Posts with «computing» label

Apple's MacBook Air M1 drops to $850 at Amazon

Don't worry about paying full price for the MacBook Air M1. Amazon is selling Apple's well-known ultraportable laptop in gold and silver for $850 after a $49 automatic discount at checkout. That's the lowest price we've seen in a while, and not much more than the record low from November.

Buy MacBook Air at Amazon - $850

The MacBook Air M1 may be over a year old, but there's a good reason why it remains one of our top picks for ultraportables. It's still fast for the category, completely silent (as there's no fan) and long-lasting on battery. Combine those with a superb keyboard and trackpad and this might be the laptop you want if you need to last through a long workday while juggling multiple apps.

There are still just two Thunderbolt 3/USB 4 ports, and the 720p webcam won't be thrilling. There's also the matter of timing. Rumors persist of Apple launching an M2-based MacBook Air in the spring, and it may be tempting to hold out if you're more concerned about having the latest hardware than the best price. If you need a laptop now or would rather save money, though, the M1 model is still a fine choice.

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Samsung's 1TB T7 Touch SSD is $50 off at Amazon

Samsung's handy T7 Touch portable SSD is cheaper right now than it was during the holiday shopping season just a couple of months ago. The 1TB black model is down to a new low of $140, which is $50 off and the best price we've seen it. Most other versions are also discounted, including the 500GB model for $105, but you'll get the best deal if you go for the black 1TB drive.

Buy T7 Touch (1TB) at Amazon - $140

Storage gadgets are some that are useful to keep around, but often expensive to get your hands on. That's why we recommend waiting for a sale like this one to pick up an extra drive, SD card and the like while you can get them for less. Samsung's T7 Touch is a palm-sized portable SSD with read speeds up to 1,050 MB/s and write speeds up to 1,000 MB/s, plus features like Dynamic Thermal Guard to control heat levels. While the drive supports optional password protection, the kicker here is its built-in fingerprint reader that you can use as an extra layer of security.

The T7 Touch's compact design helps it fit into nearly any bag you may be carrying, plus its shock- and drop-resistant aluminum unibody should protect it from too much damage if it accidentally takes a tumble. We also appreciate that it comes with both USB-C to C and USB-C to A cables, allowing you to use the drive with most laptops, smartphones, tablets and even some game consoles.

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HP's new Fortis laptops for students are a bit more kid-proof

Giving a computer to a kid is basically putting it through a torture test. So HP is launching its new line of rugged Fortis laptops made to stand up to the abuse of students.

Comprised of a range of laptops and 2-in-1s that start as low as $349, every Fortis notebook comes with an extra level of durability compared to typical notebooks including spill-resistance (up to 11.8 ounces of liquid), reinforced ports and rubber trim to protect against drops and bumps. HP even added a textured surface to make the laptops easier to grip to prevent drops from happening in the first place, while a new metal shield helps protect the laptop’s battery in case the device does take a fall.

To guard against kids who are constantly fidgeting, HP installed a new full-skirted anchored keyboard with keys that are harder to remove. And because schools are a breeding ground for bacteria, HP designed its Fortis laptops to be wiped down using standard household cleaning products.


As for the devices themselves, the HP Fortis 14-inch G10 Chromebook is the cheapest of the bunch starting at just $349 (available now). It comes with either a 1366 x 768 or full HD 1920 x 1080 display (touch is optional), a range of Intel Celeron and Pentium processors, up to 8GB of RAM and 128GB of eMMC storage, Wi-Fi 6, and one of Google’s Titan C security chips built-in. Connectivity includes one USB-C port for charging and data, two USB-A ports, one HDMI, a combo headphone/microphone jack, and a microSD card reader.

If you want a slightly smaller Chromebook for education there’s also the HP Fortis 11-inch G9 Q Chromebook, though it won’t be out until June. Instead of a chip from Intel, it features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c along with a slightly slower Wi-Fi 5 modem, 4GB/8GB of RAM and 32GB/64GB of eMMC storage. And regardless of which one you choose, both the Fortis 14 G10 and Fortis 11 G9 Q can be configured with an optional 4G LTE connection.


Meanwhile, when it comes to Windows-based systems, there’s the clamshell HP ProBook Fortis 14-inch G9 and HP Probook Fortis 14-inch G10, which feature nearly identical specs aside from their processors. The ProBook Fortis 14 G9 comes with a selection of Intel Celeron and Pentium chips running on Windows 11 SE, while the ProBook Fortis 14 G10 features newer Intel 12th-gen Core i3 and Core i5 CPUs running on standard Windows 11. Both systems support up to 8GB of RAM and 64GB of onboard eMMC storage in addition to either a 128GB or 256B M.2 SSD.

The HP ProBook Fortis 14 G9 is available now starting at $369, while the ProBook Fortis 14 G10 won’t ship until later in April (price still TBA).


And if that’s not enough, HP created some rugged 2-in-1s for education in the HP Pro x360 Fortis 11-inch G9 and the HP Pro x360 Fortis 11-inch G10. Similar to their clamshell siblings, the Pro x360 Fortis 11 G9 is powered by a range of Intel Celeron and Pentium processors and comes with Windows 11 SE pre-installed, while the Pro x360 Fortis 11 G10 gets more powerful 12th-gen Core i3 and i5 chips and full Windows 11. Notably, both of HP’s Fortis 2-in-1s come with stylus support (though HP’s rechargeable pen is an optional extra) and support for an optional rear-facing 5-MP camera.

The Pro x360 11 G9 is available now starting at $399, with the Pro x360 Fortis 11 G10 expected to arrive sometime in April (price still TBA).

Apple's 24-inch 8-core iMac M1 is back down to $1,399

If you’ve been patiently waiting to pick up the new iMac, now is your chance to do so at a discount. Amazon has reduced the cost of the 8-core GPU model to $1,399, down from $1,499. That’s a price that matches the previous all-time low the retailer established for Apple’s latest all-in-one computer back in December.

Buy Apple iMac M1 at Amazon - $1,399

We like the new 24-inch iMac a lot. We awarded it a score of 89 when we reviewed it last year. Featuring the same M1 chip that’s found in the 2020 MacBook Air, the 2021 iMac is fit for most computing tasks, including photo and video editing. It’s also 50 percent quieter than its Intel predecessor thanks to a more efficient thermal design. The 24-inch model also comes with an excellent 4.5K display that covers the entire DCI-P3 color gamut. Another handy upgrade is the included 1080p FaceTime camera. It makes use of AI software to enhance the color and exposure of your footage.

Some of the few drawbacks to note are that the display isn’t HDR-capable and the included Magic Mouse and Keyboard aren’t for everyone. Specific to this promotion, Amazon has only discounted the green and silver models. 

If you want to save as much money as possible, Amazon has had the base model discounted to $1249 for a couple of weeks. That said, we think the 8-core GPU model is a better value. In addition to a more capable GPU, it comes with two extra USB-A ports (its more affordable sibling only has USB-C connectivity), Gigabit Ethernet and a Magic Keyboard with Touch ID. Those might seem like small additions, but they add a lot to the useability of the machine.

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ASUS' ZenBook 14 OLED models get a big redesign and the latest chips

With Intel and AMD announcing new processors this week, many PC manufacturers are also sharing details on their latest laptops. One of those is ASUS, which on Wednesday unveiled its 2022 ZenBook 14 lineup. At first glance, the most notable difference about the new "ZenBook 14 OLED" is that it features an updated design that's more square and less obtrusively branded. 

ASUS will offer separate versions of the ZenBook 14 OLED with the latest CPUs from Intel and AMD. You’ll need to go for a 12th-gen Core H processor if you want DDR5 RAM and Thunderbolt 4 connectivity. Ryzen models will ship with DDR4X memory instead. Either way, you can configure the ZenBook 14 OLED with up to 16GB of RAM, though you’ll get faster clock speeds from the DDR5 modules. In addition to up to 1TB of PCIe storage, there’s an extra M.2 slot available if you decide you need more space. Powering everything is a 75Whr cell, and the entire laptop weighs less than three pounds.

The ZenBook 14 OLED comes with plenty of ports for an ultraportable, including two USB-C connections, a single USB-A port, HDMI 2.0, a headphone jack, and a microSD card slot. It also comes with WiFi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 support. If you get an Intel CPU, the two USB-C ports will offer Thunderbolt 4 connectivity, allowing for data transfer speeds of 40Gbps.

However, the highlight of the ZenBook 14 OLED is without question its display. On paper, it’s impressive. It’s a 14-inch OLED panel with 2,880 x 1,800 resolution, 16:10 aspect ratio and 550-nit peak brightness. Add to that 100 percent DCI-P3 coverage, DisplayHDR 500 True Black certification, a 90Hz refresh rate and claimed 0.2 millisecond response time, and you have a display that should be equally great for productivity, gaming and video streaming.


ASUS will also sell a “Space Edition” of the ZenBook 14 OLED. It has many of the same features as the standard 14-inch model, but you can configure it with up to 32GB of DDR5 RAM. However, your only option on the CPU front is an Intel processor. Notably, it also comes with a smaller 63 Whr battery. The computer's exterior, which includes a 3.5-inch OLED display, was inspired by the MIR space station. Morse code across the outside of the laptop says Ad Astra Per Aspera. Roughly translated from Latin, that’s “through the hardships to the stars.”

There’s no word yet on pricing for either the ZenBook 14 OLED or ZenBook 14x OLED Space Edition, but ASUS promised to share more information when the laptops go on sale closer to the second half of 2022.

Follow all of the latest news from CES 2022 right here!

Lenovo's ultrawide 17-inch laptop has an 8-inch screen next to the keyboard

Lenovo always unveils a cornucopia of gadgets at CES and this year is no different. In addition to smart home products and various laptops, the company is showing off an unconventional approach to PCs. Since introducing the ThinkBook Plus series in 2020, Lenovo has used it as a platform to roll out unusual form factors, like the previous iteration with an e-ink screen on its lid.

Now that the laptop is in its third generation, Lenovo is moving its second panel down to the keyboard deck and making it a full-color LCD instead. Not only is this approach more useful, it’s also potentially more power-intensive. At a recent hands-on in New York (held in accordance with COVID-19 regulations), I checked out the ThinkBook Plus Gen 3 and, in spite of some bugs, I’m intrigued by the premise.

The laptop’s main screen is a 17.3 inch IPS display that runs at a 3K resolution. It’s accompanied by an 8-inch 800 x 1,280 LCD to the right of the keyboard and features an integrated digitizer layer to enable stylus support. The machine runs an interesting version of Windows 11 that offers several more orientations, in addition to the typical snap shortcuts that you see when you hover over an app’s title bar.

Cherlynn Low / Engadget

On the ThinkBook Plus, when you drag an app, a small dialog box pops up with two suggested layouts (and five more appear when you hover over an arrow here). Windows 11 will just see the 8-inch LCD as an external screen and push out content the way it would to your connected monitors. You can choose to snap a window to take up the whole bottom panel, half of it, cover the entire top display, take up only two thirds of it and more. The most unconventional of these layouts is something Lenovo called “waterfall” where an app can spill over the top screen into the bottom, which could be nifty for extra long lists.

I dragged a long spreadsheet into waterfall mode, for example, and could see entire columns at a glance. Or say you’re watching a live-changing Ted Talk up top and want to jot down notes by hand. Writing on the demo unit was surprisingly smooth with satisfying latency. I also appreciated the position of the pad because it felt more intuitive than trying to draw on a laptop’s display.

During my hands-on, the ThinkBook Plus was responsive at snapping apps where I wanted them to go and did so quickly. But it struggled when launching some other functions that Lenovo built into the lower display.

There’s a whiteboard tool that turns the panel into a notepad, as well as a digital numpad. With supported apps like Adobe Lightroom, you can also have a dedicated dashboard of shortcuts or a magnified view sitting next to the keyboard. Lenovo made a “Magic Launcher,” which is a row of buttons at the bottom of this screen for quick access to the whiteboard, numpad and other specialized software.

Cherlynn Low / Engadget

This was the most buggy part of my hands-on experience. Sometimes, tapping the buttons wouldn’t work (or would take more than a few seconds before anything happened). The demo unit crashed at least once, too. But we’re at least a few months away from May, when Lenovo expects to sell these machines, so it has some time to iron out these kinks.

The rest of the system performed as expected. The main 17.3-inch IPS display runs at 3,072 x 1,440, which is an aspect ratio of 21:10. It’s easy enough to split three apps on that roomy screen, though if you want to use all of it for editing pictures in Lightroom, at least you can keep an eye on Slack or Twitter with the bottom display.

Keeping all this running is a 12th-generation Intel Core processor with up to 32GB of DDR5 RAM. It uses Intel’s Xe graphics with Unified Memory Architecture, which should be powerful enough for some photo editing. There's also a Full HD IR camera with a privacy shutter and an array of ports including an HDMI socket, two USB A jacks and a Thunderbolt 4 connection.

Cherlynn Low / Engadget

It’s worth noting that the battery size here is 69 Whr, which is pretty typical for most laptops this size. But most laptops this size don't also have a secondary monitor to power, so we'll have to wait till we can test one out for ourselves to get a sense for real-world endurance. You'll only be able to get these in May, and they'll start at $1,399.

Lenovo also announced a slew of other products in its ThinkBook and ThinkCentre family of business-minded devices. There’s the updated ThinkBook 13x Gen 2, which can work with a “Wireless Multi-Device Charging Mat” that recharges Qi-compatible gadgets while also powering the laptop itself. The company also debuted a new ThinkCentre Neo line comprising three desktop systems for small and medium businesses. Finally, the new ThinkBook 14 and 16 Gen 4+ i (yes, that’s part of the name, not a stray letter) sport 16:10 screens running at 90Hz and 120Hz respectively, among other updates.

The ThinkBook Plus Gen 3 is one of the most eye-catching things I've seen this CES, though that’s not to say Lenovo is breaking new ground. ASUS has already made several dual-screen laptops in its ZenBook Pro Duo series, and Lenovo itself also tried before with the ill-fated Yoga Book line. Dell and Intel have shown off some concepts, too and I'm very intrigued by the premise here. With Windows 11’s release last year, it seems like more PC makers could be ready to deliver real dual-screen laptops and we could see more of them in 2022. As a taste of what’s to come, the ThinkBook Plus Gen 3 is tantalizing and I applaud Lenovo for continuing to try and innovate.

Follow all of the latest news from CES 2022 right here!

Watch Intel's CES 2022 event in under 10 minutes

Intel debuted its new chips for laptops — and a handful of devices that use them — at this year's CES. The chipmaker has announced that it's bringing its hybrid 12th-gen CPUs to laptops a few months after they were introduced for desktop computers. These CPUs combine performance cores (P-cores) and efficient cores (E-cores) on a single chip to be able to better handle the demands of various real-world tasks. Their faster cores can power your game, for instance, while the slower cores are taking care of your livestreaming needs. They'll top out at 14 cores for laptops, which include HP's updated EliteBook and ZBooks, as well as MSI's new Stealth GS77 and Stealth GS66 gaming laptops. Intel has also revealed that its 12th-gen KS-series chips for desktop, which are arriving this spring, will be able to reach 5.5GHz on a single core. Plus, it's adding a foldable specification for its premium Evo PC line this year. You can watch a condensed version of the company's CES event in our video above. 

Follow all of the latest news from CES 2022 right here!

MSI’s Stealth GS77 cools its 12th-gen Intel CPU with a melting metal pad

Like many other PC manufacturers, MSI is refreshing its gaming laptops this week with the new CPUs and GPUs Intel and NVIDIA announced at CES 2022. Among the models the company is updating are its popular Stealth GS77 and Stealth GS66 laptops. New to the 2022 versions of the laptop is a more durable zinc alloy hinge. They also feature larger trackpads and keycaps for a more comfortable typing experience. Between the Stealth GS77 and Stealth GS66, MSI will offer 10 different configurations.

With the latter, the most affordable model will cost $1,799 and feature an Intel Core i7-12650H processor, NVIDIA RTX 3060 GPU, 16GB of RAM and 1TB of NVMe storage. It also comes with a 17-inch 360Hz Full HD display. If you want MSI’s most powerful GS77 model, you’ll need to set aside $4,199. That gets you a computer with a 14-core, 20-thread i9-12900H; NVIDIA’s new flagship laptop GPU, the RTX 3080 Ti; 32GB of RAM; and a 1TB M.2 drive. Instead of a Full HD or QHD panel, it comes with a 4K 120Hz display that covers the entire Adobe RGB color gamut.

Moving to the smaller GS66, your most affordable option here is a $2,499 model with an i9-12900H, RTX 3070 Ti, 32GB of RAM, 1TB of internal storage and a 15-inch 360Hz Full HD display. For $1,000 more, you can get the computer with an RTX 3080 Ti, 32GB of RAM and 4K display.


If one of MSI’s new computers comes with at least an RTX 3070 and Core i7 processor, it will feature a “Meta-Ready” sticker on its case to tell you you’re ready to experience the Metaverse at its best. The company doesn’t say who decided you need one of NVIDIA’s latest GPUs for a technology that is more an idea than a reality at this point.

One of the ways MSI hopes to differentiate its laptops from all the other Intel 12th-gen machines you’ll have the chance to buy in 2022 is through its new cooling technology. The Core i9 Stealth GS77 will come with a metal pad that melts when the computer reaches a temperature of 136 degrees Fahrenheit. The liquid fills the space between the CPU and thermal block, leading to a more efficient transfer of heat, according to MSI. The company claims the technology allows for an up to 10 percent increase in performance.


MSI is also updating its Creator series of laptops, including the Z17, Z16P and M16. The highlight of the line is the Z17. It features a 17-inch 16:10 display with a 2,560 x 1,600 resolution and 165Hz refresh rate. The base model comes with an RTX 3070 Ti, i7 12700H processor and 32GB of RAM for $3,249. We’re waiting on details for when MSI plans to release all the laptops it announced today.

Follow all of the latest news from CES 2022 right here!

ASUS' ROG Zephyrus G14 gaming laptop finally gets a webcam

ASUS' gaming laptops have caught up to the work-from-home era. The PC maker has unveiled its ROG laptop line for early 2022, and the centerpiece for many is likely an updated Zephyrus G14 (shown above) that finally, finally includes a webcam — one with Windows Hello-friendly infrared, no less. ASUS told Engadget gamers didn't mind the absence of a camera in the past, but a combination of shrinking panels and smaller cameras made the inclusion possible. Whatever the reasoning, this will be welcome for anyone who had to forego the G14 (or buy an external webcam) to participate in virtual classrooms and meetings.

There are plenty of performance-related upgrades, of course. The reworked Zephryus G14 uses AMD's new Ryzen 6000-series chips (up to the Ryzen 9 6900HS), a maximum 32GB of DDR5 memory and dedicated Radeon graphics up to the RX 6800S. Cooling has improved, too, thanks to a new vapor chamber, liquid metal on the CPU and GPU, a dust filter and higher-airflow fans. You'll also find slimmer overall display bezels, a 50 percent larger trackpad and a flashier mini-LED lid with 19 percent more lights and smoother animations. It's too soon to say if the G14 will match ASUS' claims of 10-plus hours of video playback on battery, but USB-C fast charging and reduced GPU thermal design power (from 100W to 65W) should minimize the amount of time you need to plug in.

ASUS hasn't divulged pricing for the Zephyrus G14 as of this writing, but you'll have options for 144Hz 1080p and 120Hz 1440p screens, and you can spring for more frugal components like the Ryzen 5 6600HS or Radeon RX 6700S to keep costs down.


There are other laptops in store. The new Zephyrus Duo 16 (pictured at middle) builds on the dual-screen concept with some unique display tricks. If you spring for the 120Hz 4K main panel, you can switch to 1080p at 240Hz thanks to a clustering technique — you can trade resolution for speed. You'll also find a tweaked second-screen mechanism that makes for a more "seamless" integration with the primary display. The G14's Ryzen 6000-series CPUs, liquid metal-enhanced cooling and the IR camera have made their way to the Duo, although you'll be using NVIDIA graphics (up to the new RTX 3080 Ti).

 Other laptops aren't quite as eye-catching, but might still scratch the itch for gamers on the move. The ROG Flow Z13 (at bottom) is a Surface Pro-like 13.4-inch detachable for the gamer crowd with up to a 12th-gen Intel Core i9, a 4K screen and RTX 3050 Ti video, while the Strix G15 and G17 are more conventional 15- and 17-inch gaming portables that leap to the newest AMD processors and NVIDIA graphics. While pricing and availability are unknowns here as well, we'd expect machines like the Duo and Flow to carry premiums given their still-rare form factors.


Follow all of the latest news from CES 2022 right here!

Acer’s new, 16-inch Swift X is its first with Intel Arc graphics

Acer’s flagship line of Swift X notebooks is going to be one of the first to tote around Intel’s new Arc graphics. The 16-inch model, at least, will be Acer’s first with Intel’s attempt at toppling NVIDIA’s leadership position in the mobile graphics space. That comes with a handful of other quality-of-life improvements, including a 400-nit (up from 300 nits last year), 100 percent sRGB, 16:10 display. You can choose either a WQXGA (2,560 x 1,600) or WUXGA (1,920 x 1,200) resolution screen to cram inside, too.

Build-to-order options include a new 12th-generation Intel Core processor paired with the new Arc graphics. That will be paired with up to 32GB of LPDDR5 RAM and up to 2TB SSD storage, as well as WiFi 6e. In person, it’s a little lighter than its immediate predecessor although if you were walking past it in a hurry you’d barely know the difference. The webcam is now FHD, too.

I wasn’t able to take any benchmarks on the pre-release hardware I was able to see in the flesh, but Acer is feeling bullish about the performance here. It says that its new dual fan design, bigger air vents (and they are beefy) and bigger inlets on the keyboard should expel up to 10 percent more heat than previous versions. You’ll also be able to switch to silent running should the need arise, albeit at the cost of much of your performance.

Acer also made it clear that the existing Swift X, which is currently shipping with the option of an RTX 3050 / 3050 Ti, will remain on shelves for the foreseeable. That way, should you find Intel’s new silicon not to your taste, you can still get the upgrade you crave.

The 14-inch model, meanwhile, gets all of the other hardware bumps, including the better display options, the 12th generation Intel Chip, up to 16GB RAM and Windows 11. But graphics-wise, you’re left with the RTX 3050 / 3050 Ti, which is probably enough for most users who aren’t yet ready to jump feet-first into Intel’s new ocean.

We don’t have US pricing or availability for the Swifts just yet, but in the UK we’re expecting them to arrive by the end of February or the start of March for around £1,000 (around $1,350).

Follow all of the latest news from CES 2022 right here!