I’ve recently reviewed several Windows 8 tablets, both the RT variety (Microsoft’s own Surface 2) and a Windows 8.1 version in the form of Sony’s VAIO Tap 11. While Windows 8 and its touch-friendly tile interface shines on a tablet, one of my primary complaints about Windows tablets has been their size and weight. Because of their focus on productivity, Windows tablets embrace the larger form factor —makes sense. Still, I think the platform suffered for not having a smaller option to compete with 7-inch Android tablets in terms of cost and portability. Dell has stepped up to fill that need and with a full Windows 8 (as opposed to RT) tablet no less, The Dell Venue 8 Pro. If you’ve been holding off until you could get a tablet running Windows 8.1 you can hold in one hand, with an HD display, 32GB of built-in storage, all-day battery life —along with Microsoft Office pre-installed— look no further than Best Buy, where you can try out the compact yet powerful Dell Venue 8 Pro.
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.
It’s been just over a year since Microsoft made the move of getting into the tablet business, releasing a mobile version of Windows that supports ARM-based processors (Windows RT) and its own line of tablet hardware: the Surface RT and Surface Pro. A few months ago, the company introduced new versions of both tablets. I’ve spent the past week using the new Surface 2 (Microsoft decided to drop the “RT” from the model designation this time around) and I can report that it’s an attractive device with good performance. But so are dozens of competing tablets. Is the Surface 2 worth considering over its rivals? Read the full Surface 2 review to find out.
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.
on 10-17-201309:45 AM - last edited on 10-18-201301:52 PM by BBYLaura
To celebrate the launch of our Windows stores in Best Buy locations across Canada we’re throwing a VIP launch party and we want our GTA social media and community fans to join us! All you have to do is email us at RewardZone1@bestbuycanada.ca with subject line Windows VIP and you will receive an exclusive invite for you and a guest!
Smartphone cameras have come a long way from the days of the 2MP shooter that was included as an afterthought. Those early camera often lacked features we take for granted now, like a flash, autofocus and video recording. Current smartphone cameras are much better, to the point where some people rely on their mobile phone instead of carrying a point-and-shoot camera for casual photography. The Nokia Lumia 1020 takes things to a whole new level. This is a serious camera (41MP PureView image sensor and Xenon flash) with a colourful smartphone wrapped around it. It runs Windows Phone 8 —currently the fastest growing mobile platform— and has the power to compete with the best out there. Look for Nokia’s Lumia 1020 to be at select Best Buy locations with Microsoft Windows Store-Within-a-Stores on October 4.
Using a computer mouse is second nature to many of us –even in these days of touch-enabled computer displays and Windows 8— but many mice favour style or portability over ergonomics, resulting in wrist strain when mousing for extending periods of time.
The Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Mouse is designed to combat this problem. It’s a bit odd-looking (think a big ball with a thumb rest and scroll wheel), but it really is comfortable to use. It’s also wireless and includes a Windows button, for quick access to Windows 8’s Start screen. It’s obviously an accessory that’s designed with Windows in mind, but it worked fine on Macs running OSX 10.8 as well –at least once I figured out that the mouse does require use of the included USB dongle since it’s not a Bluetooth model.
byBradMoon08-30-201310:47 AM - edited 08-30-201310:48 AM
With kids of all ages heading back to school, the question of a laptop is on the minds of many parents. Do they need one? How powerful should it be? Does it need to be a Mac or a Windows PC? Would a tablet do instead? The technology can be overwhelming, there are seemingly endless choices to make and the wrong call can be expensive. I’ve put together a FAQ about back-to-school laptop shopping that covers off some of the most commonly asked questions. And if you have one that’s not in the FAQ, put it in the comments and I’ll do my best to help you out.
When Microsoft launched Windows 8 last fall, it knew it was running the risk of alienating some users. Windows 8 —with its tablet-inspired interface– was designed to bridge the gap between PC and mobile operating systems and this meant upsetting the status quo. If you’ve installed Windows 8 and found some of the features aren’t quite to your liking, or if you’ve been scared off of making the switch after reading about the confusion some users have experienced, take heart. Microsoft has been listening. The preview version of Windows 8.1 is available now (a free upgrade for Windows 8 users is schedule for an October release). The latest Windows version improves on some features, adds some brand new functionality and yes, Windows 8.1 features the long-awaited return of the Start button.
September is fast approaching and we all know what that means: back to school! While that used to entail hitting the office supply store for pencils, paper and erasers, today’s students are just as likely to be searching for a new PC. While there’s nothing wrong with a desktop system, a laptop computer is often the better choice for students. These systems are portable, compact, they give up little compared to many desktop PCs when it comes to performance and they have sharp LED displays. While Best Buy stocks dozens of laptops to cover off any requirements, here are a few of my picks as some of the best laptops for students.
on 07-29-201306:19 PM - last edited on 11-01-201304:24 PM by BBYJorge
With the current emphasis on convertible laptops —devices that slide, twist, bend and otherwise transform between the usual laptop form factor and a touch-friendly tablet configuration— you’d think there wouldn’t be much room for yet another contender. However, the Acer Aspire R7 15.6-inch Touchscreen Laptop does its multiple configuration trick in a way that’s more useful than many other hybrids. Thanks to a large display, a very stable “Ezel” hinge and solid feeling aluminum construction, the Aspire R7 is a laptop that easily adjusts to virtually any work or viewing preference, while offering a pivoting touchscreen that makes it more comfortable to take advantage of Windows 8’s touch interface. An oddly placed trackpad is really the only thing that prevents this from being close to the perfect portable workstation.
byBradMoon06-07-201309:55 AM - edited 06-07-201309:55 AM
The HP Pavilion Sleekbook 15 Touchscreen Laptop is intended to be a general use laptop that makes the most of Windows 8, on a budget. Many of its specs fall within what might be expected of an Ultrabook, but it doesn’t qualify for that designation because of differences like an AMD processor instead of an Intel version. Still, if you’re looking for laptop with a decent-sized display, touchscreen capability, decent specs and a reasonably lightweight form factor, that doesn't break the bank, then the HP Pavilion Sleekbook 15 should be in the running.
byBradMoon05-07-201306:57 AM - edited 05-07-201306:57 AM
A typical PC laptop is capable of playing casual video games, but when it’s time to really push the pixels, most laptops aren’t up to the task. Being able to play serious PC games on the go, with blazing fast frame rates, means a powerful CPU and dedicated GPU —no shared graphics. These requirements typically result in a big machine that pushes the definition of portability. Many manufacturers of gaming laptops take the concept a step further, decking their computers out with shiny cases, lots of glowing LED light effects and other decorations. The EUROCOM Monster 1.0 11.6-inch gaming laptop takes a different approach. It has the specs that hardcore PC gamers want, but packs them into a laptop that’s sub-notebook sized and actually portable. And for added measure, the Monster 1.0 takes a more discrete styling approach, with a subtle, rubberized matte finish that doesn’t scream: “Hey, I’m playing games over here!”
byBradMoon04-23-201310:21 AM - edited 04-23-201310:21 AM
Microsoft’s Windows 8 is a thoroughly modern take on the PC operating system, employing a radically new user interface that makes the most of touchscreen gestures. It helps to bring the desktop (and portable) PC into a new era, while offering a high degree of UI continuity between tablets, smartphones and computers. Windows 8’s highly tablet-influenced approach of colourful, Live Tiles that greet users from the new Start screen won over a lot of doubters, but at the same time this radical new look confused some longtime users. Windows 95 this isn’t. It looks as though Microsoft is planning to extend an olive branch with reports that the “Start” button is set to make a comeback when Windows 8.1 is released.
Microsoft has announced a new upgrade for its Windows 7.8 phone to make it more compatible with the W8 apps. The company has also been working with developers to beef up its store with more apps and choice for users. It all translates to a more robust experience for W8 users with plenty of choice and flexibility.
On March 22nd, Razer is set to shock the world with the release of the Edge Pro, and Best Buy will be the only place you'll find it in Canada.
A Tablet with the power and functionality of a laptop, this WIndows 8 run machine is set to change the way you look at tablets (or reconsider that next laptop purchase perhaps?) Having been put through a gauntlet of tests, the Edge Pro has been seen comfortably running PC games like Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, Crysis 3 and Civilization V. What does it have in store for you? Check out our preview of the Razer Edge Pro Gaming Tablet.
Mobile and Tablet Gaming have become widely successful in drawing in new, and even stealing away some traditional console and PC gamers. But if you're interested in gaming more on a tablet, and are in the market for one, what are the various networks in which you can get involved, and which have the best games for your taste?
Now that the hardest part about buying a new Windows laptop —picking the ideal computer for your needs and budget— is done, and the un-boxing ritual is over, it’s time to take care of some small details. Setting up your new laptop the right way only takes an hour or two, but taking a few easy steps now helps to ensure your experience going forward will be a great one.
Last June, we were all asking “What is Microsoft Surface?” after the company best known for Windows, Office and the Xbox 360 staged a surprise entry into the tablet market with its Surface duo. The Surface RT has been out for a few months and the Microsoft Surface with Windows 8 Pro —the tablet aimed at business and power users— is set to land on February 9. We’ve got the specs, prices and what to expect from a tablet that runs PC software.
The last time Microsoft released a new version of its ubiquitous Office suite was three years ago with Office 2010. With the recent release of Windows 8 —the new PC operating system that bridges the divide between traditional computers and the latest tablet user interfaces— Office was also due for a revision. Customer trial versions were released in July, 2012, leading up to the 2013 launch. I’ve had the opportunity to test the final version of Office 2013 (the exact same version that will be appearing on store shelves shortly) and there’s a lot to like about it. Close integration with SkyDrive (Microsoft’s cloud based file storage system), an optional touch-friendly interface, improved multimedia support and a simplified, “flatter” looking interface are among the upgrades to look forward to.
How do you choose between the Windows 8 tablet and the Windows RT (RT is short for Runtime) tablet? Check out what each has to offer and then make your decision.
According to Microsoft all Windows 8 and Windows RT machines are considered “tablet PCs,” which means they are tablets that can work like PCs. Both are sleek and lightweight. Windows 8 is a bit heavier and thicker (13.5 mm, 2.0 lbs.) than Windows RT (is lighter and thinner (9.30 mm, 1.5 lbs.) but both are extremely portable.
However, their main difference lies in their operating hardware.
In a year when the tablet is King, few gadgets have generated the kind of buzz that Microsoft’s Surface has. This is a tablet that runs Windows, offers touch-enhanced versions of popular applications like Word, Excel and PowerPoint and connects to cloud based Xbox services for music and movies. Plus it has that incredible cover, the one with the keyboard built right in. There’s a lot to like about the Surface and now you can get it at Best Buy.
Enjoy all the new options with Windows 8 on a bigger and brighter 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED screen with 1280 x 720p resolution (standard screen is 4.5 inches). The Samsung ATIV S Windows Phone 8 has a very responsive touch screen making it easy to pinch and zoom in on tiles or click into a Bing search. Windows Phone 8 Live Tiles look exceptionally crisp on this sharp display.
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