Posts with «pc» label

The best 2-in-1 laptops you can buy

The perfect hybrid machine that’s just as good a tablet as it is a laptop still doesn’t exist. But, in 2021, companies like Microsoft, Apple and Google continued to improve their operating systems for machines that do double duty. Windows 11 has features that make it friendlier for multi-screen devices, while Android 12L is on the horizon and promises an optimized experience for larger displays. Plus, with the rise of ARM-based chips for laptops, especially Apple’s impressive M1 series, prospects for a powerful 2-in-1 with a vast touch-friendly app ecosystem is at an all-time high.

These machines still have their limits, of course. Since they’re smaller than proper laptops, they tend to have less-powerful processors. Keyboards also tend to be less sturdy, with condensed layouts and shallower key travel. Plus, they’re almost always tablets first, leaving you to buy a keyboard case separately. (And those ain’t cheap.) So, you can’t always assume the advertised price is what you’ll actually spend on the 2-in-1 you want.

Sometimes, getting a third-party keyboard might be just as good, and they’re often cheaper than first-party offerings. If you’re looking to save some money, Logitech’s Slim Folio is a cheaper option, and if you don’t need your keyboard to attach to your tablet, Logitech’s K780 Multi-Device wireless keyboard is also a good pick.

While we’ve typically made sure to include a budget 2-in-1 in previous years, this time there isn’t a great choice. We would usually go with a Surface Go, but the 2021 model is too expensive. Other alternatives, like cheaper Android tablets, are underpowered and don’t offer a great multitasking interface. If you want something around $500 that’s thin, lightweight and long-lasting, you’re better off this year looking at a conventional laptop (like those on our best budget PCs list).

Chris Velazco / Engadget

When you’re shopping for a 2-in-1, there are some basic criteria to keep in mind. First, look at the spec sheet to see how heavy the tablet is (alone, and with the keyboard). Most modern hybrids weigh less than 2 pounds, with the 1.96-pound Surface Pro 8 being one of the heaviest around. The iPad Pro 12.9 (2021) and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S7+ are both slightly lighter. If the overall weight of the tablet and its keyboard come close to 3 pounds, you’ll be better off just getting an ultraportable laptop.

You’ll also want to opt for an 11-inch or 12-inch screen instead of a smaller 10-inch model. The bigger displays will make multitasking easier, plus their companion keyboards will be much better spaced. Also, try to get 6GB of RAM if you can for better performance — you’ll find this in the base model of the Galaxy Tab S7+, while this year’s iPad Pro and the Surface Pro 8 start with 8GB of RAM.

Finally, while some 2-in-1s offer built-in LTE or 5G connectivity, not everyone will want to pay the premium for it. An integrated cellular radio makes checking emails or replying to messages on the go far more convenient. But it also often costs more, and that’s not counting what you’ll pay for data. And, as for 5G — you can hold off on it unless you live within range of a mmWave beacon. Coverage is still spotty and existing nationwide networks use the slower sub-6 technology that’s barely faster than LTE. 

Engadget Picks

Best overall: Surface Pro 8

Dana Wollman/Engadget

There’s no beating the Surface series when it comes to 2-in-1s. They’re powerful, sleek tablets running an OS that’s actually designed for productivity. The Surface Pro 8 is Microsoft’s latest and it addresses most of the issues we had with its predecessor. It’s thinner and looks more modern, borrowing the design of last year’s Pro X. Plus, it has a 120Hz display that makes scrolling endless spreadsheets or emails feel much faster. Just remember to drop the refresh rate to 60Hz if you want to get respectable battery life out of this thing. Windows 11 also offers a better split-screen experience for on-the-go multitasking.

Like most of the other 2-in-1s on this list, the Pro 8 doesn’t come with a keyboard cover — you’ll have to pay extra for that. That’s a shame, considering it starts at $1,099. Microsoft offers a variety of Type Covers for its Surface Pros ranging from $100 to $180, depending on whether you want a slot for a stylus on it. But at least they’re comfortable and well-spaced. You can also get the Surface Slim Pen 2 ($130) for sketching out your diagrams or artwork, and it also features haptic feedback for a more responsive experience.

Buy Surface Pro 8 at Microsoft starting at $1,099

Best for Apple users: 12.9-inch iPad Pro (2021)

Chris Velazco/Engadget

If you’re already in the Apple ecosystem, the best option for you is obviously an iPad. The 12-inch Pro is our pick. Like older models, this iPad Pro has a stunning 12.9-inch screen with a speedy 120Hz refresh rate, but this year it uses mini-LED backlighting to deliver greater dynamic range. Apple’s M1 chipset is impressively fast too, and more than good enough for most tasks. Plus, the latest iPadOS is superior to older versions thanks to widgets and quick notes support.

Apple’s new Magic Keyboard provides a satisfying typing experience, and its trackpad means you won’t have to reach for the screen to launch apps. But it’ll also cost you an extra $300, making it the most expensive case on this list by a lot. The iPad also lacks a headphone jack and its webcam is awkwardly positioned along the left bezel when you prop it up horizontally, so be aware that it’s still far from a perfect laptop replacement. Still, with its sleek design and respectable battery life, the iPad Pro 12.9 is a good 2-in-1 for Apple users.

Buy 12.9-inch iPad Pro at Amazon - $1,099

Best for Android users: Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+

Cherlynn Low / Engadget

While Windows is better than iPadOS and Android for productivity, it lags the other two when it comes to apps specifically designed for touchscreens. If you want a tablet that has all the apps you want, and only need it to occasionally double as a laptop, the Galaxy Tab S7+ is a solid option. Though it was released last year, it’s still the best Android-powered 2-in-1 around. You’ll enjoy watching movies and playing games on its gorgeous 12.4-inch 120Hz AMOLED screen, and Samsung includes the S Pen, which is great for sketching and taking notes. The Snapdragon 865+ processor and 6GB of RAM keep things running smoothly, too.

Thankfully the company significantly improved its keyboard case over previous models, with more comfortable and responsive keys. You could type for hours on this thing and not hate yourself (or Samsung). The battery life is also excellent, so you won’t need to worry about staying close to an outlet. The main caveat is that Android isn’t great as a desktop OS and, while Samsung’s DeX mode offers a somewhat workable solution, it has plenty of quirks. Still, with Android 12L on the horizon, a simple software update could ease some pain.

Buy Galaxy Tab S7+ at Samsung - $849

Best Chrome OS option: HP Chromebook x2

Nathan Ingraham / Engadget

Android might suck as a desktop operating system, but Chrome OS doesn’t. If most of your tasks take place inside a browser, the HP Chromebook x2 will serve you well. It has great battery life, an excellent 11-inch screen and looks nice, to boot. HP even includes the keyboard and stylus with the tablet, which almost none of the competition does.

Chrome still isn’t a great OS in tablet mode, and the Chromebook x2’s Snapdragon 7c processor sometimes struggles if you rack up too many tabs. It’s also a little pricey at $600, but you can often find it for $400 when it goes on sale at sites like Best Buy. That makes it a solid choice considering everything HP includes for the money.

Buy Chromebook x2 at HP - $679

Flying the Friendly Skies with A Hall Effect Joystick

There are plenty of PC joysticks out there, but that didn’t stop [dizekat] from building his own. Most joysticks mechanically potentiometers or encoders to measure position. Only a few high-end models use Hall effect sensors. That’s the route [dizekat] took.

Hall effect sensors are non-contact devices which measure magnetic fields. They can be used to measure the position and orientation of a magnet. That’s exactly how [dizekat] is using a trio of sensors in his design. The core of the joystick is a universal joint from an old R/C car. The center section of the joint (called a spider) has two one millimeter thick disc magnets glued to it. The Hall sensors themselves are mounted in the universal itself. [Dizekat] used a small piece of a chopstick to hold the sensors in position while he found the zero point and glued them in. A third Hall effect sensor is used to measure a throttle stick positioned on the side of the box.

An Arduino micro reads the sensors and converts the analog signal to USB.  The Arduino Joystick Library by [Matthew Heironimus] formats the data into something a PC can understand.

While this is definitely a rough work in progress, we’re excited by how much [dizekat] has accomplished with simple hand tools and glue. You don’t need a 3D printer, laser cutter, and a CNC to pull off an awesome hack!

If you think Hall effect sensors are just for joysticks, you’d be wrong – they work as cameras for imaging magnetic fields too!

Hack a Day 18 Jan 09:00

Some LMR bots doing standup and improv comedy...

Just got back from SXSW, where Ava (http://letsmakerobots.com/node/45195) and Annabelle, a mobile version using Ana's brain ( http://letsmakerobots.com/node/37264) built by some fellow LMR people in Texas (Lukeyes, and others), were on a panel and did standup and improv bits.  Fun stuff for everybody.

Swimming Pool Dance Floor Enlightened With Leds

In a well documented blog entry, [Loren Bufanu] presents a project that lit up a glass dance floor covering a swimming pool with RGB strips. We mentioned a video of his project in a Hackaday links but didn’t have any background information. Now we do.

The project took around 450 meters of RGB strips controlled by two Rainbowduinos and driven by sixty-four power Mosfets, sixty-four bipolar transistors, and a few other components. Running just the white LEDs draws 8 amps of power.

The Rainbowduino is an ATmega328 Arduino compatible board with two MY9221 controllers. Each  controller handles 12 channels of Adaptive Pulse Density Modulation. In other words, it makes the LEDs flash nicely. [Loren] used the Rainbowduino instead of some alternatives because multiple R’duinos can coordinate their activities over I2C.

The software part of the project did not work as well as the hardware. The light patterns were supposed to follow the music being played. A PC software package intended to drive the R’duinos produced just a muddy mess. Some kludges, including screen captures (!), driven by a batch file tamed the unruliness.

It’s been awhile, but a similar disco dance floor, built by [Chris Williamson] but not over a pool, previously caught our attention. [Chris] is a principle in Terror Tech that recently got a mention on Sparkfun.

The video after the break fortunately does not make a big splash, but is still electrifying.


Filed under: Arduino Hacks, led hacks

Control the 'GTA V' cellphone with an iPhone, Arduino and a hack

Grand Theft Auto V has a few mobile apps of its own, but one enterprising modder has taken the idea to its natural conclusion: an application that lets you control the in-game cellphone with an iPhone. With the application you can scroll through text messages on-screen, peep your current list of objectives and, among other things, even control the in-game phone's camera. The YouTube video's description (spotted by former Joystiq'r Dave Hinkle) does't offer much by way of details other than it's running on an Arduino Leonardo with an Ethernet shield connected to a PC, sadly.

Filed under: Cellphones, Gaming, Home Entertainment, HD, Mobile

Comments

Via: Dave Hinkle (Twitter)

Source: DIY Projects Planetleak (YouTube)

Control the 'GTA V' cellphone with an iPhone, Arduino and a hack

Grand Theft Auto V has a few mobile apps of its own, but one enterprising modder has taken the idea to its natural conclusion: an application that lets you control the in-game cellphone with an iPhone. With the application you can scroll through text messages on-screen, peep your current list of objectives and, among other things, even control the in-game phone's camera. The YouTube video's description (spotted by former Joystiq'r Dave Hinkle) does't offer much by way of details other than it's running on an Arduino Leonardo with an Ethernet shield connected to a PC, sadly.

Via: Dave Hinkle (Twitter)

Source: DIY Projects Planetleak (YouTube)

Ben Heck fashions a pocket computer with an Xbox Chatpad and Arduino Uno

It's great to see Ben Heck focus his efforts of do-gooder projects like that foot-controlled wheelchair, but we'll always have a soft spot for the modfather's more nostalgic undertakings, like this BASIC pocket computer. Heck created the device for the latest episode of his web show, and if you're following along at home, you'll need the Chatpad from an Xbox 360 controller, an Arduino Uno and a LCD display -- a Hitachi HD 44780, in this case. The modder-turned-host is quick to point out that the project's purpose isn't solely nostalgic -- you can also use it to control real world objects, which in the Heck's case means a ghost on a pinball playfield. Check out a video of the invention in action after the break.

Continue reading Ben Heck fashions a pocket computer with an Xbox Chatpad and Arduino Uno

Filed under: Misc

Ben Heck fashions a pocket computer with an Xbox Chatpad and Arduino Uno originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 10 Sep 2012 22:04:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Interfacing yor robot to your PC using Gobetwenio (can work with any MCU)

I am currently working on a project where I need to teach my robot to "see" using an ultrasound sensor. In particular it must find and collect drink cans on a playfield and return them to a specific location.

To make the programming easier I wanted to take the sensor output from the robot and display it on the computer as a chart. As I am a terrible programmer I did a quick google search and came up with Gobetwenio.

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Fancontroller

Right, back again with an update on my idea for a kick-ass fanctroller.

So far, I've been coding away and right now, I'm up to the point where the actual fan control is implemented (I've already written the LCD-commands, several input functions, a setup and a menu.) But I'm having some problems.

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Let's Make Robots 16 Apr 18:12
arduino  computer  controller  cooling  fan  pc  pump  rpm  speed  water  

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Let's Make Robots 01 Jan 00:00
any  arduino  computer  cpu  data  display  gobetwino  graphic  laptop  mcu  pc  picaxe  propeller  robot  sensor  spreadsheet