Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2018)

The 12.9-inch Apple iPad Pro is a quite exceptional device that delivers a lovely design, fantastic display and brilliant performance. The second-generation Apple Pencil and redesigned keyboard might cost extra on top, but they are great additions.

On the go, this model is a natural laptop replacement. It makes a number of things easier, especially with the iPadOS user interface. It might not completely replace the laptop in the office environment for everyone just yet, but it’s an exceptional tablet overall.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6
Samsung Galaxy Tab S6

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 is expensive but as far as Android tablets go, it’s hands down the best one around. It offers a beautiful vivid display, excellent power, brilliant speakers and it’s an great device for drawing on. 

Like the iPad Pro, it won’t be enough as a laptop replacement for everyone, it most certainly isn’t cheap. However, if Android is your thing and you want best-of-best then the Tab S6 is the choice.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 might have been succeeded by the Tab S6 but this tablet is still a tablet that means business. It’s cheaper than it was when it first launched and while still pricey, it has a fantastic display, lovely design, great battery life and a great keyboard experience if you buy it.

Android tablets haven’t always had the best reputation, but Samsung’s tablets are devices to be reckoned with and the S Pen stylus is included in this device as it was the S3.

Acer Aspire Switch Alpha 12 Tablet
Acer Aspire Switch Alpha 12 Tablet

Acer Aspire Switch Alpha 12 Tablet

With the Acer Aspire Switch Alpha 12, the Taiwanese company’s liquid cooling, affordability, and a full laptop-like experience> amke it a great investment. It has a limited battery life and it doesn’t offer the smallest or lightest design., However, as a full laptop-replacement, or 2-in-1, the Acer Aspire Switch Alpha 12 ticks many of the right boxes.

Its stand is solid, the silent operation from the LiquidLoop cooling system is an obvious benefit. There’s plenty of power on hand. It’s also affordable, delivers a decent screen. A keyboard and stylus are both included in the box.

Microsoft Surface Pro 6
Microsoft Surface Pro 6

Microsoft Surface Pro 6

The Microsoft Surface Pro 6 has a refined design. Also a lovely keyboard that makes for a great typing experience and an excellent screen and plenty of power.

Battery life has improved and although this 2-in-1 tablet can get expensive to the point that a laptop might actually make more sense. It’s a really well made do-anything Windows device. With an official Type Cover clipped into place. The Surface Pro is a formidable machine that not only looks better than its rivals, but brings fewer compromises than many too.

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Amazon Fire 7 (2019) Mon, 23 Dec 2019 07:32:50 +0000 Verdict Why choose an Amazon Fire? If you’re a Prime subscriber who wants a cheap way to access that goodness, this is a good choice. If you care even slightly about display or performance, however, pay a little more and get the Fire HD 8. Pros Very very cheap Great Prime integration Durable body Cons […]

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Why choose an Amazon Fire? If you’re a Prime subscriber who wants a cheap way to access that goodness, this is a good choice. If you care even slightly about display or performance, however, pay a little more and get the Fire HD 8.


Very very cheap

Great Prime integration

Durable body


Poor screen

Limited RAM becomes obvious quickly

Hard to get away from Amazon content

Key Specifications

Review Price: £49.99

7-inch screen

Quad-core chipset

16GB storage

microSD up to 512GB

Amazon’s latest cheap-as-chips Fire 7 tablet is, once again, a slate designed almost solely for the consumption of Amazon content. Books, TV shows or audiobooks – the Fire 7 gives you a direct line to all that Prime has to offer.

If you want a tablet for the basics and aren’t willing to spend a penny than possible then the Fire 7 should get the job done. 

Design – The Amazon Fire 7 is a rugged, plastic tablet that can take a beating

The Amazon Fire 7 is about as far away from the iPad Pro and Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 as it’s possible to get. Considering this tablet costs a penny under £50 (and one cent under $50 in the States), this should hardly come as a surprise, but you might be shocked at just how budget this slate feels the first time you pick it up. 

It’s built completely out of plastic, with buttons that feel a bit mushy and a rear casing that seems like it should pop off completely. It’s basic, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. You won’t worry about this tablet getting scratched in your bag, or about giving to your kids.

new Colours

The Fire 7 comes in Plum, Black, Sage and Blue

Because of its plastic construction, it’s also very light and can be comfortably held in one hand for reading.


 As the name suggests, the Amazon Fire 7 has a 7-inch display. This makes it Amazon’s smallest tablet and among the dinkiest we’ve reviewed. With its slim 16:9 display, it’s a lot narrower than the 7.9-inch iPad Mini and it was small enough to slip into the pocket of one of my larger coats. All the ports and physical controls are on the top – which is a bit odd until you get used to it – and comprise a 3.5mm headphone jack, micro USB port for charging, volume rocker and lock switch. As USB-C is so common now, it irks me that Amazon is sticking with the tired older style. However, if you’re someone with a bunch of micro USB cables lying around, you probably won’t find it so much of a nuisance.

Screen – has a fairly poor display

Sacrifices are always going to be made to sell a tablet at £50/$50, and it’s obvious where corners have been cut here: the display. The 7-inch IPS (In Plane Switching) panel is colourful and bright, but the low 1024 x 600 resolution is very obvious and it makes everything from watching films to browsing the web a bit of a chore. Pixels are always noticeable and text is very jagged – not ideal for a device that’s marketed as an e-reader. 

looks Great

Text is far from crisp

How much this bothers you will depend on how much you value a clean, crisp image. If, like me, you prefer pixels to blend into each other, I would suggest spending a bit more and going for one of the Fire HD tablets instead.

Software and Alexa – If you’re big into Amazon Prime, the Fire 7 will bring all your media and books together

The software that runs on Amazon’s Fire line is the definition of love it or hate it. Every aspect is designed to funnel you towards some sort of content supplied by Amazon, whether it’s a Prime video or a piece of clothing you looked at two weeks ago.

If you’re not a Prime member then I don’t think this is the tablet for you – even at such a low price. Other apps, like Netflix, are available, but the home screens are designed to push Amazon’s own stuff right to the front. At times, it can feel like you’re in a constant advert.

There are also adverts (or Special Offers, as Amazon likes to call them) on the lock screen. These mainly comprise book suggestions, which are fine and can be disabled by paying an extra £10/$15.

If you are deeply entrenched in the Amazon ecosystem then the overall software UI is great at quickly delivering content. Prime Video, Kindle books, Audible audiobooks and apps from Amazon’s well-stocked Appstore are all easily available, alongside other handy features, like X-Ray in video playback and the ability to flip between a Kindle book and an audiobook. 

I’m a fan of the For You home screen panel in particular. This is an area where you’ll get quick access to your recently read books and watched films, all combined into a handy, scrollable list. 

Operating System

As with previous Amazon tablets, the Fire 7 runs a forked version of Google’s Android. Android remains the basis of the OS, but there’s no visible mention of this and there’s no support for popular services like YouTube, Gmail or the Google Play Store. Instead, Amazon has its own app store and native apps for email and web browsing, which are far from Google’s level – if you’re a big user of the search engine giant’s services, you’d be better off with a tablet that runs a proper version of Android.

One feature the Fire 7 has over other Android tablets is deep integration of Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant. While previous versions of the Fire 7 had Alexa, this is the first to go hands-free, meaning you don’t need to press a button to bring Alexa to life. Instead, just say “Alexa” in the same way you would with an Echo or Echo Dot. 

You can use Alexa to control your smart home (“Alexa, turn off the bedroom lights”), play music and just about everything else you can do on the Echo Show. 

Amazon Fire Performance

The Amazon Fire 7 isn’t the tablet for intense gaming sessions or picture editing, and nothing makes that clearer than the fairly low-end internals. There’s a mere 1GB RAM, paired with a 1.3Ghz processor. That amount of RAM stands out as being particularly low and you’ll notice it when jumping between apps.

There’s a lag and judder when opening apps that you don’t get with pricier tablets. However, and again I come back to the price, I can forgive that when it’s only £50.

You’ll notice lag when gaming, too, but basic things like browsing and email are a lot smoother. 

There are two cameras on the Fire 7: one on the front, which caps out at 720p video, and another on the back, which is 2 megapixels. Neither are very good and, to be completely honest, I would be all for ditching the cameras completely (or at least the rear one) if it allowed Amazon to add a bit more RAM. The camera is slow to focus and shoot, it struggles when the light isn’t bright and generally will be beaten by any phone you’ve got in your pocket.

Amazon Fire Battery life – A decent performer

Amazon states that you should expect seven hours of reading, browsing and media watching. From my weeks using the device on a daily basis, I feel these claims are correct and I tended to charge the tablet every couple of days. If you only use it for, say, half an hour of reading every day, you’ll probably get a week between charges.

All the ports are along the top

Charging the tablet fully takes roughly two hours with the included power brick. However, it’ll take much longer if you plug it into a laptop to charge (this is something you might be familiar with doing if you’re a Kindle owner). Amazon has also stuck with the micro USB port, rather than switching to the newer USB-C alternative.

Should I buy the Amazon Fire 7?

The Fire 7 remains a budget tablet that is hard to really criticise for the £50/$50 price. If you want a cheap slate to watch movies on long flights. Or give to the kids without worrying about it getting damaged, this is a strong pick.

There are shortcoming: the display is poor, cameras terrible and the meagre 1GB RAM makes itself known a little too often. But when you consider that the cheapest iPad costs over six times the price of the Fire 7. Then these negatives are a little easier to swallow.

If you’re a Prime subscriber who wants a cheap way to access that goodness, this is a good choice. If you care even slightly about display or performance. Then pay a little more and get the Fire HD 8.

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