The New Asus Zenbook NX500 Looks Like A Super Macbook

zenbookAsus is putting out another installment in their super high end line of Zenbook Ultrabooks. The newest machine in the line is called the NX500, and it is packed full of awesome featured that you would expect from a high end laptop. It has dedicated graphics, advanced storage configurations and a really nice 4K display as you would expect.

One of the big things that stands out about the new Zenbook NX500 is that you can tell Asus had Apple's Macbook in mind when they were designing this. It has an aluminum construction and high end, powerful internal workings. The NX500 has a 15.6 inch 3840 x 2160 IPS panel that offers 282 pixels per inch. Not only is that just really impressive to read, but to give you a real life example, the Macbook that it is designed after only has 220 pixels per inch. The Zenbook's resolution promises life-like color reproduction and a wide color gamut. It also has factory calibrated color temperature for impressive performance without any more tweaking to be done.

Asus has said that the Zenbook NX500 will be running on Intel Core processors. They said it will run up to the i7, which probably means there will be a few less expensive models running the i3 and i5. We're not sure about the RAM yet, but there will probably be a few different option like with the processor. The laptop will also have an Nvidia GeForce GTX 850M GPU with 2 GB of GDDR5 memory and you will be able to choose between SATA 3 RAID 0 or PCIe SSD storage options.

It will also have a pretty impressive sound system for a laptop. The NX500 will have titanium film speakers with SonicMaster, ICEpower and Bang & Olufsen technology. Other features include having Broadcom 3-stream 802.11ac Wi-Fi tech.

There is no official word on when this new Ultrabook will be available or how much it will cost. But judging by the fact that its basically a super Macbook that can actually do real computer things and make all the PC users out there happy, it will probably cost a small fortune.

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The 2014 Razer Blade Laptop

razerFor gamers across the world, 2014 is the year that laptops finally became awesome in the gaming world. The Razer Blade laptop is the epitome of excellence and makes the top of the list when it comes to the most requested laptop to purchase for gaming. It features desktop-level performance, over six hours of battery life and incredible display all in a thin design that's easy to transport.

But the largest update about the new model is the vastly improved 3K monitor. The Razer Bade has a 3,200 x 1,800 pixel resolution display which is the highest possible quality compacted on any monitor double the size. The display is so gorgeous that anything looks spectacular on it.

For a 14-inch laptop, you would think it would have some imperfections on its performance levels, but the Blade is the fastest of its size. The Razer Blade supports 802.11ac Wi-Fi, which is the fastest wireless technology out there. This laptop was built for speed and every part of it gets a thumbs up. It doesn't matter if you're just browsing the internet or playing World Of Warcraft, the Razer Blade gets the job done fast and efficiently. Best part is the battery life is expected to last over 6 hours without searching for a plug to re-charge if you're just using the internet. On the other hand, hard-core gaming battery life isn't so rad, it'll last you just about a little over an hour. Just like any other laptop, the Blade gets hot while running extreme games when plugged in.

As powerful as this laptop is, it cannot handle 4K/UltraHD gaming. If you think 3K has performance limitations, 4K is just a mess of pixel problems and lagging. Of course, the 3K display produces fantastic picture quality and is also very bright, but it's more than the laptop can physically handle (you probably won't even need the 3K resolution). And of course all this power comes at a high price around $2,200. With this price, it's just for 128GB of memory, barely enough for a few games. To make your money's worth, you would need at least 256GB, which would cost around $2,400, and 512GB which sells for $2,700. The cost is totally up to you, the Razer Blade won't disappoint and will stay powerful for many years. When it comes to making a decision on buying a new laptop the Razer Blade is the thinnest, lighting gaming laptop on the market as of today and provides top of the line gaming experiences.

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Can Tablet-Laptop Hybrids Really Replace A Good, Old Fashioned Laptop Computer?

surfacepro3I'm the type of techie who is hard to impress at times. Sure, I find innovation just as interesting as the next guy. The only problem is that I'm a stickler for practicality. If I feel that a new device isn't exactly practical or useful, I won't waste my time or money on it. Recently I've been seeing a lot of people resorting to tablets as their main mobile computing source. Now call me old fashioned, but I love my MacBook Pro. I'm a laptop kind of guy. All the power of a computer with the added mobility. Companies like Microsoft have taken notice of the battle going on between laptops and tablets, and have since decided to make a compromise between the two.

We've all seen the Microsoft Surface Pro. It's the tablet-laptop hybrid that seems to keep laptop users in mind while moving on with the tablet generation. The goal is to give you the best of both worlds. This is something that I can accept.

The most recent iteration is Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 has come out less than a year after the Surface Pro 2. The Surface Pro 2 made its way out of the gate with some positive reception. The only drawback of the device itself was that it didn't really gain too much headway on the market.

The concept of this design is actually quite ingenious. You have your tablet, and should you want to have a bit more accuracy with your typing, or want more screen space and responsiveness, you have the attachable keyboard. All you need do is fold down the tablet against the keyboard attachment and eureka! You essentially have a laptop. It's a really smart concept I feel. The only problem is that so many people still choose Apple products over Microsoft products. That is not to say that Microsoft is struggling, because they most certainly aren't. Having said that, so many more people own iPads over Microsoft tablets. Now whether this be a popularity contest or not (I feel that it is), it still puts a damper on Microsoft's product sales. Even though more people own iPads, over 95% of those people who own iPads own laptops as well. That would suggest that the tablet either isn't powerful enough to perform some of the functions that consumers need, or they may feel that they don't get the same type of responsiveness from a tablet as they would from a regular laptop.

One Panos Panay, the corporate VP of Microsoft, was quoted saying that "Tablets are designed for you to sit back, watch movies, browse the web, and snack on apps. Laptops are designed for you to do something." To be completely honest, I couldn't agree with him more. The simple fact is this; tablets have less room for the inner workings of a computer than a laptop does. The screen is completely separate from the "computer" part of the laptop, where as the tablet is one whole device. Since there is more room in a laptop, my bet is on the laptop for more power and productivity.

Even with these types of facts laid out, I don't think that the idea of having a laptop-tablet is necessarily a bad idea. I just feel that we won't be seeing that particular technology pushing through the ranks anytime soon. I think it's gonna be a while before the laptop steps down, especially for a hybrid.

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Apple, Hewlett Packard, And Life After Beats

WhitesolobeatsbydreheadphonesApple recently purchased Beats Audio for a whopping $3 billion. This was unbelievable news to lots of people, being that it was an absolutely staggering amount of money to invest into a headphone company.

If you think about it though, it is one of the best moves Apple has ever made. They created the iPod, which turned into the iPhone. They created iTunes, which is the biggest music store in the entire universe and is also 100% to blame for the long and slow death of the CD, the CD player, and the home entertainment system as we used to know it. They pretty much changed everything about the music industry and have found a way to make money off of every single artist and every single record label of all time. Why not buy the most successful headphone company out there, and end up owning the best music subscription service in the world while they are at it? Seems completely logical to me. Apple owns music. Apple is music.

What does this mean for HP?

Since 2010, HP has been using Beats technology in most of their higher end devices. It all started with the HP Envy, which was kind of marketed as an audio workstation. Since then it has been a huge selling point for the company. They put it in a lot of laptops and more expensive tablet models, and users could plug their headphones in and have a way better listening experience than with any other computer. All of the music was equalized perfectly to bump hard, suck you in, and make you feel like you were at your favorite artist's concert.

Now, that is being stripped away from HP. They have until the end of this year to put out any new products that they may create using the Beat Audio technology. Then, they have until the end of 2015 to sell the products that they created the previous year. After that, they must pull every piece of equipment with the Beats name off of every shelf and never sell it again. This is a bad day for HP. They are losing one of their most hyped up selling points.

What is HP going to do about it? Well, considering that the Beats software is nothing more than a software that equalizes all of the audio, they will probably sit down for about 20 minutes and create something that is exactly the same, call it something different, claim that it is way better than before and get on with their lives. It shouldn't be that hard, realistically, but it still isn't the ideal situation.

As far as Apple goes, no one has really talked about it, but I'm thinking that future Macbooks will probably have the same Beats technology that was sold with HP products for a long time, along with a few new cool upgrades to it.

Will HP lose tons of business because their main competitor bought Beats? Will the next generation of Macbooks be the most overrated audio workstations that an over privileged college student's parents could ever buy? Tune in next time to find out.

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Google Extends End Of Life Policy To 5 Years For Chromebooks

chrome osGoogle completely re-imagined the internet browsing market when it released Google Chrome. Google Chrome went into direct competition with the other big web browsers of the time Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox. Since then, Chrome has become one of the most widely used internet browsers and one of the more favorable for users. Due to the success of Chrome, Google started developing small laptops completely designed around a new Chrome operating system, calling them Chromebooks.

While Chromebooks have seen moderate success, Google has announced continuing support for the operating system. According to a recent report from the company, Google has extended guaranteed support for Chrome OS on vendors' Chromebooks for the next five years, which adds almost an extra year of support for nearly every device.

This new guarantee is similar to Microsoft's more well-known 10-year support life cycle that it has for Windows. Under this new plan, Google promises to provide things like security patches, bug fixes and feature changes to owners of Chromebooks. Google is calling the plan the Chrome OS End of Life Policy.

The previous policy from the company promised general support for a specific Chromebook for four years from its sales debut. Google added the extra year last week. According to a statement from Google on its policy page, "EOL dates may be pushed later than the initial date published, but will never be sooner than listed, which will be at least a minimum of five years from launch of the hardware."

Before Google implemented this change, the company's Chromebook 11 was to be supported until January 2018. The revised policy guarantees support until January 2019. After a device reaches its EOL Google will not guarantee to automatically deliver software updates to Chrome OS on that device. This is a subtle difference form Microsoft's policy. Microsoft's policy states that when a product reaches its EOL no more patches will be delivered, at all.

Google's policy is a tad bit more flexible in the fact that there's the possibility that the company may still continue publishing updates to "obsolete" Chromebooks. Google felt that this new policy change was necessary due to the fact that Chromebook sales have been strongest to enterprise and educational organizations. These organizations needed a guarantee that their investments would be protected and that Google would not suddenly pull support from the devices in a moment's notice. The good news is that the new policy applies to all Chromebooks, consumer-purchased ones included.

The first Chromebook to be retired by the policy is Google's own Cr-48. The Cr-48 is a reference design that was created by Google to show OEMs that a Chrome OS, a cloud-based PC was a possibility. Support for the Cr-48 will discontinue December 2015, five years after its initial release back in 2010. The high-end Chromebook Pixel, also from Google, which sells for $1,299 to $1,499, will reach its declared EOL in April 2018.

However, not all Chromebooks are getting this extension. One such Chromebook is the Series 5 XE500C21 from Samsung. Google is sticking with this Chromebook's January 2016 EOL for this device as Google had already announced previously that this date was the official EOL for the Chromebook. If you head on over to Google's website here you will be able to find a comprehensive list of all the EOL dates for Chromebooks. Google also promises to update the list should the company decide to extend support for anymore devices even further or if a new device comes into the market.

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Apple's Macbook Air May Experience Some Speed Issues For Reasons You Wouldn't Expect

pig with lipstickI feel that it's safe to say that we get way too caught up in the excitement of next generation technology. We tend to see that it is the new model and immediately go crazy for it. Normally this isn't that big of a deal, but what happens when you have new tech that performs a lot like the last generation model you have at your house? This type of issue doesn't normally arise for big name tech companies, as they are usually on top of their game. As fate would have it however, our friends over at Apple may need to check on their new Macbook Air. Sources are saying that it may not be as fast as its preceding model.There are reasons for slight variations in the performance power of your particular Mac. Reasons being, due to the fact that Apple tends to go to different suppliers for their SSDs, or solid-state drives. Naturally, since each manufacturer will create a different drive, the performance of a Mac could vary based off of which brand drive was placed inside the Mac.

To be a bit more specific in terms of performance speed, I'm talking about the read and write speeds of the Macbook. The current 2014 model, utilizing a 128 GB SanDisk SSD, is clocking in at 705 MBps and 315MBps for the read and write times, respectively. Comparatively, the last gen 2013 Macbook Air using a 128 GB SanDisk SSD came up with almost identical read and write times of 711MBps and 316MBps respectively. Now mind you, these are only the speeds of the Macbook Air models using a specific gigabyte capacity and a specific brand, so times could easily change depending on the variables of the driver and its capacity.

Apple has been supposedly doing this for years now, and some buyers are aware of the SSD manufacturer differences. They've gone through competitor companies that some may not expect however. They've bought drives from companies like Toshiba, and their biggest competition arguably, Samsung. Here is the big kicker for purchasing a new Macbook Air; you won't be able to tell what SSD you have until you purchase it, boot it up, and look at your specs through the laptop itself. There is also no way to tell which laptop will be receiving what brand of solid-state driver. You pick your laptop, buy it, and whatever you get is whatever you get, unfortunately.

It's generally hard to comparatively test out the speed between different models because of the random SSDs that will be inside the machine. Macworld did a test of a few different Macbook Airs from 2013 and 2014, but was unable to come up with any solid finding because of the difference in the drives and capacities of the drives that came with each laptop.

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Needless to say, it feels as if Apple is either not caring about what type of drive goes into their machines, or that they are basically rehashing old tech and selling it with a fresh name and fresh coat of paint. If you put lipstick on a pig, it's still a pig (see picture). Hopefully this isn't the case with the new Macbook Air. Hopefully that are some differences between the new model and old model that will justify the new model's $899 price tag.


Acer's New Colorful Line Of Laptops And Tablets

1_IMG_5170_1200Yesterday at Acer's Worldwide Global Press conference, CEO Jason Chen showed off a new series of tablets and laptops that sported a colorful new design. Acer also showed a glimpse of the first Chromebooks to sport an Intel Core i3 processor.

Acer first showed off their new Switch 10 System. It's a hybrid 10-inch Windows 8.1 PC. The keyboard detaches with a special magnetic hinge and snaps back into place quickly, easily, and securely. It is made of aluminum, has two front facing speakers and operates in four modes: laptop mode, tablet mode, display mode, and tent mode.

There were also two different 7-inch Android tablets. The Acer Iconia One 7, which has a dual-core 1.6GHz Intel Atom Z2560 processor, a 1280 x 800 display, and Android 4.2 operating system. It also comes in 10 different vibrant colors and will ship out in June for about $130.

The second tablet, the Acer Iconia Tab 7 is a slick looking all silver tablet that runs on a quad-core MediaTek processor. It has an IPS display with zero air gap, Android 4.4 and has 3G connectivity for making calls and transferring data. Both of the new tablets come with front facing 3 megapixel cameras, but this one has a better camera on the back. It is a 5 megapixel camera, and the Iconia One 7 has a 3 megapixel camera on the back. There is no word on when this will be released in the U.S., but it will be shipping to Asia and Europe in June.

The next item they showed gives users the best of both worlds. The Acer Aspire U5-620 is a 23-inch all-in-one desktop, but it also lays flat like a giant tablet for table-top computing. It features a 1080p display, a full HD webcam, and dual microphones. It also comes with a 4th generation Intel Core Series processor and the option of adding Nvidia graphics. This will, like the other new items, be shipping in June for $999.

One of the most exciting things Acer showed off was the new E Series Laptops. The Acer Aspire E15 and E14 both come with either Intel or AMD processors, touch screens or standard screens, and the choice of standard screen resolution or full HD resolution. They both offer up to 7 hours of battery life and a new touchpad that they promise will have better accuracy for multitouch gestures. They will both be available in multiple different colors and will ship in June starting at $299.

The last device to be shown was the Aspire E11. This 11-inch Windows notebook uses a fanless design and is extremely thin because of it. It has a very nice "rounded" design and comes in 11 different colors. The Acer Aspire V11 is the same as the E11 but comes with a touch screen. Both have a 1366 x 768 resolution, Pentium or Celeron CPUs and up to 1TB of internal storage. These will both be available in June as well. It looks like June is going to be a big month for Acer fans.

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Lenovo Has A New Line Of ThinkPads To Get College Kids Ready For Summer Courses

lenovo-laptop-thinkpad-e545-front-back-1

Lenovo has released a new line of ThinkPad tablets just in time for summer semester, summer quarter, or maybe just that big trade show you have coming up.  The new educational line of laptops is certain to facilitate any need that the typical college student has, including the fact that it doesn't break the bank.

Lenovo kept it pretty quiet, but they actually do have a new line of ThinkPads coming out. It's a continuation on their "Yoga" series. The new line will be coming out in four different iterations of each other. The ThinkPad 11e series will come in only one size of 11.6 inches. Not the best if you are looking for a particular screen size to fit you, but it may make deciding easier as well.

The Windows version will come in two different ways. You can expect to see your typical laptop, meaning basic build and functions. The second version, however, follows the companies Yoga line pretty specifically by adding a touch screen element along with hinges that rotate 360 degrees. Essentially, this will turn your new laptop into something of a tablet without it actually being a tablet with just a connectable keyboard to go along with it.

The other two come to us with a different OS. We all know how the Chromebook is designed and who it's designed for. The budget laptop that still gives you a good product at the end. Well it just so happens that the other two configurations of the ThinkPad 11e series will be with the Chrome OS. Much like the Windows version, there will be a ThinkPad with the Chrome OS that just is your standard laptop with nothing really added to it. The other, however, is going to be an actual Yoga line Chromebook. It will come with the same touch screen and 360 degree hinges that the Windows version comes with. This will be the first Chromebook hybrid to ever hit the market, so definitely something to look forward to.

Since this is the "educational" line of laptops, they are built heavier and more rugged than most typical laptops, saving you money all while making the laptops harder to break. The entire line will be host to stronger hinges than your average laptop, Gorilla Glass IPS displays, and reinforced ports to help make it a bit easier on the laptop with the constant opening and closing, and the constant port connecting. Also, the entire line will be carrying Intel Celeron processors, which will effectively lower the prices. We can expect to see the standard versions of these laptops to run around $349 and the touch screen and "Yoga" hinge model to run around $549.

Being in college isn't cheap, we know. If this is going to be a laptop only needed for these summer classes, why not just rent instead of buying outright? After all, Ramen isn't cheap!

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Lenovo's New B50 - A High End Laptop With A Low Price Tag

Lenovo has always done a good job at keeping us connected and productive for a pretty good price. Now, they have decided that you should be able to get way more out of a budget laptop. They just announced two different super-affordable notebooks that have a ton of features that you normally would only find in high-end models. The Lenovo B50 and G50 both have 15-inch screens, the very latest 4th generation Intel processors, up to 1TB of internal storage, and they both have Lenovo's super popular AccuType keyboard. Already, it's almost impossible to believe that these notebooks start at just $399.

The B50 is the model that is more geared toward the business side of things. It is available with either Windows 7 or Windows 8 and weighs 5.3 pounds. It comes standard with Intel's 4th generation Pentium processor, but you also have the option of upgrading to a 4th generation Core i7 chip and an Nvidia GeForce 820M graphics card if you are looking to get some really serious performance out of this machine. There are even more processor options if you aren't an Intel kind of person.  You may also choose an AMD A8 chip with integrated graphics, or an AMD Radeon R5 M230 graphics card. The 15-inch display is actually touch screen and has a resolution of 1366 x 768.

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As stated previously, you can get the Lenovo B50 with a 1TB hard drive. You can also choose to have a hybrid solid-state hard drive and an optical drive if you want. This laptop is so nice and comes with so many options for such a nicely priced model.

The icing on the cake would be the built in fingerprint reader for added security and the Dolby Advanced Audio V2-powered speakers. There are some seriously awesome features built in to this budget laptop.


The 2014 Macbook Air Might Be Coming With A Few New Surprises

Let's face facts. You'd be lying to yourself if you said that you didn't love some juicy gossip every once in a while. For some this may include something saucy about what of your coworkers around the watercooler. For myself and my fellow techies, we go wild for tech rumors. Hearing about the possibilities of new gadgets and the features that they may include is always a plus for our days. We even go crazy for rumored upgraded models of the tech we already have. What can we say, we like have the the most updated "best of the best". In case you're unaware of the 2014 Macbook Air, allow me to share the rumors that are currently circulating all over the internet. SPOILER ALERT: The rumors are awesome.

The 2014 Macbook Air has an extremely strong chance of being unveiled at the Apple World Wide Developers Conference in June. Rumor has it that we should expect to see the some of the same features on the new Macbook Air that are on the most recent iteration of the Macbook Pro.

Lets just look at the possible display for a second. Two words; Retina Display. That's right. The new Macbook Air will more than likely (at least more so than any of the other rumors) feature the 2560 x 1600 retina display that some of the latest Apple tech features. The current Macbook Air doesn't have a bad display module by any means, but with competing laptops like Sony's VAIO Pro 11 and it's 1920 x 1080 pixel display, the current Macbook Air's 1400 x 900 pixel display just don't match up with the rest of the competition. There is a bit more to the "display" than Apple may be letting on though. I should really be saying "displays", as there is talk of a SECOND screen on the back. Now I know that doesn't like the most practical thing, but the company's explanation of purpose seems pretty legit. Seeing as how Apple already has the patent for the "Electronic device display module", we may be seeing a screen where we normally expect one, as well as one on the back of the laptop. Now the current Air already has pretty good battery life. Naturally, we can expect to see and even better batter for the new model. The icing on the cake for the second display, aside from giving possible updates on things like the weather without having to open the laptop itself, is the possibility of a solar charging panel within the second display module. Let's hope that this is a thing!

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The new Air may also be coming in just one size. The current Macbook Air comes in the 11 inch screen and 13 inch screen. The next gen version may only come out in a 12 inch model. Definitely not a bad call, as it would allow Apple to sell the last gen version sizes at more affordable price points. The new model might also be host to a buttonless touchpad this time around. While most Macbooks have the touchpad that you can "click", the new model will possibly integrate a touchpad that utilizes pressure sensors instead. As long as it remains as responsive as a regular button, it definitely won't be a bad addition to the new model.

Just in case you've not even worked with the current Macbook Air, but you want to just to get the feel of how much more powerful the new version will be, it never hurts to try one out. Obviously you're going to want to save your pennies for the new model, so renting the current Air might be the best way to go if you're interested in the newest model.

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