byBradMoon03-06-201411:24 AM - edited 03-06-201411:25 AM
There’s a lot to like about portable computers, but Google and its hardware partners like Samsung, Acer and HP found a way to offer a light weight, lower cost alternative to the traditional Windows laptop. Chromebooks are a hot category of portable computers that run Google’s Chrome OS instead of Windows or OSX. With Chrome’s lower hardware requirements and the ability to leverage Google’s cloud services, a Chromebook can offer a full-featured PC experience in a device that’s lighter and less expensive than traditional PCs, without the limitations of netbooks. They may not be ideal for everyone, but Chromebooks are designed to cover many scenarios and are particularly useful for students, road warriors, small business and those looking for light duty home PC.
on 02-28-201404:57 PM - last edited on 02-28-201406:29 PM by Andre7
Wireless routers are the unsung heroes of the home Wi-Fi experience. We tend to buy them, set them up, then forget about them. Yet the performance of that network isn’t just a matter of the speed you get from your ISP, it has everything to do with that wireless router. If you haven’t updated yours in a few years or you’re lucky enough to have devices using the new 802.11ac Wi-Fi spec, it may be time for an upgrade. And the Linksys AC1900 Smart Wi-Fi wireless router would be a solid choice. After replacing my own wireless router with the Linksys for a week, I came away impressed with its performance and network management tools —and I don’t even have anything that takes advantage of its 802.11ac capabilities.
When it comes to cars, a convertible is one with a roof that protects occupants from the weather while offering a top-free ride in the summer sunshine. When it comes to PCs, convertible laptops mean something a little different. These are PCs that combine the best of two different experiences —the laptop and the tablet— in a single device. And like a convertible (the car), a convertible laptop accomplishes this trick through some clever hardware design. Convertible laptops aren’t for everyone, but if you’re a fan of mobile computing and you’d love to have a tablet along for the ride without the extra weight (and expense); or if you wish your tablet had a keyboard and trackpad, a convertible laptop may be the ideal device for you.
One of the cool things about PCs is that nothing ever stands still. Whether it’s new video games that redefine immersion, or the ability to edit photos at full resolution with a 4K monitor, progress often means pushing the limits of a video card. If you’ve hit a wall when it comes to your computer’s graphics capabilities, or maybe you made a New Year’s resolution to upgrade your PC so you can use that big 4K monitor to full advantage, the good news is this doesn’t need to mean shelling out for an all new system. Chances are you can get back to enjoying the best PC technology has to offer by simply upgrading your video card.
Many of us have more data than we know what to do with. Digital photos, digital movies, MP3s and old school stuff like documents and spreadsheets can start to take up a lot of space on your PC. On your smartphone or tablet, it’s even worse —a lot of those photos get snapped on a smartphone and with limited storage, it doesn’t take long to fill them up. Cloud storage is always an option, but then you’re at the mercy of the provider and there may be charges associated with the service. Western Digital offers a compelling alternative —a “personal cloud”— with its My Cloud series of network hard drives. I tested a 3TB My Cloud drive and came away convinced that this is the best thing to happen to hard drives since USB.
Sony’s Vaio series of PC laptops has always won points for style and design and the company has become a leader in producing Windows 8 hybrid machines —portables that combine Windows 8 PC and tablet capabilities. I’ve spent the past week trying out Sony’s latest take on the hybrid form factor. After putting it through its paces, I can assure you that the Vaio Fit 15A is one of the most useful variations yet on the tablet/notebook convertible hybrid, a real looker (especially in the black finish of the test unit) and an able performer. It’s held back a little by a few details —a loud and persistent fan, so-so keyboard, and not so stellar battery life among them— but offers a solid portable computer experience, along with tablet capability, in a single package that just happens to look pretty smashing.
Details of some of trickled out in the days beforehand, but Valve officially revealed 13 different models of Steam Machines to make their debut sometime in 2014. With expected price tags ranging from around $500 to well over $5000, the sky's the limit for those of you seeking to bring your PC Gaming to your living room with help from Valve and friends. Click below to take a look at some of what's out there.
Our coverage of this year’s Consumer Electronics Show has focused largely on breaking trends in 4K TV, wearables, the connected home, tablets and computers. Video gaming has its own massive events like E3 where console makers, game accessory makers and developers stage their major reveals for the year. Still CES 2014 had more than a few game-related announcements and new products to show off that will get gamers excited.
Our CES 2014 coverage continues, this time with a stunning Windows 8 laptop from Samsung that combines the looks that made last year’s version so popular with a bigger display and an incredible 14 hours of battery life. The ATIV Book 9 2014 Edition is a premium metal-bodied notebook with a full sized 15.6-inch display, solid specs (including power provided by a Core i5/i7 ULV processor), a UL-certified ergonomic keyboard, lossless audio (an exclusive in a device like this) and the ability to go all day without ever having to plug in to a power outlet.
byBradMoon01-08-201410:08 AM - edited 01-08-201410:09 AM
The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas continues to deliver surprises, including interesting new twists on the PC. Yesterday I mentioned the Asus Transformer Book Duet, a Windows 8/Android/laptop/tablet hybrid. This time around it’s Hewlett-Packard making waves. The world’s leading PC maker has been getting experimental lately with its own Slate Android tablet and then a Leap Motion-equipped laptop. HP’s big CES 2014 reveal is a business-friendly 21-inch AiO desktop PC —that runs Android. The Slate21 All-in-One is a big-screen computer that’s ideal for office, kiosk, education and home use. By running Android instead of Windows, it keeps costs down and lets users take advantage of the growing number of popular Android apps. Look for this Android AiO at Best Buy in 2014!
Dual Platform Laptop/Tablet Hybrid. Just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it? The Consumer Electronics show is the place where companies bring out some of their most unique and interesting products and CES 2014 has been no exception. We had super-sized tablets from Samsung and now the latest hybrid device from Asus. The Transformer Book Duet covers a lot of ground, offering the ability to transform between a laptop and a tablet form factor. That’s nothing new (the Transformer Book pulls off a similar trick), but the new Transformer Book Duet runs Windows 8.1 as a laptop and offers the ability to run as a tablet using Windows 8.1 or Android —which you can switch between on the fly. If you can’t make up your mind between a Windows tablet, an Android tablet or a new laptop, looks like Asus has you covered.
Over the holidays, thoughts turn to family. Chances are, you have family scattered across the country and maybe even around the globe. Being able to spend time with the ones we love isn’t always possible —at least not physically. But thanks to the technology we’re carrying with us every day, it’s easier than ever to keep your family close. Whether that’s taking advantage of Skype to video conference using your smartphone, tablet or laptop, updating Facebook or sharing your photos online, keeping your distant friends and family close is more practical, spontaneous and engaging than a long distance phone call could ever be. So take advantage of your gear’s built-in capabilities to make 2014 the year you reconnect and stay connected.
As we step into 2014, many of you have made resolutions for the new year. If history is any indicator, there’s a good chance that many of the resolutions have to do with fitness or lifestyle. Yeah, I have a few of those myself (good-bye cookies, hello treadmill), but I’m also looking at my computers and taking a few hours to ensure 2014 is as free of frustration as possible. Here’s our list of 5 New Year’s resolutions for computer owners.
Ever get the feeling that family life isn’t quite the same as it was a decade ago? The days of the kids clustered around the TV for family movie night, or teenagers sitting around the stereo seem to fading into distant memory in favour of smartphones, tablets, YouTube and wireless speakers. There’s a modern solution to this fracturing of entertainment: use the family computer as your home’s central entertainment hub. An all-in-one or laptop PC makes for a compact home media centre that can be used to blast tunes anywhere in the house with Bluetooth speakers, display video on your TV, videoconference and play video games. And when it’s not being used for watching, listening or playing, having a family computer is great for homework too. When it comes to stylish, powerful, user friendly PCs, Hewlett-Packard is at the front of the pack. Make 2014 the year you reclaim family time by giving your family a new HP computer.
Any regular reader of Plug-in will know that I was pretty stoked about testing out the revolutionary Leap Motion controller back in September. Being able to bring the world of motion control to your computer opens up a world of possibilities. Now, a partnership between Leap and Hewlett-Packard (the world’s biggest PC maker) has resulted in the HP ENVY Leap Motion SE notebook. It’s nothing less than the world’s first laptop with integrated Leap Motion technology. And it’s available now at Best Buy.
Making the jump to a new computer over the holidays? Maybe a new Windows 8.1 powered Ultrabook, or perhaps going all in on the tablet experience with a Surface Pro 2? That leaves the question of what to do with your existing PC. No worries there, we’ve got plenty of ideas on how to recycle your old computer
The festive holiday season is coming and that means for many of us, a lot more things added to our To-Do list. Shopping lists need to be made, the table needs to be set, family to be contacted, photos to be shared and so much more. Microsoft Office 365 Home Premium has a lot to offer not only to you but to your entire family and it all starts by saving you money. To help you be ahead this holiday season and to ease off the stress, use these five (5) helpful tips to make your holiday season a fun and memorable experience. All you need to get started is Office 365.
byBradMoon11-21-201307:09 AM - edited 11-21-201307:09 AM
Not everyone loves Microsoft’s touch-centric, tablet-friendly Windows 8 operating system, but regardless of how you feel about the new Windows, you have to admit that it’s led to some very interesting new products from PC manufacturers. Convertible laptops, tablets running Windows and various hybrids abound these days. The new Sony VAIO Tap 11 Tablet PC is one of those interesting devices made possible by Windows 8. The machine is basically Sony’s take on Microsoft’s own Surface Pro 2. It’s a tablet powered by an Intel Core i5-4210Y CPU, with a big and bright 11.6-inch display that wouldn’t look out of place on an Ultrabook. It runs Windows 8, it’s compatible with standard Windows PC software like Microsoft Office and packs a fast 128 GB SSD for storage. It has a keyboard —one that’s wireless instead of attached and doubles as a protective cover. In short, in the VAIO Tap 11 Sony has released a Windows 8 device that packs the power of a PC in a tablet form factor, that’s less than 1 cm thick. Read on to find out if it fulfills the promise of covering off both your tablet and portable PC needs.
byBradMoon11-15-201311:25 AM - edited 11-15-201311:25 AM
If you haven’t caught the 4K bug yet, take one look at an UltraHD TV and you will. Computer users aren’t left out of the spectacular view, either. Best Buy will be carrying 4K computer monitors and the first one is already in stock: the Asus PQ321Q. If you’re a digital media professional, just imagine what you could do with a single display that offers 3840 x 2160 resolution. That’s 8 million pixels, or the equivalent of four full HD displays all on a single screen. And I don’t have to tell PC gamers what this means. Finally, you can make full use of your monster graphic card and enjoy video games at a resolution that’s almost photo realistic.
There’s a challenge facing anyone completing their home computer set-up: what’s the difference between laser printers and inkjet printers, and which one is right for me? Both types of printers have their own strengths and weaknesses. Here are a few helpful tips to making that choice an easy one.
The wireless technology world has been buzzing about new 802.11ac hardware options. The benefits are compelling, new smartphones and tablets can connect to these super-fast access points and they’ve already made their entrance into both the consumer and business environment.
So what do you need to know about D-Link 802.11ac solutions, and how are they different from competitive hardware?
byBradMoon10-31-201304:07 PM - edited 11-05-201310:15 AM
There is a lot of terminology being thrown around these days when it comes to W-Fi. Descriptions like Gigabit Wi-Fi, 802.11ac, MIMO and Gigibit Wi-Fi were touted by manufacturers at January’s Consumer Electronics Show and some of the acronyms and numbers have already started showing up on products like wireless routers. The good news is that Wi-Fi continues to get faster and able to handle higher demand for bandwidth. That’s a big deal now that everyone is carrying around smartphones and tablets, watching streaming videos at home and battling for supremacy on Xbox Live. Heck, there’s a chance that even your thermostat now uses a Wi-Fi connection. A slow Wi-Fi network leads to frustrating experiencess like choppy video, interrupted Internet radio streams, slow loading web pages and lag in online video games. The downside to this faster Wi-Fi? There’s a lot of confusion over the terminology being used and what it actually means. The point of this post is to try to cut out the confusion and decipher the marketing speak so you can make an informed choice when it comes to planning for your next generation Wi-Fi needs.
byBradMoon10-30-201308:51 PM - edited 11-03-201311:48 AM
When you use a computer every day, a huge part of your experience is visual. Having a PC that’s not quite as powerful as the latest machines or an Internet connection that’s a bit slow can be annoying, but few things are worse than having to stare all day at a poor quality monitor. Of all a computer’s components, that monitor tends to stick around the longest, too. So if you find yourself in the position of buying a new computer display, do yourself a favour and upgrade to an IPS monitor. Looking at the two side by side, there’s no comparison between IPS vs LCD. Your viewing experience will be significantly better with IPS, particularly when it comes to viewing angles and colour reproduction. Invest in IPS and you won’t cringe at the thought of using that monitor on your next computer too.
When it comes to innovative and flexible computing solutions, few companies do it better than Lenovo. The latest in its line of convertible touchscreen laptops is the aptly named Flex 15 —a device that combines a traditional notebook with the flexibility of a multitouch display that can pivot up to 300 degrees. The adjustable form factor takes full advantage of Windows 8’s multitouch interface and makes the Flex 15 a capable machine that handles a wide range of tasks from typical computing uses to presentations or viewing movies. This flexibility, its powerful 4th generation (Haswell) Core i5 processor, long battery life and big 15.6-inch display make the Flex 15 a solid choice for small business use, a home PC or for students. With its affordable price and ability to combine the functions of several devices into one, it makes an ideal gift too.
Good news for Mac and PC owners —both Microsoft and Apple have recently released free updates to their computer operating systems, Windows 8.1 and OSX 10.9 Mavericks, respectively. Millions of computer users will be rushing to download the latest and greatest OS versions, looking to take advantage of the new features and system enhancements. I’m particularly looking forward to OSX 10.9’s enhanced support for multi-monitor Mac setups. Before you click that INSTALL button, there are a few precautions you should take to ensure a painless experience. Both Microsoft and Apple have this upgrade thing pretty much down pat by now, but sometimes the unexpected can happen and being prepared can make all the difference between smooth sailing, a minor hiccup or a hair-pulling “throw the mouse at the wall” disaster.
If the WiFi in your home or office isn’t living up to expectations, look no further than D-Link for a solution. The world’s largest manufacturer of WiFi gear has the answer for pretty much any challenge you might face. WiFi dead zones, poor signal strength, lack of range, congestion, slow loading websites, stuttering video, online video game latency issues? Replacing or supplementing your existing WiFi networking equipment is a quick and easy solution that can remedy these common problems. Even better, with routers and adapters supporting the new 802.11AC standard, you can upgrade your existing network from solid to smoking fast. Here’s an overview of the latest offerings from D-Link, all of which are either available or coming soon to Best Buy.
on 09-06-201311:21 AM - last edited on 11-06-201309:54 AM by BBYLaura
One of the great things about this gig is the opportunity to test some really amazing technology. Not just cool new gadgets like the latest smartphone, tablet or Ultrabook, but cutting-edge new gear that really changes things up. The Leap Motion Controller is one of those devices. It’s a rather unassuming looking little thing, but plug it into your PC and suddenly your way of interacting with the computer has completely changed. Think Minority Report or Tony Stark manipulating the information on his displays using just hand gestures. If you think the analogy is far-fetched, Tesla’s Elon Musk uses Leap Motion Controllers as part of an ultramodern, Ironman-inspired 3D design studio for his SpaceX project. After having the opportunity to plug a Leap Motion Controller into my own computer and use a number of apps, it is easy to see how the technology is becoming the platform for these great advancements ... You’ll soon be able to buy the Leap at Best Buy and try it out for yourself.
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