Wireless 802.11ac versus 802.11n: what gives with these Wi-Fi standards?

by Blogger ‎04-18-2014 11:11 AM - edited ‎04-18-2014 11:11 AM

802.11ac preview.jpgWireless networking can be confusing. There are many numbers and letters being thrown around and with Gigabit Wi-Fi just starting to appear in mainstream devices, there’s more arcane info than ever to keep track of. Dual-band, 802.11, a,b,g,n,ac, 1300/1900, 600/900, 2.4GHz, 5GHz, beamforming... What does it all mean? In particular, what is the difference between the previous top performing Wi-Fi standard (802.11n wireless) and the new champ (802.11ac)? In this post, I’ll break it down to the basics.



Razer Blade laptop preview: the world’s thinnest gaming laptop

by Blogger on ‎04-14-2014 09:35 AM - last edited on ‎04-15-2014 11:31 AM by Editor in Chief

Preview.jpgRazer Blade. Two words guaranteed to grab the attention of anyone who takes PC gaming seriously. The gaming laptop series made waves in 2013, landing on a slew of “best of” lists. The 2014 edition manages to be even more over the top, earning titles like “world’s thinnest gaming laptop” while offering performance that has to be seen to be believed. You’ll soon find the all-new Razer Blade gaming laptops at Best Buy (you’ll be able to pre-order them this week), including the impossibly thin and light 14-inch model with its 5.76 million pixels —the world’s highest resolution 14-inch notebook display.


Windows XP support ends: don’t panic, but do take action

by Blogger on ‎04-07-2014 11:47 AM - last edited on ‎04-16-2014 11:40 AM by Editor in Chief


Inspiron.jpgApril 8, 2013 marks the end of an era. Windows XP —the operating system Microsoft first released way back in 2001— will no longer be supported. Actually, mainstream support was wound down in 2009, but April 8 marks the official end of extended support. You can bet that a whole lot of cyber criminal types are eagerly counting down the minutes until Microsoft ceases to release Windows XP security updates. If you have a PC that’s still running XP, now is the time to take action. It may be bit of a hassle, but upgrading your machine to Windows 8.1 is going to save you a lot of potential effort and grief from an expected flood of malware targeting Windows XP machines. For many owners of older PCs, this event might even mark the point where it makes more sense to simply replace that aging computer with a new one and skip the OS upgrade routine altogether.



Acer C720P Chromebook Review: Adding Touch to the Chromebook Experience

by Blogger on ‎03-31-2014 05:29 PM - last edited on ‎04-04-2014 03:36 PM by Editor in Chief

Acer PReview.jpgChromebooks are one of the fastest growing computing categories. Small, lightweight and inexpensive these Google Chrome OS-powered notebooks have proven ideal for many users including students and small business. They’re great for home too. But what if you want the touchscreen experience that’s become a standard feature on Windows 8 Ultrabooks? You were pretty much out of luck on the Chrome side. Acer has filled that gap quite nicely with the new C720P Chromebook, an 11.6-inch device that combines the advantages of Google’s Chrome OS with a multi-touch display. It’s available now at Best Buy, but if you want a preview of what it’s capable of, I’ve spent some time putting a C720P Chromebook through the paces for a review.


SSD vs. HDD: The Scoop on Storage

by Blogger on ‎03-30-2014 03:15 PM - last edited on ‎04-04-2014 03:17 PM by Editor in Chief

SSD vs HDD preview.jpgSSD and HDD: Two acronyms you’ll frequently see during discussions of computers and their specs. What’s the difference between the two, which one is better and why is SSD showing up more frequently these days? In this post, I’ll tackle those questions and provide the details you need to make an informed choice when it comes time to choose between the two computer storage options.


Top 5 photo printers

by Blogger on ‎03-27-2014 07:18 PM - last edited on ‎04-04-2014 02:24 PM by Editor in Chief

Photo Printers preview.jpgTwo things have radically transformed photography in the past two decades. The first of course, is the rise of the digital camera with its ability to take limitless photos and instantly see results without having to wait for film to develop. The second is the growing popularity of photo printers. Thanks to the ability of these machines to produce high quality colour prints on demand, photo labs have all but disappeared. Photo printers have only gotten better, with higher resolution, faster printing and features on some like on-printer editing with built-in LCD displays, super-sized prints and wireless access. There are plenty of photo printers to choose from, but here are five of the best to consider if your printer needs are less about pages of text and more about high quality pictures.


Chromebox overview

by Blogger on ‎03-24-2014 01:26 PM - last edited on ‎03-25-2014 04:56 PM by Editor in Chief

Chromebox Preview.jpgChances are you’ve heard of a Chromebook —the hot new category in affordable, mobile computing— but what the heck is a Chromebox? The cardboard box a Samsung Chromebook ships in? Does it have anything to do with Battlestar Galactica and Cylons? No to both. Chromebox is the natural extension of the Chromebook, taking Google’s Chrome operating system and using it to run a compact, portable and affordable alternative to a traditional desktop Windows PC. The Chromebox isn’t for everyone, but when it comes to a desktop PC that features near instant boot-up, built-in security, the ability to work on documents and spreadsheets using free (and offline-capable) apps plus a complete web experience, a Chromebox is an appealing option.


Introducing the amazingly fast router from Linksys, the WRT1900AC

by Blogger on ‎03-21-2014 06:07 AM - last edited on ‎04-14-2014 08:51 AM by Editor in Chief

Preview.jpgYou’ve heard the rumours: Linksys is a releasing monster new Wi-Fi router. The most powerful to hit the market yet, featuring four antennas, a dual-core 1.2GHz CPU, 256MB of DDR3 RAM, Wi-Fi speed of up to 1,900 Mbps, eSATA and USB 3.0 ports, plus support for Linux and open source firmware. The highly anticipated Linksys WRT1900ac is expected to launch on April 10 and you can get it first at Best Buy! You can beat the rush and pre-order the hottest home router ever starting today. To tide you over, here’s a quick preview of what you can expect from the iconic black and blue beast —look for a review here in April.




The 411 on Shredders

by Blogger ‎03-20-2014 01:51 PM - edited ‎03-20-2014 03:21 PM

Fellowes PowerShred 10-Sheet Micro-Cut Shredder-2.jpgIdentify theft is a growing problem in Canada.  All thieves needs to steal your identity is one or two pieces of personal information -- information that is easily taken from your garbage from old bills, receipts, invoices and other mail.


Protect your identity and make your home and office secure by shredding all your important documents,


Here's the 911 on documents shredders.


Business laptops: designed for getting work done

by Blogger ‎03-18-2014 10:54 AM - edited ‎03-18-2014 10:54 AM

Lenovo 530.jpgWhat makes a business laptop? What a business (or a professional user) needs in a laptop is going to vary depending on who you ask and the nature of the industry they’re in, but there are some characteristics most business laptops have in common. Generally speaking, a business laptop is powerful enough to take the place of a desktop PC with a display that’s good enough to take the place of an external monitor for hours at a time. It’s able to run software such as Microsoft Office, has the storage capacity for plenty of documents, it’s durable and it has a high quality keyboard. Other factors such as a full complement of ports and connectivity options, battery life and pre-installed software like Microsoft Windows 8 Pro may also come into play. Here's what else you need to know before deciding on a business laptop.


A trio of Logitech computer accessories reviewed

by Blogger on ‎03-12-2014 05:28 PM - last edited on ‎03-13-2014 03:35 PM by Editor in Chief

Logitech Preview.jpgAs good as your PC or laptop might be, you can make it even better with accessories. A wireless keyboard, a touch-enabled mouse or a set of powerful external speakers will improve your experience without having to upgrade the computer itself. And few companies can match Logitech when it comes to computer accessories —in quality, design or sheer selection of products. I recently had the opportunity to try out a trio of Logitech’s latest: the Logitech Ultrathin Touch Mouse, TK 820 Wireless Keyboard and Z600 Bluetooth speakers. Here’s what I thought of them.


Gaming laptops: it’s all about speed (and portability)

by Blogger ‎03-10-2014 05:31 AM - edited ‎03-10-2014 05:33 AM

Gaming laptop preview.jpgWhy would you buy a gaming laptop? If your idea of playing games on your PC is Candy Crush, then you wouldn’t. But if your idea of fun is piloting a 24-foot tall Titan or taking on a Zerg swarm and you want to do it on the go (or in the smallest space possible), then you want a gaming laptop. These mobile PCs are small enough to serve as a compact all-in-one PC gaming rig, but also offer the advantage of portability. They will dramatically outperform a typical laptop or Ultrabook when it comes to video games because they are designed with one thing in mind: speed.


An Introduction to Chromebooks

by Blogger ‎03-06-2014 11:24 AM - edited ‎03-06-2014 11:25 AM

Chromebook preview.jpgThere’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.



Review: Linksys AC1900 Smart Wi-Fi Wireless Router

by Blogger on ‎02-28-2014 04:57 PM - last edited on ‎02-28-2014 06:29 PM by Moderator

Lynksis Preview.jpgWireless 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.


Convertible laptops

by Blogger on ‎02-28-2014 10:30 AM - last edited on ‎03-14-2014 11:15 AM by Editor in Chief

Convertible preview.jpgWhen 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.



When and why to upgrade your video card

by Blogger ‎02-10-2014 12:04 PM - edited ‎02-10-2014 12:04 PM

Graphics preview.jpgOne 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.



WD Preview.jpgMany 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.



Review: Sony Vaio Fit 15A Multi Flip PC

by Blogger on ‎01-29-2014 12:58 PM - last edited on ‎02-20-2014 04:34 PM by Editor in Chief

Bb Vaio Fit preview.jpgSony’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.



CES 2014: Steam Machines make their Debut!

by Blogger on ‎01-11-2014 01:01 AM - last edited on ‎01-15-2014 11:19 AM by Editor in Chief

BoltII_Steam_Machine.jpgDetails 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.


CES 2014: Gaming Roundup

by Blogger on ‎01-10-2014 01:33 PM - last edited on ‎02-05-2014 11:33 AM by Editor in Chief

Gaming Preview.jpgOur 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.


CES 2014: Samsung ATIV Book 9 Boasts 14 Hour Battery Life

by Blogger on ‎01-09-2014 01:38 PM - last edited on ‎01-10-2014 09:39 AM by Editor in Chief

Ativ 9 preview.jpgOur 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. 


CES 2014: HP Slate21 Pro Android AiO brings Android to the business desktop

by Blogger ‎01-08-2014 10:08 AM - edited ‎01-08-2014 10:09 AM

HP Slate Preview.jpgThe 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!


CES 2014: Asus Transformer Book Duet TD300, a Dual Platform Laptop/Tablet Hybrid

by Blogger on ‎01-07-2014 02:15 PM - last edited on ‎01-07-2014 04:10 PM by Editor in Chief

Transformerbook Preview.jpgDual 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.


New Year's resolution: using tech to keep family close in 2014

by Blogger on ‎12-30-2013 01:41 PM - last edited on ‎12-30-2013 02:15 PM by Editor in Chief

Skype topper.jpgOver 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.


5 New Year’s resolutions for computer owners

by Blogger on ‎12-27-2013 08:11 AM - last edited on ‎12-27-2013 10:30 AM by Editor in Chief

NYResolutions Preview.jpgAs 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.


Give the Family a new HP computer for 2014

by Blogger on ‎12-22-2013 09:39 AM - last edited on ‎12-23-2013 11:06 AM by Editor in Chief

HP Preview.jpgEver 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.


Have a Green Holiday

by Blogger ‎12-19-2013 06:29 PM - edited ‎02-19-2014 09:20 PM

Green_Recycling_Christmas.jpgPart of the excitement of the holidays is welcoming new electronics into our home. At the same time we want to avoid clutter from discarded electronics. 


Walking them to the curbside or throwing them in trash is NOT an option. Here's how to clear out the old for the new and help out some your community along the way.  Happy holidays!


Leap Preview.jpgAny 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.


What to do with that old computer?

by Blogger on ‎11-28-2013 01:19 PM - last edited on ‎11-28-2013 01:49 PM by Editor in Chief

Old PC preview.jpg


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


Be 5 Steps ahead this Holiday Season with Office 365

by Blogger on ‎11-27-2013 12:31 PM - last edited on ‎02-13-2014 01:12 PM by Editor in Chief



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.


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